Wicca Unveiled by J. Philip Rhodes – February BBBR

Wicca Unveiled: The Complete Rituals of Modern Witchcraft
J. Philip Rhodes
Speaking Tree, 2000
192 pages

While I’m tired of Wicca 101 rehashes, at least this one is on traditional rather than eclectic Wicca. Rhodes has many years’ experience in British Traditional Wiccan (BTW) covens, and uses this book to pass on information about the rituals and beliefs involved. Granted, I’m not BTW myself, so to an extent this review isn’t quite as informed as, say, Mike Gleason’s, but here are my thoughts.

On the plus side, the book is a fairly complete overview. It includes different initiatory and celebratory rituals, such as those for handfasting, and initiations in the Wiccan degree system. There’s also the prerequisite Sabbat and Esbat rites, and even planetary rituals which hail more towards modern Wicca’s ceremonial magical roots. Basic correspondences and incense recipes are to be found in the appendices, though they’re rather sparse.

However, there’s nothing that really makes this book stand out. It’s basically BTW for people who want a basic idea of its rites, but don’t want to slog through the Farrars’ massive black book. There are also some assumptions made that have essentially been discounted–the concept of an unbroken line of witchcraft going back hundreds or thousands of years, the “black/white” dichotomy of witchcraft, and other outdated things. The first chapter, which includes the history and theory of witchcraft, could be much more fleshed out as well; the book is mostly rituals.

It’s not terrible, but it’s not great, either. If you want an easy introduction to BTW rites and don’t want to spend too much time researching it, this will work. If you want something more substantial, read the Farrars.

Two and a half pawprints out of five.

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