Sorry for the delay in updating! I have had so much going on including a snowstorm, keeping me on my toes! Nothing serious of course, but there was shoveling to do, and “I’m not leaving my bed” to do. Plus the Snow Super Moon really seemed to drain my entire existence it seemed like. Anyone else felt this way, or am I just total garbage?
I wanted to share with you beautiful humans my first official book review. Something that I’ve promised and want to implement monthly. So I figured that I would write about my book purchase, on my last trip to Portland, Oregon; A Witches’ Bible.
This is a book I wanted for a long while! There are so many books in the modern day that are fluffy, and fun to read, but don’t actually go into any real depth. This book was promised to be a 1980’s solution to that problem. A Witches’ Bible, is an in-depth look at Wicca/Paganism as a religion. Essentially this is the Wiccan equivalent to a theological breakdown and overview, of the religion as a whole. This isn’t a book you pick up that is filled with spells (although it does have a small section on spells, and several rituals), or simple how-to guides. Nor is this a book of witchcraft being used as a face for self-care, like a lot of books seems to be today. (I’m still not over how bad Basic Witches was, but that’s a story for another day.) This is a straight forward information book, much like a textbook you maybe you get in school. Of course in school, you wouldn’t be reading about Pagan Holidays, ritual tools, or the 101 of how to do a coven ritual. Plainly, this is not actually a bible. No witches do not have holy books. However, this book is so chalked full of information, research and instructions that the name bible is fitting.
To be critical of the book, it was written in the 1980’s which was a completely different time both socially and economically. Therefore, some of this information feels very outdated. The heavy reliance on the male/female energies of the coven, for me at least, does not apply in the same way that we would apply them today. For example, gender identity has evolved and developed since it’s 1987 original publication. This, of course, I do not believe as a criticism of the authors, but rather a reflection of the time. There is still much to learn from the “old” views of gender in a coven, to develop your own practices moving forward. Learn from the past, to shape the future.
My personal favorite part of this book was the covering of the Sabbats. In books I’ve read in the past, often Sabbat coverage is vague, broad and generally focuses on how to celebrate, versus why we celebrate. Not only does this book give in-depth coverage of why we celebrate the Sabbats, but how this Sabbat’s work in the “modern” world. Each Sabbat also comes complete with a ritual, and detailed instructions on how one would practice said ritual.
Now to get to the parts of the book that aren’t great, from a realistic perspective. You wanna see old men naked touching beautiful young women, well this is the book for you. Although sex magick, skyclad rituals, and the grand spectrum of all ages and genders are realistic parts of the Wiccan religion, I’ll be honest, it was weird to see. I myself am a solitary practitioner, I don’t work with a coven and I definitely am not comfortable being skyclad in front of others. Now, of course, if you are, this is awesome and I fully support that. Realistically, this was also far more common practice in the era this book was written, and lots of covens today still practice this way. But by no means should you take the imagery of this book and assume all witches practice skyclad. I mostly say this for, if you’re young, or buying this book for your child, or something similar, just be prepared for old naked people. This is, of course, a reality of the world, and nothing I personally shy away from, but I think it should be a fair warning. Especially since the book does have the title of “bible,” which I would imagine being confusing for a non-pagan parent, trying to be supportive of their possibly teenage children.
The other downfall of this book is, it is DRY. Now I love a good textbook. There is a lot to be said for strict, direct information. However, if you are not someone who likes direct, dry, bland but informative texts, this is not the book for you. Think of it like reading the backbone of any religion, it’s not gonna be fun light-hearted reading. The ACTUAL bible isn’t fun either. But for Christians, it’s informative to how they shape their religious practice. So consider this book to be of the same, dry, but informative level. This is a book to learn, but not one you will likely blast through, I know I didn’t. I picked this book up in December and wasn’t able to finish it until the end of January, because of its dryness.
Overall, I would definitely recommend this book. Not for beginners, I wouldn’t want a baby witch to pick this dry, semi-outdated book on the Wiccan religion, and assume that everything is so dry. If you are just dipping your toes in the well of magick, maybe this book is a pass. But if you have even a basic understanding of witchcraft, and enjoy dry but good information, this is a good book for you. Sure you’re going to repeat a lot of information you probably already know, but it goes into detail, where you are likely to learn at least something, and that is valuable. Every day you learn something new is a good day, my dad always says, and honestly he’s never been wrong about that!