Review: Wicca, Plain & Simple

51q1zh2bshrl-_sy346_Wicca, Plain & Simple: The Only Book You’ll Ever Need
by Leanna Greenaway
Series: Plain & Simple
Paperback: 144 pages
Publisher: Hampton Roads Publishing
ISBN-10: 1571747710
ISBN-13: 978-1571747716

Product description:
Greenaway takes a contemporary approach to Wicca, also known as witchcraft, and shows you how to use it as a healing and positive force. Practice magic with tarot cards, agents, and pendulums; cast love, health, wealth, family happiness, and career spells; and discover which herbs are beneficial when conducting spells and rituals. Greenaway makes these life-affirming, ancient Wiccan traditions meaningful and accessible to us today by providing a basic understanding of the key elements of Wiccan practice, including:

  • Lunar magic
  • Initiation
  • Herbs and gardens
  • Pendulum power
  • Animal magic

Eminently practical, Wicca, Plain & Simple also includes over 25 spells for beginning practitioners that range from fertility spells and money spells, to love spells and much more.

My thoughts:
In all honesty, I liked Greenaway’s book “Practical Spellcraft: A First Course in Magic” (link) much better. While the two books do complement each other to a certain degree, I think that most readers will enjoy, and benefit from, Practical Magic.

On the plus side, I liked the artwork in Wicca, Plain & Simple. The book is easy to read and understand, it has a nice flow, and the Foreword by Judika Illes was excellent. On the downside, I didn’t like the lack of detail on the tools.

Picture 13A paragraph on tools like the Athame, Cauldron, and wand, was “plain and simple” not enough — not nearly enough. Believe it or not but there is more on Aloe Vera in the “Teas, Tonics, and Superstitions” section ( page 48 ) than there is on any of the above mentioned tools? Really?

I also didn’t agree with several opinions expressed in the book. One of which was, “It was only in the 16th century, when the witch hunts began, that these people and their knowledge were forced underground.” Try 15 century and earlier in some cases, the Malleus Maleficarum (The Witches’ Hammer) was written about 1486-1487’ish with the major Witch hunts starting about 1450. While the Inquisition targeted Gnostics, in 1326 the church authorized the investigation of witches. “Plain and simple”, the witch hunts began long before the 16th century.

That brings me to a problem that I have had with both of Greenaway’s books, a lack of documentation to support her opinions. I want to see some footnotes. That being said, I thought Wicca, Plain & Simple was okay and I give it a score of 3 stars out of 5.


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Hampton Roads Publishing. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Angola ‘bans’ Islam

Angola ‘bans’ Islam, Muslims, becomes first country to do so

source at: http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/angola-first-country-to-ban-islam-muslims-mosques-demolished/1/326414.html

English: Shaded relief map of Angola.
English: Shaded relief map of Angola. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m of two minds on this development. On the one hand, radical Islamists are an obvious danger to civilization. Their inflexible attitude toward other cultures and belief systems has them clashing, often violently, with non-Muslims.  Having said that, I hate to see free speech banned when “more” free speech seems to be the better response.

I suppose that the most chilling comment in the article was, “Not just Islam, many other faiths which have not been legalised will face closure of their houses of worship.” Who decides what religions are valid? Is Gnosticism valid? Wicca? Can you be a Jedi?

I believe that any change to radicalism must be made by the Muslims and I believe that they will.

“Yes I am, I am also a Muslim, a Christian, a Buddhist, and a Jew.”
― Mahatma Gandhi

Review: Mrs. B’s Guide to Household Witchery

Mrs. B’s Guide to Household Witchery: Everyday Magic, Spells, and Recipes
by Kris Bradley
Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Weiser Books
ISBN-10: 1578635152
ISBN-13: 978-1578635153

(Barry’s score 5 out of 5 stars)

My thoughts:

Let me admit to my bias right away, I loved Mrs. B’s blog “Confessions of a Pagan Soccer Mom”. I would frequently visit her blog and enthusiastically entered her giveaways (I didn’t win any — damnit), and would dig through her postings. Her fusion of her spirituality with her everyday life was priceless. Sadly, her blog address is now linked to Patheos and it just doesn’t seem to have the feel that it once did. However, for those of us who miss her blog, we can read her book.

I enjoy reading how people express their spirituality. For some their faith is little more than visiting a building and performing some ritual, but for others their spirituality is expressed in everyday activities. She gave me so many things to think about and a few things have worked themselves into my rather eclectic form of spirituality.

Is it for Wiccan’s alone? I don’t think so. Anyone who is esoterically inclined will find Mrs. B’s book fascinating. It is packed with great tips and fun graphics (I loved the little black cats). I highly recommend it and give it a solid 5 stars out of 5.   I think that Mrs. B’s Guide to Household Witchery is a “Must read”!

Product description:

For domestic goddesses everywhere–add some magic and fun to those mundane household chores with Mrs. B.’s Guide to Household Witchery. Whether you’re sweeping the floor, making a meal, or cleaning out that junk drawer, domestic witch Kris Bradley, creator of the popular blog, Confessions of a Pagan Soccer Mom, will show you how to create spells and magic to bring happiness and balance into your home. Bradley offers ideas and solutions to make the most out of everyday items, activities, and obligations. From Anchovies to Broccoli, and Wine to Yeast, from sweeping the floor to blow-drying your hair, you can change your outlook on life with a pinch of knowledge and a dash of magic! The book includes simple rituals, spells, and ways to connect with the spirits that watch over your home and family. Includes an appendix of herbs and a complete materia magica from the kitchen pantry.

Mrs. B’s Guide to Household Witchery features:

  • Room by Room: How to create magic while you cook, set up a family altar in the living room, or do a junk drawer divination
  • The Elements for the Domestic Witch: a primer on the 4 elements and how to balance them in your home
  • The Domestic Witch’s Herbal: Magical uses for every herb and food in your pantry, as well as instant magic with prepackaged spice mixes
  • Simple Sabbats for the Busy Witch: simple ways to celebrate the passing of the seasons
  • Magical Recipes: More than 100 recipes and spells

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Weiser Books. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Witches to Open New Museum in Salem, Massachusetts

 

Wiccan Author and Priest Don Lewis discovers that Salem is the perfect place to open the World of Witches Museum. A museum dedicated to telling the history of magic and witchcraft from a Witches point of view.

Salem, MA (PRWEB) April 15, 2010 — Witches opening a new museum in Salem, Massachusetts, aka The Witch City, wouldn’t seem to be newsworthy, as there are many quality museums in the city already. What makes The World of Witches Museum different is that its exhibit will be dealing with real world witches and operated by practicing witches. This Museum will be a place of learning for and about the global Witch movement, and will tell their story. With Witchcraft, Witches, and Wiccan cultures on the rise worldwide, the World of Witches Museum tells the story of their struggles, history, and beliefs from a witch’s point of view. The museum, under its curator Rev. Donald Lewis, will tell the story of Witches from the past, present, and those Witches who are walking among us today.

For Rev. Don Lewis, a practicing Witch & First Priest of the Correllian Nativist Tradition, The World of Witches Museum was a most unlikely project, which came about when he was actively seeking campus space for Witch School in Salem. He was approached to house his temple & school at the museum and lead this project. Rev. Lewis discovered it was unique challenge for him, but realized that a museum makes a perfect starter campus for educating the public about Wicca, Witchcraft and Magic from a Pagan point of view.

Curator Lewis offers an insight of his passion for this project, "What fascinates me and helps me focus my work on the museum is my belief that magic has always been with us, from the earliest days of humanity. This exploration into magic and Witchcraft has continued into modern times in many different forms, and is now part of the culture and practices of millions worldwide. This is a story that few people realize even exists, and for many this will be the first time they will be able to see, hear, and talk to Witches in an open and non-judgmental way. This is very exciting to me."

One question that comes up repeatedly is ‘Will the World of Witches Museum cover the Salem Witch Trials?’ Rev. Don explains, "This is one area the museum will defer to others in Witch City. The Salem Witch trials are covered wonderfully by museums such as The Salem Witchcraft Museum, and it would be redundant to tell that story again. The exceptional thing about being in Witch City is that when people learn about the Salem Witch Trials, they recognize that hunting Witches is wrong. We hope that our exhibit on Modern Witch Hunts shows that what happened in Salem is continuing today in Africa, Asia, and India. We hope that by offering the knowledge that hundreds of people are killed each year, this will move people to talk out about these issues with a better understanding.

During the month of April, The World of Witches Museum will be offering free previews. According to museum curator, Rev. Don Lewis "As we are developing the museum, we want people to share in it. We will be giving previews to the community and visitors while we build, and if they like what they see, they can donate to help us build it. This isn’t my museum, it belongs to the community, and I am very lucky to be able to present this to the public."

The World of Witches Museum is being housed and retrofitted from Dracula’s Castle, a former haunted house attraction on Pickering Wharf. It is located at 57 Wharf Street, Pickering Wharf, Salem, Mass.

Witches to Open New Museum in Salem, Massachusetts

WORLDmag.com | Community | Blog Archive | The Episcopal Church, Wiccans, and the Divine Feminine

 

Marcia0326I suppose nothing The Episcopal Church does should shock me any more. Nonetheless, it does.

In this holiest of Christian seasons, on the evening before Passion Sunday, the Cathedral of All Souls Episcopal Church in Asheville, N.C., hosted an event in its parish hall for an organization called The Mother Grove Goddess Temple. The purpose of the event? To celebrate the spring equinox of course. Wait, you say, that’s not Christian, that’s pagan. But there’s more. According to Mother Grove’s website, its mission “is to create and maintain a permanent sanctuary where people of all faith traditions may openly and safely celebrate the Divine Feminine.” According to Byron Ballard, a Wiccan priestess and a member of the temple, Mother Grove “isn’t a Wiccan group, though some of us are Wiccans.” Just in case you were wondering, Ballard goes on to explain that “Wiccans may also refer to themselves as witches.”

Here’s Mother Grove’s description of the event: “The celebration will consist of raising a circle, singing, ‘whistling in the wind’ and flying prayers written on paper airplanes. Ballard will lead the ritual, explaining that it is a joyful expression of the beginning of spring and coming together as a community.”

Many churches rent their parish halls to community organizations like the Boy Scouts and Alcoholics Anonymous. But to organizations whose teachings are entirely incompatible with traditional Christian beliefs? Oh, wait. The Episcopal Church (TEC) doesn’t care about traditional Christian beliefs. Probably more important to them was the fact that the Saturday event was “open to all faith traditions.” I’d be curious to know if they’d play host to traditional Anglicans (like myself) who oppose the direction TEC has taken. Somehow I think not.

As one person speculated on the StandFirm website, devoted to traditional Anglicanism, I wonder if it would be reasonable to say that All Souls Episcopal Church isn’t a Christian group, though some of them might be Christians.

WORLDmag.com | Community | Blog Archive | The Episcopal Church, Wiccans, and the Divine Feminine

Judge: Wiccan inmates have no right to sweat lodges, raw meat – Thursday, March 25, 2010 | 12:09 p.m. – Las Vegas Sun

 

CARSON CITY — A federal judge has ruled that prison inmates have no right to sweat lodges and raw meat to practice the Wiccan religion.

U.S. District Judge Philip Pro rejected the civil rights suit of Scott Fletcher, who claimed the federal law on religious rights of prisoners required the prison to provide such things.

The judge said the prison regulations "do not pose a substantial burden on Fletcher’s exercise of his religion or pressure him to abandon his religious beliefs."

Senior Deputy Attorney General Clark Leslie called the ruling a major victory for the state. This decision, he said, establishes the standard for prison regulations and shows they were justified and there was a compelling state interest in adopting them.

Fletcher, when he filed this suit was serving a term for first-degree murder at the High Desert State Prison in Clark County. He was granted parole in January this year.

Judge Pro says he was required to interpret the federal law "in favor of a broad protection of religious exercise, to the maximum extent permitted" by the law and the Constitution.

He said Fletcher had the initial burden of demonstrating the policy of the prison "constituted a substantial burden on his religious exercise."

The judge noted that Fletcher was still free to practice his Wiccan religion if those requests were denied. He said testimony at the trial showed the construction and operation of a sweat lodge "would pose a threat to the safety and security of both inmates and staff at High Desert State Prison."

There was "unrebutted testimony" that the handling and cooking of raw meat poses a potential health hazards which justify restrictions against its use, the judge said.

Leslie said the judge placed a major emphasis on the security and safety at the prison. But he said there are different rulings in other states and he expects a case over this federal law to reach the U.S. Supreme Court.

Judge: Wiccan inmates have no right to sweat lodges, raw meat – Thursday, March 25, 2010 | 12:09 p.m. – Las Vegas Sun

Woman stabs man with Wicca dagger : News : KVII

 

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) – Police say a woman who invited a man to join her in a Wiccan celebration of spring stabbed him multiple times near a popular hiking trail east of Albuquerque, then told other hikers she’d been raped.

But Police Chief Ray Schultz says the evidence didn’t add up, and the man she’d identified as the offender appears to be the victim.

An arrest warrant for 30-year-old Angela Sanford charges her with an open count of murder in the stabbing death of Joel Leyba.

Police say she stabbed him with a dagger she brought along to use as part of her Wicca ritual.

In a MySpace blog, Sanford writes about dreams, particularly the recurring image of a pale horse, and quotes biblical passages.

Woman stabs man with Wicca dagger : News : KVII

Witchcraft on Indias school curriculum – Telegraph

Primary school children in India will learn about witchcraft in the classroom as part of an effort to dispell superstitions and stop deadly witch-hunts.

Last Updated: 6:55AM GMT 24 Nov 2008

Many tribal communities in the country believe in witches and their ability to cause harm to people, animals and the harvest.

About 750 people, mostly old women, are estimated to have been killed in witch-hunts in rural India since 2003.

In one of the worst cases, a family of four stoned and buried alive for allegedly cursing a relative of the village chief, the Times reports.

Advocates for a change to the syllabus say beliefs must be altered early if India’s witch-hunts are to be stamped out.

But some academics argue that witch-hunts are linked to economic conditions and claim that pensions, not education, are the best way to eradicate belief in black magic.

Studies suggest that more “witches” are identified during hard times, the paper said.

In the 16th and 17th centuries, an estimated one million women were killed in Europe for dabbling in the black arts.

Last month, a petition calling for a posthumous pardon for women and men who were executed as British witches was presented to the British government.

via Witchcraft on Indias school curriculum – Telegraph

Witches of Cornwall

Over the centuries, many in the British Isles have appealed to witches in times of need–to cure a toothache, concoct a love potion, or curse a neighbor. Witchcraft, the rituals of a number of pagan belief systems, was thought to offer control of the world through rites and incantations. Common as it has been over the past several centuries, the practice is secretive and there are few written records. It tends to be passed down through families and never revealed to outsiders. But archaeologist Jacqui Wood has unearthed evidence of more than 40 witchy rituals beneath her own front yard, bringing to light an unknown branch of witchcraft possibly still practiced today.

Wood’s home is in the hamlet of Saveock Water in Cornwall, a county tucked in the far southwest corner of the country. For thousands of years people have raised crops and livestock in its fertile valleys, and its coastline of dramatic cliffs, secluded coves, and pounding surf was once a haunt for smugglers. Cornwall is a place time forgot; steeped in folklore, myth, and legend; and purported to be inhabited by pixies, fairies, and elves. So it should come as no surprise that it has also been home to the dark arts.

via Witches of Cornwall

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