Part of my journey to the midwest included a really fascinating chat with a friend over the decades of archives he is combing through from his parent’s coven. The sheer number of documents he is dealing with is astounding. The proper cataloging and archiving of all this material will take a significant amount of time. As he showed me old newsletters and notes from the early 80′s, I couldn’t help but think about all the other boxes, file cabinets, trunks and drawers filled with important bits of our history around the country.
We need a proper archive of our history. A library dedicated to preserving old documents, and making our history available to not only academics, but to give ordinary Pagans a sense of their roots. It will take dedicated space and trained archivists and librarians. It will take people concerned with not only preserving the delicate paper from mold and decay, but also people capable of maintaining a digital archive that can be accessed by Pagans and academics from around the world. Not just for one tradition or branch, but for all of us: Witches, Pagans, Druids, Heathens, Occultists, etc…
We have no time to lose in this. Our elders are passing. Documents are being lost, either because we deem them unimportant or because relatives are not aware of their value. Our past is literally slipping through our fingers. And if we don’t know our past, we are doomed to repeat those mistakes. Archiving our past is a vital component of understanding ourselves and moving forward into the future.
Right now there is one simple way to help archive the past. Donate to the New Alexandrian Library Project on a regular basis. If you can spend $8 for Netflix each month, you can send them $10 each month towards building a proper Pagan library dedicated to preserving our history. It is not just building the library that needs funding, but they will need funds to keep the lights on and other day to day expenses. Consider it your offering to our Pagan ancestors, a small act of monthly sacrifice to acknowledge the past, and build on the future.
Once it is built, please consider donating any archives you may have to NAL’s care, or willing your papers to them in the event of your death. Don’t let them mildew in an attic or risk ending up in the trash. This project is a vital investment in our future, ensuring our work and faith are not lost to history, and a guarantee that generations to come shall not forget us.