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Witch School was founded online (as witchschool.com) in 2001 by the Correllian Nativist Tradition, which was founded in 1879. Originally a family tradition, in 1979 the decision was made to open the tradition to the public via a series of correspondence lessons, created (in part) by the Rev, Don Lewis. These lessons took seven years to create, but revisions and upheavals within the tradition (including the passing of several Elders) delayed their presentation to the outside world until 1999.

In my opinion, it is important to see the Correllian Nativist Tradition and Witchschool.com as two entirely separate entities because although the Tradition founded the School, the latter has almost nothing to do with the Tradition but instead provides an easily accessible, inexpensive and extremely general (and often shallow) look at a variety of occult topics. Witchschool is, however, very popular. The School boasts of having more than 200,000 students, making it (to my knowledge) the largest occult organization in the history of modern paganism. The generality of the majority of the lessons and the large size of the student body are two things that have generated a great deal of controversy in the witch community.

So it is important to separate the two. Although this series of four books are labeled ‘WitchSchool’ it would be more accurate to say they are ‘Correllian Nativist’ as the lessons and structure are the public documentation of this Tradition’s teachings.

Originally written as part of the Second Degree training in the Correllian Tradition, Witch School Ritual Theory & Practice is a very good stand-alone book. The theory is sound, the training solid, and the exposition clear and easy to understand. The chapters do not have glossaries as the reader should know all of the terms already, nor are there exercises – the rituals presumably are the training.

Each chapter after the initial one on theory concentrates on the usual Esbats (new and full) and Sabbats (all eight), and Lewis-Highcorrell specifically says that rituals for personal transformation are not included. Those rituals belong with the primary teachings of the Tradition. This book is a more general one, teaching the foundations. It also fills the hole in the teachings found in the other books.

One of the highlights of this series is the deeper look into this little-known Tradition. There are few mentions of their beliefs in general circulation and fewer well-known public personalities. Moreover, their Wicca is distinctly different from that practiced by Gardner and his descendents, making this a rich resource for newcomers to witchcraft.

The lessons presented are solid and well-designed. As with all learning, if the student truly ‘works’ the exercises s/he will develop a rich esoteric practice and experience spiritual transformation. All the more so if s/he supplements the lessons by reading what others have said and – of course – testing it all out through personal experience.

The God/dess gave us brains, we don’t need to drop them on the floor.

~review by Lisa Mc Sherry
Author: Rev. Donald Lewis-Highcorrell
Llewellyn Worldwide, 2008

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