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BOOK REVIEW - Coven Craft: Witchcraft for Three or More

To: alt.religion.wicca
From: "Mike Gleason" 
Subject: BOOK REVIEW - Coven Craft:  Witchcraft for Three or More
Date: Sat, 22 Mar 2003 14:28:50 GMT

Covencraft:  Witchcraft for Three or More by Amber K  1998  Llewellyn
Worldwide  ISBN  1-56718-018-3 Paperback  353 pages  + Appendices, Glossary
and Index  $19.95 (U.S.)

Okay, just so there is no misunderstanding - Amber K and I share (in part)
an initiatory link.  Although I only remember meeting her for a short time
at a Pagan Spirit Gathering once, she trained in her early days with the
Temple of the Pagan Way (formerly the Temple of Uranus) in Chicago,
Illinois, which was my first in-person contact with the Pagan world.  Her
High Priestess was my Initiator (albeit with a different High Priest), so
even before I started the book I expected to see material which was
familiar.  There was some of that, but then, this book is not primarily
about Wicca 101 - it is about development and relationships.

I must warn you, however, that this is not a "normal" paperback.  Although
not as large (in outside size) as Buckland's Complete Book of Witchcraft, it
is far thicker.  If you plan to read this book any place other than home,
you will have to make a conscious effort to take it with you.  It is not the
sort of book you toss in a backpack at the last moment and, unless you
routinely wear clown coats, you won't be tossing it into a pocket.  This is
a heavy book, in very sense of the word.  It weighs quite a bit more than
most books, and the ideas Amber brings out are also quite heavy.  If you are
looking for "light reading", pass this one by (unless your name is Hermione
Granger ?).  It is almost 500 pages by the time you include the appendices
and glossary.

This is a book which will stimulate discussions.  It is a source of varied
approaches to the Craft.  There are no dogmatic statements here.  There are
differing ideas and ways of thinking, which Amber has encountered and
developed over the years of her involvement in the Craft.

Like a lot of books I have been seeing lately, this one gets into area and
ways of thinking that many will not agree with.  That is all right.  The
purpose of this book is to serve as a resource for the growth of both Pagan
individuals and Pagan organizations.

Do not plan on "reading" this book.  It is a book to be studied and
discussed.  This is a book for all prospective High Priestesses and High
Priests, as well as for everyone who is considering joining a coven.

Unfortunately, while reading books for review I don't have the luxury of
taking as much time as I might like to digest all the information contained
in them.  This is a book which will continue to serve the needs of all
Wiccans, from the newest Inquirer to the most jaded, burned out Elder.
Taking your time and discussing the contents of this book, one small segment
at a time, will bring untold benefits, in my opinion.

As with any book which attempts to be as inclusive as possible, this one has
a few minor problems, with the emphasis on MINOR.  On pages 328 and 414 are
listings for the Witches Anti-Defamation League (WADL) which ceased to exist
shortly after the first publication of this book.  The organization changed
its name to the Alternative Religions Educational Network (AREN).  Hopefully
this can be corrected in subsequent editions.  Then, on page 339, Amber says
"If you need general brochures on Witchcraft, you can copy the ones in the
appendices."  The problem is - there are no general brochures in the
appendices.

One of Amber's special talents, and something that I can really appreciate,
is drawing material from "outside" sources.  So many Pagan books only make
references to other Pagan authors and writings.  We, as a community, can
learn a lot from mainstream organizations and studies.  Amber avails herself
of works relating to leadership techniques that work in the business world;
studies in the field of psychology; as well as ideas which work for
ministers in mainstream religions.

Her book is extremely well-balanced.  It doesn't paint a picture which is
all light and rosy, nor does it present a heavily negative view.  Nor does
it shy away from either of these points of view.  The price is low enough
that it should be in the library of every Pagan and/or Wiccan who is
considering working with, or setting up, a group.  It would only slightly
less helpful for someone who is solitary and plans to stay that way.  After
all, plans do change, and this book is a wonderful resource.



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