by Sandra Kynes
Llewellyn, 2004 $14.95 US
Review by Erin
Every once in a while you come across a book that stands out as a shining example of what all good books are and could be.
This is not that book.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not on the level of, say, 21 Lessons of Merlyn, but it’s not stellar either. It’s average. That’s the best I can say about it.
I can’t even say that it’s good to use as a Wicca 101 text, since it has many factual errors in it in addition to totally de-emphasizing the God in favor of Vaginamancy. Examples of factual errors include the “myth” of Persephone and Demeter. According to this author, Persephone willingly went into Hades to comfort the souls there. This was news to me since the way *I* learned the myth was that Hades kidnapped and raped Persephone and Demeter basically shut down the world until she returned. The author even states that this is the original myth and says, “Happily, this gentler version is gaining popularity.” (p 29)
There are no references for her facts that I could find, and her list of references include many books that are known works of dubious nature or websites that have little to do with Wicca. Ninety percent of currently accepted holiday symbolism is thrown out in favor of the overwhelming Wicca-lite influence. Goddess is the preeminent deity, the God is almost ignored to the point where He shows on only two rituals, as Lugh (and the author never makes the connection between Lugh and Lug in Gaul and states they are two different deities) or a baby carried and cared for by the Goddess. MULTIPLE goddesses are worshiped, Isis, Demeter, Persephone, Diana, The Dark Mother and so on.
She has (set your drinks down) an Esbat ritual that calls upon The Lord of the Rings archetypes and uses the language as part of the ritual structure. Yes, more “pop culture” magick and ritual. You are supposed to call upon the Lords of the Directions, in their own tongue, mind you, and to the Lord and Lady of All. There is a whole history of Middle Earth that is supposed to be read during the ritual.
But, even with all this, it can serve some purpose. The book is designed to be one that you can grab off the shelf and use to do a quickie ritual if you need to on a Full Moon or a Sabbat. If you have no ritual prepared, you should be able to grab this book, open it to the correct holiday rite and do the ritual. That’s pretty good in my opinion.
It also gives rituals that can be done by a solitary practitioner. This does move it up several notches. Not that the ritual itself gets any better, mind you, but for a solitary practitioner this could be a very good thing since there are not that many works targeted to the solitary practitioner. This book also gives rituals for the Esbats, and this makes this book one of three that does so.
The problem again comes in where the author does not explain the symbolism or anything that goes into the rituals. But this book is supposed to be used as a framework to build your own rituals around. Because nothing is explained, there are elements that are included that make no sense. In one section, there is a ritual using knot magick. She states that all you need to do is take three pieces of yarn, braid them and tie three knots (or more in multiples of three) in the braided length and your true love will love you. Nothing on the energy or willpower that goes into a spell like this, just braid and knot and you now have a honey.
I’m sorry, I have to give this book only 2 stars out of 5. It can be used by experienced practitioners as an example, but the problem is that why would one who is experienced buy this book that has such fluffy content? I can see this being shelved next to Silver Ravenwolf’s books and probably selling to those who don’t know any better. It’s not worth the price unless you have a lot of money to waste and want to buy multiple references to give examples of how others do things.
Originally posted 2012-04-01 09:36:51. Republished by Blog Post Promoter