Popular Witchcraft and Environmentalism


  • Douglas Ezzy University of Tasmania




witchcraft, paganism, ritual, BL550


Witchcraft is often described as a ‘nature religion’ that is attractive because of its environmentally oriented mythology. This article examines the popular literature of contemporary Witchcraft to identify the extent to which Witchcraft reflects a substantial change from the dominant Western anthropocentric orientation to the other-than-human environment. I examine the rituals and worldviews in popular Witchcraft texts by Vivianne Crowley, Janet and Stewart Farrar, Scott Cunningham and Starhawk. I argue that there is substantial variation in the degree to which Witchcraft can be classified as providing an environmentalist ethic. While Witchcraft mythology is oriented toward nature, the focus of much Witchcraft on self-development leaves it open to becoming a religion of selfish individualism rather than a spirituality of respectful relationships.

Author Biography

Douglas Ezzy, University of Tasmania

Douglas Ezzy is senior lecturer in Sociology at the University of Tasmania, Australia. His books include Qualitative Analysis (Routledge, 2002), Practising the Witch’s Craft (Allen & Unwin, 2003) and the forthcoming edited collection Researching Paganisms (with Jenny Blain and Graha Harvey, AltaMira Press, 2004). His most recent research is an international study of teenage Witchcraft with Helen Berger (West Chester University). Ieuan Jones received a doctorate from the University of York in 2005 for his sociological thesis on modern British Paganism. Since then he has had a number of academic writings published, along with various pieces of music journalism, and is currently writing a paper on the Black Metal phenomenon.


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How to Cite

Ezzy, D. (2007). Popular Witchcraft and Environmentalism. Pomegranate, 8(1), 29-57. https://doi.org/10.1558/pome.v8i1.29