Bonewits’ Essential Guide to Witchcraft and Wicca

Bonewits’ Essential Guide to Witchcraft and Wicca
Isaac Bonewits
Citadel, 2006
224 pages

This is the first book on Wicca I’ve bought since my early magical experimentation, but this book kept catching my eye, so I snagged a copy. I’m glad I did.

I really recommend this as a basic history of neopaganism, to include debunking the Wicca is 10,000 years old myth, and intriguing discussion about
the early years of the community in the Gardner and Valiente era. It’s also exceptionally valuable for Bonewits’ definitions of various terms, and the appendix on the etymology of the word “witch”. Readers will also find the basic structure of Wiccan ritual and discussion of the variations thereof.

Bonewits used a wonderful array of resources, including the underappreciated Crafting the Art of Magic, as well as a decent list of recommended reading on a variety of related topics.

Occasionally I looked askance at his tone of voice–at first glance he seems rather self-aggrandizing. But I reminded myself that he has been in the neopagan community as it is from the beginning, and I think he deserves some slack for actually being there. Also, in his defense he states early on exactly where he’s coming from (dont say he didn’t warn you!) and I must say I absolutely LOVE his sense of humour! Puns, poetry, and the occasional sideways jab all make the read even better.

Finally, a little bit of a squee from yours truly–on pages 25-26 he talks about the neurotransmitter work my partner, Taylor Ellwood, has been working on. Not only did it make my day better, but it proves (along with up to date information on neopaganism in general) that Isaac is still an incredibly relevant author after 35+ years–after all, the magical community in general is constantly evolving, and a lot of people tend to get sort of stuck in their own era. Isaac, on the other hand, bridges the gap between the ’70’s and the…well..whatever you want to call this decade, quite well. Good job!

Five pawprints out of five.

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