Monday, 17 June 2013
Review: Identity & the Quartered Circle: Applied Wicca
If you are pagan, the answer usually given is that we should look within ourselves to find out who we truly are. That, however, is easier said than done - especially without a guide to help us. A new book Identity and the Quartered Circleis such a guide.
It has the subtitle Studies in Applied Wicca, but don't worry if you aren't an initiated Wiccan. This is a book that starts at the basics, takes you through intermediate level practises and goes on to some pretty advanced personal development techniques. It uses eclectic Wiccan-style circlework, but is suitable for anyone willing to put in the effort.
Author Dorothy L Abrams is an experienced spiritual teacher, having practised and taught witchcraft, paganism and core shamanism since 1984. She is the co-founder of the Web PATH Center, a pagan church and teaching organisation in the USA, and much of the material in Identity and the Quartered Circle comes from the courses she runs there. Many exercises are practical - using journalling, sketching, crafts, chanting, drumming, dance and storytelling as well as ritual work to help on the journey of self-discovery.
Dorothy says: "The arts bring us closer to ecstasy in a familiar and safe way. We do not have to excel in any artistic endeavor. Our work need not be published nor performed outside our homes. We only need to give the effort necessary to craft our truth so we can see or hear it."
The Circle is, of course, the name for Wiccan sacred space, where magic is performed and rites enacted. It is divided into quarters that represent the elements earth, air, fire, and water, which correspond to our body, mind, will and emotions. But the book also deals with the different "circles" we might move in - our relationships with friends, family and lovers for example. It is far-reaching and does not baulk at tackling difficult subjects such as sex and death.
Publisher Moon Books says on its website: "Identity and The Quartered Circle is an eclectic Wiccan discussion of the search for identity through the power of a cast circle and the four directions. The book defines the Circle as a container for magic. A chapter on psychological identity follows. From casting a circle to meeting the Elementals and winged spirits of faerie, the author leads the reader on a personal journey in consciousness. At its conclusion we can speak intelligently of merger with the Gods and Oneness and the reader can answer the big four questions: Who Am I, Why am I here, Where did I come from and Where am I going?"
If you feel you are on a journey of self discovery, wherever you might be on that path, I am sure this book can offer something to help you on your way.
Links and previous related posts
Identity and the Quartered Circle: Studies in Applied Wicca