From the foreword: I have been told by witches in England: "Write and tell people we are not perverts. We are decent people, we only want to be left alone, but there are certain secrets that you mustn't give away." So after some arguments as to exactly what I must not reveal, I am permitted to tell much that has never before been made public concerning their beliefs, their rituals and their reasons for what they do; also to emphasize that neither their present beliefs, rituals nor practices are harmful.
In The Witch-Cult in Western Europe, Murray propagates her "witch-cult" hypothesis, the theory that the witch trials in the Early Modern period of Christianized Europe and North America were an attempt to extinguish a surviving pre-Christian, pagan religion devoted to a Horned God. Whilst this theory is today widely disputed and discredited by historians like Norman Cohn, Keith Thomas and Ronald Hutton, it has had a significant effect in the origins of Neopagan religions, primarily Wicca, a faith she supported.
A peer-reviewed academic journal covering the field of Pagan Studies including historical, sociological, and anthropological studies dealing with contemporary paganism and other forms of pagan religion.
The history of any religious movement can get murky. But the history of American paganism―with so many invented lineages, so many solitary practitioners, so much resistance to staid definition, so much secrecy―is especially hard to decipher. The author tells many never-before-told stories of the origins of paganism and Wicca in the United States. The people, publications, and organizations that allowed paganism and Wicca to set roots down in American soil and become "nature religion" are revealed in delicious detail. Includes timeline, glossary, and photos of important figures.
Deals with the early history of Wicca, the first academic study to tackle the entirety of this subject. The author questions many assumptions about Wicca's development and argues that many of the claimed connections to longstanding hidden pagan traditions are questionable at best. He also argues for its importance as a genuine new religious movement.
A sociological study of the Wiccan and wider pagan community in the Northeastern United States, based on interviews with more than a hundred practicing Wiccans and pagans, study of the pre-existing literature on the subject and a national survey of the pagan community in the U.S. Berger interprets Wicca as a religion of late modernity, as opposed to post-modernity, and subsequently examines it using the theories of sociologists Anthony Giddens and James A. Beckford. Themes covered include pagan conceptions of the self, the role of covens and the wider pagan community, the place of children in the movement and the increasing standardization of Wicca through the foundation of organised churches and clergy.
Explores 'religions' or forms of spirituality that tend to be marginal to the mainstream of British and North American religious expression. The book examines how alternative spiritualities traditionally classed as 'New Age' or new religious movements have grown exponentially in recent years. It progresses to detailed examination of paganism, Celtic spirituality, Wicca, witchcraft, North American indigenous religion and New Age, considering the impact of the rise of science on religion and the emergence of new categories of spirituality. The authors explore why these forms of spirituality are so popular in the contemporary UK and USA, and how they impact on mainstream traditions.
The author 'prowls the borderlands of Christianity' to uncover the untold history of Wicca. Exploring the problematic nature of the Wiccan claim of marginality, it contains a groundbreaking analysis of themes in Christian traditions that are inherent in the development of contemporary Wicca. These focus on the accusations which have been levelled against Catholisicm, heterodoxy and witchcraft throughout history: ritual, deviant sexuality and magic.
Hundreds of thousands of people practice Wicca and other forms of modern pagan spirituality in America today, and journalist Catherine Edwards Sanders wanted to understand why such belief systems are rapidly attracting followers. When a routine magazine assignment led her to realize that her stereotype of Wiccans as eccentric spiritual outsiders was embarrassingly misinformed, her curiosity compelled her to understand the Wiccan mystique. With the support of a journalism fellowship, Sanders spent a year interviewing neo-pagans and witches and found that the lure of this emerging spirituality was not the occult, but rather a search for meaning in an increasingly fragmented and materialistic culture. Sanders explains the powerful attraction of an increasingly mainstream spirituality that celebrates the wonder of creation and the life-giving energy of women while also exploring why Christian churches often fail to engage these seekers, but how they can learn to tap into the deep roots of Christianity to nourish the hunger of so many who seek a holistic and authentic worship experience.
"Presents an arresting critique of strategies of religious identity formation through an analysis of popular novels...this unusual move is really quite clever in many respects, as it presents an analysis of one of the religious studies scholar's favorite things―texts―in a religious form that defines itself as not text-based. Storied Selves fills a noticeable gap in both religious studies scholarship and the feminist study of religion. Far too rarely do feminist works seriously and responsibly engage any aspect of Pagan Studies."--Nikki Bado, Iowa State University
"This volume is a readable, useful, and methodologically varied collection of thirteen original essays on Western 'daughters of the goddess'―'Witches, neo-pagans, pagans, goddesses, goddess women, spiritual feminists, Gaians, members of the Fellowship of Isis, Druids, and none of these.' The first ten chapters present current research on feminist spiritualities; the last three describe some of their teachings. This collection is strong through the caliber of the individual essays―on the roots of feminist spirituality, the painful discord between radical feminism and paganism, the social composition of women spirit communities, the lives of Wiccan high priestesses, and hands-on ritual directives; the authors also complement and even contradict one another, with some describing goddesses as patriarchally constructed and others finding them healing. A mix of academic and practical approaches, elite and popular sources, textual study and fieldwork, and British and American contexts, this book will be useful in women and religion classes, and should be owned by every college library."--Rachel Fall, Religious Studies Review
As one of the fastest growing pagan traditions, feminist Wicca appeals to many through its emphasis on the deep interconnectedness of life and its focus on the woman's religious experience. In Hidden Circles in the Web, scholar and practitioner Constance Wise explores Feminist Wicca through the lens of process thought, developing a new thealogy of feminist spirituality that can enrich and deepen the religious practice. Although the twentieth-century philosophy of process thought is often portrayed as a complex and inaccessible system, Wise explains its concepts in simple language and illustrates her points with accessible examples from life. Wise invites readers into the hidden wisdom of feminist Wicca and process thought, proposing statements of feminist Wiccan beliefs and practices in six areas: history, anthropology, epistemology, ethics, cosmology, and thealogy. While the focus of the book is on feminist Wicca, her insights into process thought apply to an array of traditions and will interest a range of practitioners and scholars across the religious spectrum.
Contains what the author believed was the religious text of a group of pagan witches in Tuscany, Italy that documented their beliefs and rituals, although various historians and folklorists have disputed the existence of such a group. Aradia was very influential in the development of Wicca in the 20th century.
Preserving the best of Eliade's cross-cultural approach, while emphasizing religion's role within everyday life and as a unique experience from culture to culture, the 2nd edition is the definitive work in the field for the 21st century. An international team of scholars and contributors have reviewed, revised and added to every word of the classic work, making it relevant to the questions and interests of all researchers. Contains significant articles on Wicca, with bibliographies.
"An excellent resource on the contemporary practice of witchcraft and on the ancient traditions that inspired it, this book features both short entries on terminology and concepts and longer articles on the development of various esoteric and Neopagan organizations. A lengthy introduction by Lewis details the pivotal role that Margaret Murray and Gerald Gardner had in shaping the rituals and hierarchies still accepted by witch covens in Britain and America today. The text frankly demonstrates that much of what Gardner and Murray wrote was based on conjecture, fabrication, and spurious scholarship, but it treats the organizations that evolved (at least from Gardner's vision) with respect, documenting their influence on the ecological movement, the women's movement, and religious reform. The bibliography lists print and online resources, and two appendixes offer a chronology of the development of modern witchcraft. Unfortunately, the book rarely mentions differences in practices or beliefs among the many traditions that exist today, giving little practical information for a reader interested in choosing between one organization and another. Recommended for public and academic libraries."--Vivian Reed, Library Journal
Takes a philosophical look at the questions, practices, and differences within witchcraft. You'll learn how to create your own rituals and symbols, develop a book of shadows, and even become a high priest or priestess. Also covered are tools, magical names, initiation, the Mysteries, 120 Wiccan symbols, and what the author believes is the importance of secrecy in your practice.
For the solitary or group practitioner, this book will help you craft a coherent and empowering traditional structure that is based on strong Wiccan foundations, yet entirely your own. Call forth the power of Wiccan mythos as you explore the sacred circle, ritual and magical correspondences to nature, initiation rites, the eight Sabbats, and the Wheel of the Year.
Written by a young witch in her mid-twenties, this book provides a refreshingly modern approach to Wicca craft and practice. Chapters cover spells, sabbats, initiations, psychic abilities, everyday magic, the effects of Wicca on relationships with others, being a teenage witch, and much more. A series of exercises designed to both teach and accustom the reader to the ways of witchcraft is also included.
The author dispels the many myths that surround Wicca, explains its main tenets, and offers interested readers the basics of how to begin to practice. Simple Wicca offers not only practical guidance in the craft, but also an emotional and spiritual understanding of the practice.
Presents rituals and rites families can do together. It includes simple rituals and magic so even young children can see the results for themselves. It gives samples of festivals from the Wiccan "Wheel of the Year" in formats that children can participate in and enjoy.