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73 of 74 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Overview of Witchcraft
Judika Illes is probably best known for her huge work The Element Encyclopedia of 5,000 Spells, a huge work containing references to anything to do with spell work. She has now completed her second huge undertaking, an encyclopedia on witchcraft. And it is just as huge as her first book.
As I see it, this is not a how to book. It's more a collection of information...
Published on 25 Sept. 2005 by Margaret A. Foster

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Great read on History
This is very broad on the history of the craft - some very interesting. Good read again for research. shipping was quick
Published 15 months ago by J. Moyr


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73 of 74 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Overview of Witchcraft, 25 Sept. 2005
By 
Margaret A. Foster (Quakertown, PA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Judika Illes is probably best known for her huge work The Element Encyclopedia of 5,000 Spells, a huge work containing references to anything to do with spell work. She has now completed her second huge undertaking, an encyclopedia on witchcraft. And it is just as huge as her first book.
As I see it, this is not a how to book. It's more a collection of information that defines witchcraft in its many various forms. From how the outside world still views us in some cases to how we see ourselves, there is no particular path, no one personal agenda here. This gives the book a very even, open, very multi-dimensional appeal. We do not have just a well known author pushing his or her personal path or a new author experimenting with theirs.
Rather, we have a book that combines the paths, combines the opinions and the points of view and blends it into a very readable and very useful tool. Approach with an open mind and look at all the possibilities.
The bibliography reads like a "Who's Who" in the pagan community, combining well known material with very learned sources and including the little known/hardly referenced material to present very well rounded information that is gathered together in one place.
I spent a lot of time paging through the book, reading the information, exploring the comments and following the way Ms. Illes put it all together in this book. Movie/TV reviews which are well thought out and discussed from both the Hollywood angle who's purpose is to draw an audience to how we on the other side tend to critique these same entertainment. Looking at the notes included with her contents; "Hecate, Hekate [...] endnote: Further Reading: Jacob Rabinowitz's The Rotting Goddess (Autonomedia, 1998)." This author has it together with her research. She notates her references and gives you more places to search if the included information is not enough for you.
The topics covered connect directly to the practice of witchcraft. From the opening Introduction which discusses the many, many attempts to define the word "witch" from large variety of sources, I fell the material is appropriate, works well in the context given, and is in an easy to read/reference format. As I went over her basic research, she appears to have it very well documented.
This information can take the form of material that sometimes we do not want to approach. We see both order and chaos here. And this is appropriate, as we do practice both sides of the balance. Some folks may not like this, but this is who we are.
There are twenty-one topics. Each topic is broken down into its elements, as it applies to witchcraft. There are movie reviews, information on witches books, famous witches, not so famous witches, glossary of terms, Gods and Goddesses, witches holidays around the world, food and drink, even a travel guide with places of importance to witches. There is much more than I could possibly cover here in a reasonable amount of space. I would recommend picking the book up and looking at it even before you buy it to see how much really is contained in this broad work.
The bibliography is extensive, and the index is huge to help you find exactly what you are looking for quickly and painlessly.
I see this book as a reference for those who do not have the resources but need them. This book is not a replacement but a place to start. Read through the topic you are researching, find the books referenced and work forward from there. I see this as a general research book or for someone just starting on their path. If you can not have a huge library, this book can be a handy orientation.
Well written, expertly reference, and easy to use. That is just about all you could ask for in an encyclopedia. And to have one that does covers many paths without bias, you have a book that is worth recommending. boudica
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent - a fantastic overview of witchcraft, in all of its aspects, 13 Jun. 2007
By 
Brida "izumi" (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This encyclopedia is a companion to the ENCYCLOPEDIA OF 5000 SPELLS, also by the same author.

When I first received this volume, I was surprised in some ways: I had been expecting it to be organised by A-Z reference. In a sense it is, but Judika has actually arranged subject areas into alphabetical order, rather than absolutely everything there is to know about witchcraft in general - a much better way of going about it.

The encyclopedia begins with an informative introduction. I urge everyone who picks up this encyclopedia, especially those with perhaps limited knowledge about Wicca and witchcraft, to read this first. Judika highlights in here that, as with beauty, "what constitutes witchcraft is dependent upon the eye of its beholder" (p.1). Quite an obvious onbsevation, but one that definitely warrants discussion, even in today's world.

Following the introduction, there is then a section about the elements of aitchcraft. Again, I would urge you to read this before delving into the late pages. Topics covered here are the roots of witchcraft, animism, the worship of goddesses and the image of the sacred female plus dualism.

Some of the subjects included in the reference section of the encyclopedia include Animals, Books of Magic and Witchcraft, Calendar of Revelry and Sacred Days, Fairies, Creative Arts, Women's Mysteries and Wormwood and Garlic: Dangers and Protection.

As another reviewer said, this book is really a work to be used as a point of reference. It is not a how-to of witchcraft - patly because in order to do that, it would have to take on a certain stance, or tradition, and I see this book as more a general reference to witchcraft. This volume would be a good starting point for someone who has no or a little knowledge and would like to develop that knowledge. By Judika providing an extensive bibliography, you would certainly be able to use it in such a way. Likewise, because the index is also included, it enables you to use this book as a very accessible first point of call for when you may want information quickly.

This is a brilliant encyclopedia. It serves its purpose very well. I am incredibly pleased that I purchased it. Good, informative books are not always easy to come by - books on Wicca and witchcraft can either be fabulous or very prescripted - whereas this helps you to learn more about such a wide subject with the chance to go away and develop your knowledge by further research. Highly recommended.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a great source of information ...., 3 May 2006
By 
julie58 (Fareham, UK) - See all my reviews
this is a huge book, filled with all the information you could possibly want to know about witchcraft!! It's not a how-to book, so don't buy it if you are looking for guidance - but the book will fill in the gaps you might have in your knowledge of the Craft and all it encompasses. A must for all witches and those interested in this path ....
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A celebration of the Craft, 11 Dec. 2009
This excellent encyclopedia by Judika Illes is evidently well researched. It covers many aspects of witchcraft from all over the world, as well as modern western tradition. It is divided up into different sections. These range from the more obvious subjects such as "Animals", "The Divine Witch:Goddesses and Gods" to "Magical Professions" and "Places: A Witch's Travel Guide." Each section has subjects listed in alphabetical order and cross referencing. An index at the back enables the reader to check on a subject quickly, and the bibliography is useful for people interested in further reading.

This encyclopedia allows the reader to examine similarities as well as differences between various traditions. Often similar themes and concepts emerge. Illes pulls these strands together very succinctly in the introduction, but it also apparent throughout the book. Given how wide-ranging this book is, this is quite an achievment.

This book does not tell it readers how to 'do' witchcraft. For example, the section on "Tools of Witchcraft" tells us that the athame is used in casting circles and directing energy etc, but it does not state how this is done. The reader does however, find out more about how its use in witchcraft developed. This approach encourages the reader to develop a deeper knowledge, rather than doing something in a certain way only because of being told to. Consequently, there is more understanding of the advantages and disavantages of using a particular ritual or invoking a particular diety. This in turn helps ensure clarity of intent.

I have had this book for a couple of years now, and I refer to it time and again. It is brilliant for those who follow an electic path, but also a great guide for more traditional practitioners. It celebrates the long history of witchcraft throughout the world and helps the reader appreciate exactly how long witchcraft has survived.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars rainbow tree comment, 19 Aug. 2007
By 
V. Crabtree "rainbow tree" (wales u.k.) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
My daughter bought this for me from amazon as a present and I have to say it is the most amazing record of just about everything anyone would want to know about witchcraft. Ms Illes has managed to relay how witchcraft has evolved throughout the ages and contrary to popular belief anyone can source the information and use it to complement their lives. Buy it and you won't regeret it!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful!!, 19 Feb. 2009
A true dictionary of the witch craft, a book I truly do wish I had years ago. A lot of things in the book they could've written a book alone for each subject, but they have shorten the subjects and still managed to get most of what each subject is all about. Reminds me of any other encyclopaedia, but with few pictures but the text in this book truly makes up for it. This is a book I always return to and which I am giving away to friends for birthdays and Christmas aswell.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A magical tour de force, 24 April 2007
What we all need in our lives today is something to believe in and something magical. This book will bring you both, if you turn the pages with an open mind. A sense of being a part of something great and special. Connection back to nature and our planet which we have lost.

Harry Potter has re-awakened mankind's yearning to believe in something more magical than ourselves. Much that we have forgotten or strayed away from in our urgency to have it all is actually just what we need most now.

Judika has researched, prepared and tended this book with a great love and knowledge of all kinds of magic. If you believe and are seeking to know more this is the one current book that can help you. She pays respect to all of the sorcerors who came before and takes the magic of yesteryears right into the NOW. Read it, enjoy and learn.

This is not just hocus pocus. There is a serious side and it is also fun, beautiful and bright. Imbibed with life.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book I wish I had years ago!, 3 Nov. 2008
By 
This book probably contains a selection of the most interesting things and I personally find it hard to put it down. I've never read a dictionary from start to end, but this one I have. haha

Most of the things that are mentioned in the book are a longer introduction to what everything are and what they are about. This is most likely because each thing mentioned in the book could, and also do, have books after books fully dedicated to them. So just as for a normal dictionary the subjects has been forced to be abreviated but it's a great one at that. I couldn't recommend this book more. It's simply such a great treasure in the bookcase for me that am interested in the craft, the supernatural, medical herbs, and so on. And thankfully, even though it's a big book with many pages, it's a joy to go back to and find different spells, herbs, people etc, in. It's so easy.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars VERY good!!!!, 17 Oct. 2006
This is an excellent encyclopedia!!!! And the very best one of its kind. It has information on every magical person that has ever lived and has been created. Movies, books, history and fantasy. No stone has been left unturned and it's been well researched! Brilliant!!!

For every magical enquiery you ever have, this will be the book to turn to! Simply fantastic!

Not to mention its a gorgeous book!
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars amazing book, 10 April 2006
By 
Deborah MacGillivray "Author," (US & UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
Amazing book that offers a lot. When you offer a lot sometimes areas are thin, but on the whole there is a wealth of information that is very valuable for writers as well as those on the journey of learning.

Beautifully produced, well worth every penny. If you bought this book and paid for the pound you would get your money's worth! An amazing about of work on folklore in it's most elemental form.

I highly recommend it for paranormal writers.
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