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Thursday, 27 April 2006

Evolutionary Witchcraft

Evolutionary Witchcraft Cover

Book: Evolutionary Witchcraft by Thorn Coyle

This is not your average Wicca 101 book. (In fact, there are good reasons why Feri Witchcraft should not be called Wicca, but that's another story.) There are no spells here, no tables of correspondences, no pre-made rituals for solar or lunar holidays. Instead, there are meditations or practices that work with the breath, with posture, with movement and dance, with the magical tools of blade and cup, and with stories, deities, and concepts specific to Feri Tradition such as the Peacock God and the Iron and Pearl Pentacles. Thorn's writing is clear, powerful, and poetic without being forced; in reading this book, I found myself remembering how breathtaking The Spiral Dance was when I first read in 1979, the year of its publication, how Starhawk's words swept me away into a world of new possibilities. I believe Evolutionary Witchcraft will do the same for a new generation of people who want to deepen their connection to spirit, to the earth, and to their best selves.

First, a word about what this book is thankfully not. Although it has plenty of information and exercises that will be useful to beginners, it is not an introductory book on witchcraft. The program of training presented here is a challenging one, with a serious focus on personal growth and development. Those who are accustomed to the relatively shallow, sweetness-and-light approach of New Age personal development books will find themselves in much deeper waters here.

Secondly, this book is not yet another reframing of common-knowledge neopagan models and techniques. Coyle is working out of a unique pagan tradition, one that has its own specific spiritual technology and models of approaching magick. Although practitioners of other traditions are sure to find resonances with their systems, tools such as the Iron Pentacle are unique to the Feri and Reclaiming traditions. More importantly, however, these tools make sense outside a Feri context, and practitioners of other paths will find them to be important additions to their magickal repetoires. No one in Western society is free of the cultural baggage that hangs on Sex, Pride, Self, Power, or Passion, and Coyle provides meditations and exercises that effectively break down the personal and cultural barriers that keep these important energies bound.

Thorn Coyle is a Witch, an initiate of the Feri Tradition in which Starhawk (author of The Spiral Dance) was trained, and an initiate also of Reclaiming, the political collective and Craft tradition of which Starhawk is the best-known founder. Evolutionary Witchcraft is a logical successor to The Spiral Dance: a manual of Feri Witchcraft, a compendium of training derived from her own teaching experience, designed to give people who may not want to or have the opportunity to be directly initiated into Feri a chance to use its basic tools to improve their lives.

Finally, a few words about what 'Evolutionary Witchcraft' is. EW is a well-written, down-to-earth, extremely coherent book on Feri witchcraft that is yet designed to be accessible to practitioners of any magickal path. It is packed with practical exercises without entirely ignoring theory, and it structures its training program within a unique and exciting Feri aesthetic. As a former student of Victor and Cora Anderson, the poetic and eclectic founders of the Feri tradition, Thorn Coyle gives us her own evolutionary, socially-aware twist on the Feri line while remaining close to the richness of the source.

Find Thorn Coyle's book in amazon.com:
Evolutionary Witchcraft

Suggested free e-books to read:

Ann Moura - Green Witchcraft
Michael Bailey - Historical Dictionary Of Witchcraft