Book Review: What's the Deal with Wicca? by Steve Russo

Book Review: What’s the Deal with Wicca by Steve Russo
Publisher:
Bethany House, 2005
Review
: 6.5 out of 10

Over the past couple of years, I have witnessed a numerous number of people become involved with the religion of Wicca. In many case, there seems to be more interest in witchcraft than Christianity. I have always wondered what it is that attracts people to Wicca, so I snatched this book up when I saw it at the local library. What’s the Deal with Wicca is written for a teen-aged audience as teens (especially teen girls) are especially attracted to this religion. Russo does a fair job of explaining the practices of Wicca (which is kind of like nailing jello to the wall) and then presenting clearer Christian alternatives.

I did not learn much more about Wicca from this book than I did from engaging a good friend of mine who practices the religion. There were moments when I felt the author could have gone into a little more depth than he did, but I’m sure someone with little knowledge of the subject would find Russo’s treatment informative. I plan on writing about these subjects in a little more depth later on, but it is worth noting that Russo seems to agree with a conclusion I had made previous to reading this book. Much of the appeal to Wicca (and other new age faiths) seem to be based more on a rejection of Christianity rather than an acceptance of some of the far reaching claims these “faiths” make. This rejection of Christianity is based on several misunderstandings of Jesus’ teaching. Practitioners of Wicca seem to think they have found a better alternative to Christianity when it comes to several subjects, including; the status of women, the environment, and the enjoyment of sexual relations. It is my opinion that these assumptions are based in a misunderstanding of the Christian faith. I would also assert that, in many cases, Christians and the Church are to blame for these misconceptions. Again, I’ll try to write more on this later.

As far as What’s the Deal with Wicca is concerned, I would recommend it for someone with an interest in the subject. Specifically, if one is feeling drawn towards witchcraft (or has a child they suspect is involved with Wicca), they should read this book before any decisions are made. I would also recommend this book for any spiritually-seeking teens who are exploring different faiths.

Clark

Advertisements

6 thoughts on “Book Review: What's the Deal with Wicca? by Steve Russo

  1. It hit me as I was reading this that I don’t think I’ve ever really thought of the idea of practicing witchcraft as an actual form of religon. Thats probably extremely naive on my part. I seem to still have the youthful thinking of wizards and witches in the magical movie sense.
    I guess I can’t really comment on something I don’t know much about or well, honestly, I never took seriously.

    I know…

    naive.

    Like

  2. I’ve always found neo-paganism to be a bit … um, well, goofy. I’ve read more than enough on the subject (out of intellectual interests, not for spiritual seeking) and have known enough people who were pagans of one sort of another, and I just want to ask, “What are you thinking?”

    I can understand why some people have problems with Christianity, the beliefs and the institutions. I’m all good with that. There are aspects of Christianity I question often. But use your heads. Christianity might take a huge leap of faith for some folks, but I find that leap far less illogical than standing in a circle while wearing cheap Renaissance fair garb and chanting to the powers of the Earth or Moon or Dragons or whatever thingy it is you sort of, kind of worship (neo-pagans have as many different splinter groups as Christians do different churches, maybe more).

    And, as I consider myself a historian, I’m even somewhat miffed that today’s neo-pagans try to draw lines back to ancient pagan worship. You think you’re like the guys back in the old days? Really? Do you realize the worshippers of Baachus would probably rip out your heart and eat it while drinking wine and dancing naked around your corpse? And Baachus is a god of the civilized Romans? Just imagine what barbarian rituals would be like.

    Sorry if I sound disrespectual to any pagans perusing these pages. But, I’m just baffled. Thousands of years of history, philosophy and spiritual study, and so many go back to paganism? Sheesh. Even atheism makes more sense. And at least agnostics usually have the guts to say, “Hey, I just don’t know.”

    Like

  3. Well put Ty. Wicca practitioners do seem to draw a lineage back to ancient pagan practices and, at least the ones I know, are proud to claim their beliefs predate Christianity.

    I have to admit I am confused as to why so many, otherwise intelligent, people seem to be drawn to witchcraft. Intellectually, it makes no sense to me. In all fairness, modern Christians often times present attitudes and and practices that baffle me as well … but when comparing the core, fundamental beliefs … Christianity makes far more sense to me.

    Like

  4. Clark, yeah, I’ve never bought the “my religion is older than your religion” jab.
    First … so? Old is better? Then you can drink a bottle of vinegar instead of wine. Or maybe a month-old bottle of milk. Happy?
    Second, my Jewish wife might have something to say about whose god is oldest. Adam was around in the beginning. Mortals can’t go back any further than that. And Yahweh predates even Christianity, at least Christianity as a human institution.
    Third, if the oldest-worshipped gods are the best gods and the real gods, shouldn’t we all be worshipping cave drawings or shadows on the wall or elk or something?

    Like

  5. Red721- Wicca and witchcraft are NOT the same thing. The former is a religion, the latter a practice that, traditionally, has no integral theology.

    OP: The problem here is you’re basing your entire premise on the fact that “spiritual seekers” are shopping around looking for the religion they “like” best. This entirely negates the BELIEF aspect of any religion. If you believe in the Christian God, well, then, you’re a Christian, and no amount of “seeking” is suddenly going to convince you that you should claim to be a member of a polytheistic religion. I’ve been a polytheist all my life, and I’ve always BELIEVED in a multiplicity of Gods. Saying that I’ve “converted” to Christianity would be ridiculous, because I don’t believe in the “one and only” God.

    I don’t know, perhaps you guys have just not met anyone who calls themselves a NeoPagan, and has actual faith. Just like there are people who call themselves Christians who don’t really have any belief in the monotheistic God, and therefore convert.

    Books like these are useless. They don’t actually tell people why so many people are now starting to investigate non-monotheistic forms of religious expression, they just state that all these are “wrong.” And it’s kind of interesting that there aren’t any NeoPagan or Wicca books published that “examine” Christianity (incidentally, these are never written by people who actually know what they’re talking about) and then propose the ‘spiritually right and superior’ NeoPagan alternatives. But then maybe we just don’t have the same attitude of “the one, the right and the only” or ideal of conversion.

    Just something to think about. Mile beannachta.

    Like

  6. Hello “Elfmage,” welcome to The Imperfect Disciples. I believe you misunderstood the point of my post. It was not to attack the Wiccan faith. First and foremost, I was reviewing a book I had read. Secondly, I expressed my interest in trying to understand why so many people I know personally are rejecting Christianity and drifting towards Wicca. I will attempt to briefly respond to your post.
    “The problem here is you’re basing your entire premise on the fact that “spiritual seekers” are shopping around looking for the religion they “like” best.”

    I would argue that the term “Spiritual Seeker” does denote a certain amount of “seeking” or “shopping” as you put it. Obviously, a “spiritual seeker” is looking for a faith that is palatable … one would not expect a seeker to pick a faith they find inane or offensive. The assertion I make in my post, and stand by here, is that there are many people who have decided Christianity is not palatable … but their decision has been based on a misconception of Christianity.

    “I’ve been a polytheist all my life, and I’ve always BELIEVED in a multiplicity of Gods. Saying that I’ve “converted” to Christianity would be ridiculous, because I don’t believe in the “one and only” God.”

    On the contrary, due to your stated belief in multiple gods, if you woke up tomorrow and decided that the God of Christianity was the one true God, it would indeed be classified as a conversion. Likewise if I were to suddenly believe in the Wiccan faith.

    “Books like these are useless. They don’t actually tell people why so many people are now starting to investigate non-monotheistic forms of religious expression, they just state that all these are “wrong.” ”

    Actually, the book I reviewed does make a valid effort to explain why people, specifically young people, are beginning to investigate Wicca.

    Again, welcome to this blog. You are more than welome to join in on our conversations here.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s