Author: Paul Tuitean & Estelle Davis
Trade Paperback, 444 pages
Publisher: Ten Speed Press
Publication date: 2003
List: US$24.95, C$39.95
Price & More Info: Click Here
I was a little amazed when I saw, on page 17 ".(Ninety percent of Americans
read less than one book a year.) The average Wiccan reads one book a month,
usually lots more." I didn't realize that the average American read so
little. No wonder people misunderstand our beliefs. And reading 12 books a
year (which seems a little low to me, based on familial experience), I'm not
surprised that Wicca is evolving at a rapid pace.
The short history of Wicca they provide (about 8 pages) is one of the best
summaries I have ever seen. It condenses the past 40 years or so of Wiccan
history (post Witchcraft Today ) into an easily digested, if slightly
sanitized, form. It misses mention of the "Witch Wars" of the '80s and
'90s, and tends to make the evolution of modern Wicca appear smoother than
it actually was, but for all of that, it is fairly accurate.
When they describe the workings of magick I have one minor quibble, and that
stems from a personal attitude. They say you need "...the belief that what
you are doing will work." Personally, I feel that should be amended to
"...the knowledge that what you are doing will work." Belief, in my
experience, is what comes before knowledge. I don't believe that magick
works, I know it works. They acknowledge this same fact a bit later, but I
wish they had used the acknowledgement the very first time they used it.
This is a wonderfully practical book. It contains plenty of sample rituals,
and clearly explains not only the steps in those rituals, but the reason for
those steps. It is broken into three broad divisions: 1) Wiccan Basic, 2)
Everything You Need to Know to be a Wiccan, and 3) Wicca A to Z.
The first segment gives a broad overview of Wiccan thought, history,
philosophy, etc., while the second contains sample rituals as well as the
basics of Wiccan worship. It also contains valuable advice on setting up a
study group, coven, etc. It covers techniques for ritual planning and all
the little things that "everyone knows" but no one takes the time to discuss
The final chapter before the Wiccan Glossary is probably one of the most
valuable I have ever seen, simply because it is filled with common sense
tips about items which normally aren't covered in books - such as practical
tips for selecting an athame or sword; the age appropriateness of rituals
(there are beginning to be more families with children in Wicca); Circle
etiquette; and how to handle "Crash Grounding." It is beneficial to
consider all of these items in a leisurely manner rather than at a stressed
time, but they are the very topics that get put on hold until they suddenly
get shoved into the limelight.
The third segment consists of a fairly extensive Wiccan glossary. The more
than 1000 entries cover 132 pages and run the gamut from abracadabra to
zoomancy. It is extensive enough that it could stand alone as a book in its
own right. This glossary is followed by "The Advanced Bonewits Cult Danger
Evaluation Frame" (ABCDEF) which can never have too much dissemination, in
my opinion. Anyone considering involvement with any sort of group
(religious, fraternal, or whatever) should have a copy of this document
available, and use it, before committing to join. The 16 items on the
checklist are invaluable in separating the beneficial groups from the
I was more that somewhat surprised by the thoroughness of the coverage in
this glossary. There were entries that I definitely didn't expect to see.
I have come to expect that newer glossaries will include "muggle," but I
have seldom seen "fadic numbers," "turifumy," or mention of the Church of
the Eternal Source mentioned in books I have been reading. This glossary
definitely increases the value of the work (an it's valuable even before
reaching the glossary section).
I have no hesitation is saying that this book belongs on the bookshelf of
everyone interested in Wicca, whether solitary, self-Initiated, or a member
of a lineaged group.
Reviewed by Mike Gleason