Magical Religion and Modern Witchcraft

Edited by James R. Lewis

Subjects: Witchcraft
Paperback : 9780791428900, 432 pages, April 1996
Hardcover : 9780791428894, 432 pages, April 1996

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Table of contents


PART I: The Goddess and the Witches' Worldview

1. The Contemporary Neo-Pagan Revival

Judy Harrow

2. Who on Earth is the Goddess?

Morning Glory and Otter G'Zell

3. Emergent Nature Spirituality: An Examination of the Major Spiritual Contours of the Contemporary Pagan Worldview

Dennis D. Carpenter

PART II: Magic and Rituals

4. Spells of Transformation: Categorizing Modern Neo-Pagan Witches

Shelley TSivia Rabinovitch

5. Ritual is My Chosen Art Form: The Creation of Ritual as Folk Art Among Contemporary Pagans

Sabina Magliocco

6. Forging Magical Selves: Gendered Bodies and Ritual Fires at Neo-Pagan Festivals

Sarah M. Pike

7. As I Do Will, So Mote It Be: Magic as Metaphor in Neo-Pagan Witchcraft

Síân Reid

PART III: History

8. White Witches: Historic Fact and Romantic Fantasy

James W. Baker

9. The Reconstruction of the Ásatrú and Odinist Traditions

Jeffrey Kaplan

10. The Resurgence of Magical Religion as a Response to the Crisis of Modernity: A Postmodern Depth Psychological Perspective

Adrian Ivakhiv

PART IV: Ethics

11. What has Alexandria to do with Boston? Some Sources of Modern Pagan Ethics

Chas S. Clifton

12. The British Occult Subculture: Beyond Good and Evil?

Susan Greenwood

PART V: Christianity and Neo-Paganism

13. Embracing Jesus and the Goddess: Towards a Reconceptualization of Conversion to Syncretistic Religion

Christel Johanna Manning

14. Where Christian Liturgy and Neo-Pagan Ritual Meet

Rev. Richard E. Kuykendall

15. Works of Darkness: Occult Fascination in the Novels of Frank E. Peretti

James R. Lewis

PART VI: Literature Reviews

16. Rationalizing the Margins: A Review of Legitimation and Ethnographic Practice in Scholarly Research on Neo-Paganism

Sarah M. Pike

17. Practitioners of Paganism and Wiccan Spirituality in Contemporary Society: A Review of the Literature

Dennis D. Carpenter


Provides an overview of neo-paganism from the Goddess to magic and rituals, from history and ethics to the relationship of neo-paganism to Christianity.


This comprehensive anthology examines contemporary neo-paganism ranging from goddess theology to historical-critical essays. Many of the contributors are academically trained neo-pagans, and the resulting volume is a benchmark study of a significant movement that promises to reshape the religious landscape of the next century.

James R. Lewis is Chairperson of the Department of Religious Studies at the World University of America. He has edited several academic anthologies, including The Gods Have Landed: New Religions from Other Worlds and, with J. Gordon Melton, Perspectives on the New Age , both published by SUNY Press. He has also authored a series of scholarly reference works on occult-religious topics, which have earned American Library Association and New York Times Book Awards.


"I feel this book is a very well-rounded exposure to growing special interest groups--from the Goddess to Magic and Rituals, from History and Ethics to Christianity and Neo-Paganism. It demystifies modern witchcraft, and shows it to be a modern reconstruction of a few ancient elements with many new innovations added by certain romantic personalities. Every article by its investigative nature is insightful and certainly of intellectual importance. " -- Kevin A. McCormack, World University of America (Ojai)

"Today we see an ever increasing number of New Religious Movements emerging that are strange to the general public. What is strange, unknown, or not understood, is often frightening. What is frightening often leads to conflict similar to that of the burning of the Branch Davidians in Waco, Texas by our government officials.

"Many religious scholars have told me of their hunger for inside information. When I speak to groups of average citizens, I am pleased to note their extreme interest in this matter. This entire anthology, to me, is enough to stimulate my appetite. I find it to be refreshing in my search and studies by being able to compare the different points of view of the contributors in a single source. " -- Moorman Oliver, Jr. , Retired Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Criminal Investigator

"Dr. Lewis has located a whole seminar-full of new blood, new scholars who know the groups they are discussing both inside and out. This is a refreshing change from the old-guard religion scholars who are often somewhat baffled by the new religions they have been studying. " -- Aidan A. Kelly, Art Magickal Publications