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Mike Nichols

 

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The Witches' Sabbats:
TWPT Talks to Mike Nichols

©1999-2005TWPT


TWPT:  Let's start with a rather basic question that gets asked in most interviews just so that we understand where it is that you are coming from. Tell me about the evolution of Witchcraft in your life (early influences and experiences) and do you remember a point in time that it became obvious that this was "the" spiritual path for you?

MN:  I've had lots fun in recent years researching the image of Witches and Witchcraft in the popular culture of the 1960s, because those were probably my earliest influences.  In fact, I've created a lecture based on recorded sound clips of the period that I've given at various Pagan festivals.  My thesis is that those years represent the "imaginative childhood" of modern Wicca, or "Wicca's Wonder Years."  That's not to say that Witchcraft didn't exist long before then, but I think it can be argued that this was when it was coming out of the broom closet here in the United States, and those media images may have had an influence greater than most people think.  And they ran the gamut.  The answer to the immortal question posed by Glinda to Dorothy Gale, "Are you a good Witch or a bad Witch?" was a resounding YES.  We saw both good Witches and bad Witches every year when "The Wizard of Oz" was re-run on network television.  We were "treated" to the idea of Witches as Satanists in the movie "Rosemary's Baby" at the same time we were watching the adorable nose-twitching Samantha on the weekly TV sitcom "Bewitched".  I personally remember being especially drawn to Lori MacGregor, the "witch" in Disney's "The Three Lives of Thomasina", as portrayed by elfin-faced actress Susan Hampshire.

Of course those portrayals were all fiction.  It wasn't until I saw the movie "Bell, Book, and Candle" (which occasionally aired on TV during the 1960's) that my thoughts were jolted in a new direction.  Of course, that was fiction, too, but it got me wondering: What if there really were Witches living and working among us, secretly?  What would they be like?  What would it be like to be one of them?  Then came that pivotal moment for me, seeing Sybil Leek on the "Tonight Show" with Johnny Carson.  True, she didn't hold quite the same fascination for me that Kim Novak had, but what she said made all the difference!  I hung on her every word.  The premise of "Bell, Book, and Candle" was true after all; there really were Witches among us.  Sybil Leek was one.  And she spoke of others.  Also, Witchcraft wasn't about Hollywood special effects.  It was about a "religion", a faith, a lifestyle, a way of being in the world.  I was captivated, and I was off to the bookstore to pick up a copy of Sybil's "Diary of a Witch", the first of many books on Witchcraft I was to devour.

Then again, I had a long-standing interest in the supernatural.  I was fascinated by ghosts, haunted houses and psychic experiences of all kinds, and seriously considered the field of parapsychology as a career.  I was fortunate enough to find a group of high school friends who were also into "the occult", and together we held sťances, calculated natal charts and read Tarot cards.  These interests had always been difficult to reconcile with my Roman Catholic upbringing, which tended to regard them as inherently evil in some way.  I knew better, even at that tender age, and had the instinct that if something had to give, it would be my religion and not my interests.  After all, if one's religion can't accommodate one's interests and hobbies, what good is it?  From my consumer's advocate approach to religion, I suspect that my Catholicism never really "took"  in the first place, although its stress on liturgical celebrations stood me in good stead for my later studies.  I began to wonder which religion, if any, did have a place for my interests, and could see them in a positive light?  Once again, I was brought back to Witchcraft.

I didn't want to become a Witch immediately because I was still studying it, and a researcher should keep a certain distance in order to maintain objectivity.  But after reading every book on Witchcraft I could get my hands on, I could sense that my resolve was crumbling.  This religion, with it's reverence for Nature, its egalitarian view of women, its positive take on the supernatural, and its belief that any person could connect with the numinous, was everything I had been looking for.  There was no blinding flash of light, no sudden moment of conversion to this faith.  Rather, as is so common in Wicca, there was only the slow, creeping realization that this religion already embodied the beliefs that I had long held.  The only drawback was that it was called Witchcraft, a word that in the 1960s still held negative associations for many.  But that was something I would just have to deal with.  So, undaunted, I set out to do my part in reclaiming the word.  By the summer just before my freshman year of college, I knew this was the right path for me, and so dedicated myself formally to it, and never once looked back.

TWPT:  What kind of support did you receive from family and friends in your pursuit of this new path?

MN:  LOL!  As far as my family goes, none whatsoever!  I remember my mom telling her friends that it was "just a phase" I was going through.  Thirty years later, she was still telling people it was just a phase!  Pretty darn long, for a phase!  As far as my friends, reactions ranged from skeptical to inquisitive.  But it would be another year or more before any of them took a step on the same path.

TWPT:  Tell me about the Pagan community that existed around you in those early days and what kind of involvement did you have with it?

MN:  That's an easy one.  There was no Pagan community in those days.  I was solitary because that was my only option.  When I first decided to become a Witch, I knew of no other person who had made that choice.  I was totally alone.  It wasn't until I got to college that I would even meet another Witch.  In my freshman year, I probably met two or three others, also solitary.  And by the time I graduated, I had probably met no more than a dozen who seriously claimed Witchcraft as their spiritual path.  There were no covens other than the ones my friends and I tried to form.  And although I had evidence of older covens in the area, I was never able to make solid contact with them.

TWPT:  Was writing an interest that was with you from the beginning or was that something that you grew into as you matured?

MN:  Well, I've always admired a well-turned phrase.  I was an avid reader as a kid, and would have loved the Harry Potter books, had they been around then.  As it was, my favorite authors included J.R.R. Tolkien, Ursula K. LeGuin, Lloyd Alexander, Evangeline Walton, Alan Garner, Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, etc.  But my all-time favorite was T.H. White, and I still think his "The Once and Future King" is the most perfect book ever written. Ray Bradbury wasn't far behind.  I also read a lot of non-fiction, especially in the areas of parapsychology, folklore, mythology, comparative religion, and general science.  I even enjoyed reading the professional journals in those fields. I never thought of myself as a writer and certainly never considered making it my career.  On the other hand, I did like writing stories for my own amusement when I was young, and was first published in my high school newspaper--an article on the history of Halloween.  In my senior year of high school, I was editor of the school newspaper, a role I re-lived many years later as editor of "The Lantern's Light".  Over the years, I've become more comfortable with writing, although I still have a hard time writing to a deadline, or to just fill up space.  I'm the type who needs something new to write about before putting pen to paper--some new discovery or obsession--then I will bore you silly with my scribbling.

TWPT:  From what I read about you on the web you seem to have quite a passion for teaching others the wisdom that you have learned over the years through your research, when was it that you felt a need to share your wisdom and how did you go about making that happen (teaching at Columbia and Kansas City in the 70's and 80's)?

MN:  It started through sheer serendipity.  Or Fate, if you prefer.  In my first year of college, I noticed a course being offered at the Communiversity (their Free U.) called "Witchcraft and Magic".  I went down to enroll in the class, mainly as a way to meet others with the same interest.  In a moment of bravado, I volunteered to be a teacher's assistant, if he needed one.  The enrollment clerk asked me how much I knew about the subject and, after some conversation, he informed me that I would be teaching the class, because the original teacher had left town unexpectedly!  I had my first class later that same week.  Twenty years later, I was still teaching the same class! But in the interim, I discovered I truly loved teaching and, being a bit of a ham, had a knack for it.  Over the years, I've met some of my best friends through the class.  And yes, I also love sharing what I've learned. Just like I like sharing movies, music, and all my other interests and passions with my friends.  I think it's a Librarian thing.

TWPT:  You ran a bookstore back in the 80's called The Magick Lantern, what was it that you wanted to accomplish with the bookstore? Tell me about The Lantern's Light and what role it played in getting your writings out to those who would benefit from them?

MN:  Well, being a bibliophile, I always wanted to have my own occult bookstore. Kansas City didn't have one at the time and, when the opportunity presented itself through a business partner I met through my class, I jumped at the chance.  I felt strongly about maintaining its integrity as a book store and not getting into a lot of boutique items, jewelry, crystals, etc. (which may not have been the wisest decision from a purely business perspective), and at its peak carried over 1200 titles!  That's a lot for a specialty bookstore!  No less a specialist than J. Gordon Melton called it one of the most impressive collections he'd ever seen!

"The Lantern's Light" was the store's in-house newsletter/journal.  It was very primitive by today's standards (put together on a Commodore-64 computer), and very text-heavy--but with high editorial standards.  I published it eight times a year, coinciding with the holidays, and it served as a vehicle not only for my own work, but for many other talented local writers, poets, and artists.  Yes, it played an important role in getting my writings out to the public, but it was not the first Kansas City newsletter to do so.  That dubious distinction belongs to "The Rune".

TWPT:  Your bio mentions that you are a member of the Coven of New Gwynedd.  Is a coven how you prefer to pursue your path and what are the strengths for you of participating in a coven as opposed to celebrating as a solitary?

MN:  Actually, the Coven of New Gwynedd is long since moribund.  Even though I was a founding member, I never considered myself as its leader, and I made sure to keep the Communiversity class totally separate from the coven. Unlike today, when many Wicca 101 classes function as outer courts or training classes for an associated coven, mine did not.  Even though it was an extensive 12-week course, it was informational only, and contained no hands-on training.  Very occasionally, someone from the class approached me about joining the coven, and we'd treat this on a case-by-case basis.  New Gwynedd was fortunate in having a succession of astonishingly gifted and capable High Priestesses, so my role in the coven was merely supportive. Which was precisely how I liked it.  In our Welsh tradition, it is the High Priestess who "runs" the coven and chooses her own High Priest and, eventually, chooses her own successor.

After New Gwynedd disbanded, I was often asked to attend gatherings of other covens.  And although I felt deeply honored to be their guest, I never seriously considered joining another coven because, in some strange way, I still felt myself to be a part of New Gwynedd.  I know it sounds silly, but one of my more noticeable personality traits is a strong sense of loyalty.  Even when the thing I'm being loyal to no longer exists.

As for coven work versus solitary work, both has its pros and cons.  And I think most people need both, at one time or another in their spiritual journey.  However, I do think a person is more solidly grounded if they spend some time as a solitary before they join their first coven. Working alone gives you a chance to build your confidence, and figure out how "magic" feels to you, how to manipulate the "energies".  Unfortunately, I see too many young people today take their first step onto this path by joining a coven.  They learn the coven's way of doing things, but they never learn their own.  And Goddess help them should the coven disband! They are totally adrift.  They may not even know how to cast a Circle on their own.  One should never be afraid of being a Witch alone, even though the path may seem more difficult.  But inner strength is your reward.  And if, later on, you do find a compatible coven to join, or decide to form one of your own, you'll have something of substance to bring to it!

TWPT:  You obviously recognized the power of the internet even in its primitive state which was the early BBS's. What role did that early BBS have in disseminating your early drafts of your essays on the Witches' Sabbats to the readers of the world who were eager to read them?

MN:  LOL!  Actually, I don't think most of us did recognize the power of the internet at the time.  That came later, and it came as a shock.  Back in the days of the BBS's, the internet was a purely local phenomenon.  You connected to another system via phone lines, and no one wanted to pay long distance charges to call a BBS in another city.  So we all put up our own BBS's.  I was sysop of The Magick Lantern BBS, which was run from my bookstore in the evenings, over a blazing 300-baud modem!  It was one of several BBS's in the Kansas City area that catered to magical and arcane interests.  Another one of them, Tapestry BBS, run by my dear friend Lady Shyra, was one of the first to "echo" its entire message base to similarly themed BBSs in other cities, by dialing them up in the wee hours of the morning when rates were cheapest.  They, in turn, would echo them further.

In this manner, people could carry on conversations across the country, although it might take a day or two for a response to bounce back.  If you've ever seen "101 Dalmatians", this was the computer equivalent of the "twilight bark".  Early BBS's also hosted text file libraries, and these were also echoed from one system to another.  Tapestry BBS hosted my Sabbats articles and it was from there that they were so widely disseminated.  Believe me, it was quite a shock when, some years later, I fired up my first "web browser" and discovered that my articles had literally migrated all around the world on the internet!

TWPT:  Could you expand on what the internet has meant to the Wiccan/Pagan movement over the years since those early BBS days and what it has meant for your writings in particular.

MN:  I think the value of the internet to the Wiccan/Pagan movement has been inestimable.  Until the advent of the internet, the flow of information was always through hierarchical models.  You had to have some political clout to be heard, in order to have access to the media, to publishing, etc. This hierarchical approach naturally shuts out groups with alternative perspectives, people with minority visions.  The internet changed all that.  Now, anybody can put up their own web page and the whole world can view it.  And if that web page provides quality content, then it's going to become popular.  As an example, take a look at The Witches' Voice web site.  It provides a mind-bogglingly massive amount of quality content, and it is executed brilliantly.  The result is that it has naturally risen to the top and become the most popular Pagan/Wiccan web site on the internet.  The internet's non-hierarchical structure fits beautifully with Wicca's non-hierarchical philosophy.

When it comes to my own writings, I am very fortunate to have written a series of essays that are "perennials", articles that people seem to enjoy referring to and consulting year after year.  I'm not challenged with creating entirely new content for my readers every week.  All I have to do is occasional editorial tweaking, or the occasional additional essay.  Like I said, I don't like to write new articles unless I have something new to say.  So I guess you could say I provide a kind of reference web site that is basically unchanging and always there for people.

TWPT:  Tell me about your fascination with holidays and celebrations and what it is that draws you to study and write about these events.

MN:  I'm not sure I can answer that without quoting from the Preface of my book, because I wrote it to answer that very question.  But in a nutshell, I have always been crazy about holidays, ever since I was a kid.  And I think the thing I like most about them is the way they have the magical ability to transform mundane time into sacred time. Actually, it's almost as though time is suspended.  You don't go to work, you don't go to school.  Instead, you suddenly have time to spend with your family and friends, and you focus on those things in life that really matter.  You put up decorations to signal this shift in mindset, and you celebrate along with others.  It's then you are making the memories you will most treasure throughout your life.

TWPT:  When was it that you decided that the Wiccan/Pagan community could do with a series of articles that would condense the major holidays and celebrations down to some basic points? How did you originally get the word out about your writings and what kind of interest was there in these articles in the community at large?

MN:  Well, it didn't happen quite like that, because it really wasn't my decision.  I was teaching my Witchcraft class at the time, and two students of mine had started a Pagan-oriented publication called "The Rune".  It was published eight times a year, to correspond with the Sabbats, and they approached me about writing a series of articles dealing with the history and folklore of the holidays.  Since I had already done an article on Halloween for my high school newspaper, and a similar article about Yule for the newsletter of the Kansas City chapter of the Society for Creative Anachronism, I was pretty sure I could pull it off.  So, I re-tooled those two older articles and wrote new ones from scratch, continuing to tweak them as the years went by.

I really never did anything to publicize the articles, beyond publishing them in local newsletters and posting them on my BBS.  From there they were echoed around the country and eventually around the world.  However, one important decision that I made at the start was very much in the spirit of the early years of the internet, i.e. that all information should be freely available.  So I decided to let anyone who wanted to post my articles on their own web site, at no charge.  I was more interested in getting the information out there than making money from it. I asked only that people promise to leave my name attached to it, promise not to edit it in any way, and promise not to charge anyone for its use.  That decision garnered a lot of good will toward the articles.

The interest was pretty intense from the start, because there's a lot of information in those articles that you can't get in most books on Witchcraft, even in books devoted to the holidays specifically.  People noticed that and responded to it very positively.  Of course, today there are whole books devoted to each of the holidays.  But people still needed a source of information for all the holidays together, where the information on history and folklore was rather densely packed. My articles still fill that particular niche, providing a condensed reference source for both students and teachers.

TWPT:  Do you still see books as one of the main sources that our community has for educating itself about our history, general practices etc or has the internet taken over some of those chores originally associated with books?

MN:  LOL!  I remember Gavin Frost once said to me that the true greeting from one Witch to another is not "Blessed Be!", it's "Have you read...?"  And I think there's a lot of truth to that.  Witches love books.  Most of them have large personal libraries.  Margot Adler made the same observation in "Drawing Down the Moon" that, despite the way Witchcraft seems to cut across other demographic boundaries, one thing all Witches have in common is that they are readers.  They are "scholars without degrees".  How will the internet affect that?  I think it will be a long while before we all agree with Egon Spengler that "Print is dead."  Yes, Witches will use the internet and use it well, especially since a surprisingly high percentage of them hold careers in technology.  But they also embrace tradition. When they're not surfing the web, they're watching "Antiques Roadshow".  So I think Witches will always retain a special fondness for this physical artifact we call a book.

TWPT:  When was it that you decided that your Witches' Sabbats articles should finally make an appearance in printed form?

MN:  I assume you mean in book form, as opposed to their earlier appearance in newsletters?  Well, once again, it was not my decision!  I was contacted out of the blue by Witchcraft author, the late Ellen Cannon Reed.  It turns out that she had long been a fan of my writing and had often used my articles in teaching her own Witchcraft classes.  At that time in her life, she was attempting to launch her own publishing house, Solar Crown Publishing, and asked me if she could publish my articles in book form.  I agreed but, due to circumstances beyond her control, the project never got very far.  So there the matter lay for many years until, once again, I was approached by a publisher, Acorn Guild Press.  This time, all the pieces fell into place, and it became a reality.

I must say that they were being extremely courageous because it was really an open question as to whether people would want to pay good money for a book when the bulk of the material in it was freely available online.  And still is!  So this was really a test case.  But whenever we polled people at Pagan festivals, the answer was always an enthusiastic yes!  Add to that the beauty of the book itself, those lovely illustrations by Heather Lloyd, the wonderful layout and graphics and the editorial tightening that my publishers Jim and Kel brought to the work, and you end up with something that most Witches would want to add to their libraries.

TWPT:  Were there any changes that you made during this transition from what has existed on the internet all these years into book form?

MN:  Well, you must understand that I've made little changes and tweaks all along.  I considered these articles to be living documents.  And so I was constantly correcting small errors or tightening the wording.  However, as we prepared the text for this new print edition, we did much more extensive proofing than ever before.  We were surprised to find some errors (like a dropped word) that had gone unnoticed for years.  Also, there are some words and names that can be correctly spelled in more than one way.  We made these consistent across all the articles. And we made punctuation and formatting uniform across the essays.  It's amazing how much time I spent working with my publishers on style sheet questions, like where to follow it and where to make exceptions.  In the end, I can honestly say that these texts have never been in better shape than they are now, in this print edition.

TWPT:  You also included some new material in the book beyond just the articles on the Sabbats themselves. Tell me about what you decided was appropriate articles to include with your classic Sabbat materials.

MN:  Yes, there are a number of articles in addition to the "classic" Sabbat materials, some of which have been on my web site for a while, some of which are on my web site but still relatively new, and some that have been created especially for this new print edition.  All of them relate, in one way or another, to the Sabbats.

In the first category we have "Re-Thinking the Watchtowers", "Ten Years Gone", and "Two Witches".  Some readers have had a hard time seeing the connection of the Watchtowers article to the Sabbats but to me they are intimately connected because of their correspondences.  Since many Pagans attend Pagan festivals during holidays, it seemed fitting to review a festival experience, in "Ten Years Gone". And "Two Witches" was an "inspired" little modern fairy tale that takes place at a Pagan festival.  I wanted to include it in this volume mainly because it's the only piece that shows the "other" side of me, the side that's not just a pedantic scholar.

In the second category, there is "The Ever-Widening Circle: A New Pattern Glimpsed in the Holidays".  Even though it is on my web site, it is one of my newer essays and, in importance, I rate it almost on a par with "The Death of Llew", since it represents a unique contribution to the field, something I haven't seen anywhere else.

As to the new material in the book and not available elsewhere, there is a lengthy and somewhat technical article (including diagrams) called "Marking the Sabbats", that deals with the position of sunrise and sunset at each of the eight Sabbats, and how one could set up alignments to mark them.  There is also a fairly lengthy "Preface" to the book which details my own personal fascination with holidays and their customs.  I wanted to make this a very personal statement, to counterbalance the rest of the book, which is not.  Several readers have already commented that this part is a "fun read".  I have also added a lengthy bibliography at the back which, I think, will be a major surprise to many, inasmuch as there is a strong emphasis on the writings of folklorists from the turn of the last century, rather than the usual references to modern Pagan authors.  And of course, there is that beautiful Foreword written by Wren Walker of The Witches' Voice.  That lady really knows how to put words together!

TWPT:  If you had to explain to someone what you view your role in the Wiccan/Pagan community as encompassing with your writings and articles what would you tell them?

MN:  I see myself mainly as a teacher, both lecturer and writer.  But not one who is content to merely regurgitate the usual Wicca 101 material.  I like to do original research and, when I feel I have made significant discoveries or connections, I like to share that with my students and readers.  And I insist on viewing myself as a student, too.  I certainly don't "know it all".  Nobody does.  And, more importantly, I would never want to!  How dull!  There will always be new answers, always new questions.  Learning stuff is one of the great joys of life, and I never want it to end.

TWPT:  Do you see your book as a starting point for those who want to delve deeper into the history of the holidays? What would you recommend as the next step for one of your readers who wanted to pursue the holidays as a course of study?

MN:  Yes, I do think my book could be a good introduction for someone who wanted to pursue the history of the holidays.  I suppose the next step for readers who are really serious about it is to check out some of the sources I've listed in the bibliography.  And you will note that I do not limit myself to just one type of source.  There are liturgical histories of the Catholic Church, there are modern social critiques, there's material from contemporary historians, there's archaeoastronomical research, there's tons of stuff from the folklorists of the 1800s.

And I guess that's one bit of general advice I would give.  Just because you are interested in Pagan holidays, don't limit yourself to Pagan authors.  Walk right past the Pagan section of the bookstore or library and check out the folklore section.  Check out the astronomy books that deal with megalithic alignments.  Look at books that cover the ritual calendars of other religions, including the highly liturgical traditions of Christianity, such as Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican, etc.  Learn to read between the lines, translate concepts from one religion to another, fit the pieces together and try to see the unfolding patterns.

TWPT:  How did your association with Acorn Guild Press (publisher of the Witches' Sabbats) come about and what did you think of the process from beginning draft to finished published product?

MN:  I actually had a personal connection with one of the two founders of Acorn Guild Press.  In his younger days, he was a student of someone who had been a student of mine.  So we have this apostolic succession thing going.  Beyond that, we became good friends and have kept up a lively email correspondence over the years.  He actually approached me some years ago about publishing a book, but I dawdled.  I can be quite the procrastinator when I put my mind to it.  But then I decided we might as well see it through, and we were off and running.

The whole process was wonderful.  It felt very collaborative.  They allowed me input at every stage of the book's production.  I teased them about it, saying they were setting themselves a bad precedent. But I've since learned that their approach was quite intentional.  This is the kind of publisher they want to be for the Pagan community.  And from an author's perspective, what more could you want?!

TWPT:  After all of these years of study, teaching and writing about the holidays do you still find new and interesting things about the holidays that you seemed to have missed over the years and does this give you a sense that you will never be completely done on this journey of learning?

MN:  Indeed I do!  The classic example of that is the chapter called "The Ever-Widening Circle".  There was a larger pattern that was formed when you looked at the folk customs associated with each of the holidays.  And it had been just quietly sitting there for years, waiting for me to notice it!  It's the most incredible sense of discovery when something like that happens.  A real "Eureka!" moment.  But then again, one could say that I had prepared the ground for it, through years of study and research.

Geez, I certainly hope that I will never be done on my journey of learning!  You know, one of the guiding philosophies in my life comes from my all-time favorite book, "The Once and Future King" by T. H. White. It's the scene where a very depressed young Arthur comes to Merlyn and asks him, "What's the best thing for being sad?"  And Merlyn replies that the best thing for being sad is to learn something.  It is the only thing that never fails. And the only thing we can never exhaust.  No matter how down in the dumps you are, learning something new will always cheer you up.  And there is always something new to learn.  It has worked wonderfully well for me.

TWPT:  Do you still do Pagan festivals during the summer? What is the motivation for you to head out to these festivals and spend time among the community?

MN:  Actually, I've never done a lot of Pagan festivals.  Typically, I only go to them when I'm asked to deliver a keynote lecture, or some such. I don't do camping well and, although this is heresy for a Pagan, I'm not a very outdoorsy sort of person.  That's not to say that I don't love to be out in nature, but I also like to be able to return to my own hearth and home whenever I wish.  And it's not to say that I don't enjoy spending time among the Pagan community, but swatting mosquitoes and hopping over snakes can be distracting.  Plus, I'm a fussy sleeper and have a hard time dozing off when not in my own bed.  Some Pagan, huh?! LOL!  But you know what?  Our distant ancestors started building houses for a reason.  I've often wondered why we don't have the occasional Pagan Festival at the local Plaza Hilton?  It's not like there isn't precedent; the SF and Fantasy conventions have been done that way for years!  And it would be great for a winter festival, wouldn't it!  So let me know if you want to invite me to a festival like that!  ;)

TWPT:  Do you see The Witches' Sabbats as your last word on the holidays or will there be more writings from you in the future to further expand the information that you have sent out with this book?

MN:  Those who know me well know that I never have a last word on anything. It's impossible to shut me up.  LOL!  But I do think this will be my only book on the holidays.  Future editions may contain additional information but, since I've packed as much information about the holidays as I can into this one book, I don't foresee any other books on the topic. There are plenty of good books out there that cover what to do for the Sabbats, from rituals to Sabbat cake recipes, so I don't see a need to replicate that.

TWPT:  I know that the book is not due out until September but are you getting advance interest in finally having this material in a book format that folks can keep in their library for reference?

MN:  Actually, the book is already out!  All of the online retailers, like Barnes and Noble, Powell's, and Amazon, are already shipping it.  If you don't see it at your local bookstore, ask them to carry it!  Or ask them to special order it for you.  If retailers need ordering information, they should check out www.acornguild.com , my publisher's web site.

Yes, lots of folks seem to want this material to be published in hard copy.

For one thing, my web site occasionally exceeds its allotted bandwidth and becomes temporarily unavailable.  A book never does that.  It's always there on your library shelf, unless the person you loaned it to forgot to return it again.

TWPT:  Beyond The Witches' Sabbats are there any other subjects that you might like to tackle in the format of another book in the coming years?

MN:  Absolutely.  Yes.  I already have enough material lying around already written that I could easily publish another three or four books without half trying.  As to the subject matter, I will let that be a surprise.  But I can assure you that, once again, it will be stuff not typically covered in most "Wicca 101" books.  I think most of us are ready to move beyond that.

TWPT:  To close out this interview are there any last thoughts that you would like to share with our readers about your book, folks you'd like to thank or wisdom that you'd like to share from your journey so far?

MN:  I want to thank YOU for doing this interview!  These have been really insightful questions and it's been great fun for me to answer them.  There are many other thank you's connected with the book, but hopefully I have covered those in the book's Acknowledgements.  The one thing I'd like to say to your readers about my book is that I hope they enjoy reading it. It's packed with detailed information, but I have tried to make it fun, so that reading it is a romp.

As to parting words of wisdom...  Just remember that Life is meant to be celebrated!  And our holidays, the Witches' Sabbats, are the perfect excuse for doing so.  And in today's world, we need all the excuses we can get! So make the most of them!  And Blessed Be!

TWPT:  Mike, it has been a pleasure talking to you and I would recommend to all of my readers that if they are not familiar with your material from the web and even if they are they should consider adding this book to their library as a reference on the holidays of the Pagan year and pull it out as each holiday approaches to refresh their minds on the meaning behind the celebration. Good luck with your book and I hope that it does very well for you and for Acorn Guild.