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Book Review: The Witch Book – Author Raymond Buckland

THE WITCH BOOK (PAPERBACK)
Author Raymond Buckland
Published by Visible Ink Press
Publication Date: 2001
Format: Black /White – 624 pages
Price: $24.95

Author Raymond Buckland is one to be respected. He has spent the better part of his life researching and engaging into he studies of witchcraft. With over 30 titles to his name, I couldn’t think of anyone better to author an encyclopedia of this stuff.

The book offers what it its title suggests. “The Witch Book” – the encyclopedia of Witchcraft, Wicca and Neo paganism” is presented in quick an informative paragraphs about all sorts of subject matters that deal in this field. I prefer these kind of books to generic encylopedias as they bring a certain richness to the knowledge pool that they offer. Arranged alphabetically its takes you thru hundreds of subject of interest that clearly hit just about all the important elements of the study. Fro instance you can get summarized overviews of “incantation”., “Left hand path”, “mistletoe ” to moon all the way to more focused aspects such as “Morgan le Fay”. “Mendes”, Deja vu and “Scottish Witchcraft”. What is instantly valuable is the ability to look up generic terms and get a more in depth explanation than you would from a simple glossary.

The sources of explanation are clearly noted underneath each subject emphasizing the variety of competent source materials available. Subject such as “Salem Witch Trials” are given much more room for explanation which in itself spans over 10 pages. I found this book both beneficial for casual readers who just want to grasp more understanding of legend, history and importance to more advance users who might need some help with background research on pertinent subject matters.

To summarize specifically would be a huge undertaking, though a way to observe the material is thru areas of focus. Maybe its herbal, talismans, jewelry, style of magic, myth, Gods, actions, symbols, or just curiosity about what significance aspects of nature have on Wiccan culture. Consider yourself lucky as in the inquisition times, knowledge such as this was an instant reason for torture, suffering and death. You might be familiar with the term sorcery, but do you know where it came from and its true background history? The serpent, the wand, the Sigil…how do they all contribute thru the ages? Even witches thru the ages are explained …in myth, in film, in legend…each with a clear distinction for readers. Films that feature witches?…yes theres a fair share of that as well which in themselves are inspired by the content mentioned within.

The wand…is just a magicians prop, or film tool…or is there real background concerning its origins? This and so much more fill the pages within presented for adult reading and no just your average dictionary breakdowns. Have you heard about the “Malleus Maleficarum”? …the most sinister book ever written? It’s no legend as it explains all the dreadful techniques for torturing convicted witches and prompting confessions out of them back in the inquisition days. Levitation? No not the tricks of David Blaine or modern magicians but the real documented magic of the ages and accounts that defy explanation.

Illustrations are included throughout the volume with photos, clip arts and classic illustration pieces. With the volume stretching over 600 pages, you can be sure that your gonna get great coverage on a variety of essentials. My recommendation is to include this volume with several others that cover different aspects of supernatural or fringe subjects. Perhaps a bestiary, a conspiracy volume, an encyclopedia of magic, and a wizards reference book. Each offers its own coverage of the subjects. Together they form a unique and powerful collection of knowledge that you can refer to in your research, studies or training. Buckland has done a fine job putting together this volume. i found it highly interesting for numerous reasons and a great coffee table book just to indulge.

Available at Visible Ink
Available at Amazon

Book Review: The Witch Book – Author Raymond Buckland

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