Coming to the Edge of the Circle

Coming to the Edge of the Circle : A Wiccan Initiation Ritual

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This book offers an ethnographic study of the initiation ritual practiced by one coven of Witches located in Ohio. The participants are members of the religious community that describes itself as Wicca, the Old Religion, or the Craft. Within this community, initiation is seen both as the ceremony through which an individual becomes a member of the community and as a central transformative religious experience, expressed through performance and bodily praxis. In addition to contributing to our knowledge of this secretive religious movement, Nikki Bado-Fralick's analysis of the Wiccan initiation ceremony offers an important challenge to the commonly accepted anthropological model of "rites of passage." As a High Priestess within the coven as well as a scholar of religion, Bado-Fralick is in a unique position to contribute to our understanding of this ceremony and the tradition to which it belongs. Arguing the value of her dual role as scholar/participant, she also offers a thoughtful and perceptive self-analysis of the dilemmas this role involves.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 200 pages
  • 154.9 x 236.2 x 22.9mm | 408.24g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0195166450
  • 9780195166453

Review quote

Competent, persuasive, and succinct, this book is effective both in questioning ritual studies theoretical standard and in presenting a balanced case study of a Wiccan ritual. Highly recommended. * Choice * For all the generalized talk about ritual, there are few sustained studies of actually performed rites. In Coming to the Edge of the Circle Nikki Bado-Fralick offers a lively narrative account of Wiccan initiation into the Merry Circle. Her stories become occasions for reflection on crucial topics - bodiliness, intimacy, ritual learning, group formation, and group dissolution. Too many studies of ritual activity are either conducted awkwardly by outsiders peering in
at the dancers or written desperately by insiders courting the approval of doubting critics. Bado-Fralick's interpretive dance is of another ilk. She crisscrosses the circumference of ritual and academic circles with remarkable alacrity, performing candidly and playfully. * Ronald L. Grimes, author of Deeply into the Bone: Reinventing Rites of Passage * Coming to the Edge of the Circle is an account of the Wiccan religion as it is practiced and lived in modern America, but the book offers much more than a simple description of faith and practice. Throughout, the author has much worthwhile to say about the dilemmas of being an academic observing and participating in religious ritual, and in the process, she raises many good questions about how religion and ritual can be taught in the contemporary academic world. A
real contribution to the scholarly study of ritual. * Philip Jenkins, author of Dream Catchers: How Mainstream America Discovered Native Spirituality * In this fascinating study of membership in a Wiccan community, Bado-Fralick combines first-hand records of religious experience with analysis on insider-outsider problems in the study of religion. An excellent resource for undergraduate teaching that students will want to read and discuss. * Amanda Porterfield, author of Healing in the History of Christianity * Competent, persuasive, and succinct, this book is effective both in questioning ritual studies theoretical standard and in presenting a balanced case study of a Wiccan ritual. Highly recommended. * Choice *
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About Nikki Bado-Fralick

Nikki-Bado Fralick is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies and Women's Studies at Iowa State University. She is also a High Priestess within the Merry Circle coven.
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