Modern Witchcraft and Psychoanalysis

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9780838634882: Modern Witchcraft and Psychoanalysis
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This book is a psychoanalytic exploration of the witchcraft cult as it has emerged in the United States, Canada, and Europe during the last half-century. The book's broadest aim is to disclose key motivational factors underlying participation in mysticism and the occult. After examining the work of Sir James Frazer, Margaret Murray, and Robert Graves in an effort to indicate the cult's historical sources, M. D. Faber turns to the writings of Freud, Roheim, and Kluckhohn to discover what psychoanalysis has said about witchcraft to date. He then explores the texts, rituals, and practices of modern witchcraft - concentrating, for example, on the magic circle, the Great Goddess, the composition of the coven, the rites of initiation, the witch's tools (wand, pentagram, crystal ball), and rituals such as Drawing Down the Moon and the Openings of the Body. His analysis is complemented by several interviews with practicing witches and by a detailed, firsthand account of a coven meeting.
Modern Witchcraft and Psychoanalysis approaches the rebirth of witchcraft with three major purposes in view. First, it seeks to discover what witchcraft means to the individuals who are involved. It explores the emotions, the wishes, the fantasies of these people to determine why they gravitate toward this particular cultic and religious movement. By doing this, the book strives to shed light on the reasons that lie behind an individual's involvement in cultic and religious movements generally. In short, it presents witchcraft as a representative example of the way in which cults and religions attract people to their ranks for powerful and emotional reasons that are rooted in the dynamic unconscious.
Second, the text explores witchcraft with an eye to disclosing its meaning in the culture within which it operates. Twentieth-century occultists hijacked Jungian psychoanalytic theory to mystical ends, and this book begins the process of retrieving the theory. Thus it is the first systematic expose of the irrationality of the philosophy that is used to justify the retreat into magic. Faber applies psychoanalysis to a phenomenon that is rapidly acquiring genuine sociological significance, namely the diversion into magic in the Age of Science. There are many books on the New Age shelves, but these are almost wholly uncritical, written by aficionados. The present book, by contrast, works to demystify the retreat into the occult by viewing it as a response to certain major features of the developmental process, including the fear of separation.
Finally, Faber's work aims to sort out the relationship of occult practice and magical action to the powerful social problems that have come to be a concern of the witchcraft movement, including the despoliation of the environment, the threat of nuclear conflict, discrimination against women, gays, and other minorities, animal experimentation, and religious persecution - all excesses of what witchcraft characterizes as "the old patriarchal scheme of things."

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M. D. Faber
Published by Fairleigh Dickinson Univ Pr (1993)
ISBN 10: 0838634885 ISBN 13: 9780838634882
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