Author: Vivian Crowley
Trade Paperback, 186 pages
Publication date: 2001
List: US$12.95, C$17.50
Price & More Info: Click Here
This book is one in a series of books published by Thorsons with the intent
of providing an overview of a particular topic. This book, by an
acknowledged authority in the field of Wicca is short enough not to be
tedious; long enough not to be superficial; and thorough enough to cover all
Although I understand the rationale behind it, I personally have a problem
with her statement (on page 38): "Ideally Witches celebrate their festivals
on the correct date, but there is flexibility here. If the correct day is
impractical we can have our celebrations as near the date as possible."
Personally, I find that there is far too much allowance for
personal convenience in the Craft today. If something is inconvenient, don't make a sacrifice, just change it. One should be willing to put some
effort into religious observances. Our Sabbats only come eight times a year,
surely that isn't too often to make an effort for.
Like most authors on the subject of Wicca and magick, she repeats the axiom
that everything we do returns to us threefold. She follows that up with the
statement that the universe seeks equilibrium. Those are apparently
contradictory statements - three-for-one is not equilibrium. If, however,
you see three-for-one as reflecting physical, mental, and spiritual results,
then the equation actually works, since magick (and indeed all actions)
affect all three levels of our lives, both going out and coming back.
Throughout the book, Ms. Crowley provides thought-provoking insights not
only for the inexperienced seeker but also for the more jaded "old-timers."
While many of these are in a mainstream vein, some of them are quite unusual
in a book which is intended to be read by those who have not committed to
following the Wiccan path. Even after 30+ years of studying, experimenting,
and living as a Wiccan, I found things which caused me to pause and rethink
some of my positions.
Ms. Crowley takes the time to remind her readers that, although the Craft,
as practiced by the majority, originated in the Northern Hemisphere (Western
Europe, specifically), it is now practiced world-wide, and adaptations
should be made as needed. If the reader lives in the Southern Hemisphere,
dates must be transposed. If the local ecosystem differs from that normally
assumed (warmer or colder, for example), seasonal images may need to be
altered. If you live on the East Coast of the United States, does it make
sense to change the association of the East with Air and the West with
Water? These changes must be considered by the individuals involved, not by
Reviewed by Mike Gleason