The Pagan Who’s who series contains information about current and recent notaries which have contributed to, or influenced the modern pagan scene. Some names you may know already, some you may not, but all these people are dedicated and hard-working in their own particular specialised fields. For pagan, spiritual, occult or faith matters who from the last generation influences and inspires you?
If there’s a name a newcomer to Wicca and witchcraft will encounter as inevitably as that of Gerald Gardner, it’s that of Scott Cunningham.
Born in 1956, Scott Cunningham was a prolific American author writing on the subject of Wicca and related traditions and practices. He first encountered the Wiccan religion in high school, and was formally initiated in 1980. The common practice amongst most Wiccans at the time was to maintain, if not secrecy, then at least a certain discretion. Cunningham felt that there was another, better, approach in openness: that Wicca should be accessible, and not restricted to those fortunate enough to be invited into a specific line of initiation. He also commonly practised his religion alone, again contrary to the usual coven-based model.
His most well-known book is perhaps Wicca: A Guide For The Solitary Practitioner, which describes a model of Wiccan practice accessible to those without access to a coven for initiation and practice. Though his open approach – along with what some have argued is an overly light-focused interpretation of Wiccan tradition – has drawn criticism from some quarters, his books remain as popular as ever.
Scott Cunningham died in March 1993 at the age of 36. His writings have served as an introduction to the Craft for a huge number of modern Wiccans and witches, and will no doubt continue to do so for many years to come.