Saturday, August 13, 2011

Review Time! Wicca - a Guide for the Solitary Practitioner by Scott Cunningham

"Living its self is a sacred act" ~ Scott Cunningham
Have you ever wondered what Wicca is really about? This is a question I felt worthy of investigation, and you know how I am when I research something (I never stop until I find a REAL answer). So I have set out to learn what this religion is, not the stereotypical versions, but the religion it self. This has lead me to read more than a few books on the subject. And personally I have found this to be an eye-opening journey. I didn't find Satanic rites, human sacrifices or incantation for summoning demons. Instead I found everyday people like you and  me who are seeking to understand their purpose in life, and who also experience a deep longing to have a relationship with the Creator.

Over the next few months I will be reviewing the books I have read here so that others who are curious about Wicca can find books with real information from the view point of those who have practiced the religion.

The Review:
If you have wondered what Wicca is really about look no farther. Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner is a highly-regarded informative handbook that is viewed by Wiccans as an essential primer for understanding Wicca. The information presented in this book is written from the view point of Scott Cunningham, a man who practiced Wicca for over 20 years (this is something very important to look for when reading books about other religions). Scott Cunningham is also one of the best known authors on Wicca, and his book gives an  in-depth look into the life of the solitary Wiccan practitioner.  This book is written with common terms, not only in how Wiccans view magick, but also in how they practice their religion and live by their moral codes. Mr. Cunningham presents a realistic view of Wicca as a gentle, nature-oriented religion that seeks to "Harm None".

"Focusing on the importance of individualism in your spiritual path, Cunningham explains the very basics of Sabbats (holy days), ceremonies, altars, and other nuts and bolts of Wicca that a solitary practitioner may have trouble finding elsewhere. While Wicca shouldn't be your sole point of reference it is one of the best starting points." --Brian Patterson

Table of Contents
  • Preface
  • Introduction
Section I: Theory
  1. Wicca and Shamanism
  2. The Deities
  3. Magic
  4. Tools
  5. Music, Dance, and Gesture
  6. Ritual and Preparation for Ritual
  7. The Magic Circle and the Alter
  8. The Day of Power
  9. The Spiral of Rebirth
  10. Concerning Initiation
Section II: Practice
  1. Exercises and Magical Techniques
  2. Self-Dedication
  3. Ritual Design
Section III: The Standing Stones Book of Shadows
  • Introduction to The Standing Stones Book of Shadows
  • Word to the Wise
  • The Seasonal Festivals
  • A Ritual of Gestures
  • Recipes
  • An Herbal Grimoire: A Guide to the Uses of Herbs and Plants in Wiccan Ritual
  • Wiccan Crystal Magic
  • Symbols and Signs
  • Rune Magic
  • Spells and Magic
Appendix I: Occult Suppliers
Appendix II: Wiccan and Pagan Publications
Suggested Reading

About the Author:
Scott Cunningham practiced Wicca, a form of nature-based faith, actively for over twenty years. During his life he published more than fifty books covering both fiction and non-fiction with sixteen of his titles being published by Llewellyn Publications. Mr. Cunningham's books reflect a broad range of interests within the New Age genre, where he is still very highly regarded. On March 28, 1993, he passed from this life after a long illness. Today, Scott Cunningham is renowned for his publications. His book Wicca: a Guide for the Solitary Practitioner has become the primary text for those seeking to learn about Wicca due to his professional writing style and his flare for explaining difficult aspects in common terms.

My Personal Opinion:  
Personally this book has opened my eyes to what Wicca is truly about - a connection to the Divine combined with a form of personal empowerment. This book explains the fundamental beliefs and practices of Wicca and the meaning behind the rituals and moral codes witches live by.  It blows away preconceived stereotypes of witches as Gothic Emos while presenting a realistic view - that people from all walks of life are Wiccan. After reading this book I have a new found respect for those who are Wiccan, because those who truly follow their faith live by a strict moral code. Harm None is their one rule, which strongly reminds me of the "do unto others as you have them do unto you" rule of Christianity.  I have walked away from this book with more understand of another faith, which as helped me to reflect on my own faith with a little more clarity. 

If you are searching for a book about Wicca that shows a realistic view I highly recommend this book.

Please Read Before you Comment
For those who would argue that by reviewing these books I am doing something unethical, because it may lead others to Wicca...Know that this is not my purpose. The purpose of my reviews is to offer an unbiased critique that balances professionalism with fairness. I am by no means saying that Wicca is for everyone, but that we should have enough respect for them to learn about Wicca instead of condemning for rumors. It is my hope that through my reviews other Christians will learn that we must not condemn based on rumors (it is childish to do such a thing). Christ calls us to be wise and that is my goal to understand others, rather than allow hate to fuel my own self righteousness which leads only to one's own damnation.

You are welcome to speak your mind, but know that NO argumentative comments will be published on Review Time.

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