An Ill Wind…
Greenmantle was originally conceived 1993, following devastating winds at the Earth Spirit festival in Sussex, which resulted in Tam Campbell’s Pagan Link stall being ruined by the weather. Altar Image, our art co-operative, volunteered to take his Pagan literature on our more stable stall. After numerous enquiries from attendees regarding local Pagan events we began to take contact details with the idea of investigating and producing a local newsletter. Contacting the local Pagan Federation, we decided that, due to the interest, our proposed two-page newsletter would become a small, local magazine.
With an unexpected surge of interest from other magazines and Pagans from across the country and as far a field as Australia, it was apparent that even before the magazine launched, Greenmantle was no longer a localised publication and we widened our content accordingly. Within a year, we hosted our first celebrations in Brighton. The event, held in conjunction with the local Pagan Federation team, featured Pagan bands Legend and Seventh Wave. Later, we played host to Talis Kimberley who later rejoined us for our relaunch celebration. Greenmantle was also able to give away free vinyl records, featuring pagan bands Legend and Inkubus Sukubus, and run competitions. In 1995, the magazine won The Golden Broomstick Award, presented by the SE Pagan Federation, for best Pagan magazine.
The first issues of Greenmantle, were A4 sized, photocopied issues, each issue hand created (these were the days before home computers were prevalent) with rub-down letters, dot matrix printing, scissors and glue. Because of the difficulties involved with production and the lack of contributors, Greenmantle was temporarily shelved. In the late 90’s, using the then new computer technology, Greenmantle, produced a limited edition “Best of Greenmantle” issue featuring reprinted articles and news items. The issue introduced a new A5 size edition, which was to become the standard size for the magazine.
Following the limited edition, Greenmantle returned as a regular magazine, featuring full colour covers, new layouts and heavily illustrated articles and news. Working hard to find new and more original features, and with new regular contributors, including Kenneth R Johnson, and regular columnists, such as the popular Pagan Ninja, the magazine thrived.
However, despite the new technology, due to pressures on Paul and Rowan from work and other outside forces Greenmantle once again temporarily ceased publication, as at this stage in Greenmantle's history they were the total production team.
In 2010, Greenmantle launched it’s latest incarnation. Retaining the same format but introducing a full colour interior, the relaunch issue feautured a free DVD movie (Haxan) and a new group of contributors. The magazine launched in Brighton, with a modest party featuring music by Talis Kimberley and a brief talk by John Belham Payne, helped to launch both the magazine and the limited edition of Where Witchcraft Lives by Doreen Valiente.
In 2011, in collaboration with Talis Kimberley, Greenmantle released Green Places, an exclusive free CD featuring a selection of recordings by Talis Kimberley. The issue sold out and has now become something of a collectors item. It prompted Atlantis books to write ".... the world has gone mad for your magazine. Please can we have another 10 copies as we've only one left."
In 2012, with the renewed Greenmantle in full swing, it became possible that the magazine would end when editor Paul Pearson became seriously ill and almost died. Spending some months in hospital, the proposed Belatine Issue was postponed, despite his protests, until he was well enough to continue, and in July, the next issue was published. In September 2012, Greenmantle became officially affiliated with The Centre for Pagan Studies and the Doreen Valiente Foundation.
As Greenmantle surpasses it’s 20th year, we continue to work hard to make the magazine as good as we can, continuing to pursue issues that are both interesting and fresh. With further collaborations planned the future looks exciting!