The Pagan Man by Isaac Bonewits © 2005

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    The Pagan Man  by  Isaac Bonewits  © 2005  Citadel Press/Kensington  ISBN  0-8065-2697-1  252 pages  Includes Notes, Bibliography, Resource Guide and Index  Paperback

    $12.95 (U.S.)      $17.95 (Canada)


    Every once in a while I will review a book because of an individual’s recommendation, or because I know (or know of) a particular author.  This is a book which meets both of these conditions.  A friend of my daughter’s swear by this book (Thanks, Jason), and I had the pleasure of meeting Isaac at a Midwest Pagan Gathering almost 26 years ago.  I had read Real Magic even before then, as well as numerous articles by him in various Pagan journals and on-line.


    Isaac is one of the “grand old men” of the Neopagan movement, in that he has been involved in the public movement in the U.S. almost since the beginning.  He has contributed a great deal to the movement through his research; his artistic endeavors; and his visibility through the years.  He has, occasionally, been at the center of disputes – often through his insistence of scholarship in place of “how we wish it had been” thinking, and periodic puncturing of mainstream thought than through controversy for controversy’s sake.


    Books dealing with the male’s place and function in Paganism are, finally, beginning to become available.  That’s the good news.  The bad news is that many of them are aimed at our gay brothers.  That doesn’t imply a belief that “gay = bad,” lest you jump to that conclusion.  The Pagan community has enough diversity for that sort of judgment to be ludicrous.  When I say that is the “bad news” I simply mean that the “average, straight, Pagan male” (whoever or whatever that may be) has only just begun to find books expressing his point of view.  Isaac, along with Kerr Cuhulain, has made an attempt to show the value inherent in those tendencies often associated with “macho” attitudes as well as other, gentler, pursuits.


    Isaac has helped to explore, as well as define, the evolution of the Pagan movement since its most recent public re-emergence (the mid-1950s) through to today.  He has shown how attitudes have, in large part, moved from a complete rejection of masculine influences (as epitomized by Gardnerian-influenced Wicca) in the common mind (even if not in actuality [after all, Gardner was male]) to a generally more balanced view of true equality of influences.  That is not to say that there don’t exist extremists at both ends of the spectrum, they are still there.  Fortunately, their influence is moderating as the movement matures.


    This book is a very necessary addition to the library of every cove, grove, and circle out there.  It also belongs in the library of every male Pagan, Wiccan, Witch, Druid, etc.  That is not to imply that Isaac has all the answers.  In fact, he has no “answers” at all.  What he has is ideas, suggestions, and stimulating concepts.  You may not change your mind/attitude after reading this book, but then again you might.


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