Sunday, April 29, 2007

Teen Witches and Sociologists

Cover of Teenage Witches, by Helen Berger and Douglas EzzyTeenage Witches: Magical Youth and the Search for Self, a sociological study of young Pagan Witches, will be shipping in a few days from Rutgers University Press.

I have heard co-authors Helen Berger and Doug Ezzy give presentations from their research, which is excellent.

From the Rutgers University Press catalog:

As Helen A. Berger and Douglas Ezzy show in this in-depth look into the lives of teenage Witches, the reality of their practices, beliefs, values, and motivations is very different from the sensational depictions we see in popular culture. Drawing on extensive research across three countries-the United States, England, and Australia-and interviews with young people from diverse backgrounds, what they find are highly spiritual and self-reflective young men and women attempting to make sense of a postmodern world via a religion that celebrates the earth and emphasizes self-development.

Not to be confused with Silver Ravenwolf's Teen Witch.

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Friday, February 13, 2004

Teen Witches

Some people are saying that the "teen witch" craze, symbolized by the 1996 movie The Craft, has peaked. I don't think so. My latest Llewellyn Publications reviewer's catalog recently arrived, and I saw that Silver Ravenwolf's Teen Witch had been redesigned. Whereas the former cover art had something in common with the poster/box art for The Craft, the new cover seems more in common with last year's movie Thirteen.

It's all about Pouty. Adolescent. Sexuality.

In his review essay "Sifting the Ashes," an expose of the tobacco industry (collected in the book How To Be Alone, Jonathan Frantzen desconstructs the industry-funded anti-smoking ads aimed at teens and comments how "several antitobacco newspaper ads offer . . . the image of a preadolescent girl holding a cigarette. The models are not real smokers, yet despite their phoniness, they're utterly sexualized by their cigarettes. The horror of underage smoking veils a horror of teen and preteen sexuality."

Witchcraft, the new cigarette?

On a more positive note, a Colorado Witch describes sitting in on an interview of several teen Wiccans by a National Public Radio reporter.

"I spent the afternoon in the upstairs of the Oh My Goddess coffee house in Denver, listening to Barbara Bradford Hagerty of NPR interview 6 teenage Wiccans and one Christian teen learning about Wicca. She was amazed at how articulate, intelligent, and self-aware they were. She's planning on doing a segment or show about teens and Wicca. They wouldn't stop talking! She used more than one minidisc to record, which she says never happens in an interview. The 6 Wiccan teens were all raised Wiccan, more or less.

"She spoke briefly to most of the parents and to me; she may talk to me again in a couple of days if she can on her way to the airport. She is a colleague of Margot Adler's, and therefore actually knew something about the topic. She asked each of the Wiccan teens if they thought it was a phase that they would grow out of, and the general consensus was 'No. This is who I am.' It was an amazing experience.

"Based on the kids that were there today, I have to say I think that the future of Paganism is in pretty capable hands."

UPDATE 4/29/07: I had not looked at this post for a while, but it appears to me that the cover displayed, which is on Llewellyn's web site, is not the one that I described as "pouty" a couple of years ago. Does anyone know for sure?

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