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About Diana

Diana L. Paxson is best known to the public as the author of numerous short stories and novels of the past, present and future which feature pagan religion. Her first novel, published in 1981, began the chronicles of Westria, set in an alternate future California, and drew on knowledge of medieval culture gained through her studies in medieval literature (in which she earned an M.A. degree from the University of California) and the Society for Creative Anachronism, which she founded in 1966.

Her second novel, BRISINGAMEN, about a graduate student who comes into possession of the goddess Freyja’s necklace, was one of the first “contemporary urban fantasies”. In the mid-80’s she began to alternate books about Westria with historical novels such as THE WHITE RAVEN, which re-tells the story of Tristan and Iseult. Later work included a trilogy on the story of Siegfried and Brunhild, and another (with Adrienne Martine-Barnes) on the legend of Fionn MacCumhail. She has also written her own version of the Arthurian mythos, HALLOWED ISLE. When failing health required her sister-in-law and fellow priestess Marion Zimmer Bradley to bring in a collaborator, Diana began to work with her on the Avalon books, beginning with THE FOREST HOUSE, and is now carrying on the tradition. The most recent in the series is ANCESTORS OF AVALON.

In addition to novels, Diana writes short stories (around seventy-five at last count), most of them for anthologies such as THIEVES’ WORLD and SWORD AND SORCERESS, the most recent volume of which she edited. Diana has contributed a regular column on goddesses to SAGEWOMAN since the magazine was founded. She collaborated with Z Budapest on a non-fiction work, CELESTIAL WISDOM, and has just published a new solo book, TAKING UP THE RUNES.

Upcoming projects include a new Westria novel, THE GOLDEN HILLS OF WESTRIA, which picks up the characters twenty-five years after the end of THE JEWEL OF FIRE, and RAVENS OF AVALON, a prequel to THE FOREST HOUSE which will feature the legendary warrior queen Boudicca. She is also working on the non-fiction CONCISE GUIDE TO ASATRU.

At the same time as she was building a career as a writer, Diana was also becoming a priestess. She has worked in a number of pagan traditions, including kabbalistic ceremonial magic, women's spirituality, Wicca, Umbanda, and Asatru. In 1978 she and Marion Zimmer Bradley founded Darkmoon Circle (mentioned in the introduction to MISTS OF AVALON) a women’s coven which is still going strong. It became the grandmother circle of The Fellowship of the Spiral Path, an association of related circles in the San Francisco area. In 1982 she was consecrated as a Priestess by Spiral, and has continued to work on its clergy training program and as an officer. She also served for two years as First Officer of the Covenant of the Goddess, a national association of witches. She is also a senior medium in the American Magic Umbanda House.

In the late 80’s Diana became interested in the Germanic heathen tradition, which has become her major focus. In 1994 she was confirmed as an Elder in the Troth. She served on its Board of Directors from 1996-2005, and served as Steerswoman (president) between 1999-2002. Since 1997 she has edited the Troth’s journal, IDUNNA. A major interest has been the recovery of the northern magical traditions, including rune magic and oracular seidh. In addition to establishing a group which performs seidh in the Bay Area, she has conducted seidh training workshops all over the U.S. and in Europe. On the local level, she runs an open heathen kindred, Hrafnar, and teaches classes in runelore, trance-work, and Germanic magic. As a representative of the heathen tradition, Diana is also involved in the United Religious Initiative, an international interfaith organization.

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