Review by Erin
Normally when I review a book, no matter the book, I try to make sure that the review reflects the good and bad aspects of the book. I try to be fair, I try to be honest. I try to ensure that up to 2 pages are used in my review, mainly because I find that I can’t write a review that covers all that in less than 2 pages.
Unfortunately, this review is probably not going to be 2 pages. It will probably be shorter. I have only one objection to this book, mainly because it’s just a personal irritant.
Let me start this by saying what this book is not. This book is not a Wicca 101 book. It does not discuss the spirituality of Wicca, nor Paganism in general. It never goes into rites or rituals that other Pagans put a great amount of stock into. There are no discussion of the Gods, the devas, the angels, or spells. None of the things that make up a “normal” pagan book can be found here. If you are looking for these things, pick up another book.
If, however, you are want you need a book on what it actually means to be a Pagan, then this is required reading. The Practical Pagan goes into great depth about what it actually means to be living as a pagan, all the time. There are discussions on how this will affect your life, how it should affect your job, what will happen as far as the law is concerned, and a LONG discussion on coming out of the broom closet.
This is the book that fills in the holes of other Pagan books. Where Cunningham gives you a long in depth discussion on the Gods and what They want, Dana gives you a long in depth discussion on a Pagan’s sex life. Where Starhawk talks in detail about the Goddess and how the concept of the Female is centuries old, Dana talks about where to find your ritual equipment on a budget. Where Silver Ravenwolf gives you reams and reams of spells to perform, Dana tells you what to expect when you go looking for other Pagans to associate and worship with.
To be sure, some of the darker aspects of being Pagan are somewhat lightened, not painted in as much gloom as it could be, but intentionally scaring others without cause would just be wrong. Along with that slight irritation, I personally was irritated with her constant saying of “The Practical Pagan…. [whatever]”, but that was really very minor.
This book fills in the holes that EVERY other Pagan book has in it, simply because the authors are so concerned with putting down the spiritual practice that they forget the “real world” out there.
This book is not filled with the wisdom of the ages either. It IS filled with common sense. It’s a sad commentary that so few Pagans these days don’t have that precious commodity.
In one section of the book, she states something along the lines of “If you wear ten pounds of Pagan Jewelry and your ritual robes to go out in public, it’s your own fault if people stare at you.” I have tried to find the exact quote for the last two hours as I write this review, and I haven’t found it anyplace.
Know what? She’s right.
This is exactly the kind of common sense information that is contained in this book. It’s nothing that couldn’t be discovered on your own, nothing Earth-shattering, just simple, practical advice and yet it is so rare that this book is a precious gem. Dana presents all this information in a no holds barred style that had me avidly turning pages to find the next memorable piece of advice.
All in all, along with her other book “Pagans and the Law” I give this book 5 stars out of 5. I feel that every Pagan and Pagan teacher should go out and buy this book and put it on the reference shelf right next to all the other books one goes back to multiple times. The Teachers and Elders should have it so they can hand it to new members and require them to read this book.
Congratulations Dana on getting my highest award twice out of two books. Fully two thirds of my highest ratings are now held by her. Way to go.