One of the seminal books of witchcraft, Robert Graves' The White Goddess is a pseudo-scholarly attempt to find poetic truth in a form so difficult that finding inspiration is fiendishly difficult. Mark Cater's Stalking the Goddess tracks down and examines the sources Robert Graves used. Part mystery solving, part scholarly discussion, Carter does an excellent job reintroducing this controversial classic to a new generation of Pagans.

Carter tallied Graves' sources, found the most important, and summarizes them, thus showing how Graves used them and alternative conclusions which might have been made. Readers who are unfamiliar with sources like Frazer's Golden Bough and the works of Margaret Murray will be introduced to them. In stark contrast to Graves' loose citations, Carter's book is meticulously cited and contains a full bibliography.

I enjoyed Carter's speculations about why Graves preferred obscure reference materials, incomplete translations, and outmoded historical models. Carter also sheds light on the Grave's creative process by showing us where, how, and why he manipulated his research to suit his needs. Through Carter's scholarship, we see the many paradoxes Graves faced, how he resolved them, and how his questionable conclusions influenced the following generations of scholars and lay readers alike.

I could wish for pictures, and an index would have helped cross reference subjects and chart out the more difficult parts. Other than that, it is written like a thesis or dissertation from a university -- which can be tough going at times.

I recommend this book for anyone who interested in learning more about one of the foundation books of the modern Pagan movement.

~review by Lisa Mc Sherry

Author: Mark Carter
Moon Books, 2012
pp. 384

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