Author: Edain McCoy
Trade Paperback, 188 pages
Publication date: 2004
List: US$9.95, C$13.50
Price & More Info: Click Here
If you are a fan of Edain McCoy, I am afraid we will have to agree to
disagree. Works of her which I have read previously have not particularly
If you feel that everything she writes is worthless, on the other hand, we
will also have to agree to disagree. Her scholarship may be brought into
question (and has been by others more qualified in the field), but anyone
who has been involved in the Wiccan/Witch/Pagan community for 20+ years has
experiences and personal insights to share which can benefit the larger
I don't always agree with her conclusions, but so long as she is clear that
they are her conclusions, I must accept them as valid, just as I would
expect her to accept my conclusions as being a valid expression of my own
This book is, admittedly, a "Wicca 101" book, aimed at those who are not yet
members of the religion. Therefore, it needs to be judged by that standard.
In some ways, that is a harsher standard than would be applied to a book for
a more experienced reader.
It is incumbent upon Ms. McCoy to be very clear about differentiating
between fact and opinion, and this is not always the case. It is also
necessary, in my opinion, to work extra hard to present the best possible
image of the membership of the religion, and that shows in small ways. I
have come to accept spelling errors in everyday situations, but a
professional writer should know the difference between "their" and "there"
or "rights" and "rites." Ms. McCoy fails in this. To her credit, she
acknowledges some of her shortcomings. It is rare to see an "authority
figure" admit that they were in error, but it is a sign of the growing
maturity of the community as a whole.
If you are one of those who is tired of beginner books, you will want to
give this book a pass. It is designed to help individuals decide if Wicca
is for them. It succeeds in provoking thought. She offers ideas and
options, not dogma. Since she makes it clear that this is eclectic Wicca
being discussed, there is no right or wrong.
One thing I really appreciate is her giving pronunciation guides to words
not likely to be encountered in the "outside" world. It is a nice
acknowledgement of the fact that things aren't always pronounced as they are
Some of the authors she recommends will grate on people's nerves (e.g.,
Silver RavenWolf, Laurie Cabot), while others have been recommended by many
others (e.g., Raymond Buckland, Scott Cunningham, Stewart and Janet Farrar).
Of course, as she reminds the reader, there are many books to read and
decisions to be made on a personal level.
Reviewed by Mike Gleason