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High Magic's Aid

4.0 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0963065780
ISBN-10: 0963065785
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 236 pages
  • Publisher: Godolphin House (March 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0963065785
  • ISBN-13: 978-0963065780
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,701,561 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This is a book that should be in all Wiccans libraries! The magickal operations are correct and the 'wiccan' operations are also correct(ish) But apart from that, it is a warm, sometimes humorous, sometimes horrifiying story of two brothers fight to reclaim land that once was theirs, with the help of a magician and a witch. It gives alot of good background information on what the craft might have been like way back when...
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Format: Paperback
If you want a guide to Wicca, look elsewhere (Janet and Stewart Farrar, Starhawk, Doreen Valiente, to name a few). Although this was Gerald Gardner's first book on the Craft (published under the pen name Scire), most ritual presented within is ceremonial magic. At this time, much of modern Wicca had not yet been developed (The Charge of the Goddess had not yet taken its current form). Gleaning useful information from this text is a great deal of work--far more complete distillations may be found in the works of the authors named above.
Scire was not a great novelist, either. His prose is OK and his story development is adequate. But this isn't a real page turner. If you want to read occult fiction from this time period, *anything* Dion Fortune wrote is better written than this novel. Contemporary novels, such as Katherine Kurtz' Adept series & Mercedes Lackey's Diana Tregarde tales seem much more palatable for anybody who just wants to entertain themselves with "Witch Novels."
I am, however, deeply grateful for having taken the time and effort to read this book. It is a piece of History. Without Gerald B. Gardner and his antics, it is unlikely that the Craft would be available to the general public today. This book was the prodrome to the popular revival of the Craft. To read it is to partake of History. Because of this--not for its instructional merits, nor for its entertainment value--I give it five stars.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This review is for the Kindle edition only. The Kindle edition is riddled with typos. These are very obvious and stupid typos, things like the number 1 appearing instead of the letter l, etc. It is obvious that this edition was not proofread at all, or these errors would have easily been caught before publishing.

Also, it does not work with the Kindle dictionary. When trying to look up a word it gives you the error message that no dictionaries in the book's language were found, even though the book is clearly in English. (For the record, my Kindle dictionary works perfectly fine with all other books, it is only this book that results in this error.)

Save your money until Amazon addresses the issues with this Kindle edition.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I read this for its historical contribution to the modern renaissance of the Old Religion. Gerald's no JK Rowling, obviously, but he offers a very readable story, certainly worth 4 stars. The magic is mostly ceremonial, and I was surprised by how little insight Gardner offers into any witch magic he witnessed or partipated in during his earlier days in the Craft. Moreover, even as his witch protagonist Morven in the book is impresssed by ceremonial magic, Wicca certainly has incorporated the form of such practice to its rituals - duly modified of course to conform to pagan religious beliefs and witchy customs. The impact of the Golden Dawn rituals on modern Wicca is apparent - as that's all you see in their public ceremonies. So I actually am left with more questions about the Old Religion (pre Wicca) after reading the book than before I started it. There's nothing like a good mystery, and that's where the book leaves me, with a realization that more digging is required. Anyway, its a good book. Give it a try.

If you're unfamiliar with the topics mentioned any of my foregoing comments, then I respectfully add that, no, Dorothy, you're not in Kansas anymore. High Magic's Aid presents a paradigm of thinking and action that is unfamiliar to most modern Westerners. Be prepared to think outside of the box if you read this. Gardner has wedged some very real stuff into his little medieval romance novel.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"High Magic's Aid" was the novel written by Gardner BEFORE he initiated the Wicca religion (yes, there is great controversy over how much was historical and how much is strictly a modern re-creation). NOT ALL of the book is Wicca theology; much is "ceremonial magic".

I view this book as a historical curiosity. If you're at all considering exploring the Wicca religion, I recommend NOT reading it -- save that for after you really know what Wicca is about.

I did like Thur though (who was the sole not-one-dimensional character). I could identify with him.
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Format: Paperback
It's entertaining as a semi-fiction novel, but just the feel of authenticity and the sheer need for knowledge by most, including novices makes this an absoulte MUST HAVE. Those of us compleatly lost and looking for a basis of real ritual answers (and generally finding: You need to know the right people or read and guess what's authentic) is a hopefull hint towards a good ceremorial magical start. Check "The Rebirth Of Witchcraft" by Doreen Valiente (A former high priestess of Gerald's) as a historical reference to this and more of his works.
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