Those who are just starting out in the craft may find this how-to book on Wiccan rituals, spells, and tools useful. Gary Cantrell, author of Out of the Broom Closet?
, is the first to admit that this book is geared for beginners and may be redundant for long-time practitioners. That said, Cantrell has done a masterful job of defining the roots of Wicca and helping readers establish their own approach to a diverse and ancient craft. For instance, some may be drawn to the more nature-oriented Celtic traditions, while others may be attracted to the more feminist Dianic approach. He also offers a strong chapter on ethics and purpose, debunking the depraved devil-worshipping, blood-sacrificing, black-magic stereotypes attached to witches. Mostly, Cantrell emphasizes how to get started (suggesting essential tools, such as altar cloths and candles), techniques for purifying an area, and how to conduct an assortment of rites and spells. "The art of working a spell, or casting a spell, or making magick is serious work," he cautions. "It is not something that can be approached lightly, casually, or flippantly ... You will be bending and shaping energies that will, without question, have an impact on the world around you...." Passages such as this one prove Cantrell to be a responsible narrator, someone who is dedicated to offering accurate knowledge while also encouraging newcomers to carefully monitor their Wiccan ethics and intentions. A welcome addition to the voices of Wiccan wisdom.
From Publishers Weekly
Despite the growing number of covens and magickal circles, there is still truth in the sociologist mile Durkheim's famous 1912 statement that "there is no Church of magic." This is due partly to the idiosyncratic nature of paganism. As Cantrell notes, "Your chosen path in the Old Religion must be one that is uniquely suited to you as an individual and one that lets you speak to the Lord and Lady in your own fashion." A Wiccan high priest, Cantrell offers this volume as a general introduction to the Craft, aimed especially at people working individually ("solitaries") or in small groups. He covers a great deal of ground, from the basics the ritual calendar and standard spells to more specialized topics, such as the uncertain practicality of replacing the traditional bound grimoire with a Floppy Disk of Shadows. One chapter offers tips for the physically disabled pagan. Another draws upon the conclusions of his earlier book, Out of the Broom Closet?: A Guide to Revealing Your Practice of Witchcraft to Others, pondering that being identified as a witch "was a death sentence only 200 years ago." As the author himself notes, his work relies heavily on classic texts, and old-timers will find little here that is fresh. But Cantrell's engaging style and good sense make this a fine starting place for the novice practitioner.
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