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Wiccan Path Paperback – Dec 31 1990

4.1 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

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Paperback, Dec 31 1990
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 1 pages
  • Publisher: The Crossing Press (Dec 31 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0895947447
  • ISBN-13: 978-0895947444
  • Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 14.1 x 1.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 227 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #240,397 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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This book is set up in an interesting way: the 'chapters' consist of letters from the author to two (and then one) aspiring witches. While they all had good information in them, it wasn't what I was expecting.
A lot of what Ms. Beth gives us is her own personal Sabbatt celebrations. While it was interesting to see what kind of symbolism she uses, and it was helpful in forming my own Sabbatt rituals, this book sat on my bookshelf gathering dust for a long while until I felt that I had enough basic knowledge to actually cast a formal circle and do a Sabbatt ritual.
I'd say this book is for intermediate beginners, not those who are just beginning on the path. Although, it does take you through the wheel of the year quite nicely and it really could help to open someone's eyes as to what is going on in the natural world during the year. This is not the first book to start with.
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_The Wiccan Path_ consists of a series of letters written by Rae to two of her students, Tessa and Glyn, as she guides them through their Craft education. Halfway through the book, Glyn "drops out" when he marries a non-pagan, and the rest of the letters are written only to Tessa. Within this framework, Beth explains the Craft, as one other reviewer put it, as if you were learning it over tea at someone's table. This is how I imagine it would feel to be taught by your grandmother in a family tradition, something most witches aren't fortunate enough to experience.
Beth's correspondence includes a letter about each Sabbat, explaining how she celebrates and giving her students ideas for adapting the traditions to suit their own needs. Each of these chapters includes a full ritual, and unlike some of the more "formal" Wicca 101 books, the rituals are presented in an open-ended manner. They are merely suggestions, not prescribed lists of archaic-sounding incantations to be said in a specific order. They're just Beth's ideas, and she presents them as such.
Other subjects she deals with are trance-work and the deities. Her letters on trance-work are wonderful, and gave me tons of ideas. In her writings about the deities, she is as open-ended as she is about everything else, not giving them specific names, but leaving that up to the preference of the practitioner.
If you're looking for a book of formal rituals and formulaic spells, this isn't the book for you. If you want to learn the Craft the way your grandmother would have taught it, pull up a blanket, grab a cup of hot chocolate, and settle into a comfy chair with _The Wiccan Path_.
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We come across many "how to" books on the Craft these days, but seldom do we find one that also delves into "why." Rae's book is one of the best examples I have come across of a Witch writing from her heart rather than from her head. Yes, she does give examples of how she would celebrate the Sabbats and Esbats, of how she would work certain spells, and other "technical stuff". But more importantly, for me at least, is that she shares how she feels about what she does, about her celebrations, her personal magick, and her realtionship with Deity. We in the Craft are so paranoid about having so-called "sacred texts", that most of the works we do publish are very dry, passionless manuals of technique, that are themselves hamstrung by trying so hard not to offend or exclude anyone or anything. It takes courage, I think, in our milieu for a Witch to write about exactly what she thinks and how she feels about our religion, and to do so unapologetically.
I do not agree with everything Rae puts forth in her book, nor do I practice the Craft in the way that she does. But I do applaud and admire the vitality and passion with which she writes about her understanding and experience of our religion.
If you like the way Rae writes about the Craft, I recommend "Spirits of the Sacred Grove" by Emma Restall Orr.
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Rae Beth, an experienced and wise hedge witch (solitary practitioner), writes to Tessa and Glyn, two people interested in understanding and possibly beginning a Wiccan lifestyle. In a very personalized and collaborative way, her letters coach both Tessa and Glyn through an entire year, covering their questions, the eight Sabbats, full moon ceremonies, initiation, tools for the practice, and Wiccan history in Part I. In Part II, Rae Beth continues to coach Tessa in trance work providing additional support in letters for an additional six months. Her letters are practical, heart-felt, offer the nuts and bolts, and make the practice accessible. Rae Beth is not caught up in faddish trappings; she is authentic, dedicated, and seriously devoted to giving her readers a solid understanding and foundation. I recommend reading the book at least twice: once for a general understanding; the second time, getting to a deeper level by reading the book throughout the year during the same times the letters are written, journaling while you read. I highly recommend The Wiccan Path to readers who live in the Northern Hemisphere.
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THE WICCAN PATH by Rae Beth consists of a series of letters Rae Beth wrote to two friends who wanted to know more about Wicca. Her correspondence is not very different from exchanges I have had with various friends over the years -- a Christian Scientist friend who explained her religion to me via phone calls and letters, a Quaker friend who explained her religion to me over various meetings for coffee, and a Morman male friend I saw for over a year when I was younger (and did not marry) who explained his religion to me.
I read voraciously about religion--histories, documents, letters, books, and other material. Although I was raised Christian in a Protestant-Catholic household, my mother and maternal grandmother attended seances every Friday night, and my maternal grandfather was descended from Dutch Jews. Knowledge of my family's mixed religious affiliations caused me a great deal of concern when I was a child because I was sent to Catholic schools where I was taught only RCs could enter heaven. I have tried to understand other religions ever since.
Like other reviewers of Rae Beth's book, I have read Scott Cunningham, Raven Grimassi, Silver Ravenwolf, and many others and I enjoy what they have written. Rae Beth is the first Wicca who "spoke" to me on a personal level however. These days, I find myself growing closer and closer to this ancient system of beliefs. Wicca is a lovely practice that operates from the perspective of attraction, not promotion.
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