I periodically open my mailbox and find copies of nifty stuff from publishers asking me to review new and upcoming titles. A lot of times I don’t get a chance to do it, because I’m writing my own stuff, and I have a personal policy of never reviewing someone else’s material when I’m working my own. However, right now I’m in the middle of a very brief lull, and so I thought I’d share a few reviews with you over the next couple of weeks. I’m going to begin with Wicca, Plain and Simple by Leanna Greenaway, because I really like it.
Wicca, Plain and Simple, from Red Wheel/Weiser, is just what the title implies: it’s a bare-bones primer on the basics of modern Wicca, with very little fluff and no bullshit. It’s a good starting point for any beginner who’s interested in magical practice.
Like many of us in the Pagan community, Greenaway associates the word Wicca with the evolving, fluid version of Wiccan spirituality today, rather than the specific, orthopraxic original meaning as founded by Gerald Gardner – and although this is a small distinction, it’s one that’s important to keep in mind as you’re reading Wicca, Plain and Simple.
Greenaway starts off with a brief overview of witches and magic – who are witches, what do they do, etc., and then launches into some of the core concepts of Wiccan belief and practice. She doesn’t waste time arguing about terminology, but gets straight to the meat of things.
After a brief summary of magical tools – many of which will seem familiar if you’ve read any other books on Wicca or Paganism – there are sections on the magic of the moon, the garden, animals, and the Tarot. Honestly, I wish these chapters had been longer and more detailed, because this is where Greenaway really shines.
A few tidbits:
Page 30, Lunar Magic: "There are many theories about the Moon and how it affects us. One theory posits that the Moon and its phases influence our internal chemistry, pulling on the gravitational forces of our physical bodies. Another concept states the gravitational field of a full Moon changes energy particles that reach the Earth, influencing the way we think and feel by changing the functions of our brain." Page 16, Wicca and Positive Thought: "Always make sure you are in the right frame of mind before you begin spell casting. If you are feeling ill, angry, or emotional in any way, your spell may be thwarted, so you should wait until you have settled down." Page 106, Spells for Health, Wealth, and Prosperity: "The basic life issues we all confront relate to our security and well-being, and when life issues are compromised, we are stressed - we need to learn to find resolution and peace through these hardships so we can move on in our spiritual development."
She knows her stuff, and communicates it in a way that makes sense for beginners without dumbing it down for veteran practitioners. Finally, she wraps the whole thing up with spellwork, for love, money, and happy families.
While you definitely won’t need to learn everything you need to know from just this one book – or any one book, really – it’s a good primer on the basics, with solid information provided in an easy-to-use format. Greenaway did a great job, and my only complaint really is that, as I mentioned above, I’d have loved for some of the sections to be expanded upon.
Overall, I give it four broomsticks out of five!
Wicca, Plain and Simple on Amazon:
Disclaimer: A review copy of this title was provided by the publisher.