As her contribution to the emerging pagan culture, M. Macha NightMare (also known as Aline O'Brien), priestess and witch, chose to develop her skills as a collaborative ritualist and author. Early in her journey on the path of witchcraft, NightMare joined in the formation of Reclaiming Collective, a network of people who sought to bring together activism with earth-based spirituality and healing. She also participated with the collective in teaching the Craft and in performing public sabbats in San Francisco. The collective evolved into a Craft tradition, and eventually dissolved itself in 1997 and reemerged as a much larger and more inclusive entity.
With Starhawk, Macha NightMare coauthored The Pagan Book of Living and Dying: Practical Rituals, Prayers, Blessings, and Meditations on Crossing Over (1997), and she is the author of Witchcraft and the Web: Weaving Pagan Traditions Online (2001). In addition to her books, her articles have appeared in many periodicals, and she has spoken on behalf of the craft to electronic and print media.
NightMare holds elder and ministerial credentials through the Covenant of the Goddess (CoG), the oldest and largest nondenominational organization of witches in the United States. A member since 1981, she is a former national first officer and has served the covenant in many other capacities. She is on the teaching faculty of Cherry Hill [Pagan] Seminary in Bethel, Vermont, where she also serves on the Pagan Pastoral Counseling Advisory Panel.
Macha NightMare is a member of the Biodiversity Project Spirituality Working Group, which seeks to increase biodiversity awareness, preservation, and activism within religious communities. She also works with the Sacred Dying Foundation in educating funeral professionals and hospice workers about pagan beliefs and practices regarding death and dying. To keep current on pagan research, she participates in the Nature Religion Scholars Network.
Macha NightMare's matron is Kali Ma, and her magical practice, inspired by feminism and a concern for the health of the planet, is formed of Celtic, Hindu, and Tibetan practices, the sacred art of tantra, and the magic of enchantment. When the opportunity presents itself, NightMare travels the so-called "broomstick circuit," where she enjoys immersing herself in the diverse community that constitutes contemporary American witchcraft.
She resides in Marin County, California.