collapse

* "Unable to verify referring url. Please go back and try again" Problem Logging In?

If you get an "Unable to verify referring url. Please go back and try again" error when you try to log in, you need to be sure you are accessing the board with a url that starts with "https://ecauldron.com".  If it starts with https://www.ecauldron.com" (or "http://www.ecauldron.com") you will get this error because "www.ecauldron.com" is not technically the same website as "ecauldron.com". Moving to the more secure "https" means it is more picky about such things.

Author Topic: Scott Cunningham  (Read 6498 times)

SunflowerP

  • Host
  • *
  • Join Date: Jun 2011
  • Location: Calgary AB
  • Posts: 8312
  • Country: ca
  • Total likes: 266
  • Don't teach your grandmother to suck eggs!
    • View Profile
    • If You Ain't Makin' Waves, You Ain't Kickin' Hard Enough
  • Religion: Eclectic religious Witchcraft
  • Preferred Pronouns: sie/hir/hirs/hirself
Re: Scott Cunningham
« Reply #15 on: November 23, 2014, 09:50:50 pm »
Quote from: Redfaery;166002
Thanks a bunch for the corrections. I'm trying my best to learn about the history of Wicca and the various NeoPagan movements in general just because...well, I think that's important stuff for me to know. Slightly offtopic: Do you have any resources you'd recommend?

 
It is important (if you don't know where you came from, how can you know where you are or where you're going? - generic you, not just you-Redfaery), and I should probably talk about it more on TC, rather than worrying about whether I come off as 'Grandma being boring about How It Was Back In The Day'.

I'm pretty much TC's resident expert (which is why Catja invoked me upthread), since I've not only been at this for a good long while (since about '73/'74, though for the first several years I didn't know much about what other folks were doing - the word 'dearth' is more applicable then, though it's partly because I was 12 and had limited access because of that, than that there were no resources), I've done quite a lot of research. But pretty much anyone who's been around for a long time is a resource for the bits they personally observed.

I often remark, w/r/t my 'TC's resident expert' status, that I'm no Ronald Hutton or Chas Clifton, both of whom have written on the development of the neoPagan movement. They and others are part of the growing field of Pagan Studies, for which the history of how the movement developed is a major area of study - it's still a very young field, so not everything you'll find is necessarily reliable, and of course any 'I was there' accounts are subjective. At this stage, I'd say, 'read anything you run across, but keep the salt shaker filled and handy, and compare it with other things you read.' (Which, incidentally, is exactly what best practice was for someone self-teaching before about 1990-ish, for learning how to be pagan.)

I'll give some thought to a longer list of resources to look for and get back to you with it (probably in a new/separate thread).

Sunflower
I'm the AntiFa genderqueer commie eclectic wiccan Mod your alt-right bros warned you about.
I do so have a life; I just live part of it online!
“Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live, it is asking others to live as one wishes to live.” - Oscar Wilde
"Nobody's good at anything until they practice." - Brina (Yewberry)
My much-neglected blog "If You Ain't Makin' Waves, You Ain't Kickin' Hard Enough"

Melamphoros

  • Staff
  • *
  • Join Date: Jun 2011
  • Posts: 2746
  • Total likes: 2
    • View Profile
Re: Scott Cunningham
« Reply #16 on: November 23, 2014, 10:36:43 pm »
Quote from: SunflowerP;166009

(Which, incidentally, is exactly what best practice was for someone self-teaching before about 1990-ish, for learning how to be pagan.)

I'll give some thought to a longer list of resources to look for and get back to you with it (probably in a new/separate thread).

 
Incidentally, I have been wondering what sort of resources on the occult were available prior to the 90's.


Jesus saves, Allah forgives, Cthulhu thinks you will make a great sandwich.
My Spiritual Blog

Jenett

  • Senior Staff
  • *
  • Join Date: Jun 2011
  • Location: Boston, MA
  • Posts: 3134
  • Country: us
  • Total likes: 675
    • View Profile
    • Seeking: First steps on a path
  • Religion: Initiatory religious witchcraft
  • Preferred Pronouns: she/her
Re: Scott Cunningham
« Reply #17 on: November 23, 2014, 10:49:12 pm »
Quote from: Melamphoros;166014
Incidentally, I have been wondering what sort of resources on the occult were available prior to the 90's.

 
Quite a few - though it depends a bit on how one defines terms (material on the occult is more widespread, for example, than material on modern witchcraft up until the early 90s.)

There's also rather a lot of mixed material - one of my early magical influences, for example, is Katherine Kurtz's Deryni series, where the first book came out in 1970. (They're very clearly ritual magic, except for the parts that aren't ritual, and in a more-or-less medieval Welsh, ergo Catholic setting, but it's possible to see a lot of interplay with contemporary esoteric resources.)

Ditto the work of Elizabeth Peters/Barbara Michaels, who under the latter name did several Gothic suspense novels that touch on various bits of esoterica, and the changes in how she handles that content between the 60s and 70s when she started, and how she handles it in later works is really fascinating.
Seek Knowledge, Find Wisdom: Research help on esoteric and eclectic topics (consulting and other services)

Seeking: first steps on a Pagan path (advice for seekers and people new to Paganism)

Louisvillian

  • Master Member
  • ******
  • Join Date: May 2013
  • Posts: 390
  • Country: us
  • Total likes: 49
    • View Profile
  • Religion: Syncretic religio romana/Hellenised Romano-British religion
  • Preferred Pronouns: he/him/his
Re: Scott Cunningham
« Reply #18 on: November 27, 2014, 02:14:41 am »
Quote from: Melamphoros;165981
This sort of begs the question:  Is A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner still relevant when there are much better beginner's resources available?
It depends on what you're going for, honestly. Though I question how "much better" other beginner's books are. Some might address particular concerns of paganism or witchcraft in the 2010s. But when it gets down to brass tacks, they're probably going to say a lot of the exact same thing as the next book.
« Last Edit: November 27, 2014, 02:14:55 am by Louisvillian »

Nyktelios

  • Sr. Master Member
  • *******
  • Join Date: Jul 2011
  • Posts: 562
  • Total likes: 2
    • View Profile
Re: Scott Cunningham
« Reply #19 on: November 27, 2014, 07:35:54 am »
Quote from: Louisvillian;166207
It depends on what you're going for, honestly. Though I question how "much better" other beginner's books are. Some might address particular concerns of paganism or witchcraft in the 2010s. But when it gets down to brass tacks, they're probably going to say a lot of the exact same thing as the next book.

 
That's true.

I don't think older books are necessarily irrelevant. "Witchcraft For Tomorrow" by Doreen Valiente is probably one of the most valuable resources for the basics of Wicca, even though it has a lot of questionable history. It presents a more undiluted form of Wicca, not the eclectic nature or goddess-based spirituality with a loose Wiccan framework presented in post-Cunningham beginner books. Not that eclectic spirituality is bad, there's just a difference between it and traditional forms of Wicca.

Jenett

  • Senior Staff
  • *
  • Join Date: Jun 2011
  • Location: Boston, MA
  • Posts: 3134
  • Country: us
  • Total likes: 675
    • View Profile
    • Seeking: First steps on a path
  • Religion: Initiatory religious witchcraft
  • Preferred Pronouns: she/her
Re: Scott Cunningham
« Reply #20 on: November 27, 2014, 12:03:39 pm »
Quote from: Nyktelios;166210
That's true.

I don't think older books are necessarily irrelevant. "Witchcraft For Tomorrow" by Doreen Valiente is probably one of the most valuable resources for the basics of Wicca, even though it has a lot of questionable history. It presents a more undiluted form of Wicca, not the eclectic nature or goddess-based spirituality with a loose Wiccan framework presented in post-Cunningham beginner books. Not that eclectic spirituality is bad, there's just a difference between it and traditional forms of Wicca.

 
One of the things I pointed out in the longer essay I linked above is probably worth calling out here : that how we talk about topics as a community changes over time. An older book may have excellent material (though, also, questionable history) but it also can't reflect, say, discussions about how we talk about witchcraft vs. Wicca, or initiatory Craft versus other kinds.

A good modern book (and they do exist - I'm fond of Thea Sabine's 'Wicca for Beginners' as a starting place these days) can give that sense of how the current community uses terms and has sorted out some common confusions in a way an older book can't, even if the rest of the content is very similar.

Again, I'm not saying 'don't read the older books'. But I am saying that someone who starts there is going to have some significant difficulties in talking to the current practicing community, and that seems an unpleasant thing to do to someone new to the community when there are in fact other options.

(Of course, this whole issue is why I really dislike book recommendations that are just lists of titles: all books have some things they do well, and some things they do poorly, and I think the community is much better served by recommendations that say things like "This is a classic, but how we talk about X and do X has changed a lot in 20 years" or "This book has a great intro to Y, but double check all the herbal info in a current source" or "I think you'd find this interesting because of the emotional journey and how she talks about learning Z over time, but the history is lousy, and the specifics of the trad are not terribly common.")
Seek Knowledge, Find Wisdom: Research help on esoteric and eclectic topics (consulting and other services)

Seeking: first steps on a Pagan path (advice for seekers and people new to Paganism)

Micheál

  • Sr. Master Member
  • *******
  • Join Date: Jul 2011
  • Location: Belfast, N. Ireland
  • Posts: 566
  • Country: ie
  • Total likes: 14
    • View Profile
    • Gall-Ghael
  • Religion: Alexandrian Wicca, Gaelic Polytheism
Re: Scott Cunningham
« Reply #21 on: November 27, 2014, 12:34:00 pm »
Quote from: Nyktelios;165883


The problem is that Wicca in his books, and those of similar authors influenced him such as Silver Ravenwolf, just seems rather generic. He also really emphasized the "harm none" rede, which is problematic for some people, and I have heard from BTW traditionalists that it was not originally part of Wicca, and is still not a significant aspect of traditional Wicca, as it is a pretty vague and unrealistic guideline.

What are your thoughts on Cunningham's books?

He definitely broke new ground in the misrepresentation of Wicca, however a huge part of that is by fault of his publisher that wanted to capitalise on a buzzword. I believe the 'Self Initiation' rite has also been revised in modern additions as well.

That said Scott himself was a pioneer,  and his work continues to both help and start many newcomers. It was ashame that he encountered such negativity in the Wiccan community at that time.

SunflowerP

  • Host
  • *
  • Join Date: Jun 2011
  • Location: Calgary AB
  • Posts: 8312
  • Country: ca
  • Total likes: 266
  • Don't teach your grandmother to suck eggs!
    • View Profile
    • If You Ain't Makin' Waves, You Ain't Kickin' Hard Enough
  • Religion: Eclectic religious Witchcraft
  • Preferred Pronouns: sie/hir/hirs/hirself
Re: Scott Cunningham
« Reply #22 on: November 28, 2014, 12:49:27 pm »
Quote from: Nyktelios;166210
It presents a more undiluted form of Wicca

 
No, it doesn't. Whether it is a form of Wicca at all depends on what definition of Wicca one is using - but it's not a 'more undiluted' form.

If one uses a very strict definition - that Wicca refers only to the traditions that have lineage by properly-performed initiation tracing back to the New Forest covens, and that continue to practice according to the practices of their lineage; what's often called BTW - then it isn't Wicca, period, because the core practices that make a thing Wicca are oathbound, and aren't in the book.

If one is using a broader definition, those oathbound practices are no longer the defining factor; the defining factors necessarily lie in exoteric material - and at that point, having a BTW initiation does not make a person's practice, or their books, inherently 'less diluted'.

I've been a member of the Amber & Jet email list (which is a Yahoo group on which BTW folks help seekers of BTW sort through the conceptions and misconceptions), and one thing that comes up recurrently is that they object to BTW being considered a 'gold standard' for How To Wicca... by people who reject BTW's own core standard.

I agree that many of the books of the Pop Pagan Book Boom were pretty dilute. But they're not dilutions of (BT)Wicca, so much as they're dilutions of neoPagan religious Witchcraft in general - a field that includes BTWicca, Eclectic Wicca, Feri, the Cochranite trads, NECTW, McFarlane Dianic, Budapest Dianic, and a whole slough of other trads/systems. (I'll note, too, that after Valiente stopped working with Gardner in the late '50s, she went on to work with Cochrane, and with other folks - there is no reason to suppose that what she presents in Witchcraft for Tomorrow is based solely on her Gardnerian training.)

Are older (pre-1990, say) books written by BTW initiates useful for getting a handle on less-dilute religious Witchcraft? Yes. But so are more recent books by BTW initiates (Vivianne Crowley and Thea Sabin come to mind, but there are others), and books by practitioners of other sorts of neoPagan religious Witchcraft. The problem is not that books of the Pop Pagan Book Boom were diluted Wicca, but that they were dilute.

Sunflower
I'm the AntiFa genderqueer commie eclectic wiccan Mod your alt-right bros warned you about.
I do so have a life; I just live part of it online!
“Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live, it is asking others to live as one wishes to live.” - Oscar Wilde
"Nobody's good at anything until they practice." - Brina (Yewberry)
My much-neglected blog "If You Ain't Makin' Waves, You Ain't Kickin' Hard Enough"

catja6

  • Staff
  • *
  • Join Date: Jun 2011
  • Posts: 380
  • Total likes: 1
    • View Profile
Re: Scott Cunningham
« Reply #23 on: December 02, 2014, 02:12:24 pm »
Quote from: Jenett;166015


Ditto the work of Elizabeth Peters/Barbara Michaels, who under the latter name did several Gothic suspense novels that touch on various bits of esoterica, and the changes in how she handles that content between the 60s and 70s when she started, and how she handles it in later works is really fascinating.

 
ELIZABETH PETERSP/BARBARA MICHAELS!!! She was an influence on me as well: for general esotericism, and also folklore (even though her stuff is clearly outdated in many ways on that front). But I love the way she integrates this material into her narratives, and uses it to underpin her stories. And you're right--there is a big change in how she uses that material over the course of her career.

shaamangirl

  • Sr. Newbie
  • **
  • Join Date: Nov 2011
  • Posts: 12
  • Total likes: 0
    • View Profile
    • http://www.ninjamind.blogspot.com
Re: Scott Cunningham
« Reply #24 on: December 02, 2014, 02:55:16 pm »
Quote from: Nyktelios;165883
He was, and remains to be, a perennially popular author on the subject of solitary Wicca and folk magic. I myself started with his book, Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner. While I found it very inspiring and easy for a beginner to understand, I came to realize that it was very different from more traditional forms of Wicca.

The problem is that Wicca in his books, and those of similar authors influenced him such as Silver Ravenwolf, just seems rather generic. He also really emphasized the "harm none" rede, which is problematic for some people, and I have heard from BTW traditionalists that it was not originally part of Wicca, and is still not a significant aspect of traditional Wicca, as it is a pretty vague and unrealistic guideline.

What are your thoughts on Cunningham's books?


Scott Cunningham is such a god to me, I love his books and I wish to purchase as many of them as possible. I'd like to build my BoS based on his books but my matriculation exams are keeping me really busy right now.
 :grr:

dragonfaerie

  • Master Member
  • ******
  • Join Date: Jul 2011
  • Location: Baltimore, MD
  • *
  • Posts: 431
  • Country: us
  • Total likes: 3
  • Priestess of Caffeina
    • View Profile
  • Religion: Wicca & Druidry
  • Preferred Pronouns: she/her/her
Re: Scott Cunningham
« Reply #25 on: December 10, 2014, 08:28:29 pm »
Quote from: SunflowerP;166282
I've been a member of the Amber & Jet email list (which is a Yahoo group on which BTW folks help seekers of BTW sort through the conceptions and misconceptions), and one thing that comes up recurrently is that they object to BTW being considered a 'gold standard' for How To Wicca... by people who reject BTW's own core standard.


Is that list still around?

I have a soft spot in my heart for "Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner" because it was the first book I bought on Wicca. I continue to recommend it to people, along with other books, because I do find that the rituals he includes in that book are good enough to get people started.

I never found it fulfilling enough it it's own right to be my whole practice (and indeed, I eventually found a coven to initiate into), but the rituals aren't terribly complicated and don't require a lot of materials to perform. Dilute it may be, but I think anything that gets a seeker over the hurdle of just reading books and into real practice is valuable.

I'll sometimes recommend "To Ride a Silver Broomstick" for the same reason, though not often. I own an old copy of that, too, and I found it useful in a lot of ways to my earliest practices.

I still occasionally look at beginner books on Amazon or in the store... and of course, it's all rehashed materials, because how many different ways can one explain these concepts? About the only thing that will make me want to toss a book across the room is when the author wants to boil the Rede down into "Harm None." That isn't what it says, nor what it means, and it drives me up the wall.

Karen

Jenett

  • Senior Staff
  • *
  • Join Date: Jun 2011
  • Location: Boston, MA
  • Posts: 3134
  • Country: us
  • Total likes: 675
    • View Profile
    • Seeking: First steps on a path
  • Religion: Initiatory religious witchcraft
  • Preferred Pronouns: she/her
Re: Scott Cunningham
« Reply #26 on: December 10, 2014, 08:50:57 pm »
Quote from: dragonfaerie;167143
Is that list still around?


It is! It has gotten quieter over the past year or two, but there are occasional bursts of posts from it and interesting conversations. (I lurk there because I am not BTW, and therefore it is not my place to talk, but I have learned *tons* over the past decade+ by listening and reading the archives.)
Seek Knowledge, Find Wisdom: Research help on esoteric and eclectic topics (consulting and other services)

Seeking: first steps on a Pagan path (advice for seekers and people new to Paganism)

dragonfaerie

  • Master Member
  • ******
  • Join Date: Jul 2011
  • Location: Baltimore, MD
  • *
  • Posts: 431
  • Country: us
  • Total likes: 3
  • Priestess of Caffeina
    • View Profile
  • Religion: Wicca & Druidry
  • Preferred Pronouns: she/her/her
Re: Scott Cunningham
« Reply #27 on: December 10, 2014, 09:30:54 pm »
Quote from: Jenett;167145
It is! It has gotten quieter over the past year or two, but there are occasional bursts of posts from it and interesting conversations. (I lurk there because I am not BTW, and therefore it is not my place to talk, but I have learned *tons* over the past decade+ by listening and reading the archives.)

 
I'm not BTW, either... while I could call the tradition I'm initiated into "traditionalist", our founder was originally trained in a Dianic coven and the trad is mostly influenced by the public writings of pre-publishing boom Wicca and is really more properly eclectic Wicca. But I did go through a phase where I was most curious about BTW.

I honestly wish there was more published practical stuff on BTW. I know there's outer court stuff that could be shared if so chosen. So I wonder if it isn't available because they want to keep to themselves or if there's no publishing market for it.

Karen

Jenett

  • Senior Staff
  • *
  • Join Date: Jun 2011
  • Location: Boston, MA
  • Posts: 3134
  • Country: us
  • Total likes: 675
    • View Profile
    • Seeking: First steps on a path
  • Religion: Initiatory religious witchcraft
  • Preferred Pronouns: she/her
Re: Scott Cunningham
« Reply #28 on: December 10, 2014, 10:01:31 pm »
Quote from: dragonfaerie;167147

I honestly wish there was more published practical stuff on BTW. I know there's outer court stuff that could be shared if so chosen. So I wonder if it isn't available because they want to keep to themselves or if there's no publishing market for it.

 
Given the amount of grief a lot of BTWs have gotten over the years for sharing some of the public stuff but not laying out private practices on a platter for anyone who wants them, I'm not sure I blame people for stopping, really.

(I have thought long and hard about what's on my Seeking site for similar reasons, for what it's worth: walking the line between 'this is useful material for people outside the trad' and 'this comes too close to oathbound stuff for me to be comfortable with' is *hard*. And time consuming.)

It's also true there isn't a huge publishing market for it - the people who want to provide related material that's useful to solitaries do so (Besides Cunningham and Ed Fitch, there's Deborah Lipp, Thea Sabin, and a good handful of others who have done so - none of them have a complete system, really, but outer court wasn't ever supposed to be a complete standalone system anyway) and the group stuff isn't relevant without a group, really, and has a more limited market.

There've been a few things coming out with more people doing epublishing, where if you're willing to do the writing, and don't mind a limited market, people can get it, but the quality is highly variable, and you sort of have to know the author's background before you can trust whether they're being forthright about the usefulness and amount of outer court material, y'know?
Seek Knowledge, Find Wisdom: Research help on esoteric and eclectic topics (consulting and other services)

Seeking: first steps on a Pagan path (advice for seekers and people new to Paganism)

dragonfaerie

  • Master Member
  • ******
  • Join Date: Jul 2011
  • Location: Baltimore, MD
  • *
  • Posts: 431
  • Country: us
  • Total likes: 3
  • Priestess of Caffeina
    • View Profile
  • Religion: Wicca & Druidry
  • Preferred Pronouns: she/her/her
Re: Scott Cunningham
« Reply #29 on: December 10, 2014, 10:11:38 pm »
Quote from: Jenett;167150
Given the amount of grief a lot of BTWs have gotten over the years for sharing some of the public stuff but not laying out private practices on a platter for anyone who wants them, I'm not sure I blame people for stopping, really.


I don't blame them, either. The pagan movement, in general, seems to be gravitating towards "tell me everything I need to know" and less towards doing the work to learn and establish a personal path.

Quote
(Besides Cunningham and Ed Fitch, there's Deborah Lipp, Thea Sabin, and a good handful of others who have done so


I have some of that stuff, and some of the "older school" works as well... the Farrars, Valiente, Gardner. Buckland's Big Blue.

Quote
but the quality is highly variable, and you sort of have to know the author's background before you can trust whether they're being forthright about the usefulness and amount of outer court material, y'know?


True. I don't buy a lot of self-published stuff because the quality is usually terrible. Much like sussing out fanfic online, for every gem you find, there's a couple dozen turkeys.

Karen

Tags:
 

Related Topics

  Subject / Started by Replies Last post
0 Replies
1962 Views
Last post July 06, 2011, 02:46:45 pm
by RandallS
1 Replies
1877 Views
Last post September 27, 2011, 08:04:30 pm
by celestialwolf
7 Replies
1979 Views
Last post November 27, 2013, 12:29:27 pm
by Aranel
41 Replies
5972 Views
Last post March 26, 2015, 12:21:13 pm
by Micheál
2 Replies
618 Views
Last post January 28, 2018, 02:36:27 pm
by Darkhawk

Beginner Area

Warning: You are currently in a Beginner Friendly area of the message board.

* Who's Online

  • Dot Guests: 38
  • Dot Hidden: 0
  • Dot Users: 2
  • Dot Users Online:

* Please Donate!

The Cauldron's server is expensive and requires monthly payments. Please become a Bronze, Silver or Gold Donor if you can. Donations are needed every month. Without member support, we can't afford the server.

* In Memoriam

Chavi (2006)
Elspeth (2010)
Marilyn (2013)

* Cauldron Staff

Host:
Sunflower

Message Board Staff
Board Coordinator:
Darkhawk

Assistant Board Coordinator:
Aster Breo

Senior Staff:
Aisling, Jenett, Sefiru

Staff:
Allaya, Chatelaine, EclecticWheel, HarpingHawke, Kylara, PerditaPickle, rocquelaire

Discord Chat Staff
Chat Coordinator:
Morag

Cauldron Council:
Bob, Catja, Emma-Eldritch, Fausta, Jubes, Kelly, LyricFox, Phouka, Sperran, Star, Steve, Tana

Site Administrator:
Randall