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Friday, 27 July 2007

A Wiccan Bible

A Wiccan Bible Cover

Book: A Wiccan Bible by Aj Drew

A Wiccan Bible: Exploring the Mysteries of the Craft from Birth to Summerland, by A. J. Drew New Page Books, 1564146669, 312 pp., 2003

This is the third book I have read by Mr. Drew (Wicca Spellcraft for Men and Wicca for Couples being the two previous ones). Even before I opened the covers I was sure that I would be challenged by what was inside. I knew I probably wouldn’t agree with all of it (I didn’t), but I knew I would find myself doing some serious thinking.

This book was abridged, at the request of editors, and will, it is hoped, eventually be enhanced by the publication of a second book. As such, there is a great deal which has been left out of this volume. I look forward to seeing the publication of that information which as left out because of considerations about the length.

I have found that Mr. Drew is not given to worrying about what is PC, or what others will think of his writings. At the end of his introduction he states “.I do not believe being Wiccan is a matter of birth or hereditary lineage, nor do I believe being Wiccan is a matter of being made or of coven initiation.” He leaves no doubt about his beliefs and feelings. Such honesty is refreshing.

As I noted in earlier reviews of Mr. Drew’s work, he is not afraid to state his convictions. While a great deal of what he says, even in the first chapter of this book, will strike the reader as unusual, allow yourself the time the think about it and let it marinate within your own mind. You may not agree with him, but you will find yourself examining many points of view, and thus enriching your own perceptions.

I expect that many people will disagree with a lot of what Mr. Drew has to say. My perception is that Mr. Drew expects the same. That is good. It shows that there are people who are, at least, open to listening to what others have to say. Mr. Drew’s purpose in this, as in all his writings I have read, is to stimulate thought, not necessarily to garner agreement.

There are minor typographical and editorial errors in this book (quite a few, in fact), but they do not, generally, affect the understanding of the material. They are mainly spelling errors (i.e., “censor” for “censer”) or an occasional dropped letter (”d” for “and”). Nothing to get upset about, but just enough to cause a slight jar when you read it.

He occasionally introduces “radical” concepts (my choice of words, not his). In fairness, he does give fair warning. In fact, at one point he even says “.you might want to move on to the next chapter.” He also shares his opinion that Gerald Gardner “.was divinely guided to make a boob of himself.” which won’t sit well with many Wiccans.

Mr. Drew’s opinions and views of Wicca are most definitely not those of mainstream Wicca. In this book, his longest to date, he is sure to alienate a large portion of the Wiccan population. His sheer unconventionality is, however, his strongest point in my opinion. It is sure to stir up disagreement, which should lead to discussion. That, in turn, should lead to people examining what they believe, and why they believe it. I doubt that the majority of people will alter their beliefs because of this book, but I hope they will take the time to look at where and why they are where they are.

His perceptions of the Wiccan religion are most definitely not similar to those of many. He incorporates deities, and philosophies, with which I (personally) am not very familiar. These deities and philosophies will, undoubtedly, open up new vistas for many of his readers. Having read this book, I am not rushing out to change my beliefs. But I am aware of beliefs which differ greatly from my own, and which I had never seen in print before.

I have often said that I prefer to deal with people who have chosen their religious beliefs because of a sincere search rather than with people who say, for instance, “I am .(fill in religion of choice). because my parents were.” I have very little use for Pagans and Wiccans who make a big production out of their “religion” on the Sabbats and Esbats, but continue to live their “mundane” lives the rest of the time. You don’t need to be out of the broom closet, but you do need to make conscious choices all the time, as Mr. Drew appears to. You need to be aware of your connections to the entirety of existence, not just to your co-religionists.

Throughout this book are lists of deities appropriate to various topics. Although the information in these lists is minimal, it is enough to show both the diversity, and universality, of various beliefs. They demonstrate the need for a sound understanding of mythology as a part of the study and practice of Wicca. He does recommend some sources for further research. In fact, his bibliography offers a wide view of the world.

Skipping ahead to the penultimate chapter (coming just before “A Final Word”) we find over 130 pages of mythological references. Several of the major deity entries include incense and oil recipes. Most of the entries are short, but there are enough long entries to make it a worthwhile addition to mythological resources.

There are almost 1200 entries in this section, which is many more than in the “average” book with mythological references. This section alone is worth at least half the cost of the book by itself. You will encounter all the usual deity forms, and many more which the “average Pagan” has never heard of.

I like his approach to the idea of Handfasting. There would probably be a lot fewer misunderstandings and broken hearts if it were widely adopted. His approach is both practical and romantic (a tough combination, by most thinking).

His interpretation of the holidays is sure to cause some confusion, especially among the newest members of the community. Although many of the more experienced members may recognize some of their own thoughts in this approach, it is not one which has been seen in print very often. Give yourself time to think his approach through, take the time to experience his point of view. You may be surprised by the results.

If there is one quote from this book which deserves to be emblazoned on the opening pages of your Book of Shadows; above the door of your house (or temple); and in every mind it is this: “Wicca is not a place to go, it is a journey to take.”1

At .99 this is probably not an impulse buy (I know it wouldn’t be for me), but it is well worth the price. Even if you only read it once (I’d be willing to wager against that, however), it will repay the investment of your time and money.

Buy Aj Drew's book: A Wiccan Bible

Free eBooks (Can Be Downloaded):

Mary Mazzer - Witch Brew
Aleister Crowley - The Winged Beetle
Reeves Hall - Asatru In Brief
Marian Green - A Witch Alone
Aj Drew - A Wiccan Bible

Tuesday, 24 July 2007

Resolving Biblical Teachings About Witchcraft And Divination

Resolving Biblical Teachings About Witchcraft And Divination Cover Biblical teachings about Witchcraft

Many conservative Christians believe that the Bible contains many specific condemnations of Witchcraft. Further, some believe that these denunciations apply to Wicca today.

One frequently quoted verse from the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament) is Exodus 22:18. The original Hebrew manuscript uses the word "m'khashepah" -- a woman who uses spoken spells to harm others typically by causing their death or loss of property. It is mistranslated:

* In the King James Version as "Thou shalt not allow a witch to live."
* In the Revised English Bible as: "You must not allow a witch to live."

Unfortunately, the word "Witch" has at least 19 different meanings -- some mutually exclusive. In North America, the term frequently refers to Wiccans -- the followers of the Wiccan religion. According to the Scofield Reference Bible this verse was written in the year 1491 BCE. This is some 650 years before the origin of the Celtic people from whom the oldest elements of Wicca were taken. So Exodus 22:18 can hardly be referring to Wiccans.

Unfortunately, the translators of the Revised English Bible did not appear to care about any potential injury that their translation might cause to Wiccans. They inserted many footnotes on the page where this verse appears, but none clarify the meaning of Exodus 22:18.

Other mistranslations include:

* The Good News Bible. It lets men off the hook by using the phrase "woman who practices magic."
* The New Century Version uses the phrase "evil magic"

These are also poor translations because of the ambiguity of the word "magic" in today's world.

Most modern translations use "sorceress" or "evil sorceress." But the King James Version remains in very common use by conservative Protestants and thus continues causes grief to some Wiccans.

Clearly, the term "evil sorceress" would be a good translation into today's English. It is found in most of the dozens of other English translations of the Bible not mentioned above.

Another verse in the Hebrew Scriptures that contains "m'khashepah" is Deuteronomy 18:10-11

Two similarly mistranslated passages from the Christian Scriptures (New Testament) are Galatians 5:19-20 and Revelation 21:8. The Greek word that is translated here as "witch" is unrelated to Wicca. It would be better translated as "one who concocts potions to kill people," or simply "poisoner." Such activity by Wiccans is, of course, clearly prohibited by their Wiccan Rede which does not allow believers to harm, manipulate, control or dominate other people. So the references to "witch" in some translations of the Christian Scriptions cannot refer to Wiccans.

Conclusion: It may be safely concluded that references to Witch and Witchcraft in some English translations of the Bible are unrelated to Wicca.

Downloadable books (free):

Allen Putnam - Mesmerism Spiritualism Witchcraft And Miracle
Bjarke Folner - Theoretical Foundations Of Witchcraft And Demonological Development
Summers Montague - The History Of Witchcraft And Demonology

Monday, 23 July 2007

Finding A Mentor Or Guide

Finding A Mentor Or Guide Cover As I have mentioned in a couple of other places on this site, there is and always has been a great deal of concern regarding Cults throughout the world. While Wicca, Paganism and Witchcraft are clearly Spiritual Belief systems and a way of life instead of "Cults," there are some out there who do seek power and desire to manipulate or control others for their own gain.

As is the case in all walks of life, there really isn't a way to block or keep these types from infiltrating the Pagan, Wicca and Witchcraft community. I suppose that in some way's we are even more prone to it than other groups because that type of person generally has a limited grasp on reality and probably believes that following the Old Way's will offer them the ability to master the outlandish and ridiculous skills and powers that Hollywood has led some to believe Witches posess.

When your comfort level with the concepts of the Pagan path have grown to the point where you are certain that this is the lifestyle you wish to follow, you will undoubtedly wish to share that fellowship and comradery with others of like mind and spirit. To avoid being drawn into a group where the intent is less than honorable, there are a couple of things that may assist you in avoiding contact with the nuts out there.

The first and most important thing is to listen to your Spirit Twin, Guide, Little Voice, Gut Feeling or whatever you choose to call it. Most of us have found that this inner voice is rarely wrong and you "WILL" know when something simply does not feel right. If you get that uneasy feeling about someone or a group, back or run away as quickly as possible.

When you initially make contact with someone, especially here on the internet, you have a great advantage in that you can limit your contact to relatively anonymous contact through e-mail. While this is not always fool proof, and there are some great deceivers out there. This does offer you some protection. Exchange mail withholding all personal information until you are absolutely certain there are no safety risks. If someone keeps pressuring you for personal information, break off all contact with them immediately. If they persist in bothering you after you politely tell them you no longer wish contact with them, contact your ISP and lodge a formal complaint giving this persons e-mail address and their host name. There are federal laws regarding electronic stalking and harassment, something of this nature would qualify for assistance from various federal agencies in getting that person to leave you alone.

Finally, Issac Bonewits developed a small questionnaire in 1979 (Advanced Bonewits Cult Danger Evaluation Frame) that you can use which will help your inner voice when determining if an individual or group poses above average risk. That questionnaire is provided here with his permission as well as a link to his web site for your further information and studies.

Be Well, Be Safe and Many Blessings!

Downloadable books (free):

Parker Ryan - Necronomicon Information And Research Guide
Order Of The Golden Dawn - The Invoking Pentagram Ritual Of Fire
Rabbi Michael Laitman - Attaining The Worlds Beyond
Sandra Ingerman - Shamanic Journeying A Beginner Guide

Monday, 16 July 2007

Basic Technologies Of Witchcraft

Basic Technologies Of Witchcraft Cover

Book: Basic Technologies Of Witchcraft by Anonymous

This is the outline for a Collection of four semi-formal training sessions for people interested in Starting out in "The Craft" or Neopaganism. It is intended to give enough grounding to effectively participate in ritual, with the expectation that those that are really dedicated, skilled, and/or interested will undertake further study.

Since this is for beginners, there are no textbooks, no required reading, and the course only deals with such Material as can be taught in four 1-1/2 to 2 hour informal sessions.

Download Anonymous's eBook: Basic Technologies Of Witchcraft

Free eBooks (Can Be Downloaded):

Anonymous - Basic Principles Of The Craft
Alexander Roberts - A Treatise Of Witchcraft
Anonymous - Basic Technologies Of Witchcraft