Synopses & Reviews
Despite their centuries-old history and traditions, witchcraft and magic are still very much a part of modern Anglo-American culture. In Lucifer Ascending
, Bill Ellis looks at modern practices that are universally defined as "occult," from such commonplace habits as carrying a rabbit's foot for good luck or using a Ouija board, to more esoteric traditions, such as the use of spell books. In particular, Ellis shows how the occult has been a common element in youth culture for hundreds of years. Using materials from little known publications and archives, Lucifer Ascending
details the true social function of individuals' dabbling with the occult.
In his survey of what Ellis terms "vernacular occultism," the author is poised on a middle ground between a skeptical point of view that defines belief in witchcraft and Satan as irrational and an interpretation of witchcraft as an underground religion opposing Christianity. Lucifer Ascending examines the occult not as an alternative to religion but rather as a means for ordinary people to participate directly in the mythic realm.
"Examines occult phenomena from the viewpoint of the people who actually practice them. This solidly written and serious study, which uses little known primary resources, is recommended for academic and public libraries alike. Library Journal
"Building on the success of Bill Elliss very important Raising the Devil, this new book continues his exploration of dark and satanic themes in American culture. A very rewarding study." Philip Jenkins, author of Intimate Enemies: Moral Panics in Contemporary Great Britain
"In Lucifer Ascending Ellis has sensitively and brilliantly illuminated much darkness enveloping many mysteries associated with the occult. Believers and non-believers, scholars and general readers, will be entertained and educated by Elliss compelling narrative on all matters Satanic. This is first class myth busting." Dr. Michael Shermer, publisher of Skeptic magazine, monthly columnist for Scientific American, and author of Why People Believe Weird Things
About the Author
Bill Ellis, associate professor of English and American studies at Penn State Hazleton, is the author of Raising the Devil: Satanism, New Religions, and the Media. He has served as president of the International Society for Contemporary Legend Research and of the American Folklore Societys Folk Narrative Section and is an active member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.