Posted by: Nyxks | February 5, 2008

Crafting Wiccan Traditions

Crafting Wiccan Traditions
by Raven Grimassi © 2008
Llewellyn
EAN 978-0-7387-1108-9
288 pages Includes appendices, Recommended Reading, Bibliography and Index
Paperback
$15.95 (U.S.) $18.50 (Canada)
Reviewed by: Mike Gleason

In the preface to this work Raven sets out the differences between the Wicca of the 1950s through the late ’70s, and the Wicca which has become the “norm” in the past quarter century. As one of the older generation of Witches I don’t happen to like those differences, even as I acknowledge their existence. I also don’t like the loss of those “traditional teachings” which have disappeared with the advent of personal training by book and Internet.

The idea of crafting a personal “tradition” seems a bit egotistical to me. Crafting a personal path is certainly viable but (in my opinion) it takes far more than one individual to forge a tradition, and that doesn’t count the fact that a tradition should, again in my opinion, exhibit a certain level of stability and continuity over a period of time measured in years.

Raven Grimassi and I came to the Craft in the same time frame (late 1960s; early ’70s). Does that mean I agree with all of his ideas and statements? Not by any means. Although we share many commonalities, there are significant differences in our training and experiences. Still, I can understand his mind-set to a significant degree.

He carefully looks at both sides of the “traditional” and the “modern” perceptions. Although he clearly favors the traditional orientation (reflecting his own initial experiences), he does a good job propounding both views. While many modern eclectics will, undoubtedly, claim that he is too conservative in his approach, many traditionalists will claim he is too liberal.

Chapter Nine, which is devoted to the basic correspondences, is one of the most concise listings I have seen in many years. It does not go into detail regarding why the correspondences exist, nor does it convey the impression that these correspondences are set in stone, but nonetheless it provides an excellent basis for the beginning magick worker.

Whether or not a system created by an individual using the information in this book would be sustainable or not would, in my opinion, be contingent on the determination of the individual(s) involved. The author certainly provides all the basic tools and necessary information. He removes a lot of the pseudo-mystery so commonplace in other books without downplaying the fat that certain things CANNOT be explained, but must be experienced.

Some readers may be offended by an approach they feel is disrespectful of established traditions (i.e., YOU decide which realms the deities will affect, in what manner), but in reality we all do this (although it may happen on a subconscious level). Raven simply brings the decision-making to a conscious level and forces the reader to consider his motivations.

The last third of this book is composed of appendices composed of some of the “classic” myths, sample rituals (both group and solitary), and very basic glossary (there are much more extensive glossaries available both in other books and on-line). A thorough reading of these appendices will be invaluable to the novice as they have much to offer.

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