Magickware\’s Pagan Book Reviews

April 18, 2005

Aisha’s Moonlit Walk: Stories And Celebrations For The Pagan Year

Filed under: Book Reviews,Children's Book — magickware @ 4:29 pm

Aisha’s Moonlit WalkAisha’s Moonlit Walk: Stories And Celebrations For The Pagan Year
By Anika Stafford, Skinner House Books

Common wisdom says that writing a good book is hard, but writing a good children’s book is brutal. Ms. Stafford took on a formidable challenge. I give her an A for effort. She starts with a good concept but her book is strikingly similar in format to the few Pagan-parenting books currently available.

The reader is taken through the Wheel of the Year starting at the Samhian ritual where we meet Aisha, her best friend Heather and their families. In each chapter a short story is followed by discussion questions about the story’s contents and then a selection of holiday related activities.
The book is advertised to be appropriate for the pre-school child but there are no images except for a small spot illustration at each chapter title. Because of this I have serious doubts whether the average 3 or 4 year old can relate to Aisha’s character. Aisha is at times portrayed as very young and at other times is engaged in activities of much older children. One wonders how much time the author spends with young children on a daily basis.

The initial chapters are somewhat slow, but stick with the book; later chapters become a bit livelier in nature. I found the book to be aimed at the “politically correct” audience. There are frequent references to alternate lifestyles being obvious in the story line but adding nothing to the book as a whole.

This book contains some interesting activities for the parent or educator of the Pagan child. If you are looking for an activity book to share with your child, this is a good choice. However, if you are looking for a storybook to occupy a young reader, skip this one for now. It is unfortunate that the current market has so few choices for our youngest Pagans.

The Science Of The Craft: Modern Realities in the Ancient Art of Witchcraft

Filed under: Book Reviews — magickware @ 4:28 pm

Modern Realities in the Ancient Art of WitchcraftThe Science Of The Craft: Modern Realities in the Ancient Art of Witchcraft
By William H. Keith, Citadel Press (Kensington Publishing Corp.)

Go dust off your thinking caps boys and girls, Mr. Keith has a science lesson in store for us!

In this 300-page volume we learn everything we ever wanted to know about quantum physics, and then some. Modern day theories on just exactly how the world works and why are what makes up a major portion of this book. We are treated to an explanation of why Sir Isaac Newton’s theory is incomplete and how the world really works. Schrödinger’s cat, the Quantum Sea and working magic! They all just go to show you that what we witches knew all along is actually real.

But if we knew it was real why do we need this book? The author uses his lessons in quantum physics to show that magic works in a scientifically proven way. Me, I prefer my magic to be, well, magical. But Mr. Keith comes from a scientific background where all this stuff about casting spells and sending healing energy to distant friends is just shy of mumbo jumbo. So he uses the most current scientific premises to prove that magic works.
He includes copious footnotes throughout the text. I found them to be a distracting at best, and inane at their worst. Most footnotes didn’t cite scholarly references (isn’t that what footnotes do?) but were silly one-liners aimed at a cheap laugh. Granted on occasion they were funny, but they detracted from the text most of the time.

I spent the first half of the book wondering when we were going to get to the modern realities of witchcraft. I learned a bunch of stuff about quantum sciences that I didn’t know, plus I had a couple of light-bulb moments with regard to things I learned years ago that the author presented in a very understandable format for the non-scientist types like me.

The book relies heavily on Isaac Bonewits’ Laws of Magic, which are repeated within the text several times. The author then takes what he has taught us about quantum theory and creates the Laws of Quantum Magic. By Chapter 15, we know all we can about the theories and we start in with the Magic Lessons. If you manage to make it this far in the book, this is where the going gets good.

I have read meditations and rituals by the dozens. Rarely do I see anything new and different. This book contains some very bright pearls. After all the science guru stuff is out of the way, some very real world usable advice on working magic and connecting to the Divine is found in the final chapters of this book. I’d get it for these chapters alone. Excellent lessons for a beginner, the ideas put forth will also reawaken the wonder that fades with wisdom and experience in a more seasoned witch.

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