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Wicca Magical Beginnings: A study of the historical origins of the magical rituals, practices and beliefs of modern Initiatory and Pagan Witchcraft by [d'Este, Sorita, Rankine, David]
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Wicca Magical Beginnings: A study of the historical origins of the magical rituals, practices and beliefs of modern Initiatory and Pagan Witchcraft Kindle Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Review

...that he did not just cobble together the rites of Wicca from books. Personally, I would go along with d'Este and Rankine. Highly recommended. -- Michael Howard, Cauldron Magazine, #129, August 2008

By covering the ceremonial topics as well as looking at themes on the pagan side such as Cernunnos, I think Wicca: Magickal Beginnings is going to become a vital part of many wiccans' bookshelves.
-- Stephen Blake, The Esoteric Book Review, May 2008

Definitely a book worth getting if you're at all interested in Thelema and Wicca. -- Rodney Orpheus, Author of Abrahadabra: Understanding Aleister Crowley's Thelemic Magick

Definitely a book worth getting if you're at all interested in Thelema and Wicca." -- Rodney Orpheus, Author of Understanding Aleister Crowley's Thelema Magick

I've been talking to some friends about this, recommending this book even before I finished reading it -- Boudica for the TWPT

This is an excellent book, set to become a classic that will be found on every Wiccan's bookshelf... -- Vogelbeere, Yew tree, Yvonne Aburrow

What they add is a level of referenced detail that is invaluable. -- Pagan Dawn Magazine, The Pagan Federation

With somethhing of interest for both the newcomer and the scholar Wicca:Magickal Beginnings should find a place in any serious collection.
-- Pagan Dawn Magazine(Magazine of the Pagan Federation UK), Lammas 2008

a bedrock of grimoire materials with fragments of folk practices ... Highly Recommended. -- The Cauldron Magazine, Michael Howard

Review

Definitely a book worth getting if you're at all interested in Thelema and Wicca.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1393 KB
  • Print Length: 284 pages
  • Publisher: Avalonia; Kindle Edition September 2014 edition (12 Feb. 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004TGUCD6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #191,973 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Format: Paperback
It was a breath of fresh air to read this book, which presents accurate and historical information in order to separate the `myth' from the `reality' in regard to the origins of Wicca. Perhaps for the first time, these authors look closely at the individual practices which make up Wicca as a whole, and source the exact origins of these practices.

There has been much hostility between different traditions of modern witchcraft in regard to whether Wicca is - or is not - a continuation of older practices. To compound this, many practitioners of Wicca also try to avoid association with the more controversial figures - such as Aleister Crowley: and this book proves - whether you like it or not! - that Aleister had an enormous influence on Wiccan practice, particularly in relation to some of its most highly regarded ritual and poetry.

This book presents very clearly that Wicca - whilst a new concept as a whole - is indeed based on older practices, perhaps including the mystery traditions of Greece and Rome, Ceremonial Magick, the Cunning Craft of Britain and the Grimoire tradition (the latter which provides Wicca with such key practices as the directions, or `quarters', and the magic circle; used in both Traditional Wicca and some forms of modern British Cunning Craft). The authors also give their own opinion based on the evidence at the end of the book as to which they believe was the most prevalent influence; but the reader is reminded to come to their own conclusions.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book entails a refreshing and objective overview of the plausible origins and developments of many magickal aspects and their development into modern Wiccan traditions. Chapter by chapter the authors examine individual practices and their developments over time such as the Magick circle, Wiccan Rede and Witches Athame for example.

Having recently read Ronald Hutton's research in The Triumph of the Moon, which seems to demonstrate that despite the history of Cunning Folk, Wise Women and many others, that Wicca as it exists today has little or no direct connection with any magick traditions of earlier times, this book - if we are able to join the dots between movements and grimoires, convincingly portrays an opposite view. Here we see that the Wiccan traditions do indeed follow a historical lineage, even if individual practices have understandably changed over time - by which mean we may see that they are living traditions rather than archived curiosities, that the spirit of magick has maintained a constant and responsive cultural presence, possibly since very ancient times. This book also explores how Gerald Gardener, the apparent father of modern Wicca, may owe more than is usually stated to Aleister Crowley, Charles Leland, the Key of Solomon and Frazier's Golden Bough among others.

The co author's Sorita D'ete and David Rankine provide numerous references in an extensive bibliography for the academically determined to double check their assertions and contexts, some good humored asides of interest and some objective conjecture that invites an opened mind to assess for themselves- based on the evidences gathered - the likely origins of each aspect under consideration.

As a believer in informed understanding I would therefore recommend this book, to be considered in conjunction with other authors research, to any who seek a practical view of the possible lineage of Wicca and Magickal traditions in Britain and the World today.
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Format: Paperback
(A version of this review was originally posted on 'The Avalonia Esoteric Book Review' site)

If we look at the arguments people have over Wicca, the biggest one is generally whether "Gardner made it up" or not. He introduced `The Craft' to the public in 1951, claiming that he'd been initiated into a system which was already in existence, not one that he invented himself. Since then we've found evidence that Gardner certainly changed parts of it later (as did Doreen Valiente and others), but the question over whether he really found an existing tradition remains.

The authors of this book decided not to focus on the big names like Gerald Gardner, but instead trace the origins of Wiccan *practices*. These are, after all, the things that make Wicca what it is - the ceremonies, tools and systems.

And this is where the trouble is going to start, because many people now see Wicca as primarily a pagan Earth-religion. Early `Gardnerian' Wicca (before it was called that) was very different in some ways: more like an initiatory system of ceremonial magic with some witchy themes. People are quite angry on both sides about whether real Wicca today is the initiatory type, or one that should be open to all.

So what does the book say about this? Well, the first conclusion is that - even if Gerald did make it up - the systems Wicca draws together go back a long way. The early chapters are interesting, but the sections on the Athame, Magic Circle and Calling the Quarters are brilliant. There is a lot of information here for Wiccans who want to know more about where their practices come from: specific parts are traced to the Lesser Key of Solomon or John Dee and Enochian Magic, but beliefs such as only walking sunwise around a circle go back strongly to Egyptian times.
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