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Home > Books & Reviews > Pagan > Mini-Reviews: Pagan Books Search

Pagan Books

Here are some some mini-reviews of Pagan books. These reviews are shorter and somewhat less detailed than our full reviews.

The New Book of Magical Names

Author: Phoenix McFarland
Trade Paperback, 415 pages
Publisher: Llewellyn
Publication date: July 2003
ISBN: 0738703958
Price & More Info: Click Here

The New Book of Magical Names is the second edition of The Complete Book of Magickal Names. The first edition of this book was published in 1996 and was listed in the New York Times "Reader's Guide to the Best 10,000 Books in Print." This book is 415 pages of lists of names, information on those names, and background material on naming methods and popular names throughout history. Did you know that during the Puritan era in England (1500-1640 c.e.) some were given first names like "Search the Scriptures," "Hate Evil," or even "Jesus Christ Came Into the World to Save"?

The majority of the book is lists of names, often with their origins and/or meanings. These lists are divided into many categories, names from nature, names from books and films, names from other cultures, names from foods, names from places, names from mythology, and many more. Over 7000 names are listed -- and indexed, both alphabetically and by category. This book isn't just for Pagans. It's for anyone who needs help naming a child, a pet, or even a club or religious group and wants to look beyond the more common English names. If you are having trouble finding the perfect name, this book can probably help you -- and entertain you as it does. -- reviewed by Randall Sapphire

Cooking by the Seasons

Author: Karri Ann Allrich
Trade Paperback, 208 pages
Publisher: Llewellyn
Publication date: July 2003
ISBN: 0738703230
Price & More Info: Click Here

Cooking by the Seasons: Simple Vegetarian Feasts was previously titled Recipes from a Vegetarian Goddess. This is another Pagan-themed cookbook by Karri Allrich, featuring over 100 vegetarian recipes. The recipes are divided into categories within the four seasons of the year. While complete menus are provided for each of the Wiccan sabbats and the introductory notes to each recipe often make Wiccan references, this is primarily a cookbook. You will not find detailed information on Wicca or Paganism here.

While I'm personally not a big fan of vegetarian meals, there really are some tasty sounding recipes in this book. Do dishes like Corn Mother Relish, Golden Potato Soup, Roasted Acorn Squash Risotto, Summer Garden Couscous, Paradise Pizza, Maple Ice Cream, Winter Solstice Pumpkin Soup make you hungry? These are just a small sample of the many recipes in this book. Fortunately, this book has an excellent pair of indexes as the arrangement of recipes in this book, with major categories repeated for each season, could otherwise make it hard to find the recipe you are looking for. If you like to cook vegetarian, this cookbook is for you. -- reviewed by Randall Sapphire

The Pocket Spell Creator

Author: Kerri Connor
Pocket Paperback, 160 pages
Publisher: New Page Books
Publication date: September 2003
ISBN: 1564147150
Price & More Info: Click Here

The Pocket Spell Creator: Magickal References at Your Fingertips is a small book of spell correspondences intended to be put in a pocket and carried around. This is an excellent idea. Unfortunately, it's a bit wide to fit in the average pocket -- at least on my clothes. That quibble aside, this book is actually quite handy for the average practitioner of witchcraft. It lists the correspondences or elements, moon phases, days of the week, colors, crystals and stones, foods, herbs and plants, and oils in a concise and easy to read format. An index makes it easy to look up a particular item to see what its correspondences are.

In addition to correspondences, this book includes very brief chapters on the various types of spells and on magickal ethics and procedures. The ethics are basically those of Wicca. The book concludes with two long chapters. The first gives a large number of simple oil, incense, and bath salts recipes (actually just ingredient lists). The second gives a number of short incantations one can use for spells. A few make me want to gag, but most are okay. Aside from being too big for my pockets, the only real problem I see with this book is its price. At a suggested retail price of US$9.99, it seems a bit expensive for its size. -- reviewed by Randall Sapphire

How to Write for the New Age Market

Author: Richard Webster
Trade Paperback, 196 pages
Publisher: Llewellyn
Publication date: May 2003
ISBN: 0738703443
Price & More Info: Click Here

Richard Webster is well qualified to write his latest book How to Write for the New Age Market. He's written over 20 books in the New Age field and before beginning his career as a new age writer, he was an editor and had books published in other fields. While this book does seem a bit biased toward Llewellyn procedures at times, Webster's experience is with Llewellyn and they are one of the world's top publishers of New Age books. Don't let the "New Age" name fool you, in the publishing business it covers much more than what most Pagans think of as "New Age" -- including Pagan religions.

Webster starts at the beginning (coming up with a marketable idea) and shows how to go from idea stage to published book. Research, writing, preparing an outline and sample chapter, understanding how the acquisitions process works at a publisher, working with editors, and promoting your book once it is published are all covered. Webster's style is clear, but entertaining. He doesn't make writing a book sound like any less work than it is, but he doesn't make it sound impossible either.

There is a lot of practical advice throughout this book. While I'm not a writer, I've known many professional writers in other genres over the years, and what Webster says in this book is the same type of sound advice that I've heard them give to new writers in the past, just targeted at the New Age market. While reading this book will not turn you into a writer, if you have the talent and something worthwhile to say, it will help you write and sell a New Age or Pagan book to a publisher. If you are interested in writing a book for the New Age market, you really should read this book. -- reviewed by Randall Sapphire

Simplified Qabala Magic

Author: Ted Andrews
Trade Paperback, 165 pages
Publisher: Llewellyn
Publication date: June 2003
ISBN: 073870394X
Price & More Info: Click Here

The Hermetic Qabala is a complex subject. Many books have been written on it in the last hundred years. Many of those are incomprehensible to anyone not already well-informed on the subject. With Simplified Qabala Magic, Ted Andrews is attempting to explain the Hermetic Qabala to those without any background knowledge at all. As this is quite a task, I was surprised to find that he was far more successful that I expected. This book is still not what most people will consider light reading, but it is a readable -- and more importantly -- understandable introduction to the Qabala and basic methods for working with it.

This book explains the Tree of Life, using meditation to work with the Tree, basic Pathworking, the Qabalistic Cross, and the Middle Pillar exercise. The material is basic, but well explained. It will not make one an expert on the Hermetic Qabala, but it will enable one to actually understand more advanced works on the subject. A word of warning, this book teaches the Hermetic Qabala in fairly standard form for the Western Magical tradition. That is, it is Judeo-Christian in orientation, although with a very "New Age" flavor. Pagans who are unable to deal with this might want to skip this book. -- reviewed by Randall Sapphire

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