Through Netgalley I acquired this book on witchcraft in exchange for my honest review. I am not a witch or wiccan myself. However, I am interested in parts of paganism, despite me being quite the atheist. Since childhood, witchcraft has always had a fascination for me, so I was curious to learn more, when this book Transformative Witchcraft: The Greater Mysteries by Jason Mankey fell into my digital lap.
On Netgalley, part of the blurb was as follows:
Witchcraft is about more than seasonal rituals and pentacle necklaces; it’s meant to be a transformative path. The rites and rituals of Witchcraft are life-changing experiences, but they are also steeped in mystery. Transformative Witchcraft delves into some of the most persistent mysteries of the Craft and provides insightful guidance for raising energy with a Cone of Power; dedications, initiations, and elevations; Drawing Down the Moon; and the Great Rite.
This book mostly goes into group (or just two person) ritual. What exactly do witches mean with a cone of power? How do they create one? How do certain kinds of rituals look like? the book includes a lot of inspiration for ritual-designing, since there are many rituals completely written out from beginning (the casting of the circle) to the end (the re-opening of the circle). It goes deep into the why and how of certain things, and it gave me a insight in a world I didn’t know much about.
What I really appreciated was the conversational tone (there are personal remarks all over the place) and the continuing confirmation that all rituals and roles within them, can be done by all genders. Wicca can be amazingly stereotypical and essentialist about gender, so this was nice and refreshing. Being non-binary myself, I felt seen.
What I did find hard, which has to do with my scientific and atheist outlook on life, is that the author really, actually seems to believe in all he writes. Energy is a physical thing. The god and goddess are actually real. This is something I prefer to see metaphorically, if I engage in more pagan pursuits. I do believe his experiences and those of many others are real and genuine; except I think the cause of those experience are explained by how our brains are marvellous and amazing in letting us feel things that seem too wondrous to come from within ourselves. But, each to their own. As long as people don’t cause harm to themselves or others, I see no problems here.