Her Hidden Children: The Rise of Wicca and Contemporary Paganism in America / Edition 1

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Overview

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 hiddenness—is especially hard to decipher. But here in Her Hidden Children Chas Clifton 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. With a timeline, glossary, and photos of important figures,Her Hidden Children is compelling and important for any student of Paganism or American Religion.

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Editorial Reviews

Ronald Hutton
Simply the best single work yet written on the history of American Paganism. It is perceptive, intelligent, sympathetic and persuasive; tactful without sparing scholarly appraisal; personal without losing objectivity; and constantly engaging. It embodies a beautiful mixture of warmth and rigour, and deals strictly with aspects of the subject that can be appraised from precise data, revealing to me- at least- how much more of the latter there was than I had ever thought.
Sabina Magliocco
Chas S. Clifton's Her Hidden Children is a pioneering look at the history of Neopagan religions in the U.S. Written with the sensitivity and humor of an insider and the dispassion of an outsider, it traces the early development of one of the fastest-growing religious movements in America today, and its uniquely American use of the trope of "nature" to create its identity. This book should be invaluable to scholars of religion, American Studies, and the burgeoning field of Pagan Studies.
Douglas E. Cowan
An excellent introduction to contemporary Paganism in North America, and required reading for those who wish to understand the growth and appeal of Wicca and Witchcraft in late modern society. Clifton writes from a wealth of experience as a modern Pagan, but with a critical and insightful eye that is so often missing. He has done stellar service to both the Pagan and scholarly communities.
Jason Pitzl-Waters
Finally a history of American Paganism from someone who knows the subject inside and out! Chas Clifton has chosen with this book to lay down some basic parameters for talking about modern Pagan history in America. He has done yeoman's work here and should be highly praised. An essential book for anyone interested in our history, and how that history is shaping the future of modern Paganism. The bar has just been raised.
CHOICE
Witchcraft is both scholarly interest and avocation for Clifton so he is well situated to trace its rise in the US...One only wishes this excellent study went deeper into the subject. Summing Up: Recommended.
The Pomegranate
Her Hidden Children is a rare gem of contemporary Pagan history and ethnography. ...An important and welcome contribution to academic and non-scholar Pagans alike.
The Huffington Post
One of the essential books on paganism by the Huffington Post!

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 hiddenness—is especially hard to decipher. But here in Her Hidden Children Chas Clifton 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. With a timeline, glossary, and photos of important figures, Her Hidden Children is compelling and important for any student of Paganism or American Religion.

Pangaia
Clifton does a masterful job in articulating how Wicca began as a tradition focused on fertility and mystery rites....Clifton includes a wealth of rich material throughout the book....Her Hidden Children, while possessing the precision and research expected of an academic work, maintains an approachable style that welcomes the lay reader. It is a work of critical significance to the community, and a must-have for any religious library.
H-Net: Humanities and Social Science Reviews Online
Chas Clifton has provided a foundational step toward the history of a new religion that is still in the process of emergence. He has brought forth figures, movements, and a constructive historical periodization of which future scholars of Wicca and Paganism will take note.
Choice
Witchcraft is both scholarly interest and avocation for Clifton so he is well situated to trace its rise in the US...One only wishes this excellent study went deeper into the subject. Summing Up: Recommended.
Gnosis Cafe Blog - Anne Hill
Anyone interested in exploring the scaffolding from which feminist Wicca launched itself would do well to delve into this thorough and well-organized history.
Magic, Ritual, and Witchcraft - W. Michael Ashcraft
He does an admirable job of providing for the first time a formal history of the movement. His book contains a timeline, glossary, and bibliography, all of which enhance the book's usefulness. This book is highly recommended for undergraduate as well as general readers.
H-Net: Humanities and Social Science Reviews Online
Chas Clifton has provided a foundational step toward the history of a new religion that is still in the process of emergence. He has brought forth figures, movements, and a constructive historical periodization of which future scholars of Wicca and Paganism will take note.
Gnosis Cafe Blog
Anyone interested in exploring the scaffolding from which feminist Wicca launched itself would do well to delve into this thorough and well-organized history.
— Anne Hill
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780759102026
  • Publisher: AltaMira Press
  • Publication date: 6/28/2006
  • Series: Pagan Studies Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 206
  • Sales rank: 1,341,970
  • Product dimensions: 6.09 (w) x 9.12 (h) x 0.59 (d)

Meet the Author

Chas Clifton is professor of English at Colorado State University-Pueblo. He is an editor for The Pomegranate: The International Journal of Pagan Studies, a peer-reviewed religious studies journal, as well as the Pagan Studies Series by AltaMira Press.

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Preface Chapter 2 Introduction Chapter 3 How the Ravens Came to the Lake: Wicca's Birth and Atlantic Passage Chapter 4 Calling It 'Nature Religion' Chapter 5 The Rhetoric of Wicca Chapter 6 The Playboy and the Witch: Wicca and Popular Culture Chapter 7 West Coast Wicca, Self-Invention, and the "Gardnerian Magnet" Chapter 8 A Search for Paradise: Other New Pagan Religions Chapter 9 Final Thoughts

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 6, 2007

    Good and interesting

    I think this book could have been better, but at the same time it was good to see a more honest approach to Witchcraft and Wicca in the USA. With so many books which make it into print being a waste of paper and leaving its carbon footprint on the world with no contribution, this book is a breath of fresh air. Highly recommended to anyone who cares about the truth about their origins, maybe to be read alongside Triumph of the Moon by Ronald Hutton the british author. It is a good and interesting book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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