Hippie Commie Beatnik Witches by Aidan A. Kelly
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I bought this book thinking that it would be a about a revival of the "Golden Dawn", I was wrong it was about the starting of first an informal group of people wanting to learn witchcraft who then evolved into a coven and finally into an order itself. I like the story that Aidan weaved as I learned a lot from it. The only drawback is the seeming disjointedness of the book. Aidan gives his own narrative but then he spliced in interviews, pieces of rituals and then whole rituals. The information itself is all good and well but sometimes not easy to follow. Perhaps what Aidan should do is give us a tight narrative that incorporates the information given from his interviews. Another chapter could be about the rituals that his group did while together and maybe still doing now. People want to know.
Aidan Kelly played a part in making a tradition of witchcraft. He has also written several books about the creation of witchcraft and I am glad he let us know that for the most part Wicca and other forms of witchcraft are "creations" of the 20th century yet they are still valid. I like to know the truth and thanks Aidan for telling it so. I got to give him and his group credit as they did the research, the work, and they helped birth a very viable spiritual tradition. This book also gives us insight into the politics of the magical and pagan world which have as of late seem to have merged.
Aidan has come into contact with many heavy weights in the magical pagan world. To mention a few like Starhawk, Victor Andersen,Isaac Bonewitz, and Kerr Cuhulain, just to modestly mention a few. His group started out as a bunch of college students in the San Francisco area studying anthropology during the hippie days. Perfect breeding ground. They were reading heavily into that book "The White Goddess" and other Goddess,Pagan works. As part of a college project they formulated a ritual that seemed to go over rather well. From then on they decided to do it more often. they eventually coalesced into a group and finally into a coven with their own tradition. They had the usual discussion on how often they should meet requirement etc. The most interesting was whether to wear clothes of go sky clad. I myself feel better with clothing. They went skyclad. The coven would eventually come up with their own curriculum and advancement programs. White sashes and red sashes. White beginners and red more advanced.
As enough covens came about they eventually made it into an order the New Reformed Order of the Golden Dawn. Coven would open up and others would close. Eventually they would merge with other groups of Witches to form Covenant of the goddess. They would get together for rituals and for political action. During the group's time they did learn from Victor Andersen of the Feri Tradition. Starhawk also learned from them.
For Aidan he would eventually leave the craft due to alcoholism as there was so much drinking at the rituals and him being an alcoholic. he realized that it was killing him. After a lengthy absence he came back. He also did some traveling back east and worked rituals with Isaac Bonewitz.
Over all great book. Inspired me to what to learn more about Greek Magic and get to the sources as that is where it is at. I definitely will read more of his books as they come out. I wish some of his older works on Llewellyn would be published as well.
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