By Helen A. Berger
A neighborhood of Witches explores the ideals and practices of Neo-Paganism and Witchcraft - quite often identified to students and practitioners as Wicca. whereas the phrases "magic," "witchcraft," and "paganism" evoke pictures of the far-off prior and distant cultures, this ebook indicates that Wicca has emerged as a part of a brand new non secular circulation that displays the period during which it constructed. Imported to the USA within the past due Sixties from the uk, the faith absorbed into its uncomplicated cloth the social issues of the time: feminism, environmentalism, self-development, substitute spirituality, and distrust of authority. Helen A. Berger's ten-year player statement research of Neo-Pagans and Witches at the jap seaboard of the USA and her collaboration on a countrywide survey of Neo-Pagans shape the foundation for exploring the practices, buildings, and transformation of this nascent faith. Responding to students who recommend that Neo-Paganism is purely a pseudoreligion or a cultural flow since it lacks crucial authority and transparent limitations, Berger contends that Neo-Paganism has some of the features that one could anticipate of a faith born in past due modernity: the appropriation of rituals from different cultures, a view of the universe as a cosmic entire, an emphasis on developing and re-creating the self, an intertwining of the non-public and the political, and a undeniable playfulness.
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Additional info for A Community of Witches: Contemporary Neo-Paganism and Witchcraft in the United States (Studies in Comparative Religion)
2 percent and 5 percent did not respond. 1 percent had completed postgradu- Page 9 ate degrees (H. Berger et al. ). Kirkpatrick et al. (1986) and Orion (1995) had similar findings. Because of the secrecy of participants, it is impossible to know the exact number of Neo-Pagans and Witches in the United States. Aidan Kelly extrapolates from mailing lists, festival attendance, and the number of covens in the area he knows bestthe San Francisco Bay areaand estimates that there are 300,000 Neo-Pagans in the United States (1992:13941).
Even with the imperfections in his methods, Kelly provides the most reliable estimate to date, as he uses a combination of methods to arrive at his figure. If his estimate is cut by one-third to one-half, a more conservative number of 150,000 to 200,000 Neo-Pagans in the United States is reached. As can be seen in the table below, Neo-Pagans live throughout the United States, with the largest percentage of adherents on the East and West Coasts. Most Neo-Pagans live in urban or suburban areas. 8 percent of the respondents stated that they live in a rural area.
Although Giddens does not specifically discuss the role of religion, structuration theory provides a framework for understanding Wicca within the context of late modernity. Giddens argues both with and against postmodernist theorists. 2 According to Giddens, many of the claims of postmodernismsuch as the death of the grand narrative, the questioning of truth claims, and the decentering of the subjectare not the result of the development of a new postmodern era, but rather are the logical outgrowth of Enlightenment rationality and science.