Posted by: Nyxks | July 18, 2008

Witch School First Degree

Witch School First Degree
by Rev. Donald Lewis-Highcorrell © 2008
Llewellyn
EAN 978-0-7387-1301-4
240 pages
Paperback
$19.95 (U.S.) $22.95 (Canada)
Reviewed by: Mike Gleason

I am from the “old guard” BTW branch of Wicca, so I was basically unfamiliar with the Correllian tradition. I hit a couple of stumbling blocks in the Preface and Introduction, but nothing too serious. The first was the use of the term “Nativist” as equivalent of “Pagan,” and the second was their dating system (1579 Piscean is equivalent to 1979 C.E.). On a personal level those simply strike me as unnecessary affectations, but they have effect on the actual teachings, so they aren’t a major concern.

Since the Correllian tradition, like many other systems of Wicca, is structured around a three degree system, and since it is anticipated that each degree will take a year (more or less) to complete, this book is comprised of twelve lessons (one per month). If you work through the lessons in an honest and focused manner, at the end of a year’s study you should be ready for initiation as a First Degree Correllian. How honest you are with yourself will determine how much you get out of your studies.

Each monthly lesson is composed of multiple parts consisting of the actual lesson, exercises to develop your skill, a basic spell (for practical experience), a deity (to expose you to the multiple facets of divinity), a glossary (to explain words which may be unfamiliar), and study questions (13 for each lesson).

I would strongly suggest that you obtain a notebook or two (depending upon your personal preference) to house a handwritten copy of each lesson’s glossary (I know a computer and printer are more likely to produce a crisp, clear copy, but if you take the time to hand write it, you will remember more of it) and you answers to the questions. And for your sake, don’t just copy the relevant answer from the book. Think about it, and put the answer in your own words, in detail. The more effort you put into it, the more benefit you will derive from it. It isn’t about getting the “right” answer. It’s about getting your answer. Your concept of deity (for example) most likely won’t be exactly the same as anyone else’s. That doesn’t matter. You are expected to make these lessons a part of your life.

The lessons are extremely basic (after all, this is a “Wicca 101” book) and for that reason may be boring to more advanced students. They are, however, presented from an Aradian point-of-view, which is often neglected in today’s community. There have been few mentions of their beliefs in general circulation; fewer public exponents of the system; and even fewer well-known public personalities. All of this makes this book (and the upcoming ones in the series) a valuable addition to the public knowledge.

The lessons progress from extremely theoretical (the meaning of magic) to the practical (basic energy work) to the very practical (herbs, stones, oils and incenses). Each of these lessons is carefully thought out and well presented.

At the conclusion of the lessons is a little background on the Correllian tradition and its evolution from a family-base (Scots-Cherokee) to a public organization, through a merger with the Aradian tradition in 1904. Beyond that there is a “Self-Wiccaning” (“Dedication”) ceremony which will grant you membership in the Outer Court of the tradition, as well as Correllian versions of the Charge of the Goddess and the Charge of the God.

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