Scott Cunningham,
Living Wicca: A Further Guide
for the Solitary Practitioner

(Llewellyn, 1993)

This book continues the previous Guide for the Solitary Practitioner, with more in-depth exploration of the practical side of Wicca. Any interested readers should find useful exercises and information, whether they work alone or with a group. The title encompasses the heart of the book: ways to incorporate Wicca into your life.

Part One is titled "Learning," and gives ideas and suggestions for the practitioner in her quest for self-discovery. The tools of learning, as listed by Cunningham, are Study, Thought, Prayer and Experimentation. These tools are effective for anyone, whether they are pagan or not. Constant learning is an integral part of the Wiccan path. Secrecy is discussed next, with thoughts about telling friends and co-workers, and being "out" as a Wiccan. Ritual during illness is also explored, and Cunningham gives options for someone who may be suffering physically, emotionally and spiritually. Choosing a magical name can be an important part of spiritual growth, and a variety of methods of finding or picking a name are examined. The next chapter in this section concerns self-initiation and includes a sample ritual. Wiccan mysteries, and whether they can be expressed in a book, are discussed. Finally, thoughts of integrating the Wicca viewpoint into every aspect of life are explored.

Part Two concerns "Practice," and the reader is given samples in this section which can be used as is or personalized. Prayer, and effective prayer, is discussed, as are daily prayers and rites of thanks and offering, which are not usually thought of as part of Wicca. Simple rites, which can easily be elaborated, are included, as is the practice of magic as used by a solitary Wiccan.

Part Three is titled "Your Own Tradition" and is exactly that: ideas of how the reader can personalize his or her rituals and spiritual practice into what is meaningful. Basics such as creating a path, concepts of deity, tools, altars and ritual jewelry are discussed in detail. Designing personal rituals rate two separate chapters, and include framework and the eight major holidays and their place in the Wheel of the Year. A variety of additional sources are listed. Beliefs and Rules are explored in the way they are a part of how one lives an entire life. Symbols, and several pages of sample symbols, are next, along with a short section of personal symbols and runes. The Book of Shadows comes next, including history and how to create a personal Book of Shadows. Teaching others, always a problematic subject in the pagan community, is discussed in a question and answer form, making it easy for the reader to discern his or her own feelings about sharing Wicca.

The final chapter sums up "Living Wicca," rounding the book out in a coherent whole. This book gives the more experienced solitary practitioner a chance to explore and learn ways to continue spiritual growth. The glossary and bibliography show the reader where they might look for more information on specific subjects, and are excellent references.

Like the previous book, Living Wicca is structured to teach gently, giving information where it is needed and showing readers ways to learn on their own as their interests lead them. This book is a great standard for anyone interested in Wicca, and a valuable resource for paganism in general.

[ by Beth Derochea ]

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