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Devoted to You: Honoring Deity in Wiccan Practice

Honoring Deity in Wiccan PracticeDevoted to You: Honoring Deity in Wiccan Practice
By Judy Harrow, Alexei Kondratiev, Geoffrey W. Miller, Maureen Reddington-Wilde
Citadel Press (Kensington Publishing Corp.)

Get four books for the price of one. That’s what you have here. This book is for the more advanced Wiccan. Divided into four chapters, one written by each of the authors, you get an in-depth overview of one of four deities. Anibus, Brigit, Aphrodite and Gaia are all focused on in the Turning of the Year.

Ms. Harrow wrote the introduction (and conclusion). In which she explains that she hopes the readers will use this book as a template to focus on their own deity of choice.

Chapters each have their own unique feel. The things they have in common are a wealth of knowledge on the God or Goddess they are devoted to exploring. Correspondences, rituals, meditations and stories grace the pages of each chapter. I learned a lot about each deity that I hadn’t known before.

This book is not for the faint of heart or those looking for some light reading. There were many times when I had to reread a passage to get the full meaning out of it. References to other writings are footnoted. Each chapter ends with a list of resources for additional study. There are songs, poetry and maps, as well as photography included in the book’s pages.

If you are ready to bring your connection to God and Goddess to the next level, this book is for you. Expect to do some work, this book is for the serious Wiccan student.

Reprinted with permission. Original printing Elements Magazine

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Wild Witchcraft

Wild Witchcraft book review Wild Witchcraft
By Marion Green, Thorsons (Harper Collins Publishers)

There are a great many Wicca 101 books out on the market. This one is by far the best I have ever read. Most books written with a beginner in mind rarely address the deeper issues of being Wiccan or Pagan. They hardly ever delve into the issues surrounding our past or the reasons many of us become and stay witches in the first place.

Ms. Green continues to write a high caliber book with this newest addition to her repertoire. This book goes beyond the basics of spell work found in nearly all beginner books on the market. In fact, spell work takes its rightful place as a minor part of our religion in this book. This book focuses on the reality of magic.

The author helps the beginner explore his or her connection to the Divine with guided meditations and clear concise suggestions on how to become aware of the existence of the Elementals and Divine in our own everyday lives.

This book is chock full of information and suggestions meant to lead a person new to a Pagan path to a better understanding of this Path. It also teaches in a gentle and straightforward manner such things as ethics and manners. Something that is sorely lacking in most Wicca 101 books, and sadly from our daily lives these days.

Even though I am no longer a beginner myself, I will keep this book on my shelves. There are many interesting tidbits of thought and information that reawakened my mind to new avenues to my own connection with the Divine. I especially liked the chapters focusing on the Elementals with their exercises in forming stronger connections to each one.

I highly recommend this book to the newcomer and the more advanced student looking to renew their understanding of the Divine and a magical lifestyle.

Reprinted with permission. Original printing Elements Magazine

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The Practical Pagan

Commonsense Guidelines for Modern PractionersThe Practical Pagan: Commonsense Guidelines for Modern Practioners
By Dana D. Eilers, New Page Books (Career Press)

The Practical Pagan is written for those who have just discovered that they are drawn to the Path of the Wise. It also serves as a wake up call for those who have been Pagan for a while that sometimes neatness counts. Ms. Eilers reminds old timers about, and instructs newcomers in the fine art of being a good human being and what it means in real world terms to be a Pagan in the 21st Century.

Many people enter Paganism from more organized, mainstream religions where right, wrong and ethical codes of behavior are spelled out by books and by religious leaders. No such official source exists for the new witch because Paganism is an unorganized religion. Most newcomers are overwhelmed by this lack of guidance. Sometimes this lack of written rules leads many to believe that anything goes. Nothing can be further from the truth. This book helps to set the record straight.
In a friendly and teasing tone, the author guides the newcomer in exploring what exactly a Pagan is. The easily read chapters explain what it means to be Pagan, how and whether to join a coven, how to get involved in the Pagan community and how to go about choosing a specific Path. This book examines the myths about Pagans and Paganism, discusses the real world issues of coming out of the broom closet and offers some very down to earth advice on living as a Pagan in the mundane world.

There are chapters about your sex life and even one called “Help! There is no Pagan K-Mart” which discusses how and where to find all those wonderful ritual tools, clothing and accessories many Pagans are so fond of collecting. The author even reminds us that jeans and T-shirts are perfectly acceptable ritual-wear, if that’s what makes you comfortable.

I found the author’s humorous quips to be enchanting, but some might take offense at the repetition of the importance of being honest, forthright citizens of the world. Since I personally hold similar views about people (not just Pagans) being honorable and trustworthy people in their dealings, I found myself nodding my head in agreement. I can think of more than a handful of Pagans I’d like to see read this book and get the message that being Pagan is not a license to break laws or to justify being self indulgent.

This book is a good read and an excellent addition to a beginner’s Craft library.

Reprinted with permission. Original printing Elements Magazine

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Witch Crafts: 101 Projects for Creative Pagans

101 Projects for Creative Pagans Witch Crafts: 101 Projects for Creative Pagans
By Willow Polson; Citadel Press (Kensington Publishing Corp.)

What a delightful book. For the Witch with a crafty bent or for the one who wants to try creating for the first time, this book has something for everyone. The book boasts 12 different chapters. Each chapter focuses on a different craft, with projects ranging from the very easy to the more advanced.

Whether you are into sewing or gardening, you will find a project to please your creative urges. I think the only thing I didn’t like about this book was the fact that I couldn’t decide which project I want to start on first. In fact, I am still deciding between the Topsy-Turvy Goddess doll and the cross-stitch Green Man sweatshirt.

The directions for each project are concise and easy to follow. Patterns for those projects that require patterns are included right in the instructions, something I appreciate. Many craft books have the patterns in a separate section in the book requiring you to hunt them down. At the end of each chapter is a list of resources for any of the materials you might need for the crafts. Among the resources are names and URLs to books and websites for more information on that chapter’s focus.

The best part of the book is the 8 pages of full color photography of finished projects. The pictures are cross-referenced to the pages with the craft’s directions. I only hope that my finished pieces are as photo worthy when I finally choose my first one!

Reprinted with permission. Original printing Elements Magazine