24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
A comprehensive, *serious* introduction to witchcraft,
This review is from: Complete Book of Witchcraft (Llewellyn's Practical Magick) (Paperback)
That's the first thing that you'll notice about "The Complete Book of Witchcraft". It's not messing about with fluff. It's aimed specifically at those who are seeking to learn about witchcraft, primarily in the Gardnerian-rooted tradition of Seax-Wica, as practiced and taught by Raymond Buckland. Neither is the book designed for "dipping into" on a whim. It is arranged into a series of "lessons", well presented and informative, each of which concludes with a number of exercises and "revision questions".
Several reviewers have highlighted one or two obvious flaws in the way the book is styled, and I must conditionally agree. Buckland does seem to insert rather an excessive number of references to his other books - although that being said, most of these are self-contained quotes and references used to make a point or provide further illustration. In the main, however, they do so without the necessity of buying these books. So they are at best informative extracts, and at worst adverts, rather than a requirement to buy. Secondly of course, there is the focus of the book. This is not "The Complete Book of Witchcraft" as its title suggests - although it might well have claimed to be "The Complete Book of Seax-Wica". Buckland does, oddly, seem to handle the words "Wicca" and "Witchcraft" interchangeably, although this is perhaps justified given that he is teaching a specific Wiccan tradition. The blurb by one reviewer on the back of this book calls it "eclectic", and it's important to understand that it is not - it is designed to teach Seax-Wica, with added information about other traditions scattered through the book for interest's sake.
In my own view, the style of the book is almost perfect for its intended audience. It is not flighty, since Buckland clearly (and understandably) treats his religion with a great deal of respect, and nor does it subscribe to the idea that you can be a witch simply by wearing black and buying "spell books". This book is not a "spell book" or a self-help book and is not intended to be - it is a course of tuition. The reader is the student, the author the tutor. The style is consistent with that idea, and anyone who has a genuine interest and can willingly submit themselves to the "student" role while they study the course will gain a great deal of insight and information from this book. It is, perhaps, not an ideal way to learn, but for those who are Solitary by situation rather than by choice, it is certainly the next-best-thing to a real-life tutor.