Strengths: All of the rituals and exercises in The Urban Pagan: Magical Living in a 9-To-5 World can be used as is and are vague enough (for want of better words) to be personalized. The author also lists basic references which are useful in doing such. There is a small chapter devoted to holidays which, in addition to the Sabbats, lists traditional and cultural holidays and ways in which they relate to Pagan spirituality and beliefs. There is also a chapter for what the author refers to as the "frugal magician" with ideas (and in some cases instructions, recipes, and/or diagrams) for making and acquiring one's own tools without spending insane amounts of money. There are detailed references for making magical use of everyday items.
Weaknesses: Part 1 of this book focuses on self-healing and self-preparation, but it reads a bit like a self-help manual. The book is almost ten years old, so some of the resources are outdated but it isn't difficult to find updated addresses or suitable replacements if one is so inclined. For all intents and purposes, it is a bit of a beginner's book so a lot of the information is repetitive to anyone considering themselves "advanced" or beyond.
Does the book contain Spells? No.
Does the book contain Rituals? Yes -- there are a few rituals for Earth healing.
Does the book contain Notes? There are rather detailed footnotes at the end of each chapter.
Does the book discuss History? The only historical information given directly is a brief history of herbalism. There are a few historical references throughout the text.
Does the book discuss Ethics? Not discussed at length.
Is the book worth the price? This book retails for $14.95 new; I bought a used copy from an auction site for less than ten dollars. To be honest, I almost abandoned this book early on. The first three chapters reminded me of an overdrawn session on the therapist's couch. I understand the author's pointing out the need for self-healing and self-preparation, but I feel that it was taken a bit too far. I don't know that I'd recommend this book as a purchase to too many of my friends because a lot of the information given is rather basic, but it does have its redeeming values.
For the beginner, I remember what it was like looking for books and being inundated by Wicca on the market. This book is a welcome breath of air in that respect, but I feel that it leaves a lot to be desired. I feel that this book is one to borrow before buying, and is best if accompanied by books such as True Magick by Amber K to help fill in a few of the holes.
Reviewed by Reni Religion