Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Review: Thorn Magazine

Thorn Magazine - Paganism in the Silicon Age
Issue 1, December 2008
Thorn is a professionally produced Pagan magazine from the East Coast of the US. The Editor, Chip O’Brien, and his co-conspirators don’t make themselves personalities, but they’ve done a nice job. The first issue brings what seems to me to be a sort of hip, urban aesthetic sense combined with an interest in substantive content.

I pre-ordered the first issue, and it came promptly as scheduled – a good sign. My first impression of the magazine was a bit of puzzlement. The nicely-done cover art seems to have only a little to do with Paganism. After long staring, it might represent an Urban Pagan ritual, but it didn’t scream ‘read me’ to me. Likewise some of the interior art (and fashion features) has an urban, maybe east coast feel that left me cold. Personally I prefer to leave matters of style and fashion out of discussions of Paganism, whether it’s goth, tie-die or NYC hipster. All nicely done and well-presented, though.

The content is first-rate. From an atheist’s ability to find meaning in a Wiccan rite to a translation of ancient Irish lore to a discussion of the current scholarship on the Old European Goddess theory, there’s plenty of meat in the articles and features. Readers here will enjoy the discussion of ‘initiation’ presented from three reconstructionist viewpoints: Kemetic, Hellenic and Saxon. The magazine is just getting started with its lighter fare – columns on Pagan news (nicely digested from The Wild Hunt Blog), myth and an advice column were all interesting.

I’ve become too cynical to subscribe to any magazine after its first issue, but I will be picking up the next issues as they appear (there’s also a planned monthly edition, apparently). The community could use a new professionally done mag, and these folks can obviously handle it, if they can keep their submissions up to the high standards of the first issue. I wish them the best of luck.

1 comment:

Chip said...

Thanks for the review & encouragement! As for that last paragraph-- we'll accept that challenge. : ) It's one of the main reasons we called the business Thurisaz Media and use the Thorn rune in our logo; Pagan publications seem to need all the anti-fluff devices they can get.

Oh, and the cover: it's a modern rendition of "The Birth of Venus." I fear we may have outsmarted ourselves, as my partner had a similar puzzled reaction to the cover art: "So... it's a bunch of Pagans standing around talking?"