By Deborah Lipp
Llewellyn, 2003 $16.95 US
Review by Erin
I like doing reviews. Most times I get books that have information I can use in them, and times there are books that have almost no information I can use. There are some books I have reviewed that are examples of the worst that comes out of current publications. There are times when I can’t say enough good things about books I read.
I count this book as one of the latter.
Now that the author and publishers can breathe again, I want to tell you all that if you are looking for a book on how to perform a ritual, the theatrics, the actual nitty-gritty, the practical side and the mystic side, then this is your book.
I tend to think of myself as being very knowledgeable in the realms of ritual and mystic mindset. This book showed me those things I did know were accurate and it also showed me where my knowledge lacked in substance. I was able to objectively break down the rituals I perform and to be able to see which parts were necessary and why those portions worked. This went through every aspect of ritual, from the decision to start the ritual, to altar setup to the actual workings themselves and to the closing rituals.
It is a needed reference for anyone who performs ritual for more than just themselves. It is absolutely critical that those who learned their tradition of Wicca from books have this.
I know I’m sounding like I’m gushing, and I am. I have a couple personal qualms, but they are so minor that I don’t think they affect my review at all. The questions and qualms are from the fact that this is focused on Wiccan Rituals, not rituals in general. Now, I would be remiss if I didn’t say that the fact this is Wiccan oriented is spelled out on the cover. The subtitle is “Air, Fire, Water and Earth in the Wiccan Circle”. So right there I should assume that it is focused on Wiccan ritual. I think this could have been so much better if it were a general ritual book.
The divisions of Air, Fire, Water and Earth are used throughout this book, mainly to delineate different parts of the same segment of ritual. For instance; if we were talking about the Opening the Circle segment, there would be a section in this chapter discussing the Air aspects (the meaning behind doing things thus and so), the Fire aspects (the mental attitude and what is supposed to be happening mystically), the Water aspects (the mythology, story and history behind this step) and the Earth aspects (the practical how to do this steps). In addition to those there is some discussion about other things that affect ritual, like tools and placements and some about the choice of deities.
There are sample rituals to be used as a template throughout the book, mostly to be shown as examples of what you can do and still have all the elements be present. But there is only one full ritual shown, from beginning to end.
There is no bibliography as such, although there are references throughout the book. There is no “recommended reading” in here either, nor is there any kind of appendix. There is an index, so finding the information is easy. But, there is also some “muddleness” in the chapters themselves. For example, in the chapter about beginning the Circle, you go through all the steps before the Circle is cast, the actual casting of the circle, and immediately after the circle is cast before moving into the next chapter. Each of those is broken into it’s own subsection with the elements brought forward and discussed, Air, Water, Fire, and Earth. Three times for this one chapter, so it can get a bit confusing. I probably would have broken them into their own chapters instead of including them in one chapter together. But that is me.
I can unhesitatingly recommend this book for anyone that I feel is going to do rituals and wants to have an in depth understanding of a Wiccan ritual structure. I give this book 4 1/2 stars out of 5.
It is my opinion that every coven should have a copy of this book in their library.
Originally posted 2009-11-15 17:57:07. Republished by Blog Post Promoter