Once upon a time, our community had a paucity of works for anyone past the 'witchcraft 101' stage and we were complaining about a lack of advanced works . . . fast forward a decade or so and now it seems we have a whole host of books touting themselves as able to take us to the next level of our practice. Some do, notably Grey Cat's Deepening Witchcraft, Kirk White's works, and Venecia Rauls' The Second Circle, most don't. So it was with a strong sense of wariness that I picked up Marcus F. Griffin's Advancing the Witch's Craft (subtitled: Aligning Your Magical Spirit Through Meditation, Exploration, and Initiation of the Self). When I laid it down again it was with a deep sense of gratitude -- Griffin's book was a lovely gift and a treasure to have explored.

As I implied, this is emphatically not a beginner's book: there are no foundational elements presented here. If you don't already know how to meditate, move energy, or visualize then you are not ready for this work. And if you haven't been working magick long enough to have an open mind about the 'rules' you might have difficulty: Griffin has some strong opinions about what the value of how things are 'always' done.  As far as he's concerned, just because something is how 'everyone' does it, doesn't mean its the right way, the best way, and certainly not the only way. For example, energy is either positive (good) or negative (bad), right? Why? Who says so?

Now for a moment of confusion: There is a similarly-titled book by the same author under his 'craft' name at a different publisher that was published six years prior. That book comes with a CD of meditations, and there are more available through his (variably maintained) website; they are, however, the same book. Clearly I liked the previous version, but it didn't "stick" with me. This time around I got a lot more out of Griffin's writing and perspective.

What I found most valuable was the author's insistence on my doing the work of examining my long-held beliefs and practices under the lenses of "why". Why do I do this? Does it work? My coming year(s) are filled with alternatives and new ideas, just based on my asking those fundamental questions. I think many of us are taught a system of magick, unbreakable rules for How Things Are Done and it can be a true coming of age moment when we realize that those rules are more like guidelines. And we become magical adults when we accept that our training wasn't flawed, there are good reasons for not presenting everything all at once -- magick is a system of responsibility and growth and that process needs to be respected.

Highly recommended.

~review by Lisa Mc Sherry

Author: Marcus F. Griffin
Megalithica Books, 2011
pp.230,  $20.99

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