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4.6 out of 5 stars
Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner
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79 of 80 people found the following review helpful
on September 14, 2000
Format: Paperback
This was one of the first books on the Craft I bought (along with his earlier work, "The Truth About Witchcraft Today"). Cunningham does a nice job of presenting Wicca as a positive, pre-Christian, Earth-centered religion, and gives a very general (sometimes generic) overview of the Dieties, Tools, Symbols, and High Holy Days.
The book is for those who are very new to the Craft and do not have access to, or a desire to associate with, a working coven. Cunningham's descriptions of the primary magical tools are very brief (i.e. the athame and the bolline together barely take up a page of text), and really only serve to merely introduce the objects to the reader, rather than delve into the magical properties of them.
The Chapter on Magic attempts to disspell the myths of what Wiccans actually do during ceremony, that they do not cast spells of manipulation and harm. Cunningham also outlines a very basic prosperity spell in order to pay his bills. He strongly advocates the ideal of infusing one's magic with love.
Yes, it's all very "white light" and rather saccharine at times, but it is an early work and many authors have simply lifted from what Cunningham wrote about and put their own spin on it. This is not a book for advanced students; but, for those who are just starting out in the Craft and are still unsure where to look, it can serve as a useful tool.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on December 16, 1997
Format: Paperback
I'll admit, this was a good book to have when I was just starting out. Like Silver Ravenwolf's "To Ride a Silver Broomstick", it presents a broad overview of what Wicca is about, and is specially geared toward solitary practice. With the growing numbers of solitaries and plain ol' curiosity seekers springing up all over the U.S. these days, a beginning sourcebook is a definite plus.
However, some of my criticisms of "Broomstick" hold here as well. Cunningham's bare-bones presentation leaves something to be desired, although it also encourages additional research, something that solitaries in particular should do anyway--in Wicca, there is no One Book that explains it all. In other words, I wouldn't recommend to anyone that you base your practice on this book alone, or elect to become a Wiccan based solely on the content of this book. Do some more reading first--Janet Thompson's "Of Witches", Janet and Stewart Farrar's "A Witches Bible", and some good history books, for example.
"A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner" has a lot to offer, but it doesn't offer everything. Even so, I still refer to it from time to time for basic information.
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26 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on December 13, 2005
Format: Paperback
I have been a Wiccan since April of 2000, and so am past the newbie stage, but people who are new to Wicca sometimes ask me for good books to start them out. And of course, I'm well aware of the fact that this book is one of the most reccomended for new Witches, so I thought I'd get the book and read it to find out if I should add it to the other books I usually reccomend.

To be honest, I'm not sure I would reccomend this book because his attitude that Wiccans enphasize the light side of the Deities is very unbalanced. One of the main things I like about Wicca is the balance of Light and Dark! I don't mean to be unkind, but that whole, "Oh, let's all just be light all the time," REALLY gets on my nerves.

Because, folks, that just ain't the way life is! So because of this the book has a little of what is known as "fluffy-bunny syndrome."

Basically, he equates light with good and dark with bad! And since Witchcraft is all about balance, his attitude is in direct contradiction with one of the basic principles of Witchcraft!

Another annoying thing, which is kind of along the same line, is his adomation that Widdershins or counterclockwise movement is also wrong. Widdershins movement is used for banishing, which is a very useful thing to do, for instance, banishing a bad habit.

Also, even though I've never done a Binding Spell, I would probably use Widdershins for that one as well.

And every year, I cast a Widdershins circle and move Widdershins when I call the Quarters as well. It is my annual Birthday Eve Ritual and is all about Death and Rebirth. I also move Widdershins when I light the altar candles. When I release the Circle, I move Doesil.

And even when I move Doesil when I cast my Circle, I always move Widdershins when I cleanse and purify my Sacred Space and when I release my Circle.

However, he does have a lot of good, valuable information and points the way in a very gentle and low-key fashion. This might be a good book to read for someone who was thinking of exploring Wicca and was uncomfortable with the word Witch, which the author rarely uses and states that he doesn't understand why anyone would want to call themselves a Witch!

Also, this book should help to reassure open-minded people who aren't Pagans about Wicca.

Personally, I think Witch is a Word Of Power! It is a very definete statement about who you are and what you believe! I feel it's important to reclaim the word!

So, in balance, I might reccomend this book to people and inform them of what I feel are some fairly serious flaws in this book.

And I would definetely give them the names of some other books!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Format: Paperback
Like many people this was the first book on Wicca I read. Thus, it still holds a place in my heart. The book is what it claims to be, and nothing more. This is an introduction to Wicca which seeks a balanced nature religion. It does not claim to be anything more. In that respect it is worth your time, but it does have its flaws.

Cunningham presents Wicca as a religion of sweetness and light. He encourages readers to stay away from any worship which includes the darkner side of nature. In this sense I feel his interpretation is unbalanced, and is in fact counterproductive.

If you do read this book, then do not accept it as gospel. Move on to other books both by Cunningham and other authors. There is enough here to get started, but not enough to build a personal religion
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on August 19, 2004
Format: Paperback
I believe the young person below has misunderstood what the Traditionalist meant when she attempted to recount part of the history of Wicca. Before Scott Cunningham wrote this book, there was no other kind of Wicca- you joined a coven or you followed some other path. That's just the way it was in the days of its inception; personal opinion had nothing to do with the matter. I would also like to add that I am a bit surprised at Amazon's allowing a reviewer to indulge in name calling, insults, etc., at the expense of another. Surely this is contrary to the Conditions of Use in writing a review at this site?

That being said, I would like to recommend Cunningham's book as a fair beginner's manual, with the caution that there is much more to be learned in this area before you can consider yourself well-versed in the ways of the Wicca. Getting so head-up, especially about a subject you know very little about, does not serve either yourself or anyone else and can only damage credibility in the end.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on January 9, 2004
Format: Paperback
I'm a bit biased about this book - because about a decade ago when I first heard about 'Wicca' this was the first book I read, and it started me on the path. I still recommend it for beginners (those who know nothing like I did) - but there is still much lacking from it.
For one, I think it introduces 'neo-Wicca' well enough... but will leave those with a more Traditional bend disappointed. I'd suggest going straight to the source for them - Gardner, Crowley, etc. (I don't like the Farrars or Buckland, personally, and I know that's like neo-pagan blasphemy - but oh well.)
I also agree with the reviews that say Cunningham has been too watered down, and takes out all the un-PC aspects of Wicca. I also think a lot of people get the whole "Wicca is synonomous with Witch" from these books - which is NOT a good thing... but I think Ravelwolf is MUCH worse for that.
Ultimately, still a bit too "New Age" and lite for my tastes... but a good place to start for solitaries, and much better than many of the other than many of the other Wicca 101 offerings.
And maybe that's one reason why this book gets heralded as much as it does... look at the other options for beginners. Doesn't leave much to go to...
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format: Paperback
Scott Cunningham's "Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practicioner" is usually hailed as the "must-read" information for the solitary young neophyte to the ways of paganism or wicca. To be truthful, I agree. The information herein is as complete as you can get in an introductory book, and only suffers for a lack of style.
While full of the "what and how" of the faith of Wicca, what is missing from this book is some sense of inspiration, or perhaps put better, something to make it a little less dry. The book often reads like a repetition of facts more than a book about faith and magick.
All the basics are present: Esbats, tools, Sabbats, and the overall general structure of the faith of wicca. It would be a good book to set the fears of uninformed parents aside, should their children become involved with Wicca.
I do suggest that anyone who is just starting out grab this book. On the notion of merit towards teaching wicca alone, I'd rank this at a four or five star book, but slogging through it is apt to be a bit boring, and that cost it some stars for delivery.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Format: Paperback
Ok, I usually stay away from writing reviews on Wiccan books. But I just wrote one for the excellent CIRCLE OF FIRE by UK authors Rankine & D'Este, so I thought, I am on a roll, why not continue on!

This book by Cunningham was one of the first I read on the subject. It introduced to me to many of the concepts within Wicca which seems to be inherent in the system. This is a good introductory book, so recommended to newcomers - but not newcomers to WICCA - newcomers to PAGANISM. For truly this book is about Paganism NOT wicca.

For Wicca - read books by Vivianne Crowley, Kate West, Patricia Crowther, Gerald Gardner, Rankine, Rainbird, D'Este, Lamond....
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on January 4, 2004
Format: Paperback
Like living wicca this a the basic of basic. easy to read giving most of your basic information. This book has essentially the same information as Living Wicca the only diffrance is that this one was directed to the solitary and written to accomidate that. If you are solitary I would pick this one over the other, then again if your not sure which you are just pick one or the other. You'll pretty much get the same picture. Either is a good starting point with little hint as to where to go next. I suggest topics such as Sabats, Rits of passage, or single holiday type books that focus on indvidual sabats if you want more on spirituality side of Wicca after this. If you are looking for more along the lines of magick I suggest "Making Magick" I wouldn't suggest diving into coven or group things untill you have learned a little more.
Good starting place.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on September 20, 2000
Format: Paperback
Most of what is in Cunningham's book one could find in a variety of good Wicca websites if one took an evening to search. Having said that, though, this book is a convienent reference for all the basic info to start your baby steps on the Wicca path. It's a friendly and completely comprehensible introduction, appropriate for people of all ages and intellectual persuasions. But for those who are expecting a more detailed, critical, and scholarly exposition on this exciting new religion, don't expect to find it here. Anyway, if you're completely new to the tradition, and want a layman's explanation in the very basics of Wicca, this book is certainly worth a 10 spot.
To thine and thee, Bright Blessing be.
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