Understanding the Spiritual Hunger Behind the Rise of Modern Witchcraft and Pagan Spirituality
Shaw Books, Paperback, 9780877881988, 233pp.
Publication Date: September 20, 2005
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.
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