Posted by: Nyxks | June 26, 2008

The Real Witches’ Craft

The Real Witches’ Craft
by Kate West © 2008
Llewellyn Worldwide
ISBN 0-978-0-7387-1374-8
288 pages
$18.95 (U.S.) $21.95 (Canada)
Reviewed by: Mike Gleason

While this is, in essence, a “Wicca 101” book, it also contains a lot of information that the typical “101” book doesn’t. It is an expansion of The Real Witches’ Handbook (see my previous review), and it gives a great deal more substance to work with. There are plenty of practical exercises (ones where you can actually judge your success rate). There is also a lot of encouragement to persevere. Our Western society appears fixated on quick solutions, but it takes practice and determination to learn a new skill. Ms. West reminds the reader frequently of that fact.

As I have mentioned previously, Ms. West’s use of “The Real Witches’.” if the title of her books does not indicate that they are the “only” or “right” ways to do something, simply that they are the way people who live in the real world of crying babies, overdue bills, and homes to clean accomplish things. These books are written for the “average” magick-worker (all of you ceremonial magicians, public “look at me” Witches, and teens trying to upset your parents will find this information either boring, useless, or incomprehensible).

This book, according to a statement made by Ms. West (on page 180) “.is intended for Witches who have already been practicing a while.” and as such tends to skim over some topics. But even that skimming does not make this a light-weight book. There are plenty of ideas, and more than a little guidance along the way. Although she points out the path and calls attention to some of the pitfalls along the way, she does not coddle the reader. She sets targets and goals, and suggests ways to get there, then gives the reader a pat (or is it a shove?) on the back and says “Get on with it!”

I’ve always been impressed by the writing style of Ms. West. She makes it seem as if you are sitting across the table from a friend and talking about things that interest you. She sets a tone which is relaxed and positive. It is not lightweight or “fluffy” in any way. Her attitude is predominantly upbeat, although she does deal with the darker aspects of magickal workings, without dwelling upon them or making seem more common-place than they are. She covers them as the unusual things they are, without being dismissive of the fact that they do, in fact, occur once in a while.

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