BOOK REVIEW - Dedicant: A Witch's Circle of Fire
Michael Gleason email@example.com
Wed Nov 5, 2008 10:57 am (PST)
Dedicant: A Witch's Circle of Fire by Thuri Calafia © 2008 Llewellyn
ISBN 978-0-7387-1528-1 359 pages Paperback $19.95 (U.S.)
Here we go with another "101" book. It is the first step in a four level
training program for eclectic students. Personally, I am not a big fan
of eclectic training since, in my experience, "eclectic" often
translates to "It's kind of Pagan, so I can use it without really
understanding it or its origins." Having said that I must admit to a
personal bias which may show through at various points.
On page 5 Thuria makes the statement ".we modern Wiccans feel the call
of these tides." I disagree with this statement because I feel it lacks
clarity. I would say that everyone feels the call, modern Wiccans merely
feel it stronger and are more conscious of it.
I do not necessarily share her perspective of identifying all indigenous
cultural religions as witchcraft (I'm sorry, but an Egyptian witch just
doesn't fly in my book; now, an Egyptian Pagan is another thing entirely).
There is much to like in this book. Unlike a lot of basic works, the
author doesn't begin it by giving examples of ritual behavior and
planning. She begins the work by discussing your responsibility - to
yourself, your family, your group, your community and our planet. This
is a pleasant change.
As you can see from the preceding paragraphs, this book is not going to
please everyone. There are items to agree with and things to disagree
with. The most important thing about this author's work is that it makes
the reader think.
Before I even reached the first seasonal ritual, even before discussion
of the circle, I encountered a section which should be foremost in all
"101" books but seldom is - "Witchy Etiquette." The first two items
should be reinforced periodically throughout an individual's training"
"Don't touch other's stuff without permission" and "Never assume people
know less than you do just because you've never met them before." One
suggestion I might add is "Never assume chronological age equals Craft
Throughout the preliminary sections of this book the idea of
non-exclusivity is stressed by example as well as by statements. For
instance, when referring to circle casting, the use of the athame is
mentioned, as is the use of wand, fingers, and even the white-handled
knife. This helps to reinforce the concept that there is no one, right
way to do things.
The meat of this book, Part Two, is composed of monthly lessons. It is
designed so that a prospective student can start it any time and
includes a certain amount of redundancy to provide for that.
One item which I especially liked was the inclusion of ethical questions
at various points. They contain enough gray areas to challenge the
student. The author provides her take on them, but stresses that there
are no "right" answers. Quite often these types of topics are not
addressed in beginner's books.
Assuming that the author is capable of carrying through this level of
commitment and education (and of that I have very little doubt) I would
not hesitate to recommend this entire series of books for the solitary
eclectic student. If you are looking for an excellent beginner's work,
this is the book you want.