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on August 2, 2011
In my view this book takes what by most accounts is a "Mystery Tradition," and stolidly attempts to straightforwardly apply reason and express its "philosophy". THe end result is something that has all the zing and zest, juiciness and rich taste of cardboard. One of the paradoxes of mystery and art, of poetry and the realms of the occult, is that as soon as you haul them into the laboratory and plop their bodies across the dissecting table and start in with your scalpel, you're going to lose something. Call it juice, life, soul: I call it the essence of the Craft. YOu still have the body there, yes: but you've drained it of its blood. It looks the same in the outer form, but the life is what is missing: once you start assiduously dissecting and reducing, you've made of the Mystery Tradition a corpse.

Most of us to some extent want to systematize, organize and find some coherence in our Craft. But it's a difficult thing to do that in a way that remains faithful to the Mystery and the soul, that still conveys the juiciness of the Craft. It's true, as the author notes, that one of the gifts we're given as humans, is the ability to reason. Yet, it certainly does NOT follow from that, as the author believes, that "if we could not organize, think, analyze, dictate morality, and enforce laws and rules, we would not have codified religion, and Wicca would not exist at all." (pg 141). Such a statement reflects, in my view, the very rationalistic hubris, or excessive reason, which in the first place led to the downfall of the ancient Mother Goddess Religions, and which has kept Western philosophy in such a confining self-created small box, lo these many centuries. Wicca may be many things to many people, but to view it as primarily or essentially an organized system of dictatable morality and enforced laws and rules, is in my mind to have missed the whole point of it.

I'm also puzzled why, if an inquiry into philosophy is the author's intent, she has not made links with Philosophy as such, commencing where, in the Western world, it began with Plato & the Greeks, and extending on thru 19th century Existentialist and Romantic philsophy, up until and beyond Derrida and Deconstruction of the present day. She makes few links to the actual study of philosophy, mentioning Hegel's dialectic dynamic, but placing more emphasis on correlations to science. Some Wiccan-Pagan researchers, such as Don Frew have found solid footing for Wicca in Neoplatonic philosophy and Theurgy, for instance in Iamblichus, something the author never mentions. Then too, Derrida and Deconstructionists have demonstrated the paradoxical violence of "totalizing" systems which content themselves that with reason and language they have expressed and contained everything, but invariably have left something out, and that thing they've left out ("the Other") now turns about and stands accusing them.

One such "Other" who has been notably and apparently intentionally omitted from the author's Philosophy of Wicca, is the gay or lesbian person. In a footnote, the author offers this wormy apology: "It is with mixed emotions that I write this chapter with an obvious bias towards heterosexuality. While same-gender sexuality can certainly be sacred, it doesn't lend itself well to the overall picture I wish to paint. We do not, generally speaking, envision the GOd coupled with the God, or the GOddess with the the end of drawing parallels between divine creation and human sexuality I leave out the image of homosexuality." (pg 262)

Such a statement is ignorant, offensive, and philosophically and spiritually untenable. "Yeah, you folks are ok, but you just don't fit anywhere into our world at all." This is a statement Jacques Derrida would love, for it provides enormous moral authority and power precisely to the "Other" who has been so ridiculously omitted. It is also a statement which demonstrates a magnificent blindness to the paradox which in my view really lies at the heart of the Craft. The native paradox of the Craft would question the vapid literalness with which someone might regard lesbian relationships of Goddess mating with GOddess, as a situation not able to carry the mystery of opposites. Might not two beings who are similar in form, be very different in their inner souls? Then too, I question the dull and stolid application of god/goddess pairing to every situation, something the author seems to feel is essential to Wicca. She cites the importance of realizing that life comes to be through the mating of god and goddess. She may not know of the many myths where creation came to be, through a god or goddess who had no partner, but simply ecstatically made love with him or herself, an act which resulted in creation.

INdeed there are many interesting possibilities which, if they contain more paradox and mystery, have more life than the much less imaginative examples presented throughout this book.
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on November 7, 2002
I've been rethinking my previous reviews, because I only went lightly through the book, and now I have read it cover to cover:
This is Amber Fishers Philosophy of... something. Something that superficially resembles Wicca. It's not much like the Wicca I've studied and read about in Gerald Gardners and Doreen Valientes books (you know, basically the FOUNDERS of Wicca). Wicca was made to be a polytheistic or, at the very least, an equally duotheistic religion. Somehow, to a lot of people, it got warped into a monotheistic mish-mash of female worship. The lame excuse of "Goddess contains God, so I think it's OK to use it in reference to the divine" is not going to cut it. She's using it because she worshipps a Goddess, and I rarely find any mention of the male divine.
She's been Wiccan for what, four years? And she thinks she knows enough about the religion to write a book on the philosophy of it? It's horrendously obvious to anyone who has read anything besides Dianic Wicca books that this IS NOT commonly accepted Wiccan thought. So please, if you're new, don't read this book. It will probably just confuse you. So, while this may be Ambers Philosophy of "Wicca", I must say that I see little of what is Wiccan here.
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on May 9, 2005
I enjoyed reading this book if only because it made me think about what my own opinions and philosophies are regarding Wicca. I didn't agree with everything Fisher said, but at no point does she try to say that her ideas are gospel. She simply tells you what she thinks, and hopefully encourages you to consider your own deeper ideas about Wicca.

This is NOT a beginner's spell book or a how-to book. It is also not a book along the lines of "When Someone You Love is Pagan". It isn't meant to explain Wicca to someone with no experience in it. However, if you've had your fill of "Wicca 101" books and want to know what some contemporary Wiccans really think, this is a good read.
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on June 2, 2002
At last an in-depth exploration of our beautiful spirituality! Ms. Fisher steps out from the mold of cook book how-to's and delves into the wonderousness of what it means to follow a Wiccan path. I am truly inspired and hope that this book will open up a dialogue for others to explore the depths of our spirituality. I especially enjoyed Ms. Fisher's writing style and the poetry she presents at the beginning of each chapter. Poetry that signals that something sacred is taking place here and prepares the soul to listen and engage. May we all enter the dialogue.
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on July 11, 2003
I loved this book! After browsing the bookshelves, for months seeing only [stuff] for teens and [stuff] for beginners, and [stuff] for shamans, this book was a really nice read. It gets down to the heart of wicca without all those lists of 'an athame is used for...rosemary means...' and so on. I liked the fact that she didn't have diagrams and definitions for filler. I recommend it for anybody who wants an advanced book who's tired of 'the complete book of whatever!' because theres no such thing as a complete book of wicca. Also, its not 500 pages like some authors who I won't name. It's a quick read without the [stuff]!
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on November 4, 2003
Philosophy of Wicca is a wise, thoughtful look into one woman's idea of what the central ideas of Wicca are. Without preaching, without insisting that her way is the right way, the author speaks about her religion intelligently and passionately.
I was particularly impressed by the way she handles Judeo-Christian beliefs. Rare enough is the pagan author that can refrain from Christian bashing--this writer actually talks about several Jewish and Christian ideas in a positive manner.
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on March 18, 2007
I cannot recommend this book enough. 'Philosophy of Wicca' deeply resonated with me. It made me ponder, it gave me ideas, it cemented reasonings and from it I got to the core of me. Chapters of note are "The Wiccan Rede and the Magician's Manifesto" and "Magic and Witchcraft". Years after my original purchase, I still have half a dozen little 'sticky notes' plastered over pages I want to return to to ponder. This is truly a must-read book.
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on August 1, 2003
This book tries to be many, many, many things.
It tries and fails.
Wicca is not an ancient goddess religion, and many Wiccans really don't have issues with Christianity.
This book seems to constantly harp on what the Christians think and do....
Why should we care?
Are We Christians?
Well, I'm not...
In addition, Fisher can't seem to decide if Wicca is balanced between God and Goddess or a goddess religion.
I'm not sure it's philosophy or Wicca, in this book.
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on May 27, 2002
This is the book that Wicca has been waiting for for along time. The author of this book is phoenomenal in her wording, and every sentence is pure poetry. This is not a Wicca-101 type book, so you do need a basic knowledge. This book covers all the ethics, morality, and beauty of Wicca. I would highly recomend this book to ANYONE, I can't describe how profoundly beautiful it is. I would also recommend the book in combination "Deepening Witchcraft" but Grey Cat. I give the highest praise to the Author, and congratulate her on a job well done. ...
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on March 26, 2008
I enjoyed this book about the wiccan philosophy of Amber Laine Fischer. This is a good book if you are looking to expand your understanding of a religion that is very personal to its practitioners. I would not recommend this book to a brand new neophyte however. I would only recommend this book to someone who has been on the pagan path for some time now, not someone without enough information to distinguish which parts are Ms. Fischers's personal beliefs and which are more or less core beliefs of wicca. It's got some very good ideas but the reader must always remember that this book is the author's version of spiritual practice. The ideas may or may not be right for the individual reader. Recommended for more those who are more advanced in their religious studies but not for the beginner.
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