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The need for books as teachers has not waned within the Neopagan community, and each year at least a few are published under the general – and often derogatory – heading of ‘Wicca 101.’ The reason for the derision is clear: most 101 books present information about witchcraft or Wicca as if it is a recipe (complicated, yes, but nonetheless formulaic) and disregard, or gloss over, the key aspect of working with a human teacher: personal growth and maturity. Unlike most of these readable but not recommended tomes, Dedicant is well done and joins my personal list of references for newcomers.

 

(Frankly, I was hooked at the Introduction: Calafia’s personal experience, perceptions, and frustrations were quite familiar. )

 

After a chapter briefly describing her world-view, the reader is given the nearly-obligatory chapter on “What is Wicca?” From there we go through personal responsibility, and then into the ‘basics’: keeping track, the Wheel of the Year, breath, energy, etiquette, casting a circle, creating sacred space, and finally raising and sending energy. Interestingly, Calafia advises the reader to Dedicate him/herself in a formal ritual before embarking on the year of lessons found in the remainder of the book.

 

The rest of the book is a year’s worth of lessons, starting with Yule, December and going through November. Each month has pathworkings, Sabbat lore and ritual work, meditations, energy work, and exercises relevant to that month. The final two chapters build on the work done and the knowledge gathered in the previous year and lead to self-initiation and beginning to take a larger role in the community (priestess or clergy).

 

I have a few quibbles about when information is presented, and I’m not thrilled with how sparsely the chapter on personal responsibility is presented, but those are quibbles, not strong objections. This is a solid work with good foundations and it does a good job at providing a solitary witch with the necessary tools to deeper his or her practice.

 

~review by Lisa Mc Sherry

Author: Thuri Calafia

Llewellyn Publications, 2008

pp. 342, $19.95

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