Posted by: Nyxks | October 5, 2007

Wicca for One

Wicca for One
by Raymond Buckland © 2004
Citadel Press
ISBN 0-80652554-9
277 pages includes appendices
Paperback $14.95
Reviewed by: Mike Gleason

Raymond Buckland is one of the most prominent Witches in America today. He helped to bring Witchcraft (specifically Gardnerian Witchcraft) to the attention of Americans. He shows, in the first chapter of this book, that Solitary Witchcraft is not a new phenomenon. It has an ancient lineage and is, actually, the dominant form of Witchcraft through recorded (and probably pre-recorded) history.

He does seem to vacillate between the “this is traditional” and “there is no right or wrong” poles, throughout the book. For example, while listing the tools he frequently asserts that, as a Solitary, there are no restrictions on tools, and in the next paragraph he says there are specific reasons for doing things in particular ways.

This book is, of course, the essence of a “Wicca 101” book. As such, it suffers from the common complaints of rehashing things that “everyone knows.” It benefits, however from having been written by a man who has witnessed the evolution of the Craft in America. Thus when some of his statements vary from currently accepted norms; you can see what “everyone USED to know.”

Naturally, the author provides ritual outlines, formats, and invocations to inspire the individual creation which is such a necessary part of Solitary work. And he is sure to offend a number of readers by his attitudes regarding karma, when to use magick, and other topics, but as a long time practitioner all I can say is “Get over it.” Contrary to what many newer practitioners think, this is the way wee were trained.

Also, his injunction against spontaneous magick is sure to irritate many members of the “instant gratification” generation of Witches. It takes time, focus, energy, and preparation to work effective magick. None of this “toss a few things together, mumble a charm and wait for things to happen” for this author.

In spite of the fact that he is writing for the modern, Solitary Witch, his old-time, traditional, coven training shows through from time to time, and is especially visible to those trained with the same methods. Although some may downplay these techniques, they have the advantage of years of use behind them. Why reinvent the wheel when it isn’t necessary?

This book is like a shopping mall – there is something for everyone. There is, obviously, a wealth of basic information on the religious aspects of Wicca. To that are added sections on magick, both general and specific forms as well as basic methods of divination. And there are appendices which provide basic information on stones and herbs, as well as a short glossary. While it makes no pretence of being a Book of Shadows, it provides a working basis for beginning your own such book.

If you are thinking about becoming a Witch and, for whatever reason, do not think that joining a Coven is for you, this is the book you want to start your journey with. It is comprehensive without being intimidating. And, it has the added advantage that the author has decades of experience and is highly respected for his knowledge and ability to communicate it to others.

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