Author: Patricia Telesco
Trade Paperback, 256 pages
Publisher: New Page Books
Publication date: 2004
List: US$13.99, C$19.95
Price & More Info: Click Here
I had begun research for such a book many, many years ago. It was nice to
see someone beat me to the punch. The 57 traditions listed in this book do
not represent the totality of the neo-Pagan experience. No single book
could do it justice. There are a few (about 5) traditions I was completely
unaware of, and some I am aware of that didn't make the cut, for whatever
On a personal level, I wish Ms. Telesco had included a copy of the "Advanced
Bonewits Cult Danger Evaluation Frame" issued by Isaac Bonewits. It is a
valuable tool for evaluating groups in terms of level of control. While
most neo-Pagan traditions would score low on the evaluation, it never hurts
to check out the particular group you wish to interact with.
The first 36 pages of this book provide a bit of groundwork before you begin
walking a neo-Pagan path. Please take the time to read them, even if you
are, like me, already committed to a life of neo-Paganism. While Ms.
Telesco doesn't say anything earth-shattering in these pages, she does offer
advice that everyone can benefit from.
A couple of the traditions she included (Cybeline and Mi'nerwen) immediately
raised cautionary flags in my mind. Both of them claim extensive, hitherto
undocumented, existences. While I am sure there are some groups which have
had such existences, I have been exposed to far too many groups which claim
"ancient lineages", and which have turned out to have been brought into
existence within the lifetimes of the "current" leadership. I don't say
that this is the case with these particular groups, but I would be very
careful of such claims, personally.
While this book is a good start, I would like to see further volumes,
especially considering the number of neo-Pagan and Wiccan traditions in
existence at the start of the 21st century. I would also like to see a
similar volume (or more) covering some of the traditions which have faded
from view already, lest their memory pass into the realm of myth and legend.
While there are flaws with this book, it is a valuable addition to any
neo-Pagan's library. It will be especially valuable to those who are
searching for an overview of the community. While almost all of this
information is available at www.witchvox.com (Witches Voice), this book is
an excellent resource for those who either don't have Internet access at a
particular moment, or to help narrow down the potential information overload
which may be experienced while traveling the world-wide web.
Reviewed by Mike Gleason