Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Bonewits's Essential Guide to Witchcraft and Wicca Paperback – February 1, 2006
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
Fabulous. An intriguing way to begin research on Witchcraft. -- PanGaia Magazine
It has all of the clarity, energy, wit and erudition to which I am accustomed in his work. -- Prof. Ronald Hutton, Author, Triumph of the Moon
Once again, Bonewits has written a classic that should be required reading for anyone seeking a one-book introduction to Wicca. -- Dagonet Dewr, newWitch Magazine
This is clearly some of the best work weve seen in years. -- Fritz Jung, Witchvox.com
From the Author
Like previous editions, this one includes a preface and appendix by Ashleen OGaea (author of The Family Wicca Book), a succinct summation of Wiccas true origins, a glossary, a recommended (and not!) reading list, an analysis of where Wiccan ritual came from (and how and why it works), and an introduction to Wiccan duotheology. It also contains a new appendix by Jenny Gibbons on current scholarly information about the Burning Times, plus some corrections and expansions of Isaacs previous opinions, based on new research. This book is the fruit of over thirty years of Wiccan study and practice and will be quoted and argued over for years to come. The reviews cited here are of the previous editions of this work.
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
I highly, highly recommend this as a basic history of the neopagan subculture, to include debunking the fallacies about how Wicca is 10,000 years old, and bringing up some interesting information about
the early years of the community in the Gardner and Valiente era. It's also exceptionally valuable for his definitions of various terms, as well as the appendix on the etymology of the word "witch". There's also the basic structure of Wiccan ritual as well as a chapter on the variations thereof.
I was pleased to see the variety of resources he used, including the underappreciated "Crafting the Art of Magic" by Aidan Kelly, as well as a decent list of recommended reading on a variety of related topics. As is still all too common in neopagan literature, there's a distinct lack of in-text citations and no bibliography (though the reading list probably includes a sizable portion of the sources he used). On the other hand, given that the first copyright on the book is from 1971, expecting someone to pull citations from that far in the past is asking a bit much. Also, trying to cite personal experience is a pain.
I will admit that occasionally I looked askance at his tone of voice--at first glance he seems rather self-aggrandizing. Keeping in mind, however, that he has been in the neopagan community as it is from the beginning, I think he deserves some slack for actually being there. Also, in his defense he states early on exactly where he's coming from (dont say he didn't warn you!) and I must say I absolutely LOVE his sense of humour! Puns, poetry, and the occasional sideways jab all make the read even better.
Finally, a little bit of a squee from yours truly--on pages 25-26 he talks about the neurotransmitter work my partner, Taylor Ellwood, has been working on, proving (along with up to date information on neopaganism in general) that Isaac is still an incredibly relevant author after 35+ years--after all, the magical community in general is constantly evolving, and a lot of people tend to get sort of stuck in their own era. Isaac, on the other hand, bridges the gap between the '70's and the...well..whatever you want to call this decade, quite well.
The main reason to have it is the well-researched, informed history of Wicca. Isaac experience many of the bench marks of Wicca first-hand, and who else has had the chance to crawl through Gardieners personal papers and tell us the real truth found there. Most books about Wicca agrandise the "secret" history of Wicca, but if you want to know the real secret history of Wicca then pick up this book. I guarentee you'll learn something new.
Ultimately a book like this is needed to sort fact from historical fiction and unprovable claims. His sources aren't revolutionary or anything, but rather he bridges a gap between mainstream historical research / textbooks and the people who practice what Bonewits would call Neo-Pagan religions.
It's easy to read, Bonewits has a good sense of humor, and it's fairly well researched. I consider this book to be a layperson's _Triumph of the Moon_ - in the sense that Ronald Hutton's book is not an easy to read reference book (more of a dry academic thesis).
The great thesis of the work is showing how Witchcraft differed over the centuries and in different regions, and therefore is VERY different today than it was 500 years ago, much less 2000 years ago or further back. This is basically historicization - putting practices and texts in context rather than out of context. Wicca as it exists today shown to be a modern construct, which makes it no less valid as a religion. This is of course a foregone conclusion in most parts of that community, however there is still probably a need for a work like this to show WHY Wicca is modern, and show WHERE it came from. There's obviously more to the story than just Gerald Gardener, and this work clears it all up.