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Wicca's Charm: Understanding the Spiritual Hunger Behind the Rise of Modern Witchcraft and Pagan Spirituality Paperback – September 20, 2005


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Shaw Books; First Edition edition (September 20, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0877881987
  • ISBN-13: 978-0877881988
  • Product Dimensions: 0.7 x 6 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,727,655 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Wicca’s Charm...is intended for adults trying to understand why others practice Wicca. Sanders was a journalist on assignment when she was forced to examine her own stereotypical views of Wicca; subsequently, she secured a journalism fellowship to spend a year learning about Wicca and what makes it so appealing to its practitioners; an objective view of the tradition results. Discussion questions at the end of the book correspond to each of the chapters. The result is a good, basic overview of the origins and theories of the religion as well as plenty of firsthand accounts from current and former practitioners of Wicca..Library Journal

Wicca’s Charm is one of those books that charms and beguiles you even as it informs you. The reporting is seamless and the writing effortless. Catherine Sanders has made a brilliant debut as a writer on a spiritual matter that should be of deep interest to all thinking Americans.”
–David Aikman, former senior correspondent for Time magazine, and author of Jesus in Beijing, A Man of Faith: The Spiritual Journey of George W. Bush, and the novel Qi

“For Christians who want to understand the culture our own failures have sown and are now reaping, and for those who want to reach out persuasively to this emerging culture, Sanders’s warm, clear, and helpful introduction to Wicca is essential reading.”
–Os Guinness, author of The Call: Finding and Fulfilling the Central Purpose of Your Life

“Catherine Sanders’s work in this book is careful, thoughtful, and respectful. It will enable many outside Wicca to understand it better, and it will also allow practitioners of Wicca and other similar ways to gain a deeper insight into the best of Christianity.”
–Frederica Mathewes-Green, author of The Illumined Heart: The Ancient Christian Path of Transformation

“Catherine Sanders has provided an eye-opening, sensitive, and honest journey into the heart of Wicca. Ringing no false alarms, she has made an erudite contribution to understanding this contemporary movement.”
–Lilian Calles Barger, author of Eve’s Revenge: Women and a Spirituality of the Body, and founder of the Damaris Project

Wicca’s Charm is a must-read for parents! A fascinating account full of stories and personal interviews, Catherine Sanders’s book provides wonderful insights into why young people seek alternative spiritualities and what Christians should know about it!”
–Susan Alexander Yates, best-selling author of several books, including, And Then I Had Teenagers: Encouragement for Parents of Teens and Preteens

Wicca’s Charm is a fine demonstration of a rare Christian virtue: attentive listening. With a clear conviction that authentic Christian belief is a valid response to Wiccan yearnings, Sanders holds, in tension, a humble recognition that Christian compromise with materialistic rationalism and individualism in Western culture has driven many to take up dangerous alternatives.”
–Peter Harris, director of A Rocha International

Wicca’s Charm provides an accessible, thorough, and sensitive guide to understanding contemporary interest in Wicca and neo-Paganism. It will be of help to anyone interested in understanding how nature worship under various names is reasserting itself in the Western world.”
–James A. Herrick, professor of communication at Hope College, and author of The Making of the New Spirituality: The Eclipse of the Western Religious Tradition

“Catherine Sanders spent more than a year listening to Wiccans in an attempt to understand the growth and appeal of Wicca today. She encourages Christians to dialogue with neo-Pagans, clarifying points of common ground while simultaneously pointing out with compassion and sensitivity the inadequacies of Paganism to fulfill their deep and legitimate longings.”
–Mardi Keyes, codirector of L’Abri Fellowship in Southborough, Massachusetts, and author of Feminism and the Bible

Review

Wicca’s Charm...is intended for adults trying to understand why others practice Wicca. Sanders was a journalist on assignment when she was forced to examine her own stereotypical views of Wicca; subsequently, she secured a journalism fellowship to spend a year learning about Wicca and what makes it so appealing to its practitioners; an objective view of the tradition results. Discussion questions at the end of the book correspond to each of the chapters. The result is a good, basic overview of the origins and theories of the religion as well as plenty of firsthand accounts from current and former practitioners of Wicca..Library Journal

Wicca’s Charm is one of those books that charms and beguiles you even as it informs you. The reporting is seamless and the writing effortless. Catherine Sanders has made a brilliant debut as a writer on a spiritual matter that should be of deep interest to all thinking Americans.”
–David Aikman, former senior correspondent for Time magazine, and author of Jesus in Beijing, A Man of Faith: The Spiritual Journey of George W. Bush, and the novel Qi

“For Christians who want to understand the culture our own failures have sown and are now reaping, and for those who want to reach out persuasively to this emerging culture, Sanders’s warm, clear, and helpful introduction to Wicca is essential reading.”
–Os Guinness, author of The Call: Finding and Fulfilling the Central Purpose of Your Life

“Catherine Sanders’s work in this book is careful, thoughtful, and respectful. It will enable many outside Wicca to understand it better, and it will also allow practitioners of Wicca and other similar ways to gain a deeper insight into the best of Christianity.”
–Frederica Mathewes-Green, author of The Illumined Heart: The Ancient Christian Path of Transformation

“Catherine Sanders has provided an eye-opening, sensitive, and honest journey into the heart of Wicca. Ringing no false alarms, she has made an erudite contribution to understanding this contemporary movement.”
–Lilian Calles Barger, author of Eve’s Revenge: Women and a Spirituality of the Body, and founder of the Damaris Project

Wicca’s Charm is a must-read for parents! A fascinating account full of stories and personal interviews, Catherine Sanders’s book provides wonderful insights into why young people seek alternative spiritualities and what Christians should know about it!”
–Susan Alexander Yates, best-selling author of several books, including, And Then I Had Teenagers: Encouragement for Parents of Teens and Preteens

Wicca’s Charm is a fine demonstration of a rare Christian virtue: attentive listening. With a clear conviction that authentic Christian belief is a valid response to Wiccan yearnings, Sanders holds, in tension, a humble recognition that Christian compromise with materialistic rationalism and individualism in Western culture has driven many to take up dangerous alternatives.”
–Peter Harris, director of A Rocha International

Wicca’s Charm provides an accessible, thorough, and sensitive guide to understanding contemporary interest in Wicca and neo-Paganism. It will be of help to anyone interested in understanding how nature worship under various names is reasserting itself in the Western world.”
–James A. Herrick, professor of communication at Hope College, and author of The Making of the New Spirituality: The Eclipse of the Western Religious Tradition

“Catherine Sanders spent more than a year listening to Wiccans in an attempt to understand the growth and appeal of Wicca today. She encourages Christians to dialogue with neo-Pagans, clarifying points of common ground while simultaneously pointing out with compassion and sensitivity the inadequacies of Paganism to fulfill their deep and legitimate longings.”
–Mardi Keyes, codirector of L’Abri Fellowship in Southborough, Massachusetts, and author of Feminism and the Bible
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Perhaps that's impossible unless you really believe it.
Woodbine
It appears she believes Christians are to blame for people turning to Paganism, not the Christian religion itself.
Kimberly delaMontanya
This book is what you'd expect when someone who is NOT Wiccan is trying to explain what Wicca is.
Angelina H.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

76 of 90 people found the following review helpful By Jason Pitzl on October 22, 2005
Format: Paperback
"I wrote this book in order to foster better dialogue between Pagans and Christians." - Catherine Edwards Sanders

Dialogue (from the Merriam-Webster dictionary)

1 : a written composition in which two or more characters are represented as conversing

2 a : a conversation between two or more persons; also : a similar exchange between a person and something else (as a computer) b : an exchange of ideas and opinions c : a discussion between representatives of parties to a conflict that is aimed at resolution

Catherine Edwards Sanders' new book "Wicca's Charm" succeeds as a dialogue between Christians and modern Pagans if you use the first definition (indeed, much of the book hinges on the conversations she has with Wiccans and Goddess worshippers) but fails, and is deeply flawed as a work that will heal rifts between conflicted parties, if you consider the second defintion.

It is somewhat sad to see so earnest an author come so close to understanding our culture and ideas, but missing the mark. I have no quarrel with the author's love of Christ, but her impression of our faith(s) is so removed from the context in which we understand them, that it is almost like reading about some alternate-reality version of Wicca. It makes me wonder if a full and rich dialogue about each other's faith can ever be engaged between a modern Pagan and a Christian, even a Christian as liberal as Sanders.

The bias in this book is subtle, but ever-present. She reminds us over and over again that she admires the strong personalities of the Pagan adherents she meets, while at the same time reiterating how flimsy she believes the worth of Wicca to be. She quotes Pagan writers and scholars, but picks and chooses what she wants them to say.
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54 of 65 people found the following review helpful By Jocelyn on May 10, 2006
Format: Paperback
I picked this book up at my local library and started reading it because the cover art and categorization on the back of "Occult/Witchcraft" made it appear to be pagan-friendly. Unfortunately it turned out to be a Christian primer on how to understand and convert pagans.

Despite the author's year-long immersion in pagan culture and stated intention to be unbiased and non-condescending, her writing style and arguments are both. She is frightened by the rituals she observed. She describes practitioners as "shouting" during rituals, and former catholic priest Matthew Fox as "bellowing". She also says that she experienced such a "dark and oppressive" atmosphere during Matthew Fox's meeting that she had to leave. I've never met Matthew Fox, but I've read some of his stuff and he seems really mild in his efforts to unite pagans and Christians. Perhaps it was making too much sense?

I could go on and on about my problems with this book, but they boil down to these points: Ms. Sanders main beef with paganism seems to be that without Christian beliefs such as people being created in god's image (and more valuable than the rest of the cosmos), and Christian morality, that humans would quickly devolve into unrestrained sexuality and murder. She believes that this was the state of the world for all of prehistory, and that pagans believed then (and now) that people were not worth more than rocks or trees, which led to human sacrifice and pretty much anything else bad you can think of as perpetuated by the Greeks and Romans.

Ms.
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35 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Woodbine on October 3, 2005
Format: Paperback
So close...yet so wrong...

Ms Sanders really tried hard, but she failed to really understand Wiccan beliefs. Everything she says about Wicca is only partially true. She says and believes that Wicca is an escape from conventional religion rather than an entire belief in itself. Sorry, but I spent many years studying & meditating to find what I truly believed and it wasn't an escape.

DON'T read this book to understand Wicca or Wiccans.

Most Wiccans believe that God gave us each a religion, so Christians should be respected because that is the religion God give them. We do wish Christians reciprocated.

--This book probably should be required reading at seminaries and by all clergy, as it does accurately (I believe) discuss failings of the church (not Christianity). I believe that Christians should get as much from their beliefs as I do mine. --

I do share (as do many of my Wiccan friends) distress that many teens are jumping on the bandwagon without real understanding & belief

Pretty much, I was impressed that Ms Sanders did seem to really try to research and write a good, honest and balanced book. Her failing was that she failed to understand the real core of Wicca. Perhaps that's impossible unless you really believe it.
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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Cerridwen Storms on April 29, 2006
Format: Paperback
Yes, this is a difficult read for a Neo-pagan, but I'm a Pagan, and I still liked what I read. I was raised Catholic, and reading the book, I realized that I agreed with her views on why people tend to leave Christianity for Wicca and other Neo-Pagan traditions. I certainly did for half the reasons she explores in the first few chapters. If I knew about Gnosticism or Christian Kaballah before I converted, I might have gone to that instead, honestly, though I'm extemely happy as a Pagan.

However, readers must realize that this book is not really meant for Pagan readers. It's for a Christian audience. The point of the book is to say "These people [Wiccans] aren't bad, but if you don't want your whole church to leave for this, then you have to realize that there's something spiritually unfulfilling with it and fix it." Sure, it has biases with Wiccans; the mention of Laurie Cabot and Salem's Samhaine festivities never fit well with me as an introduction to Wiccan culture. But, it still is a big leap for many contemporary Christians, to say that witches, Wiccans and Pagans can be good people and that if you want to convert them, do it with kindness and not peaching.
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