Faith and Magick in the Armed Forces
by Stefani E. Barner © 2008
$15.95 (U.S.) $18.50 (Canada)
Reviewed by: Mike Gleason
Are you one of those people who believe that “harm none” means never doing anything which could potentially cause harm to anyone or anything? Do you feel that Paganism and patriotism are mutually exclusive terms? Do you feel that a Pagan could NEVER serve in the military? Then you don’t want to read this book. If, on the other hand, you question those statements, pick up this book and prepare to be enlightened.
Ms. Barner is married to a military man who has served several overseas deployments. As such, she has experienced first-hand many of the joys, sorrows and frustrations inherent in Pagan/military co-existence. Additionally, she interviewed other members of military/Pagan families to add to the depth of her personal experiences. These include active-duty military personnel, spouses and children, both U.S. and foreign.
She provides some suggestions for rituals, prayers, and protective magicks, as well as advice for dealing with the practicalities of frequent moves, separation anxiety, and support (or non-support) of the military establishment. She covers everything from recruiters to chaplains and from drill sergeants to Equal Opportunity Officers
She also provides a listing of worldwide resources as well as family and veteran support groups. This alone makes this an invaluable resource for military-connected members of the community at-large. Military Pagans will always be a subset of a very small group (about 2% of the U.S. population, and will finds this information especially helpful.
Although this book focuses primarily on the U.S. military, it should apply to foreign services as well – with the qualification that national laws and service expectations may vary. In any case, military life is much the same around the world.