BOOK REVIEW - Wicca for One

Msg # 598 of 600 on RelayNet Pagan Beliefs chat
To: ALL, From: "MIKE GLEASON" Time: Friday, 8-10-7, 11:17
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Wicca for One   by   Raymond Buckland     2004  Citadel Press  ISBN
0-80652554-9  277 pages  includes appendices  Paperback  $14.95

Raymond Buckland is one of the most prominent Witches in America today.  He
helped to bring Witchcraft (specifically Gardnerian Witchcraft) to the
attention of Americans.  He shows, in the first chapter of this book, that
Solitary Witchcraft is not a new phenomenon.  It has an ancient lineage and
is, actually, the dominant form of Witchcraft through recorded (and probably
pre-recorded) history.

He does seem to vacillate between the "this is traditional" and "there is no
right or wrong" poles, throughout the book.  For example, while listing the
tools he frequently asserts that, as a Solitary, there are no restrictions
on tools, and in the next paragraph he says there are specific reasons for
doing things in particular ways.

This book is, of course, the essence of a "Wicca 101" book.  As such, it
suffers from the common complaints of rehashing things that "everyone
 knows."  It benefits, however from having been written by a man who has
witnessed the evolution of the Craft in America.  Thus when some of his
statements vary from currently accepted norms; you can see what "everyone
USED to know."

Naturally, the author provides ritual outlines, formats, and invocations to
inspire the individual creation which is such a necessary part of Solitary
work.  And he is sure to offend a number of readers by his attitudes
regarding karma, when to use magick, and other topics, but as a long time
practitioner all I can say is "Get over it."  Contrary to what many newer
practitioners think, this is the way wee were trained.

Also, his injunction against spontaneous magick is sure to irritate many
members of the "instant gratification" generation of Witches.  It takes
time, focus, energy, and preparation to work effective magick.  None of this
"toss a few things together, mumble a charm and wait for things to happen"
for this author.

In spite of the fact that he is writing for the modern, Solitary Witch, his
old-time, traditional, coven training shows through from time to time, and
is especially visible to those trained with the same methods.  Although some
may downplay these techniques, they have the advantage of years of use
behind them.  Why reinvent the wheel when it isn't necessary?

This book is like a shopping mall - there is something for everyone.  There
is, obviously, a wealth of basic information on the religious aspects of
Wicca.  To that are added sections on magick, both general and specific
forms as well as basic methods of divination.  And there are appendices
which provide basic information on stones and herbs, as well as a short
glossary.  While it makes no pretence of being a Book of Shadows, it
provides a working basis for beginning your own such book.

If you are thinking about becoming a Witch and, for whatever reason, do not
think that joining a Coven is for you, this is the book you want to start
your journey with.  It is comprehensive without being intimidating.  And, it
has the added advantage that the author has decades of experience and is
highly respected for his knowledge and ability to communicate it to others.

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