Thursday, June 23, 2005

She Went among the Witches

Waterbrook, Random House's evangelical-publishing operation, has announced Wicca's Charm: Understanding the Spiritual Hunger Behind the Rise of Modern Witchcraft and Pagan Spirituality, a new journalistic survey of Wicca in America.

From the Web site:

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.

Publishing history repeats itself. The "routine magazine assignment" sounds just like the genesis of Stewart Farrar's What Witches Do (1969), while "journalism fellowship" echoes the writing of Margot Adler's Drawing Down the Moon (1979).

Adler, I am told, is also at work on her own re-working of DDTM, although I don't know if it will be a third edition or an entirely new book.

What I wonder about is how Sanders ended up with a publisher of chiefly Christian books, and what that placement bodes for this one.

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