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.