Update 12/26/14: I need to check all these links. Categories only work in my head, and probably not in the heads of others. Needless metadata, please ignore.

Well, the categories aren’t really useful at the present time, but they (hopefully) will be in the future. I just spent some time organizing them into various parent categories, only to realize that no one really sees that except me. Oh well. To avoid confusion, here’s how my brain chops up information in order to digest it more easily.  

1) I differentiate between Wicca and witchcraft, but acknowledge that there is quite a bit of overlap in certain situations. Books in the Wicca and Wicca 101 categories will deal with the religion of Wicca (as derived from Gerald B. Gardner’s work) and will include both traditional Wicca and eclectic Wicca. The Wicca 101 books are those that are aimed at beginners.

Traditional Witchcraft pertains to witchcraft as derived from the work of Robert Cochrane and his ilk, for Feminist Witchcraft think Starhawk, Z. Budapest, and the Dianics, and Witchcraft: History includes historical books describing the witch craze of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. These categories, including the Wicca categories, are in the parent category of Witchcraft.

2) The somewhat stickier debate involves the use of the term ‘Shamanism.’ Despite having the origins of this word drilled into my head during an introductory anthropology course, I have yet to read a book about Siberian-based shamanism. And so I throw this term around (except where witchcraft is involved and then books that could be included under Shamanism are included in Traditional Witchcraft).

I use Shamanism as a general term to describe anything that could possibly have to do with shamans and shamanism. For drug trips and related activities, the category is Poison Path. Core shamanism would be filed under Shamanism, but classical shamanism in a specific cultural context will also be in the Native Studies category if the culture is First Nations, Métis, or Inuit. Other flavours of shamanism will be dealt with as they appear.

Core shamanism (techniques removed from a cultural setting) as taught by anyone (Native or non-Native) is differentiated from the money-making schemes of certain non-Native New Age types who appropriate various Native cultures solely for their own gain. For more information on this please see:

Lisa Aldred’s “Plastic Shamans and Astroturf Sun Dances: New Age Commercialization of Native American Spirituality” in The American Indian Quarterly 24.3 (2000). 

Andrea Smith’s “Spiritual Appropriation as Sexual Violence” in Wicazo Sa Review 20.1 (2005). 

Declaration of War Against the Exploiters of Lakota Spirituality

 And for a non-Native perspective on issues pertaining to the use of the term Shaman (in this case in a Northern-Trad Pagan context) please see Raven Kaldera’s excellent article Public Horses

3) The Teutonic Studies category will cover Northern European mythology, culture, and religion in a historical sense. The Northern Traditions category will cover the modern expressions of Northern European religion, including Heathen religion and Asatru. I expect there to be a lot of overlap, but I am keeping both categories to be annoying.

4) For Hedgerow Ramblers is a personal category, created for those who are hedge witches in a traditional sense to peruse at their leisure. It will probably wind up being a composite of the Traditional Witchcraft, Herbal Lore and Poison Path categories. Try an archived copy of hedgewytchery.com to see what I mean by hedge witch.

5) The Poison Path category was formerly Shamanism: Psychedelic. I believe the term was coined by Dale Pendell in his kickass Pharmako trilogy. It includes information on entheogens, and on using plants and other substances in non-socially-acceptable ways.

I think the rest of the categories will be pretty much self-explanatory, though please note that the way I organize things in my head will differ from yours.

Cheers

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