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Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner Paperback – 1989
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Cunningham’s classic introduction to Wicca is about how to live life magically, spiritually, and wholly attuned with nature. It is a book of sense and common sense, not only about magick, but about religion and one of the most critical issues of today: how to achieve the much needed and wholesome relationship with our Earth. Cunningham presents Wicca as it is today: a gentle, Earth-oriented religion dedicated to the Goddess and God. Wicca also includes Scott Cunningham’s own Book of Shadows and updated appendices of periodicals and occult suppliers.
Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner is the essential primer from one of the best known authors on Wicca. Focusing on the importance of individualism in your spiritual path, Cunningham explains the very basics of Sabbats (holy days), ceremonies, altars, and other nuts and bolts of Wicca that a solitary practitioner may have trouble finding elsewhere. While Wicca shouldn't be your sole point of reference when considering Wicca as your way of life, it is one of the best starting points. --Brian Patterson
About the Author
Scott Cunningham practiced magic actively for over twenty years. He was the author of more than fifty books covering both fiction and non-fiction subject matter; sixteen of his titles are published by Llewellyn Publications. Scott's books reflect a broad range of interests within the New Age sphere, where he was very highly regarded. He passed from this life on March 28, 1993, after a long illness.
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I can not speak for the authenticity of the writing, because I am so new, there is no way for me to know if this book is a good place to start. But from reading other reviews and listening to those who recommended it to me, I am confident this was a good purchase.
I can however at least speak on the condition of the book I received. It arrived very quickly and in wonderful condition (pictures included in my review). The print is great and the book is definitely brand new. I was very happy this book included the author's own personal Book of Shadows. From what I understand, you should make your own Book of Shadows to fit your own needs/beliefs, but it is really helpful to have an example to get an idea of how you will want yours to be.
I can not wait to continue reading this book. I most likely will update my review after I finish to add more details if I feel it necessary.
This book was very informative, showing me yet another vision of the faith.
With each writing and the author's take on things, gives me more and more information that allows me to make my ideas and decisions on how I wish to walk.
I do not recommend taking each book at its face value, accepting everything as written in stone. Instead, I allow all information in, and based on the varied readings, use them all as a whole, deciding what I feel is right for me.
I would definitely recommend this book to anyone looking to broaden their horizons and looking to fill your need for more and more feeding of the soul.
To me, an entry-level Wicca book should aim to cover the common denominators and maybe offer some suggestions as to the other options. Below I'll cover the three main sections of this book:
Overall, I felt the basics were covered, but there were some topics where I felt a more in-depth discussion would have been beneficial.
Most are aware of the Wiccan Rede, basically, "Do what you want, but harm none". The question a beginner might ask though, is, What is Harm? Can a Wiccan use natural drugs? Smoke a pack a day? If I think that fat tire around my stomach is harming my self-esteem is it worse to try different, perhaps extreme diets to lose it?
Unfortunately, this book answers none of those questions.
The author doesn't come across as very confident in magic. He mentions a candle ritual to help pay a bill. What strikes me is this: Why a hypothetical scenario and not an example from his own experience of ~10 years (at the time of the writing)?
His chapter on "The Spiral of Rebirth" has a few problems for the beginner:
"Wiccan teachings have always been vague on this. Basically, the Wiccans say that after rising upon the spiral of life and death and rebirth, those souls who have attained perfection break away from the cycle forever and dwell with the Goddess and God." (page 76)
Wiccan teachings? What Wiccan teachings? Is there some All Things Wicca book that every beginner is supposed to read or is it just Oral Traditon? And why are these teachings vague on their take on reincarnation? What is perfection? Helping 100 old ladies cross the street?
Again, he answers none of these basic questions.
The Practice section of the book is the shortest but walks you through a basic solitary ritual.
I read some reviews where people say, "Why read this book when the basic information can be found on the internet?" That is true, now, but not when this book was written, 1988--the internet didn't become widespread until a few years later.
THE BOOK OF SHADOWS:
To me, this is the strong point of the whole book. For anyone who's ever wondered what the contents of a Book of Shadows are, this section answers those questions very well. It gives one basic information on Festivals, Recipes, Rituals, Magic, Symbols and a few other things.
In summary, the book is not as simple as Step 1, do this, Step 2, do that, but it comes close and does a decent job of explaining Wiccan practices and beliefs to beginners.