Author: Patricia Crowther
Trade Paperback, 200 pages
Publisher: Capall Bann
Publication date: 2001
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This is a revision of a book first published about twenty years earlier. It
was originally published in 1981 and suffers from some of the attitudes
prevalent at that time.
The author is a Gardnerian initiate and, consequently, espouses the "It
takes a Witch to make a Witch" position. Self-initiation is not an option
for this lady. A lot of what she says resounds with what I was taught,
although I am not Gardnerian. For instance, her statement on page 53:
"Unlike the ritual magician's circle, which is there to keep elementals and
hostile forces at bay, the Witches' circle is erected to contain the magical
power raised within it." Many modern-day Wiccans stress to protective
aspects of the circle, thus betraying their fear of the powers they are
attempting to associate with.
She provides basic information and examples regarding tools, magic working
and circle casting, in the event one is not able to work with a coven.
While this was an extremely valid position (and remains so to a lesser
extent, even in 2005), with the advent of the burgeoning cyber community
dedicated to the Craft and magickal workings, there is little excuse for not
connecting with fellow practitioners.
The book is enriched by the inclusion of poetry and invocations created by
Ms. Crowther and her late husband, Arthur. The imagery created is beautiful
and contributes much to the beauty and power of the rituals being worked.
While this book is, in essence, a "Wicca 101" book (witness its subtitle "A
Wicca Handbook") it has the advantage of being penned by an author who
personally knew one of the acknowledged leaders if the early public life of
Wicca. Thus her information is not the kind that has passed through several
layers of teachers, with the resultant distortion which may occur. That
doesn't necessarily make it better, but it does allow us to see what
information was considered important, back "in the day."
She includes Planetary Rites to use as attunements (or at-one-ments) before
beginning actual magickal operations. Each such rite included basic
correspondences and invocations, as well as full descriptions of appropriate
actions. There are no seasonal rituals given, nor are there any "laws"
included. Only the final couplet of the Rede is quoted. Therefore, even
though this is a "Wicca 101" book, it is even more basic than that.
It is an excellent overview of the Craft in the early days of its public
existence, and can serve to provide a bit more meat on the bones of the
usual Craft histories. On top of that, Ms. Crowther has a most enjoyable
style of writing and is, on top of her other qualifications, quite
Reviewed by Mike Gleason