Positive Magic, by Marion Weinstein
New Page Books, 1564146325, 2002
This is a revision of as true classic in the field. However, it is going to cause a great deal of controversy this time around (even more so than the first time). While I can identify with many of her statements, a large portion of those who have come into the field in the past decade are going to find themselves in heated disagreement with them.
For example, the statement “Witchcraft is, quite specifically, an ancient Celtic magic-religion.” is going to upset those who feel that Witchcraft is NOT a religion (that’s Wicca)”, as well as those who maintain that it is not Celtic, but only Celtic-influenced.
The statement that “Various sects of Witchcraft exist, but they all have certain basic traditions in common:
- Reverence for all nature.
- Belief in the existence of Goddess as well as (or in exclusion of) God.
- The belief in a Power that unifies Visible and Invisible forces.
- The Use of the Threefold Law.” is also going to spark irritation from those who feel that there are no universal traditions, as well as those who deny the validity of the Threefold Law concept.”
There are many other statements that were accepted as truisms a quarter of a century ago, but which will need to be defended by those who still hold to them.
Beyond the controversial statements is the fact that Ms. Weinstein presents some interesting views of the relationship between the “Invisible” world and the world of “Form.” Unfortunately, these views (and the exercises she proposes) don’t truly begin to be expressed until several chapters into the work, and I am afraid that those who could most benefit from them will not read far enough, with an open mind, to find and deal with them.
While I can appreciate, if not always agree with, most of the things she says, I do have to issue a basic warning about this book. DO NOT read this book while you are distracted by events in your life. Take the time to read it, and absorb its contents, when you are able to devote your full attention to it, and you will rap rewards beyond comprehension.
I am not saying that you have to agree with each principle and premise. You don’t even have to like them (some of them smack a little too much of white light and fluff for me). But – if you read them with an open mind, they will stimulate your thought processes and that is one of the major transformations that can change our lives.
This book took a lot longer to read than I normally devote to a book for review, but I found it well worth the extra time and effort involved. For those who remember the original, parts of this book will be a walk down memory lane, with some new territory opening up. For those who have never read it before, just remember that you don’t have to agree with everything to make use of the principles laid out in this work.
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Mike Gleason (1951-2012) dedicated his time to sharing his knowledge and opinions with others, and spent years reviewing books for the Pagan, Wiccan, Witch and magickal communities.