Immanion Press has been publishing Non-Fiction Anthologies since 2006. Initially our Non-Fiction Anthologies were focused on practical magic. Magick on the Edge, Manifesting Prosperity, and the Pop Culture Grimoire are examples of such anthologies. We wanted to publish anthologies that featured the edgy works of contemporary magicians doing magic differently, which makes sense, because for the non-fiction line that’s a big part of the core ideology. But eventually, as the non-fiction line matured, we switched focus to some degree. We decided to start focusing our anthologies on cultural and social issues within the Pagan and Occult community, recognizing that such issues were often ignored or briefly alluded too, but not dealt with in-depth by any publisher…and that many writers who wanted to write on such topics didn’t necessarily feel supported because such topics aren’t guaranteed sellers.
In publishing so much of the emphasis is on marketable books that well sell to droves of people, but the problem with this approach is that when you only focus on marketing books that you think will sell lots and lots of copies, you miss out on really getting to know the needs of your market. While there is a need for 101 book, which will always sell to people looking for such book, there’s also a need to feed the soul of the community and that soul won’t be found in 101 books, but will be found in books that deal with the cultural and social issues that our communities grapple with.
Lupa who is the author of DIY Totemism (among other books) first led the charge into these cultural and social issues, with the anthology Talking About The Elephant, which dealt with issues of cultural appropriation in the Pagan and occult communities from multiple angles. While you could find this issue discussed in academia, until that anthology came along the Pagan and Occult community had not seen a published work on the topic, again because its not a guaranteed seller. However, while as a small press, it is important to us to have some degree of profit, we feel its even more important to publish topics that get people to think and to examine what they do and how they do it. Or as the case may be to get people to examine where their practices really come from and how they are approaching those practices. I like to think that Talking About the Elephant has helped to raise the conversation and awareness of the community around the issue of cultural appropriation.
In 2008, I met Brandy Williams, who is the author of Ecstatic Ritual. I’d read an old edition of the book, which was one of the few books on sex magic written by a woman magician and when I found out she lived in Seattle and that one of my other authors knew her, I requested an introduction. We met at a Shinto shrine in Everett, Washington and I talked with her about Ecstatic Ritual. I knew it was out of print and I asked her if she’d be willing to consider bringing it back into print with Immanion Press. Happily, she was interested in republishing the book with us and consequently we brought it into print. But I had another agenda for meeting with her and I told her what it was: I wanted to publish an anthology of essays from woman occultists who’d be willing to speak to their experiences in the occult community. I felt that such experiences were underrepresented and she agreed. I had one problem though and it was one only she could solve. I needed an editor for the anthology. It couldn’t be me, because I’m a man, and I didn’t feel that I could bring the level of awareness and understanding that the anthology and its contributors deserved. When Brandy heard this, she agreed to be the editor and told me that it actually dovetailed with some of the work she was doing in the community. We published the anthology in 2009, and like Talking About the Elephant it continued the tradition of bringing the attention of the community to the social issues that we need to address in order for our community to evolve.
I met Crystal Blanton in 2010, when she approached me about publishing Bridging the Gap. While we discussed her book, I told her about another anthology I wanted to publish, which focused on people of color speaking to their experiences in the Pagan and Occult communities. However, just as with Brandy, I had a problem that only Crystal could solve. I needed an editor for the anthology who could bring the right awareness to the issues. I couldn’t do it, because I’m a white man. I know that my perspective and awareness was limited by virtue of that and the unearned privilege I’d always had in my life. So I asked her if she’d be willing to edit the anthology and she agreed. As a result we published Shades of Faith and currently Crystal is wrapping up another anthology, Shades of Ritual, which extends the focus even further in this direction. What I noticed, when Shades of Faith was published, is that there was an immediate response to the anthology, which spoke again to the needs of our communities in ways that weren’t being met by any other publisher. I’d like to think that anthology helped contribute to some much needed conversation that is currently happening in our communities.
Our most recent anthology Rooted in the Body, Seeking the Soul, edited by Tara “Masery” Miller who I’ve not had the pleasure of yet meeting, is an anthology that focuses on the perspectives of Pagans and Occultists with disabilities. I approached Tara about editing it a year or so ago, again because I wanted to see the anthology come into print and again because I needed someone who understood the people writing about their experiences in a way that I, as of yet, do not. I hope that this anthology will spark similar conversations as the others have, because I feel that by having it and the other anthologies what we really do is bring awareness to our community that teaches us not to take for granted what our community is or could be.
All of these anthologies have been published, not because we at Immanion expect tons of income to result, but because we genuinely believe that these anthologies contribute to our community and provide all of us different perspectives we might otherwise ignore or miss out on. I’m proud of the anthologies we publish because they speak to the dedication of the people who have contributed articles, speak to the needs of our community in discussing the issues that the articles bring up, and help all of us have much needed conversations to move our community into healthy directions. I am proud of the editors who have selflessly given their time and effort to bring these anthologies to life and humbled by their dedication to not just the anthologies, but the continued conversations that these anthologies have contributed to. In part 2, I’ll discuss more of why we publish anthologies on the topics we publish but I hope you have enjoyed this piece of Immanion Press history.