Buckland's Complete Book of Witchcraft by Raymond Buckland
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I have read count less Wicca 101 books, yet no one should pass through their basic Wicca education without having read Raymond Buckland's classic. Originally written back in 1986 this book foresees the needs of many beginner Wiccans more adequately then what is being cranked out today. Some of his info is dated and there are more complete instructions else in other beginners books of this magnitude but I still learned a lot.
Raymond Buckland was trained and initiated in Britain by Gerald Gardner himself and then he brought it over to the states. He quotes the standard line that it was the God and Goddess who created the planet and it's inhabitants. All goddess names are just label for the goddess herself in her many different aspects. Same goes for the god. Behind the Goddess and God is the concept of the all that is, an unnameable and unidentifiable source of everything. Buckland aptly states that the paradigm of the God and Goddess are ways of seeing the reality and cosmos and that other ways of viewing reality are just as valid. He does believe that the ancients in one form or another believed in a Goddess/God concept. Some examples would be found in Mesopotamia, Egypt and the European religions. But he is also respectful enough of different beliefs to state that there were differences to this as well.
The year is divided into two parts. The Spring and summer are belonging to the goddess and are dedicated to harvesting and crops. The Winter when the crops no longer grow and the animals hibernate belongs to the horned God. Funny I also thought the reverse. But hey Wicca has no central authority and is thus open to much interpretation and reinterpretation. buckland does not maintain that Wicca was around in it's present form many millenia ago but he does subscribe to concepts being present.
The book is thorough and I learned a lot. Of course there is the usual on circle casting, calling quarters and the well outlined rituals that are well scripted out and this includes not only the sabbats but also new and full moon rites. The book includes tons of information on divination, herbs, channeling, secret alphabets and magic. These lessons alone can be taken by the non wiccan and/or non witch and used independently. The book also gives different traditions of Wicca which allows the newbie to choose which to go to or at least peruse the options. Great adanvatage You do not have to be a witch too practice magic. Such people are called magicians.
The book has some drawbacks, however. Raymond Buckland has a habit of quoting, well of course, Raymond Buckland. Peppered quite profusely through out the book are quotes and sayings from his other works which he published. I would say he is a bit full of himself. He also pulls from some of his other paradigms which he call Seax Wicca and uses that as gospel. Seax Wicca is something that Raymond himself has to admit he came up with himself. Some of the instructions on Talismans, especially the seals of Solomon could benefit from more thorough instructions. I have read other magic books that I would consult for this matter. Another drawbacks and this would depend on your point of view are the couple of pictures that show nudity, especially included in the initiation section. Definitely not suitable for children or teens. If you are a parent with children you might not want to leave this lying around.
Other than that great book.
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