I always try to keep an open mind when I find a new book, and focus on the possible teachings it could give me. I did the same with Contemplative Wicca: Reflections on Contemplative Practice for Pagans, by Teresa Chupp, and although there are some interesting concepts on it, I do not find it a really serious approach on Paganism or a well-developed branch of Wicca.
On the god side, the author offers a more minimalistic way of working with the divine, which she explains is one God, and that there is plenty of well-done research and analysis in each chapter of this book. One cannot claim otherwise, and I always respect new approaches that have a strong basis such as it is in this case.
It always said that we as Pagans could simply forget about rituals and spells, that to have a simpler approach to our Gods is just as correct as any, but there are hardly any books, as far as I have seen, that detailed such option. Contemplative Wicca offers a simple outline of what it would like to have such a practice.
However, I have to admit it bothered me a lot that Teresa Chupp said more than once that we as Pagans have to get away from tribalism and old beliefs, which for me implied that we Pagans are, nowadays, pretending to be indigenous tribes and that this is something to be corrected, implying, again, that said beliefs are wrong, that being indigenous is plainly bad. I may be wrong, of course, but that’s the impression she left in me.
Also, the style in which the whole book is written made it all seem to be a pretentious speech on how this was the only serious book about Paganism and that we, in order to be fully accepted and respected as religious people, should have an homogenous structure that could include the long, varied list of Pagan religions. Again, I got the impression that the author tried to say that Contemplative Wicca is superior to all the other religions.
One of the things I most celebrate and love about Paganism is that there an incredible amount of views on it, how rich and varied it is depending on the teacher, the author, the video, the book… there are just a few specific statements we all share, but we are all tied together because of diversity. It shocked me to see that Teresa Chupp considers this as a flaw, an imperfection.
Despite this does not make Contemplative Wicca a bad book or branch, I have my doubts about it. The scientific research and facts in which it is based is strong enough, but entire chapters seemed to serve the purpose of glorify the book itself, despite the author’s repeated attempts to say that any approach is as good as any, right before repeating what I have mentioned before.
Again, I think the author did a good job researching and linking different studies and theories, but her personal approach to me, the basis for this new branch, seemed to be pointless to me. This was more a manual on how to be a better human being, how to create a better society, than a presentation of Contemplative Wicca itself. I may be inclined, in the future, to read a comparison on the different branches of Wicca or Paganism if coming from Teresa Chupp, but I’m not sure I’ll give her another chance if it is about her personal perceptions.
About the Book:
Print Length: 144 pages
Publisher: AEON Books (November 1, 2018)
Publication Date: November 1, 2018
About the Author
Teresa Chupp has practiced Wicca as a solitary Wiccan and a member of various covens since 1989. She holds an MA in theology from the Graduate Theological Union and an MA in psychology from the University of California, Riverside. She is a member of the American Academy of Religion and the National Coalition of Independent Scholars and resides in Northern California.
About the Reviewer
Bader Saab is a digital journalist and self-published writer; a solitary, eclectic Wiccan interested in the darker side of magic and divination; a gothic guy who tries to educate whenever he can. He hopes someday to succeed in one of them. You can visit him at: https://www.instagram.com/saab.bader
Photo by Ganapathy Kumar on Unsplash