Full Contact Magick: A Book of Shadows for the Wiccan Warrior, by Kerr Cuhulain
Llewellyn, 0738702544, 2002
Kerr Cuhulain is a Wiccan police officer, based in Vancouver; he’s been in the field for the past 24 years, and a Wiccan for more than thirty. I’ve not read his first work, The Wiccan Warrior, so I can’t compare the two, but from what I’ve read in this book, I like his easy style, and the general applicability of what he writes.
It’s written as a guide to beginning your own Book of Shadows, to be worked through as you go along. It’s broken up into five parts, one for each element (Spirit, Earth, Water, Fire, Air – the reasoning behind the order explained near the end of the book). Cuhulain gives comprehensive explanations behind each point he brings up, which is a refreshing change, whether I agree with them or not. It shows that he has thought carefully about what he believes and I respect that.
Cuhulain states that one cannot be Wiccan if they do not adhere to the Wiccan Rede – I’m sure this will generate mixed reactions among readers. His explanation of karma isn’t terrible,1 and he does acknowledge the destructive tendencies apparently inherent in human nature and it’s purpose, noting the adage ‘In order to heal you have to be able to hex’.2
He makes apt parallels between disciplines such as martial arts and magick, manipulating ki and ritual mindset, etc. bringing his style of Wicca and neo-pagan magick in line with an inspiring warrior tradition.
There are a couple minor things that are an annoyance more than serious problems. The first, incorrectly stating that Litha occurs on the autumnal equinox (page 176). The correct date is noted as being the summer solstice in the glossary, but those new to Wicca could easily become confused by this misrepresentation. As well, the anti-drug stance he takes toward magick and ritual is disappointing, but then again, he is a cop, so it’s somewhat expected.
There were a few little things that impressed well upon me, such as Cuhulain’s use of CE/BCE to refer to dates rather than the Christian date system, which is often paradoxically found in some Wiccan and neo-pagan texts. As well as his uses he or she throughout the book. I love that it has footnotes, and attributes quotes and information correctly. Small things, but they make a difference.
Though this is written as a guidebook for the ‘Wiccan Warrior’, many concepts and ideas presented within are applicable to magickians of any style. Overall, it’s an excellent start for any novice.