The Wiccan Web: Surfing the Magic On The Internet

The Wiccan Web:  
Surfing the Magic On The Internet  
by Patricia Telesco and Sirona Knight
Citadel Press

 

Having been involved in the online Pagan community for six years, I have been fascinated to see what authors would do with the splendidly diverse and organically home-grown community that is the Neo-Pagan Internet.

However, when I picked up this book and looked inside, I was dismayed by what I found. The opening chapter on how to get onto the Internet was somewhat useful, but the rest of the book rolls downhill with the force of an unrestrained juggernaut. Reading it was like watching a train wreck in slow motion; I wanted to cry out and stop the impending doom, but could do nothing but keep turning pages and watch the silliness unfold.

The level of sheer goofiness in this book is astounding. Had it been written as a parody, it would be very funny, but as it was meant in straight-faced seriousness, it is sad.

Magick is presented in a mechanistic, cookbook fashion that implies one need only burn the correct incense, and say the proper words in order to change reality to one’s liking. Magick, as any serious practitioner knows, is not that easy, nor are the tools and components listed by such grimoires necessary. It isn’t the “stuff” that makes a spell work, it’s the will of the practitioner.

There is no mention made of focusing one’s will in this book; one is led to believe that if you simply say the words, such as “North, South, East, West, show me which site is best,” the magick will manifest. Yes, a lot of the incantations sound sort of like high-school cheers.

The authors are not content to make up “cyber spells” that sound hokey; they also feel the need to rewrite pieces of Wiccan liturgy in order to “cyber it up,” so to speak. They took “The Charge of the Goddess,” one of the central liturgical fixtures of Wicca, and rewrote it, as “The Charge of the Cyber Goddess,” so poorly that it comes across as parody.

The only good thing I can say about the book is that a lot of if is inadvertently very funny, and for that reason, I am not sorry I read it. But, if one is looking for a serious book to help navigate the sometimes confusing, sometimes irritating, always informative and usually fun Neo-Pagan Internet, one should look elsewhere.

BARBARA FISHER

RATING: 1 Broomstick


» Originally appeared in newWitch #02

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