Popular Witchcraft: Straight from the Witch's Mouth / Edition 2

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    Popular Witchcraft: Straight from the Witch’s Mouth, inspired by the British Gerald Gardner’s Witchcraft Today, was the first book to be published on popular American witchcraft and remains the classic survey of white and black magic. Newly revised and updated for twenty-first-century readers, the author—an ordained but marvelously fallen exorcist—tells all about the evil eye, the queer eye, women and witch trials, the Old Religion, magic Christianity, Satanism, and New Age self-help.
    Jack Fritscher sifts through legends of sorcery and the twisted history of witchcraft, including the casting of spells and incantations, with a focus on the growing role of witchcraft in popular culture and its mainstream commercialization through popular music, Broadway, Hollywood, and politics. As seriously historical as it is fun to read, there is no other book like it.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Jack Fritscher reads gloriously!" —San Francisco Chronicle

"Jack Fritscher writes wonderful books." —Geoff Mains, author of Urban Aborginals, The Advocate, Los Angeles

"What an unsettling, surprising, and scandalous . . . writer!" —John F. Karr, Bay Area Reporter, Manifest Reader, San Francisco

"Fritscher’s highly perceptive and witty survey contains one of the finest interviews with Anton Szandor LaVey ever published. LaVey’s uncensored perspectives on Christianity, feminism, drug use, homosexuality, tattooing, and racism, as well as his tart evaluations of certain ‘occult superstars,’ are crowned by his most revelatory discussion of the nature of Satan."—Magus Peter H. Gilmore, High Priest of the Church of Satan, New York

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780299203047
  • Publisher: University of Wisconsin Press
  • Publication date: 12/28/2004
  • Series: Ray and Pat Browne Book Series
  • Edition description: 2nd Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 284
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Jack Fritscher is the author of fifteen books and hundreds of articles on American popular culture. He was ordained an exorcist in 1963 by the Catholic Church, which later excommunicated him for his memoir, What They Did to the Kid: Confessions of an Altar Boy. He is the founding San Francisco editor of the legendary Drummer magazine, and he has written the pop-culture memoir-novel Some Dance to Remember and the biography, Mapplethorpe: Assault with a Deadly Camera.

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Table of Contents

Preface : how witchcraft saves civilization
Anton Szandor LaVey : introductory interview 3
Ch. 1 The medium as medium : witchcraft, women, and law 29
Ch. 2 The selling of the Age of Aquarius 75
Ch. 3 Sex and witchcraft 135
Ch. 4 Straight from the witch's mouth : personal interviews with witches 197
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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 16, 2005

    Outstanding Research & Well Written

    Jack Fritscher¿s work is always pleasurable reading whether it is gay male erotica, nonfiction, or his social commentaries. The 2004 second edition of Popular Witchcraft, from Popular Press out of the University of Wisconsin, is the author¿s exploration of the occult. First published in 1969, is important to note that Fritscher was ordained an exorcist in 1963 by the Catholic Church. Few have his first-hand knowledge of the theoretical arguments of good versus evil and we are reading the work of an expert who also happens to be a brilliant writer. I recall reading many years ago in college that one of the tenets of Satanism is that one should eschew emotional vampires and take responsibility for one¿s actions and their effects upon others. At the time I thought rather sardonically, ¿What would a responsible Satanist be like? Would they always be on time for Black Mass?¿ By proclaiming in the preface, ¿Witchcraft, like an ancient druid umbrella, covers the human existential situation,¿ the author notes that there is much to be learned and deciphered by the ancient study. Fritscher unnerves and surprises us by referring to Anton LaVey, the founder of The Church of Satan, whom he interviews in the book, ¿In fact, of all the priests I¿ve known of any faith, Anton LaVey was one of the greatest and kindest.¿ It is equally daunting to read LaVey¿s comment, ¿A man should be judged on his accomplishments, his kindness and consideration for others.¿ Fritscher is taking his readers to a strange and unusual land of contradictions. The author uses the ancient practice of witchcraft to explore how it reveals and relates to human rights, freedom of speech, and its liberating effects upon sexuality. Particularly now with President George W. Bush¿s manipulation of the masses by using his direct line to God via his religious faith, witchcraft itself is a middle finger in the face of modern propriety. Fritscher comments, ¿Witchery, more often than not, has led the charge of human rights and social revolution: without witches there would be no feminism, no gay liberation, no civil rights for racial equality.¿ Our author provides an excellent detailed history of witchcraft. To paraphrase to a fault, nature equals Goddess equals Moon equals the menstrual cycle, all pre-Christian targets of adoration by those who worshipped nature as the Great Mother or Goddess. And I certainly do not need to insult anyone¿s intelligence by delving into how most modern religions are misogynist. Chapter three in particular, ¿Sex and Witchcraft,¿ points the gun at hundreds of years of varying cultures trying to control sexuality, the female in particular. Camille Paglia would love this chapter as it shows how human sexuality cannot be quashed as it rears its head in secrecy, a rebellion typically found to the practice of witchcraft which is both sex- and homosexual- positive. Female sexuality as well as other alternatives is honored. The book¿s subtitle, Straight from the Witch¿s Mouth, is quite accurate as Fritscher interviews Sabaean Pontifex Maximus Frederic de Arcechaga, Madame Yoland Savarini, and Rita Norling. We read of many complex questions from a variety of freethinkers. This also helps the reader to understand different types of the occult, i.e. how complicated questions revolving around the human condition are perceived by different members of the occult. Thirty years have passed since Popular Witchcraft was first published. The author correctly reminds us in his new preface, ¿In fact, thirty years¿ passage has revealed one principle: how a country treats its women, children, and homosexual people is how a culture truly shows its character.¿ Such a statement is frightening in light of the past thirty years in human history leading up to our new ultraconservative government agenda being powered by Christian zealots who would strip our civil rights in a nanosecond if given the choice. But Popular

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