Glenda, the Good Witch of the North : Portrait of a Power User

Fire s burn and cauldrons bubble, and Witches, Warlocks, Druids, and assorted
other Pagans use computers-alot. In fact, a recent survey revealed that
computer professionals are the largest single occupational group within Pagan
religions, the book for which the survey was conducted, is a study of the
neo-pagan movement. Margot 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 facinating 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 sometime 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 computers link with the new age through it's 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 thats true for all religions." adds Fox.

** Reprinted from the March 1989 issue of PC Computing
--Original story by Kenan Woods