As a practicing Witch, I was intrigued by this book immediately when I received it. The title really made me wonder what would be included. Would it be a defense of the Craft and its practitioners to those who may have negative opinions of us? Or would it be a history of the Craft?

I was very pleased to find that it was some of both. Katie Boyd does a nice job of summarizing some of the more important parts of the Craft and making them accessible to those for whom they might not be familiar. Important people who helped Wicca develop into the religion that it is today are also mentioned, and I suspect that many practitioners could use this book as a way to be introduced to them or learn more about them.

One part that I particularly liked had the definitions of Wicca and Witchcraft, and the difference between the two. It aligned very closely with how I would tell people: That Wicca is a spiritual path, and that Witchcraft is magickal work that can be done by anyone of any faith. It's a small distinction, but with many people using the words interchangeably it can be very confusing for practitioners, let alone the general public.

While I think this book is an excellent resource, I was confused at times. It started with the title. There are literally five pages in this work that deal with "Witches & Witchcraft in the 21st Century". To be honest, I was expecting more information on Wiccans and Witches of today: How they worship, what motivates them, and how they get along in today's society, for example. The book was more like a historical primer on the Craft than anything else, so I think the title doesn't really work.

Also, I wasn't sure who this book was geared toward. Don't get me wrong...the information is great no matter who you are. And I could have overlooked that fact until I got to the end and noticed that there were spells and chants listed, which would have been more appropriate for a spellbook or grimoire. I feel like if the book had just had the historical information and left it at that, it would have been a success. But it's almost as if this book was trying to be something for everyone; consequently, it felt a little unfocused in places.

I'd recommend this book for people who are interested in learning more about the Craft who are totally unfamiliar with it, or for those who have studied the Craft for a year or so.  I would love to see a follow-up work with a more complete grimoire for new or beginner Wiccans/Witches.

~review by John Marani

Author: Katie Boyd
Schiffer Publishing, Ltd., 2010
pp. 160, $14.99

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