Most helpful critical review
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Quite entertaining and informative
on 14 February 2008
I had expected this book to be a bit on the `stuffy' side as it was written quite some time ago, but I was quite wrong. The book was recommended to me by a friend who is also interested in pagan/esoteric thinking. The story is told from the point of view of a chap called Wilfred Maxwell and how he meets with a mysterious woman, whose name changes throughout the book from Vivienne Le Fay Morgan to Morgan Le Fay - a reference to King Arthur's witchy sister - and then to just Morgan.
I found the book to be an easy read apart from when it launches into the`mystical' rituals. Then the going becomes a bit harder, but mainly, I think, because the ritualistic descriptions seem to be just random esoteric words thrown together until you're not sure what's happening. I really do think that when people try to describe ritual workings they over complicate it. The reader is left thinking either `wow, pagan beliefs really are mysterious!' or `that made no sense whatsoever,' which doesn't do much for paganism. Who wants to study something they can't make head nor tail of?
Parts of the book did make me laugh - Dion Fortune had a great sense of humour - and other parts, where she describes how marriage should not be a sticky plaster to cover up the `sins' of sex are a breath of fresh air. She really was a radical thinker of her time who was unwilling to be constrained by common social beliefs. The over-complicating of ritual is the only thing that spoilt this book for me.