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Bookviews Book Reviews




Green WitchCraft III

The Manual

by Ann Moura (Aoumiel)

I remember the first time I read Ms. Moura's first book "Green WitchCraft". It was a deeper connection for me to the "Kitchen Witch" and "Earth Mother"parts of the eclectic path that I have melded and adopted as my own path. It was well written and practical. I found it basically exlains Ms. Moura's Tradition of "Green WitchCraft" for those not familiar with it, and is a good place to start on this particular path.

Her "Green WitchCraft II" book covers the balance of nature, the play of shadows and of light. This is probably one of the best books on the subject of balance, and the two sides of nature. I especially enjoyed the meditations, and she did not disappoint me in this book either.

Her "Green WitchCraft III" book, subtitled "The Manual" covers the earlier material in text book form and is for those who are serious about following the Green Path.

Here Ms. Moura presents, in lesson form, the basic tenants of Green WitchCraft and gives step by step instruction on how to make this path your own. Her classes are layed out in a well thought out format and she covers the material in an easy to follow and understand manor. She gives question and answer following each class, pointing out he important material and encouraging the reader to think about the subjects covered. I love a book that gives you the opportunity to think.

For those who really enjoyed her preious Green WitchCraft books and want to adopt this path into your own path or make this your primary path, this book will become the handbook for you. Those who are solitary will find it indispensable and those who teach will find they can use this book as a handbook for this particular path.

Green WitchCraft is a path well defined by Ms. Moura in her first and second books, and is completed here in her manual.

Reviewed by Boudica


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Encyclopedia of Wicca & Witchcraft

by Raven Grimassi

Raven Grimassi has collected together in this one volume some of the basic elements of Wicca and Witchcraft as well as some biographies of the movers and shakers within our community.

Mr. Grimassi covers many areas of beliefs, such as the various Gods/Goddesses and their stories.  He also covers such items as tools, books referencing Wicca and Witchcraft, trees, animals, organizations and so much more.  He has entries related to history, myths, legends, shamanic material and so much more  that the book becomes a text book as well as a reference book.  The information is general, but covers much of what a researcher might want to know about each subject and how it relates to Wicca and Witchcraft.

What I found interesting were his bios of people who have either founded or were an influence to our Spiritual paths.  From Aleister Crowley to Oberon (Tim) Zell to Doreen Valiente to Carl Weschcke, he provides information as to who these people were in a brief but insightful manner.  I thoroughly enjoyed reading the backgrounds of some of the people who have written our books or founded our organizations or have had some influence on what we know today as Wicca and Witchcraft.

This is a good book for those who are constantly referencing this kind of material, as Mr. Grimassi has put much of what we have to usually look in many volumes for into one convenient location.  This is a wonderful collection of information that will be pulled off the shelf again and again.

Reviewed by Boudica


The Healing Craft - Healing Practices for Witches and  Pagans by Janet & Stewart Farrar and Gavin Bone

The Healing Craft - Healing Practices for Witches and Pagans

Janet & Stewart Farrar and Gavin Bone

This book took me a while to read, as the content was more than usually offered in this type of book. This is a massive undertaking by The Farrar's and Gavin Bone on the subject and is very professional and well written covering of the subject.

This book tackles the huge expanse of the Healing Arts as practiced by Witches and Pagans. It covers the origins of Healing in history and its association with Paganism. This books discusses various dedications, medical associations,ethics (rarely ever addressed in books on this subject) and various medical practices and techniques.

This is a text book on the subject, covering its chosen topics in depth, and is probably the best I've read. The section on Ethics of Healing, Code of Ethics and Conduct is worth having the book for that alone.

Though I am not a professional in the Healing Arts, I did find the book to be a fountain of information. Healing Rituals, self dedication rituals, information on herbs, chakras, spiritual healing, poppet work, auras; the list of topics goes on and on and is probably more information than I will ever use.

You can see the influence of Gavin Bone here, his 15 years in the medical profession shines as his input on medical and medicine related subjects. Though easy to follow, it is not a simple book by any means. It is geared toward the person who has chosen the Healing Arts as their calling and contains everything from rituals for the healer to what chakra rules what part of the body, discussion on herbs and their healing properties, counseling techniques, Shamanism and even a Last Rites Ritual.

The histories of medicine and spiritual healing are also priceless, as a collection of this information all in one book is rare. All these elements combined make the necessity of this book being in the library of anyone seriously interested in the healing arts.

The Farrar's and Gavin Bone have written a powerful book that fills the need to examine the healing arts and all its aspects deeply, professionally and with the respect it deserves.

 Reviewed by Boudica



The Heart of Wicca :
Wise Words from a
Crone on the Path

by Ellen Cannon Reed




For those who know Ellen Cannon Reed, she is the author of "The Witches Qabala" and "The Witches Tarot". She has also done a book on pagan music.

For those who really know Ellen Cannon Reed, they have learned that she is a fiercely Traditional Wiccan and and a die hard traditionalist at that. That is why she is so valuable to the community at large. She keeps the flame of the original, unwatered down Wicca for all to see.

Her book, "The Heart of Wicca" attempts to explain why she is such a Traditionalist, explores Traditional Wicca and shows the pure roots of the original foundation of Wicca. She looks at initiation, symbology, Deities and all the other elements that comprise Wicca.

The Wicca Ms. Reed practices is not for everyone, and this book does explain why. Ms. Reed does bring up some valid points worth reading and exploring.

Her call for standardized initiations is probably her best suggestion. Initiation used to be something to be proud of. However this, sadly, is not the case anymore. Ms. Reed approaches the subject with intelligence and presents her facts accordingly.

She also makes a good argument that all who choose the Wiccan Path should spend some time in a Coven, learning the basics of Wicca. If you are going to do something, do it right.

If you want to see where we came from, create a good solid foundation in your own life and learn this from someone who knows her business well then this book makes a great starting point.

Ms. Reed is a good teacher, with a solid, no nonsense background. And though not all will agree with everything she says within her book, she does give you a good background of what Traditional Wicca is. Understanding leads to tolerance and that is something that we all need within this diverse community known as Paganism.

Reviewed by Boudica



A Compendium of Herbal Magick by Paul Beyerl

I am always looking for books on herbs and herbal references. I took to herbs and their properties many years ago, healing being my original pursuit. Organic and natural healing and healthy alternatives attracted my attention back in the early 70's and its resurgence as Holistic medicine and Natural healing practices have encouraged a plethora of books on the subject.

What is different about this book is that it focuses on the magickal properties of each herb listed. As a Witch, I have always sought after these kinds of properties to include them in with the known healing aspects of herbs.

As you read through this book, you have to be amazed at the time and research Mr. Beyerl has put into this book. From the various names of each herb, (Latin, common and "also called") to the planetary associations and magical classifications to the historical references, lore and all the various associations, this book is just chock full o' information on the over 300 herbs he has listed.

The bibliography reads like a who's who of herbal references and is worth the read. This book has been very deeply researched, and the best part is that it also includes a wonderful "Part III" section of associations, correspondences and even astrological information. This makes the book a real value. The index is well thought out and very thorough, important to a book like this. If the index is lacking or poorly planned, the book becomes useless to use as a reference. Not the case here, as this is an easy to use reference book.

This is a great book and one I am glad to add to my library as a reference book for the magickal properties of herbs.

Reviewed by Boudica    


High Priestess - The Life and Times of Patricia Crowther

by Patricia Crowther

History is an important item when we want to consider where we have come from in order to determine where we are going.

Patricia Crowther puts together in her book an interesting first hand view of the beginnings of modern day Wicca. For those who do not know her, she was initiated into the craft by Gerald Gardner himself, and was one of the key players in the birthing of what has become the basis of our modern day belief system.

What many readers will find interesting is how Ms. Crowther sees the other founders of the various branches of the Craft and other well known influencential persons in the Wiccan movement. Her memories of Gerald Gardner, Alex Sanders and R. J. Stewart, to name a few, are interesting and insightful into these early movers and shakers.

Her own path to the Goddess is also recorded here, as well as her own life and times. The 50's and 60's and the early Craft are reflected upon in her stories of her travels and her discovery of the roots of Goddess worship.

This is an interesting book for its history and worth having in your library as a fascinating first hand account of Modern Wicca from one of the Founding Mothers.

Reviewed by Boudica


Hot Chocolate for the Mystical Teenage Soul - 101 True Stories of Angels, Miracles, and Healings by Arielle Ford

What can you do when your teenager comes to you and asks about Spirituality? How do you answer their questions?

We are not experts on spirituality, though we do walk a very different path than others. Some of us are fortunate enough to have support at these trying time, through the elders of our covens.

But many of us do not, either because of choice or unavailability. So how do we answer our teenagers questions?

Hot Chocolate was so much fun to read. I found it to be as entertaining as it is thought provoking. And this makes it a great choice to offer a teenager. We all know how bored they can get so fast. This book is one I can honestly say I did not get the least bit bored with.

Hot Chocolate is a collection of personal experiences in small autobiographical format from people who have experienced, in one way or another, a personal spiritual touch or awakening. Most stories are told in the first person, and this makes it easy to relate to the story on a one to one level.

Each story is well written for the most part, and does not go over the head of the reader, nor are any of them so "way out" as to be unbelievable. But each story does provoke thought, questions and ideas. From the "spooky" stories to a biography of Joan of Arc to Vision Quests and Angels, each story relates personal experiences on a variety of spiritual paths.

As I read, I found myself contemplating the stories, looking at each of them as a basis for discussion between parent and teenager. What grand discussion some of these stories would make in an open forum with a group of teens, or, for that matter, a group of adults.

As a tool, this book would be of value to the average pagan parent seeking a "common ground" platform with which to discuss spirituality with their teenager. I would recommend it to parents following any spiritual path as a book to inspire as well providing good conversational material for themselves and their teenager.

Reviewed by Boudica  



How to be a Goddess:
Ancient Wisdom for
Modern Women
by Valerie Khoo

This is not a pagan book.  The book is about positive role models found in the Goddesses of old.  It is a book of positive affirmations for the modern woman.


The book looks at six Greek Goddesses, their myths and their roles as women in that culture.  The author then explores how these Goddesses can be interpreted in today’s modern world.  The author tells the story of each of the Goddesses.  She lists their associations and attributes.   


The author then discusses how these attributes can be blended into everyday life.  She finds inspiration in the lives of these women from myth, and uses their strengths to draw upon every day’s challenges.


Using Athena’s wisdom to decipher your skills, or Artemis’ integrity for your core values are just some of the examples the author uses in this book.  I find her vision of these role models to be unique and interesting.  And her follow through of showing how these attributes and lessons apply to everyday life is fresh and exciting.


While this is not a book on religion, or paganism, the material addressed here relates to what we follow as values in our lives.  It does not take a religious experience to see the lessons the ancient ones left for us to learn from.


This is a good book to explore how the Goddesses relate to your own personal life and your own personal inner strengths.

 Reviewed by Boudica


The Inner Temple of Witchcraft

by Christopher Penczak

I think Mr. Penczak sums up this book in these lines “For me, Witchcraft is the building of sacred space, in myself, my life, and my environment….  I wanted to help others find their own sacred space, their own inner temple.  The information and exercises would build up to that experience.” 

The book and the companion CD’s (sold separately) focus on this building of sacred space through meditation and working from the basic foundations of Witchcraft.


The book approaches Magick as a science.  The chapters approach the topics as lessons, with exercises to explore the lessons and what is learned. 


I found the book to be an in depth study of some of the basics of Witchcraft.  Topics include learning to work with energy, working on the astral planes, developing a good meditative state, positive affirmations of self development, and many more that can lead a person on the path of being an actual practitioner of Witchcraft.  This is a working book, not just a study of the topic.


The book is well laid out.  Mr. Penczak follows through on the topics, has references for recommended reading, a good bibliography and covers the basics as well as some more progressive material. This would be a good book for those who would like to explore Witchcraft more deeply and need a guide to show them the way. 


There is also a 4 CD set of meditations as a companion to this book.  Using the background of the book, the CD’s set up an easy way to work with the material in the book without having to open the book to reference it during the mediations. 


Mr. Penczak’s voice is perfect as far as I am concerned, it does not grate on you nor does it lull you into sleep.  The light melodic fill is just that, filler for the spaces between words and does not distract from the words. 


I found the material covered to be good for meditation and it works well with the material in the book.  If you find the book to be what you are looking for, the CD’s are a good addition. 


I enjoyed the entire presentation, and Mr. Penczak gives us some very well based and solid material.  

Reviewed by Boudica 




Keepers of the Flame: Interviews with Elders of Traditional Witchcraft in America

by Morganna Davies and Aradia Lynch


In recent years there has been an explosion of new books released by a variety of publishers that run the gamut from the simple how-to books all the way up to scholarly treatments of Paganism, Neo-Paganism, Wicca, Witchcraft and the occult in general. With a few notable exceptions the subject of Traditional Witchcraft in America has pretty much remained untouched by many of these releases which makes Keepers of the Flame a book that will be of interest to those who have ever wondered about some of the Traditions that currently exist in America and how to contact them.

Keepers of the Flame is a collection of interviews from some of the cornerstones of Traditional Witchcraft in America today. This book is an attempt by the authors to collect some of the viewpoints and ideas held by the elders of Traditional groups in America and preserve them for future generations of seekers who will step onto the path after these elders have disappeared from the earthly stage. Hence the image of passing the torch from the elders of the current movement to those who will become the new elders at some point in the future. 

The problem with writing a book about Traditional Witchcraft that is aimed at readers beyond those who are already involved within these traditions is that because of the secrecy and lack of public exposure over the years you have to reacquaint your readers with who it is that you are talking about. The authors handled this by splitting the book into two distinct parts. The first part is broken down by tradition and then by those who are interviewed for the book within that tradition. Each tradition is given a short intro which is followed by an introduction to those who will be expressing their opinions in part two. The personal introductions are short and to the point taking only enough space to give the reader some idea as to who the person is and what their affiliations are with the traditions that they will be talking about later.

The second part of the book is basically a question and answer session featuring the elders who introduced themselves in part one with each one speaking as a representative of the tradition of which they are an active member. There was a chronological limit imposed on who would be speaking about each tradition as well. For the most part everyone who contributed material to this book became a High Priestess or High Priest before 1980. The questions in this section touched on many topics including: Is the Craft based on Ancient Teachings? , What do you think of the current quality of teaching?, How do you feel about degrees and hierarchy?, and Is a tradition necessary today?. The answers were varied and as expected covered a whole spectrum of feelings, some very open to the current climate and some not caring much for what is happening within Wicca, Witchcraft and Paganism.

Keepers of the Flame is not a book of secrets, rituals or even in depth information about Traditional Witchcraft. As per the beliefs of those who practice this form of Witchcraft, that information can only be had by joining a tradition and moving through the degrees. What it does offer is a glimpse of those who are the elders of this movement and how they feel about all the changes that have taken place in the Traditional Craft movement over the last 50 years or so. Some see the "mainstreaming" of our beliefs as a blessing and others think that it would be the worst thing that could happen. The opinions were as varied as the elders who offered them.

I would not recommend Keepers of the Flame to everyone but I would recommend it to anyone who is considering Traditional Craft as the path they wish to follow or to those who would like to understand the opinions and attitudes that make Traditional Craft what it is. Some names that you will find in the book will be very familiar such as Raymond Buckland, Hans Holzer, Elizabeth Pepper, Chas Clifton and Leo Martello and others will be totally new to you depending on your own involvement with Traditional groups. For those who are happy on their eclectic, non-traditional, self dedicated path then this book will hold little of interest. For those who are always curious about what is on the other side of the fence then perhaps you might want to take a look at what Traditional Craft is about through the eyes of its elders and see whether or not the grass is greener over there, at least on a personal level that is. An interesting read.

Reviewed by Boudica


GreenFire - Making Love with the Goddess by Sirona Knight

GreenFire - Making Love with the Goddess

MoonFlower - Erotic Dreaming with the Goddess by Sirona Knight

MoonFlower - Erotic Dreaming with the Goddess


GreenFire - Making Love with the Goddess
by Sirona Knight

Greenfire explores the relationship between ourselves and our Deities. As we express ourselves with one another, so too, we can express ourselves with our God and Goddess and we can have a personal, intimate relationship with our chosen deities.

This book refers to the deities as the Goddess and her Consort, the God. The Wheel of the Year is the cycle of the union between the Goddess and Her Consort, and is a celebration of this union. Ms. Knight explores the different sabbats according to the celtic traditions. She gives a correspondence between the chosen Goddess and Her Consort and the sabbat. She goes into their history and their relationship. She then has a guided meditation, centered on the Goddess and Her Consort, where you and your mate join in the union of the Goddess and Her Consort, becoming one with them and creating for you both a personal, spiritual relationship with the Goddess and Her Consort. This is sacred sexuality, and is tastefully done, well explained and the guided mediations are well developed.

Ms. Knight introduces and discusses in this book the path of sacred sexuality. This is a spiritual path of perfect love with the God and Goddess and is well defined in this book. The research on the Goddess and her Consort is well done and development of the guided mediations is excellent.

MoonFlower - Erotic Dreaming with the Goddess
by Sirona Knight

In conjunction with Greenfire is her book MoonFlower - Erotic Dreaming with the Goddess. This book follows a similar format but it explores the relationship between the Goddess and Her Consort and the esbats. Each full moon of the Wheel of the Year is defined, explained in relationship to the celtic traditions. She again chooses a Goddess and Her Consort to correspond to each full moon and explores the history and relationship between them. Again, this is a celebration of the union between the Goddess and Her Consort and we are to experience this spiritual union personally. She offers a guided journey for dreaming with each Goddess and Consort. As we immerse ourselves in this guided dream, we become part of this union, and create for ourselves a sacred joining of ourselves spiritually to the Goddess and Consort.

Again, this is well written. The guided dreaming is tastefully done and the history of the Goddess and Consort is well researched. The path of sacred sexuality is treated with respect and honor, as it should be. Well done on the part of Ms. Knight.

Reviewed by Boudica


Reiki - Music for Healing  

CD from the Mind Body Soul Series for New World Music 

By Tina Allison I. T. E. C. - Reiki Master and  Music by Llewellyn.

Reiki is a Japanese Touch Healing art that was re-discovered in Japan at the end of the last century by a monk named Dr. Mikao Usui.  

This healing art was brought to Hawaii in 1938 by Hawayo Takata and just in the past ten years has become one of the fastest growing alternative healing arts in the United States.

I found Reiki several years ago, and was so impressed with the art, its philosophy and the results that I had with it that I took the courses, and am happy to say that a year ago I became a Reiki Master/Teacher.

When I practice Reiki, I like to set up an environment that is conducive to healing and stress relief.  This includes lighting, incense or aromatheraputic oils and soft music in the background.  It makes a space that is relaxing for my subject while being relaxing and meditate for myself to work in.  

Music is always a challenge.  There is music out there that might be interpreted as healing music, and I look for something that will be gentle on the nerves yet not elevator music.  Much of the music for healing these days seems to be oriental in flavor, and while I may enjoy it, it is my subject that I need to please more so than myself.

I am familiar with the music of Llewellyn from his CD entitled "Moonlore".  Others may know him from his CD "Celtic Legend". His music has a magical and mystical edge to it and is a pleasure to listen to.  I was thrilled to see that this CD of Reiki music was written by him. 

The music on this cd is broken down into 5 minute tracks to be used with the 12 basic hand positions in Reiki.  The inside cover of the CD gives an overall look at Reiki as a healing art, a primer on Reiki Healing Sessions with the 12 positions of the hands for healing, the principles of Reiki, a brief history, and then an overview of the music.

Llewellyn did an excellent job of combining electronic music and natural sounds with music that is soft but not elevator music.  It has his magical touch to it, making it more than just background music.  It is more of a meditative flow, and a de-stressing sound. 

I have had the opportunity to work Reiki with this music, and besides the 5 minute timing that enables you to concentrate on healing rather than timing, it also is not distracting while being just at the edge of where you are when you are working with Reiki.  Some of the Reiki Teachers I have had the opportunity to share this with like the music and all of my subjects said it was soothing and not overbearing.

The music is also not of that oriental flavor so much of the recent healing music seems to be.  While Zen Meditation music is very nice, it is nice to have something that is different and can be offered in addition to Bali Bells or Japanese flute music. 

I found this package to be well presented, with a very good explanation of Reiki for the beginner and well thought out for the benefit of the Reiki practitioner.  And the choice of Llewellyn for the composer of this music was, in my opinion, the best choice for this CD.  A good addition to the music library of any Reiki practitioner, and if you are not, then give this a listen and see if it isn't one of the best relaxation CD's you have heard in a while. 

Reviewed by Boudica


Mabon and the Guardians of Celtic Britain
by Caitlin Matthews

This book is a re-release of “Mabon and the Mysteries of Britain”, first published in 1987, which is now out of print.   The author has revised and updated this new version.

We are mostly familiar with the stories and heroes of the Mabinogian.  The stories are of Welsh origin.   They are the stories of knights and ladies which have entertained us for many generations. 

Ms. Matthews is a researcher into the Arthurian legends, Celtic traditions and has published many books in this vein.  This is the first of her books that I have read, and I found it interesting as I am familiar with the Mabinogian.

The start of the book delves into Welsh pronunciation, in order to help the reader sound out some of the names from the book.  There is also a section on Welsh story telling, helping the reader understand where and how these stories came about.  Ms. Matthews then disassembles the stories of the Mabinogian for the reader, discussing the imagery, the language and the suggested meanings of the different parts of the story.  She does a splendid job of making this easy for the reader to understand, and based on her research gives interesting insights into some possibilities of the inner meanings of the material that may have eluded the reader.

She also includes family trees, story progressions and various translations in order to help the reader come to a fuller understanding of what these stories represent.  There is also a very complete bibliography in the back of the book as well as the book being indexed.

All in all, this is a fine book to explore the Mabinogian with, and I would recommend it to anyone who is looking to better understand some these wonderful stories.   This would benefit the beginner as well as provide good discussion material for those who are familiar with the material presented here.

Reviewed by Boudica


Mabon - Celebrating the Autumn Equinox
by Kristin Madden

The Mabon book is the final installment in the Llewellyn Sabbat series.  They chose Kristin Madden to do this book, and a fine job she did.  Another book that is well researched and is packed full of Autumn trivia, recipies, customs and lore.

Ms. Madden's credentials are impressive, she has the background and knows her material well.  There are different paths explored, from the Hebrew to the American to the Celtic to the Norse.  The book is a well rounded presentation of the Harvest season.

Harvest is about celebration, and the book contains ritual celebration, it contains the celebration of food, it discusses symbols and customs and traditions.  There is a really good explanation of the Equinox that anyone can understand, and some basic astrological information that did not send me running for a reference book.  There is even an Internet resource listing in the back of the book that points out web material on Autumn and the Equinox.

If you have not looked at this series by Llewellyn, it probably is one of the better series Llewellyn has created.  It is a series of collected knowledge, research and insights by some wonderful authors, both well known and those who should be well known.  Though many may not be familiar with Ms. Madden, with this book we will be looking for other titles from her. 

Add this one to your collection or start the collection with this one.  I think you will be pleased with the entire series, as I have been. 

Reviewed by Boudica 


Building a Magical Relationship –
The Five Points of Love
by Cynthia Jane Collins, M. Div and Jane Raeburn

Cynthia Jane Collins is a clinical member of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy and a practicing Wiccan for thirty years.  She also holds a Master’s of Divinity and an M.S. in counseling.  Jane Raeburn is a columnist, author, editor and website producer.  These authors have team up to produce a wonderful book on working relationships on the spiritual path of Wicca.

The book is based on five principles:  Equality, Consensus, Honesty, Giving and Receiving and Balance.  While it would be obvious that these principles should be the basis of any good relationship, we sometimes overlook the obvious.  Ms. Collins and Ms. Raeburn walk you through these points, using excellent examples and discussion as well as common sense and professional counseling techniques.  Each author contributes insights and advice in each of the situations encountered.

Techniques and tools such as meditation, tarot cards and spell work are also used, making this a work of magic as well.  Spirituality and Deity come into focus as relationships are worked out on many different levels.  

I found the book well written and researched.  The advice is professional as well as practical.  The examples cover a variety of situation that couples might encounter.  While this book can not cover all examples of relationship problems it covers the more common stumbling blocks and offers good solid advice, as well as ways to initiate changes and work towards solutions.  

There is a good resource section in the back of the book and the book is indexed for easy reference.  The content of the book is not restricted to heterosexual couples and can be used in any couple situation.  While Wicca is the spiritual focus, it is not just about Wiccan couples and provides a variety of faith situations.  So as a reference book, it is not limited in the scope of its material.

I would recommend this book for those who are looking to enhance their relationship as well as any professional counselor who deals with couples in relationships.  This is also good for those who want to explore adding or expanding the spiritual path of Wicca to their relationship or counselors who have Wiccan couples as clients.

There are times and situations which call for more than this book can offer.  But this book offers valuable basic real life experience and professional insight into working, growing relationships.

Reviewed by Boudica



Mastering Reiki:
A Practicing and Teaching Primer
by John Tompkins Jr.


As a Reiki Master/Teacher, I see a lot of other teachers, and listen to many students discuss their first Reiki tuning.
There is a tendency these days to give a cheap Reiki first level tuning, with a quick lesson and a scrap of paper to explain it all. I have had many people who received first level tunings tell me it was a fake, fraud and they got nothing out of it except losing their [price].

Mr. Tompkins presents us with a book that would be a great augment to any first level practitioner who feels that the instructions were left out of their tuning.

Mr. Tompkins offers a very clear and exact manual on how to use your Reiki tuning to get the most of this healing art. The pictures offer instruction that are clear and easy to follow.

There is a section about being professional as a Reiki practitioner. There are also correspondences for crystals and stones, and even for keeping personal records. Mr. Tompkins covers a lot of ground here, and makes this a book that is worth having in your personal library.

This book augments the first level Reiki tuning very well, and is worth a personal recommendation for those who did not seem to get out of their first tuning what they might have expected.

For those who did get a good foundation for their first tuning, this book might do well to cover those little nagging items that your teacher may have forgotten to add. Teachers are not perfect, and we do tend to get bogged down sometimes with some item or another that has us forgetting to cover another important part of our lesson. Here is a handbook that could fill in a blank or two.

This is a good reference book and it's good to see someone making this information available in a very clear and well written format.

Reviewed by Boudica



Magical Celebrations of the Summer Solstice
by Anna Franklin

Midsummer is a magical time of the year for most of us Pagans and this book reflects that magical spirit in its content.
Ms. Franklin provides us with all that is essential to celebrating the Midsummer Festival or "Summer Solstice" in this book. 
Expertly researched myths,lore and customs cap this piece.  I really enjoyed the stories about the origins of Midsummer festivals and the Ancient Themes.

The herbal correspondences, stone correspondences, tools, rituals and divination techniques all add to this as being a wonderful primer for those who are wandering early in their path and are looking for a starting place for their celebration of another turn in the "Wheel of the Year".

Ms. Franklin has given us a well written, nicely presented book on celebrating this Holiday in the Pagan calendar and it is a wonderful addition to the Sabbat series by Llewellyn.  

Reviewed by Boudica


Modern Pagans: an Investigation of
Contemporary Ritual
by V. Vale and John Sulak

During the Sixties there were many movements afoot and there were attempts at the  removal of some long standing  practices adopted into the moral codes by our Puritanical country founders.  The Sixties saw the birth of the "Sexual Revolution", hard core environmentalism, communal living in a whole new way, and for the most part it has continued to be expanded upon and revised as we find new ways to express ourselves.  The hippy revolution of the Sixties of free love and freedom of expression was a milestone that enabled us to explore many other avenues,  like Paganism.

It seems only natural now that Paganism came out of the broom closet along with all the other freedoms expressed in the Sixties.  It was a time of change, a time of experimentation, and if you think about it, the hippie movement of free love, sexual freedom and environmentalism was a necessary step.  After all, if you add spirituality to the items listed you find the core of Paganism.

This book is a collection of interviews with some of the movers and shakers who brought Paganism to the forefront during this time period.

Interviews with the Zell Ravenhearts, Margot Adler, Starhawk and other founding members of Reclaiming, Isaac Bonewits, Patricia Monagham and so many others.  Many of them are from the West Coast and have their roots in the Sixties.  Others are contemporaries who added their voices and their flavors to the Pagan movement at that time.

While it is true that the Sixties was a wild time, and that many of these Pagans at that time were extreme in what they are doing (some of them still are and are very proud of it).  The founding of organizations like The Church of All Worlds, Reclaiming, books by such authors as Margot Adler and Isaac Bonewits and Patricia Monagham helped to shape the then Pagan movement and lay the groundwork for the community that we have today.

The interviews are for the most part very interesting.  Discussions on the founding of a particular path or movement that now comprises part of the Pagan movement are part of our history and many are gone into in details.  Much of the groundwork for creating a movement that has turned into the Pagan Community we know today is explored and covered very well.  Discussion on  environmental issues and how this becomes a part of the core of Paganism is evident here.

What seems to be extreme here though is the "over exposure" of sexuality of the individuals and  the emphasis on freedom of sexuality within the Pagan movement.  Discussion of individual practices or emphasis on sexuality within the founding organization seems to be indicating that this is common practice within the entire Pagan Community,   Also, the authors took great care to try to include at least a photo of some of the interviewees in various stages of undress.

There is nothing wrong with stating that Pagans are definitely most free when it comes to personal sexuality and many of the hang-ups and taboos that conventional society have are not present within the Pagan Community.  We do not, as a community,  endorse any of those hang-ups or taboos and are very accepting of many different lifestyles and practices.   However, the sub-title of the book "An Investigation of Contemporary Pagan Practices" and the emphasis on and inclusion of so much dealing with personal sexuality seems to suggest to the casual reader that maybe Paganism as a Spiritual Path is obsessed with sexuality and that the Pagan Community is also so obsessed.  Such is not the case, and one has to wonder why so much is placed on it by the authors.  The roots of our acceptance of sexual freedom are evident here, but in my opinion it is overplayed by the authors.

That is not to say this book is by any means less valuable.  The interviews are well worth reading, as much of the material is not collected in one place as it is here.  And some of the photos that are included, such as a most precious photo of Isaac Bonewits as baby and  Margot Adler and Starhawk as a children are interesting.  There is also discussion of music with Ann Hill of Serpentine Music, and in the back there are some mini-profiles of some other contemporaries such as Ivo Dominguez, Jr. (Assembly of the Sacred Wheel) , Sharon Knight (Pandemonaeon), John Macate (Military Pagan Network) and Selena Fox (Circle Sanctuary).

I would not recommend this as a first look for anyone not familiar with the Pagan Community today. But I would recommend it for those interested in the history and in those who have laid the groundwork for our community.  This book is a fascinating look at the Early Pagan Movement.

Reviewed by Boudica 


Out of the Shadows:
Myths and Truths of Modern Wicca
by Lilith McLelland

Here is a book that approaches our modern spiritual path with a bit of wisdom and a background of knowledge that makes this book worth reading.

While this book is a good resource for defining the various spiritual paths within the modern Pagan movement, it also contains well researched information about the history of Wicca.  From the various traditions to how Wicca is perceived in the outside public's eye, Ms. McLelland covers the material as only someone who knows the material well could do.
Ms. McLelland has included much of her personal experiences with the growing Wiccan community in Massachusetts, and I enjoyed her frank style and her observations on her community.

Her information about stereotypes, charities, covens and traditions are well put together for the most part, and are well worth reading for the material they cover.  Her personal experiences with working within the community are clever at times, and she points out the pitfalls of being too loving and trusting in a community that holds perfect love and perfect trust a bit too close at times.

What I did find, though, was her feeling of disappointment in some of what is going on in the Wiccan Community there.  While it is good to impart personal experiences and information about what works and what does not work in the community, her own feeling seemed disheartening and came across in some sections very clearly.

This book has much to say, and if you can understand the feelings of the author on some topics, it is good in conveying  how community can be successful at times and go astray in others.

Reviewed by Boudica 


Magical Needlework by Dorothy Morrison

Magical Needlework

subtitled 35 Original Projects & Patterns

by Dorothy Morrison

I consider myself an experienced needle person, being well versed in embroidery and quilting.

Working with the needle, sewing patterns, making quilt patterns, and working magic has always been in my own work. Watching weavers at their looms has convinced me that a true craftsperson could combine magic with any kind of needle craft and create some wondrous magical weavings.

In her book "Magical Needlework", Dorothy Morrison gives us a starting place for this kind of magical interweaving.

Her projects are simple, from a cover for a Book of Shadows, to poppets. The designs are very pagan or celtic in flavor, but an experienced needle person could take these projects and patterns to new heights.

She covers all kinds of needlework, from embroidery to needlepoint, to knitting, crocheting and quilting, so no one should feel the subject matter limited. She takes you step by step, with well laid out and clear directions. Most are well illustrated.

She also explains the magic. How to work the spells, herbs to use, energy flow from fabric and texture, making it easy to understand.

I found this book interesting, and I have considered a couple of projects, elaborated upon and molded just a bit to make the finished project uniquely my own. Just have to find the time to put it all together.

I recommend it for beginners and experienced alike, who wish to include magic in their projects. A good read, even for an experienced needle person like myself.

Reviewed by Boudica 


Finding New Goddesses –
Reclaiming Playfulness in Our Spiritual Lives
by Barbara Ardinger

I approached this book a bit skeptically, as these days everyone and their brother is inventing new Deities.  But this book is different.  The approach to Deity is lighthearted, whimsical and yet practical.

Barbara Ardinger is an author I am acquainted with from her book “Goddess Meditations” and I know her to be respectful of Deity.  She approaches Deity in this book with the same respect, yet ads to the scope of the Deities we are already familiar with.  While remaining reverent of the Goddesses of old, she weaves the new needs the modern woman has for Goddesses to help in today’s day to day existence and gives us some very powerful and yet approachable new Goddesses.

While most of her Deities are Goddesses, and I could have asked for more balance in the addition of a few Gods, we do see the need for modern women to find an association they can relate to.  While many of us may be familiar with the modern “Asphalta”, Ms. Ardinger elaborates even further.  How about “Acme” the Goddess of High Tech or “Agenda” the Goddess of meetings.  

These are obvious.  I found “Buffy” the Goddess of the Gym to be a poor choice of names, as many of us are familiar with the TV show “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and would have preferred “Svelta” or something along that line, but many other names are almost “tongue in cheek”.  How about “Chocolata and Vibrata, the Goddesses of Ecstasy.  And while Ms. Ardinger does introduce us to some of the consorts, like “Mr. Buzz- All-Night”, consort to Vibrata, again, I find myself being a more balanced type and looking to see what other consorts would fit in with these new Goddesses.

I enjoyed this look at the new needs of women today and how modern Deity can be worked into our daily lives.  We sometimes stretch the abilities of the old Deities to try to associate them with our every day chores and sometimes we do feel a need for a Goddess who fits more in place with what we need at the moment.  And as Ms. Ardinger points out in the beginning of her book “A note on Playfulness in Spiritual Writings”  “The Charge of the Goddess tells us “All acts of love and pleasure are My rituals.  Let there be … mirth and reverence within you.”  We’ve found the love and we’ve found the reverence.  I think it’s time to find the pleasure and the mirth.  It’s time to lighten up.  It’s time to play with our Goddesses.”

Reviewed by Boudica 


Of Spirits: The Book of Rowan
by Ivo Dominguez Jr

This is a book of teaching, a book of understanding and a book that needs to be read carefully and completely to be truly appreciated.

The book is a handbook on dealing with Spirits. 
Spirits?  Yes, Spirits.  That thing that moved and you caught it out of the corner of your eye.  The "pop-up" you had about your cousin dying, or a sister that is pregnant. The "ghost" of someone near and dear to you who you talk with on a regular basis.  Or maybe you see those who walk in "shade" sometimes. 

What about the God or Goddess with whom you speak on a regular basis?  Or maybe you have "Drawn Down the Moon"?

These are all manifestations of Spirit.  We do this, we think we understand what it is we are dealing with, but to be quite honest, I don't think we understand more than a "surface scratch" what it is we are dealing with.  And without understanding, we can never hope to achieve a real relationship with these "Discarnate Beings" or realize our fullest potential.

That is where this book comes in.  To understand, to be able to draw upon techniques and develop our own personal abilities further in order to create a more fulfilling, working relationship with these Beings is what Mr. Dominguez discusses in this book. 

This is the "nuts and bolts" of the various practices of working with Spirits.  From explaining the different forms of spirit, the different levels of working relationships, the different types of contact we can experience, and finally, to successfully connecting to and successfully separating ourselves from Spirits, Mr. Dominguez covers it all in depth.  With clear separation of fact and fantasy,very detailed discussion and solid based research, Mr. Dominguez presents the community with a working textbook on Spirits.

While it may help many with a basic understanding of a talent you may or may not have, those who will benefit most are those who have dealt with or deal with Spirits on a regular basis.  From the Priestess who "Draws down the Moon" to the talented card reader or the apprentice medium, each will draw from this book a clearer understanding of what they do.  And in this understanding, you can find a closer bonding with the Spirits that touch you as you touch them. 

For the serious practitioner, this is the book that can help make your experiences hold more meaning, educate you in the finer points and bring about a whole new understand of what it means to work with Spirits.

Reviewed by Boudica 


The Old Girls' Book of Spells:
The real meaning of menopause, sex, car keys,
and other important stuff about magic
by Cal Garrison

By the time you reach Crone-hood, you are supposed to have accumulated lots of life experiences that include wisdom, knowledge and your own book of spells.

Cal Garrison has her collection of spells in this book. There are lots of little gems here that make this a book worth reading, even if you don't need the spells.

Her approach to menopause and her whole approach to dealing with Croning and magic is a refreshing break from the standard "serious" dealings with this change in life. Her spells are common sense approaches to what we deal with at this time in our lives.

A good solid beginning to this book with plain talk about Croning and the Wiccan path continues with some much needed reviews of what we need to do to prepare ourselves for spellwork. While this appears to be basic working knowledge, how often do we either pass by a step because we are in a hurry or we just forgot? Basic reviews are good.

The spells are geared towards the crone, with titles such as "special charm for a sweet grandchild" or "spells to help you find your glasses, car keys, wallet and anything else that's missing". There are also spells to rekindle that love flame in your relationship, and spells to help you get and/or keep your job in a time when age could play a factor in you losing a job.

There are also spells for selling or finding a new home, blessing and cleansing your home, spells for better relationships with your children and your relationship, and just plain spells to help you feel better about yourself. And of course, money and love spells.

A nicely put together book especially for those who are working on their Croning years, this is a nice addition to any library.

Reviewed by Boudica



Paganism: An Introduction to
Earth Centered Religions
by Joyce and River Higginbotham


The Higginbotham’s offer a general overview of Paganism in this book, as well as offering a basic handbook of the practices of different paths within the Pagan Religions. 

This book goes in two directions.  First is a very good overview of many of the different groups that are under general Paganism.  Explored are the basic philosophies and beliefs of Druids, Wiccans, Asatru, shamanism, magic, general paganism and all the various offshoots.  There is a good section on many of the various paths under that ‘umbrella’.   There are many theories that have given rise to the modern pagan movement that are explored as well.


There is discussion on what makes the pagan paths different from other world religions and discusses beliefs and practices as well as myths and misinformation.


The second direction of this book is a basic handbook on the practices of many of the different beliefs.  From the Wheel of the Year to connecting with personal Deity to individual responsibility, the book reads as a guide to incorporating many of the philosophies and basic Tenets of these beliefs into your own life.  Ethics are also discussed throughout the book and there is a good chapter on Ethics and Personal Responsibility.


The book also has ‘aids’, or subsections that allow the reader to absorb or digest the material in the book, encouraging the reader to think about the material, add it to their journals for further research, discuss with others or question for themselves.  This gives the book more of a handbook feeling. 


There are good notes for each chapter, a glossary and an excellent bibliography that allow the reader to pursue those things they may find they want to explore further.  There is also an index for easy reference. 


There is much information in this book that is worth looking over.  If you are unfamiliar with Paganism in general, this is a good primer.  If you are looking to expand your base of knowledge on Paganism, this book offers a good overview.  And if you are looking for a good basic handbook, while there are many specific to the various paths, this book would make a good overall view for those who are looking at the various paths and need a guide or are looking at paganism in general for their path.

Reviewed by Boudica 



Pagan Theology:
Paganism as a World Religion
by Michael York

Some books are meant to be read by all while others are scholarly texts that are written to augment our basis of knowledge.  This book falls into the second category and Mr. York has done his homework.  Pagan Theology is a thesis on the Pagan Religion, not a work that teaches us or presents us with entertainment or tradition.  

Mr. York has gone into depth exploring the vast patchwork that is the Pagan Path.  Mr. York argues the path as a valid religion and explores the theology and the modern practices.  He then compares them to other religions to validate our presence as a
valid religion. 

Mr. York argues his point well and very thoroughly.  I am impressed with his research.  The book is a wonderful textbook for those who study comparative religions and would make a great addition to college classes on the subject. 

But it is a textbook, not a casual read.  Anyone who has gone through text books on theology would agree that they are not
meant for a lazy afternoon.  And this book is not for everyone.  While it would be good for those who are looking at a Doctorate in Theology or a good reference book for their term paper on comparative religions, it would not interest the casual beginner.  Mr. York is a good researcher and worked out the book well to present his point; but it can be dry in spots.  That is a characteristic of any text book, I’m afraid.  Good material, but sometimes long and tedious if the material is not what you are looking for. 

This book should be recommended to teachers at the College level for addition to their curriculum or as a study aid for
comparative religion studies or theological research on general pagan studies.   It should also be recommended to clergy of other religions who would find it of value in their own studies of comparative religions. 

Reviewed by Boudica 


Patchwork of Magic:
Living in a Pagan World

by Julia Day

We all need a smile in our lives.  Pagans are no exception.  And if we smile while contemplating who we are, so much the better.

"Patchwork of Magic" explores the many paths of Paganism in Britain, as seen through the eyes of a very British lady.  Julia Day is an English writer, and if you are familiar with the dryness of true British humor and a fan of such, you will find this look at the various paths within Paganism a wonderful and refreshing study.

I was a big fan of Sybil Leek.  I remember the pictures of her walking about with a staff and those shoes that were, to my American eyes, hiking boots.  How I laughed when Ms. Day made reference to Traditional Witches and their "boots".  Tongue in cheek, she analyzes the different paths, with a touch of dry humor,  which make up the crazy patchwork quilt of the Pagan movement.

But what I really loved was her comparison of the different systems of paganism.  The discussion on festivals, and where they came from and how they have evolved was fascinating.  She does her research and comes up with some really interesting facts and even more interesting conclusions. There are many such tidbits of knowledge here, about Sacred Space, incense and even being Coven Leader.

The following is an example of the gems to be found in the chapter entitled "Life's Little Wisdoms".  "Do not strew your circle with cat mint if there are likely to be cats in the vicinity.  The devastation that one or more ecstatic cats can wreak on a circle has to be seen to be believed!" 

Her perspective on using magic in everyday life (driving, housework etc.) may have a British spin but can definitely translate to everyone else. 

But, most importantly, this book is a primer of common sense.  The "Thirteen Things to Help Your Development" is a great section that has some very good and practical ways to improve your mind, body and spirit.  You don't have to be British to understand these basic principals.

Ms. Day works practical values across all the various paths within Paganism, things that we all have in common that we can and should develop.  Respect for ourselves, for others, tolerance for everyone, ego checks and self esteem boosters, all worked into a format that gives us wisdom touched with humor, a good combination for any book.

Ms. Day's book is available here in the States with a small wait. 

Reviewed by Boudica


Perfect Trust:
A Rowan Gant Investigation
by M. R. Sellars

It takes a special set of characters to allow an author to develop a series.  It takes a good writer to develop a couple of stories into a good mystery series.

M. R. Sellars new book "Perfect Trust" shows, again, that he has the talent necessary to give us a classic mystery series.

There is a blend of the "witch" aspect of Rowan Gant and mystery.  This is tastefully done, well presented and used to accentuate the story.   One of the victims wants her killer to be caught and she has a hold on Rowan.   Will the dead woman get her revenge on her killer through Rowan? 

The fantasy and "occult" does not overshadow the well written story.  We see the deepening of the characters in this book, giving us a more personal side to their development.   We see Rowan becoming more familiar with his role in police work, just as it would develop in the real world.  Mr. Sellars gives Rowan a human aspect to offset the "witch" powers.  A balance of fantasy and reality to give this book enough realism to cause us to shiver at the horrors yet delight in the character play.

Mystery books are a matter of taste.  There are some mysteries which rely on technical aspects, and get boggled down in details.  Some people love that kind of mystery.  Others want the cerebral mystery and want to spend hours outside of the book trying to figure out who done it.  Some want a good quirky character and want the suspense to run from cover to cover.  Still others prefer a supernatural experience. 

I find that Mr. Sellars has blended all of these aspects into this book evenly and  without overkill.  This book is entertainment.  The various aspects are not overdone; I did not have to spend hours trying to figure out what was going on, there was the "right" amount of suspense, cerebral mystery, supernatural and character development for me.  I love the personal interaction of the characters, the police work is well researched and the suspense starts at the opening page and continues to the end of the book.

"Perfect Trust" is not wanting for plot, mystery, suspense or that special touch of the "supernatural" that makes Rowan Gant unique in the mystery book world.  I found it a "Perfect Balance" of all the aspects that make up a good mystery story. 

Reviewed by Boudica 


The Practical Pagan:
Commonsense Guidelines for Modern Practitioners
by Dana Eilers

Finally, a book that deals with the realities of being pagan in a mundane world.

Bravo to Ms. Eilers for taking the time and energy to put a lot of very valuable reference material together in one place and make it available to everyone.

For those not familiar with Dana Eilers, she is a witch, she is a lawyer. She has worked for legal council for such groups as WARD, AREN and WADL. She has put in "years" of voluntary time to various Pagan/Witch/Wiccan groups as legal council as well as just time spent helping bring order to a chaotic situation.
Her book does the same thing. While we are all aware of our spiritual paths, we do encounter legal entanglements that may or may not be of our own making.

In those things that we mess up for ourselves, Ms. Eilers offers advice and council as to how to unmake those messes and avoid them in the future. Much of it is common sense, hence the name of the book.

In those cases where our problems may be because of the religious path we choose to follow and are being either discriminated against or denied our rights, Ms. Eilers has placed chapter and verse of the law at our fingertips, to enable us to understand, in plain English (my goodness, a lawyer who speaks plain English, how unique and so definitely Pagan!) what our options are, where to seek council and material to provide any legal representative we may choose to aid us.

There is way too much material in this book (another plus for Ms. Eilers, she didn't cheap out on the information) to even try to recap the book. Everything from definitions of key words to meeting and greeting other pagans to proper behavior with pagans and with the mundane world.

Yes, this is a must have on your library shelf!!!! I would love to have several copies I could give away to some of the people I meet everyday in the pagan world, just so I pass along the common sense some people don't use that the Goddess gave them.

If nothing else, give this book a serious read. Ask at your local libraries and make sure they get a copy and keep it in stock. It is a much needed book in our community and will prove to be a valuable tool to the community over the years.  

Reviewed by Boudica 


In Praise of the Crone by Dorothy Morrison

In Praise of the Crone
 by Dorothy Morrison

Ms. Morrison introduces her work as a "Sassy Guide to Cronehood", which is why I probably picked up this book to begin with.

I am in the process of walking the Path of the Crone, and I spend time scouring the shelves in book stores, looking over the material that deals with "The Maturing Woman". Most of the material is dry, scientific and does not seem to "grab" me. Ms. Morrison's subtitle "A Celebration of Feminine Maturity" on the front cover is more in line of what I am feeling at this time in my life. So, I picked it up, took it home, and found another good friend.

Ms. Morrison is a Wiccan High Priestess of the Georgian Tradition. She is a teacher, and previous books she has offered are Magical Needlework, in 1998; Everyday Magic in 1998; and The Whimsical Tarot, also in 1998. I have not seen any of these books, and this is the first one I have read.

I found the book to be very well written. Her approach is one of casual conversation, not learned preaching, so common in these types of books. She covers a wide range of material on the Changing Woman, from her encounters with "She-Who-Nags" (her personal Crone), to Rituals of Spiritual Rebirthing, to an easy home remedy for those hot flashes or night sweats. For those who seek alternatives to what modern medicine is offering these days, this book offers some practical suggestions, natural alternatives, and a common sense approach to the common problems we have as we enter this Change in our lives.

I do not encourage anyone along any path that is not right for them. I have done much reading and much research on this coming change in my life. There are so many different approaches to how to handle Menopause. Because of the times we live in, it is no longer a topic we hide in a closet, nor do woman fear the change as an end in their lives, but rejoice as a new beginning for them.

I highly recommend you explore all options and make a life long plan for yourself based on your own individual needs. Each woman is different, and so are her needs, physically and emotionally. Problems at this time should always be handled by a Medical Professional. But for those who, like me, have done all the reading and research, and know what they want, this book is perfect for starting yourself along the Natural Path women have always taken towards being Crone, and celebrating that new part of your life.

As for Ms. Morrison, I think I will be looking for other titles of hers to add to my ever growing library.

Reviewed by Boudica