★★★ 3.5 Stars
Genre: History / Spirituality
Publication Date: March 20th, 2018
Publisher: Andrews McMeel
I’m not honestly very knowledgeable about Wicca or Paganism, nor do I practice either, but I respect both as belief systems, namely their omnipresent respect for nature, something we could all learn from. Their history is fascinating as well, which is largely why I picked it up from NetGalley.
Wicca and Paganism are still shamefully misunderstood and continue to catch a bad rap in media and culture, but as the author says, like any belief there are positive, healthy ways to convey it (like those described in the book), and there are ways that perpetuate evil, often under the guise of being more “true” to the religion’s roots (which they aren’t).
From Carvel’s descriptions, in a nutshell – true Wicca is not cursing people, selling your soul, transfiguring people into animals, luring in humans with gingerbread houses or anything else media and witch hunts would have you think. As she explains it, it’s essentially a strong focus on the power of the mind and the power of plantlife and things existing in nature, and combining them to yield positive results in your life or someone else’s. It’s never to be used for malice, as all malice comes with vicious consequences for daring to want such things.
I didn’t have much interest in the spellbook half, personally, but the history half was nothing short of intriguing. A few facts that stood out:
- The “Witchcraft Acts”, laws set in place to punish accused witches or practitioners of magic in England and Scotland, were introduced to largely unnecessary harm and hysteria in the 1500’s, but not fully repealed until the 1950’s.
- Witches’ marks, ancient symbols of protection, have been found at the birthplace of William Shakespeare, as well as the Tower of London.
- The earliest artistic depiction of witchcraft is believed to be a cave painting (circa 12,000 BC, possibly older) in what is now France, depicting a horned god and a pregnant woman standing in a circle with others.
I love the decorations and style of this book, and I think its information is useful and would make a great gift book.
[I received a copy of this from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.]