REISSUANCE of “The Tree”
by Raymond Buckland
Red Wheel/Weiser, 1974/2005 $14.95 US
Review by Erin
I’m not going to talk about the content much. I can’t say that much since it is the exact same text from the original work by Buckland. I’m not sure that it was wise to use the same text, but I understand what Buckland was doing.
He added a new introduction to it, and he explains why he did not add new text or clarify things. He states that when this book was first published, it was published as the COMPLETE book of Saxon Witchcraft, and as such needed no additional material.
I can agree that it didn’t need any additional material, but some of the material probably did need to be gone over and corrected. For instance, the Spring Sabbat ritual still uses the wand as a huge portion of the ritual, which is then set aside in favor of another tool and the wand is not used again. Just when it looks like it should be used, it’s put aside.
There were opportunities for such updates to be done, but they weren’t. I find this somewhat off putting that needed updates and clarifications were not done. Now, that’s one of the objections to this republication.
The other is the name change. I’m used to seeing “The Tree, the Complete Book of Saxon Witchcraft”. But in this case, it’s been changed to “Buckland’s Book of Saxon Witchcraft”. This is probably due to many criticisms he took from others because of the name.
Buckland called it the Complete book of Saxon Witchcraft. There have been those who have decided that because of that name, it was meant to be a complete recreation of the Saxon religion and beliefs. This was never the case and had never been said or implied.
But names have power. “The Tree” IS the name of the Seax-Wican Book of Shadows, the pages obviously being the Leaves of the Tree. It has been called this for all the time I have been aware of Seax-Wica, and this book was called The Tree since it was also the sum total of information on Seax-Wica, needing no additional information to fill it out. It is one book, totally self-contained and complete, not needing four or five volumes to give all the information like the current trend.
But change the name, and the personality of that item changes too. Change my name from Daven to Eric and you get a totally different person reacting to you. That is what I fear will happen with this name change.
Other than that, it’s still a wonderful book. It has all the information in it for Saxon Witchcraft, Seax-Wica. It will probably represent a revival of one of the original Wiccan traditions that has fallen by the wayside over time. I’m relieved that this will be available for others to read and use, introducing this to a whole new generation of practitioners.
The cover artwork is interesting, and I’m not sure whether or not I like it. I’ll reserve judgment here.
Overall I give this reissuance a score of 3 1/2 stars out of 5, a high score. I also advise everyone to buy this if only to have another tradition of Wicca to look at, as a relief to Gardnerism and Alexandrian and Lady Sheba’s tradition. It’s good to see that this tradition will not die because the book that outlines it is lost.
Originally posted 2011-01-25 19:49:54. Republished by Blog Post Promoter