Dedicant by Thuri Calafia

Dedicant: A Witch’s Circle of Fire
Thuri Calafia
Llewellyn, 2008
342 pages

Note: This review originally appeared in an issue of newWitch magazine.

With the ratio of students to teachers and groups in the Neopagan community, self-directed systems for the neophyte are in demand. New author Thuri Calafia offers up the first in a planned series of books for this demographic. Similar to Christopher Penczak’s witchcraft series, Calafia’s Circles system is designed to lead the reader from the beginning, all the way through advanced material of her creation.

Much of the material is a rehash of the same standard stuff you’ll find in most Wicca/witchcraft 101 texts—there are the basic ritual tools, correspondences, Wiccan deity archetypes, and so forth. This book is simply Calafia’s interpretation and utilization of these, so it may be a good alternative for those who haven’t yet found an author they agree with.

It’s also unabashedly eclectic, and uses the “almost anything goes” definition of Wicca. If you’re more traditional about things, you’ll probably want to avoid this book. If you’re new to neopaganism, make sure that you read other perspectives along with this one.

I do have to give her credit for encouraging freedom of thought; for example, she leaves it up to the reader as to whether to utilize mild drugs in ritual work (or personal life) rather than preaching absolute abstinence. She also cites her sources with footnotes and includes a full bibliography, something I’ve noticed featured more in Llewellyn’s recent catalog.

For writing essentially a 101 text, Calafia does a great job of laying out the groundwork, and presents it in a unique, workable structure that’s easy to follow and offers a good scaffolding for self-development. Personally, I’d recommend this as a decent starting text with a few reservations, and I’m curious about what her later books will present.

Four pawprints out of five.

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2 Comments

  1. bookslanduk said,

    March 3, 2010 at 9:35 am

    I appreciate your comments ma fellow blogger. Your comments are so transparent. But as far as i read it she is new in her writing, may be her writing is similar to Christopher Penczak’s series but her thoughts are completely different. I personally request you to do more reviews on future book relese. good work

  2. Alex said,

    March 14, 2010 at 2:13 pm

    I am currently following this book and have found it to be an excellent guideline. One thing I found, being new to the craft is that many books either only go into theoretical witchcraft or only practical witchcraft (books of spells) but few bridge the gap between theroy and practice effectivly for a beginner. I stumbled around for almost a year without really understanding what I was doing – it was hard to find a good starting point and I now realise a lot of what I attempted was far to advanced for me. This book was the answer though, showing clearly where to start from and where to go next and whilst offering invaluble guidence it still gives me the space to experiment. The structured month to month lessons also allow me to pace myself which forces me to meditate on and reaserch each topic instead of rushing through them as I am prone to do. A fantastic guide for anyone who is new to the craft.


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