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THE USES OF ECSTASY: Ritual and Practical Mysticism in Wicca

The Uses of Ecstasy
Ritual and Practical Mysticism in Wicca
Authored by Samuel Wagar
Photographs by Karla Dixon

The Wiccan religious movement is descended from a Mystery religion centred on ecstatic trance experiences. The Priestesses and Priests of Wicca are expected to be mystics as well as clergy. Wagar describes the rituals of Wiccan mysticism – Drawing Down the Moon / Sun and the Great Rite in detail, others in less detail – and how mystical experience is taught and integrated into the religion on both the group and individual levels. He distinguishes between several stages of trance and includes first hand accounts of Wiccan mystical experience as well as scripts and theoretical discussion. A valuable insider look at an influential new religion. Includes a useful bibliography for follow-up research.

Publication Date:
Mar 11 2012
1475026129 / 9781475026122

Samuel Wagar (Surrey, BC, Canada)

Sam Wagar has been active in the fight for human rights and religious freedoms for Canadian Wiccans, as well as being a political activist and the founder of many Pagan and Wiccan organizations in Ontario and British Columbia. He became an initiated Wiccan Peiest of Reclaiming Wicca in 1985 while spending time in New York. A year latter on Mother’s Day 1986 he founded his first eclectic coven.

Wagar founded the Pagans for Peace network for left-wing Pagans in 1982 and published its newsletter for twenty years until shutting it down in 2002. He was also the founder of the Pagans for Peace Tradition of Wicca and the Gathering For Life On Earth religious retreat in 1991 which is still running, the Congregationalist Witchcraft Association federal church in 1991, and the Congregationalist Wiccan Association of British Columbia (the provincial branch) in 2004. Sam is also an ordained Priest with CWABC. He also served on the Board of Directors of the Canadian National Pagan Conference for three years.

In 1994, Sam was a NDP candidate for election for Member of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia but was subsequently stripped of his candidacy after it became public that he was Wiccan. Wagar took the BC NDP, the then governing party, before the Human Rights Council and won a full apology in 1995. Wagar’s legal battle has been included in various university textbooks on human rights and he takes great pride in his advancement of the human rights and religious freedoms of Wiccans in Canada. In 1996 Sam ran for election as a Green Party candidate and has continued as an active Green since that time.

Wagar has also published several acedemic and non-acedemic works, and he continues to write, serve as Priest and a member of the Board of Directors of the CWABC. He also continues to rub many of the Lower Mainland’s Pagan community the wrong way, making no apologies for being exactly who he is.

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