Wednesday, October 30, 2013

To Divine the Divine

This is the last in a series of posts regarding some of the basics of pagan practice. These are slightly tidied-up versions of the handouts I used to give my students during some of the classes I taught, once upon a time, in a prior geologic era. I hope you find them useful. Find all the posts in this series here.

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What is divination?

Basically, divination is a way of discovering information not normally available to us in our everyday lives.  It is a way of getting in touch with the divine, that which is beyond our normal reach; some people conceptualize this as our higher selves or the ultimate source of all.  The divine, being ‘bigger’ than we are, has access to greater information than we do - information about possible futures, about other people and times.  Thus, if we can access the divine, we can ask for information which we cannot normally obtain on our own.

Under what circumstances might you want to use divination?  Under what circumstances would you be willing to perform a divination for another person?  Under what circumstances would you not be willing?  Do you think divination for self or divination for others is more accurate, and why?

Why do we use divination?

There are a number of different methods of divination.  They vary from culture to culture and age to age, but they have one thing in common - the transformation of randomness into pattern.  In each method, the tools are arranged apparently randomly while the user concentrates on his/her connection to the divine and the question at hand.  Once the tools are arranged, the user focuses on them in a meditative state of mind, concentrating on being open to whatever message the divine might send.  If the divination is successful, the user will discover a meaningful pattern in the arrangement of the tools.  This pattern is then interpreted according to the rules, if any, associated with that particular method of divination.

The explanation of how this works is that the arrangement of the tools is not actually random, just apparently so.  The user opens his/her mind to the divine, allowing information to flow into his/her actions as the tools are arranged.  The user does not purposely arrange the tools in a pattern, but rather attempts to arrange them randomly.  The information flowing from the divine subconsciously alters the user’s actions, integrating pattern where there was none.

Peasant girls using chicken for divination (no kidding). Russian lubok, 19th century.

Could you be a little more specific, please?

Let’s look at some of the more common forms of divination and how they are used.  The first two methods involve interpretations based on a fixed set of rules.  While some use of intuition is allowed, for the most part the interpretations are fixed.

Tarot: This divination tool consists of a deck of cards, usually 56 cards in 4 suits much like our modern playing cards (the Minor Arcana) and another 22 face cards with various archetypal meanings and symbology (the Major Arcana).  The origin of the Tarot deck is unclear.  Some texts trace the Tarot back to Egypt.  Although some of the symbology may have originated there, the cards certainly did not since, although Egyptians made paper, they did not make playing cards.  The Tarot is probably a medieval European invention incorporating beliefs and symbology from the Middle East and Egypt.

To use the Tarot, the person asking the question shuffles the cards (the randomizing part of the divination) and the diviner lays them out in set designs.  The placements of the various cards is interpreted according to a set collection of meanings.  There are versions of Tarot divination using a modern deck of playing cards, without the Major Arcana.  In this case the meanings of the cards match the meanings of the corresponding Minor Arcana cards in the Tarot deck.  There are numerous versions of the classic Tarot deck, each with a different symbol set.  In most cases, the symbols and artwork represent the same archetypes from deck to deck. There are even electronic Tarot programs in which the virtual cards are displayed on the computer screen. Presumably, the forces of the divine or higher self influence the random generator within the software to provide meaningful card spreads.

Originally, Tarot cards incorporated a great deal of Judeo-Christian symbology. In recent years many decks have come onto the market that center around pagan or non-Christian symbol sets. Though anyone can learn to read Tarot with any deck, it is helpful to choose a deck whose symbology feels comfortable to you and fits with your worldview. For instance, I am in the process of creating a Minoan-themed Tarot deck to accompany Ariadne's Thread.

Runes: Originating in Scandinavia and Germany, runes are a form of alphabet used to write magical content and inscriptions.  Each symbol also carries deeper meanings associated with its sound and shape.  To divine with runes, the user holds them in his/her hands while concentrating on the subject in question.  Then he or she casts the runes, scattering them on a flat surface (the randomization part of the divination).  The meaning of the divination is interpreted according to the placement of the runes: which ones are adjacent or on top of each other, which ones are turned upside down, and so forth.  Each version of runes (there are at least 5 known alphabets) has its own set of rules for interpretation.

The set of runes I made for myself from hazel wood

Interpretation of the following divination methods involves the intuition and impressions of the user rather than a set of rules for interpretation.

Scrying: In this method of divination, the user employs a reflective or random surface (water, a mirror, flames, the end grain of wood) as a focal point.  Focusing his or her gaze on the surface, the user concentrates on the subject in question.  There is no active randomization on the part of the user since the tool itself provides a random image.  As the user gazes at the focal point, the random pattern may resolve into a specific image or series of images which can then be interpreted in terms of the subject of the divination.  Can you think of any more tools for scrying besides the ones I have listed? How about smoke or clouds? What else?

Rorschach method: The reading of tea leaves, entrails, birds in flight and other such divination methods rely on the impression of the user to interpret the sight.  In the case of tea leaves and entrails, the user provides the randomization him or herself.  This is similar to the Druidic method of picking up a handful of stones and casting them down again, then reading the pattern.  In the case of natural formations - flocks of birds, schools of fish - nature provides the randomization and it is up to the user to interpret what is presented.

Why might you choose a divination method with set rules of interpretation?  Why might you choose an intuitive method?  Would you phrase your question differently for different methods?

What other methods of divination have you used or heard of? How about crystal ball gazing or I Ching? If you had to make up your own divination method rather than use one of the above, how would you do it?

What are the effects of divination?

We most often use divination to see into the future, to discover what might be.  This raises a set of philosophical questions.  Is the future set?  Is there only one path or are there many possibilities?  If there is only one path, then divination allows us to see our fate but not to change it.  If there are many possible paths, then divination allows us to see them and choose among them.  What are the implications of this question in terms of free will and fate?  Do you think there is one best or right path for each person or does that change over time?

If you believe we can change the path of the future, then what criteria would you use to determine any changes?  Does the end justify the means, or the other way around?  What are the karmic implications of changing your path, since everything you do affects those around you?  Exactly who are you responsible for and at what level?

In addition to discovering possible future paths, all divination methods can be used as focuses for meditation and reflection. This type of contemplation, while focusing on a particular life situation, allows us to access deeper levels of our own intuition as well as higher self and the divine. It can offer greater insight into current circumstances and allow us to clarify our own desires, fears and biases. It can show us how we got to the place we are currently in, and thus offer opportunities for improvement as we move forward. I find this use of divination tools to be far more profound than simple see-the-probable-future divination.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Music in Ritual, Music as Ritual

This is one in an ongoing series of posts regarding some of the basics of pagan practice. These are slightly tidied-up versions of the handouts I used to give my students during some of the classes I taught, once upon a time, in a prior geologic era. I hope you find them useful. Find all the posts in this series here.

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Music in its many forms has long been an integral part of ritual in many cultures and traditions. From the earliest shaman’s drum to the latest digital recordings, people have used music to alter their energy and change their consciousness. How does music affect you in your daily life? Do you use music to change your mood? To cheer you up on a bad day or calm you down at the end of a stressful one? Does music distract you from some activities or help you concentrate on others?

Music in daily life affects the conscious and subconscious mind. Ritual strengthens these effects because the setting encourages us to open our hearts and minds to experiences beyond the ordinary. The setting of a ceremony primes us to internalize any symbolism we encounter and to match our energy with that created by our surroundings. Let’s look at some of the ways we can incorporate music into ritual, both for enjoyment and to enhance the effect of the rite itself.

C minor cadence

A Simple Beat

One of the most basic forms of ritual music is drumming. It is easy for anyone to do and requires little equipment; even an empty oatmeal box will do, in a pinch. Drumming can provide a background for other types of music or for dancing. It can also function as a sound effect - a heartbeat drumbeat, for example, to slow down or speed up the energy. A drum circle is, in itself, a ritual, the communion of the drummers with the fire and with the dancers who move in concert with the energy of the drum-sound. Drumming is also the physical-world focus of shamanic journey rituals, providing the link back here for those who travel to the Otherworld.

When might you want to incorporate drumming into a ritual? Consider the different effects of the following: drumming while the participants chant; drumming while the participants dance; drumming to aid or lead a meditation or visualization; drumming as background sound during a speech. When would you want many people to take part in the drumming? When would you want the drumming reserved for a few specific people? When would drumming be inappropriate or detrimental to the atmosphere of the ritual?

An extension of drumming is any kind of rhythmic, non-melodic instrument - shakers, rattles, sticks, bones and so forth. Any of these types of instruments can be substituted for drums or included along with them. A fun addition to a casual ritual is the activity of making simple rattles and shakers then using them as part of the rite. What kind of effect might the different sounds have on the energy of the circle? Consider, among others, the boom of a djembe, the hiss of a sistrum, the click of bones or sticks.

Wooden Darbouka

Adding a Few Words

One of the most common types of music in modern ritual is chanting. Chants have few words, repetitive style and simple melodies that most people can learn quickly and easily. They can be made up on the spot for particular occasions or magical workings or they can be tried-and-true favorites that everyone knows.

Unlike drumming, chanting does not lend itself easily to the creation of an entire ritual. Rather, chants are used to reinforce an activity or raise energy within the ritual. Can you think of a chant that can be used to acknowledge the elements? How about one for invoking some aspect of deity? There are many popular chants that can be used to enact various parts of ritual - marking the sacred space, invoking elementals and deities, celebrating the Great Rite, sharing food and drink, ending the ritual. How might the energy be different if various portions of a ritual are performed by chanting rather than by ordinary speech? How would the energy differ if only the ritual leader performed the chant, or if the entire group participated in the chant?

Prayers are commonly chanted in many religions around the world. Can you think of a prayer you have heard chanted or sung? How does this feel different from a prayer that is simply spoken? Prayer in itself is a ritual. It includes a beginning, an identification of deity or higher power, praise and thanks to the deity or higher power, an asking for favors or gifts, and a formal ending. A prayer can be offered as a ritual complete in itself or it can be incorporated into a larger ritual, echoing the greater framework (a ritual within a ritual). Prayers can be chanted or sung by the ritual leader or by the entire group of participants. When might you choose to have everyone offer a chanted prayer together? When might you have only the officiant chant or sing the prayer, and why?

Music has an interesting effect on the brain: it allows us to remember things better than we normally can. If you’re near my age, I bet you can still sing the Preamble to the Constitution as performed on Schoolhouse Rock all those Saturday mornings ago. If you had simply memorized the words, you probably would have forgotten it by now. Any piece of ritual performed to music rather than simply spoken will make a deeper impression on your memory, creating a more powerful overall impression. How would the effect of a chant or song you already know differ from one you are presented with for the first time in ritual? What if it is repeated until you learn it?

What about chants we make up on the spot? Do they have the same effect? Does it depend on how easily they are learned? There are moments in magical working when the sudden desire for a chant becomes overwhelming. That is the time to make something up. It doesn’t have to be complicated. It can have the same melody as another chant or song. You can use just a few words, repeated over and over, and the effect can be powerful. Have you ever made up a chant on the spot or participated in a ritual when someone else did? How did the chant make you feel? Children are especially talented at on-the-spot composition, since they do not feel the adult social constraints to make everything turn out perfect the first time. The chants we voice do not have to be perfect, just useful and enjoyable.

Cat Halloween Song

Instrumental Music

Instrumental music, alone or as an accompaniment to singing, can add a deeper dimension to ceremonies. Drumming is one kind of instrumental music, but melodic instrumentals add a different kind of energy to the ritual environment. Have you ever participated in a ritual which included instrumental music? We are used to thinking of the pipe organs in churches, but a guitar or flute can add a great deal of texture. What kind of instrument would you use to evoke the energy of Spring? Of Winter? How about calling the deities with music -- what sort of instrument would you use to call Pan or Epona or Grandmother Spider?

We are not all musicians but we can all still incorporate instrumental music into our rituals thanks to the wonderful modern convenience of recorded music. Used as the background for part of a ritual, recorded music can be surprisingly effective in setting the tone and fine-tuning the energy.  Recorded music is also useful for chanting and singing when no one in the group feels confident enough to lead an a capella version. Since the music is recorded, its inclusion in ritual does not add the performance anxiety that live music sometimes can. All you have to do is pop CD into the boom box or dial up the title on your MP3 player and turn it on at the appropriate time. When might you want to use recorded instrumental music in a ritual? What type of music would you choose? When might you want recorded vocal music? How would you incorporate it into a ritual without having it overwhelm or distract?

Victorian Harpist

By Action or by Use

Most pagans consecrate items they plan to use in ritual before they enter the sacred space. This usually includes any implements to be placed on the altar as well as personal magical tools - the wand, the blade, and so forth. What about musical instruments, and especially electronic devices such as boom boxes and MP3 players? This question goes back to the discussion of the fact that all space is sacred. How do you treat items that you don’t normally use for ritual but which you will bring into a ceremony on one or two occasions? Why?

Regardless of the type of music you choose, whether it is live or recorded, whether you perform it or someone else does, give it a try in your next ritual. The drumbeat and the melody can lead you to places you can’t reach any other way.

Recommended Reading and Listening

Chants: Ritual Music by the Reclaiming Community

Circle of the Seasons by Lisa Thiel

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Book Review: Celtic Chakras by Elen Sentier

I have to admit, I was skeptical about this book before I began reading it. The title suggests it’s yet another fluffy New Age volume that randomly and superficially connects the spiritual practices from one part of the world with those from another, with no real ‘meat’ to it. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Celtic Chakras by Elen Sentier

Celtic Chakras demonstrates that an amazing amount of information is hidden in the folklore and magical traditions of the West. No, the Celts, their predecessors and neighbors did not use the term 'chakras' but they were intimately familiar with the subtle energy system associated with the human body. This book takes the reader on a journey through this energy system, teaching how to approach and understand it through both explanation and meditative activities. It is obvious Ms. Sentier practices her subject and is intimately familiar with the workings, and dangers, of the body’s system of energy centers. She gives clear directions and warnings where appropriate, leading even the novice through the guided visualizations and rituals with confidence. I was fascinated to read about the spiral path through the body's energy centers (chakras). I have intuitively used a spiral path in my work as a Reiki master for a number of years; I must have been hooking into some ancestral knowledge and am gratified to have this practice affirmed.

This book brings together the threads of tradition and symbolism for three goddesses: Elen of the Ways, Arianrhod and Ceridwen and relates them to the body’s energy system in a way that makes sense. If you are familiar with any of these goddesses, or interested in them, you will find a deeper layer of meaning in their mythology after reading Celtic Chakras. Ms. Sentier’s journeys (guided visualizations/meditations) to the realms of the goddesses are inspired and inspiring. And her activities involving the Cauldrons of Poesy are deeply moving. I do wish the section about Brighid had been longer and more thorough, with more deep insights; it seemed to end abruptly compared to the chapters about the other two goddesses. However, I am grateful that Ms. Sentier chose not to pad out that section with repetition and meaningless fluff simply to reach a particular page count. Every page of this book is packed with real, meaningful information. It is easily approachable for the beginner but also gives the advanced practitioner something solid to chew on. And there’s nothing else like it out there.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My!

Animals in Pagan Spiritual Practice

This is one in an ongoing series of posts regarding some of the basics of pagan practice. These are slightly tidied-up versions of the handouts I used to give my students during some of the classes I taught, once upon a time, in a prior geologic era. I hope you find them useful. Find all the posts in this series here.

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We are all familiar with the conventional image of the old witch with her black cat. But wild and domestic animals play a much larger and more subtle role in paganism than this stereotype would suggest. Let’s look at some ways in which animals, real and symbolic, enrich spiritual practice in a number of different traditions.

In what capacity do animals participate as part of pagan spiritual tradition and practice? Certainly as familiars, like the old witch with her cat. But they also function as symbols or incarnations of deities.  And in some instances they are part of a deity’s menagerie or following, the creatures that deity protects. In each case the animals’ relation to the gods and to humanity differs somewhat, but regardless, these sacred animals are a way for humans to connect with deity and move along a spiritual path.


A familiar is a physical animal a person actively works with in their spiritual practice. The cat is the most widely-known form of familiar, and indeed many people’s pet cats assist them in working energy and magick and connecting to deity. Over the years I have had several cats who took an active part in rituals and spellwork. But the animal need not be a cat; in fact, it need not even be a domestic animal.

In medieval Europe the term grimalkin came into popular use (thanks to the Inquisition) to describe or name a witch’s familiar. The name literally means “grey cat” in Old English, but as often as not it referred to a rabbit or other small, wild creature who assisted the witch in working magick. People who feel a connection with a particular type of animal, wild or domestic, may be able to use that animal as a familiar. Often, a person who works mostly or exclusively with a particular deity will feel drawn toward the animals associated with that deity.

The concept of animal familiars stems from the belief that animals, like children, are more innocent than adults. Their psyches are not loaded down with the artificialities of civilization, the constraints of “ought to” and “should” and concerns about appearance over substance. Therefore they are closer to the gods, more in touch with REALITY as opposed to adults who operate from beneath a veneer of social rules. How do you think the familiar relationship works in magick? Does the animal provide a channel to the deity with which it is associated, or to the divine in general? Does its innocence help the person move to a more innocent energy themselves, and hence closer to deity?

Do you have a familiar? If you do, why did you choose that type of animal, if it was a conscious choice? If you do not have a familiar, would you consider using one? If you would, which animal or animals would you choose and why?

One of my sweet furbabies who has a magic all his own

Animal and Deity, Animal as Deity

A number of deities have animals associated with them. Some cultures represent gods and goddesses as animals or as having animal characteristics. Egyptian deities, for example, are often depicted with an animal head and a human body, reflective of the animal-head masks their priests and priestesses wore as well as the combination of traits associated with each god or goddess. But wild animals are also representative of the divine. What do cats (large and small, wild and domestic), hawks, eagles, wild boars and bulls have in common? Can you think of a deity associated with a quiet, passive, timid animal? Why do you think these animals are connected with these goddesses and gods? Were the animals’ traits ascribed to the deity, or was the deity defined first and then an animal chosen to match the deity’s traits? Perhaps the association did not happen in such definite steps.

Consider the following deities and their associated animals. How do the images of the animals affect how we think of each god or goddess? How do deities from different cultures compare when they are associated with the same or similar animal? Does seeing the deity’s animal and interacting with it make you feel closer to that god or goddess? Would you consider an animal associated with a deity to be that deity’s familiar?

Anansi = spider
Arachne = spider
Asclepius = cock
Athena = owl
Bastet = cat
Freya = hawk
Freyr = wild boar
Hathor = cow
Horus = hawk
Lugh = wild boar
Poseidon = bull/horse
Sekhmet = lion

Some deities are so closely connected with their representative animal that they are called by that animal’s name and given its full form. Native American traditions include Coyote and Grandmother Spider. Mayan deities name the Macaw, Jaguar and Monkey. We find Serphant in Europe, Dragon in the Orient and Br’er Rabbit in the African-inspired American South. How do you think these deities developed? They are not anthropomorphic, although some are said to speak or walk upright like humans.

We have already seen that deities from one culture to another represent similar facets of the human psyche. Many cultures have deities which represent mother, father, creator, grain deity, trickster and so forth. How do the animal representations of these classes of deity vary from culture to culture? What types of animals are typically associated with the following aspects of deity, and why?

FEMALE: Crone/grandmother, mother, maiden, goddess of the green, Earth, Fate, women’s work (spinner, weaver, cook), wife

MALE: Father, lord of the animals, underworld king, Sky, warrior, men’s work (hunter, smith), husband

EITHER/NEITHER: Creator, trickster, lover, grain deity, sun, moon, child, death, sea, giver-of-all, fire-source, healer

A Cooper's hawk, native to North America

Lord of the Animals

Some deities are considered to be protectors of animals, especially wild animals. Herne and Cernunnos are both called Lord of the Animals, as is Myrddin on occasion. These gods protect the wild animals of the forest, especially the larger ones like the deer. They are often depicted as human but with some characteristics of the animals they are associated with, such as horns or antlers. But Herne and Cernunnos are both described as hunters as well. How do you reconcile these two attitudes toward the animals, that of protector of the animals and hunter of them as well? How would the hunter/protector disparity be seen differently in societies earlier than ours?

The Greek goddess Artemis is also a protector of wild animals, and also a hunter. Artemis, as a virgin (unmarried) goddess, takes on roles that were usually reserved for men in Greek society. Can you think of any other female deities that are considered protectors or hunters of animals?

How would your impression of a deity whose animal is hunted differ from that of a deity whose animal is never hunted? How does your impression of a deity associated with a wild animal differ from that of a deity associated with a domesticated animal? Do you use animal representations or symbols for the deities you work with? Why or why not?

A mama and baby deer in my back yard - what a blessing!

Animal Totems and Spirit Guides

Some traditions use animals as representations of spirit without associating them with individual gods or goddesses. In some cases the animal itself is considered the guardian or ancestor spirit of a tribe or clan. These animals are often referred to as totems. Many pre-industrial societies use animal totems, both as a spiritual focus and as a defining factor for inclusion in the family, clan or tribe. We are familiar with the totem animals of the Native Americans, but there are many other societies that link (or linked, in the past) themselves to animals in a totemic fashion. 

In the British Isles, the tale of the rise of King Arthur is a thinly-veiled myth regarding the shift of the Pictish tribes from a serpent or dragon totem (Arthur’s father Pendragon) to a bear totem (Arthur means bear). This myth also reflects a long-term astrological shift of the pole star from within the constellation Draco to Ursa Major. Called the Big Dipper in America, the constellation of the Great She-Bear is known in Britain as Arthur’s Wain (wagon).

The Norse deities Freyr and Freya, commonly considered part of the Valhalla-based Norse pantheon, were originally tribal totem deities. The god Freyr grew out of a boar totem-spirit that belonged to a Scandinavian tribe. Freya came from a clan whose totem animal was the hawk. As Norse spiritual practice became more ritualized, the totem spirits gradually metamorphosed into deities. When the regions of Scandinavia joined under a more centralized leadership, its religion was united and all the local deities joined the central ruling deities in Valhalla.

Does your ancestry suggest any totem animals to you? What parts of the world does your family come from and what animals live there?

Some pagans follow a shamanic path and use animal spirits as guides or spirit familiars when journeying in the Otherworld. Sometimes these animal spirits simply appear to the shamanic practitioner and sometimes the person chooses the animal and calls it to him or her. In many ways, animal spirit guides function in the Otherworld the same way physical animal familiars do in the material world. They help the shaman “tune in” to that which is greater than human. Often, animal spirit guides act in human-like ways, speaking to the practitioner, walking upright, and so forth.

Have you ever met an animal spirit on a journey or during a meditation? Did you summon the animal or did it simply appear to you? How might the qualities associated with different animals in the physical world be amplified or changed in the Otherworld?

I offer you a friendly challenge: Spend some time today thinking about the ways in which animals (physical or otherwise) impact your spiritual practice. Call to the world of the other animals (yes, we're animals, too!) and ask them to teach you what they can about your individual spiritual path. Offer them friendship and respect, and see where the journey leads.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Book Review: A Deed Without a Name

A Deed Without a Name: Unearthing the Legacy of Traditional Witchcraft by Lee Morgan

A Deed Without a Name by Lee Morgan

If you are interested in European traditional witchcraft (which is not the same as Wicca) this book is an excellent starting point. It bridges the gap between the scholarly study of Renaissance-era and earlier magical works and actual practice as it comes down to us through blurred and broken traditions. As author Lee Morgan writes,

“To access what some people call the ‘tradition’ of witchcraft we need to first understand that witchcraft as we know it today is a myth. But this is not to say it doesn’t exist. The ‘nameless deed’ that lies behind that myth is part of the eternal nature of mankind. But it is also universally part of human nature to experience the divine and the transcendent through the conduit of myth.”

Morgan addresses not only the better-known aspects of the Craft such as the Mark, fetches, hedge-riding, and ritual work but also the psychological and emotional implications of approaching the Powers in traditional fashion. This is not a voyage for the merely curious, a fact this book makes clear. Setting foot along the path of the Cunning Craft will change you deeply and irretrievably. But if you feel called, this volume is an excellent starting point. There is no fluff in it but real, practical information gleaned from time-honored texts, interviews with modern practitioners and the author’s personal experience.

As I read through the text, I was impressed with the way Morgan has brought the basics of the Craft into the modern day without losing the mystery and timelessness of the practice. I have heard the complaint that this book does too much of the ‘hard work’ novices are expected to attempt by themselves – digging through arcane texts, connecting the dots among obscure and obsolete practices – and I must disagree. The true hard work of the Craft comes in the journeying, the Work itself, the times when we meet the Mystery head-on and in person and are transformed. All Morgan does is organize the material in a sensible manner and provide stepping stones to set the reader on his or her way. He leaves the real work for us to do ourselves. His writing is both realistic and inspirational; I expect it will give many readers the push they need to move forward along this path.

Though I do recommend A Deed Without a Name, I must add my own disclaimer here: Reading a book does not make you a witch. Walking the Path every day of your life does. So yes, read the book – it’s wonderful and I’m sure you’ll refer back to it time and again. But do the Work as well. The serious student of witchcraft will also apply themselves to the Further Reading list at the end of the book in order to move deeper into the material and the experience. And of course, no book can substitute for the guidance of a good teacher.

I wish you well on your journeys.