Originally posted on July 28, 2011 by John Halstead
Tonight I am going to a Meetup with Janet Farrar and Gavin Bone at the Occult Bookstore in Chicago. They are going to talk about their book, Progressive Witchcraft, and do a book signing. The Farrars (Janet and Stewart) are important to me because of their book The Witches Way, which explains Wicca in Jungian terms:
‘Whether the archetypal God-forms are cosmically divine, or merely the living foundation-stones of the human psyche, we would be wise to seek intercourse with them as though they were divine’. Myth and ritual bring about nourishing communication with the Archetypes, and because of the nature and evolution of the human psyche, the symbolism or myth or ritual—their only effective vocabulary—is basically religious.”
They also drew a controversial distinction between Wicca as a religion and Witchcraft as a magical practice for developing psychic powers — making it possible, in theory, to be a Wiccan, but not a Witch:
“The purpose of Wicca, as a religion, is to integrate conflicting aspects of the human psyche with each other, and the whole with the Cosmic Psyche.”
Although I eschewed the label “Wiccan”, this is how I understood Nepaganism as a religion.
I’m looking forward to meeting Janet in particular. I have to admit that this is probably influenced a little by the nude pictures of her which were ubiquitous in publications on Witchcraft in the 1970s.