Wicca's Charm: Understanding the Spiritual Hunger behind the Rise of Modern Witchcraft and Pagan Spirituality

Wicca's Charm: Understanding the Spiritual Hunger behind the Rise of Modern Witchcraft and Pagan Spirituality

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by Catherine Sanders
     
 

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How Wiccan Spirituality Is Filling a Spiritual Hunger in America

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

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Overview

How Wiccan Spirituality Is Filling a Spiritual Hunger in America

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.

With keen observation, challenging insight, and compassionate critique, Sanders produces a lively narrative about what she experienced and discovered during her travels: Halloween rituals in Salem, anti-globalization protests in New York, and the contrasts between what seekers find in neo-Paganism that they perceive as lacking in Christian tradition. In Wicca’s Charm, 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.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Wicca’s Charm...is intended for adults trying to understand why others practice Wicca. Sanders was a journalist on assignment when she was forced to examine her own stereotypical views of Wicca; subsequently, she secured a journalism fellowship to spend a year learning about Wicca and what makes it so appealing to its practitioners; an objective view of the tradition results. Discussion questions at the end of the book correspond to each of the chapters. The result is a good, basic overview of the origins and theories of the religion as well as plenty of firsthand accounts from current and former practitioners of Wicca..Library Journal

Wicca’s Charm is one of those books that charms and beguiles you even as it informs you. The reporting is seamless and the writing effortless. Catherine Sanders has made a brilliant debut as a writer on a spiritual matter that should be of deep interest to all thinking Americans.”
–David Aikman, former senior correspondent for Time magazine, and author of Jesus in Beijing, A Man of Faith: The Spiritual Journey of George W. Bush, and the novel Qi

“For Christians who want to understand the culture our own failures have sown and are now reaping, and for those who want to reach out persuasively to this emerging culture, Sanders’s warm, clear, and helpful introduction to Wicca is essential reading.”
–Os Guinness, author of The Call: Finding and Fulfilling the Central Purpose of Your Life

“Catherine Sanders’s work in this book is careful, thoughtful, and respectful. It will enable many outside Wicca to understand it better, and it will also allow practitioners of Wicca and other similar ways to gain a deeper insight into the best of Christianity.”
–Frederica Mathewes-Green, author of The Illumined Heart: The Ancient Christian Path of Transformation

“Catherine Sanders has provided an eye-opening, sensitive, and honest journey into the heart of Wicca. Ringing no false alarms, she has made an erudite contribution to understanding this contemporary movement.”
–Lilian Calles Barger, author of Eve’s Revenge: Women and a Spirituality of the Body, and founder of the Damaris Project

Wicca’s Charm is a must-read for parents! A fascinating account full of stories and personal interviews, Catherine Sanders’s book provides wonderful insights into why young people seek alternative spiritualities and what Christians should know about it!”
–Susan Alexander Yates, best-selling author of several books, including, And Then I Had Teenagers: Encouragement for Parents of Teens and Preteens

Wicca’s Charm is a fine demonstration of a rare Christian virtue: attentive listening. With a clear conviction that authentic Christian belief is a valid response to Wiccan yearnings, Sanders holds, in tension, a humble recognition that Christian compromise with materialistic rationalism and individualism in Western culture has driven many to take up dangerous alternatives.”
–Peter Harris, director of A Rocha International

Wicca’s Charm provides an accessible, thorough, and sensitive guide to understanding contemporary interest in Wicca and neo-Paganism. It will be of help to anyone interested in understanding how nature worship under various names is reasserting itself in the Western world.”
–James A. Herrick, professor of communication at Hope College, and author of The Making of the New Spirituality: The Eclipse of the Western Religious Tradition

“Catherine Sanders spent more than a year listening to Wiccans in an attempt to understand the growth and appeal of Wicca today. She encourages Christians to dialogue with neo-Pagans, clarifying points of common ground while simultaneously pointing out with compassion and sensitivity the inadequacies of Paganism to fulfill their deep and legitimate longings.”
–Mardi Keyes, codirector of L’Abri Fellowship in Southborough, Massachusetts, and author of Feminism and the Bible

Library Journal
The powerful attraction of Wicca has captured the attention of two different writers addressing two different audiences. Both try to get those interested in Wicca to discuss the choices they make. School assembly speaker and talk radio host Russo begins his book by first explaining what Wicca is. He knows his topic and has obviously spent a great deal of time talking and listening to the teens he is addressing. Though his aim is to get teens to talk about why Christianity would be a better choice, he's not overly preachy or condescending, and he repeatedly states that it is the reader's choice whether or not to practice Wicca. In fact, he is so good at explaining Wicca's appeal that, at least initially, he makes Wicca seem even more appealing than he intends. Wicca's Charm, on the other hand, is intended for adults trying to understand why others practice Wicca. Sanders was a journalist on assignment when she was forced to examine her own stereotypical views of Wicca; subsequently, she secured a journalism fellowship to spend a year learning about Wicca and what makes it so appealing to its practitioners; an objective view of the tradition results. Discussion questions at the end of the book correspond to each of the chapters. The result is a good, basic overview of the origins and theories of the religion as well as plenty of firsthand accounts from current and former practitioners of Wicca. Both books will spark conversation if used as the writers intend, and both are fine choices for public libraries.-Jennifer Kuncken, Williamsburg Regional Lib., VA Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780877881988
Publisher:
The Crown Publishing Group
Publication date:
09/20/2005
Pages:
256
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 6.80(h) x 0.70(d)

Meet the Author

Catherine Edwards Sanders is a journalist with experience in radio, television, and print journals such as The Weekly Standard, The Washington Times, Insight, World Magazine, and Coastal Living. She has written for The McLaughlin Group and was the producer of Janet Parshall’s America talk-radio program. She lives in Virginia.

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Wicca's Charm: Understanding the Spiritual Hunger behind the Rise of Modern Witchcraft and Pagan Spirituality 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
So close...yet so wrong... Ms Sanders really tried hard, but she failed to really understand Wiccan beliefs. Everything she says about Wicca is only partially true. She says and believes that Wicca is an escape from conventional religion rather than an entire belief in itself. Sorry, but I spent many years studying & meditating to find what I truly believed and it wasn't an escape. DON'T read this book to understand Wicca or Wiccans. Most Wiccans believe that God gave us each a religion, so Christians should be respected because that is the religion God give them. We do wish Christians reciprocated. --This book probably should be required reading at seminaries and by all clergy, as it does accurately (I believe) discuss failings of the church (not Christianity). I believe that Christians should get as much from their beliefs as I do mine. -- I do share (as do many of my Wiccan friends) distress that many teens are jumping on the bandwagon without real understanding & belief. Pretty much, I was impressed that Ms Sanders did seem to really try to research and write a good, honest and balanced book. Her failing was that she failed to understand the real core of Wicca. Perhaps that's impossible unless you really believe it. Christians will enjoy this book, Wiccans won't.
paganmeghan More than 1 year ago
Ms. Sanders- I borrowed your book this weekend from the Santa Monica Public Library. I am feeling more and more fortunate that I didn't buy it. In your book, you point out how displeased you are that Pagans stereotype Christians as ignorant, Bible-thumping, Evangelical southern hicks. You then cleverly combat this stereotype by portraying Pagans as drug-addled, ill-educated teenage slackers. You then follow it up with a "Jesus is panacea!" cautionary wail that falls just a little short of original, but hits somewhere near the borders of the Land of Irony. Your scholarship is poor. Your interviews are badly planned, chosen, and conducted. Your preconceived notions bleed through the book like the smell of library air. Your Christian sense of charity stays your hand before the edge of outright insult, but just. This book is a pathetic attempt at a grass-roots ethnography and a failure. It fails to inform anyone of what Pagans are truly like. It fails to impress me, a Pagan, that a Christian writer is capable of anything like fairness on the subject of religions not their own. It failed to teach you anything, it seems. Thank you for continuing to assassinate the collective character of a minority faith. Thank you for ensuring that I will be asked, again and again if I worship the devil or harm children. Thank you for your bigotry and small-minded lack of insight. It galvanizes smart Pagans like me to do this work ourselves. We need puppet journalists like yourself to remind us how much ignorance is still out there.
Guest More than 1 year ago
the first reviewer has it right... so close, and yet so wrong. read the witch in every woman by laurie cabot, or starhawk's spiral dance if you want to get an idea of what modern witchcraft and neopaganism is all about and has to offer.
Shannon Mikesell More than 1 year ago
Wicca's Charm is a very Christian based propaganda book. I couldn't even finish this book. I was very surprised to see that after all this time, ignorance of this magnitude still exists. This is the kind of ignorance ad intolerance that started thewitch trials in the first place. I am surprised to see that someone would actually take so much time to write an entire book talking about all the evils of a religion they really know nothing about. I reccommend this book to no one, for it is full of lies and false information. If you would really like to know about Wicca, I would reccommend reading The Everything Wicca and Witchcraft book, The Wicca Handbook, or Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner. They are very informational andhave great information.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I idly picked up this book several weeks ago and found it to be useful as a primer for understanding downfalls of the Church that Christians need to address presently or face the fact that many people are just going to stop coming to church. I completely agree that Sanders gets Wiccan ideology all wrong, but, she does admit that and points her reader otherwise to more authoritative texts written by Wiccans (Starhawk, Drawing down the Moon, and some other of Margaret Murray's stuff). It is a good book for any Christian who is wondering about this sort of thing, either idly or as an alternative spiritual lifestyle. All in all, I would not recommend it to everyone, just people who understand that it mainly serves as a book to show Christians that we have gotten Wicca very wrong, and that we do need to love our neighbors, and by love, I don't mean shouting around that such-and-such a religion is Satanistic, because honestly, Christians just look ridiculous when they do that and further misrepresent what Christ came, lived, and died for. So, to make an excruciating long story short, this book helps the modern Church to see what they have been doing wrong the book is not authoritative in its retelling of Wiccan Theology, but it does a lot better of a job at letting the average Christian see the good side of Wicca than 99% of books you will ever read produced by Christian authors or from a Christian Perspective, which is what most Chritians need to read first before opening up their hearts to Wiccans and loving them like we ought to be doing in the first place.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Do it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Just train your pokemon to the highest levels, and have strategy. Lots of it. Thats all you need to be a master, or one of the best.~pokemon girl
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Oh....... i want to be a pokemon master.......