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Author Topic: Wicca books with a little more depth?  (Read 7461 times)
Dannil
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« Topic Start: September 03, 2008, 05:23:47 pm »

During the last four years that I've had this interest in Wicca, I've read a few beginner books about it. Not nearly as many as I would have wanted to read, however. I began with reading Cunningham's "Guide for the solitary practitioner", and "Living Wicca". I've also read Buckland's "Complete book of Witchcraft", as well as a minor smattering of other books on related subjects such as Tarot, divination, magic and the like.

Those books were all mostly good. They were very interesting. But there was very little depth. Being a scientifically oriented person (I'm a programmer by profession), I need something more... convincing. I mean no offense to anyone, but I'm not going to believe that there are actual deities (God and Goddess) just because Cunningham tells me so. I'm not saying there aren't, I believe that there could very well be, but I want to read something with a little more depth about the subject. I want to read a theoretical discussion on the nature of these deities - are they actual sentient beings, or just symbols of natural archetypes? I guess you could argue that "this can't be proven either way, it's a matter of faith". Fine. But then I need way more information before I decide where to put my faith. Cunningham and Buckland provides very little in this direction.

Also, this thing about magic is very confusing to me, given my "scientific" nature. But things I've read about quantum physics lately, and how little of it science understands, who knows what could be possible? I'm sure there are books that deal with this issue from a neutral point of view as well.

So, given what I've said above, can anyone recommend some books or other resources that might help me along?
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« Reply #1: September 03, 2008, 09:08:52 pm »


One of the most in-depth books I've ever read about Wicca is Vivianne Crowley's 'Wicca'. It's more about British Traditional Wicca as opposed to Neo-Wicca, though, so is very different from books such as Cunningham's.
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« Reply #2: September 03, 2008, 10:58:58 pm »

During the last four years that I've had this interest in Wicca, I've read a few beginner books about it. Not nearly as many as I would have wanted to read, however. I began with reading Cunningham's "Guide for the solitary practitioner", and "Living Wicca". I've also read Buckland's "Complete book of Witchcraft", as well as a minor smattering of other books on related subjects such as Tarot, divination, magic and the like.

Those books were all mostly good. They were very interesting. But there was very little depth. Being a scientifically oriented person (I'm a programmer by profession), I need something more... convincing. I mean no offense to anyone, but I'm not going to believe that there are actual deities (God and Goddess) just because Cunningham tells me so. I'm not saying there aren't, I believe that there could very well be, but I want to read something with a little more depth about the subject. I want to read a theoretical discussion on the nature of these deities - are they actual sentient beings, or just symbols of natural archetypes? I guess you could argue that "this can't be proven either way, it's a matter of faith". Fine. But then I need way more information before I decide where to put my faith. Cunningham and Buckland provides very little in this direction.

Also, this thing about magic is very confusing to me, given my "scientific" nature. But things I've read about quantum physics lately, and how little of it science understands, who knows what could be possible? I'm sure there are books that deal with this issue from a neutral point of view as well.

So, given what I've said above, can anyone recommend some books or other resources that might help me along?


In reference to your interests in deities, I would recommend reading the specifi mythologies relating to the gods/godesses you are interested in knowing more about.
And go for actual mythologies, rather than some modern expert's paraphrasing of what ancient authors were saying.

That was the best starting point for me, and although I ultimately returned to the Christian pantheon, it was with a renewed understanding that I wouldn't have had without connecting to and working with other deities.

As to the magick aspect, sorry, but I don't have much for that except that I do a spell and it works and that's enough for me.
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« Reply #3: September 04, 2008, 12:24:17 am »

I mean no offense to anyone, but I'm not going to believe that there are actual deities (God and Goddess) just because Cunningham tells me so. I'm not saying there aren't, I believe that there could very well be, but I want to read something with a little more depth about the subject. I want to read a theoretical discussion on the nature of these deities - are they actual sentient beings, or just symbols of natural archetypes? I guess you could argue that "this can't be proven either way, it's a matter of faith". Fine. But then I need way more information before I decide where to put my faith. Cunningham and Buckland provides very little in this direction.
<snip>
So, given what I've said above, can anyone recommend some books or other resources that might help me along?
I'm thinking you should try Ellen Cannon Reed's The Heart of Wicca.  You won't find a lot of heavy theological speculation on the nature of the gods, but you should get an idea of why it is that such speculation is peripheral to the core of Wicca (either Traditional or Eclectic).

This relates really closely to your thread about the inappropriateness of "faith" in describing Wicca - I've some relevant thoughts that I think would be more topical to that thread, that I'll try to post there in the next few days.

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« Reply #4: September 04, 2008, 02:04:28 am »

During the last four years that I've had this interest in Wicca, I've read a few beginner books about it. Not nearly as many as I would have wanted to read, however. I began with reading Cunningham's "Guide for the solitary practitioner", and "Living Wicca". I've also read Buckland's "Complete book of Witchcraft", as well as a minor smattering of other books on related subjects such as Tarot, divination, magic and the like.

Those books were all mostly good. They were very interesting. But there was very little depth. Being a scientifically oriented person (I'm a programmer by profession), I need something more... convincing. I mean no offense to anyone, but I'm not going to believe that there are actual deities (God and Goddess) just because Cunningham tells me so. I'm not saying there aren't, I believe that there could very well be, but I want to read something with a little more depth about the subject. I want to read a theoretical discussion on the nature of these deities - are they actual sentient beings, or just symbols of natural archetypes? I guess you could argue that "this can't be proven either way, it's a matter of faith". Fine. But then I need way more information before I decide where to put my faith. Cunningham and Buckland provides very little in this direction.

Also, this thing about magic is very confusing to me, given my "scientific" nature. But things I've read about quantum physics lately, and how little of it science understands, who knows what could be possible? I'm sure there are books that deal with this issue from a neutral point of view as well.

So, given what I've said above, can anyone recommend some books or other resources that might help me along?


One problem with what you want.  After the basic beginner stuff, you get into a sort of "every man for himself" sort of thing.  This isn't always the case, but it is in most.  SOme see things one way, while others see things another way.  A lot of it is individual perception, even if you have two people practicing the same religion, in the same group, one could see the gods as archetypes of a certain idea, another could see them as the actual force/idea, and yet another could see them as sentient beings governing that particular area.  Some groups may require that one see certain things the same as the rest of the group, and in Wicca I really can't tell you how much is individual perception and how much is basic dogma, within the religion itself, and within it's various offshoots, and groups.

Best bet, as already mentioned, read up on the mythologies of the various gods, and decide for yourself.  The best way to get any sort of theology, is to actually do what you are doing on this site, talk to people about their specific beliefs.  And, again, decide for yourself.

I'm personally not Wiccan.  I studied it for a while, but some of the beliefs didn't mesh with my own, so I dropped it for the most part.  Every now and then I look at some things, but for the most part, it's not my religion, I have little use for it's teachings other than curiosity. 
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« Reply #5: September 04, 2008, 03:59:33 am »


 I want to read a theoretical discussion on the nature of these deities - are they actual sentient beings, or just symbols of natural archetypes? I guess you could argue that "this can't be proven either way, it's a matter of faith". Fine. But then I need way more information before I decide where to put my faith. Cunningham and Buckland provides very little in this direction.

So, given what I've said above, can anyone recommend some books or other resources that might help me along?


Try the philosophy of wicca by Amber Laine Fisher. http://www.amazon.com/Philosophy-Wicca-Amber-Laine-Fisher/dp/1550224875

This book is bit Goddess-centered but it didn´t bother me too much.
I´m also new for the subject but I did find this book very interesting and informative. I hope this helps dear Swedish neighbor. Smiley
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« Reply #6: September 04, 2008, 05:07:07 am »


Being a scientifically oriented person (I'm a programmer by profession), I need something more... convincing. I mean no offense to anyone, but I'm not going to believe that there are actual deities (God and Goddess) just because Cunningham tells me so. I'm not saying there aren't, I believe that there could very well be, but I want to read something with a little more depth about the subject. I want to read a theoretical discussion on the nature of these deities - are they actual sentient beings, or just symbols of natural archetypes? I guess you could argue that "this can't be proven either way, it's a matter of faith".

So, given what I've said above, can anyone recommend some books or other resources that might help me along?


I don´t think there is (or maybe even can be) any absolutely scientific theories that can prove that Deities exist or not. That´s not the nature of the Deities. However if you consider Deity to be immanent then science must be part of it but not the whole of it. So maybe question is what can science tell us about the Deities. And also what are the parts that are still mysteries for science and what does that tells us.

Another good book is Janet and Steward Farrar´s the withes` way. There´s much information on subjects like rationale of witchcraft, reincarnation, ethics, myths, symbols and rituals and many more. Anyway, this might be book you´ve already come across.

Btw. please people don´t be bothered if my language is bad. English is not my native language. :/
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« Reply #7: September 04, 2008, 08:05:04 am »

Those books were all mostly good. They were very interesting. But there was very little depth.

You might try A Witches Bible by Janet and Steward Farrar, it's more on Traditional Wicca, but there is quite a lot of depth compared to most books on the market.

Quote
Also, this thing about magic is very confusing to me, given my "scientific" nature. But things I've read about quantum physics lately, and how little of it science understands, who knows what could be possible? I'm sure there are books that deal with this issue from a neutral point of view as well.

Books that try to explain magic via quantum physics are written by those who aren't quantum physicists and generally have only a vague and semi-correct idea of what they are talking about quantum physics-wise.
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« Reply #8: September 04, 2008, 08:01:39 pm »

Try the philosophy of wicca by Amber Laine Fisher. http://www.amazon.com/Philosophy-Wicca-Amber-Laine-Fisher/dp/1550224875
I'll note here that one frequent criticism of this book is that, despite the implications of the title, it's just one person's take on the subject - in no way is it a reflection of a universal or even common Wiccan POV.

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« Reply #9: September 05, 2008, 04:13:06 am »

I'll note here that one frequent criticism of this book is that, despite the implications of the title, it's just one person's take on the subject - in no way is it a reflection of a universal or even common Wiccan POV.

Yes that´s absolutely true. Sorry I forget to mention. Anyhow, even if this book is not the absolute truth my opinion is what comes to wicca there are not so many absolute truths. Why I think this is good book is becouse it chafllenge reader to explore wiccan beliefs from philophy point of views.
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« Reply #10: September 05, 2008, 11:09:56 am »

Being a scientifically oriented person (I'm a programmer by profession), I need something more... convincing. I mean no offense to anyone, but I'm not going to believe that there are actual deities (God and Goddess) just because Cunningham tells me so. I'm not saying there aren't, I believe that there could very well be, but I want to read something with a little more depth about the subject. I want to read a theoretical discussion on the nature of these deities - are they actual sentient beings, or just symbols of natural archetypes? I guess you could argue that "this can't be proven either way, it's a matter of faith". Fine. But then I need way more information before I decide where to put my faith. Cunningham and Buckland provides very little in this direction.

Also, this thing about magic is very confusing to me, given my "scientific" nature. But things I've read about quantum physics lately, and how little of it science understands, who knows what could be possible? I'm sure there are books that deal with this issue from a neutral point of view as well.
Good topic!

With deities I kind of have a similar problem. I feel that there's something divine about the universe, but I can't put my finger on it. I can't tell if it's just some energy or if there are concrete gods and goddesses. I don't say there aren't, but I have a hard time just believing.

With magic on the other hand I have no trouble believing because I feel energies slightly.

But for either subject I need good explanations, because my brain always demands explanations. Feeling energies move is enough for my heart, but not for my brain.

I enjoy Lipp's Elements of Ritual where she explains why specific steps of ritual are taken the way they are at the time they are. Since I'm coming from qi gong I have a hard time understanding why some people use rituals and tools for energy work. Lipp explains the symbolism a bit (I guess there may be books out which concentrate more on the use of tools). Haven't read the book fully yet. It's not straight about your topics, but I find it has some depht.
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« Reply #11: September 06, 2008, 05:40:03 am »

Thanks everyone for your input on this subject. I was especially happy to see Vivianne Crowley's "Wicca" being recommended, because I already have a copy of it. Actually, I have two copies of it because I'm an idiot who doesn't keep track of which books I've already bought. And it gets worse - I got 50 pages into the second copy before I found my first copy, and realised I had already read the first 50 pages in that copy.  Roll Eyes

Anyway, I have two other books on order now as a direct result of suggestions in this thread. Thanks!
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« Reply #12: September 07, 2008, 01:01:17 am »


Also, this thing about magic is very confusing to me, given my "scientific" nature. But things I've read about quantum physics lately, and how little of it science understands, who knows what could be possible? I'm sure there are books that deal with this issue from a neutral point of view as well.


[/quote]

I say continue researching the quantum physics aspect. I've done extensive reading of many books that are writen by quantum physicists and when you step out of the box and look at their findings with respect to pagan beliefs and practices, you will start to see an intricate web of posibilities if not the very scientific validation of our beliefs.
Try "The Science of the Craft" by William Keith. I know he's no a quantum physicist but he explains things very well! Cool
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« Reply #13: September 09, 2008, 02:28:54 pm »

You might try A Witches Bible by Janet and Steward Farrar, it's more on Traditional Wicca, but there is quite a lot of depth compared to most books on the market.

I recommend Witches Bible too. I quite enjoyed the book. I have it comfortably staring at me from my shelf.  Wink
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« Reply #14: September 10, 2008, 02:23:16 pm »

One of the most in-depth books I've ever read about Wicca is Vivianne Crowley's 'Wicca'. It's more about British Traditional Wicca as opposed to Neo-Wicca, though, so is very different from books such as Cunningham's.

I have Crowley and I refer to it quite frequently. One of the difficulties about getting more in depth information about Wicca is the nature of what information is available. I am an eclectic Wiccan. I don't have access to the oath bound information contained in the older lineaged traditions. That is an issue for all of us who are not, I think. What has come to us is bare bones, in my estimation. I think much of what is written today touches the same themes with different perspectives. With that said I will tell you what books I think are useful.

I agree with people here about the Farrars. I would also recommend Valiente's works. I like Ed Fitch. I also have several books by Kaatryn MacMorgan. She has several books out that do deal with more in depth subjects about Wicca as a religion. With the subject of magick I have a couple of books by Craig. I also have some older books by Levi and A. Crowley. Sorry can't spell the first name right now. While they are not Wiccan I also recommend Dion Fortune. If you want a good treatment of the history of Wicca then pick up Triumph of the Moon by Ronald Hutton. He also has written several other books one of which is, I believe, Witches, Druids and King Arthur. I am thinking that is the title but am away from my library and can't say that I have the title correct. You can look at amazon and type in his name and get a complete list.

Many of the books and authors I just listed are not precisely Wiccan. They do, I think, present a pretty fair list that touches on Pagan practices and there are, in my estimation, much information that a Wiccan can use.

I also echo the thought that as far as the gods are concerned it is best to read mythology. If you want something other then try Joesph Campbell's works. He wrote extensively on Pagan myth and symbology. One book that I use in a mythological way is The White Goddess. It's dry and hard going but is a romantic, poetic treatment of myth. I consider it to be myth. Others don't.

Okay I've gone on long enough here. I hope this helps you to expand your reading. My recommendations aren't completely Wiccan but I think anyone who reads them will help themselves to a greater understanding of the religion.
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