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Article: Green Egg Omelet
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Green Egg Omelet
Green Egg Omelet An Anthology of Art and Articles from the Legendary Pagan Journalist
Author: Oberon Zell-RavenHeart
Published 2010 by New Page Books
Paperback, 288 pages
View this Book on Amazon
Reviewer: Mike Gleason
For those of you who are too young to have encountered "Green Egg" magazine in its earliest incarnation (there have been several - the Original (from 1968), a slick-cover mass distribution run, and the Net version), this book may come as a revelation (or a shock) as you discover that there were serious discussions about many of the topics still being hotly debated in today's Neo-Pagan community (and in mainstream society as well) quite a long time ago.
Unfortunately, the thing which made "Green Egg" such a sought after commodity will, most likely, never see the light of day - the notorious "Green Egg" Forum. Since much of the content was concerned with snide, back-biting remarks and sometimes outright "Witch Wars", which have been forgotten by most of the community, there is little prospect of them being resurrected. That is really too bad, as those were some of the most interesting parts to read.
If Oberon has his way, this is just the start of a series of compilations from the past 40+ years. Each book (at this time he is projecting another nine books) will focus on a different theme. This one is a little bit of everything (in a serious vein), and gives a wonderful feel for why "Green Egg" was the "go-to" magazine in the 1970s and later. In the early days, subscribers considered themselves to be almost an elite element in Neo-Pagan society, even though the focus of "Green Egg" (and The Church of All Worlds [C.A.W.], of which it was the most visible manifestation) stressed equality. Don't think that subscribers all agreed with what appeared in each issue. C.A.W. was founded by folks with a strong anarchistic streak, and the only thing most could agree on was that they didn't agree.
There are 126 articles in this first volume, and some of the authors will be familiar to almost everyone: Tim Zell/Otter/Oberon Zell- Ravenheart, P.E.I. (Isaac) Bonewits, Raymond Buckland, Anodea Judith, and others. Some will ring a bell in the memories of some of the elders out there: Tony Kelly, Robert Anton Wilson, Lady Gwen Thompson, Timothy Leary, et al. The general topics are New Pagans; New Witches, Greeks, & Druids; Old Pagans; The Gods of Nature, the Nature of Gods; Nature, Evolution and Ecospirituality; Ritual Celebration, and Worship; Magick, Arts, and Crafts; Pagan Culture: Family and Tribe; Power and Politics: Changing the World; Gender and Sexuality; Future Visions; and Pagan Fiction. If that doesn't give you a feel for the range of discussions contained in this long-lasting journal, nothing will.
Each of the magazine editors has written a short retrospective of their time at the helm of one of the most influential Pagan magazines. There are stories of triumphs and failures, good times and bad. These retrospectives are, however, an extremely minor part of the value of this work.
Some of the articles which have been gathered together for this ground- breaking book may seem (to some) outdated and/or irrelevant because of the evolution of Pagan thought during the past 40 years. And yet they form a basis for a viable history of Pagan development in this country (and elsewhere).
One of the things I really appreciated was the inclusion of Tony Kelly's seminal work "Pagan Musings." Over the years, I have given copies of it to every student I have trained, while bemoaning the fact that it had not received wider distribution. At last, that oversight has been rectified.
The articles in this book are each relatively short, which is not unusual given their provenance. During its initial run, "Green Egg" never exceeded 80 pages per issue, so brevity was the goal (although there were a few articles which were serialized over several issues). This brevity makes it easy to pick up the book and read an article or two whenever you have a few spare minutes.
I must admit that my appreciation for the "Green Egg" goes way back. I was a member of the Lakes Nest of C.A.W. in the mid-1970s and looked forward to each issue. After its initial demise I really missed the stimulation it provided but, by the time it was reborn as a mass circulation version I had found myself married and with more severely restricted spare cash, so I wasn't as faithful about keeping up with it. I have seen few issues of it since it went online, unfortunately. All of which is why I appreciate this book so deeply. I have many of the original "Eggs" (after it stopped being circulated ONLY to members and became available by subscription), and some of the second version, but I have missed a lot of the discussions and thought- provoking articles over the years (and even more of the humor and fiction which made it such a joy to get each new issue), and this book makes it possible to see much of what I have missed.
Without a doubt, there will be those who swear BY what appears here - and an equal number who will swear AT the contents. Oberon and his successors at the helm of "Green Egg" have never shied away from controversy or radical thought, and that is obvious from the contents of Green Egg Omelet. It contains much of our history, and should inform much of the discussion of our future as a society. Read it and decide for yourself.
Perhaps the only disturbing things, from my point of view, was the inconsistent editing. However, having copies of many of the original magazines in my collection, and assuming that they were scanned in using OCR software for typesetting, I can understand how "bad" could be replaced by "had" and other such simple errors could creep in. If you are paying attention while you are reading, it isn't a problem, as you can simply correct it in your mind as you go.
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22 Sep 2011 11:03 AM #2
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