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It was ground-breaking for its time but...
on January 20, 2006
You know, over the years, Janet Farrar has built an amazing reputation as the "be all" and "end all" of the Craft. However, upon having practiced many paths and Magicks over the last 41 years, I have to say that this book, while it held a great place at one time, is nothing more than a keepsake memory now.
The reason for this feeling is due to the fact that once you have practiced any path for a time, you realize that many paths lead to a dead end. You read diligently and study dedicatedly only to discover there is precious little out there regarding "high" magick. Oh, there are books. Laws Yes! there are books. But none of them really get to the meat of the matter.
Even though that is the case, there are still greater, much more comprehensive works out there available to us. Farrar did debunk many of the stereo-types, but only to Pagans. Honestly, who else will read this work? We already know who and what we are.
However, if you are just starting out, this is a great springboard. I would also recommend "Drawing Down the Moon" by Margot Adler to accompany this work. But please remember that this is only a beginning, and every word in this work is not "gospel." Read all works with a grain of salt [salt to protect you from ignorance]. Glean from them what is YOUR truth, and don't accept the author's truths as your own until you have tried them and found them to be true...for you.
She quotes Gardner and personally, I have a huge problem with him. He claims to have created an ancient path. That statement, in itself, is an oxymoron. He can't "create" something ancient, and before Gardner, there WAS no Wicca. He took the word "Wicce" which translates loosely to "Wise One," and built a path using a little of this and a little of that.
Her having quoted Gardner as a reliable source, to me, devalues what could have been a great work. Unfortunately, Farrar seems to suffer from what I call "SRW" syndrome, in that she regurgitates already-known information while adding in very little of herself.