The Rise of Magic

The Capitol Times reports on a new book by Christine Wicker called “Not In Kansas Anymore : A Curious Tale of How Magic Is Transforming America”. She claims that the belief in magic has never really left us, and that the faiths which are experiencing huge growth rates are those that confront a “magical” reality.

“She contends organized religion chased away magic from public acceptance. The tradition of “an individualized, magical spirituality is old – everybody brought their magic,” when ethnic groups migrated to this country. What are we talking about? The line between Pentecostal talking in tongues and Wiccan mantras may not be that thick; these are the fastest-growing faiths in America. “I don’t believe in magic, of course,” Wicker writes. ‘Hardly anybody does, but we all live by it. It permeates our lives every day, and we wouldn’t give it up for all the science on Earth.'”

An interview with Publishers Weekly (posted on her web site) also makes plain that the uprise in the belief in magic isn’t tied to “New Age” thinking.

“Wicker observes that there is something fundamentally misunderstood about those who practice and believe in magic. That not one of her subjects accepted the term New Age to describe themselves told her that magical believers are not adherents of an amorphous flaky spirituality, but are simply believers in their own experience.”

According to Terri Paajanen at About.com’s Pagan/Wiccan section the book takes a wide view of the different magical practices and traditions in America today.

“Besides Wicca, she investigates voodoo and hoodoo, vampires and werewolves, magickal societies like the Golden Dawn, Christian and Gnostic mysticism, and everyday fairy tales and folklore.”

The point? According to book reviewer Terri Schlichenmeyer the point is that magic and magical thinking fulfills a primal need in our lives.

“In the process of her exploration, an ever-skeptical Wicker learns that magic has a place in everyone’s life – even hers.”

I think that this looks like a promising outsider’s perspective on the role of magic in our modern world.

Jason Pitzl-Waters

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