Samhain Contributors Günel Akhundlu Matt Baldwin-Ives Laura Bell Geraldine Beskin Nimue Brown Rachel Burch Colin Cater Karen Cater Chris Chatburn Claire Dean Trevor Greenfield Robin Herne Karen Hilder Joanna van der Hoeven Nicolas Holliman Pete Jennings Sam Nockolds The Morrigan’s Path Rachel Patterson Thea Prothero Mabh Savage Niki Senior Patou Soult Andy Stout Val Thomas Ben Timmons Ann Tomlin Cat Treadwell Morgana West Caroline Wise
Editor-in-Chief Kate Large Publications Officer David Spofforth Regular Features Editor Nell Griffiths-Haynes Production Editor Phil Dixon Design Editor Allen Gittens Proofreader Zoe Bidgood Staff Writer John Awen Green Pages David Spofforth (acting ) Rachel Mizsei
Twenty years ago, The Wiccan changed its name to Pagan Dawn and the magazine you now hold was born. Times and typefaces have changed, we now read magazines on phones and on tablets, but the publication of the Pagan Federation remains a powerful voice for our diverse Pagan society. Just quite how diverse was demonstrated by the groundbreaking Pagan Symposium, which saw the Pagan Federation gather together organisations from a wide range of traditions under one roof. Each of them has kindly contributed their thoughts to this issue, and I very much hope they continue to keep in touch. As a wider community, Pagans are notoriously independent and sceptical of authority: not for nothing is the ‘herding cats’ analogy so often used! But the Symposium proved that many different traditions can nonetheless come together and share a positive common dialogue which was enjoyed by all. Looking back, it has been a wild, significant year, not just for myself but for many others. There have been wonderful, magical experiences I will treasure forever, but profound lows made for a poignant balance. In the space of around two weeks I lost two brilliant, beautiful friends, both tragically young. Two fresh candles will burn in the window this Samhain as I make my farewells to those who so recently shimmered with life. And so I welcome the season’s change as the dark rolls in: bonfire-scent and moon-drench sable enfolding all those who journey to the veil to bid their farewells –the hardest, deepest-dug work of all. As the year slips into bare branch and bone, the many artists, photographers, authors, poets, musicians, priestesses and PF volunteers who help put this magazine together have outdone themselves. Over the year several team members have moved on and I’d like to thank all of them for their hard work. Producing a magazine – let alone such a professional one – on top of fulltime jobs, running households, PF and other commitments, all on an unpaid, voluntary basis, is an amazing achievement. It’s particularly apt that for this 20th anniversary that we welcome several fantastic new team members: production editor Phil Dixon, regular features editor Nell
Griffiths-Haynes and staff writer John Awen. To work with such gifted and passionate souls truly is a privilege and I look forward to many editorial escapades together. Amidst the cold and damp, the thermal undies, the leaves on the line and the broken-down boilers, I wish for you a wonderful dark of the year. This is the time of year I love most: the held breath before the exhalation of spring, the midnight boundary when time seems suspended and magic blooms into possibility. May that magic blossom for you and yours, in a peaceful and plentiful winter’s tide. Until we meet again to celebrate Imbolc 2015, Sláinte!
The cover of the first Pagan Dawn