Access Problems and Saturday Roadtrips

A friend of mine recently complained to me about the amount of access a Pagan has to information, activities, and other Pagans, more to her point the lack thereof.  Brigid proclaimed that it was because the Christian conservatives were flooding the market and the media with their message.  She said it even trickled down to secular stores and businesses.  “It’s a conspiracy!”  she exclaimed.  Brigid was joking (I think).

While I think Brigid was being a little melodramatic, she does point out a serious problem about access.  A little radical coming from a blogger, but you can’t find everything on the Internet.  Books are still the best way to gain rich, insightful information, and especially for those without access to online shopping these can be hard to find.  And perhaps it has less to do culturally than economically.  Pagans and Witches make up an estimated one percent of all Americans (to put it another way, about 700,000 to a million people).  If the definition of Pagan expands to include all non-Abrahamic religions, that statistic goes up, but remains less that ten percent of all Americans (according the Harvard’s the Pluralism Project).    In a capitalistic sense, it is not smart business practice to cater to such a narrow audience, especially with the invention of Internet shopping.  Even organized religions have to think of this when establishing places of worship.  A Buddhist friend of mine in high school had to travel to D.C. for every festival, a four hour drive.  While I don’t think it’s right and whole-heartedly support every effort in my community to open more Pagan supply shops and to host more festivals, I kind of understand why there aren’t as many Pagan meeting spaces.

But I wondered about Brigid’s other claim, that sectarianism affected even large businesses.  With the recent Chick-Fil-A scandal it made me think maybe she had a point about the connection between big business and religion.  But hey it’s a Saturday and I was bored.  So I decided to so some research.  While obviously none of this was particularly scientific, it was not only fun but also a little enlightening.

So I trekked out to Barnes and Noble.  I figured hey, it’s national and caters to the diffusion of information.  And I was kind of blown away because the proportion of Pagan-related books and paraphernalia was a lot higher than I thought it would be.  An entire row of shelves and various articles interspersed throughout the store.  Kind of magic heavy and not as much about the spirituality of Paganism, but I was still happy.

Like I said this was not in anyway scientific, but perhaps Brigid is wrong about inequality of access.  It may seem that more prevalent messages seem to be everywhere, but if you look closely enough you can find what you need to enhance your spiritual life.

Bright Blessings,

Ariadne

© Ariadne Woods

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5 thoughts on “Access Problems and Saturday Roadtrips

  1. I would worry more about the quality of the information in the books rather than how generally accessible they are. When you have a niche market made up of people who really do want their resources, then B&N and other mainstream stores can carry as much of it as possible, but without necessarily putting in a lot of effort to make sure that they are getting the best books by trustworthy authors. It is cool that they are there though, and I am sure that you and your friend would know how to find the good ones!

    1. I agree with you to a point, but in my experience I find they are a lot more reliable and more well researched than other resources. But I think “good information” is a whole different issue than access is.

      1. Totally, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to imply that they were the same issue at all. Also, my distrust of major corporations to carry books of value to alternative-minded people might be pretty outdated, since it is now possible for many amazing authors to get their work into those stores. The world is changing quickly, and some of the ways that it is changing are indeed good, I need to remember that 🙂

      2. I totally understand your concerns and share them. You’d be surprised with the selection (I was). A nice mix of new and older texts. A LOT on individual topics like tarot.

        Also I should probably note that I am more apt to praise books above all other forms because I am studying to be a librarian. And love books.

  2. I love books and love the B&N’s books if only because they were my first and only access for a little while. The Witchcraft for Dummies books scare me though because that just doesn’t seem like a good combination! 🙂

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