Friday, November 27, 2009

My PhD Begins Today!

Today is the first day of my PhD in Aegean Archaeology. While I have been virtuously focussing on my actual topic for the last three months or so, I - perversely(?) - spent today writing an article on an entirely different matter for an academic journal. Hence I am now almost blind and the article is not finished at all. I want to get it out of the way however, in order to finish - at least temporarily - with that particular subject and get back to my PhD topic. Perhaps I will find that I can end up doing both: researching my PhD and ocassionally foraying into academic article-land with non-PhD-related articles. Of course I will have to write journal articles on my PhD subject as well. It looks like I will have the time to do so. The last six years of exertion toward my university work means that I received an Australian Postgraduate Award scholarship and can therefore do my PhD full time. Studying for a living, can you think of anything better than that?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Ten Years After Triumph of the Moon

I am thrilled to be one of the contributors to the anthology, 'Ten Years After Triumph of the Moon' edited by Dave Evans and Dave Green (Hidden Publishing 2009) - inspired by Professor Ronald Hutton's original historical investigation into contemporary Witchcraft, 'Triumph of the Moon: A History of Modern Pagan Witchcraft' (Oxford University Press 1999). Hutton's book was - and is - of immense importance and interest to everyone who has a spiritual, emotional, aesthetic or historical interest in modern Witchcraft. I, for one, pre-ordered it at Borders as soon as I heard of its imminent publication. When I received it I read it avidly each morning, as I breastfed my newborn son, in the early months of 2000. It was Hutton's book - and the Pagan Studies mailing list run by Chas Clifton - that eventually led me to academia on my own quest to discern the characteristics of ancient Pagan religons in order to judge whether they were in any way similar to modern Pagan religions, as claimed by many pracititoners. Hutton blazed the trail for what is now academic Pagan Studies - as, if not its absolutely first academic researcher, then at least its most famous - and both researchers and practitioners have benefitted from his erudition. Not only in regards to his work on modern Witchcraft, but also his books on ancient British Pagan religions, seasonal festivals and most recently, Druidry, have been of enormous importance in providing fascinating information as well as spurring further research by others. In addition, they have helped 'alternative' spiritual paths such as Witchcraft present a less frightening face to the interested public. Let's hope that the Pagan Studies field gets stronger and even more interesting.