#DefendOccultBooks

I’ve always disagreed with the view that we don’t need Pagan and occult books.

I like reading and it was books that organized my inchoate feelings about Nature and burial mounds and stone circles and the pleasures of life into the idea that the word that best describes these feelings is Pagan.

Most activities in life — and magic is no exception — have a theoretical underpinning. The dominant underlying theory of how magic works is a heteronormative one — simply because most practitioners are heterosexual and they see the world through that lens.

If there were no occult books, we would be stuck with the dominant underlying theory instead of being able to see it, unpick it, and challenge it. So to me, it’s incredibly important to have books on the occult and Paganism.

I think there’s a strongly anti-intellectual streak in these assertions that you don’t need books to do Pagan or occult practice. Sure, it’s important to be able to do it instinctively and with intuition— but it’s usually books that convey the information about what that intuition looks like.

Can you imagine contemporary Paganism without Starhawk’s books, Ronald Hutton’s Triumph of the Moon, or the many queer Pagan books that have come out recently?

The DefendOccultBooks hashtag was started by @daatdarling on Instagram and I got it from Mhara Starling.

4 thoughts on “#DefendOccultBooks

  1. Am I reading this correctly? There are people out there who are actually saying people shouldn’t/don’t need to read any occult books at all? That intuition and videos are enough?

    Gods preserve us.

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  2. Can’t say I’ve come across the “Don’t need books” mentality, at least, not yet. But, books should indeed be used and defended.

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  3. I suppose if a person’s focus is more on historically inspired polytheism, then general Pagan & occult books may not be of interest to them. But many of us who do have such a focus still find such books useful. The general anti-book mindset is a reaction to overemphasis (or perceived) on reading & scholarship among Pagans/polytheists/etc. as well as Christians. And anti-intellectualism. So sick of it!

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  4. I second @caelesti about the anti-intellectualism among many pagans/polytheists!

    I’m *very* interested in theoretical underpinnings of magic, an interest that began for me when I discovered a book about alchemy when I was around 15 years old. The author took alchemy seriously and used Arabic and European manuscripts to explain the processes, along with the spiritual aspects. I’ve been hooked ever since!

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