Reviewed by Mike Gleason
Circle, Coven & Grove: A Year of Magickal Practice
by Deborah Blake
published 2007 by Llewellyn
Paperback 253 pages
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This book is definitely a "101" book. It is designed to provide basic ideas and structure for a year's worth of rituals. However, unlike many books of basics, this one supplies ideas for New and Full Moons attuned to each month.
Of course, the author makes sure to state early that the reader is not bound by the ideas contained in the book. As she points out, she has presented to concept of a "rebirthing" ritual as appropriate for an April Full Moon, but if you feel the need for such a ritual at some other time of the year it may be used whenever you need it.
She provides some basics of Wiccan philosophy and history and, very importantly in my opinion, some basics of Circle etiquette. She claims that this chapter "may well be the most important chapter" in the book. I agree fully with that statement. It is nice that she provides some correspondences and some definitions and all the rest, but
Circle etiquette is the lubrication which allows individuals and groups to work together smoothly. Although Wicca is a highly individualistic religion, it is necessary to share come commonalities, and Circle etiquette IS such a commonality
Some of the ritual instructions are a little strange to me, but that is a function of the fact that I was trained in a lineaged tradition and she is Eclectic. I have no doubt that her directions and instructions will work and be effective. She stresses the importance of listening to your inner voice to decide what is right for you and your group.
Perhaps my one major objection to the way this book is set up is Ms. Blake's assumption that, in any given month, the New Moon will always
precede the Full Moon. That isn't always a valid assumption; as well know (for example, this month started with a Full Moon). While some experienced practitioners can make adjustments easily, newcomers might find this disconcerting.
The sample invocations and meditations she provides are doubtlessly effective. They give a variety of ideas to work with and can certainly provide some needed inspiration for developing your own ideas.