This week weíll take a look at Wicca Revealed: A First Year Within The Craft, by Pino Longchild.
In the interest of full disclosure Iíll let you know that I helped out a bit with the editing of this book. However, I did so as a volunteer, and I received no compensation for doing so.
Wicca Revealed began its life as an online course at Magicka School. You can find Magicka School at www.magickaschool.com
I was interested in what they had to offer, and wanted to know what a free internet course in Wicca might have to offer, so I signed up, As I was going through the course I was inpressed with its quality. I offered to help with the editing, and Pino told me that he was creating a book of the course.
Wicca Revealed is a complete course in the fundamentals of Wicca. While there are a lot of books that claim to do this, Wicca Revealed does it in a different way. Most of the books that are out there are designed to be worked through in a few weeks. Some offer bits and pieces of Wicca and allow the students to make up a great deal on their own.
Initiatory covens, on the other hand will usually require an individual spend a year or so studying the particular tradition, acquiring knowledge of the various rituals and seasonal celebrations.
Wicca Revealed stands somewhere between these two methods. Itís possible to read the book in a short amount of time, but to work through it as designed, it is a full year course.
For those that are interested, this book goes hand-in-hand with the online course at Magicka School, but could work quite well as a self-study course, or as a text-book for an eclectic coven.
Wicca Revealed consists of twelve chapters, designed to be worked through one chapter per month. The chapters include:
Each chapter includes exercises and research projects designed to improve the studentís knowledge and experience. Itís expected that the student should spend real time with these projects and not simply and quickly push something out. There are a variety of meditations designed to allow the student to experience Wicca rather than merely experience book learning.
The attributions and notes section of each chapter are an important tool in their own right and will permit any serious student of Wicca to build an admirable occult library. I wouldnít recommend that anyone work through Wicca Revealed without consulting what resources are outlined in the notes that they have access to. The texts referenced in the notes are some of the most important and well-written literature in Paganism.
Wicca Revealed does one thing that Iíve not seen in most other books about Wicca. It presents challenges to Wicca that one who wishes to practice this religion is likely to encounter. It challenges the student to understand these criticisms and to consider them. Itís in facing these criticisms that one is best able to determine if Wicca, indeed, is the path one truly wishes to follow.
Wicca Revealed is not a text for the casual student. Itís not a book for those who have watched "The Craft" and want to be witches. Itís not light reading, but itís not unapproachable. It should be easy to understand by anyone with a legitimate high-school education. Wicca Revealed is a bit more challenging than Cunninghamís "Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner" and far more in depth than Ravenwolfís "To Ride a Silver Broomstick". Then again, it fulfills a different purpose than either of these.
Pino Longchild seems to have done something that Iíve not seen in other books on Wicca. Heís managed to put into print the essence of an initiatory form of Wicca; something that offers the substance of an initiatory covenís training to those who may not have access to a teaching coven.
If you are going to use this book as intended, I would only recommend one diversion from the way it is laid out. I would do chapters 1-6 in order. With Chapters 7-10, however, unless you are working through the program online, I would try to celebrate the Sabbats at the appropriate times. If one of these is approaching while you are working through the first six chapters, read ahead a bit and do what you can to celebrate these at their appointed time. You can always leave the exercises for when you actually work the particular chapter, but during your first year, itís important to at least try to celebrate the festivals when they come about.
That, perhaps is the greatest difference between this book and working in a coven. Many covens will have a student start their period of study at a specific point during the year and learn the craft in a certain order. With Wicca Revealed, the author does not know when an individual is beginning, so itís impossible to describe the Sabbats in such an order. So, when they come about, and if youíve got the book, skip ahead a little and understand what it is that is being celebrated during your first year of study.
To sum up, if youíre looking for a marvelous self-study introduction to Wicca Wicca Revealed certainly will fit the bill. Being marketed through Lulu, you can purchase the book for a very reasonable fee, or you can download it in the even less-expensive electronic format. And while the book itself is a marvelous work, if youíre at all able to do use it, the online course, through the interaction with other students on the message boards can bring you as close to a coven-based course of study that you can get without being an actual member of a coven.
© Deirdre Hebert, 2008