Philosophy of Wicca purports to be “an overview of key religious concepts… detail[ing] Wiccan beliefs and…the how and why of this burgeoning religion” and it both succeeds and fails in equal measure.
The author admits right from the start that she cannot define what Wicca is, which, to my mind, undermines everything she says about the religion thereafter. How can one explore the philosophy and beliefs of a structure that no one agrees about? She attempts to do so, nonetheless, by stating her opinion about how things are, and then discussing them. And here she does fairly well. It was refreshing, for example, to see a clear demarcation between witchcraft and Wicca as two completely separate belief systems – a line much erased by popular authors.
But then Ms. Fisher goes on to describe Wicca as a monotheistic Goddess religion, a far from a commonly-held viewpoint. Most Wiccans are dualistic, if not massively pantheistic in their concept of the deity. As well, her research was not thorough (the Wiccan Rede is described as a “long poem with questionable roots” (ch. 7) when a simple web search shows just the opposite.
What was valuable for me was the opportunity to examine my own beliefs about Wicca and witchcraft, but I’ve been a practicing with for 20+ years now and I found the contrasts clear. For a beginner, or someone looking for a solid philosophical underpinning for their beliefs, I would not recommend this book.
~ review by Lisa Mc Sherry
Ed Note (10/06): Ms. Fisher no longer practices Wicca, but is a self-described "freelance monotheist", or what I've termed a "faithful agnostic" depending on her mood. http://www.breathlessnoon.com/about.php.Author: Amber Laine Fisher
ECW Press, 2002