This book review has been long overdue. However, in the light of the workshop that I will be holding this weeking on traditionla Wicca, I thought it was about time that I shared my thoughts on this book.
WICCA MAGICKAL BEGINNINGS - A Study of the Possible Origins of the Rituals and Practices Found in this Modern Tradition of Pagan Witchcraft and Magick by Sorita d'Este and David Rankine (Paperback)
These days it is always a delight to read something about the history of Wicca that is appears to be actually researched (and thoroughly at that) and without the usual assumptions and "bitch wars" resulting from hidden agendas and basically sour grapes that unfortunately seems to appear in such books.
Instead of pre-judging Gardner as simply "a silly old man", or even as a bit of a perv, the authors of ths book set about analysing various key aspects within the Wicca belief in an attempt to determine not only possible sources but also connections and reason why - moving beyond the standard "dismissing" everything cos "old Gardner was a bit of a fraud".
As a result of this mature and indepth study, they conclude with not one but THREE possible conclusions, and whilst summarising with their own, leaving it open for the reader to make up their own mind. At the end of day, I guess no one can be 100% sure what Gardner's inspiration, motives etc were ... but the conclusions given are extremely pulsable and offers much thought.
But that is only one aspect of this book - what the authors have also managed to achieve is to offer possibly sources and reasoning behind the inclusion of many aspects of Wicca rituals - such as:
- Where the Drawing Down of Moon came from and its accruate history
- Where Alex Sanders may have gained his inspiration for his circle that contains migher magickal names and symbols
- Where the concept of "Perfect Love and Perfect Trust" came from
- The meanings behind terms such as "watchtowers", the elemental pentagrams, the athame ...
And much more.
This book was a thorough delight to read and I would highly recommend to anyone, beginner or advanced, interested in Wicca and its possible origins.