Saturday, 4 January 2014
WHY WE SHOULD ALL LAMENT THE LOSS OF THE HEDGE WYTCH MAGAZINE
Picture copyright D.B.Griffith 2013
On the fourth of November 2013 I posted the following on Facebook:
I am heartbroken.
I have just received in the post what could be the last ever edition of the The Hedge Wytch Magazine. Due to falling subscription rates it is no longer financially viable to continue publication.
Let me be honest about this, The Hedge Wytch Magazine one of only two top quality magazines in the UK that deals with matters of a Traditional bent and is actually worth reading. The other is obviously The Cauldron Magazine.
There is some possibility that if enough interest is generated there may be a re-launch in the future. I urge people to consider expressing an interest in this and contacting the publisher.
If the Cauldron follows suit all that will be available in the UK will be generalist Pagan magazines and a lot of New Age Garbage.
Details of the The Hedge Wytch Magazine and this latest development can be found here:
Some may think it strange that the closure of a magazine should affect one so deeply or move anyone to post such a message on an Internet board. Yet the closure, even a temporary one, is a sad loss for the Pagan and Occult community at large.
Founded in 1997 The Hedge Wytch Magazine was the journal of the Association of Hedge Wytches, a loose association of Craft practitioners without a formal membership system. Over a period of time the AHW became increasing decentralised and informal in this regard.
The magazine also changed, perhaps originally influenced by the philosophy of the author Rae Beth, whose works postulated an unconventional and modern definition of Hedge Wytchcraft. In time the magazine became increasingly traditionalist and folklore root orientated, appealing not only to the solitary practitioner but also the traditional covenor. As such the magazine became an alternative and a complementary periodical to the long established Cauldron Magazine; sharing at times readership and contributors, many of a scholarly approach to the Craft.
The real issue in my opinion; is that with the loss of each magazine such as the Hedge Wytch or for example the White Dragon magazine that closed some years ago, is that the diversity and therefore quality of material available is diminished. The material available to the Pagan, Magical and Occult fraternity is polarising. At one end of the spectrum we have specialist journals such as Clavis, Pillars or Abraxas, published annually or twice a year, they are costly and often available only in limited number. At the other end of this literary spectrum we have some rather light weight, new age magazines, suitable only for those who seek comfort and not at all challenging. Nearer the middle a few quality but generalist Pagan magazines such as Pentacle, yet they are all thanks in part to the Internet, feeling the squeeze. Few journals of a Traditionalist leaning survive today and it is with a sense of irony that I write this lament for the printed word, on an Internet BLOG.
Yet the printed word is in reality far superior to what is generally found upon the World Wide Web and that is because quality suffers on the Internet. The individual is their own safety valve when it comes to quality and the editing of a web post. In a magazine or a journal the editor provides this important function, to put it simply there is a peer review. It is with good reason that the majority of universities in the UK have banned the use of Wikipedia references in assignments, recognising that in general an Internet source is a third rate one.
So the loss of a magazine such as the Hedge Wytch, White Dragon or to give another example the Wytches Standard, is a symptom of neglect by the community as magazines that appeal to the lowest common denominator proliferate at the expense of quality. In a sense the community has only itself to blame as there is an element here of casting pearls before swine. The Pearls of True Gnosis are ignored in favour of the quick gratification of the New Age Guru.
For details on the current situation, possibilities of a re-launch and for the purchase of back issues please see the website: http://sothisstar.co.uk/
Other journals of note are:
The Abraxas Journal http://abraxas-journal.com/
The Cauldron Magazine http://www.the-cauldron.org.uk/index.html
The Clavis Journal http://www.clavisjournal.com/
The Deosil Dance http://www.deosildance.co.uk/
The Pentacle Magazine http://www.pentaclemagazine.co.uk/
The Pillars Journal
The Silver Wheel Journal http://www.merciangathering.com/