Thursday, April 27, 2017

Book Review: Witchcraft Today by Gerald Gardner

Whether you love the book or hate the book (or the author), there's no denying that this book paved the way for modern Wicca and Witchcraft. It's one of the most well-known books published in the 20th century regarding Wicca and the Craft as we know it today. Without its publication, who knows where Wicca would stand today as it aided in drawing out those who practiced the Old Ways out of the shadows and into, well, let's be honest and just say a less intense shadow. It can't be a true Mystery Tradition without some shroud of mystery to it!

Regardless of one's feelings about the author, the book was enjoyable to read. Personally, I'm a little biased when it comes to reading about history and this book is certainly peppered with history about the Knights Templar, the Salem Witch Trials, the Burning Times, and most anything related to occultism. Granted, this book is not a history book, I thoroughly enjoyed reading about some of Gardner's research into occultist history.

In addition to historical information, Gardner inserted his perceptions and views into Witchcraft by either referencing his personal experience from an initiate point of view or his experience as being an observer. As you read, you may become slightly frustrated with how little information is actually given about his experiences within the Craft. He gives just enough information to draw you in. Almost like having an appetizer but skipping the main course. This is most likely due to his intense and utmost dedication to staying true to his Oath of Secrecy that he took when he was initiated into his tradition. He makes it clear throughout the book that he is trying to reach out to others of a like mind but inviting witches to write to him, to describe their rituals or what they are willing to reveal about their traditions, to commune with him on a personal level. I have heard that after this book was written there was an outpouring of just that!

I believe this book has earned its place on every witch's bookshelf. It is a cornerstone to our community whether you identify as Wiccan, Pagan, or a Witch. It is an important part to our history and understanding the development of Wicca and the Craft today.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Druids, Gods & Heroes by Anne Ross, Illustrated by Roger Garland

For those looking for a fun way to study Celtic and Irish lore, this is the book for you! This book may have been designed for juveniles but it certainly does a good job at retelling the myths we know and love from our Celtic ancestors. Beautifully illustrated and outlined, this book touches upon the first inhabitants of Ireland, explains the rise of the Tuatha Dé Danann, and follows our favorite heroes through their most memorable feats.

The book is divided into chapters and then subdivided by their stories. Depending on your parenting style, I would recommend reading the book first and then deciding on which stories are appropriate for your wee ones. There are some stories in this book that have adult content as would be expected from the Celts. If you plan on reading the book for yourself, it's a great start to trying to understand the rich history of Ireland, Wales, Scotland, and the surrounding areas. You will find interesting facts along with the myths and strong moral codes with an emphasis on the importance of hospitality and respect.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Book Review: Wicca: A Guide For The Solitary Practitioner by Scott Cunningham

So this is probably the second time I've read this book. I've read it years ago but I decided to read it again because I had forgotten a lot of it and I wanted to write this review. This is one of my "go-to" books for beginners because it does have a lot of useful information and is basically a Wiccan starter kit. Not only does it have the theory behind Wicca and its many teachings but it also has practical knowledge which can be applied.

This book contains a mini book of shadows for those who may have trouble finding a teacher or coven to practice with and learn from. Cunningham is very humble in his presentation and asserts that his teachings are by no means law which is something that I really like because it's true. These are all guidelines because Wicca and its practices are completely open to interpretation and all about personal power and growth.

The first half of the book is about Wicca and what it's about, its deities, creating Circles, invocations, etc. Your very basic run through intro course. The second half is Cunningham's general book of shadows from his earlier years. Cunningham's books are generally always a pleasure to read and I admire him as a very intelligent person.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Power of the Witch by Laurie Cabot

I thoroughly enjoyed this book due to its openness about the Craft. Laurie Cabot is very honest about her feelings when it comes to her personal style of Witchcraft and her definition of what being a Witch is all about. She is a very big advocate of education and dispelling ignorance about witches which is reflected in the pages of her book. She begins by delving briefly into the history of the ancient arts and slowly makes her way to present day and her thoughts about how she foresees witchcraft to be viewed in the future.

I love reading books that reference other books and this book is filled with references. My only qualm is that there was not a book reference list in the back of the book or an Index so you have to mark the books down yourself as you read. I was quite amazed at her dedication towards emphasizing the unique balance between the spiritual aspect of the Craft and the scientific aspects of life as we know it. She used scientific research as a way to meld the two worlds together in an understandable way for those who may not be familiar with Craft workings. Her goal was to show how these two aspects complement each other without contradiction.

Once again, as you read any book, practice the techniques mentioned and see if they work for you. You may be surprised and wish to incorporate them into your own work. The book also had almost an entire chapter dedicated to Witch Children. I found this chapter to be enlightening and had some neat projects and techniques that a parent could do with their child to introduce them to the Craft.