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The Twelve Wild Swans [Paperback]

Starhawk , Hillary Valentine
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
RRP: 10.02
Price: 9.97 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

9 May 2002
The highly-praised continuation of Starhawk's bestselling THE SPIRAL DANCE, this is the first guide that works for both basic and advanced magical training. With a fable as its central core, THE TWELVE WILD SWANS can be used by individuals or groups to follow three distinct paths into magic, healing, and action. For practising witches or anyone interested in the goddess movement, this is a practical workbook of self-discovery and a rich resource of rituals, exercises, and methods that teach the underlying skills and theology of earth-based spirituality.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; 1 edition (9 May 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062516698
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062516695
  • Product Dimensions: 23.3 x 15.8 x 2.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 860,082 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Amazon Review

Starhawk and Hilary Valentine, renowned leaders in the Wicca movement, use the transformative fairy tale of The Twelve Wild Swans to teach an advanced class on magic. More significantly, this is an introduction to a mature level of Wicca called "Reclaiming"--a model of witchcraft that blends magic, personal growth and activism. The book begins with the first chapter of the fairytale, in which a foolish queen wishes to exchange her 12 sons for a daughter. An old woman "dressed all in black" overhears the queen and makes the wish come true--granting the queen a daughter but turning her sons into wild swans.

From here the coauthors launch into a back-and forth structure of telling the story and then stopping to show how it applies to a witch's initiation and transformation. For example, we all must leave the castle in order to heal our past. We all must spend some time wandering in the wilderness before finding our true home and we all must conquer some form of "wicked vows" before we can reach full maturity. These are wise leaders and strong guides--well worth following on this life-altering fairytale. --Tara West --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Starhawk is one of the leading voices in the feminist spirituality movement. A founder of the Reclaiming Tradition of Witchcraft, she teaches and lectures worldwide.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
A queen makes an ill wish: she would trade her twelve strong sons for one daughter. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
Twelve Wild Swans is an initiatory journey in Starhawk's "Reclaiming" tradition. Like The Spiral Dance it offers a no-nonsense introduction to the world of Witchcraft and Paganism, but this book takes a very different approach. Taking a well known fairy tale as the basis of the journey, Starhawk and Hilary Valentine guide the reader through three different journeys, making the book a valuable resource for the experienced and inexperienced alike.
While I don't personally subscribe to all of the ideas in this book, I greatly enjoyed reading it and I look forward to many re-readings. My only concern is that the path it presents would be a difficult one for someone to follow alone: the emphasis is on group rituals and the support of a coven or group. Even so, there's a great deal here that needs to be practised alone.
Following the fairy tale of the title, the reader is introduced to the basic tools and concepts of the Craft in the "Elements" path, is taken on a journey of inner discovery on the "Inner" path, and is shown some ways to turn self-knowledge into action in the "Outer" path. But it's more than just a manual: this is an in-depth analysis of a mythic story, leading the reader who chooses to follow some or all of the exercises to an in-depth knowledge of self and the world.
Twelve Wild Swans will not suit everyone, but I recommend it to anyone interested in exploring the Pagan pathways with an open mind, and I highly recommend it to anyone who teaches the Craft.
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Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  26 reviews
47 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just like being at Witchcamp... 2 Nov 2001
By jbs - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
...Well, sort of. No late night howling at the moon or camp songs, but this book is organized in a way analogous to camp. There are excellent tools in this book, for beginners to advanced Witches. In fact, I think it is one of the few books really suited for the intermediate to advanced Witch. This book could sustain one's personal work for quite a long time, if needed.
I do find it interesting to read the comments of the reviewer who mentioned the "rabid feminism." I certainly don't perceive this book to be that way. In meeting Starhawk and reading her work, I've never percieved her as a "rabid" feminist or man-hater... interesting how some men think anyone who uses "she" and "her" instead of "he" and "him" as generic pronouns is rabid. I've been putting up with books with a generic male audience my entire life! I guess I'm not really sure why some men are so offended by the book addressing a generic female audience instead.
I believe this book is an incredible, valuable addition to the available literature on Witchcraft, and I strongly recommend it, both to women and (secure) men. ;-)
Blessed be!
29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another gem from the Reclaiming Community 21 Jan 2001
By James Robert French - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
All too often, books on the Craft seem superficial. One is left with the feeling that there is a deeper mystery that is not being explained, a richer, darker, more passionate way to approach the Old Religion. The works of Starhawk and the Reclaiming Community stand apart from this depressing state of affairs. Each one unearths deep emotion and is filled with insight. This is the real thing, and that reality is felt bone deep.
"Twelve Wild Swans" is no exception. The lessons are based on an old, somewhat unsettling fairy tale. This story is approached from three different directions that enhance eachother. The most important thing, in my opinion, is the stress the authors both put on the seriousness of commiting one's self to the Craft. Witchcraft is a life altering journey, and that journey should not be embarked upon as a fashion statement. The Outer Path sections make this especially clear.
As a book that stresses dedication and a deep commitment to the Goddess, "Twelve Wild Swans" takes its place as a classic on par with, if not exceeding, "Spiral Dance". Thank you Starhawk and the Reclaiming Community!
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring book Good for a beginner as well as the advanced 16 Feb 2001
By "vayla-nightshade" - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I just startd reading this book last night and I am so far blown away! I ,like the other reviewers ,am sick & tired of the books out there on Witchcraft that are all the same with only a different spin on how to do things.How many times can you read "how to cast a circle" with out being SICK of read the same thing over & over? This book has 3 ways to experiencing it.There's the path for the neophyte,a path you could consider for those who have reached 2nd degree and than there's a 3rd degree path having more to do with community.So all in all you could use this book 3 times and learn something new everytime! I think that is more bang for the buck,you're learning 3 paths for one purchase!! I highly recommend this book to ALL,can you tell?Blessed Be & Thanks StarHawk and Ms. Valentine.
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars masterful Approach to Wiccan magic practice 17 Nov 2000
By P. Nagy - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I had the good luck to have worked with Starhawk in the year before her first book on Wicca appeared The Spiral Dance. I knew it would be a defining work because at that time there was little in print that described current Wiccan practice. Soon after its publication, if memory serves me right, the Reclaiming Collective was founded, attempting to create a living model in non-patriarchal political power and interpersonal relationships. It has been, as viewed from the outside, an ongoing experiment in applied feminist ethics, anarchist principles of consensus building and activist confrontational political witness. Now some 20 years into the experiment we have some subtle reflections on the practice of magic as personal and collective transformation hung upon a common fairytale. Unlike many works on Wicca this work has more implied in its practice than what is explicitly stated. Twelve Wild Swans will be considered a benchmark in the emerging and ever morphing traditions of neopagan magic practice. It is a good book to study and adapt to one's own coven's magic practice. Twelve Wild Swans is much appreciated and highly recommended for repeated readings.
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A continuation 18 July 2001
By The Captain - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Despite other reviewers comments, there is little "sexual bias" in this book. Starhawk is a woman, and seems to work with a lot of women, so it is natural that she does not assume men are her primary audience. This does not mean she hates men, and I have yet to find a single suggestion that men should not pursue their own spiritual pursuits. This book is usefull for both women AND men.
12 Wild Swans is a continuation of the Spiral Dance, providing new exersizes for both solitary practitioners and working groups. There is less discussion of politics, like in Truth or Dare or Dreaming the dark, and more focus on fairy tales and mythology as a clue to spriritual growth. It is aimed at both novice and experienced people, giving a solid framework while simultaneously building on that framework for those more experienced.
This is an excellent guide for personal growth and responsibility.
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