Author: Kevin Saunders
Trade Paperback, 208 pages
Publisher: Green Magic
Publication date: 2002
Price & More Info: Click Here
Kevin Saunders presents, in this book, an introduction to, and an overview
of witchcraft and Wicca as they move into the 21st Century (if you accept
the split between the two terms). His work has been well-received by
witches and pagans in Britain and should find such acceptance here in the
U.S., even though some of views may seem slightly anachronistic.
His is not a dogmatic approach. He knows the value of modifying the basics
provided by Gardnerian and Alexandrian training to make them relevant to
your individual needs. He quotes from "traditional" Books of Shadows,
without demanding slavish adherence to the written text. His attitudes,
however, are very much those in vogue amongst British Traditionalists at the
time I got involved in my study of the Craft 30+ years ago: covens should
be composed of approximately equal numbers of males and females; cowans
(outsiders) should only be permitted at celebratory Circle, not ones working
magick; and that one should advance through a degree system. Such attitudes
will probably not sit well with many of today's eclectics, who may feel a
total disregard for the established traditions.
Several of his attitudes have become anachronistic, but as they form part of
"traditional" lore, they deserve to be passed along. As always, when it
comes to determining what is "right" or "wrong", it is up to the individual
He provides lots of basic information in a format which allows it to be
pieced together like building blocks to form a variety of rituals (an
excellent idea for the newbie who is still unsure of his/her ability to
write an effective ritual) while encouraging the reader to tinker with the
wording to find what feels comfortable. Using the format he supplies will
make sure that essentials are not forgotten, while the use of personal
working will tailor the ritual to the individual. Unlike many "101" books,
he dispenses with the archaic wording and spelling, opting for clearer
understanding and ease of working.
This is not a Book of Shadows, although the information contained in it can
certainly serve as a good foundation for one. He goes into enough detail on
the Sabbat rituals that even a relative new-comer can feel comfortable
putting one together.
The appendices are not very extensive, being simply a few Celtic gods and
goddesses, some basic correspondences, and names given to the lunar months.
I do not like the bibliography format, but that is a matter of personal
preference, and shouldn't weigh heavily in deciding the value of the book.
Overall, I found the book to be informative and useful, especially for those
unfamiliar with the British Traditional Wicca forms. If you are looking for
a good overview of the topic, this book is a good place to start.
Reviewed by Mike Gleason