In The Woman Magician I set out to reform the magical tradition in which I work. A project of that scope can’t be accomplished by a single individual working alone. In my research I created a virtual community of women who I knew only by their work and situated my work in that context. I heard their voices as I wrote and they gave me the courage to say what I needed to say.
Choosing virtual colleagues lets a writer reach across space and time. It’s also a one-way communication; you can respond to their writing, but that work-to-work relationship is in no way personal. When Taylor Ellwood offered me the opportunity to edit an anthology, it gave me the chance to assemble the work of living women, to establish a dialogue, to rub shoulders with my peers.
Megalithica distributes calls for anthologies throughout a contact network. I sent out the call for contributions through that channel. Then I contacted all the woman magicians I’d ever met who had something to say. I wanted to read their thoughts! I wanted Kallista to talk about the traditions she keeps alive, and Helen talk about alchemy. I spent a lot of time tracking down Lesa Whyte who had given a talk on magic and pregnancy at Seattle Pagan Scholars. When I located her and she submitted her piece I felt the work was complete.
Several women who contributed to the anthology sat on a panel at Pantheacon to discuss their experience with writing and with the responses to the writing. No single viewpoint emerged; in fact it was clear that each woman had a unique point of view and that we had very different takes on the same subjects. The ability to sit comfortably with diversity is the hallmark of maturity.
Since then the women have kept in touch through an email list. I still feel that sense of community with them. I’m very grateful that they are willing to share their work with each other, with me, and with the world.