In Wicca Made Simple, Greenaway offers a friendly quick read on the general topic of Wicca and delves lightly into typical topics for a beginner book like magic, tools, spells, gardening, and initiation. The tone of the book is easy to read, friendly.

Unfortunately, some of her facts are questionable. On page 5, she states “…the word Wicca being linked to the wick of a candle.” Most sources put Wicca as a derivation from Old English meaning witch or wise woman / person. With such a large error so early in the book, it makes it difficult to trust her other meanings. Additionally, Greenaway states throughout the book she likes the flexibility of Wicca but then gets oddly inflexible about what should go into a ritual or what tools are an absolute must have. This comes across as superficial and inconsistent particularly for a reader new to paganism. Greenaway uses Wicca and Witch as synonyms. Many Wiccans and witches would take offense at this. There are differences between the two belief systems. In the book, she discusses a few types of paths. She includes solitary, kitchen, hedge, hereditary, Gardnerian and traditional. She misses some important ones like Dianic. Greenaway states she doesn’t like to follow some old rules or philosophies. Yet, she has Wiccan ground rules which include worshipping the Earth to live in harmony, using the moon and planets and their energies, belief in an inner and outer world, belief that the Earth is a place of learning, belief in equality but that someone should make the rules, and not advocating ill will toward another being. However, she doesn’t mention the Wiccan rede or the rule of three.

Chapter 3 list tools for the beginner witch. Greenaway covers the majority of the tools but she does not really give a history or practical outline of the tools nor did she say anything about not needing any of the tools to be able to practice Wicca. Additionally, she relates the broom or broomstick as a sexual tool to be used during fertility rites when in reality it was typically used to sweep out negative energy. She discusses The Book of Shadows as a journal or dream diary as well as a place to record rituals. She talks about in this age witches preferring to use the computer to keep the information on desk. This calls into question when exactly this was written because computers don't use disks anymore.

Chapter 4 covers lunar Magic in which Greenaway discusses the phases of the moon. She starts with the full moon and then goes to the waxing moon which precedes the full moon so this is out of sequence and then goes to the waning moon. She then discusses the new moon and the Dark of the Moon. The sequence is chopped up and nonsensical. A beginner would not know how the moon phases follow each other and how they lead from one to the next and how you can use that energy to focus on. Additionally, she talks about the waxing moon as " many Witches cast spells to remove blocks and to improve life in general." The waxing moon is in fact meant to work on progression of a goal and building of goals and building of improvements not to remove things. Removing is during the waning of the Moon. Additionally, she talks about the Dark of the Moon as if it's some evil time when in reality the Dark of the Moon is a very short period of time meant to go within and to seek the path within.

“Moon is traditionally feminine aspect in the functions of the right side of the brain which tend to influence creativity and insight. Men also possess these functions but they tend to be found more abundantly in women (pg 30)." This seems exclusionary for men. Yes the moon is a feminine symbol but all men have a feminine side. She seems to want to exclude them from working with the moon’s energy.

For both gardening and tarot Greenaway offers too little information on how to work with either plants or tarot cards. She gives no warnings on whether or not to take a plant (or product from a plant) internally. Additionally, she spends very few pages discussing the ethics of tarot reading. In the tarot section she offers no tarot spreads. Again she provides a superficial view of these topics without adding in any ethics or responsibility for actions.

In the magnetic magic, she does offer one warning but only one. When it comes to medical issues, it is better to offer multiple cautions. Her warning is geared towards someone with a pacemaker or cardiac stents. This is a dangerous practice because magnetic therapy may or may not work and may cause negative effects.

“It is quite rare to cure a terminal illness successfully with the use of magic. This is because illnesses are often karmic and arranged by our guides and helpers before we reincarnate. We all agree to take on some pain and suffering and every child that is born causes the mother pain during labor so the process starts immediately.” pg 106 – 107 This quote feels like Greenaway blames the person for their illness. There are a number of reasons why a person gets terminal illnesses – environmental being a huge one.

The cover of the book says the only book you'll ever need but in the back she says this is only an introduction meant to scratch the surface. So which is it?

Some of the information she imparts is spot on. The read is quick and easy but overall her facts are superficial and in some cases wrong. Her spell work is simple and easy to follow, but she has unneeded rules which may be cumbersome to someone who doesn't follow her same path. It's a good thing to remember that this is an overview of her beliefs and her way of practicing witchcraft or Wicca.

review by Eileen Troemel

Author: Leanna Greenaway
Hampton Roads Publishing Company, 2017
pg. 144

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