Witchcraft: A Concise History
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Witchcraft: A Concise History
TWPT: When was it that you first started thinking that an organized but concise history of Witchcraft would be needed soon?
IB: Actually, I was contacted by PocketPCpress about a year ago and asked if they could publish my "Brief History of Witchcraft" essay at my website in an eBook format. That essay was the result of the research I've been doing for many years for a long treebook on the topic. When I found out that I could easily update an eBook anytime I wanted, I found my writer's block dissolving, since I didn't have to worry about mistakes being frozen into print.
TWPT: Was it difficult distilling all the information that was available to you down into something that was easier to get a handle on but at the same time a clear representation of what Witchcraft was?
IB: Yes and no. It was mostly a matter of deciding what *not* to include in a brief text. I've been doing a lecture called "Which Witch is Which?" for twenty years, so I already had most of the material boiled down to the essentials.
TWPT: Where did the research and the information presented in this e-book come from?
IB: From thirty years of reading academic and Wiccan materials; conversations with people who had been in England when Gardner was creating Wicca, such as Sybil Leek, Gavin Frost, Fred Lamond, etc.; participation in Wiccan rituals and study groups; and deep research into Paleopagan Europe.
TWPT: How did your own experiences and knowledge shape this e-book and make it uniquely Isaac Bonewits' as opposed to some other history of Witchcraft?
IB: I've been lucky enough to be present at several historical occasions that shaped both the Craft and our ideas about it. My personal experience as a teacher and writer has shown me that serious scholarship does not preclude a sense of humor.
TWPT: What are the dangers of not having the history of Witchraft recorded and understood by those who follow the path now and those who will take up the path in years to come?
IB: My feeling has always been that a religion founded on lies eventually has to become tyrannical to protect those lies. Understanding our history as a modern created religion gives us the freedom to keep being creative, which is vital to healthy religions.
TWPT: Could you give our readers some idea as to what they will take away with them after reading Witchcraft: A Concise History. What subject matter will be covered in the book?
IB: Lots! I cover all the ways in which the word "witch" has been used over the centuries, provide a useful vocabulary for distinquishing varieties of witchcraft, give an overview of the structure of Wiccan ritual, and provide an annotated bibliography of recommended reading.
TWPT: Why the e-book format for this offering and will it eventually be available in a traditional book form?
IB: Because that's what I was asked for, and yes. I may publish it as a small handbook first and the full length text later.
TWPT: As a writer are you happy with the final form of Witchcraft: A Concise History or was there even more information that you would like to have included?
IB: There's always more to be said, but since the emphasis was to be Concise, I'm reasonably happy with it. The Second Edition will be out in another week or so, with corrections to typos and formatting problems in the First. Those who bought the First Edition can go to my website for an Errata Sheet.
TWPT: Finally, do you have any final thoughts for our readers about your book and what kind of impact you would like it to have on the community as a whole?
IB: I would like it to clarify our true history, drive the BS and the BSers out of our community, and inspire a new generation of Wiccans to keep creating!
TWPT: Thanks for stopping by and we wish you best of luck with your new e-book.
Since we originally ran this interview with Isaac about Witchcraft: A Concise History (the e-book version) the treebook version has become available. Please surf to the following page for details on purchasing a copy of this book.