Thursday, January 31, 2019

Sensible Witchcraft: Besom, Stang & Sword

The thing I like best about quote-unquote New Age religions is that they aren't hide-bound. New frameworks can arise without the practitioners facing persecution as heretics. That's refreshing. It also opens the door for books like Besom, Stang & Sword.

This highly readable book is a very interesting mix of traditional folk witchcraft (known as hoo doo in some quarters) and innovative uses of pathways, moon cycles, and bonding with your land base. The authors feel it's less important to forge relationships with deities from various pantheons than to dig into doing things. It's a hands-on approach that's at once ancient as our heath-dwelling ancestors and modern as the concrete cityscape.

I've got to admit that I often have a hard time getting through books on Pagan lore and practice. I'm not exactly sure why, but my mind begins to drift while I'm reading them. This book is one of the few where that didn't happen. It covers a whole lot of ground, including topics I hadn't read much about before, but manages to be accessible and interesting throughout. Perhaps it resonated with me because I've been working on my backyard-based Work, but it seems to me that this is the book you want if you want to be a witch but don't see why that label must include an up-close-and-personal visit to Glastonbury or a shelf full of Gardnerian lore.

When I was 13, my grandparents finally got running water in their summer place on Polish Mountain. Before the well was drilled, my grandfather hired a water diviner to come and find the best location for it. My cynical uncle scoffed at the process, but I was absolutely fascinated by the old man who came with his wand and walked back and forth across that rocky hill for hours, concentrating all the while. I will forever mark that ancient fellow as the first working witch I ever saw.

This book is for you if you want to be a working witch -- if you want to do trance work, or use flying ointments, or practice necromancy, or influence the outcome of things. I really enjoyed reading it, and my takeaway is to love the land I'm with.

I would call this a "beginner's book," but the authors helpfully include lots of sources for every topic, so you can dig deeper and find those tomes that will have your mind wandering in no time. If you want to learn about folk witchcraft, or improve your practice thereof, I highly recommend this book.

With apologies to the bored Gods and Goddesses. But that goes without saying.


Debra She Who Seeks said...

Sounds like an interesting read -- thanks for your review and recommendation!

Ol'Buzzard said...

the Ol'Buzzard