” A look into the underlying principles behind modern magic in Witchcraft, this investigation provides an integrated training system for both solitary Witches and coven-based trainees in the form of magical energy practice and cosmology. By fully explaining the values of Witchcraft, this work makes numerous Wiccan practices approachable, including Circle casting, raising energy, elemental work, and drawing down the moon. Illustrating how Wicca is a modern, nondogmatic, and dynamic tradition still in a state of evolution, this book also features a history of the spirituality of Witchcraft. ” – Amazon Description
This book was recommended to me by a fellow Wiccan when I was searching for a book that went deeper than your typical “Wicca 101”. For the most part, it does the job. This book gave me high hopes when, in the introduction, the following quote was written.
“If Wicca is to survive the next millennium, it must now come of age and accept the importance of its core spiritual beliefs in the scheme of things; beliefs that can unite true religions of healing in understanding and tolerance. It must also accept the truth of its origins as a new religion based on old wisdoms rather than a surviving remnant from the Middle Ages, if it is to truly become a spiritual path for a modern world. “The Inner Mysteries: Progressive Witchcraft and Connection with the Divine (xxii)
This book touts itself as being fully progressive in its teachings. In chapter three, titled “At the Heart of Witchcraft: Spirituality and the Mysteries”, Janet and Gavin go into detail about the connection between modern Wicca and witchcraft with psychology, freemasonry, and the Fellowship of Crotona. They explain quite well that Wicca is a “mystery tradition”, but not in the way that many people think. They reinforce their idea that Wicca is a mystery tradition because the feelings and spirituality that is inherent within Wicca is a mystery to be experienced, not taught through a book.
I really enjoyed that the authors, Janet Farrar and Gavin Bone, made it known that Wicca is progressing and evolving, as it should, to ensure its survival as a modern faith.
“One of the markers of an advanced spiritual practice is that it is never static but is always evolving.”The Inner Mysteries: Progressive Witchcraft and Connection with the Divine (Preface)
I do have at least one issue with this book, though, and that is the lack of separation between Wicca and witchcraft. Janet and Gavin say this in chapter two.
“We, personally, do not actually believe there is any difference between the words Witch and Wiccan […] The two main traditions refused to accept those from outside their traditions as Wiccan or even as ‘real Witches’. For many years, this divided the Witchcraft movement into two camps and has blurred the meaning of the words Witch and Wiccan purely for the sake of political expediency. This division has been perpetuated with the statement ‘All Wiccans are Witches, but not all Witches are Wiccans.’ Some of us who have been around for a while find this amusing…”The Inner Mysteries: Progressive Witchcraft and Connection with the Divine (29-30)
Witchcraft is not exclusive to Wicca, and there are many cultures and religious groups around the world that practice some form of witchcraft. This paragraph by Janet and Gavin is misleading because it gives the allusion that you must be Wiccan to practice witchcraft. Just because the two words might have a common etymological root does not make them the same word with the same meaning.
Overall, I highly recommend this book. It has loads of good information and thought-provoking questions and theories. It also has several appendices that contain some “standard” correspondences that can be used as is or to build upon based on your own preferences.
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