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Author Topic: Idiots Guides?  (Read 12269 times)
Alastriona
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« Topic Start: January 02, 2009, 01:34:28 am »

There is a store near me which caters to many Pagan practices... full of herbs, candles, stones, books, tarot cards, you get the idea. Unlike some of the other "new age" stores, she (the owner) is very particular on what types of things she will put in her store. She does not cater to teens inspired by The Craft and will even talk with people and give them spiritual advice about their path or give them suggestions on things they can do or decent books to read. From what I gather, she even teaches. While I have a decent knowledge of my path, a friend whom I was in the store with is often confused about hers, though she has been trying to study Wicca for several years. The owner of the store suggested she read "The Idiots Guide to Wicca and Witchcraft" (and also "The Idiots Guide to Paganism") and says it is the book she uses to teach her beginners, and the first book she should read before reading any others. I tended to shy away from the Idiots books because, well, they never occurred to me to be a decent reference book. Has anyone read those books or agree that would be a good starting point for her? I bought one and she bought they other so we could swap (I bought them specifically to compare to other books I have read to verify information).

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« Reply #1: January 02, 2009, 07:23:59 am »

I tended to shy away from the Idiots books because, well, they never occurred to me to be a decent reference book. Has anyone read those books or agree that would be a good starting point for her?

I haven't read them, but I seem to recall hearing that the Wicca/Witchcraft one at least was better than you'd expect.
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« Reply #2: January 02, 2009, 07:43:18 am »

I tended to shy away from the Idiots books because, well, they never occurred to me to be a decent reference book. Has anyone read those books or agree that would be a good starting point for her?

While I haven't read the two that the store owner recommended, I just finished the Shamanism one. I found it very informative, and the information contained in it to be on par with the other books I've read on Shamanism.

I bought my daughter the one about meditation a while back. I haven't read it myself yet (she took it off to college with her), but someone I trust told me it gave good basic information.

Not sure how much that helps, but I wouldn't hesitate to buy another one on a subject I was interested in.
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« Reply #3: January 02, 2009, 08:36:41 am »

"The Idiots Guide to Paganism"

I own it.  Which, in itself, is not a particularly significant endorsement, but I didn't find anything in it to complain about.  It is a very generic and objective overview, professionally done.  Some emphasis on Shamanism.  Come to think of it, I need to read it again.

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« Reply #4: January 02, 2009, 08:48:29 am »

The owner of the store suggested she read "The Idiots Guide to Wicca and Witchcraft" (and also "The Idiots Guide to Paganism") and says it is the book she uses to teach her beginners, and the first book she should read before reading any others.

I haven't read either, but I have heard from sources I consider reliable that The Idiots Guide to Wicca and Witchcraft, at least, is an okay 101 book.
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« Reply #5: January 02, 2009, 10:27:35 am »

"The Idiots Guide to Paganism"

This is one of the first books on the subject I bought.  It is good for basic, general overview.

It is also on the recommended reading list for ADF.
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« Reply #6: January 02, 2009, 11:07:26 am »

The owner of the store suggested she read "The Idiots Guide to Wicca and Witchcraft" (and also "The Idiots Guide to Paganism") and says it is the book she uses to teach her beginners, and the first book she should read before reading any others.

"The Complete Idiot's Guide to Paganism" was the first 'official' Pagan book I read.  I found it EXTREMELY helpful for that very basic overview, with concept definitions and terms that are used everywhere, particularly online.  I wouldn't say it's a good "Paganism 101" book, but it is a very good "Paganism 001" book.  The sort of book you read before you get to those Paganism 101 books.   While I don't particularly care for the bright orange cover, or the word "IDIOT" plastered on it (hey, I have a reputation to uphold, here!), I would recommend it as good, useful reading for the beginning beginner.
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« Reply #7: January 02, 2009, 03:29:06 pm »

I haven't read them, but I seem to recall hearing that the Wicca/Witchcraft one at least was better than you'd expect.

Yup! I started my real studies of Wicca (not counting my reading of Teen Witch here Tongue) with TCIG to Wicca and Witchcraft, and I'll say it's a an easy-to-read general 101 book that gives you a good overview of Wicca and witchcraft. I would definitely recommend it to someone just starting out.

TCIG to Paganism I have not read.
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« Reply #8: January 03, 2009, 12:17:46 am »

Has anyone read those books or agree that would be a good starting point for her?
I've found them to be fairly good resources on other topics (such as computer programs), but wasn't terribly impressed with the Idiot's Guide to Paganism.  It wouldn't be too bad as a starting point if you're willing to do further research - there weren't many glaring errors - it just doesn't really do justice to non-Wiccan paganism.
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« Reply #9: January 03, 2009, 05:09:42 am »

I haven't read them, but I seem to recall hearing that the Wicca/Witchcraft one at least was better than you'd expect.

I've heard the same of Dummies Guide to Tarot as well. And after reading most of it, I had to agree. Plus you get lots of history on tarot and descriptions of several well-known decks.
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« Reply #10: January 03, 2009, 09:13:02 am »

I've heard the same of Dummies Guide to Tarot as well. And after reading most of it, I had to agree. Plus you get lots of history on tarot and descriptions of several well-known decks.

Dummies Guide to Tarot? I can't find such book from the web. It sounds like you mean Tarot for Dummies by Amber Jayanti.

According to this review, the book has lots of harshly inaccurate statements about tarot history. And it is such a new book, nowadays tarot authors should know better. If the review is true, I wouldn't recommend the book for learning tarot history. I haven't read the book myself, so I can't say, how well it teaches reading tarot.
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« Reply #11: January 03, 2009, 02:44:48 pm »



I don't have the Idiot's Guide or the Dummies books that deal with Paganism or Witchcraft or Wicca. I do have the Complete Idiot's Guide to Celtic Wisdom, which I have enjoyed quite a bit. There is a lot of info in there and they break it down into nice sizeable chunks. I've used both the Idiot's Guides and the Dummies books for a lot of topics and for some reason I seem to gravitate to the Idiot's Guides. So if there is both an Idiot's Guide and a Dummies book on a particular topic, I'll get the Idiot's Guide every time. I don't know why I prefer them over the Dummies books. I just do.
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« Reply #12: January 03, 2009, 02:58:58 pm »



It's nice to hear what you all think of them, since I was wondering the same thing myself...

I like the format of the Idiot's Guides and Dummies books, since it sometimes feels like other books assume you already know something about the subject, and if you don't, that can feel a bit overwhelming. But I'm always a bit wary of those books as well...
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« Reply #13: January 05, 2009, 08:51:13 pm »

I haven't read them, but I seem to recall hearing that the Wicca/Witchcraft one at least was better than you'd expect.

I have a question about something I saw in the Wicca one:

There was a chapter on the different Pantheons, and the author said that you can't mix and match Pantheons. You're supposed to work with/worship deities that are all from the same culture. TBH, that seemed a bit strange to me. Do you all agree or disagree with that?
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« Reply #14: January 05, 2009, 09:07:32 pm »

There was a chapter on the different Pantheons, and the author said that you can't mix and match Pantheons. You're supposed to work with/worship deities that are all from the same culture. TBH, that seemed a bit strange to me. Do you all agree or disagree with that?

To clarify here:  You're asking this question specifically about Wicca, not about paganism in general, right?  (Because my answer for Wicca would be "not a clue", but for paganism in general I'd tend to say "it depends".)
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