Last week we had the chance to watch some of the bigger sites on the internet go dark in protest of SOPA and PIPA, two possible pieces of legislation that could possibly threaten the freedom of publishing and sharing content over the web. It was interesting to watch a few individuals who stood out by favoring these bills among the hundreds who were protesting against it. There was this idea by these few people that if these bills passed their small, private interest work would somehow get more protection (i.e. self-published artists getting covered by some government protection from having their work plagiarized or pirated over the web). Granted, the protests caused the bills to be buried, which is a good thing, really. These bills are not designed to help the little guy, they’re about helping big business from having their movies and TV shows pirated, not a self-published book that gets scanned into a PDF and posted on a torrent site. But that’s another story. It just popped in my head as I discovered rampant plagiarism tonight.
I’m working on an article for the premier issue of The Modern Witch Magazine on crafting and working with moon cords. I love moon cords and I teach cord magick to my students as a standard method of spellwork right after teaching candle magick techniques. However, I’m always a bit surprised at how many people don’t know anything about it. It’s so simple and quite effective; personally I find the results to be pretty much like using simple candle magick, which any Witch will tell you with the right level of focus and intent can be quite powerful. So I make a point to intentionally teach this work.
After working up my quick outline and did a Google Book search to find what books I should go pull from my shelves to look read through. I ended up grabbing “Earth Magic” by Marion Weinstein (a favorite of mine because it’s an old brown and gold covered book, 4th edition printing, and it just feels nice to hold). I also got out “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Wicca Craft” by Miria Liguana and Nina Metzner as well as “Lady of the Night” by Edain McCoy.
Marion Weinstein’s book was first published in 1980. The editions that are out now are called “Earth Magic: A Book of Shadows for Positive Witches”; my edition is “Earth Magic: A Dianic Book of Shadows, a Guide for Witches”. I did a quick double check with Google Books to make sure my edition was the same as the stuff that was on the site coming from the current edition, and it was. So I read the chapter eight, “Cord and String Magic”. It sounded really familiar to me. I had searched for some cord magick stuff online and found a few websites (here, and then to this site which the previous one sites as a source, and here as well). What I was reading in “Earth Magic” sounded identical to I’d see over and over on these sites.
Then I pick up the next book, “Wicca Craft”, and turn to page 59 and I almost threw the book to the floor.
Now, first, let me share the first paragraph of the chapter on cord magic from Marion Weinstein’s book.[box type=”shadow”]The idea behind Cord Magic is to embrace and preserve specific attributes of Moon Power which are available during a specific phase of the Moon. These attributes are directed into a length of cord and held there by knots; thus the attributes are available to the Witch at any time. For example, you may want to perform some magic which is appropriate for the Waxing Moon, such as drawing something into your life. Ideally, you would be wisest to wait until after the Moon is New to utilize the most compatible energies for your work. But what if you have good reason not tow wait, and what if -in linear times- up in the sky, the Moon is actually waning? No problem, if you have prepared a New Moon cord! By placing the cord on your altar as you work, you can actually draw upon the New Moon Power at any time of any month.”[/box] [box type=”shadow”]”You can prepare a cord during each phase of the Moon, and thus have available to you the Power of each phase. However, I strongly suggest that you use the cords only when absolutely necessary, and try to work with the phases of the Moon in the sky whenever you can.[/box]
If you’ve looked at those links up above this will sound really familiar to you. Now look at the first two paragraphs of “Wicca Craft”.[box type=”shadow”]”The idea behind moon cords is to embrace and preserve specific attributes of moon power that are available during a specific moon phase. These attributes are directed into a length of cord and held there by knots; thus the attributes are available to a witch at any time.”[/box] [box type=”shadow”]”For example, you may wish to perform some magick that is appropriate to the Waning Moon. Ideally, you would be wisest to wait until three days after the moon is full to utilize the most compatible energies for your work. But what if you have good reason not to wait, and what if it’s the time of month when the moon is actually waxing? No problem! If you have prepared a Waning Moon cord, you can draw upon the Waning Moon power at any time of any month. You can prepare a cord during each phase of the moon, and have available to you the power of each phase. However, Liguana strongly suggests that you use the cords only when absolutely necessary and try to work with the phases of the moon in the sky whenever you can.” [/box]
Soooo…yeah. The whole rest of the piece in “Wicca Craft” is essentially the chapter from “Earth Magic” with some words added and others changed around.
Like I said, this doesn’t surprise me. It’s not as though it’s the first time I’ve been doing reading and research on a topic and come across this kind of plagiarism, but it annoys the crap out of me. Especially given that in the Craft there are so many books out there and so little new information to be had. It’s because it’s just really one book that people keep regurgitating and putting back out into the market with a prettier cover and nicer paper. It’s horrible.
So I just had to point that out because it caused me to stop what I was doing and just have a moment of not only being annoyed but also wondering why so many publishers are so happy to keep putting out rehashed material. This is why I have the concerns I do about getting my next book project published by a “real publisher” (like I talked about a little while ago after Devin harassed me about it) because it’s not a rehash which means it could be a risk. Is anyone willing to take a risk anymore or is it seriously just all about the mighty dollar and what sells?