A little more than twenty years ago, in the preference to his landmark study of contemporary Pagan Witchcraft, The Triumph of the Moon, the historian Ronald Hutton wrote that “the unique significance of pagan [sic] witchcraft to history is that it is the only religion which England has even given the world.”
It’s true. There is Wicca all over Europe, North America, and parts of South America. Outposts of local, as opposed to expat, Wicca have appeared in south Asia too.
Now comes an announcement of the publication of the first book on Wicca from an Indian publisher, Om Books Internationa, and written by an Indian author, Rashme Oberoi. It is titled Wicca: A Magical Journey with Spells and Rituals.
A Member of Parliament, Dr. Shashi Tharoor, himself an author, praised it: “In her writing, Rashme displays a deep knowledge of the psyche of Wicca, of healing witchcraft and of the exotic practice of spells and magical wizardry. The reader is led through a bewildering maze of incense-filled prose which will assail your senses as though you are physically by her altar.”
According to the publisher, the book “takes you through the practices she has perfected over a period of time.While providing a succinct introduction to the subject, it also creates an awareness about the world of the Wiccan that will help dispel the myth of a witch being ‘evil’ and make people realize that the modern-day witch is engaged in working for the highest good. As much a well-written manual on Wicca as it is a chronicle of a wondrous journey, the book will not only make you discover the hidden Wiccan in you, it will also be an appropriate guiding tool.”
I would like to know more about the “wondrous journey.” Is this really about Wicca-the-magical religion, or is it more about the Wiccan as “service magician,” to use another term that Professor Hutton has tried to popularize as a neutral way to describe sorcerors, shamans, hedge witches, and all manner of folk magical practitioners? Rashme Oberoi is on Facebook here for her Tarot practice, and if I am not mistaken, also works in corporate public relations.
Either way, it says something for Wicca that it such a book could be published in a nation known for ancient polytheisms. Or is there a novelty factor at work here too?