His Story, Her Story, Our Story
The Evolution of Pagan Fiction and
by Elizabeth Barrette
Below I list a few favorite examples of Pagan Fiction. Some feature Pagan
characters, societies, or motifs; others have generally Pagan values. I only
listed one book by each author, but several of these authors have written many
books with Pagan elements, so watch for those too. I have broken them down into
stories set in our past, our present with speculative elements, our future, and
other worlds, plus anthologies with some Pagan stories included. Read and
- The Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean M. Auel. General Publishing Company
- Prehistoric epic about a Cro-Magnon girl adopted by Neanderthals; detailed
exploration of animal totems, primal magic, herbalism, and living close to the
earth. Well researched.
- Strands of Starlight by Gael Baudino. Signet, 1989.
- Set during the Burning Times, this story follows young Miriam through a
series of dramatic transformations as she learns to love herself and her power;
eloquent rendition of the Goddess as Creator of the universe and also of elves
"to help and heal." Reasonably well researched.
- The Year the Horses Came by Mary Mackey. HarperCollins, 1993.
- Ancient historic epic about a girl's quest to prevent the downfall of a
Goddess culture spanning most of Europe; splendid vision of what living in a
Goddess-inspired society is like, in several variations. Reasonably well
- The White Raven by Diana Paxson. Avon, 1988.
- Set in the sixth century, this is a retelling of "Tristan and Isolde" from
the Arthurian cycle. Heavy Celtic influence with the Goddess Brigid and related
motifs appearing throughout. Well researched.
- Moonheart by Charles de Lint. Ace, 1984.
- A deep and powerful story of romance and war spanning both time and
realities. Rich elements of Welsh, Druidic, and Native American culture, magic,
and belief systems.
- Gate of Darkness, Circle of Light by Tanya Huff. DAW, 1989.
- Novel in which avatars of the Goddess interact directly with this world to
thwart evil; She appears as Maiden-Warrior, Mother, and Crone. Great urban
- Children of the Night by Mercedes Lackey. Tor, 1990.
- A practicing Witch and a decent vampire team up to defeat a nasty monster;
nice detail on traditional Wicca plus lots of psychic fireworks. More great
- Walkabout Woman by Michaela Roessner. Bantam Spectra, 1988.
- The return of the Dreamtime allows Australian aborigines to slip from this
world back into a more primal one. This story draws extensively on Australian
aboriginal material and handles this magnificently, but where it touches on
European influence the results are not very pretty.
- Powers That Be by Anne McCaffrey and Elizabeth Ann Scarborough. Del
- A fine sentient planet story. Combines (don't laugh, it works) Celtic and
Inuit motifs liberally; good detail of society, planet likes the responsible
colonists but clobbers the rude ones. Watch for the selkies.
- Two to Conquer by Marion Zimmer Bradley. DAW, 1980.
- A Darkover story with several Goddess threads running through the plot,
including a sanctuary of priestesses and some wonderful karmic backlash; set
against a backdrop of male power struggles.
- Midworld by Alan Dean Foster. Del Rey, 1975.
- Another great sentient planet story. Consider the planet a character,
although it's only dimly aware; exquisite detail on evolution, interdependence,
communication with plants, living lightly on the land, and instant karma.
Foolish capitalists attempt to exploit the planet and get colorfully munched.
- The Copper Crown by Patricia Kennealy. Roc, 1964.
- Celtic science fantasy. Stunning coverage of Celtic magic and beliefs in the
course of interstellar relations between the star kingdom of Keltia, its
enemies, and its new allies from Earth.
- The Diamond Throne by David Eddings. Del Rey, 1989.
- Rich in satire and other sharp humor. Although the religious/magical systems
depicted are fictitious, many elements spring from reality -- especially the
Child Goddess. The plot concerns a knight's quest to save his rightful queen.
- Sheepfarmer's Daughter by Elizabeth Moon. Baen, 1988.
- Our heroine Paks evades an unwanted marriage to become a warrior, and
eventually a paladin of Gird. Intricate social structure packed with hundreds of
different religions, most with a distinct Pagan feel.
- The Last of the Renshai by Mickey Zucker Reichert. DAW, 1992.
- Inspired by Norse mythology, this story details the end of a notorious
warrior culture and the teetering balance of the world itself. Emphasis on Law
vs. Chaos, Good vs. Evil; sharp detail on Norse deities.
- The Shaman by Christopher Stasheff. Del Rey, 1995.
- Dynamic epic featuring the battle between two demi-gods, one good, one evil;
strong connections with Green Man/Sacrificed God and Death/War God myth cycles.
Nice detail on personal growth with the warrior/shaman lead character and his
- Sisters in Fantasy 2 edited by Susan Shwartz and Martin H. Greenberg.
- Several stories here touch on women's spirituality in various forms;
unusual, high-impact fiction not welcome in more conservative markets.
- Enchanted Forests edited by Katharine Kerr and Martin H. Greenberg.
- Tones range from warmly empathic to justifiably vindictive; emphasis on
power and consciousness of woodlands. Lots of "karma running over dogma" scenes.
- Hecate's Cauldron edited by Susan Shwartz. DAW, 1982.
- Stories about witches, mostly bad, but the good ones are worth the price of
- Ancient Enchantresses edited by Kathleen M. Massie-Ferch, Martin H.
Greenberg, and Richard Gilliam. DAW, 1995.
- Strong female characters use magic to meet their needs, sometimes involving
This list of Pagan Fiction copyright 1997 Elizabeth Barrette, first published
in Moonbeams Journal 1
(Spring 1997) as a sidebar to His Story, Her
Story, Our Story: The Evolution of Pagan Fiction and Pagan Literature.