Paganism in Utah, May 1992

Paganism in Utah: The Pagan Bookshelf

Book Reviews

Response to last month’s cover article on Paganism in Utah has been overwhelmingly positive. This month, we’re reviewing several of the excellent books available on paganism. Future columns will feature additional books as well as other pieces of interest. Contact the Gypsy Moon (521-9100) for information on availability and/or ordering.


Drawing Down The Moon (Revised)

Margot Adler

The most comprehensive study of Neo-Pagan religions in the United States ever done. Includes history and origins of various groups traditions and movements. Revised edition (1986) includes appendices on rituals and resources, as well as the results of a 1985 questionnaire distributed across the United States. Margot Adler is a nationally renowned journalist regularly featured on National Public Radio. This book is a must for all interested in learning about the roots of American Paganism and Witchcraft today.


The Spiral Dance (Revised)


A practical guide to Magic and the Craft written by a High Priestess of the Faery Tradition. Includes an excellent selection of Invocations, chants, blessings, spells, myth and rituals as well as many exercises relating to visualization, grounding centering, psychic development, trance induction and more. Everything is explained clearly and succinctly. Starhawk is a scholar of Pagan history, a teacher at Holy names College in California, a political activist, nonviolence trainer and a founding member of Reclaiming: A Center For Feminist Spirituality and Counseling in San Francisco. Excellent workbook for beginner and longtime practitioner alike.


Dreaming the Dark: Magic, Sex, Politics


This is an amazing book that joins the insights of the direct action non-violent peace movements with the insights of the Wicca coven. Drawing on her own experiences with groups, doing ritual, doing protest actions, spending time in jail, the book is a rich body of source material for working with groups, particularly groups that combine a spiritual and political perspective. The appendix on the history of the “Burning Times” is extraordinary, combining the insights of English labor historians such as Christopher Hill with the scholarship of feminist writers.


Positive Magic

Marion Weinstein

A very good introductory book on magical working from a totally non-manipulative point of view. Includes everything from Astrology to I-Ching to Wicca. Chapter 8, “Words of Power: The Work of Self-Transformation,” is so valuable, it alone is worth the price of the book. Techniques of affirmation are clear and beautifully described. Some people will find Weinstein’s approach too saccharine, with almost no acknowledgement of the darker side of life, but the book is a great ethical anecdote to the thousands of worthless pages promising readers power, money, love and glory through the control of others.


Jambalaya: The Natural Woman’s Book of Personal Charms and Practical Ritual

Luisa Teish

The only book by a publicly avowed American Voodoo Priestess. Teish produces an extremely readable portrayal of one of the most maligned religious movements in the United States. A powerful woman, Teish lays a lot of stereotypes to rest. Lots of information on Yoruba goddesses, magic and ritual working.


Real Magic

P.E.I. Bonewits

A no-nonsense guide to magic and psychic reality by a feisty, opinionated, knowledgeable practitioner. The only person to receive a degree in magic from the University of California–and his degree is even signed by Ronnie Reagan! Witty and entertaining, with a liberal dose of arrogance.

Check out more from the SLUG Archives:
Books and Literature: December 1991
Paganism in Utah: April 1992