Thursday 2 May 2013

Review: The Deep Heart of Witchcraft - Magical Practice

When I got a review copy of The Deep Heart of Witchcraft, the publicist told me the book was "a good one". Well, I thought, I suppose she would say that, being the publicist. Mind you, the initial blurb sounded interesting too: "...The Deep Heart of Witchcraft, a book aimed at Wiccans and Witches looking to go beyond the 101."

There are quite a lot of books out there aimed at beginners, but there's a shortage of material pitched at a more advanced level. Books on learning the basics of witchcraft cover things like how to cast a circle, the symbolism of the elements, honouring the goddess and god, and seasonal rites to celebrate the Wheel of the Year. That is all you really need to know to get started, but more and more witches - particularly solitary practitioners without the training structure of a Wiccan coven - are looking for material going further.

The Deep Heart of Witchcraft: Expanding the Core of Magickal Practiceassumes you already know how to cast a circle and probably have a bit of experience of taking part in rituals. It looks at core aspects of witchcraft - the elements, the gods and ways to use the power of the seasons for personal transformation - but in much greater depth than beginners' books. I would call it intermediate level. You really do need to know the basics and be able to manipulate magical energy before being able to attempt some of the workings in this book. A long section deals with working with death, both contacting those who have died and coming to terms with our own inevitable death. For Wiccans, that kind of magic isn't normally tackled until long after initiation.

Publisher Moon Books also says: "In The Deep Heart of Witchcraft, we seek the teachings and ways that might lead us to look beyond the surface and into the depths of the Craft. In this book, we’ll look at the tools and spirits of the sacred elements to connect us back to the power of nature. Through ritual, we turn and face traditions both new and old to enrich our practice and feed the soul."

The author, David Salisbury, is a highly experienced Wiccan practitioner based in America. He is also a very good teacher and his writing style is clear and easy to follow even when he tackles complex issues and highly esoteric concepts. The Deep Heart of Witchcraft came out in April and it took me most of last month to read  it - it is a long book. But I've enjoyed it and learned a few things from it even though I've been a witch for decades. The publicist was right, it is a good one.

Links and previous related posts
The Deep Heart of Witchcraft: Expanding the core of magickal practice

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