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The Biggest Pagan News That No One Is Talking About

This post was written by Elysia
on January 18, 2013 | Comments (54)

There is certainly always more than enough news in the Pagan community going around – just one glance at any of the Wild Hunt’s periodic news round-ups is enough to see that a lot is going on within and regarding our community at any point in time. But there is one big news story I haven’t seen addressed anywhere else…so I’ll go ahead and start the ball rolling. It’s Pagan news that overlaps with publishing news, so it’s right up my alley.

In fact, it has to deal with a regular part of my job. For every book we publish, we need to assign it a BISAC code so that bookstores and distributors will have some idea of where to store and shelf the book. What are BISAC codes, you may ask? They are the codes developed and maintained by the Book Industry Study Group (BISG) that are used for categorizing books by content. Unlike the Dewey Decimal System, these codes do not guide the reader to one particular book on the shelf, but they instead point to a whole category where the reader can then browse, so they are more popular with bookstores than with libraries. BISAC has 51 broad categories which are then broken down into smaller subsets. Often book buyers who work for large suppliers or distributors are assigned particular categories; in other words, at Barnes & Noble, you’ll have a different buyer for Young Adult Fiction, for Mysteries, and for Body, Mind & Spirit (which used to be called “Occult”). In turn, go to the Body, Mind & Spirit section in a store and it’s further broken down into different subsets on the shelf like Astrology, Tarot, and Witchcraft. It’s a handy way of splitting things up into smaller pieces.

These codes are not printed on the book, although there may be a very similar-sounding topic listed at the top of the back cover (for example, “Body, Mind, & Spirit / Witchcraft & Wicca”). This makes the BISAC code almost invisible to the end consumer and therefore, not of much consequence to anyone outside the industry.

While publishers can suggest a BISAC code that goes out with all its data to all its distributors, in the end a bookstore will decide where to shelf a book. Take our new book, Witchy Crafts, for example – we chose to give it the BISAC code OCC026000 – Body, Mind, & Spirit / Witchcraft and Wicca (note the OCC prefix which used to mean occult), but the bookstore itself might choose to put that book in the crafting section. This can happen with any book that spans two very different categories, whether it’s a book on witchy cooking (in witchcraft or with the other cookbooks?), witchy sustainable living (in witchcraft or with other books on sustainable living?), witchy gardening (in witchcraft or with other gardening books?) and on and on. (Hint: Llewellyn always will go with the occult BISAC, so most of our books are usually shelved there.)

As mentioned above, BISG maintains these codes, which includes periodically updating them; adding new categories as needed, rearranging this and that to more accurately reflect where a consumer might be looking for such a book.

So, on to the point of my story. At the very end of the year, BISG updated and released the new 2012 BISAC code listing. And here is where things get interesting.

As long as I have worked here, Witchcraft and Wicca have always been in the occult – er, Body, Mind & Spirit – category. I’d often eye the Religion category with envy – how come some religions were represented there (like Eckankar, Mysticism, Zoroastrianism, even Demonology and Satanism) but Druidry, Heathenry and Asatru, Wicca, and countless other valid spiritual paths were not? We were relegated to the Body, Mind & Spirit section – three great words, to be sure, but three words that could equally apply to any of the world’s religions. These religious choices or spiritual paths simply weren’t viewed as religions by anyone for a very long time, they were viewed as occult or slightly loony.

Obviously much has changed in American society at large. These are recognized religions in the eyes of the IRS. They are religions in the eyes of the US Army Chaplain’s Handbook, and, since 2007, the Veteran’s Administration. These are religions in the eyes of the Parliament of the World’s Religions. Pagans are taking an increasingly larger role in interfaith efforts, working at legitimizing our various paths or religions even if we continue to operate as decentralized, individual groups with no organizing body or imposed tenets, tithes, institutions, hierarchy, or dogma.

So here’s the news – Wicca, in the eyes of the book selling industry, is now a religion. It crossed over from OCC026000 Body, Mind & Spirit / Wicca and Witchcraft, to two separate BISAC codes. One remains in the occult section – OCC026000 is now simply Body, Mind & Spirit / Witchcraft. But Wicca itself is now REL118000, or Religion / Wicca. (Continued below.)

A partial listing of BISAC codes in the Body, Mind & Spirit category

Let’s not even stop to think about what a headache it will be for me to decide whether any given book should go into the occult “Witchcraft” end of things or the religious “Wicca” end of things. Sometimes this distinction is made crystal clear by its author or its content, but much more often it’s a very blurry line. No, instead let’s allow that to just sink in for a moment. Imagine going in to your local bookstore chain (because this will probably not change how metaphysical stores or libraries operate) and, instead of heading to the New Age section (or whatever your local store calls it), you head to the Religion section. There, next to shelves of Christian, Jewish, and Muslim books, you will find your Wicca books. Strange feeling, isn’t it?

But there’s more. The BISAC code that used to be OCC036020 Body, Mind & Spirit / Spirituality / Paganism & Neo-Paganism (a relatively recent addition on its own) is also now listed in Religion, as REL117000, or Religion / Paganism & Neo-Paganism.

Is your mind blown yet?

Just to give you an idea of what still is over there in Body, Mind & Spirit, you will still be able to find the Divine Feminine there; Magick studies; Angels & spirit guides; Hermetism & Rosicrucianism; Sacred Sexuality (also a relatively new code), and so on. There is still no code anywhere for Druidry (we usually use Body, Mind & Spirit / Spirituality / Celtic) and no code for Heathenry or Asatru, which will just be lumped together with Paganism. These things might not matter much to book buyers, but they matter to the end consumer. If a Heathen has to pick through a bunch of “other” Pagan or Neo-Pagan books to find the ones that appeal to him or her, it’s a disservice to that specific path. But it is what it is.

Now that I’ve given you the background and the changes, I want to reflect on a couple ramifications of this change.

  1. Will our books now be bought by the Religion buyer? Here at work I asked various people in our sales department how this will affect them, and I got the full spectrum, from “no, we will continue to sell our books to the New Age buyer, the client probably won’t change their whole stores and/or operations because of this change to the BISAC code,” all the way to “whoever did this wants us to fail.” (I am completely paraphrasing here, for effect.) Why the pessimistic attitude? Because if our books do have to be sold to the Religion buyer, and that person is someone of faith who is much more comfortable with buying Christian books than Wiccan books, or has no understanding of our categories the way current New Age buyers do, we will have problems getting our books into stores. If the Religion buyer has only X amount of budgeted dollars to spend across their entire category, they will choose to spend it on mainstream religions, because hey, there are simply more of them, and more potential for greater revenue. It’s a business, folks. And yes, I can see how that could be potentially disastrous for book sales. If we were pushed out of the chain stores, we’d still have independent metaphysical shops to fall back on, but not everyone has access to one and they operate on very limited budgets, meaning we simply wouldn’t be selling enough books to survive. Amazon and ebooks would become our main lifeline if chain bookstores stopped buying our books.
  2. How does the Pagan subculture feel in being branded as a “religion”? One thing that most everybody is against is any dogmatization or institutionalization of our individual paths (see this great post by Lupa on the danger of creeping fundamentalism in Paganism), yet that kind of pressure to conform is almost literally evoked by the word religion. The word brings to mind stuffy, codified, socially imposed tenets and ties that bind. On the other hand, isn’t this exactly the kind of societal acceptance Pagans need in order to claim their deserved place at the table of world faiths? To think about it another way, as a Pagan, Druid, Heathen, or Wiccan, how often do you use the word religious when talking with others about your spirituality? Besides focusing our laser-like attention on dissecting labels like Pagan, Neopagan, Wiccan, Witch, Polytheist, and so on (which are all important), perhaps we need to take a step back and define whether we are, in fact, practicing religions vs. practicing spirituality?
  3. In light of the ongoing and recently refreshed division of polytheists who shun the word Pagan*, well… um… hate to tell you all, but there is still no code under Religion or under Body, Mind & Spirit for Polytheism. There is Atheism, Theism, and Deism under the Religion category, but they have no room for polys. Where do polytheists see themselves five years from now? Doesn’t it make sense to come along with other Pagans and Neopagans in the move out of the “woo woo” section and into the rarefied atmosphere of the Religion section? I have more to say on this debate (but probably will not get around to writing it up anytime soon) but for now, the main question is one of whether staying under the Big Pagan Tent for a bit longer, in order to grow and individuate, and gradually become part of the mainstream lexicon, wouldn’t be such a bad thing in the short term.

In conclusion, some of you may still be thinking that the change in some obscure code that only booksellers use… well, it’s not a sea change, is it? It’s not going to change how Pagans are seen at work, at school, by the law, or in their secular communities. At least not yet. But I believe it’s still an important barometer of how society views our subcultures and if it does lead to slipping sales of books, that’s something that will affect nearly all Pagans, except those that only refer to primary sources and academic works for inspiration on their paths.

For ease of following each other’s thoughts, if you’d like to make a comment here referring to any of the three points above, please include the number in your comment. I really want to hear what the community thinks about these recent developments.

* If you haven’t been following them, here is a great round-up of blogs written in the latest wave of the Polytheist/Pagan debate this month.

** Disclosure: I have also asked the BISG’s Subject Codes Committee Chair for comment on the reasons behind the change. If any of the committee members happen to read this blog and would like to share their perspective, I welcome your input in the comments section.

Reader Comments

Written By Laura
on January 18th, 2013 @ 5:01 pm

Personally, I think this is a wonderful change, regardless of what it means to book sales. It shows, in my mind, a fundamental change IN INDUSTRY to recognize that there are other options out there. This is change that I for one have been working towards in other areas. It’s the sort of change that lets me tell my boss, ‘Hey, I’m not Christian, so I’ll head up the soup kitchen effort on Christmas so you can spend time with your family, but I need off on the Solstices and Equinoxes and Halloween.” It’s up there with, “we’re here, we’re queer, get used to it!” And I look forward to walking into the book store and going to the religion section to buy my books.

Written By Marjorie Oszman
on January 18th, 2013 @ 5:15 pm

I know that the University of South Carolina and Cherry Hill Seminary are working on a conference regarding Sacred Space. Pretty serious stuff happening here.

Written By Corrine
on January 18th, 2013 @ 5:40 pm

Fascinating post, Elysia! It’s always interesting to get a behind-the-scenes peek at the book business.

Written By iollan
on January 18th, 2013 @ 5:57 pm

I’m pretty comfortable with this change in attitude. Afterall, aren’t they all spiritual pathways that bring peace into our lives? Body/Mind/Spirit makes me think of yoga/meditation/worship. It might also encourage (at least present the opportunity) for many to take a look and discover that we are not all that different.

Written By John Halstead
on January 18th, 2013 @ 6:12 pm

This is exciting!

Does this just apply to books published after the change?

And if my local Barnes & Noble continues to shelve Paganism books in the New Age section, what do you recommend patrons do to prompt a change?

Written By Elysia
on January 18th, 2013 @ 6:16 pm

John – good questions! I don’t know at all yet whether these changes are to be applied retroactively and if so, how that would be implemented at all. As for trying to get B&N to change, if they haven’t already changed, the physical location of the books, I assume that such a decision would be made by top management and not on a store-by-store basis. I’m sure the stores do have some amount of flexibility, but in any kind of corporate culture, they tend to like things to be done uniformly across the board – especially if it will affect their bottom line.

Written By Leanne
on January 18th, 2013 @ 6:24 pm

Wow, thank you, Elysia! This is interesting news!

Written By Mark Pemburn
on January 18th, 2013 @ 6:54 pm

Concerning Point #2:

As a member of a well-established Wiccan organization (the Assembly of the Sacred Wheel), I consider Wicca to be my _religion_, while my _spirituality_ is my very own, thank you. Fortunately, our brand of Wicca doesn’t impose any structure of belief. Rather, we have some conventions that make it easier to keep everyone on the same page when designing and performing rituals, especially those crafted for large events.

My personal feeling about the shift in codes is that it will probably play quite differently depending on the demographics in the area of any given book store. Where I live (northeastern Maryland), “religion” means “Christianity”, period. Our nearest town center is Churchville, and it comes by the name honestly. Here, there could be active opposition to placing Wiccan books on the same shelves and Christian ones. Heck, it was just possible this past year to get county laws against divination overturned after more than 40 years. Perhaps it will be easier getting our books on to “their” shelves than I anticipate. I’m eager to see how it works out!

Written By Elizabeth
on January 18th, 2013 @ 8:56 pm

This is fascinating, and I think, a good pointer to the sea change slowly underway when it comes to Paganism becoming viewed as “real” religions.

I will say, though, that even though Satanism may be under the “religion” code, I was one for quite a long time and not ever once did I ever see Satanism books shelved anywhere but the “new age” or “occult” section of a chain bookstore. I don’t know if they’ll treat Pagan books differently, though. (And I suppose why bother putting Satanism somewhere else for the two or three books that a chain store ever carries on the subject? All LaVey or about LaVey, of course.)

Written By Sherry
on January 18th, 2013 @ 9:35 pm

I have been advocating for this for a long time. Hadn’t thought about the dollars for books in the religion section aspect. I have always thought that we should be recognized. It’s hard, though, when our own authors place us in mythology or the woo woo section.

Fortunately I live on the left coast, the liberal coast, as many refer to it. So I am “semi” out of the closet with co-workers, etc. But I am well aware that in the broader world this can still be cause for not hiring in a deep search prior to a job interview.

If we are not classified as a religion that is not considered prejudiced.

My faith/spirituality may not have strict dogma, but I consider it well considered and appropriate for myself.

I am very happy to see these changes and though I know that there will most likely be an uproar within the “this is yet another way they are making a war on christianity” camp, at some point in time hopefully this will all be a non-issue.

Blessed Be.

Written By Sandy Harris
on January 18th, 2013 @ 10:07 pm

A memory from 1977: we opened a microcomputer store in the very early days of personal computers. The Yellow Pages had no heading appropriate to our retail line — only Electronic Data Processing Equipment. Within a year or two, one would have thought the Computers heading had always been there.

Written By Karl
on January 18th, 2013 @ 11:07 pm

It seems like a fair transition. At most Barnes and Noble bookstores, unfortunately Wicca and Pagan books have been grouped in the whole “New Age” section. I understand that Wicca is a revival of the ancient Pagan religons but many to most of anything in this section pre-dates Christianity or most faiths in general. I would like to see these books grouped together with the rest of the spiritual/religious groups. It just seems that they have casted them aside as taboo and gave them their own place, away from the righteous religious.

Written By Linda Johnson
on January 18th, 2013 @ 11:28 pm

Interesting, though I haven’t noticed any change at our local Barnes and Noble. I think it is good in the sense too many confuse “Religion” and “Church” as being the same thing (I took up this issue with a military chaplain a few years ago when he used the words interchangeably in a talk he gave….and some people I knew who were following their traditional Native American Religious Path were looking uncomfortable….). I see the dangers you see in this. And I see the positives you mentioned. I guess we will wait and see how it pans out. I am in a broom closeted area with little access to metaphysical or alternative stores…as in none….Barnes and Noble is it.

Written By Elani Temperance
on January 19th, 2013 @ 2:45 am

Thank you for this article, Elysia! I was unaware of the change. I have written my reply on my own blog, but it’s too large to post here. As such, I’m posting the link here so you are aware of the article. It focusses a bit more on the Recon community–and Hellenismos in general–than your article, though.


Written By Marienne
on January 19th, 2013 @ 8:53 am

I was just thinking about this very topic last night as I wandered the aisles of a bookstore. I feel that the online pagan community is fairly comfortable with the label “religion,” and I think this development is a positive one. I do hope that it doesn’t negatively impact the buying of pagan books by booksellers, however. If that is the case, I think I’d prefer to just go back to the original categorization and actually be able to find the books in stores.

Written By Elysia
on January 19th, 2013 @ 11:54 am

Excellent post, Elani! One little tiny edit I would point out – there is no longer a Spirituality / Paganism & Neo-Paganism code under Body, Mind & Spirit. While it still appears on the list on their website, there is no code number given for it, and it says “See Religion / Paganism & Neo-Paganism.” (Many things are cross-referenced this way so that people can find the codes they need, if it’s not in a place that might also be logical.) So there is no longer even an option to put a Pagan or Neopagan book into the Body, Mind & Spirit section unless I disingenuously give it an OCC BISAC code that is close to the point (like Celtic Spirituality, or Divine Feminine, or just plain Witchcraft, but not Wicca…) So you can see the problem!

Written By Judie mcmath
on January 19th, 2013 @ 12:26 pm

As far as #2 above, the move to include non-traditional spiritual paths as religions in their own right is awesome. It means that they are becoming recognized as legitimate. It doesn’t mean that the individual spiritual paths are going to e dogmatized, simply recognized. That’s a huge breakthrough in this predominantly Christian arena. It’s won’t change everyone’s opinion, but it at least puts those belief systems in the ballpark for consideration for people who might have before seen them as fringe or occult.

Written By Elani Temperance
on January 19th, 2013 @ 12:28 pm

@Elysia: thank you, I read over the fact the code had been removed. I will edit the post accordingly. And yes, I very much do see the problem!

Written By Mary K. Greer
on January 19th, 2013 @ 4:53 pm

Elysia, there’s always some turmoil and confusion in transitional periods. I think it speaks positively in terms of Wicca and other Neo-pagan religions being taken seriously as a valid religion. As an author, I see it creating a dilemma – do I want my book being viewed as religious or as spiritual? Will it change the way I write it and how I address my audience? Quandaries ahead.

Written By James Charles
on January 20th, 2013 @ 12:21 am

To be honest I do not think it will help consumers…Most bookstores have a bigger “new age and occult” section than they do a religion section… and the kind of people who shop in the religion section will be hostile to the books on pagan paths.

Written By Melissa Hayes
on January 21st, 2013 @ 1:30 am

I was overjoyed to read this article. I remember my early days as a Wiccan, more than 20 years ago now; and the truly uncomfortable feeling I had while shopping for my books in the Occult section. I know it cost the bookstores money to shelve our books that way. After a few uncomfortable encounters, I began buying my books only at New Age fairs and festivals. More recently, I’ve bought most of them online. This change gives me a good excuse to visit the bookstore again. Thank you for well written article on this topic Elysia. I’ve shared it with friends.

Written By Brianna Lynne
on January 21st, 2013 @ 1:54 am

You’d probably be surprised, but my path’s (Shinto) literature is almost always in the martial arts section or in philosophy. I don’t know what booksellers are thinking when they shelve these books, but just because we sometimes use swords in dances doesn’t mean we’re practicing martial arts… This religion is claimed by millions around the world and isn’t even found in the Occult section much less the Religion section. And then our healing system (Reiki) gets put on the shelf with New Age and Psychic stuff. It’s crazy.

Written By Julie Roberts
on January 21st, 2013 @ 2:58 am

This is why brick and mortars are dying the slow death that they are and why consumers in alternative subcultures are seeking their goods on the internet. I have become accustomed to seeking outside the mainstream for spiritual knowledge. I rarely find what I want at the mainstream superstores. I think most pagans are used to this. In my mind, it keeps the information sacred and disseminates it to those who are truly ready to learn the ancient ways…

Written By Angelo Nasios
on January 21st, 2013 @ 11:50 am

This is great news! This also means there will be free room in the Mind/body section of the book store for more tarot books lol!

Written By Janet Sullins
on January 21st, 2013 @ 2:55 pm

Personally, I have never looked down at the word “Occult”, unknown wisdom. Where as religion usually means Dogma to me…. I’d rather be in Occult….

Written By Jo Jenson
on January 21st, 2013 @ 3:13 pm

In response to #1, While I share your concerns about dealing with the Religion buyer rather than the OCC buyer I’m not sure the concerns about budget constraints are as well-founded. The only stores that will have different buyers for different sections are the big stores which by and large are large businesses, B&N for example. In those cases I would think the budget associated with the purchase of books on Wicca, etc will move from one category to the other as the book category moves.
I can only hope that at least in the cases of the big stores the concern about the shift in book buyer to the Religion buyer for the store would primarily be one of education rather than faith. These big stores are businesses first and foremost and if a book sells the store is going to want to stock it, regardless of potential issues of the faith concerns of the individual book buyer.

Written By Christi
on January 21st, 2013 @ 4:40 pm

This is pretty fascinating. I’m in the publishing business, myself, as a Production Editor with a publishing house in KC, and the assigning of BISAC codes has always been a mystery to me. This does announce a sea change in how the print communication industry views paganism, which is pretty exciting. I believe the world is waking up.

Written By Gina Ellis
on January 22nd, 2013 @ 9:48 am

I’d like to see the opposite – all religion books transferred to body/mind/spirit. Or an all-inclusive Weird Shit section. (I am Wiccan, but still unsure about *respectability*.)

Written By Shauna Aura Knight
on January 22nd, 2013 @ 4:24 pm

Wow, thanks for writing this! A very fascinating read. I think it’s definitely a win for Pagan equal rights activism, even if it is a headache for Pagan publishers. Good luck navigating the new codes. It will be interesting to see how this plays out going forward.

Written By Jane H
on January 22nd, 2013 @ 9:51 pm

This is wonderful news! Thanks so much for your post. As a metaphysical bookstore owner, and as a pagan, I’m thrilled because my favorite sections are finally where they belong. It’s quite possible that some of the more aware indie bookstores will start shelving wicca and pagan books alongside buddhist, hindu, and other religions. Maybe new startup indie bookstores will, at least, because they order based on sections from the largest book distributors, which are usually organized by BISAC categories. Meanwhile, it makes navigating the menus for ordering make that much more sense for me.

Written By Halmo
on January 22nd, 2013 @ 10:45 pm

Gina, I’m a bookstore employee, and I support that idea. I tend to think of the entire religion/new age/meditation/astrology area as “the magic section”, and have tremendous difficulty telling the books apart. I mean, why are angels Christian Life if Stormie O’Martian writes about them, but New Age if Doreen Virtue does? Why are some “near-death experiences” in the one section and some in the other? Why is the Comparative Religion section full of blatantly Christian books? Why are LDS books separated from Christianity by Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Taoism, and Hinduism instead of being attached to it? The whole department’s a fustercluck.

Written By Patti Wigington
on January 23rd, 2013 @ 10:19 am

When I’m not blogging about Pagany things, I actually work as a full time department lead for a Big Chain Bookstore. Just as clarification, it’s important to remember that many large bookstores (and certainly the one I work for) inventory and shelve books according to where the BISAC codes say they belong, not where someone in the receiving department thinks they ought to go. In other words, don’t give the folks at B&N a hard time about Wiccan books being under New Age — that’s where they go according to BISAC, until this recent change.

Personally, I wish we’d all just use the Dewey Decimal System and be done with it ;)

Written By Dawn Miller
on January 24th, 2013 @ 8:29 pm

As a dyed-in-the-wool heathen, (Druid/Wiccan), who was a Witche before Lewellyn was publishing, I am glad to see we are acknowledged as a religion OR as a spirituality. It’s a few centuries overdue. I remember when no such book was available in any bookstore. Blessings Under the Oaks

Written By Lee
on January 25th, 2013 @ 10:00 am

I buy almost all of my books online or from resellers (including the library old-book sales), so I won’t likely even notice. But I would be interested to see some sales numbers for books bought in stores versus books bought online. Almost all of the brick-and-mortar book stores have closed in my city–EXCEPT re-sellers–and they tend not to be as specifically organized. I think this is the direction things are going and that in the fairly near future, this BISAC coding system will be obsolete.

Written By Briana Pierce
on March 25th, 2013 @ 5:21 pm

Interesting stuff! We are just beginning to publish non-fiction, and this will definitely be something to take into consideration.

In response to #2 (sort of) – I think there is a significant difference between being “Pagan” (as a religion), and being “pagan” (as a spiritual path). My husband feels so strongly that he actually wrote an article about it (http://oldways.com/day-28-food-for-thought-pagan-with-a-lowercase-p/)! LOL

Being “pagan” to me is simply a way of life, not a religion. I know there are many others who practice Paganism as a religion, but I think I’ll keep my books listed under the OCC bisac codes. :)

Thanks again for the post!!

Written By Thomas Serafini
on March 30th, 2013 @ 1:11 pm

I was in a B.A.M. store yesterday and couldn’t find anything about Wicca, anywhere!
I looked through the religion section but all they had was christian
and bible study books.
this was in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.

Written By Elysia
on April 1st, 2013 @ 9:37 am

The last time I was at a B&N, the Wicca books were still under New Age. I am going to another B&N today to see what’s up. Thanks for the update on BAM, we don’t have any in our area!

Written By Grant French
on June 18th, 2013 @ 4:23 am

I have noticed an increasing disorganization of ANY subject in bookstores from what it used to be, and I am talking about Barnes and NOble. The consensus among the peers I deal with seems to be that amazon is simply the new norm, not bookstores. Just like video stores, they will soon be relegated to a bygone era. :)

Written By Cindy
on June 18th, 2013 @ 10:45 pm

I agree with Gina and Halmo. It should just be religion/spirituality and maybe even include philosophy. It was in my 7th grade philosophy class that my teacher just casually made the statement that religion was just mankind’s way to explain themselves that I started to question my Xtian upbringing. This was back in 69 and does show how a teacher can affect students with what they teach. But seriously, most religious people also consider themselves spiritual though not all spiritual people consider themselves religious. Kinda like a Wiccan can be a witch but a witch doesn’t have to be a Wiccan. All those categories really deal with our souls or lack of soul. The depth of what makes us who we are. Since I consider myself to be eclectic Pagan who knows where I would actually fit in. I would however file fundamentalism under Hate as no matter what brand of fundamentalism it is it usually isn’t good.

Written By Rhavyn
on August 11th, 2013 @ 8:40 pm

I don’t know when this posted – I just received the link.

Among friends and family, we have settled on only one consensual defition:

Wicca IS our (often polytheistic)RELIGION, The Craft is our ART.

Written By Michelle Wilson
on November 19th, 2013 @ 9:41 am

I was so excited to read this article! I managed a small bookstore about 8 yrs ago and the owner and I got into a huge argument after I had shelved some books having to do with Wicca in the religion section. He was furious when I pointed out that Wicca was in fact a recognized religion. I think that it is a major stepping stone into getting more people realizing that it is not devil worshiping!


Written By Randall
on November 19th, 2013 @ 10:35 am

My thought is this – - I personally am not defined by how product is labelled to be sold. I think that, on the whole, Wiccans and Pagans practice a faith that is notably more in tune with the mind body spirit connections. Making them whole being faith paths. So it makes sense to me to have these books in BOTH sections. Can a book be labelled through this BISAC system for both?

Written By Ieshea
on November 19th, 2013 @ 1:46 pm

I think this is going to cause more resentment and political maneuvers by the christian world

As for #2 I don’t consider myself religious I consider myself to have a belief and to be faithful,truthfully overall paganism isn’t a set religion it is a belief system. While a religion has set parameters for each main religion and sub sect thereof we are allowed to be varied from person to person not to be boxed in by set beliefs as a religion is

Written By Deborah Blake
on December 31st, 2013 @ 8:10 am

I saw this again when looking at The Wild Hunt’s yearly sum-up. How about doing another post, and checking in to see what, if any, the affect has been a year down the line? I’d love to know if you’ve seen any difference.

Written By Leticia Nava
on February 23rd, 2014 @ 8:22 am

Thank you very much for your very insightful article. I stumbled upon it when I was looking for information about the OCC BISAC code, and in the end I got to learn a little bit about the concept of “other paths”. I look forward to read more about it.

Written By Lauren
on May 1st, 2016 @ 4:01 am

I found the new age/ occult isle to be sacred. I knew that I didnt have to be fearful of the person standing next to me. That generally they would be more open minded, and I would have to feel less ostracised for my beliefs.

Now I imagine what a world where I have to search for certain books next to a christian would even be like.

it’s hard to come to grips with.

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