Glenda, the good witch of the North Portrait of a power user. (paganism and computers) Woo

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Glenda, the good witch of the North: Portrait of a power user. (paganism and computers) Woods, Kenan PC-Computing v2 p42(1) March, 1989 Glenda, the Good Witch of the North: Portrait of a Power User Fires burn and cauldrons bubble, and witches, warlocks, Druids, and assorted other pagans use computers--a lot. In fact, a recent survey revealed that computer professionals are the largest single occupational group within pagan religions. Drawing Down the Moon, the book by Margot Adler for which the survey was conducted, is a study of the neo-pagan movement. Adler found that roughly 11 percent, or 21 of 195 respondents, were computer programmers, systems analysts, or software developers. Adler's questionnaire also asked what, if any, relationship exists between paganism and computers. "The answers ran the gamut from people who felt the question was ridiculous to those who were convinced that 80 percent of the pagan community actively used computers and that there was an important and striking relationship between the two," writes Adler. "Pagans are playful by nature" one respondent said, "and the computer is the most endlessly fascinating toy ever invented." Some linked the magical aspects of paganism to the "magic" of computers. "Symbolic thinking and patterning are essential to magical thinking. Like magic, computers work in unseen ways to accomplish tasks," noted one respondent. "Like magic, computers require a procedural and logical mind, yet sometimes defy logic," said another. Another explanation involves the right-brain/left-brain relationship. Some say that when a person spends a great deal of time in intellectual pursuits, like computer work, it's important to balance that with more intuitive, experiental endeavors that involve the whole body. "You'll see some computer programmers out there dancing around the bonfire under a full moon having a great, wild time," says Selena Fox, high priestess of the Circle Sanctuary, a spiritual nature center, and Wiccan Church, in Brigham Township, Wisconsin. Fox believes the allure of the religion for these so-called "techno-pagans" may be what she sees as neo-paganism's futuristic aspects. "It's on the leading edge of advances in all levels of society. For that reason, the people tend to be more future directed and are looking for a form of spirituality that can take them into the 21st century." Lady Sabrina, high priestess and founder of Our Lady of Enchantment, a school of witchcraft in New Hampshire, believes computers are a new age technology and neo-paganism is a new age religion. She points to the computer's link with the new age through its use of crystals, referring to the microchips used in personal computers that are made of slices of silicon crystals. "Crystals are little energy banks," says Lady Sabrina. "The computer is a positive tool that can really help bring about social transformation. It can bring people together and create better ways of sharing information," says Fox. And pagans like to share information. There are about 300 bulletin boards for people involved in the neo-pagan movement. "I don't think you'll find that's true for all religions," add Fox. COPYRIGHT Ziff-Davis Publishing Co. 1989


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