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Bookviews Book Reviews

 

This is a collection of orphaned book reviews from days past that as I was working on TWPT lately found that they no longer connected to the reviews pages. Some are quite old and the books may even be out of print but just to keep the content continuously available I am creating this page to house all of them. Enjoy these blasts from the past. Imajicka and Boudica.

 

 06-25-2010
 

 

Beltane: Springtime Rituals, Lore and Celebration
by Raven Grimassi

'Tis that time of year when the Wheel turns and another season comes into play.  I always enjoy a book that addresses the particular event or holiday in a unique and unusual way.

Raven Grimassi approaches "Beltane" with a collection of myths and lore and some spells, art and recipes that are specific to this time of the year.

He has collected the stories of the May Pole, the May King and May Queen, The Green Man, Jack-in-the-Green and so many of your favorite stories of this time of year.  He even includes a bit on Mummery (for those who know Loreena McKennitt song "Mummers Dance").  Of course he also covers a variety of Fairy lore and some lore on flowers as well.

There is a recipe for some "Quick May Wine" that sounds yummy, and a microwave recipe for custard for the modern Witch.  The arts and crafts section has some instructions for wreaths and garlands, but I really liked the "pentacle hair braids".  

This book is just chock full of information, projects and even rituals for the celebration of Beltane.  I found it easy to read, light hearted and what I have come to expect from Raven Grimassi.

Add another book to my list of good books to have on the library shelf.   

Reviewed by Boudica

 

The Real Witches Coven:
The Definitive Guide to Forming Your Own
Wiccan Group
by Kate West
 

I love the blurb on the front cover: “Kate West is the real thing.  Her Witchcraft is about passion, not fashion.”

 

Reading the book, you do get a good feeling about her passion.  The material covered in her book is no nonsense and is rooted in traditional English Witchcraft.  No fluff bunny material here, or new fangled junk.  Her book is concise, with the details spelled out and she covers the material very well.

 

Everything is here to begin and maintain a good, solid working coven.  The material covers background history, what witchcraft is, how to start a coven and keep it in a good order.  She explores personal reasons for starting a coven, basic coven rules and how to develop them.  There is discussion about traditional degrees, what they constitute and how they were meant to work.  The task of finding membership is covered in a wonderfully put together overview of the different kinds of members you will find and how to deal with them. 

 

A Rite of Initiation is provided as an overview of how it is done in traditional covens and it can also be used as a blueprint for adapting it to your own situation.  The Wheel of the Year is explored as well as the Full Moons or Esbats.  Ritual is discussed in relationship to how a coven is based around these important events.  Both indoor and outdoor rituals are covered and again, Ms. West is detailed in her coverage of these.

 

Ms. West covers the mundane workings of a Coven as well.  She includes working together to establish basic rules that apply to your coven, the unavoidable paperwork and establishing training for the membership.    She also explores the overall life cycle of a coven, covering such considerations as Daughter Covens, new and lost membership, “Boom and Bust” and how to be a good Covenor. 

 

A lot of information is packed into this book.  There is a glossary in the back of the book, and as well as a recommended reading and contacts section.  Ms. West is delightful to read, provides a good solid background based on personal experience, and has organized the information well in this book, making it easy to follow. 

 

Anyone who is considering forming a coven would do well to include this book in their list of materials they should cover and consider for their own personal information as well as for the benefit of their coven.  And if you already have a coven this is another good reference book for your group.  There are too few books that cover coven life as well as this one does and should be considered a must have for your reading list as well as your library shelf.

Reviewed by Boudica

 

 

Rocking the Goddess:
Campus Wicca for the Student Practitioner
by Anthony Paige

 

When Anthony Paige calls this book “Not your parents Wicca” he was right. Mostly aimed at the college Witch, he covers everything I feel is essential for the younger beginner pagan. Being a college Witch himself, this book was written with a lot of first hand experiences, and he goes out of the way to get many other perspectives of the life of many other college Witches.

Anthony has separated this book into 3 sub books. The first is “A Witches Knowledge-Core Requirements”. He first starts by giving an excellent overview of the history of Wicca. Then he moves onto explaining the different traditions, and sharing stories of those he has talked to.

Chapter 4 is where he begins to explain Magick and Ritual. What I particularly liked was the fact that he explains that you don’t need a lot of fancy tools to work Magick. Most of us, in college or out, don’t have a lot of extra money to go out and buy that 50$ bottle of essential oil. He gave ideas for making tools that cost next to nothing.

Book 2 is “A Witches Power-Electives”. In this section he covered the areas of coming out the broom closet, campus covens, and solitary practice. I related a lot with some of the stories about coming out of the broom closet.

Anthony also gives excellent ways of finding a coven for yourself if you so desire.  Solitary Sorcery is the other part of this section which I liked as well.   Along with giving ways for solitary practice, he also deals with roommates who may not understand, and space problems.

In the third and final section of his book, he gives a few spells, lists of different Goddess and Gods, ways of finding college Witches worldwide, and Rocking the Goddess. Rocking the Goddess includes the Charge of the Goddess and God. Also listed are a few pagan music artists and at least 20 web sites for further study.

 Reviewed by Boudica

 

Sweat Your Prayers - Movement as a Spiritual Practice - The Five Rhythms of the Soul

by Gabrielle Roth

 

Maps to Ecstasy - A Healing Journey for the Untamed Spirit

by Gabrielle Roth

 

 

 

 

Sweat Your Prayers - Movement as a Spiritual Practice -
The Five Rhythms of the Soul

by Gabrielle Roth


Another artist making a literary crossover is Gabrielle Roth. She is probably best known for Gabrielle Roth and the Mirrors, her percussion, rhythmic music group. However, Ms. Roth is more involved with dance as a spiritual map. Ms. Roth has developed a five part rhythmic expression to transform music into dance, dance into emotion and from this emotion to a Spiritual experience.

Her book is a handbook to transform dance into a Spiritual expression. I loved her mix of personal experiences, stories, and humor to teach her five rhythms, what they mean and how to apply them. The path always leads to our own personal spiritual growth. She explores the five rhythms of flowing, staccato, chaos, lyrical and stillness. She blends the feminine with the masculine and melds this with trance and dance, lifting it to Spirituality.

The five rhythms dancing can be done with your group, or you can do it alone. You do not have to have lessons, or be expert, or graceful, just willing to let yourself go and explore your sense of rhythm and spirituality.

This is a wonderful instructional book, lots of feeling and sincerity on the part of Ms. Roth. I enjoyed her style of writing and her treatment of the subject shows a true commitment on her part. An excerpt from her opening chapter stuck in my head for a long while: "Energy moves in waves. Waves move in patterns. Patterns move in rhythms. A human being is just that, energy, waves, patterns, rhythms. Nothing more. Nothing less. A dance."

 

Maps to Ecstasy -
A Healing Journey for the Untamed Spirit

by Gabrielle Roth


Having read her first book, I was interested as to where the second book would take this. In this book, Ms. Roth extends her Five Rhythms to be included as part of everyday life.

This is a natural progression, and Ms. Roth draws parallels to include similar patterns. She discusses the Cycles of Life - Birth, Childhood, Puberty, Maturity and the Death, in which we can see these rhythms and the progressions. Life does indeed have a rhythm to it and she sees these as the "dance of life in five movements". The final step to this dance is healing, a bringing about of the oneness of ones self. This is done by embodying the spirit through the five levels of consciousness: inertia, inspiration, imitation, intuition and imagination. This is her path to ecstasy. She finds dance and life has a map we can follow and find the spiritual ecstasy we all seek in our lives.

Her method of writing, incorporating her own personal life rhythms and experiences and her insightful observations make this book a wonderful and easy read. We can always learn from other people's experiences and Ms. Roth weaves this well. Her days working at Esalan enabled Ms. Roth to put together her then acquired skills, tune them, put them into practical use and give us the final product here in this book.

She shows how these rhythms are present in each persons life and can be applied to our personal self healing, attunement, stress relief, personal relationships and general health and well being.

I enjoyed this book and found Ms. Roth's insightful self-questioning and personal exploration a path that can be incorporated into each person's life, as a whole or with partial application. It definitely left me thinking upon things I have since considered and seek to explore further.

Both books here are complimented by her music and she also has an instructional video "The Wave" as a visual aid to her work. You need not have magic dancing toes or be a rhythmic person to apply any of this. All you need is the ability to move.

Reviewed by Boudica

 

Never Burn A Witch: A Rowan Gant Investigation
By M. R. Sellars

In his first book, "Harm None", Mr. Seller's introduced us to Rowan Gant and his cast of characters that comprised what turned out to be a really original and suspenseful mystery novel. Mr. Seller's returns with his players in the Rowan Gant Investigation "Never Burn a Witch". 

Mr. Seller's continues with the mystery/suspence vein by presenting us with another serial killer and it falls on Rowan Gant, the modern day witch and consultant to the police department, to lead the police to a killer who is a self proclaimed inquisitor and executioner focusing on witches. Will Rowan and the police find him before he kills again? 

Suspense, humor, drama, good character development, original plot and twists; all these were present in the first book, and continues in the second book. Mr. Seller's presents us with an excellent offering of mystery/suspense. From the opening pages to the cliff hanger ending, its a "can't put it down" novel. 

With all the thrills of a 1940's detective novel and in the tradition of the classic mystery writers, we have a new entry into mystery/suspense theater with Rowan Gant.

Reviewed by Boudica    

 

Book Cover - Harm None - A Rowan Gant Investigation

Harm None - A Rowan Gant Investigation

By M. R. Sellars

What a lovely change of pace. I have had the privilege of previewing a new book by a new author before its publishing date, and it is not a "how to" book on religion, as most of the books I get to read. This one is fiction, and is written by a member of our community. He is talented and tells a very good story.

My introduction to M. R. Sellars is through his first book in a series called " Rowan Gant Investigation" and even better, I like this introduction to his characters and to his work.

I am a mystery fan from way back. From the 1940's gumshoe books to the classic English mystery writers, to TV lawyers and FBI profilers, I enjoy a good murder mystery. However, as our tastes mature, we like to see a well written, well thought out mystery, as opposed to some of the material that is produced a dime a dozen. Mr. Sellars book is in the tradition of classic mysteries updated to contemporary times and does not disappoint us.

Mr. Sellars is a wonderful surprise all around. No doubt this gentleman is talented. He introduces his characters and gives us a good profile of his lead cast. The delightful character of Mr. Gant is a witch. He is portrayed accurately while still retaining some of the "mysterious" which lends this book its wonderful flavor. Mr. Sellars builds his cast of characters solidly, like the brisk and bold police Detective Ben Storm, Gant's redheaded wife Felicity, and even the doubting FBI agent Mandalay. All the characters pop off the pages, which gives the reader a good basis for the rest of the book.

Mr. Sellars is no slouch when it comes to writing a good story either. This one is filled with twists and turns, yet he leaves no loose ends as I can see. Then again, I read mystery for enjoyment and entertainment. I am not here to analyze and cutup fiction stories. Fiction is exactly that. The better and more believable the fiction is, though, the easier it is to follow. A good murder mystery has mystery, it has action, it has its dark sides, it has plot twists and it has entertainment value. You can find all of that in this book.

This is fiction, and should be read and judged on that alone. Though we see Wicca and the Craft shown here as both order and chaos, Mr. Sellars is writing fiction, and has kept some of the myth and legend that makes what we do and who we are a little "mysterious". It works well in a fictional setting. We have our dark side as well as our light, and Mr. Sellars explores both sides in this novel, taking a little artistic license to make an entertaining story. Mr. Sellars does not dishonor our belief system in any way, and presents a good story, which should be taken as it is offered, as fictional.

I am a firm believer that outstanding books written by outstanding people within our community should be promoted to our community. Most of the material I have seen deals with our spiritual path. This is the first really new material I have seen that could cross over to the commercial side. Yet, Mr. Sellars is "a self described long-haired hippie activist tree-hugger" who works within our own community. Hmmm&ldots; pretty much like his character Rowan Gant. I wonder what other parallels we might find here if we looked a little deeper into the character Rowan Gant and the writer Mr. Sellars. I find people who tell stories about what they know best do the best story telling. Mr. Sellars has created here a most memorable character and I wish him well with his series. I look forward to seeing more of his work in the future.

Reviewed by Boudica

 

Seasons of the Witch:
Poetry and Songs to the Goddess
by Patricia Monaghan

When we raise our voices to praise the Goddess, we find our voice sometimes in poetry, or sometimes in prose and most often in song.

This book is a collection of some of Patricia Monaghan's work. The book is divided into seasons, and each season is created in our minds in beautiful poetry and visualized prose. We are lead around the seasons, shown the associations of the elements, the Wheel of Life, and the different forms of the Goddess.

Ms. Monaghan is a talented and very well known poet. Her works have appeared in many magazines.

This book also contains a CD which has placed 25 of her poems into song. The poetry becomes devotional songs, and we find ourselves delicately woven into the visualizations by the enchanting voices of Peggy Monaghan, Sally Coombs, Susan La Croiz, Claudia Blythe, Kirsten Baird Gustafson and Lili McGovern. James Robbins also appears on one of the tracks.

As you read, and listen, you are drawn in by the delicate imagery Ms. Monaghan uses. Ever present is her love for the Goddess, her understanding of the elements and we feel her love and warmth in each piece.

This is a nice break from the handbooks and instructional manuals that dominate the market. Personal expression rather than personal opinion is always a nice change. The CD is professionally produced, the book is nicely bound, and the quality of the material makes this an outstanding package and a nice presentation.

This is a book that can be appreciated by anyone with a soul for poetry or devotional prose. It would make a wonderful gift and a lovely addition to your library.

Sometimes we need to step back from the "how to" books and remember "why".  

Reviewed by Boudica  

 

The Book of Shamanic Healing
by Kristin Madden

Kristen Madden’s background, as noted in the preface, is deeply rooted in Shamanism.  Her family background of many spiritual practices gave her the opportunity to learn as she grew up.

She also studied many of the shamanic cultures.  She is a member of the Druid College of Healing and is on the board of directors of Silver Moon Health Services, a group that provides healing services through the Pagan Spiritual Community.

A woman with this kind of a background is the perfect author for a book on the subject and Ms. Madden approaches the topic with professionalism that one would expect from her.

This book covers many of the different aspects of shamanic healing.  Creating Sacred Space for healing, using tools such as
drums and song, discussing soul retrieval and exploring dreams are just some of the topics discussed in her book. 

She simplifies the terms making it easy to understand.  It is well written and researched.   Ms. Madden is able to convey the essential information without boring the reader or losing them in vague or too technical terms, keeping the reader following what she has to say and explain.  These are the marks of a good teacher.

Ms. Madden discusses the basics needed to work Shamanic Healing giving the reader a good understanding of what will be required of them should they pursue this path.  Being a shaman is more than just mixing some herbs or working spells.  She
recommends training, and she recommends that you remember no amount of training and certification is going to make one a healer if you do not have your heart in it.   I love the plain talk, the practical advice and the down to earth recommendations that Ms. Madden makes in this book.  This is a valuable tool for the experienced Healer as well as those who are looking into this path as a possible life long study.

This book gives the application of all the techniques involved in being a Shamanic Healer and it is a good study and a great
primer.   Here is another book that belongs on the library shelf of those who travel the path of the healer. 

 Reviewed by Boudica

 

Solitary Witch:
The Ultimate Book of Shadows for the New Generation
by Silver Ravenwolf
 

In the introduction of this book, Silver Ravenwolf states “How you use this book is entirely up to you.  Feel free to skip over the parts that you already know, or read each section in alphabetical order – doesn’t matter.    On the other hand, if you feel the information is too basic, I beg your indulgence – it isn’t my desire to insult your intelligence, I’m simply trying to find a happy medium.”  She does manage to find that happy medium in this “ultimate” encyclopedia.

 

This is an encyclopedia/dictionary of terms, ideas, celebrations, rituals and Witchcraft in the Tradition of Silver Ravenwolf.  She has put together a massive handbook for those who follow her path, and it is just a huge undertaking on her part.

 

The book is put together in five parts, covering ‘Shadows of Religion & Mystery’, ‘Shadows of Objects and Tools’, “Shadows of Expertise & Proficiency’, ‘Shadows of Magick & Enchantment’ and ‘Shadows of Magick and Real Life’.  Each section covers elements of the craft and discusses them in modern terms.

 

This is Silver Ravenwolf’s Tradition and her version of the Craft.  “Cakes and Ale” are described as “Communion” and Angels are included in “Spirit Guides”.  All the material echoes her previous works and is meant for the individual who follows this particular path. 

 

Her approach in this huge work is to provide the Solitary Practitioner with reference material to help them along on their spiritual journey.  She has gone into great detail, amassing a huge volume of work.  The work includes a good table of contents, a bibliography, and is indexed. 

 

The followers of Silver Ravenwolf will find this book to be a complete compilation of her work and a good reference for their work as Solitary Witches.  

Reviewed by Boudica 

 

When Someone You Love is Wiccan
by Carl McColman
 

 

There are many books out there that approach Wicca and Witchcraft from the beginners view, but Carl McColman approaches these topics from the viewpoint of someone not interested in becoming a Wiccan or Witch but needs, for whatever reason, to know about these things.

 

Carl McColman has been a pagan since 1983.   He has done the research on the subjects and tries to cover the basics of these spiritual paths, without being path specific or covering every single variation or tradition. 

 

The book takes the format of questions and answers for the most part, with an introduction of basic facts, common sense and an attempt to tie into some commonalities found in many religions.  There is a good index and the book is laid out in well organized chapters.

 

Mr. McColman’s approach is to keep it simple, understandable and not confuse everyone with all the different opinions held by those in the pagan community.  We are all aware how we love to be individualistic in our belief systems, and Mr. Colman successfully spotlights the meat and potatoes of our basic tenets.

 

Mr. Colman states that this book is not meant for the initiated or the newbies who are looking to make this path their own.  The book is not meant for theological discussion.  He covers much of the ‘misinformation’ that the non-pagan will encounter and clarifies them so as to dispel these misconceptions.  

 

There is some good research, some general statements and some silly questions but the material is relevant to the audience the book is addressing.  If you don’t argue the generalities, this is a great book for the purpose it is intended.

 

We need material like this for the curious mundane.  While offering the beginners books for the curious has been the practice in the past, these books did not offer many of the answers that those who have no intention of following these paths were looking for.

 

If you find you need a book of this kind in your family, workplace or community, this will fill the bill quite well.

Reviewed by Boudica

 

SpellCraft for Teens - A Magical Guide to Writing and Casting Spells
by Gwinevere Rain

 

This release of a teen witch book is a "cookbook" of how to write spells and how to work with them.  Written by a young lady who was a "teen witch" herself.  She puts her experiences with working spells into her first book to share the experience with other teens.

It's not easy being a teen with a different spiritual path, and Ms. Rain imparts some of her own experiences in the introduction of this book.  She also describes her own spiritual path of Wicca in easy to follow introductions called "Living Magically: The Wiccan Path and Enchanting: Magical Rules and Circle Casting.  She does discuss the Rede and the Law of Three, coming out of the broom closet, circle casting and basic ethics for working magic.  It's a very general and basic description but if you are already familiar with Wicca, this lays the groundwork for the rest of the book, the spell crafting.

Her section on spells covers those things which teenagers would be most likely to be interested.   Besides the usual love, money, stop gossip and beauty spells, she also includes book blessings, healing, truth and protection spells, as well as a couple for psychic powers.  There is also an "undoit" spell.
The back of the book contains correspondences and magical properties and discusses keeping journals and records of what you have done.

If you are a teenager who has a family background in Wicca, or you have been practicing for a while on your own and are looking to take the next magical step, this little book gives a basic overview of the spellworking process and where to start.  A very informative "cookbook" of where you could start.

Reviewed by Boudica

 

The Tarot Companion; An Essential Reference Guide
by Tracy Porter

So many tarot books you pick up these days give you the author's insight into what each of the different cards mean.  You can get lost in the different references.  Tarot Companion takes a unique approach.

Besides giving a general overview of each of the cards (Ms. Porter uses the Rider-Waite deck) she then takes a look at the symbology of the deck as well.  By understanding the symbols used in the cards and the meanings behind them, we begin to see trends within a reading that we might not have seen before. The most obvious example would be a reading with four kings, or 5 pentacles.  Ms. Porter covers these repeated trends, as well as explaining symbols that may repeat within the cards themselves.  An example of this would be if roses repeated themselves in some of the cards (examples Fool and Magician in the Major Arcana).  By understanding what roses might mean, you can draw a connection you may not have otherwise seen. 

Her insight into the meanings of the symbology used on the Rider-Waite deck are refreshingly interesting, not a repeat of dozens of other books.  Ms. Porter also points that many other decks based on the Rider-Waite deck use similar symbology and much of this material can be used with other decks.

There sections included on different tarot layouts, Chakra's and the tarot, Astrology and the tarot, Cabala and the tarot and many other correspondences.  

A nicely put together book, well developed and with an interesting new look at how the tarot deck works.

Reviewed by Boudica

 

The Craft : A Witch's Book of Shadows
by Dorothy Morrison

This book is indeed a Book of Shadows in the traditional sense.  A "How To" for beginners, yet full of interesting information for the adepts.

Dorothy writes in a manner which emphasizes the personal responsibilities of Craft practice.  Drawing one's attention to the spiritual aspects, and calling on the reader to do more towards incorporating the practices in our daily lives.

Simple, practical, powerful rituals ... recorded and passed on to those following the pathways.  This is what a Book of Shadows should be... Informative, fulfilling, and positively enchanting!

Although this is not an autobiography, Dorothy's personality beams from every page.  Definitely makes you want to follow her lead, and experience her joy which is evident.

Can you tell I like this book?  And yes, I would recommend it as a reference for Covened and Solitary alike.  It will go on my list of recommended readings for students of the Craft. 

Reviewed by Boudica

 

 

The Triumph of the Moon
by Ronald Hutton

There are very few books that delve into the origins of our modern Neo-Witchcraft movement the way that Mr. Hutton has.  This is technically a history book, going into great detail to discuss the history and origins of the only religion to be truly originated and founded in England.   Mr. Hutton points out that while England has always adapted other religions to their own unique English flavor, the modern "Pagan Witchcraft" (as he calls it) religion is totally English in origination and has spread to the rest of the world from there.

Mr. Hutton goes into great detail as to the definitions of modern religion and how it becomes structured and evolves.  He finds the roots of many of the beliefs and myths that become incorporated into this religion.  He examines the influences of people, literature and Deities on this fledgling religion and gives us a most insightful and unique perspective into the birthing of a new religion.

He also examines the ideas of Gerald Gardner, how he put all this together and presented it to the world at large.  Many of the influences of Gerald Gardner are examined, his writings are discussed and the formation of this new religion is presented in an historical context.

We look at the whole picture, not just bits and pieces as provided by individual writers.  This gives us a larger perspective of what was going on at the time of Gerald Gardner, how England and the world was changing and how society and culture effected the presentation of this new religion as well as how they looked at it at that time.

Mr. Hutton goes on to look at the evolution of the religion after Gerald Gardner, how it becomes more based in the Goddess culture by the influences of other members, how it changed and yet still remains basically the same. 

Mr. Hutton not only relies on documents and writings of the time, but also discussed this with persons who were part of the early movement, calling upon eyewitness accounts to validate points of historical value as well as discussion of the more questioned points.

There really is so much more to this book than just a look at the birthing of a new religion, it is more a social account of a time in history when thought was at the beginnings of being more open than it had ever been.  The spreading of these new ideas started a revolution in religion, which had been a set in the stone tradition for hundreds of years, now started to give way to independent thought.

This is not a book for casual enjoyment, but more a text book on the English "Pagan Witchcraft" movement and how it began and was influenced and how it came to influence our modern Neo-Pagan and Neo-Witchcraft movement.  It is an examination of the roots of Wicca and the people who founded it. 

This may go against the grain of the traditional teachings of some Trads, but there is controversy in any teaching that is outside of those who feel it is their responsibility alone to pass along the faith.  Historical writers have never taken this into account and never will.  They see it as just another influence in the overall picture of the events they examine outside the boundaries and restrictions placed upon traditional teaching.  That is what gives history its unique flavor, it is looking at an event from outside, not feeling it as a participant. 

This may detract in some ways, but also gives us a different perspective as to where we came from and where we are possibly going. 

I enjoyed reading this book, it took me a while to get through as there was much to digest as well as contemplate.  Not a book to be taken on lightly.  It was worth it for the insights that Mr. Hutton provided me with and if you are a student of religious history, this book will definitely give you some good material to digest.

Reviewed by Boudica 

 

Enochian Magic for Beginners by Donald Tyson

 

Enochian Magic for Beginners

by Donald Tyson

Part of our diverse Religion is Christian Mysticism, as well as the Jewish Kabbala. It has been incorporated into Neo-Paganism and Wicca and is one of the most misunderstood and least known paths.

Enochian Magic goes back to the Old Testament, and the Patriarch Enoch, to whom was given by the angels the language of the angels and the wisdom of God. This is part of Jewish study of the Kabbala.

The book "Enochian Magic for Beginners" by Donald Tyson covers the revival of this ancient tradition, and, for the history part alone, makes this a must read for anyone interested in the origins of our modern day practices.

Mr. Tyson covers the "rebirthing" of Enochian Magic by going to the sources and recounting the history of this material.

From 1582-1587, Dr. John Dee and the Alchemist Edward Kelly were given the keys and materials necessary to recover this lost material by Mr. Kelly's ability to communicate directly with the angels as a seer, and Dr. Dee's ability to understand some of what the angels were try to accomplish and transcribe this material accurately and faithfully.

Though there is material that is not fully understood, Mr. Tyson does include parts of the original texts from Dee's and Kelly's manuscripts and eye witness accounts of materials used.

Mr. Tyson traces out how much of the understood materials were incorporated into the system of the Golden Dawn Tradition and was practiced successfully by Samuel Mathers and Aleister Crowley.

Mr. Tyson also explains some of the better known original texts and tables and what the material means and how it was meant to be used. Where errors may have occurred in transcriptions, he makes some corrections. And he offers insights into some materials that were not understood at that time and offers possible interpretations.

I do not pretend to fully understand Enochian Magic. It is not part of my belief system, as I personally follow a duality balanced with a God and a Goddess, which does not exist in the Enochian tradition. But I did come away with a basic understanding of the Enochian Path. Want to know where the Watchtowers enter into certain traditions, and the origins of calling Angel guardians for the quarters? Its from the Enochian. Mind you, there is more than that in this book, and Enochian requires further and deeper study by those who wish to seriously follow that Path. This is by no means the "only book you will ever need" on the subject either.

But for those with a passing interest, or who are interested in the history and origins of Enochian Magic, or those who are exploring all Paths, this book is a valuable first study and basic reference book on the Magic of the Angels.

Reviewed by Boudica

 

 

The Virtual Pagan:
Exploring Wicca and Paganism Through the Internet
by Lisa McSherry

 

Here is a good idea that went astray.  Sometimes good material can get lost amongst material that is highly controversial.

The idea of this book, to explore Wicca and Paganism on the Internet, was a good idea.  There is material here which would have been good on its own; resources that the Pagan community on the Internet can use to further studies and make surfing interesting and educational.

Ms. McSherry provides information about pagan oriented email groups, chat channels and websites that would have made a good book if presented as a resource tool for Internet Pagans.  Her discussion on how the internet works, email and chat
room etiquette, flaming and witch wars shows she has much familiarity with the workings of Cyberspace and she did a good job on these topics.

What went astray was her inclusion of her own personal path of CyberCovens and her commentaries on Paganism.   I defer to the passage on page 9, which almost set me to pass on reviewing this book:

“If you are new to Paganism, then you need to know a few things about this religion:

We all truly only agree on one thing:” An’ it harm none, do what ye will.”  As a result, we do not take any action –
magickal or otherwise – that would harm any person, including ourselves.”

Paganism categorized as a religion, that Pagans agree on anything spiritual, that the Wiccan Rede is followed by all Pagans and that everyone has a “harm none” ethic makes me feel that Ms. McSherry should have stuck to the technical aspects of the Internet.

There is more in this book on Ms. McSherry’s CyberCovens, and the value of connection without contact is something that has been touched on in many circles on the Internet.   I believe Ms. McSherry has provided fuel here for some very heated discussions amongst both students and teachers of many paths who use the Internet as a tool for the Pagan Community. 

While it is interesting to read, Ms. McSherry’s personal path should have been presented as a separate book.  The usefulness of this book as an Internet resource becomes muddled in her attempt to define Paganism and present CyberCovens as an alternative to real life experiences.  

Reviewed by Boudica

 

Where to Park Your Broomstick -
A Teen's Guide to Witchcraft
by Lauren Manoy

Lauren Manoy started her journey on her path when she was 14 years of age.  She has pursued her path and has written a book for teenagers about the witches path from the perspective of a teenager to other teenagers.

"Where to Park Your Broomstick" is a very thorough look at witchcraft and Wicca explained so that the beginning teenager can get a good grasp on what this Spiritual Path is all about.   The layout of the book is also excellent in that the material is chapter referenced and cross referenced in the index to make it easy to use this book.

The book uses quotes from a variety of resources, from Joseph Campbell to the Farrar's to Bonewits to other practicing teenagers, the material covered has been expertly researched, clearly stated and covers more than just the usual *cookbook* material included in many other books of this type.  While there are spells for general use, there is also practical information on herbs, discussion on comparative religions, working with ritual, history on Wicca and the different traditions, energy work, tools, politics and teen rights,  and so much more to explore.

It almost seems Ms. Manoy has left nothing out.   There is even "A Note to Parents" from a social worker who explains that a teenager being interested in Wicca is not an unhealthy pursuit.   He also lists some warning signs that might show your teenager is on an unhealthy path.

All in all, this book is an excellent resource for Pagan parents looking for a book to help them along in their teachings of their own children, as well as a good starting place for someone who's teenager has shown interest in something they are not familiar with.  Written in a language that most teenagers can relate to, well researched, chock full of excellent content, this book can work with adults as well as teens.

This book is a wonderful first presentation from Ms. Manoy, and an excellet reference book for the teenager.

Reviewed by Boudica

 

 

Wicca Covens: How to Start and Organize Your Own
by Judy Harrow

Although Wicca Covens was released in 1999 we can still call it a new release by virtue of the fact that shortly after its initial release Citadel Press ceased operation and stopped publishing the title. The company was then purchased by Kensington Press and Judy Harrow's book was re-released this past February. I for one am glad that Wicca Covens is available once again because it would be a shame to see this excellent resource languish in out of print limbo.

Through her own extensive experience as a High Priestess within an ongoing coven setting and many contributions from leaders within other covens, Judy Harrows' book explores many of the issues concerned with starting a new coven, standards for finding your first coven, and many topics in between.

Judy's own background in group dynamics and psychology are brought to bear on how people interact within the confines of a coven. Wicca Covens does not try to gloss over the realities of coven life but instead offers us an honest look at the true nature of a working with a group of fellow travellers to achieve personal and group objectives. This is sometimes achieved in the midst of  the stages of growth within any working group which as Judy defines it has seven phases:

Gathering: Open meetings, drop in groups.

Birthing: Self-definition

Forming: Getting acquainted, establishing trust

Storming: Power issues.

Norming: Development of group rules and customs.

Performing: Working toward the group's major goals.

Mourning: Completion, moving on.

Wicca Covens covers such diverse topics as Basic Groupwork, The Coven as a Worshipping Group, Coven as Magical and Support Group and Parents, Children and the Coven: Balancing the Needs. Judy has drawn deeply from the well of her own experiences but when even more light is needed on any given subject  Judy is not afraid to call on other voices to give us other perspectives from which to approach the topic being considered. A prime example is the chapter on Parents, Children and the Coven, Judy is not herself a parent but still wanting to cover this important area of coven life she built the chapter around what parents have told her and sought out her peers for opinions on how this issue was addressed in their own groups. This presents you not only with the author's point of view on the subject but a good cross section of other covens and how they handle the difficulties of integrating the children of coven members into their lives.

Whether you wish to form an informal group to work with on an occasional basis or you wish to be involved with a coven that will become like an extended family to you Wicca Covens will help you through the process. After 17 years as High Priestess of the Proteus coven, Judy has much to share with you about how it all works together. Definitely a book that should be on your book shelf if you have ever had an interest as to the mechanics of what makes a coven work and thrive.

Reviewed by Boudica 

 

 

Wicca for Couples – Making Magick Together
by A. J. Drew

From a discussion standpoint, this book provides a lot of material that will enlighten and entertain for many hours.

A. J. Drew sorts out some of the myths and mysteries about the Wiccan path in this book.  While it discusses how Wicca is a Fertility Rite religion and we seem to have lost this somewhere in the last 50 years, he also discusses a great deal of material dealing with how Wicca has been evolving.

From choosing a partner who complements your own ideas of spirituality, rites of passage as couples, intimate moments, spell working together and discussion on the parting of ways, are all covered here for couples to explore.  And while Couples seem to be the uniting theme, by no means is this meant to be to the exclusion of anyone else interested in these topics.

There is an interesting discussion on Wiccan leaders in chapter 4 that should be read and debated by everyone.  This is not to say this is the answer, but it should stir a lot of people into thinking about how the Pagan Community in general should approach those who will come to lead us as we grow and evolve over the next few generations. 

A. J. provides us with some rituals to include in our lives, along with a good discussion on what ritual is and how it should be approached, especially by those who choose to practice as couples. 

While the focus of this book is on couples practicing as a singular unit within Wicca, there is more here between the lines.  What I found impressive was his handling of some very sensitive material dealing with the plethora of books we have and our current approach to Wicca.  From the story of Tempest Storm to dealing with how we search for the perfect spiritual path,
A. J. explores how we have taken a good idea and reformed it into something that is quickly becoming unrecognizable and unattainable.

This is a book that could be a roadmap for where Wicca as a spiritual path could eventually end up.  This is not a book that should be taken lightly, nor should it be ignored, because it presents some material that may make you think about what your spiritual path is. 

A. J. has provided us with a book to make us think, a book that contains much to discuss here and I would recommend it not just to couples, but to anyone who is looking for a challenge to their vision of Wicca as a spiritual path

Reviewed by Boudica 

 

Wicca for Life: The Way of the Craft--from Birth to Summerland
by Raymond Buckland

Raymond Buckland is best known for "Uncle Buckey's Big Blue Book" which has been a staple in the community for years. He is a respected author and voice within our community.

His newest release "Wicca for Life" seems to be Mr. Buckland's new version of the "Big Blue Book" and is presented in a much more dignified and sedate package than his famous "blue pentacle" covered book.

The material has matured also. Mr. Buckland covers everything from the history of witchcraft to initiations to spells and rituals to death. There is a lot of new material here that was not in the blue book. The craft is brought into the 21st century and Mr. Buckland is just the person to do it.

It is well put together, simply explained, and covers a lot of ground. Though the book appears at first to be a handbook for the beginner, it reads more like a reference book for those who are already walking the path. Mr. Buckland still approaches Witchcraft as a religion of "initiation" and there is no differentiation between Wicca and Witchcraft. But his theology on Wicca is solid. Mr. Buckland has always been a Traditional Wiccan, with his own brand being a variation on the Gardnarian Tradition. While the book is geared towards the traditional, there is a lot to read, absorb and learn from in this book for anyone walking the Wiccan Path.

The hard cover version is lovely, nicely bound, lovely jacket art. The book does contain illustrations, and there is even music for traditional tunes if you are musically inclined.

I could see this book eventually replacing "big blue" on library shelves, and it would be a good choice. I did enjoy reading this one, and would recommend it to both beginners and seasoned travelers.

Reviewed by Boudica 

 

The Wicca Handbook
by Eileen Holland

This book, by Wiccan Priestess Eileen Holland, is probably one of the best books for the serious beginner and intermediate Wiccan I have seen in a long time.

This book is not a general information book, but a working handbook, to be used as reference and as a guide as you start on the spiritual path of Wicca.

As I read her introduction, I was drawn into reading further. Here is a woman who is as practical as she is informative and learned. I was also impressed with her practicality in dealing with the many different aspects of Wicca. But it was her overall view of the state of Wicca with todays rapidly expanding influx of new people that really impressed me. To quote "The rapid growth of Wicca currently makes this (initiation by a High Priest and/or High Priestess) impractical, since there are not enough High Priests/High Priestesses to train and initiate all the newcomers. Wicca is also establishing itself in new countries and cultures, places where there are no experienced Witches to lead others."

All of her book is just as rooted in practicality. As I said, this is a working handbook, not a simple beginners guide. It is filled with information and how to use it. Spells, circles, health and healing, how to do it, when to do it, suggestions for seeking guidance from the deities. The information is abundant, clear directions are given and it is probably one of the most complete books for its size and content. Those who have been on their path for a few years will find this a great reference book to refer to time and again. It has abundant material gathered together in one convenient place, which will make this the book of choice when looking something up for a new idea or an old one that has been temporarily forgotten.

Ms. Holland also keeps the book generic, not leaning towards any particular path or deity. This makes it easy to adapt the information provided and is diverse enough for any person who is pursuing the Wiccan path.

For the average solitary, I would recommend this as a good, practical and very well packed textbook that will be referred to again and again.

Reviewed by Boudica 

 

What's Your Wicca IQ?
by Laura Wildman

This is Trivial Pursuit for the Wiccan Community.  It is a question and answer book that is broken down into different sections, rather like the question cards in Trivial Pursuit.  There is no board and no pieces, but there is material here that will challenge you and create a basis for discussion.

 I recently had this book at a gathering where there were many teachers of a variety of paths along with some of their students.  The book came out, and we started reading from it.  While there are some questions that have only one possible answer, what happened was discussion of the answers given.  There were also suggestions for additions.  Also, after some further dialogue, it was agreed that the answers given in the book were only some of the potential answers and certinally did not exhaust the subject.

Ask a question of 100 pagans and get 150 answers.  This book can be proof of that saying.

But to the author’s credit, she did pick some topics that provided some lively discussion and her answers provoked much thought and comment.  Topics include tools, history, spellcraft, divination and Ceremonial Magic.  These break down into questions about basic elementals and correspondences to questions about herbs, stones, processes and Deity.  Within these topics there is basic information as well as the “Gee, I didn’t know that!” topics. 

While Ms. Wildman may have originally focused on the use of this book as a way to measure your knowledge in your chosen path, what came about is a book that when used in a group situation will stimulate conversation, encourage thought and allow the open exchange of ideas on topics that will challenge as well as provide amusement in the ways they can be answered.

Yes, this book provides for your basic need to have a good time while learning, and no silly answer should go unlaughed at.  I remember a question about “fart bottles”, and while I am not going to tell you where the question is or what it was about, after the laughter was over, and some thought was given to the process, it was agreed that while the basic idea presented was logical, you got to admit it was pretty darn funny.  It was also suggested by some of the students present that this particular item was neglected by most of the teachers present, and somehow it needed to be worked into the curriculum.

All in all, this book was enlightening and a good basis for group discussion.  While not everything in the book was agreed upon, it did what I think most books should do; leave you thinking about the material covered and provide a basis for further discussion.

Reviewed by Boudica 

 

 

Cunningham's Encyclopedia of Wicca in the Kitchen
by Scott Cunningham

 

The original title of this re-release is “The Magic of Food” from 1990.   Llewellyn has put this book back into print.

 

I love the opening lines “Food is essential to our lives.  For many of us, the art of cooking and eating is a chore.  For others, it is a great delight.  And for some, the culinary arts and their products are indulgences.  Food is substituted for love.  Food is an excuse.  Food is a god.”

 

Scott explores all these aspects of food, as well as its magical properties and how this magic affects us and can be worked into our lives.   The first part of the book is a small introduction to the magic of cooking, associations, tools, histories, practicing food magic and even some discussion on vegetarianism. 

 

The meat and potatoes, if you will, of the book are the sections on specific types of foods.  The foods are broken down into groups, like bread and grains, fruit, spices and herbs, etc.  Common names, specific names, ruling planets, ruling elements, energies, lore and magical uses are explored, explained and looked at in its uses in magic and healthy living.

 

Mini-discussion on uses of salt in foods, substitutes for additives that do not promote overall good health, the healing qualities of foods, little known facts on food usages and food preparation make each of the topics covered interesting as well as useful.

 

“Nuts & Alleged Nuts …   It is curious that one contemporary slang term for insanity is “nuts,” as in, “That politician’s gone nuts.”  In the past, these crunchy foods were thought to bestow wisdom, not mental derangement.*” 

 

Footnote “*Then again, wisdom and insanity are often subjectively determined.”

 

Scott’s wit and humor are prevalent throughout the book as well as generous helpings of his wisdom and vast knowledge base. 

 

And we are also treated to “Scott’s Favorite Recipes”.   Appetizers, such as magic herb toast, beverages, desserts, main dishes… all here for you to consider and concoct in your own kitchen.  Even magical soups and romantic salads are here for you to consider.

 

The book has a good table of contents, indexed, and contains a good glossary, tables of correspondences and bibliography.  There is a mail order resource list which appears to be current, where you can get those hard to find ingredients. 

 

Overall, a good book for your library, a better book for your kitchen and an essential book to have in your Cunningham library.

Reviewed by Boudica

 

 

The Wiccan Rede:
Couplets of the Law, Teachings, and Enchantments
by Mark Ventimiglia

 

 

Mr. Ventimiglia takes the Wiccan Rede Couplet (the twenty-six line poem which explores the Wiccan Rede) and lays out his ideas of what he believes this poem represents in the Wiccan Community. 

The origins of this couplet are questioned by many groups and individuals.  The first appearance in print of this poem is in Green Egg magazine back in 1975 (Vol 3, #69) called Rede Of The Wiccae.  None of this is mentioned in this book.  What is mentioned is that the origins of this Couplet are in question by many groups and this is probably the most accurate statement in this book.

 

The opening lines of this book probably say more about the authors motivation than anything else the author writes, “The reason why I wrote The Wiccan Rede is simple:  There has never been a book written or published solely concentrating on its deep and meaningful teachings, and so I felt that there was a definite need.” 

 

Be mindful that the author interprets the material by his own ideas of what the Rede means.  While he does explore the couplet, he also inserts his own ideas on his personal spiritual path.  A section on why you should be on a natural diet:

“In keeping with the thought that all life is sacred and divine, I would like to touch on the benefits of a natural diet that exemplifies the principles of the Wiccan Rede and its deep philosophical teachings.”  He goes on to suggest: “Where protein is concerned, milk is a complete food.  Therefore, a diet containing milk and dairy products, fresh fruits, leafy vegetables and whole grains is the ideal diet for all of humanity.”  He goes on….

 

“The sixth and seventh couplets of the Wiccan Rede teach: “Deosil go by waxing moon, chanting out the Seax-Wiccan Runes.  Widdershins go by waning moon, chanting out thy baneful tune.”  This lesson is perhaps the most complex of all the Wiccan Rede’s teachings, for within it are contained the secrets of the directions and activities of celestial bodies, runology and curses.”  Really…

 

Coming to “Of Morals and Ethics” he states “In today’s world, especially in America and other major capitalistic countries, excess is the norm.  The old saying “He who dies with the most toys wins” is very common in today’s world and clearly displays the level of greed present in the world today.”

 

Mr. Ventimiglia’s bio states “He has intensively studied most of the world’s major religious traditions, as well as many pagan and shamanistic traditions.  He was ordained by the Universal Life Church in 1995, earned his PH.D in religious philosophy in 1996 (does not state from where) and since 1997 has given lectures and workshops on the Wiccan religion and alternative spirituality”. 

Reviewed by Boudica 

 

Wiccan Warrior by Kerr Cuhulain

 

Wiccan Warrior
by Kerr Cuhulain

 

The author of "The Law Enforcement Guide to Wicca" presents us here with what I feel is probably going to be a most controversial book, and I love a good controversial book.

Kerr Cuhulain examines the path of the Warrior Wiccan. Though many books have been written on the basics of Wicca and magic, the three aspects of the God and Goddess, healing and such, none have really done a good job examining the path of the Warrior. Kerr Cuhulain covers here how to be an everyday Warrior while living the Wiccan Rede.

If you have read Kerr Cuhulain, you would know he is a former Air Force Officer and a police officer as well as being a Wiccan. He is a Wiccan of thirty years and his education and understanding of both worlds is evident in this book.

He examines the evolution of Wicca, how it has grown, changed and continues to grow and evolve. For many, we can read his words and see how these changes have indeed come about in all the Earth Religions. Others will read this and disagree completely, holding that Mysteries never change. Whatever your view, you will be challenged as you read this book.

Kerr Cuhulain approaches being a Wiccan Warrior in a wonderful didactic style. He covers balance, creativity, energy, dreaming, magic, ritual and rationality all as pertaining to being a Warrior. His training in the martial arts shows in his approach to discipline and wisdom.

I am impressed greatly with this book, and find myself picking it up often to refer back to some of his material, contemplating it as it applies to myself, and how can it be applied to everyday life.

Maybe, in a way, those of us who stand up in our world as different, following the less traveled path are really warriors at heart. I find myself in this position often. This book will probably sit on my desk for a while as I ponder this further.

This book is filled with more than just basic material and is not fluff by any means. Kerr Cuhulain offers meat and potato information, discusses intelligently the foundations he lays for his material and offers a well researched, well put together book on a path less traveled, being a "Wiccan Warrior".

Reviewed by Boudica 

 

The Wiccan Web: Surfing the Magic on the Internet
by Patricia Telesco and Sirona Knight

Wow, the novice Techno Pagans now have a book all their own.  And a strange little book it is.  Trish Telesco and Sirona Knight have compiled a collection of information that makes a good introduction to the beginning web surfer.

The first part of the book deals with the basics of getting onto the Internet, from choosing an ISP to surfing with security.  Very good for beginners. 

The next part of the book deals with setting up your computer "altar", cyber rituals, computer wizardry and techno-spells.  While my computer is far from my "altar", I do spend alot of time at my "puter", and I make my space as comfortable as possible.  Probably what Ms. Telesco and Ms. Knight were getting at.  As for cyberspace and Craft practice, that is an individual choice.  This book offers an interesting perspective on this much discussed topic.

The meat and potatoes of this book are the Wiccan Web Sites listed in the book.  If you are looking for sites to surf, there are many hours of surfing and reading to be had here. 

This book covers loads of material, from chat room etiquette to building a web site.  There is a section on emoticons, ICQ and many of the basics that you may not have thought about.  Defraging your drive, complete with a spell (how many times have you prayed that defrag will not mess up your hard drive... certainly makes sense to me..) to cyber Gods and Goddesses, there is some new, original material here along with the standard computer buzz words.

While not for everyone, I do think the collection of Wiccan Web Sites is a good draw for this book.  The only regret I have is that the web sites section doesn't cover more and will probably have to be updated on a regular basis.  Web sites have a tendency to disappear without notice, or just close because they can not go on anymore.  Already, Green Egg is gone and will be missed. 

So, if you are looking for a beginners guide to the Wiccan Internet, and you feel the "Idiot" book is not for you, The Wiccan Web is a good place to start. 

Reviewed by Boudica

 

The Wiccan Wellness Book:
Natural Healthcare for Mind, Body, and Spirit
by Laura Perry

 

Laura Perry is a naturopath, teacher, shaman and Wiccan Priestess.  Ms. Perry presents us with her idea of blending earth based spirituality with natural wholeness in this book.

 

While it is titled “Wiccan Wellness” it appears to be more general in its focus, an all around book of natural health and wellness and is more general in its spiritual aspects, which is a good thing and should have been emphasized rather than trying to limit it to Wicca.  It would appeal to a broader base, and not limit itself in its scope.

 

But what deserves focus is this book’s approach to good health, exercise, creating your own personal sacred spaces and living in a healthy atmosphere which you create for yourself.  Create positive personal affirmations in the form of finding your own strengths.  Develop a exercise program for yourself, plant some greenery (Magickal Green People), value your work and create a healthy work environment are some of the topics for personal development.

 

The book covers many topics like plant associations, feng shui, personal journaling, healthy surroundings, natural healthcare (and how to find it in your area), rites of wellness and so much more.  Natural healthcare covers such topics as acupuncture and acupressure, aromatherapy, Ayurveda, the Alexander technique and other practices of health maintenance.  There are lists of suppliers and further reading on much of the material.  The book blends the needs of the mind, body and spirit together to create a balance. 

 

The chapters are laid out well and flow through the book and there is an index in the back of the book for quick reference.

 

This is a good beginner’s book on personal health and care and blending it with earth based spirituality.  The focus may say “Wiccan” but I think it could work for any one following an earth based spiritual path and is looking at developing a program of personal health and wellness. 

Reviewed by Boudica 

 

The Witch Book – The Encyclopedia of Witchcraft, Wicca and Neo-Paganism
by Raymond Buckland

I am impressed with all the large bodies of work that have been taken on by the authors in the pagan community as of late.  There have been a few who have tried to collect in one place all the information regarding the birthing and growth of the pagan community.

 

Each of them has its own flavor, which is what makes them different from each other.  They contain various bits of information that the author found to be of significance to the pagan community.

 

Raymond Buckland has now placed his collection of facts and fiction before the pagan community with his encyclopedia.  This has the “Buckland” flavor throughout and is the Pagan world as he sees it.

 

The entries are comprised of biographies, descriptions of tools and words, short synopsis of movies and television programs, traditions, history and much more.  Many entries are accompanied by his sources, which also includes Raymond Buckland.

 

So, presented here, for the reader, is the world according to many different authors, with diverse opinions on many of the topics.  This can give varied opinions on the many topics covered here, but it also gives us the insights and opinions of Mr. Buckland as well.  In some instances there are direct contradictions, but if you check the source, you will find it is because Mr. Buckland has presented the viewpoint of two different persons, which gives this book a contrast not seen in other works of this kind.

 

The material is cross referenced in the index which allows for quick access to the material within, as well as it being alphabetically referenced. 

 

There are also photos and illustrations of different aspects, symbols and persons including some from the Fortean Picture Library, which is Raymond Buckland’s own collection. 

 

I found this to be an interesting collection of material.  From movies to magic, Mr. Buckland included it all in one very nicely presented volume which would enhance any coffee table or library.  And while I would really have liked to have seen Mr. Buckland’s reviews of more movies than the few he did review, for the most part it is an eclectic collection of references, persons, events and things that comprise our way of life. 

Reviewed by Boudica 

 

Witchcraft: An Alternative Path
by Ann Moura

Ann Moura is best known for her “Green Witchcraft” series.  Her newest book is more of a general basic handbook on Witchcraft which provides information that every new Witch would need.

 

Covered here are the basic elements of being a Witch.  What is a Witch, what are the basic beliefs and practices, history of the symbols, required tools and common celebrations; all of these are put together for easy reference with some very well researched and clearly written explanations.  Descriptions of tools, use of magical writings, basic rituals, and even spellworking is discussed, and explained for the beginner.  Philosophies are explored and the “how to” is worked out in a logical and easy to understand manner.  Ms. Moura provides many correspondences tables and mini lists of items and their meanings and/or uses.  Divination tools are also included for the beginner exploring this path for the first time.

 

There is included a chapter on “Witchcraft for Daily Living” which discusses being a Witch in the modern world and how it can be applied to your spiritual life as well as the effects it can have on your mundane life.  There are many decisions to be made once you start on your chosen path, and Ms, Moura explores how you may want to approach this in your own life. 

 

The book contains many good tables, a glossary, suggested reading and is indexed for easy use.  The book keeps to a generic format, making it easy for anyone to use as it is not path specific.  It is written in clear and east to understand language and does not approach the material as “mysterious” or for the chosen few.  It is easy to understand and kept simple in its style.

 

Overall this is a fine choice for a beginner’s book from an experienced and well known author.

Reviewed by Boudica

 

Witchcraft and the Web:
Weaving Pagan Traditions Online
by M. Macha Nightmare

This book is probably the best on "Who's Who" on the Web in the Pagan Community. And it is probably the best when it comes to explaining what pagan networking on the web is all about. Ms. Nightmare takes the time to explore not only the terms and websites, but also some discussions with the webmasters and webmistresses who have made the networking possible.

Discussions in this book range from teaching on-line to different traditions and how they translate on the web. Margin notes discuss word meanings, from buzz words to techno-witch phrases. The history of the Craft in Cyberspace is looked at and how the Internet has impacted our community becomes very evident in this book.
Interviews with people from on-line E-zines to on-line radio broadcasters to Fritz Jung of the Witches voice, and other various people who comprise the total community, Ms. Nightmare covers all aspects of Paganism on the web.

This is a good book on the topic, well put together, well researched and does not contain the usual fluff that can be found in other books on the topic. A good choice for a book on the subject. 

Reviewed by Boudica

 

 

Witches:
True Encounters with Wicca, Wizards,
Covens, Cults and Magick
by Hans Holzer

I remember Hans Holzer from the 70’s, as THE “Ghost Hunter” and his association with Sybil Leek.  He was into ESP and psychic experiences and he wrote many books which I explored at that time.  I do remember his stories about ghosts and approached this book with an open mind. 

I am surprised at this book.  There is so much information in here that is just wrong and some of his sources are questionable.  

While there are a few groups and names that are easily recognizable, he does not interview those but merely mentions them.  Those individuals that he does interview are very new to the path.  Some of the covens he interviews are not very well known and those that are have very dated interviews.   

His information, like Wicca being an “ancient religion” is inaccurate (actually founded by Gerald Gardner in the 1930’s/40’s), he does not differentiate between Wicca and witchcraft.  He calls Ms. MorningGlory Zell “Mountain Glory”, and a picture of Yvonne Frost is labeled “Alice Frost”.  Typos abound showing very poor proofreading.  There is no bibliography, no references to where he found his original material. This is just his personal experiences, beliefs and pictures. 

Photos are misleading.  There are photos of him and Sybil Leek but they do not relate to the material being discussed other than to mention a remembrance or two.  Many of the photos are out of focus.    

A lot of the material is from the 1970’s.  He tells the stories as he remembers events and interviews from that time period.  Very little, if anything, is updated to today’s current pagan community.  What we read is a vignette of what the craft was like in its early years but not what it has evolved into today. 

Some of his memories of people like Tim Zell (Oberon Zell Ravenheart) and Dr. Leo Martello and the Frosts are interesting.  His coverage of the “Witch Wars” of the 1970’s is an interesting viewpoint from a different perspective.  There is some truth to the events that occurred but there is some omitted information or he just didn’t get the entire story.   

He includes rituals from some groups he practiced with back then, and this becomes so much filler to beef up the book.  It is interesting if you are looking for older reference materials.   He also goes into “Satanism” and again, while it may be interesting to the curious, it has nothing to do with “witches” and should have been done in a book separate from this book. 

All in all, the book lacks authenticity and has interest only from the stand point of the author himself.

Reviewed by Boudica

 

The Witches’ Craft:
 The Roots of Witchcraft and Magical Transformation
by Raven Grimassi

Raven Grimassi presents us with his basic book on the history, mystery and spiritual path of WitchCraft.

We are guided through the disciplines necessary to improve our skills.  We review how magic was approached in the past and how we approach it today.  Mr. Grimassi’s work is substantiated by research and extensive personal experience.

He explores the aspects of Witchcraft in various traditions.  He discusses the roots in various ancient paths and follows the evolution to modern day practices.  Discussion on Deity, tools and the magical arts are exact and detailed.  Working with energy, developing psychic awareness and the use of herbs, stones and trees are covered. 

While this book would be a good place to begin your exploration of Witchcraft, Mr. Grimassi includes techniques for those who wish to further their knowledge base and expand their understanding and personal power within the craft.

There are some wonderful photos of both artwork and tools which do not seem to be attributed as I could find.  The back of the book also includes some correspondence Mr. Grimassi had with Doreen Valiente, along with some photos of the actual correspondence.   It is an interesting discussion about Leland’s Aradia and probably worth purchasing the book for this alone.  However, Mr. Grimassi hints at other books he is considering publishing that will contain more of his correspondences with Doreen.

Also included is a timeline for Goddess literature in Witchcraft, a list of correspondences, a suggested further reading list and the book is indexed, making it an easy reference guide.

A nice handbook of material with a bonus of some material by and about Doreen Valiente, nicely presented and interesting to read.
 

Reviewed by Boudica

 

 

A Witch's Book of Dreams
by Karri Ann Allrich

Having read Karri's book "Recipes from a Vegetarian Goddess", I was surprised to find out that she was well versed in dream and symbology. 

She has studied the Jungian and magical aspects of dreams and their symbols for over twenty-five years, and this book is the collection of all that she has studied and learned.

Karri starts with the basic explanation of what dreaming is, how we dream and when we dream.  From there she takes a look at the studies of Carl Jung in relation to dreams and their roots in ancient wisdom's.

She examines archetypes and how they relate on many levels to ourselves and our lives.  She also explains symbols, which is one of the best features of this book, the dictionary of symbols and their meanings. She gives broad overviews to general symbols and the dictionary gives some very workable explanations to these exact symbols.

She also discusses the importance of writing down our dreams, using dream tools and of working with our dreams in shadow work.  We have heard of or explored our familiars in our everyday workings, shadow work is what happens when we fall asleep at night.  We have our own shadows with us when we walk the dream worlds and we can learn to work with these shadows and help improve our lives or solve our every day problems.  

Karri discusses working with the moon in dreams, using dreams to heal, and doing group Dream Circles.  Karri has lead Dream Circles and shares her experiences so that we might explore the potential for Dream Circles in our own lives.

If your interest is Dreams, and you are looking for some new perspectives on dreams and dreaming, this book would be an interesting addition to your collection. 

Reviewed by Boudica