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Showing 1-10 of 311 reviews(5 star)show all reviews
162 of 176 people found the following review helpful
on August 5, 2000
Although Ray Buckland's book lacks a lot of information on the spiritual side of Wicca it is a great reference book. Although very Gardnerian and coven based, the rituals can be easily adapted to fit the solitary practitioner who is of a different tradition.
I wouldn't recommend this book for those just starting, but for those that are more familiar with the basics and have had some prior exposure to Witchcraft. I suggest starting out with Scott Cunningham's "Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner." If interested in Alexandrian or Gardnerian Wicca, then move on to Silver Ravenwolf, this book, and then try the books by the Farrars.
One downside to the book was the quizzes. The quizzes were a bit knit-picky, but they at least helped get some of the information across to the reader.
As others have mentioned, Buckland does quote himself quite often, but usually these quotes are in the margin and if they don't reenforce and idea, they at least make for a good laugh.
I will give Buckland a lot of credit for not "dumbing-down" the material for the average 13 year old as some writers have. Wiccan books don't always have to be written for the teenager and I'm glad Buckland maintained a writing proficiency level that agrees with most adults.
Although not a "complete" book, it is a good starting point for many subjects like talismans, tarot, astrology, and herbalism.
Overall, a great book. I recommend it to any student of Wicca, particularly ones interested in Gardnerian and like traditions.
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39 of 41 people found the following review helpful
on August 26, 2001
Buckland's Complete Book Of Witchcraft is just what it says it is, a COMPLETE book of Witchcraft. Obviously made for the student, it covers many important points in the whole of Witchcraft such as Herbalisism, History, Craft Names, Sabbats, Divination, and most importantly, the many practices of Magick. After a lesson, there are workbook questions given on the learning points covered in that lesson. This makes it extremely hard for a beginner not to understand the lesson, while also making it easy to remember the lesson. One note: a serious student may wish to buy a tape recorder or digital voice recorder for the questions as it is much easier to talk than write. If any person has bought the book and found it too technical, I suggest also buying beginner's books from Scott Cunningham, as he covers more of the spiritual aspects of the Craft. Overall, this book must honestly be considered a "must-have" for a Witch's bookshelf. -Ingrid
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on December 23, 1999
Raymond Buckland does an excellent job of presenting the Craft to newcomers to the religion or just those who are curious. This workbook goes from the history of the craft to the actual workings of covens, set up in lessons. It is easy to read and understand, and presents Wicca without a slant toward a particular denomination. I recommend this book to all beginners and even those with more experience in the Craft might find some interesting things throughout.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on May 22, 2000
I have had this book and studied it and worked from it for 12 years. Shortly after I got this book, I had some questions, so I wrote a letter to the address given in the book. In return I got an actual, hand written letter, from the author himself! He has alot of heart! He takes his work seriously is is there when you need him!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on April 6, 2001
Raymond Buckland has been a practicing Wiccan and also a Witch for many years and this book shows just that. It's insightful and a amazing reference. It was quizzes at every chapter's end for you to review what you know and to keep your brain working :) Buckland has put years of study and years of practice into this compact, paper-binded, object. It has every possible piece of information on Paganism and Wiccan history that you would never need to buy another book in that area! It was side notes for the complicated chapters and paragraphs, it also has many good pictures and illustrations so that the reader can understand more completely. Every fellow Wiccan and Pagan I have spoken to seemed to have started their studying with this book - including myself ironically. This book is like an outline to your path; or map, if you will. It tells you everything you need to know, quizzes you, and then gives you references at the end if you wish to continue your study and education in the field of Paganism. Get this book, it's a MUST for any beginning Wiccan, anyone interested in Wicca and Witchcraft, or even someone who is an elder in the Craft - no matter what level of education you have with Wicca, this book will to teach you things even you didn't know! :)
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
This book is a very good overall look at the practice of Witchcraft. I found the questions and exams at the end of each lesson to be of special value, allowing the beginner to look back and keep their knowledge sharp. (Though I have studied for more than a decade, read many books and am a founder of a coven, and a teacher myself, I still found Buckland's book to be informative and use from it extensively in my teaching.)

I've read the other reviews of this book and found myself wondering if one or two reviewers even read the book. Buckland does tend to teach from the Celtic-Saxon tradition, as that is where his training and early study was focused. He does not, however, limit himself or the reader to that orientation, actively encouraging students and Witches to study many different traditions, as he has (including his own Seax Wicca tradition and his inherited Gypsy Tradition). One must begin somewhere, and this is an excellent first book for those who have gotten beyond the looking stage and are ready to learn the workings of the craft.

Special attention is paid to proper mechanics of casting a circle, "calling quarters" and many other things necessary for safe magick. There are lessons on herbs, dedication and initiation rites, coven work, and solitary practice. I highly recommend it to the beginner and teacher.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on November 7, 1999
I must say this is one of, if not the best books, I have ever read on the subject. I have read many.. none compare. I don't agree with every word but over all I have to says it's great. It takes you from the very basics of the religion to a mid-level to advanced place. That makes it a good book for the beginner to a mid-level witch. I think anyone can pickup a great deal from this book. It's brought to you in a very good, easy to understand way. I've got more from this book than anyother and this is the first I would recommend. As a Wiccan of over two years I give it 5 stars (more if I could).
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on September 28, 2005
I have my original edition form 1986. I remember the fear and anticipation I felt, as my initial studies of a magical life began. Sure, it can be dry and dated to some. This is not witchcraft for teens, rather honest and accurate. It is hard to believe how many many others would follow. I remember seeing Mr Buckland on local T.V. in the 1970s. I thought, this style of witchery was very intriging. I was just a boy. I would later grow up to be a real witch just like him:-)

There have been many others who have tried to follow, some rather successfully. I believe he set the standard for modern Witchcraft in the U.S. Seeing a copy in ones library alone means one takes this form of spirituality seriously. By all means, this is required reading in starting down this path.

It is interesting to note that this book was originally intended for covens or groups. This tradition didnt seem to catch on in the States as well as Britain. Solitary practice seems to be more accesible to many American Witches. This says much about the Yankee spirit. I deeply admire and respect anyone who can maintain regular covens!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on March 21, 2002
This is absolutely a book covering everything a Wicca beginner should know and learn. This is also a workbook that give a lot of instructions and encouraging self reviews. Of course if you would like to go more deeper, try books on specific topics. Recommended for beginners who get lost in the sea of Wiccan Books.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on March 22, 2000
When I first purchased this book,.. I was in awe of the size and information available. After each chapter is learning exersizes. I highly recommend this book to anyone, also especially to males who are so, so tired of the basic format in which many wiccan/pagan books are written,...It is full of information and rituals, as well as daily use info,..
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