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Author Topic: Was Scott Cunningham the best or worst thing that ever happened to the Craft?  (Read 5243 times)

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C_A

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Re: Was Scott Cunningham the best or worst thing that ever happened to the Craft?
« Reply #15 on: September 09, 2014, 03:15:55 AM »

A BTW Tribunal (shudder).  In spite of our fairly strict adherence to some things, I think BTW's would be among the first to reject such an event.  That doesn't keep us from snarking about some folks though, and thoroughly discussing perceived transgressions.

Scott was a man of integrity.  I think he would have accepted negative reactions with grace and done what in his opinion served the Craft best. Though I'm sure the divisiveness that came out of his books would have horrified him.

Yes.  This.  I have heard about "tribunals" and "appearances" and even "indictments".  These were in the latter day trads, though.  I never heard of one in the orthodox three.  Makes me wonder, indeed, what the gentle Mssr. C would have said.  (or actually IS saying, he may still be having some effect on the Craft at large).  Integrity & grace?  Yes.  Horrified, yes, indeed.  Working toward the betterment of the Craft, yes, indeed, indeed.  One of the two gentlest men I met,  Isaac was the other.
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C_A

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Re: Was Scott Cunningham the best or worst thing that ever happened to the Craft?
« Reply #16 on: September 09, 2014, 03:21:36 AM »

I appreciate SC for completely different reasons.  His work on magical herbalism got me started down that road and ended up being the reason I study medicinal herbalism.

I just wish there had been a way to present his information without it ending up the way it did. It's too bad there isn't some grand BTW tribunal that could have handled some of the fallout on a larger scale.

The motivativation for, probably thousands of people, (including MANY that are still in the Craft, years later, growing and grown).

There are, though, such things...
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Questa

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Re: Was Scott Cunningham the best or worst thing that ever happened to the Craft?
« Reply #17 on: September 18, 2014, 10:55:05 AM »

This was a very interesting thread to read.  Scott Cunningham's book "Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner" is the one I've been wanting to buy the most. 

In my months long quest for knowledge on the subject, I feel I need to stick to information for beginners.  I also like "Wicca for Beginners" by Thea Sabin and also "A Witches' Bible: The Complete Witches' Handbook" by Stewart & Janet Farrar but I feel the latter may be too advanced for me.

Your thoughts or advice, please.   
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Canis

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Re: Was Scott Cunningham the best or worst thing that ever happened to the Craft?
« Reply #18 on: September 18, 2014, 02:43:27 PM »

I haven't read either of those. I started with Raymond Buckland's "Wicca for One" and found it very informative and easy to follow. I also followed up with Buckland's "Complete Book of Witchcraft", although that is geared more towards covens. I also reead Cunningham, mostly to have a different perspective.
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Questa

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Re: Was Scott Cunningham the best or worst thing that ever happened to the Craft?
« Reply #19 on: September 19, 2014, 09:50:42 AM »

Thank you, Canis.  Do you prefer Buckland?
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Canis

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Re: Was Scott Cunningham the best or worst thing that ever happened to the Craft?
« Reply #20 on: September 19, 2014, 11:24:51 AM »

At this point, Buckland is who I would recommend. But mind you, I'm new to Wicca myself, only 10 months in to my year and a day, some of the more experienced and knowledgeable members here might recommend someone else. I will add this, there have been some debate concerning self initiation on other threads here, in that one cannot initiate themselves but must come from a group, coven, etc. I haven't read enough of Cunningham's book to know if that is where self initiation comes from. Buckland refers to it not as self initiation, but self dedication. Also, Buckland initially learn under Gardner, who founded Wicca, and brought it here to the United States. That is one of the reason I started with Buckland.

As I said, I'm new to Wicca, if my recommendation is wrong I welcome a correction from someone more knowledgeable than me.
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Ashe Isadora

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Re: Was Scott Cunningham the best or worst thing that ever happened to the Craft?
« Reply #21 on: September 19, 2014, 06:14:31 PM »

The later editions of Cunningham's books on solitary practice have been edited to say self dedication instead of self initiation, which makes much more sense.

Personally I recommend Deborah Lipp and Amber K for people who are just starting out and building a solitary practice.  Their information on the Craft is solid and they explain the "why's", which is essential for creating a cohesive, solitary witchcraft practice.  Their books won't waste your money and are very user friendly.
« Last Edit: September 21, 2014, 06:07:45 AM by Ashe Isadora »
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C_A

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Re: Was Scott Cunningham the best or worst thing that ever happened to the Craft?
« Reply #22 on: September 21, 2014, 05:51:16 AM »

I'll second the Amber K works.  I am VERY partial to the late Pauline Campanelli for "the different perspective".  She was a wonderful woman with excellent advice, and she wrote it very well.
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Questa

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Re: Was Scott Cunningham the best or worst thing that ever happened to the Craft?
« Reply #23 on: September 30, 2014, 01:40:29 PM »

I'll second the Amber K works.  I am VERY partial to the late Pauline Campanelli for "the different perspective".  She was a wonderful woman with excellent advice, and she wrote it very well.

C_A, is that the same Pauline Campanelli who painted such beautiful pictures?  She lived right here in my area!  I have two of her paintings and one of her husband's.  I just Googled her and found out it is the same person.  I didn't know she was pagan and wrote books too. 
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C_A

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Yes, it is.  I met Dan a couple of times as I banked in the Hope Bank, (he also did showings in the art store in the P'burg Mall), worked in Hope and lived in White for many years.
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Questa

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The P'burg Mall is where I bought my paintings!  I remember Dan being there for a signing but I had a wedding that day and couldn't make it.  If you still live in the area, we are practically neighbors!  Small world!
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Kuerden D˙ghlas

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The best thing Scott did?  He made Wicca (well. not REALLY Wicca) available to the masses.  The worst thing Scott did?  He made Wicca available to to the masses.

LOL. Love that. ;)

Don't get me wrong, I love Scott Cunningham.  He brought me into the Craft and was a doorway for many, many others.  But he did advocate self initiation, something which is impossible, and allowed his publishers to call his religion Wicca, which was not Scott's idea.  They felt that witchcraft was too threatening and that the term Wicca might have more panache with the public and sell better.  And sell it did.

Scott was a BTW initiate and therefore oathbound not to discuss the particulars that define Wicca.  To his credit he didn't break his oaths.  So people who follow his path as described in his books for Solitaries are following an Eclectic Pagan Craft tradition, but it isn't Wicca ...

I wouldn't even call it "Pagan Craft" but an Eclectic Pagan tradition inspired and influenced by the Craft, or Wicca. Some call it "neo-Wicca" (a term that amuses as well as irritates me, since Gardner founded Wicca in the '50s). 



I'd be interested in other members' thoughts about this author. Did his contributions outweigh the fact that he watered down an oathbound mystery religion, and left out its defining factors, to make a lovely (bastardized) pagan tradition more available? Or do you feel he created a mess in this community that we'll deal with for decades to come? 

All opinions are welcome, I know people can be emotional about this and that's fine.

Personally, I strongly dislike Cunningham's so-called 'Wicca' books, but love his herbal and folk magic books, particularly Magical Herbalism (which I still reference) and Earth Power. I do not, however, feel he was the "worst" thing to happen to the Craft; that 'honor' goes to SRW. :P
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"Witchcraft fulfills a need in me to know that harmony can be created from discord."--Sybil Leek
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