Monday 26 September 2022

Review: The Golden Bubble - Magical Development

For anyone running a pagan group - or thinking of starting one - there's a new book out that I thoroughly recommend. The Golden Bubble: Magical and Personal Development Through Pagan Group Practice is a wonderful compendium of visualisations, pathworkings, wheel-of-the-year rituals and other practical magical work created by Jean Williams and her group at Pagan Pathfinders over several decades. It represents years of material, ready to use. However, it's a lot more than just that.

The book's editor and contributor, Liz Wigglesworth, explains more about its background and what it contains:

"Jean Williams held Pagan Pathfinders in the living room of her London home almost every Monday night for over 30 years. Conceived as a group for pagan seekers, it evolved into so much more than that. Using her background in psychology and her interest in the human potential movement, she guided many earnest seekers through meditations, group work and ritual. The aim was to learn about ourselves, each other and the magical world around us. The group successfully helped many people to develop their interest in a nature-based spirituality and to expand their minds and utilise their own potential. It also created lasting friendships and wonderful memories.

"This book aims to pass on those techniques, as well as explaining some of the psychological theories behind them. It is hoped others will be inspired to run such groups and provides the basic tool kit for doing so. It is a valuable resource in a time when more and more people are yearning to rekindle their connection with nature and with each other through shared seasonal celebrations."

Jean's background was in humanistic psychology as well as in a variety of esoteric techniques including those of modern pagan witchcraft. Pagan Pathfinders was open to pagans and seekers of all paths and traditions. What I found refreshing from reading the book was that there was no requirement or pressure to believe in gods and goddesses as actual beings - it was perfectly acceptable to view them as psychological archetypes in the Jungian sense. 

That humanistic view appears to have been Jean's personal perspective and one that resonates with my own - although I call myself an agnostic pagan. I respect people's personal experiences when they say they have encountered deities, but I also respect the view that there is at this time no scientific proof they exist. Essentially, it doesn't matter - the workings described in The Golden Bubble are designed so that both athiests and theists can take part as a shared personal development experience.

The name of the book comes from a guided visualisation that was a core exercise for Pagan Pathfinders, and is described in detail in the prologue. It involves relaxing and imagining yourself surrounded by a bubble of golden light. You then imagine that light infusing your body, cleansing and energising you. It was seen as a foundation for the spiritual and mental disciplines practiced by the group. I think it's also an apt term for the experiences of those people who attended Pagan Pathfinders over the decades. The afterword includes the testimonies of some of them, and they all say it was a wonderful community in which everyone felt welcome. I believe that's what all pagan groups should be like.

The Golden Bubble: Magical and Personal Development Through Pagan Group Practice  is published through Lulu and has an RRP of £17. You can find it here:

It can also be found on Amazon.


Jane Mortimer said...

This book looks very useful, Lucya. I've told our Moote leader about it, but I'm ordering one anyway. Thanks for pointing us at it.

Badwitch said...

Hope you think it's as good as I did!