The Three Rays of Witchcraft, by Christopher Penczak
Copper Cauldron, 9780982774304, 205 pp., 2010
This is the first offering from a new publishing venture, Copper Cauldron. The idea of publishing an offering from Christopher is a good one. With over a dozen books and a half a dozen CD sets under his belt, Christopher is not only prolific, but knows how to convey his information without talking down to his readership.
Christopher presents a triple-themed approach to his subject, which is less about Witchcraft and more about the relationships between the three main branches of evolutionary development as he sees it – the divine, the human, and the devas or demigods. Whether you agree with his approach or not, you will find yourself challenged by his writing. It is, in many ways, the antithesis of much modern “occult” writing, which tends towards obscurity and density. Christopher writes clearly and makes no attempt to appear superior to his readers. The information is conveyed clearly and succinctly. Continue reading
Fire Child: The Life & Magic of Maxine Sanders ‘Witch Queen’, by Maxine Sanders
Mandrake, 9781869928780, 309 pp., 2008
I have been waiting for this book to be written for years, if not decades. As I have said in previous reviews, we need more autobiographies (as well as biographies) concerning those people who helped to bring our religion out of the broom closet. We already had Gerald Gardner: Witch and King of the Witches: The World of Alex Sanders as well as several books relating the life and works of George Pickingill, Doreen Valiente, Sybil Leek, and more modern practitioners such as Fiona Horne. The Internet has made it easy to find out about individuals’ actions. Their motivations, however, may not be so easily determined.
One of the things I enjoyed Continue reading
Witchcraft Medicine: Healing Arts, Shamanic Practices, and Forbidden Plantsby, Claudia Muller-Ebeling, Christian Ratsch and Wolf-Dieter Storl
Inner Traditions, 0892819715, 240 pp. (incl. appendix, bibliography and index), 1998, 2003
What image comes to mind when you read the phrase “Witchcraft Medicine”? Do you see a crone bent over a cauldron, muttering under her breath? Do you imagine a dark peasant hovel in the Middle Ages? Me, too! The subtitle of this volume, translated from a German edition of 1998, helps to clear away some of the misconceptions before the cover is even opened however. “Healing Arts, Shamanic Practices, and Forbidden Plants” lets the reader know that the topic will range far beyond narrow preconceptions.
The book is profusely illustrated with old woodcuts, drawings and full-colour photographs. Quotations from numerous sources, ancient , medieval, and modern appear frequently in sidebars. There are charts listing various plants and their associations with planets, deities, and symbolism. Continue reading
Stewart Farrar: Writer On A Broomstick, The Biography of Stewart Farrar, by Elizabeth Guerra
RJ Stewart Books, 9780979140273, 227 pp., 2008
I have, over the past several years, bemoaned the fact that there has been a steady erosion of knowledge about the inner thoughts and attitudes of those people most influential in the Pagan movement in the earlier days of the twentieth century. Many of them have entered the Summerland and left us no records. Others are known only by their public writings.
Ms. Guerra has undertaken the gargantuan task of chronicling the life of a very influential, very well respected, and yet very private man. She is owed a large debt of gratitude for doing so. Continue reading
Witchcraft in Yorkshire, by Patricia Crowther
Harvest Shadows, 9780974174013, 71 pp., 1973, 2008
The public perception of Witchcraft (or Wicca, if you prefer) has come a long way in 35 years. Looking through this short facsimile edition of Patricia Crowther’s 1973 work will make abundantly clear. Books written today tend to be too dedicated to explaining the history of the Craft, the contributions of various “names” in the community and forget about the witches were feared as often as admired and that there was (and is) a basis in local folklore. In the beginning, there was more emphasis on the more recent history and memories.
Ms. Crowther, one of Gerald Gardner’s priestesses, has gathered Continue reading