Author: Laura Wildman
Trade Paperback, 296 pages
Publisher: Citadel Press
Publication date: January 2003
Price & More Info: Click Here
When I was much younger than I am today, topic-oriented quiz books and Trivial Pursuit were the in thing. I never really cared for Trivial Pursuit as I found random bits of trivia uninteresting, but I found quiz books on subjects that interested me a fun way to test my knowledge and learn something new. Given this background, you can imagine how pleasantly surprised I was to receive a copy of Laura Wildman's What's Your Wicca IQ? for review.
Wildman has brought the old quiz book to Wicca. And she's done so in the best way. The answer sections don't just list the correct answer with a sentence or two of comment as they do in poor quiz books, they discuss the answer in enough detail so that you might be able to learn something new even if you got the answer correct. There are over 550 questions divided into six areas:
- The beliefs of witches and Pagans
- Tools, circles, and celebrations;
- The history of witchcraft and modern Paganism
- Magick and spells
- Ceremonial magick
The questions are excellent. Some are easy and some are hard. Many are obviously designed to make you think. Most of the questions are multiple choice, although some are "match items in two columns" questions. The real test of a quiz book, especially one on a subject where misinformation is often stated as proven fact in books, is the answers. As in, are the answers the book gives correct? The author is a third degree Gardnerian so I had reason to hope for the best as I picked out questions on subjects where there is often a great deal of incorrect information floating around the Pagan community. My hopes were not misplaced. While I had some minor quibbles about a couple of the questions I selected to carefully check, I was pleased to find that nonsense like ancient matriarchies and nine million burned were not being passed off as factual information.
Not all questions are about facts, however, many are about what is basically common practice or opinion. There's an old saying about ask five Pagans a question and you'll get at least six answers -- all correct. There's more than a little truth to this saying where matters of practice and opinion are concerned. I'm pleased to say that Wildman usually did a good job of handling questions like "What is an Elder?" or "How many Gods and Goddesses are there?" where there is legitimate disagreement in the community on the "correct" answer.
While going through What's Your Wicca IQ? by yourself can be an interesting way to learn, going though the book with a group and discussing the questions and answers should be a lot of fun and a very good way to spark interesting discussions.
I've seen a review or two of this book on the Internet where the reviewers pan it as somehow trivializing Wicca and other Pagan religions by reducing them to a set of questions and then having the gall to inject some humor into a few of the answers. I can't agree. I think What's Your Wicca IQ? is a splendid book that presents information in a different and fun way. There's nothing wrong with mixing fun with learning and this book does that quite well. I'm happy to have it on my bookshelf. I suspect that most Wiccans and many non-Wiccan Pagans will be just as happy to have this book as I am.
Reviewed by Randall