RevKess and Kalisara were thrilled to present for their listening audience a visit with Mike Nichols, one of the first Pagan broadcasters in the United States. He is also the author of The Witches’ Sabbats and the website of the same name. He’s been teaching, writing, lecturing, and more since 1970. Last year he even provided a link to the audio from his Pagan broadcast in 1973 to help celebrate the 20th anniversary of Murphy’s Magic Mess on KZUM in Lincoln, NE – the world’s longest running Pagan content radio program.
From the author listing at Acorn Guild Press: “Mike Nichols is the celebrated author of The Witches’ Sabbats book and www.WitchesSabbats.com—the ultimate resources on Pagan holidays and related writings—and a contributing author to Creating Circles & Ceremonies. Mike has been a featured speaker on National Public Radio, Spiral Dance Radio, and Eclectic Pagan Podcast (episodes 16 and 22) on iTunes. He does extensive online teaching and writing, occasionally guest lectures at Pagan festivals, and performs in a Pagan band called Spellbound.
“A pioneer in the American neo-Pagan movement, Nichols taught classes in Witchcraft for twenty years continuously, from 1970 to 1989, in Columbia and Kansas City, Missouri, through the Communiversity and at his bookstore, The Magick Lantern. He was also the editor of The Lantern’s Light , the store’s in-house publication. A founding member of the Coven of New Gwynedd, Nichols was the first Wiccan representative on the Kansas City Interfaith Council.
“Nichols is a lifelong student of the Craft and, after years of research, writing, and teaching, he still considers himself a student. He received his BA from the University of Missouri, with a double major in communications and psychology (specializing in parapsychology). He has done graduate work in the field of library and information science.”
RevKess had prepared a list of topics for Mike to give an idea of what was to be discussed. They stayed to the list, but in a rather circuitous manner, skipping around and going back to things from time to time. KaliSara remained quiet for most of the conversation, keeping herself busy in the chat rooms.
Mike is clearly a fount of knowledge when it comes to the history of Paganism and its varied history. Admitting that he’s not read many current publications, he nonetheless has vast amounts of information at hand in his library and on his website. With tomes ranging from the early writings of the modern movement back to the heyday of “secret societies” and 19th Century spiritualism, he indicated that his most inspirational reads while maturing on his path were the collected works of such notable figures as Madame Blavatsky and others from that time period.
Throughout the conversation the listener can get some insight into how how earlier leaders in the modern movement gained their knowledge and shared their information with others. From the publication of such magazines as Green Egg and the in-house newsletters of local new age and metaphysical shoppes to the correspondence between Pagans after meeting at local and regional events.
The listener can also get an idea of how some of the early essays and articles from that time period later became published works, specifically Mike Nichols’ own essays and articles that would become the book The Witches’ Sabbats. Ellen Cannon Reed, a spiritual mentor to RevKess through her own published works, was the first to ask Mike to have his essays and articles on the Sabbats compiled into one volume. Some years after her passing the book had gone out of print and the owners of Acorn Guild Press approached him to have the book rereleased under their imprint. Today the articles and essays can be found in the book as well as much of that same content on his website. Though he does agree with the idea of copyright in regards to certain published works, he also feels that his articles and essays should be available for free, and much of that content is available through his site. There is some information in the book not found on the site and vice versa. RevKess has most of the articles and essays on the Sabbats printed out from a dot matrix printer and in one of many volumes of his BOS.
Nichols continues to work on articles and essays that are of interest to him, and he hopes to others. A recent essay on atheism and nature religions can be found both on his site and via WitchVox. Many other articles on other topics, including a filmography of witchy tastes, can be found at his site.
Music and other Audio
- Gaia Consort – Every Sacred Thing
- KOPN Beltane 1973 – Mike Nichols broadcast https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-qg8zlrblDo
- Bell Book and Canto – Orpheus’s Song – Songs of the goddess: A Pagan Music Compilation
- David Pendragon – Spiral Dance – Book of Shadows
Other Links of Interest
- Matthew Fox, former Dominican Priest, current Episcopal Priest – Nichols article on Fox
- J Gordon Melton – religious historian