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38 of 38 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not for Fluffy Bunnies
'Mastering Witchcraft' is NOT about Wicca, if you want a book on "the Goddess" or "the God" and harm none etc. go look elsewhere you won't find that religious stuff here. This is one mans form of somewhat ceremonial Witchcraft.

This book has been on and off my wish list for months now. I kept hearing contradicting accounts of its worth and value but I finally...
Published on 16 Aug 2008 by Customer

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Wasn't Impressed
I found this book pretentious with very little room for interpretation. I got the impression that the author believes that in order to become a witch, "warlock" or "wizard" (I don't know anyone who reffers to themselves as a warlock or wizard), you must follow this book to the letter.
Not a bad book, just not for me.
Published 16 months ago by Lexi


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38 of 38 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not for Fluffy Bunnies, 16 Aug 2008
By 
Customer - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
'Mastering Witchcraft' is NOT about Wicca, if you want a book on "the Goddess" or "the God" and harm none etc. go look elsewhere you won't find that religious stuff here. This is one mans form of somewhat ceremonial Witchcraft.

This book has been on and off my wish list for months now. I kept hearing contradicting accounts of its worth and value but I finally bit the bullet and decided to see for myself what all the fuss was about!

I'm extremely glad I read this book as it's a refreshingly non-dogmatic. There's talk of cursing, seduction via magic, manipulative spells etc. all very interesting and more along the lines of a left-hand path. I actually liked that Huson did not tell the reader to not do such and such like most writers, rather he left it up to the reader's discretion to decide what was acceptable practice (morally speaking) and what was not. Although despite this, I did feel as though some parts of this book were written with a booming 'mwhahahaha' following some parts of the darker passages -- this does not however dent it's inherent worth as a text.

'Mastering Witchcraft' would make a good test to use on self-proclaimed 'witches'. Indeed if they find the whole thing too dark and immediately want to burry it in the back garden, asking that "the Goddess" please enlighten this misguided Satanist then obviously they're not a real witch. If you come out of this book having appreciated it then, pat yourself on the back, you have the stomach to study Witchcraft. If one cannot cope with the material presented within this book then there's something very wrong; people who call the practices in Husons text 'satanic' really need to get back into the new age fluffy book section of the bookshop. There's no room for feeblemindedness or namby pamby harm-none Wiccan values in actual Traditional Witchcraft -- which is what this book is describing, albeit Trad Witchcraft mixed with some ceremonial magic practices.

There is some absolute gold material in 'Mastering Witchcraft' as far as actual Traditional Witchcraft is concerned, like the Dumb Supper, how to summon a shade of ones future wife/husband, Fetches and various other pieces of lore. I was pleased Huson mentioned the Watchers as they very often get neglected in Witchcraft books, and they're very traditional in many sectors of Witchcraft. Huson also bravely mentions Lucifer the Light-bearer as a version of the witch god -- always added points for that one.

The book is quite ceremonial and Huson combines a lot of mathematical formula into the magic process, which is certainly one way of doing things -- not mine but there you have it. There are workable things in this book and those ideas that I would not use myself, but I think `Mastering Witchcraft' would be very useful for Magician or Witch alike.

Ignore the hype surrounding this book and just read it to see for yourself, it's not as sensationalist as many would claim -- only those who cannot comprehend that witchcraft is a dark chthonic practice unlike the white-light rubbish most books pertaining to witchcraft spout on about these days. Highly recommended.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "The most notorious text of modern witchcraft", 4 Nov 2009
This has been a perennially popular book among witches since its original publication in 1970 due partly to its clear ritual instruction and partly because of the interesting lore it contains.

In a recent documentary Professor Ronald Hutton described this book as "The most notorious text of modern witchcraft" ..."unashamedly about gaining power and completely amoral when it comes to hurting people".

So all in all a good and interesting book on witchcraft, just as long as you aren't looking for overly moralistic wiccan stuff.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars i cant say it was all good but i still couldnt put it down!, 20 May 2010
When i first read reviews for this book i was put off but the mention of traditional witchcraft made me desire the book so i ordered it. When it arrived i flicked through finding reference to stuff i havent heard of and finally a book that actually conects jersey channel islands stuff, ok so its not alot but its allowed me to widen my search for traditional jersey craft.

I begun to read the book and there where things that i dont personally follow but the spells and rituals work, the witches tools are correct. but anyway i began reading it at 9 at night well lets just say when it hit 5 in the mourning i knew it had to be a good book. WORTH HAVING EVEN JUST AS A REFERENCE BOOK ON YOUR BOOKSHELF!! i found it well worth it. remember this is a personal opionion everyone is entitled to there own opionion :-)
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A wider view..., 23 May 2004
By 
Mrs. Z. L. Reynolds "surfingbernard" (UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Mastering Witchcraft (Paperback)
This book is an amalgamation of many diverse practices with some theological eyebrow- raisers. There are elements of wicca, traditional Craft, gypsy and folk magic, hermetic ritual etc. etc. It has much valuable material for those who know how to fish for it.
There has been much herrumphing about the 'Lord's Prayer backwards' ritual in the book. I believe that those who find this offensive are missing the point somewhat as it is meant as a symbolic shedding of one's previous religious background which has been a factor in the traditional craft a considerable while longer than this book's been around!
Some wiccans may be offended by the numerous formulae for cursing as it goes against their 'rede' whereas others will be delighted to add more magical weaponry to their arsenal!! Not for the faint-hearted!
Paul Huson's style is entertaining and lighthearted with some laugh-out-loud moments (without trivializing the subject matter) making this book a delight to read.
Although many witches (both wiccan and traditional) have criticized the work for it's lack of theological consistency it appeals to many for it's down-to-earth style and directness in contrast to the overwhelming quantity of fluffy, new-age material on the subject.
I would not disagree with those who say this is a catchpenny book on witchcraft as it is a 'love spells and curses' number, but there is much of interest here and many of the spells are indeed traditional. Huson also manages to drum home some magical fundamentals for beginners which the 'white light' books tend to overlook.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars For male witches, 5 Feb 2004
By A Customer
I couldn't agree more with a previous reviewer that the witchcraft presented in this book is most certainly male-orientated and not full of all the feminist overtones you get in most. While I wouldn't say this tradition is older than Gerald Gardner's, it still has a medeival ceremonial magical air to it, and alot of themes and ritual syles have been adopted from medeival Grimoires and blended in with country witchcraft. I especially liked 'The conjuration of Barrabas' ritual and 'The operation of grand-bewitchment', the author seems less concerned with concealing the dark-arts, and urges you to embrace it. I think the reciting of the lord-prayer backwards is an excellent affirmation for the initiate to renounce former faiths and practices, so much so, I have adopted using it in my coven. Personally I tend to be more of a traditional country witch with a natural and simplistic approach, I'm not fond of endless rituals and ceremonies, but just take what you want and leave the rest.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Positively the best book on the Craft, 11 April 1998
By A Customer
Some readers might find Paul Huson's book disturbing for its' no-holds-barred approach to Witchcraft, in fact Stewart Farrar called it "that amoral book", however it is a good antidote to the "white-light" attitude prevalent in some new-age Wiccan circles that seek to ignore life's harder lessons. Paul Huson is said to be a practitioner of the "Derwent Wove" strand of traditional English Craft and his book reflects that eclectic blend of Celtic Paganism and almost cabbalistic Medieval Witchcraft. A very practical book with very little fluff, but the reader definitely must make up their own minds as to what constitutes right or wrong when practising magic. Very definitely a must-read!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not For Me., 10 Oct 2013
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I think the thing which the reader has to remember about this book is the original publishing date. This text was first made popular back in the 1970s, when for a large number of people Wiccan and Pagan were often interchangeable terms. While this book is obviously not written by a Wiccan (as he does not practise the "harm none" approach and includes cursing, love spells etc) large parts of it are based on Wiccan concepts, which really bothered me. As a Traditional Witch I was expecting something a little more separate, and I would argue with the description of the book which says the author is trying to offer "traditional European Witchcraft as a craft rather than a New Age religion."

This is not to say that the book is simply a Wiccan text in disguise; to his credit the author draws on several different sources including the Cabalistic teachings and practices, Freemasonry etc. But these were not properly explained or referenced, so the reader is left pondering what sources he used, or at worst completely bypasses the references altogether without realizing.

The writing style struck me as pompous and a little bit patronizing - which surprised me as it takes a lot to get my back up about a person's writing style! The author does take himself extremely seriously, and you have to be prepared for overuse of the phrases "the Black Arts" and "so mote it be".

He begins the main text with a way to dedicate yourself to starting your path which personally I think is completely unnecessary, although I appreciate the historical relevance and can see why he included it: his method is to recite the Lord's Prayer backwards for three successive nights. The idea is to free yourself of the "shackles" of organized religion and the idea of blasphemy.

I think my real issue is that this book is very much an instruction manual, without the inclusion of the "why". There is frequently no explanation of the reason for doing things - you simply do them. He does, however, go into good detail on theory such as the witches' pyramid (again no sourcing listed in the book, but from a quick google search I believe it is originally Hermetic, probably at least predating 1861, and among other names is also known as the Four Rules of the Magus).

He also mentions that you should never bargain for magical objects but just accept the initial price, which if you ask me is a ludicrous rule to include in a book on general magical theory, and certainly not a rule every down to earth, everyday witch needs to follow.

All in all if you want a book to show you how to perform what I would agree is largely ceremonial magic then you have come to the right place. If you are someone who prefers a wilder, more primal magic without large numbers of rules and with more of a focus on nature, you're probably better off spending your money elsewhere.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Wasn't Impressed, 3 Sep 2013
By 
Lexi (Highlands of Scotland) - See all my reviews
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I found this book pretentious with very little room for interpretation. I got the impression that the author believes that in order to become a witch, "warlock" or "wizard" (I don't know anyone who reffers to themselves as a warlock or wizard), you must follow this book to the letter.
Not a bad book, just not for me.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic!, 10 Feb 2012
For anyone wishing to delve into non-Wiccan Witchcraft this is the classic book for them.

Written in '69 and published in 1970 'Mastering' is still as popular today as it was then, forming a basis from which to form a praxis of true witchcraft far removed from the 'fluff' that has sadly, become attached to Wicca over the last few years. Although it has become infamous in some circles for advising the new Witch to say the Lords Prayer in reverse, this firm advice imho, is most important for the issues within it throws up, or should that be out?

There is also an interesting account of the Watchers in the introduction which has spawned much speculation that Huson, was/is of a linage far more interesting than he alludes to.

My advice to anyone new to the Craft or wishing to find another alternative to Wicca is to buy 'Mastering' and work through it with intent - it will save you the time and effort of looking else where.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars You are acting like children !, 8 Sep 2000
By A Customer
This book is , just like most things in life , highly subjective : the baggage you carry with you into the reading of this book dictates what you will take with you IF you finish it ! It is symaltaniously good bad and indifferent , depending on your expectations of and for this peice . I like and have used it , and will do again , but some others disagree , fine by me ! Just stop arguing . "The Craft" ( to stay on safe ground ) , is in all its aspects , a teaching of universals and wholes ; this book is a part not the whole ! Being good for the sake of it is a highly christianised idea born of ignorance and the need of some people to control the masses ! I advcate personal strength and control : this book offers a challenge " can you control your self long enough and well enough to gain knowlage from this work ? " ,
So please stop bickerring and try to understand the wholness of the universe , including this minute part of it ! Bright blessings on you sisters and brothers
Blessed be !
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Mastering Witchcraft
Mastering Witchcraft by Paul Huson (Paperback - 23 Jun 1972)
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