Probably my favorite occult magazine of all time was Llewellyn’s Gnostica. It covered virtually all aspects of the occult world, from Wicca and Paganism to the paranormal, and on to ceremonial magick. Later, when I came to work at Llewellyn, while looking through files, I discovered that a letter I had written was scheduled to be published in the next issue, an issue that was never printed. It would have been my first writing published in a major magazine. Many people confuse that magazine with Gnosis, another excellent magazine (often reading more like a scholarly journal). It’s now gone, but you can get back issues from Fields Book Store in San Francisco. I hope at some time in the future some of the excellent articles from Gnostica can be reprinted.
In the 1970s and 1980s, the world was covered with fantastic magazines, many of which had evolved from small newsletters. I still have amazing magazines from all over the U.S., England, Germany, and Australia. By the middle of the 1990s, most of them had ceased publication. Today, only a few remain, the rest having given up due to high printing and postage costs combined with a growing preference for on-line materials and perhaps other interests by their shoestring publishers. Recently, two of my favorite magazines, PanGaia and newWitch merged into Witches & Pagans. I wish them well and hope they survive in this new format.
From the 1970s through the 1990s I wrote articles for numerous magazines and journals including New Moon Rising and Mezlim. Both have long since ceased publication. There are still some great Pagan ‘zines out there. There are a few magickal oriented ones (mostly associated with the O.T.O.) but they seem to be fewer and fewer in number. As I wrote earlier, many have switched to on-line formats. For example, I’ve written some articles for Hermetic Virtues magazine which is completely on-line.
Years ago I suggested that if a new magazine were to be born, it would need to appeal to a wider audience. I suggested that it should include sections on the arts, politics, and the occult. Well, although it’s not dealing with politics (yet), a new magazine from England is coming out that includes magick and occult articles along with poetry and art. ABRAXAS is a new occult journal, and I wish it well. Just as real books have a permanence that ebooks can never have, magazines have qualities that on-line sites don’t have. That’s not to say one is better than the other, only that they’re different and have different qualities.
Years ago, a young woman took over running a tiny (13 member) organization dedicated to supporting occult, and especially Pagan, writers and magazines. It was called the Wiccan/Pagan Press Alliance and grew to have hundreds of members, including myself. It was many people’s link to occult writers, newsletters, and magazines. This woman was hard working and helped to announce what other writers and even small newslettersâ€”written on typewriters and mimeographedâ€”were doing. She eventually went on to become an important force in Pagan writing. Her name: Silver RavenWolf. I know of no organization like this that is currently active.
Perhaps, in the future, all magazines will only be electronic. If so, it will mark the end of an exciting period in publishing. If it does happen, I can only hope that the future will be even more exciting. But until that happens, I would encourage people to support the few occult magazines out there by buying them. In that spirit, I say, “Welcome!” to ABRAXAS.