Wicca for Beginners by Thea Sabin © 2006

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    Wicca for Beginners by  Thea Sabin   © 2006   Llewellyn  ISBN  0-7387-0751-1               262 pages  Includes Further Reading List and Index    Paperback     $12.95  (U.S.)     $18.50 (Canada)


    Okay, I can hear it already.  “Another “101” book?  Who needs it?”  Well, I certainly don’t  And maybe you don’t, but you can bet any amount you like that at some point a student of yours, or  an acquaintance of yours, someone you bump into at an open ritual; will say “Well, The Sabin said…” or “Wicca for Beginners says…”  So, if for no other reason than being familiar with what newbies are reading, you should read this book.


    This book contains both things I agree with and things which give me some problems.  Sometimes it is fundamental, sometimes it is merely cosmetic, sometimes it is a matter of interpretation.  On page 12 she says “As one of my teachers put it, Wiccans aren’t trying to “get off the wheel”  What she means by the “wheel” is the “wheel of the year,” a term that Wiccans use to describe the cycle of the seasons through the eight major Wiccan holidays, or sabbats.”  Um, probably not.  The “wheel” is a reference to the wheel (or cycle) of existence, or reincarnation.  Some Eastern religion aim to transcend the “need” for reincarnation and thus get off the wheel of birth, life, death, and rebirth.  At least, that is how it was explained to me.


    One the other hand, on the very next page, she lets the reader know that “Wicca is an experiential religion.”  Well, duh!  Wicca isn’t about studying and knowing, it is about doing.


    I know there are individuals out there (I have worked with some of them over the years) who feel discussing what Wiccans aren’t and what we don’t believe is counter-productive.  They subscribe to the theory that people will assume that out denials are actually a cover-up.  I don’t happen to think this way, nor does Ms. Sabin.  Those who disagree with this discussion won’t like its inclusion in this book, especially in the early stages.


    Each chapter covers one specific topic, or group of related topics including what Wicca is; some basic principles and ethics; energy tools; energy working; creating a circle; the four elements and quarters; getting to know the gods; physical tools “toys,” and altars; the wheel of the year; tying it all together; magic; and where to go from the basics.  The progression is logical.  Each “practical” chapter has some suggestions for things to do for practice, and no attempt is made to mystify the student.  Practicality and common sense are the keys to Ms. Sabin’s approach.  She freely admits that not everyone will agree with her perceptions and definitions and leaves it to the reader to find out what works for them, and what makes them comfortable.  There is none of the  “This is the right way to do it” attitude so often encountered


    Her presentation is fair and balanced showing both sides of issues such as eclectic versus traditional (easy to do as she has stood on both sides); public versus private (ditto); and solitary versus group (again, ditto).  This book is one that I am proud to recommend to the new seekers out there.  Her “Further Reading” list might have been more extensive, but since it was based, as she says, on what was on her shelves, I won’t quibble.  Overall, this is an excellent book; one of the best in recent memory.


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