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Thread: Books: traditional vrs wicca, help?

  1. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Desert_Witch View Post
    ...he left my Trad calling it "Livingroom Wicca". An accusation I cannot refute, unfortunatly. His work is a how too at the most basic denominator. he leaves out all the Trad Wicca dogma he believed to be bulls***!
    You've just cited several good reasons why Cunningham's books do not fit the bill of "Traditional Wicca/Witchcraft". Whether he himself was a Traditionalist or not is not the issue. His books, however, are not Traditional. This should be obvious. I would call them "neo-Wiccan". Just my 2 cents. YMMV.

    Does this mean that Cunningham's books hold no value? No, of course not. That's a completely separate discussion. I myself love his book Magical Herbalism and recommend it as required reading to my students.

    A good article on the subject of Traditional vs. non-Traditional, by Mike Nichols, is "Reflections on Old Guard Paganism".

    Nichols cites the publication of Starhawk's The Spiral Dance and Margot Adler's Drawing Down the Moon as representing major shifts in thought from Traditional to non-Traditional. I'd argue, however, that Cunningham's Wicca: a Guide for the Solitary Practitioner and Silver Ravenwolf's To Ride a Silver Broomstick: New Generation Witchcraft actually better exemplifies New Guard Paganism or neo-Wicca. As Raven Grimassi has written:

    "Wicca, in America, is now becoming almost two separate religions. Many Wiccans now refer to themselves as Traditional Wicca, British Traditional Wicca, Old Guard, Elder Wicca, Traditional Witchcraft, Hereditary Fam Trad etc. to distinguish themselves from the general neo-pagan Wicca movement. This type of distinction is unnecessary in Britain as they retain a clear understanding of what Wicca is.

    "With the advent of such authors as Scott Cunningham, Wicca took on elements of New Age philosophy. The decade of the 1980's saw many changes and adaptations within the Wiccan Religion. Self-Initiation began to replace Initiation at the hands of experienced practitioners. Tenets of belief were deleted or modified to suit personal needs, tastes, and politics. Wicca became two almost separate religions, split in two: Elder Wicca and Neo-Wicca.

    "The Focus on the self (as in New Age philosophy) was not a view originally held within traditional Wicca. Wiccan beliefs and practices arose from a sense of community within the early clans. To 'go it alone' was not a traditional Wiccan value. To follow the well-worn path to its end, and then proceed to find one's way, was a traditional Wiccan value."

    "Neo-wicca began as seekers from other religions came to the Old Religion in search of a spiritual path more suited to their individual needs. This was largely due to the New Age philosophy influencing Wicca, which basically promoted: Do your own thing, no pre-set rules, do whatever feels right."

    --Raven Grimassi, The Wiccan Mysteries, Llewellyn Publications, 1997

    An unknown author has written:

    "American Eclectic Wicca is sometimes used to refer to a broad range of individuals or groups that have based their philosophy, rituals and practices on the published works of such modern American witches as Scott Cunningham and StarHawk. Often American Eclectics take the curious and contradictory position that Wicca is a completely modern religion created by Gerald Gardner but that the beliefs and practices of Wicca are completely individualistic, therefore nobody can define 'Wicca' for others. In general, American Eclectics emphasize spontaneity and tend to downplay the importance of such concepts as Oaths, Initiations, Lineage and Tradition, or even to discard those concepts altogether."

    I take issue with only one thing: I do not feel that "StarHawk" fits the description of AE or OG, as she makes it CLEAR in The Spiral Dance that Witchcraft is an initiatory tradition. (And I can provide quotes, if anyone doubts this.) She also makes it clear that the rituals in her book are based on the Faery Tradition, in which she was initiated. Reclaiming also is initiatory, though some people will tell you it is not. Unfortunately, because of the shamanistic aspect of Faery and Reclaiming, Starhawk has been lumped with AE. (Even more ironic, many people assume she is a "radical" man-hating "Dianic". I've heard from her neighbors that Starhawk laughs at that one.) I'd argue that Traditional Witchcraft has more in common with the shamanistic approach than is currently recognized. Just my 2 cents. I'm going off on a tangent now, so I'd better stop...



    B*B,
    SF

  2. #32
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    I skimmed, so I don't know for sure if anyone mentioned it or not, but also check out the Books portion of the MW website, and do searches on google, Ask Jeeves, MSN, Dogpile, etc on Witchcraft - you will find a lot of the same things you have already seen most likely, but some things may suprise you as well.
    Ancora Imparo


  3. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by SoulFire View Post
    Nichols cites the publication of Starhawk's The Spiral Dance and Margot Adler's Drawing Down the Moon as representing major shifts in thought from Traditional to non-Traditional. I'd argue, however, that Cunningham's Wicca: a Guide for the Solitary Practitioner and Silver Ravenwolf's To Ride a Silver Broomstick: New Generation Witchcraft actually better exemplifies New Guard Paganism or neo-Wicca.
    I agree entirely.

    And by the way, I always enjoy your posts. Somehow you always manage to give a response that is thoughtful, clear, and educating without coming off as snarky or elitist.
    Om Namah Shivaya.

    "Im finding seeking the sacred, well, that its rather like falling in love, the harder you seek it, the less likely it is to happen." - Brightshores

    "When your consciousness is directed outward, mind and world arise. When it is directed inward, it realizes its own Source and returns home into the Unmanifested." ~ Eckhart Tolle

  4. #34
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    I agree with you SoulFire that Scott does not present Trad Wicca teachings or Trad Witch teachings at all in his work. But I recomend them for his basic magical how too info Etc. And I recomend them all for that purpose. Just because a book, say about Herbalism is by an Author that is not presenting Trad views does not invalidate what that Author is teaching. I objected to Scott being wholy dissmissed, and his work being defined as of no value to Trad Crafters. Do you feel that his stuff is not worth a read by any serious Trad Crafter? Or do you feel that his stuff has some value and deserves to be on the "recomended reading list"? I think there is a place for him in my library, hence, I recomend him.
    All opinions and views expressed in this post are soly those of
    Desert Witch
    and do not reflect those of his Wife, Children, Friends and Family, or arguably, any sane individual. READER DISCRETION is advised.:deviltail

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  5. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Desert_Witch View Post
    I agree with you SoulFire that Scott does not present Trad Wicca teachings or Trad Witch teachings at all in his work. But I recomend them for his basic magical how too info Etc. And I recomend them all for that purpose. Just because a book, say about Herbalism is by an Author that is not presenting Trad views does not invalidate what that Author is teaching. I objected to Scott being wholy dissmissed, and his work being defined as of no value to Trad Crafters. Do you feel that his stuff is not worth a read by any serious Trad Crafter? Or do you feel that his stuff has some value and deserves to be on the "recomended reading list"? I think there is a place for him in my library, hence, I recomend him.
    I would not dismiss his books summarily. Although I do not regard his work as "Traditional", I do think he should be read, and I have my favorites by him (as I'm sure we all do) that I require my students to read including his herbal books but especially Magical Herbalism, as well as his two Earth Power books (and I don't recall the title of the sequel offhand). I love his basic magical how-to in those books, in particular Magical Herbalism. Personally, I love his herbal books more than his Wicca books, but everyone has different tastes. I have noticed that many newbies who start out with his books become confused when they read other authors. I'm not sure what to attribute this to.

    B*B,
    SF

  6. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by SoulFire View Post
    I would not dismiss his books summarily. Although I do not regard his work as "Traditional", I do think he should be read, and I have my favorites by him (as I'm sure we all do) that I require my students to read including his herbal books but especially Magical Herbalism, as well as his two Earth Power books (and I don't recall the title of the sequel offhand). I love his basic magical how-to in those books, in particular Magical Herbalism. Personally, I love his herbal books more than his Wicca books, but everyone has different tastes. I have noticed that many newbies who start out with his books become confused when they read other authors. I'm not sure what to attribute this to.

    B*B,
    SF
    Are you reading my mind? That is what I would have said if I could have phrased it that well!!

    To everyone-please just pretend that I said that. (but still give credit to SoulFire)

    Let me now change the tone of the post if I may. (If I may not, then douse me in kerosine and strike a match! ) To everyone-What is the absolute best book for Trad Wicca and what is the best Trad Witch book? And what you liked best about it.


    Blessings to all!
    All opinions and views expressed in this post are soly those of
    Desert Witch
    and do not reflect those of his Wife, Children, Friends and Family, or arguably, any sane individual. READER DISCRETION is advised.:deviltail

    _________________________________________________

    Men should be judged, not by their tint of skin, the Gods they serve, the vintage that they drink, nor by the way they fight, or love, or sin. but by the quality of thought they think.

    Laurence Hope

    _____________________________________

    "Studies have clearly shown that repeated posting of bullshit does not result in any significant reduction in the level of bullshit contained in the information posted. "

    NiftyWings

  7. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by raven grimassi View Post
    you might find Raven Grimassi's books to be of interest. He presents a more "traditional" approach, closer to what Gardner presented in his books than some books on Wicca, but again he makes a lot of questionable claims (in particular with regards to history.)
    Ouch, Ben.

    But I guess there is some comfort to take in being labeled “questionable” as opposed to other descriptions I have seen. And hey, at least I made the list.

    Joking aside, if I make people think or question, then I think I have been of some service.

    As to the history I present in my books, I like to think of it as a suppressed history as opposed to the account of the victors. The Sicilian folklorist Guiseppe Pitre’ once noted that there are “two histories” - that of the dominators and that of the dominated. He said that they should not be confused with one another. In his own work he set out to “save the memories of the dominated” which “do not coincide with the memories of the dominators” (and I feel that this is what I try and do as well). I imagine time will tell whether I was successful or self-deluded.
    "Making a lot of questionable claims when it comes to history" is a pretty serious claim in and of itself, and I think deserving of greater documentation if we are to take the claim seriously. It sounds on its face like an alternative theory of history that he doesn't like.

    I think your distinction between dominator and dominated histories is very important. And as Rasenna pointed out, we would lose much if challenges to the dominator history were not raised.
    I Fight The Backlash and Put It In Its Place!

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    "There was an old ideal, "The truth shall prevail." But the modern ideal seems to be, "See that the truth shall be unknown, so that it may not prevail."" -- Gerald Gardner, The Meaning of Witchcraft

  8. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nemesis Descending View Post
    Um....no offense intended but the original request was for books on traditional Witchcraft/Wicca, and I hardly think that Cunningham's books are about traditional Craft. He was the King of PIOOYAW (pull it out of your a** Wicca). I'd hate to see a true seeker of traditional Craft misdirected to Cunningham.
    This is precisely why I qualified my endorsement of Cunningham with the addendum that anyone very new with is books wouldn't know what to do with them. I'd hardly consider that a sincere seeker would be misdirected by Cunningham, such qualifications considered. Neitrher would I call him "the King of PIOOYAW"-- thids designation certainly belongs to those that simply don't know what to do with his books.

  9. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by MacMorrighan View Post
    This is precisely why I qualified my endorsement of Cunningham with the addendum that anyone very new with is books wouldn't know what to do with them.
    I'm really not trying to give you a hard time but you've got to be kidding. Anyone with even minimal brain function can easily understand anything Cunningham ever published.

  10. #40
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    Hmmm... It occurs to me, this morning, that the differentiation I initially made was not observed by evewryone-- Readers seemed to be under the impression that I was recommending Cunningham as Traditional Wicca: I wasn't. Indeed, if this had been the case I wouldn't have bothered to have listed Kelly's initial historiograph, Crafting The Art of Magic! Please read what I wrote one more time. I was making a distinction between the witchcrap published by Lewellyn, and the actually good books they spit out, also, on the rare occassion.

    While, in my second selection of books, I stuck with non-Wiccan Traditional Witchcraft in variou forms, rather than so-called "Traditional Wicca". Indeed, it should have been apparent from the beginning that if I had been disclosing texts concerned with Trad. Wicca, I would have recommended many more books, primarily by the Farrars! (In that vein, if anyone's not read their more recent Progressive Witchcraft-- do so!!! It's brilliant!)
    Last edited by MacMorrighan; December 29th, 2006 at 11:15 AM.

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