M. Macha NightMare, Priestess & Witch, is an author, teacher and ritualist with a penchant for collaboration. She is an initiate of two traditions of Witchcraft: Reclaiming and Faery/Feri, Reclaiming’s root tradition.
Before she became known as Macha, Aline found NROOGD Witchcraft in 1971, then, in 1975 met a young woman named Starhawk at a local metaphysical bookstore. From 1975 to 1979 she circled on sabbats with covens Compost, Honeysuckle, and Raving. Thirty-seven years later, Compost Coven still exists.
Among the founders of Reclaiming, Macha was the first person to identify Reclaiming, which until then had been a collective of Witches teaching and offering public sabbat rituals, as a tradition in itself.
In 1981 Macha joined the Covenant of the Goddess, the oldest and largest non-denominational organization of Witches in the USA, with her then-coven, a group priestesshood called Holy Terrors. Since joining CoG, she has worked with all manner of Witches and Pagans throughout the United States, as well as in Canada and Brazil.
Beginning in 1992, Macha has organized and presented video and independent film screenings and panels to discuss such matters as “Changes to Paganism in the 21stCentury (CE),” “Goddesses & Matriarchies,” “Pagan Clergy,” and several other subjects. Most recently, she produced “Visions of the Past and Memories of the Future: NeoPaganism in California,” sponsored by Pacific School of Religion and the Pagan Alliance, Berkeley, CA, 2006. In addition, she has served as a panelist addressing such themes as “Teaching Methods in Pagan Traditions” in New York, “Who and What Are the God/dess/es?” in Delaware.
In 1997 Macha co-created, with Starhawk, The Pagan Book of Living and Dying: Practical Rituals, Prayers, Blessings, and Meditations on Crossing Over, which formed the foundation of death and dying workshops Macha has presented throughout the country. Macha has served on the Advisory Board of the Sacred Dying Foundation since 1997. In 2004 reviewers for PanGaia Magazine voted The Pagan Book of Living and Dying the Number One book for advanced Pagans.
Macha wrote Witchcraft and the Web: Weaving Pagan Traditions Online in 2001 and Pagan Pride: Honoring the Craft and Culture of Earth and Goddess in 2004. The former book was published in Brazil in 2006.
She is also a contributor to anthologies: Irish Spirit: Pagan, Celtic, Christian, Global; Exploring the Pagan Path: Wisdom from the Elders; Celebrating the Pagan Soul: Our Own Stories of Inspiration and Community; and Green Egg Omelette: An Anthology of Art and Articles from the Legendary Pagan Journal, as well as having written entries in encyclopedia and religious studies textbooks. Her writing has appeared in many periodicals, including The Pomegranate: The International Journal of Pagan Studies, and she has frequently spoken on behalf of the Craft in electronic and print media.
She has spoken about and on behalf of Paganism at colleges and universities (Cornell, UC Berkeley, Sonoma State University, St. Lawrence University, Stanford, St. Mary’s College, College of Notre Dame, New College of California, California Institute of Integral Studies), seminaries and professional schools (Auburn Theological Seminary, Pacific School of Religion, Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, The Chaplaincy Institute), as well as to religious journalists, reporters and interviewers in all types of news media. In 2009 she was keynote speaker at the Claremont Conference on Current Pagan Studies at Claremont Graduate University.
In 1998 Macha participated in The Biodiversity Project Spirituality Working Group, a small gathering of religious and environmental leaders, in Madison, WI. Their work informed the publication of Building Partnerships with the Faith Community: A Resource Guide for Environmental Groups.
As a member of Pagan Studies, formerly known as the Nature Religions Scholars Network, Macha has been quoted in scholarly works on Paganism, goddess studies, and New Religious Movements. She participates in the annual meetings of the American Academy of Religion, of which she is a member.
In 2002 Macha was among those featured in a year-long study in Marin County by Roberta Swan called “Women in Leadership in Faith: Voices of Hope and Healing in a Troubled World.”
In 2003, Macha participated in New Religious Movements: A Symposium on Earth-Based Spiritualities sponsored by Auburn Theological Seminary’s Center for Multifaith Education in New York City. She returned there in 2005 for a ritual, “Bridget: A Celebration of the Triple Goddess of Forge, Flame, and Healing Springs.”
Macha’s besom has taken her to present at Pagan festivals, conferences and conventions such as Starwood, Heartland, Magical Mountain Mabon, Sacred Harvest Festival, Between the Worlds, PantheaCon, Ancient Ways, CUUPS Annual Conference, Feast of Lights, ConVocation, and Pagan Pride Days from Vermont to Utah, Florida to Washington State.
Macha holds Elder credentials through CoG. She has been involved with Cherry Hill Seminary in various capacities for more than a decade, beginning with a 15-week survey course called “Call of the Dark Mother: Working with the Dying, Death, and Grieving,” that she designed and taught. The course, now taught by others, has been offered every Fall since 2001. She is committed to developing the first, and so far only, program providing Pagans quality higher education and practical training in Pagan ministry. She views this endeavor, shared with other dedicated and accomplished colleagues, as an opportunity to set a high standard for future generations of Pagans. She currently serves on the CHS Board of Directors.
She also represents the Covenant of the Goddess and Cherry Hill Seminary in the Marin Interfaith Council, one of the oldest and most diverse interfaith groups in the country, and she currently serves on the Sacred Dying Foundation Advisory Board. Beginning in the Spring of 2013, Macha will be Adjunct Faculty at Starr King School for the Ministry in Berkeley, California.
Her matron deity is Kali Ma. Her magical practice is inspired by feminism and a concern for the health of our planet, and is informed by Celtic, Hindu and Tibetan practices, and the magic of enchantment. Macha is an all-round Pagan webweaver.