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Witches of America by Alex Mar
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Witches of America (2015)

by Alex Mar

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Through most of this book I am never certain whether I am reading journalism or spiritual memoir. The spiritual neediness of the author seems to be the major theme of the book, as she explores various options on the Neopagan spectrum without fully committing to any. Lack of such commitment, is not of course, a problem for a journalist seeking to give an objective account of the beliefs and practices of various groups. However, one cannot help but feel that the author's failure to find her path affects her ability to be objective. The groups she describes are the Feri tradition of Witchcraft, the Ordo Templi Orientis magical order, an unnamed group of necromancers who pray to Santa Muerte, and the Coru, a group founded by a former Feri priestess dedicated to the Celtic goddess Morrigan. The information in the book is interesting and seems accurate, but is so mixed in with personalities that it difficult to decide what is doctrine (if doctrine there be) and what is individual preference and quirk. Should probably be read by Neopagans and Wiccans, if only to be able to respond to questions about it.
1 vote ritaer | Sep 8, 2016 |
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Witches are gathering.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0374291373, Hardcover)

"Witches are gathering."

When most people hear the word "witches," they think of horror films and Halloween, but to the nearly one million Americans who practice Paganism today, it's a nature-worshipping, polytheistic, and very real religion. So Alex Mar discovers when she sets out to film a documentary and finds herself drawn deep into the world of present-day witchcraft.
Witches of America follows Mar on her immersive five-year trip into the occult, charting modern Paganism from its roots in 1950s England to its current American mecca in the San Francisco Bay Area; from a gathering of more than a thousand witches in the Illinois woods to the New Orleans branch of one of the world's most influential magical societies. Along the way she takes part in dozens of rituals and becomes involved with a wild array of characters: a government employee who founds a California priesthood dedicated to a Celtic goddess of war; American disciples of Aleister Crowley, whose elaborate ceremonies turn the Catholic mass on its head; second-wave feminist Wiccans who practice a radical separatist witchcraft; a growing "mystery cult" whose initiates trace their rites back to a blind shaman in rural Oregon. This sprawling magical community compels Mar to confront what she believes is possible-or hopes might be.
With keen intelligence and wit, Mar illuminates the world of witchcraft while grappling in fresh and unexpected ways with the question underlying all faiths: Why do we choose to believe in anything at all? Whether evangelical, Pagan priestess, or atheist, each of us craves a system of meaning to give structure to our lives. Sometimes we just find it in unexpected places.

(retrieved from Amazon Sat, 25 Jul 2015 03:17:24 -0400)

"Witches are gathering." When most people hear the word "witches," they think of horror films and Halloween, but to the nearly one million Americans who practice Paganism today, witchcraft is a nature-worshipping, polytheistic, and very real religion. So Alex Mar discovers when she sets out to film a documentary and finds herself drawn deep into the world of present-day magic. Witches of America follows Mar on her immersive five-year trip into the occult, charting modern Paganism from its roots in 1950s England to its current American mecca in the San Francisco Bay Area; from a gathering of more than a thousand witches in the Illinois woods to the New Orleans branch of one of the world's most influential magical societies. Along the way she takes part in dozens of rituals and becomes involved with a wild array of characters. This sprawling magical community compels Mar to confront what she believes is possible--or hopes might be. With keen intelligence and wit, Mar illuminates the world of witchcraft while grappling in fresh and unexpected ways with the question underlying every faith: Why do we choose to believe in anything at all?--Adapted from book jacket.… (more)

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An edition of this book was published by Tantor Media.

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