Top positive review
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Bringing light out of Shadows
on 15 December 2006
Going against the stereotypes of someone who chose to become Pagan / Wiccan at 15, I have always been sceptical of so-called 'Wicca books'/ 'Witchcraft books' (there is no 'how-to' for becoming a Witch). But when I noticed the hardback edition of this one whilst browsing a small bookshop, I quickly realised this was something different.
Book of Shadows is part auto-biography, part guidebook, and part story.
The Author's Note at the beginning states:
"The story that follows is true. In an effort to safeguard the privacy of individuals whose lives have touched mine, all of the names and many of the identifying details of the people mentioned in this book have been changed. In some cases, composite characters have been created and some events altered for the purpose of further disguising the identity of individuals."
Phyllis Curott was a non-religious law student when she had her first experiences of the 'magical' world in the 1970's. At the time, she did not recognise them as such. When she graduated she left New York for Washington DC, but found that her premonitions, dreams and insights had stopped. A year later she was made redundant, and returned to New York.
She ended up managing a band, and met a fellow manager, Sophia, who called herself 'a white Witch'. Sophia introduced her to a group of women who were starting a womens circle, or 'coven'.
Over the thirteen chapters (representing the 13 moons of the year), we follow the first year of Phyllis' spiritual journey, as she tries to balance her profesional life in the male-dominated law world of 1980's New York, with her discovery and understanding of the world's oldest religion.
Because Phyllis has no pre-conceived religious beliefs, we are able to put ourselves in her place as she makes her way through the experience. She explores not just modern Wicca, but also a brief look at its history, and how so many myths and misconceptions arose around these beliefs.
I found this book so difficult to put down, and have now read it 6 times. Every time I have had to stop, when I come back to it (days, weeks, or months later), I always find myself at a point relative to my life at that moment!
Ignore all those 'how-to' books for Wicca and Witchcraft, seemingly aimed at the teenage market. THIS is the best introduction to The Craft, presented in a very accessible manner, but with enough to grip an intelligent, adult reader.
NB: Book of Shadows is the term given to a coven's book of spells.