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The Elements of Ritual: Air, Fire, Water & Earth in the Wiccan Circle Paperback – April 8, 2003

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Llewellyn Publications (April 8, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 073870301X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0738703015
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 7.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #281,307 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Deborah Lipp was initiated into a traditional Gardnerian coven of Witches in 1981, became a High Priestess in 1986, and has been teaching Wicca and running Pagan circles ever since. She has appeared in various media discussing Wicca, including the A&E documentary Ancient Mysteries: Witchcraft in America, on MSNBC, in The New York Times, and in many smaller TV and print sources.

Deborah has been published in many Pagan publications, including The Llewellyn Magical Almanac, Pangaia, Green Egg, The Druid's Progress, Converging Paths, and The Hidden Path, as well as Mothering Magazine. She has lectured at numerous Pagan festivals on a variety of topics.

Deborah is a technical writer with a variety of skills. She lives in Rockland County, NY, with her son, Arthur, who tap dances, and two cats. Deborah reads and teaches Tarot, designs wire-and-bead jewelry, solves and designs puzzles, watches old movies, hand-paints furniture, and dabbles in numerous handcrafts.

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Customer Reviews

I found this book to be very pracitcal, organized, and informative.
K. Sokol
I highly recommend this book to everyone, not only to read...but also to be included as an essential book in one's resource library.
B. Plants
Moreover, this book is a guide to being a successful servant to the Gods...and I can't think of a much nicer thing to say about it.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

84 of 88 people found the following review helpful By WitchGrrl on November 11, 2003
Format: Paperback
This is a book that will make you think about your practice as a pagan. Are your rituals consistent with themselves? Are your rituals consistent with the goals you are trying to accomplish? Are your rituals consistent with your beliefs about the universe? Are you worshipping your deity as She or He would want to be worshipped? Really wonderful and thought-provoking questions. If you're willing to give them deep consideration, your practice will change for the better, I guarantee it. And exploring the different pieces of ritual using an elemental focus (covering theological, mythological, psychological, and practical aspects for each) was a truly inspired approach.
The book uses the word "Wiccan" rather than "pagan" in the title, and I think that's appropriate. The focus of the book is very Wiccan. Pagans who, like me, are not Wiccan, may find themselves a bit frustrated by Lipp's emphasis on polarity and hierarchy. The ritual examples given are mostly led by a High Priestess and High Priest, with polarity-symbolic role assignments for other ritual participants. Lipp does write that you don't have to use polarity if it's not an emphasis for you, but it still remains a strong focus in the book. (I was especially disappointed that when she explained that [some] pagans often use the union of God and Goddess as a metaphor for love rather than a symbol of polarity, she didn't follow her explanation with an example of how a single-sex...oriented coven would do things, but still stuck to a traditional model with a High Priestess and High Priest.)
Lipp also seems to feel strongly that there is a "right way" and a "wrong way" to do things.
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Bronwen on December 30, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Inevitably, when one studies any area of interest, one accumulates a library of books and other references along the way. After decades of study and practice, I have seen a lot of trash written about Wicca, so finding a well written, useful reference book like this one is a delightfully pleasant surprise.
As the title suggests, this book dissects and discusses common Wiccan ritual practices in relation to the four Elements (Earth, Air, Fire and Water). What is particularly nice about this book (as opposed to the average BoS) is that it explains WHY things are done a certain way. (Why do we make offerings to the gods? Why use incense and water to cleanse the circle before casting? Why ground and center before beginning a ritual? etc.) It's kind of like a Wiccan mentor in book form.
FWIW, I do not agree with everything Ms. Lipp has to say about Wiccan ritual, or a number of practices she recommends, but that does not make this book a bad reference in the slightest. Her reasons and rationale are well thought-out and expressed, her explanations are reasonable, and her opinions are declared as such. She also includes anecdotes from her own experiences as an HPS, plus examples of chants and invocations in both formal and informal styles that can be used as is or adapted to suit your individual needs and/or preferences.
I would highly recommend this book for those who are new to witchcraft, or to any kind of magickal practice, as a teaching reference or even as the focal point for a discussion group because it addresses nearly every aspect of Wiccan ritual. It is a "food for thought" reference, stimulating more questions than it answers for those who are introspective, and answering questions that are commonly glossed over in Wiccan publications.
Bright Blessings!
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129 of 148 people found the following review helpful By GOD OF CHEESE on November 7, 2003
Format: Paperback
The Elements of Ritual is a great buddy to Wicca primers. It's about freaking time the elements and know-how have been explained. She goes through the four elements and spirit, why they are what they are, why we use them, and how we can use them effectively in life. She also explains why rituals are set up the way they are, etc. At first, it looks like another primer, but it isn't; where most Wicca books explain ritual and the elements in 1 or 2 pages, The Elements goes through a thorough examination that brings about a complete and total understanding of one of the most important systems of magick. And yes, the four elements + spirit can be found in magickal traditions other than Wicca.
Now, on to what I don't like. In this book, Deborah Lipp is *horribly* narrow-minded. She falls under the trap of the one-way-only attitude. The first example I spotted was found at the bottom of page 35: "... I have seen covens using four candles (appropriately colored) to represent the four elements. This strikes me as silly, lazy, and uncreative. Water should represent Water, not something fiery. This is a case of people forgetting the meaning behind the symbol."
How *insulting*. Not only insulting, but childish, and short-sighted. The author seems to overlook the fact that candles are lights. They LIGHT the four elements, they don't FIRE them. Candles are traditional, and easy to see in the dark. I don't think anyone wants to be tripping over bowls of water in the west when it's totally dark. Also, it's immature to nitpick over ritual details, and make a big deal over them. Calling people lazy, uncreative, and silly, just because they do things differently. She seems to have lost a bit of her focus on magick.
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