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.
Containing fourteen separate papers produced by various scholars working in the field of Pagan Studies, the book examines different forms of contemporary paganism as practiced in Europe and North America.
An examination of neopaganism in the United States from a sociological standpoint, discussing the history and various forms of the movement. It contains excerpts from many interviews with average pagans, as well as with well-known leaders and organizers in the community.
An enduring classic since its publication in 1970, Mastering Witchcraft is one of the best how-to manuals for those wishing to practice traditional European Witchcraft as a craft rather than a New Age religion. Starting from first principles, Huson instructs the novice step by step in the arts of circle casting, blessing and banning, the uses of amulets and talismans, philters, divination, necromancy, waxen images, knots, fascination, conjuration, magical familiars, spells to arouse passion or lust, attain vengeance, and of course, counter-spells to exorcize and annul the malice of others.
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.
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.
Presents a broad-based introduction to the main trends of contemporary paganism, revealing the origins and practical aspects of druidry, witchcraft, goddess spirituality and magic, shamanism, and geomancy, among others. Making use of both traditional history and the movement’s more imaginative sources, the author reveals how paganism and its central focus on individual and social lives is evolving and how this “new religion” perceives and relates to more traditional ones. This updated and expanded new edition addresses recent developments among pagans and includes a new chapter assessing continuing scholarly research about the religion.
The first ethnographic study of the everyday lives of contemporary Pagan families, this volume brings their experiences into conversation with contemporary issues in American religion as the author traces the ways in which Pagan parents transmit their religious values to their children.
Provides a definitive collection of key sources in paganism, ranging from its ancient origins to its twentieth-century reconstruction and revival. Chronologically organized sections include extracts from ancient Greek, Norse and Celtic literature, inspirational texts from the early twentieth-century, writings by leaders of the pagan revival, and newer perspectives showing the diversity of paganism today. Witchcraft, nature religion, shamanism and goddess worship are considered, as is the influence of environmental and feminist movements. Fully introduced, with editors' prefaces to all extracts and suggestions for further reading, this comprehensive book is an invaluable guide to paganism and critical issues in its study.
A taxonomical study of various world religions which argues for a new definition of the word "paganism". The author presents his controversial theory that the term "paganism", originally a pejorative term to refer to non-Christian religions, should instead be used by scholars to refer specifically to those religious movements who share the common characteristics of polytheism, animism and life-affirming beliefs. Under this category of "paganism", York therefore includes the extinct historical faiths of pre-Christian Europe, living indigenous religions, several modern religions like Shinto and Hinduism, and the new religious movements of contemporary paganism. He argues that this "paganism" was the "root religion" of humanity, from which later monotheistic religions like Judaism, Christianity and Islam developed.
The first and only text designed to introduce the study of contemporary paganism as a world religion. It examines the intellectual, religious, and social spheres of paganism through common categories in the study of religion, which includes beliefs, practices, theology, ritual, history, and role of texts and scriptures. The text is accessible to readers of all backgrounds and religions and assumes no prior knowledge of paganism.
Containing eight separate papers produced by various scholars working in the field of Pagan Studies, the book examines different forms of contemporary paganism as practiced in Europe and North America.
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.
The first published synthesis of the entirety of pre-Christian religion in the British Isles, dealing with the subject during the Palaeolithic, Neolithic, Bronze Age, Iron Age, Roman occupation and Anglo-Saxon period, making a brief examination of their influence on folklore and contemporary paganism. At the time of its writing, it disputed the widely held idea that ancient paganism had survived into the contemporary and had been revived by the pagan movement, which proved somewhat controversial among some sectors of the pagan community, with two prominent members of the Goddess movement, Asphodel Long and Max Dashu, publishing criticisms of it.
Contemporary paganism is a movement that is still young and establishing its identity and place on the global religious landscape. The members of the movement are simultaneously growing, unifying, and maintaining its characteristic diversity of traditions, identities, and rituals. The modern pagan movement has had a restless formation period but has also been the catalyst for some of the most innovative religious expressions, praxis, theologies, and communities. As contemporary paganism continues to grow and mature, new angles of inquiry about it have emerged and are explored in this collection. This examination and study of contemporary paganism contributes new ways to observe and examine other religions, where innovations, paradoxes, and inconsistencies can be more accurately documented and explained.
"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
Re-riting woman : Dianic Wicca and the feminine divine by Kristy S. ColemanThe first in-depth ethnographic study of Dianic Wicca. Its subject, Circle of Aradia, is a branch of the religion based in the Los Angeles area. This religion-of, by, and for women-conceives the Divine as exclusively female, and has infused feminism into Wicca worldwide. Kristy S. Coleman combines ethnography with theory to present a full account of what Dianic Witches' lived practice looks like and what it means. The theorist of focus, Luce Irigaray, asserts that women must reclaim their own space and imagine the Divine as female to achieve full emancipation. Moreover, Irigaray's critical analysis of Western culture creates a subtext that clarifies what is at stake in this practice. Thick description of seasonal rituals dispels fears and stereotypes about Wicca, and offers readers a comforting familiarity and shared healing. Coleman employs ritual theory to suggest why and how these rites wield such meaning-altering possibilities. Practitioners' statements that describe a shift in worldview and self-conception elicit Coleman's proposal that Dianic rituals re(w)rite the valuation and meaning of woman. Dianic women's stories reveal both the transformative power of the tradition's practice and the organization's challenges related to power politics.
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.
Collection contains manuscripts of Starhawk's published and unpublished books, collected published and unpublished print material, articles and periodicals, computer discs, and general files which include working files, photographs, art work, and notebooks. Ask at the Circulation Desk to see this collection.
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 various pagan subjects, 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 (religious studies, World Univ. of America) 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
It 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. In the 20th century, the book was very influential in the development of the contemporary Pagan religion of Wicca.