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Italian Witchcraft

Erin

by Raven Grimassi
Llewellyn 2000, $14.95 US
ISBN 1-56718-259-3

Review by Daven

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

I initially got this book so I could study another form of witchcraft, one that is different from the typical British version of Witchcraft. Well, this book definitely fulfilled that niche for me.

Having read other works by Mr. Grimassi, when I started this I was a bit concerned. There are times when the reputation of “fluffy” is appended to his name. But in this book, he is actually teaching what he knows and lives, therefore I don’t think that term is accurate to class this book.

“Light” would be better. There are times when in this book, it is written deliberately to appeal to the young and inexperienced, but as far as factual information I could find very little to criticize. Don’t mistake this to mean there is nothing to criticize, however.

First, the good things. Raven does a good job of recondensing this book (for this is the second edition and revised edition of this particular work) and presenting the material. He corrects minor mistakes with the first edition, and he also answers some criticisms that were generated by the previous version of this book. Having never read the first edition of this, I can not state what has been and has not been revised in the content.

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Harm None

Erin

Okay, let’s be honest here. We need to get rid of the Rede completely.

Yeah, I said it. What’s more I’ll defend it.

The Rede is antiquated. It’s been the source of more than a little confusion to those who are new, and a LOT of confusion to those who aren’t Wiccan. It has come to be a “Pan Pagan” assumed ethic when it is not. It has been taken out of context and translated literally and even worse, translated figuratively for generations of people. And you know what? We still harm each other all the time.

I harm my family when I go to work since I am not there for their emotional support. I harm my family when I come home since I am not at work earning money to fill their bellies. No matter what I do I harm my family. It’s a Catch 22 situation.

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Exploring the Northern Tradition

Erin

By Galina Krasskova
New Page Books, 2005 $14.99 US
ISBN 1-56414-791-6

Review by Daven

Rating: ★★★★½ 

My first reaction to this book was “why the hell did New Page send this to me?” Normally I have a very narrow selection of books I review, simply because that’s what I’m knowledgeable in. Wicca, Druidism, Ritual, Wicca 101 and basics, magick and so on. Northern traditions and Germanic Heathenry is not my forte. I’m so glad I decided to read this book anyhow and not put it on the shelf.

I was concerned since (in my mind) Northern Traditions are the same as the Asatru I have read about and interacted with on a limited scope, and I know next to nothing about Asatru ways. It turns out that I know more than I thought I did, and this book pointed tha out to me.

And THAT is the gem of this book. It is supposed to be a primer for those who don’t know anything about Northern Traditions, Asatru, Theodish Belief, Heathenry or any of the myriad practices that are lumped together under that umbrella. It is supposed to be a basic introduction to those practices and a way to educate the masses about their way of belief. And it turns out that I had a heck of a lot of knowledge already.

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Arguments In Favor of Unity in Modern NeoPaganism

Erin

Okay, we have heard the pleas from others for Pagan Unity. We have heard the litany against that idea, mostly because it will take away our individuality. Nowhere can I find a list of why we should, other than the articles asking for that unity in tones like unto Oliver Twist asking for more food.

So, let me see if I can make a few points that are relevant but not the same old litany.

And understand something before replying and giving me an earful, I am against total Unity. I think that putting all Pagan and NeoPagan faiths into a blender and hitting “frappe” is the wrong thing to do. I think that if this were to happen that an essential part of Paganism would be lost, the ability to choose. Many of us came to NeoPaganism or Paganism or Reconstructionism or whatever because of the general sameness of the mainstream religions out there. The basic credos were the same; they only fiddled with the details (like whether or not a skirt should be worn by women or if pants were acceptable).

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Bard: A new definition

Erin

(Originally published in “The Druid’s Arch”, the Official Newsletter of the Ord Draíochta Na Uisnech in the Mean Samraidh/Lughnasdh 2003 issue, Volume 1, Issue 2.)

What do we usually think of when we hear the word “Bard”? We may normally think of Taliesin, Amergin or some other famous Bard who recited poetry and created scathing satire. A studious young man who was equally adept on a harp and in song, writing reams of verse at the drop of someone’s shoe. We might think of a person who could recite thousands of lines of history or the entire Mabinogion in one sitting.

The reason for these images is simple. Our popular culture has taught us that this is what a Bard was, a songster, a musician on lute or harp, a maker of poems and scholar of history. I think that it’s time for this stereotype to die.

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Oberon Zell Presents Gargoyles

Erin

By Susan “Moonwriter” Pesznecker
New Page Books, 2007 $14.99
ISBN 1-56414-911-0

Review by Daven

Rating: ★★☆☆☆ 

The very first thing I thought upon receiving this book was “you have got to be kidding me.” The next thought was “Well, it’s a different author, it might be good”.

This is not going to be a good review. I took all kinds of time with it, trying to pick out the least loaded words I could to encourage the author to continue her efforts, but this is not a good book.

The subject matter would have made an outstanding essay. Twenty or thirty pages on Gargoyles would have been wonderful. There are many people who would have been thrilled to see a work like that and it would have been of use.

But what this book actually contains is scattered information on gargoyles and grotesques (defined as any carved figure that does not have a drainpipe) in various paragraphs, sandwiched in between multi page digressions that would have Odysseus going “Where are we again?”

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Candlemas; Feast of Flames

Erin

Amber K & Azrael Arynn K
Llewellyn Publications, 2001
ISBN 0-7387-0079-7 $14.95

Review by Daven

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Like “Lammas”, this book is only about Candlemas, or Imbolic, or Oimelc, or any number of other names you could give to this holiday. The thing that all of these holidays have in common is that all of them fall near the beginning of February, all of them involve fire, and most of them involve a young Goddess or lady named Brigid.

This book looks at those different celebrations, finding the cultural roots inside each celebration, it looks in depth at the customs surrounding the traditional celebrations, from the tradition of Groundhog’s day to Brigid’s bed.

Most of the facts explored in this text are “duh” facts, like Spring Cleaning and Candlemas being about candles as well as Brigid. It makes sense that during this time of celebration of a goddess of Fire and Smithcraft that one would clean out the house, make her bed on the hearth, and reconsecrate all the tools, right? That’s something that hit me up against the head when I read it.

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Has anyone else ever

Erin

(Note from Daven: Poetry is a huge part of the life of a Druid or Bard. So it is appropriate that I do some poetry, even if it does stink, although, there are those who don’t think it does. Hurray for rose-colored glasses.)

Has anyone else ever

Has anyone else ever felt the Goddess?
Not just the Maiden, Mother and Crone,
But also the Warrior?
The woman who defends her cubs to the death?

Has anyone else felt the God?
His faces: Wanderer, Hunter, Guide and Guardian?
He who is all with the Lady
The man that balances the Goddess?

Has anyone else heard the stars sing?
Their songs of bright things in the sky?
Their tales of ancient times?
Their eternal mourning for those who died?

Has anyone else ever listened to the Earth?
To Her pain for what has been done?
To the life that beats inside her?
And heard the promise of a new life?

Have you ever listened to a baby’s heartbeat?
Thought about what they might become?
Wondered what kind of world they will inherit
And if they will grow in love and beauty?

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Hubris

Erin

What’s wrong with being new?

I see this mentioned many times on other blogs and articles, and I keep coming back to the central point of “what is wrong with being a new person in a religion?”

I know I’m pretty harsh with fluffies in this site. I don’t equate new people with fluffies however. Fluffies are those who are deliberately and willfully ignorant and revel in being that way. They go out of their way to promote and argue the ignorant and busted myths from decades ago (Wicca is ancient, 9 million, all gods are one god, etc) and they decry and flame those who have the temerity to say differently.

But being new is not the same thing. One can be fluffy and new, that’s easy. But one can also be new and be non-fluffy, in that one is willing to listen and learn. And that is listen and learn to multiple sources, not just one.

But I see people on some of the forums I’m on who go out of their way to present that they are not new. Why? I think Juliaki’s essy (referenced a few posts back) about this same problem hits a very key point, many new people are treated as fluffies.

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The Declaration of Independence from the Principles of Belief

Erin


When in the course of religious events, it becomes necessary for one Pagan to deconstruct the documents which have previously connected him with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal status to which Nature and the Nature’s Gods entitle him to, a decent respect for the opinions of mankind demand that he list the causes that impel the corrections.

Most hold these truths to be self evident, that no witch speaks for all, that all witches are endowed by their deity(s) with certain inalienable rights, and among these are Rational Thought, Opinion and the Pursuit of Truth. That to fairly administer these rights organizations are created amongst Pagans, deriving their just powers from the consent of those ascribing to their rules. That whenever any organization overreaches itself it is the right of the Witches to disband that organization as fast as possible, and to disavow all connection to the group that once supported them.

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