From Library Journal
These two new titles from Llewellyn focus on witchcraft, or Wicca, a cluster of religious rituals and beliefs deriving from ancient European polytheisms or paganisms. The author of seven books on witchcraft, Grimassi is a practicing Italian witch (a strega) who has researched the history and theory of witchcraft back to antiquity, with a view to recovering and preserving teachings and lore. As a result, the book is primarily a historical study of various European witchcraft traditions. Even when considering magickal techniques for the focusing of natural power or discussing methods of psychic development, the author takes pains to cover their historical development. While Grimassi's book will appeal more to scholars of religion, Penczak's book will appeal to believers and interested casual readers. An active witch and teacher of modern neo-Paganism, Penczak teaches classes (mainly in New England) on witchcraft and various other New Age practices such as reiki, shamanic journeying, and past-life regression. His book aims at using Wiccan techniques (generally termed "Magick") to aid in personal growth. Accordingly, after a brief history and some basic theory of Wiccan spirituality comprising four chapters, there follow 13 lesson-chapters on techniques of spiritual growth, each followed by appropriate exercises. A minor criticism: some of the material discussed, while probably hermetic or occult in origin, is not ordinarily considered Wiccan but pertains to other religious traditions. Astral travel, for instance, is more often a feature of Shamanism, while chakras are a part of yoga. Both books provide a useful introduction to modern witchcraft and are recommended for both academic and public libraries, particularly those with substantial religion collections.
James F. DeRoche, Alexandria, VA
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
About the Author
Christopher Penczak is an award-winning author, teacher, and healing practitioner. He has studied extensively with witches, mystics, shamans, and healers in a variety of traditions from around the world to synthesize his own practice of magick and healing.
Formerly based in the music industry, Christopher was empowered by his spiritual experiences to live a magickal life, and began a full-time practice of teaching, writing, and seeing clients. He is the author of the award-winning Temple of Witchcraft series: The Inner Temple of Witchcraft, The Outer Temple of Witchcraft, The Temple of Shamanic Witchcraft, and The Living Temple of Witchcraft Volumes 1 and 2.
His other books include City Magick (Red Wheel/Weiser), Spirit Allies (Red Wheel/Weiser), Gay Witchcraft (Red Wheel/Weiser), Magick of Reiki, Sons of the Goddess, Ascension Magick, Instant Magick, The Mystic Foundation, The Witch's Shield, The Witch's Coin, and the forthcoming The Witch's Heart. Christopher Penczak resides in New Hampshire. Visit him online at http://www.christopherpenczak.com.
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