Magickware\’s Pagan Book Reviews

December 18, 2004

The Wiccan Book of Rites and Rituals

Filed under: Book Reviews — magickware @ 6:33 pm

The Wiccan Book of Rites and Rituals The Wiccan Book of Rites and Rituals: A collection of spells for every magickal day of the year
By Sister Moon, Citadel Press (Kensington)

Oh puhlease!!! Who are these people? Even before I had reached numbered pages in this book, the word warlock had been used twice in connection with the witches who might happen to be reading the preface and acknowledgments. I guess no one bothered to tell the writer that a warlock is not synonymous with a male witch.

I attempted to put that aside and moved onto the main portion of the book. The reader is given two tables with the magickal hours of the day and night. Pay attention, you will need these tables to know the exact right time to cast each spell. There are even spells specifically for Friday the 13th, a chapter each for either a waning or waxing moon.

This book is so steeped in dogma; it’s hard to swallow. It reads like a private coven’s Book of Shadows. This outsider, for one, is not interested in becoming a member of their group. I prefer rituals that I can use when I have need of them, rather than waiting for the exact right time for the casting of a spell. I also have a problem with spell work that requires items and potions so specific that the author found it necessary to list the shop where the products are carried.
I am assuming a book of spells such as these were written with a beginner in mind. Unfortunately for that beginner, there is no glossary to explain the terms such as “deosil” and “Call of Order.” I also believe that someone who has enough knowledge to know these terms has begun writing his or her own spells for their immediate needs.

The rituals and spells cover the usual prosperity, negativity and true love genres and then there are the mostly useless like the one for a pregnant mare about to foal. How many witches do you know who have breeding horses? One spell, called Healing Brew, is a recipe for chicken soup. It might actually be tasty but the author instructs the reader to turn off the crock-pot and let the soup sit on the counter for three hours. Could this also a recipe for food poisoning?

If you can sift through all the nonsense, the ritual poems and spell ideas have some redeeming value. Many are quite lyrical in their rhyme and meter. There are a few for the greater good that might actually be worth casting if you can wait for the right month, day and hour to do the spell.


Irish Witchcraft From An Irish Witch

Filed under: Book Reviews — magickware @ 4:30 pm

Irish Witchcraft from An Irish WitchIrish Witchcraft From An Irish Witch
by Lora O’Brien, New Page Books (Career Press) 2005

I groaned when I opened the package and read the title of this book. I thought it was yet another in those series of inane “this is the True Way of witchcraft” books that glut the shelves on the big bookstore chains. You know the ones…real magick books, faery lore books and the White Witch spell books.

I decided to read it with an open mind, however. I was surprised by the second page of the introduction to find that Ms. O’Brien echoes many of my sentiments of walking one’s talk. She suggests that witchcraft is one of many paths to Divine enlightenment and if you choose to follow the Irish Witchcraft Path, to do so in earnest and in all seriousness. In this chapter, she discusses the various definitions of Wicca, The Rede, witchcraft, Pagan, magic and what they mean in terms of Irish witchcraft. She is very clear to explain that this is the path she is following and that it may not be for everyone. She also makes the distinction that Irish witchcraft has to do with Ireland and a strong connection to that land, and that part of the world.

Part I of the book was the most difficult for me to follow. Ms. O’Brien has a strong belief that if one is to follow a path strongly connected to a certain area/culture that you learn the language. Failing that she advises learning the proper pronunciations of the various tribes, Gods, Goddesses and holidays. I must admit my head was swimming before I was halfway through this section. I was never much good at names, and the transliterations are not quite the same as having a real Gaelic speaker sitting next to you correcting your woeful mispronunciations.

My favorite part of the book was the second section, entitled “How it Is”. In this portion of the book, which the author herself calls the most personal of the book, we follow her journey while she meets the land and its magical and supernatural inhabitants. She goes into her meeting of her chosen Goddess (or rather the Goddess who chose her). Although she maintained a rather general accounting of the actual ceremony, it was intriguing enough in the telling to hold the readers attention. The real meat and potatoes of the book are in this chapter of the book.
The final division of the book was about general Irish community, both Pagan and non-Pagan peoples. There are also numerous listings of resources and an index.

This is an excellent book, but by its very nature, it is not for everyone. However, if you are serious about following an Irish witchcraft path, this is a must for your Pagan library.

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