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A little learning is a dangerous thing;
Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring:
There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain,
And drinking largely sobers us again.

(Alexander Pope, An Essay on Criticism (1711), pt. II l. 15)

Six years ago, the present council of listowners instituted the forum ARCANA for the scholarly discussion of the occult from an anthropological and historical perspective. Developing and maintaining the ARCANA list has been an active, demanding and often intellectually challenging job. It is therefore with real regret -- not less because of what we have got out of the group than what we have put into it -- that the council has come the conclusion that it can no longer maintain the ARCANA list.

It would be tedious to give full account of the stresses that led up to this decision, but in brief, the list as it is presently run has become more work than the current group of listowners is easily able to handle. The increasing occupation of the core group of listowners with jobs, moves, children and other impedimenta of real life has meant a gradual attrition in the number of listowners able actively to attend to list business. Those who remain able to attend to the list at all are no longer able to supply the kind of attention required to keep the list going in its present mode. Through our ongoing discussion, it has become evident that the only really feasible course of action is termination of our listownership. We plan to effect this termination on the 21st of July.

For some time, Chris Hoffman had been running veneficium, another mailing list also devoted to scholarly and historical discussion of occult topics, to which many former ARCANA subscribers migrated. However, veneficium has also folded. In response, Michael Dinowitz has created a new arcana mailing list, following in the spirit of its predecessors. To subscribe, send a message to which says "subscribe" in the message body.

In the course of our research into other forums which might appropriately absorb our membership and host occult discussions of the kind we aimed for on ARCANA, we also compiled a list of other lists focussed on various occult topics. We will continue to maintain this web site and its limited resources, and hope to add to or update them from time to time.

Despite our inability to continue running ARCANA, we remain deeply grateful to all our membership for helping to make the list what it was; we have learned much from you and enjoyed ourselves with you, and hope to see at least some of you again on the Internet.

In friendship,
The council of ARCANA listowners

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