of the current and earlier editions of
Bonewitss Essential Guide to Witchcraft and
Click here to order it from Amazon.com
are comments about and reviews of Witchcraft: A Concise History,
First & Second Editions, as well as of Witchcraft: A Concise
Guide,Third Edition and the current (fourth) edition, Bonewitss
Essential Guide to Witchcraft and Wicca, (Citadel Press,
I highly, highly recommend this as a basic
history of the neopagan subculture, to include debunking the
fallacies about how Wicca is 10,000 years old, and bringing up
some interesting information about the early years of the community
in the Gardner and Valiente era. Its also exceptionally
valuable for his definitions of various terms, as well as the
appendix on the etymology of the word witch. Theres
also the basic structure of Wiccan ritual as well as a chapter
on the variations thereof.
I was pleased to see the variety of resources
he used, including the underappreciated Crafting the Art of
Magic by Aidan Kelly, as well as a decent list of recommended
reading on a variety of related topics. ... I absolutely love
his sense of humour! Puns, poetry, and the occasional sideways
jab all make the read even better.
Author of Fang and Fur, Blood and Bone
5 Stars on Amazon.com
Finally! A well researched, serious (but still
fun), accurate and fascinating book on witchraft and Wicca. This
should be required reading by all involved in The Craft. Nice
writing style; I just flew through this book. I'm glad to have
found a book on these subjects that actually contains thought
provoking ideas and actual facts.
Piano Girl, WI
5 Stars on Amazon.com
It has all of the clarity, energy, wit and
erudition to which I am accustomed in the rest of his work, and
I am sure that it will now take its place in the canon of essential
reading for American Pagans
The sections on the USA itself
augmented my knowledge of the history of modern Witchcraft there
in the most delightful of fashions.
Prof. Ronald Hutton, University of Bristol
Author, Triumph of the Moon,
Pagan Religions in the Ancient British Isles
This weekend, Pagan community scholar (yes,
we do have a few) and Super Druid Isaac Bonewits
released an amazing new eBook
This is clearly some of the
best work weve seen in years and we are honored to call
Isaac one of our own.
Fritz Jung, The Witches Voice
In the extensive literature on the history
of Witchcraft, this excellent book fills a great need. It is
written by a well-informed insider without the bias of establishment/conventional
thinking. We both thoroughly enjoyed Isaacs treatment of
history that spans the many centuries of suppression and the
killing of hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of scapegoats.
Whatever your spiritual path, if you want to know the truth about
the Burning Times and are interested in this new spirituality,
this book is for you. Witches and Wiccans: Whatever branch of
the Craft you espouse, this book and its overview will put that
branch into perspective with the history of the movement. The
book should become your bible. Without it you will be less well
equipped in your search for Truth.
Gavin and Yvonne Frost
Authors, A Good Witch's Bible,
multiple other titles
5 Stars on Amazon.com
Mr. Bonewits has been a Pagan, Druid and Witch
for longer than most current Witches have been out of diapers!
He received the first accredited degree in magic in 1970 (from
Berkeley, of course). He has founded Pagan organizations, written
the seminal work Real Magic, and spoken to thousands upon
thousands of Pagans and Witches. Few can claim to be more qualified
to speak on this subject.
This book is well-researched, accurate and
unromanticized. Too much history
of Witchcraft is more wishful thinking than scholarship.
Bonewits knows that Wicca doesnt need pseudo-scholarship
to artificially promote it the real thing is good enough.
Many of the opinions here will be controversial,
but that only adds to their value.
4 Stars on Amazon.com
Thank you Isaac this book is long overdue.
Mr. Bonewits, in a clear, concise and interesting
manner has succeeded in providing members of the Neopagan community
a much needed resource. Myths, rumours and lies are exploded
on each and every page. He has takes a morass of information,
historical data and misinformation; boiled it up in his cauldron
and separated the fact from the fiction.
To those of us who dont believe a vast
lineage or historical background validates us this book
is a god/dess send!! To those new to Neopaganism, Witchcraft
and all the paths in between this book should be the only
place you start.
Kerin, Montreal, QC, Canada
4 Stars on Amazon.com
It has been many years since a concise understanding
of the history and psychology of witchcraft was understood. In
fact, I dont think weve ever seen one that actually
permeates the membrane, even within the Neo-Pagan community,
of what this is all about, until now. Bonewits has portrayed
very vividly the evolution and the idea of the witch.
Isaac Bonewits is a true Iconoclast, and a
Heretic of Heretics. This is a Good Thing.
He challenges the New-Age Witch and the Satanist
and the Shamanist, which is good when one gets down to what we
really are. When one is in the community it is often
hard to get a hard grasp on the concept, but Isaac Bonewits,
from his knowledge and fortunately through a good sense of humour,
clarifies a lot of things about witchcraft that many wouldnt
understand unless they read his book. His book is not only important
to the casual explorer in spirituality but is also important
for those who think they understand NeoPaganism, and still have
many questions about the origins and the meanings of what a witch
or a neoPagan is all about. I highly recommend this
book not only to the Pagan Clergy but to any Clergy who wish
to have a good source as to what Paganism is all about, as well
as to anyone who wishes to have a source in their spiritual repertoire
about the nature of (Neo)Paganism.
Joy Williams, Scotts Valley, CA
5 Stars on Amazon.com
As a practicing Witch for better than 30 years
and a Wiccan elder, I highly recommend this book
for a good and truly concise history of Wicca. In typical Bonewits
fashion he is short on neither humour nor opinion as he takes
us on a succinct tour of our roots. His research is impeccable
and littered liberally with personal experience from one who
was an integral part of the Neo-Pagan beginning. If Mr. Bonewits
gives us nothing else he has verbalized one truth in one clear
and simple statement as only he can:
The deities Witches worship are ancient,
no matter how new our religion or our insights about Them might
If I can find any fault with a Concise
History, it is perhaps that it is too concise and left me
wanting more. Fortunately the extensive bibliography affords
me the opportunity to research as far as I choose. Witchcraft:
A Concise History will be required reading for any class
I teach on the subject. Although the e-book text was surprisingly
easy to read, I personally cant wait until it comes out
as a paperback so I can add it to my real world library
but dont wait.
Zyalia the Crone
5 Stars on Amazon.com
Isaac Bonewits is one of my favorite authors.
Till now, most of the material I have seen by him has all been
good. He has written things like The
Real Origins of Halloween and
Advanced Bonewits Cult Danger Evaluation
Frame that so many of us know.
What many arent familiar with is that
Isaac is also a published author. In this ebook, he goes back
to that which he does best.
His writing style is an interesting one. He
presents all the material that he is writing about in a logical
order, pared down to its basics that the layman needs to be able
to follow the train of thought within the concepts he presents.
He writes with good humor, and a straight forward, no holds barred
style that leaves the reader wishing there was more to read.
Comparatively speaking, this ebook is a small
one. The actual information presented is covered in about 100
pages, and each page is about the size of a Readers
Digest or TV Guide page. Because of that, this book
is a fast read. I read it over the course of a busy day at my
Officially, the book is approximately 200
pages long, but half of that is the Appendixes to the material
he presents. All of those appendixes are necessary to the book,
however, to present definitions and thoughts that are integral
parts of the concepts laid out here.
Isaac is an extremely good scholar and researcher,
and the Pagan Community is lucky to have him as a member. His
thoughts on what happened back in pre-history and in the Burning
Times are good and accurate accounts of what we now know. He
must read all the anthropological and archeological texts that
come out with new discoveries.
It could be that all the information in here
could overwhelm the average reader, but in this case it does
not. He gives enough information so that the reader can follow
along with the chain of events that brought us to this place
we are at now. He lays it all out, and lets the reader, for the
most part, draw their own conclusions.
He also goes a long way to vindicate many
other authors (including himself) in their assertations that
Wicca is not some kind of holdover from the Stone Age. He makes
it plain in the book that Wicca is entirely created, and he goes
a long way toward debunking many of the commonly held beliefs
in Ancient Wicca that many in the NeoPagan movement have.
Thats not to say that there are not
flaws. The opinions he does state emphatically on are pronounced
with the finality of Physical Laws. In most cases this is not
a problem, and they tend to coincide with what we do know about
the Meso- and Paleopagans. However, the statements that make
it appear that Isaac has a time machine at his disposal in how
the Paleo- and Mesopagans worshiped do leave the reader going
how does he know?"
He also takes a moment to vindicate himself
for many years of being a pariah in the NeoPagan community for
some talk he gave at a Witchmeet held in Minneapolis, Minnesota
in 1973. From the eBook:
Third, I gave a speech titled
The Witch Cult Fact or Fancy?
based upon an earlier article by myself in Tournaments
Illuminated, the journal of the medievalist Society for Creative
Anachronism, under the title Where
Hast Thou Been Sister? It dealt
with much of the materials mentioned in this study and came to
very similar conclusions about what I rudely referred to as Murrays
Unitarian Universalist White Witch Cult
of Western Theosophical Brittany and
Gardners supposed revival of it.
Basically he goes on to say that the conclusions
he gave in this talk, and that he has believed for a long
time, are again presented in this eBook. Now, however, they are
sexy and popular so
they are more acceptable to the general populace now than they
were in 1973. I believe that this is not bad, since by his own
admission he became somewhat of an outcast in the community for
years for his statements.
However, all of that aside, I found I could
not put this book away. I continued to read it until I
had read every word, then I took a copy of it home so that I
could study it in depth. This is one of the required texts for
anyone seeking an understanding in Wicca, NeoPaganism, the History
of Religion, History in general, or any other facet of these
studies. I believe this book will do what Ms. Mouras text
failed to do, lay out the history of religion, specifically the
Wiccan Religion, in plain terms that even someone with no familiarity
with Wicca or NeoPaganism will understand.
Excellent job, Isaac.
Daven, Nashville, TN
5 Stars on Amazon.com
Witchcraft: A Concise Guide
Ive never read anything of Isaacs
that wasnt entertaining, intelligent, and informative,
and this book is no exception. Once again, Bonewits has written
a cIassic that should be required reading for anyone seeking
a one-book introduction to Wicca.
In a scant 125 pages (plus several appendices)
Bonewits covers the history, beliefs, and practice of Wicca in
an easy-to-read format that nonetheless is not dumbed down. The
appendices cover Wiccan resources and terminology, as well as
several important pieces of Wiccan history. Even better, the
author tells you where to go for more information.
I only had one question about this book. While
I appreciate and share Bonewits love and admiration for
the groundbreaking work of British witchcraft historian Ronald
Hutton, Im not sure why he chose to include Ashleen OGaias
essay about Huttons work. The essay is a great piece of
work; I just dont know why its included here; perhaps
Isaac just thought it was cool. (Which it is.) This is one of
the top-10 introductions to Wicca. Dont miss it.
Dagonet Dewr, newWitch Magazine
Rating: 5 Broomsticks
[And yes, Isaac thought the essay by Ashleen was cool.]
|No, they havent
all been good reviews! There have been some nasty ones,
falling into three categories: (1) Those that leapt upon the
typos in the First Edition. (2) Those that objected to Isaacs
lack of euphemistic vocabulary when discussing Christian crimes
against members of competing belief systems; they considered
him terribly biased for not whitewashing history to suit them.
(3) Those who were outraged that he wont believe their
unverified and unverifiable claims about supposed Family
Traditions of Witchcraft or unspecified sacred
oral traditions of the Craft; there is no solution for
them, other than knowing they will eventually go away
|Copyright © 2001-2006 c.e., by the writers.
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