Friday, May 22, 2015

Book Review: Hedge Witch by Rae Beth

 

I have decided to add a new series to the blog: book reviews. Each of these reviews will be summarized in my Knowing Thy Craft post, but here you will find a more in depth review of each pagan book I have read recently. Wednesday, I finished reading Rea Beth's Hedge Witch: A Guide to Solitary Witchcraft. I give this book 3.5 stars. I went back and forth between 3 and 4 because there are some really beautiful rituals and visualization exercises, but there are some very obvious errors as well. Let's start with the bad.

This book is written as a series of letters from an experienced witch to her two apprentices, although part II of the book is written entirely to Tessa, her female apprentice. At first, this was difficult to get used to. This is by no means set up as a normal guide, and you are going to need a pen and some sticky notes to help organize the book if you plan on using it later. I marked each section that was important to me, such as each Sabbat ritual and some of the visualization or as she calls it "trance" exercises. If you are looking for an easy guide, this is not it. It claims to be written for beginners, but it is not. The rituals are complicated and very formal. There is no explanation as to why certain things are done, nor are there lists of supplies needed at the beginning of each ritual. The rituals are for intermediate to skilled practitioners, not beginners. Furthermore, this book is about Wicca, not hedgecraft. A hedgewitch is not a solitary Wiccan and Wiccans are not the only witches as Beth seems to believe. Furthermore, hedgewitches are not overly formal and do not create and execute formal rituals like the ones found in this book. Rituals, if performed, are simple and honor the Earth, deities (if you believe in them), nature, and the changing seasons. One thing she does get right about hedgecraft and hedgewitches is that the tradition is based on the old wise woman or man who lived on the edge of town, by the hedgerows. They were healers and earth lovers who worked magic out of their home and gardens. The book claims to contain spells and herbalism, but the only spell is a love spell, which let's be honest, it typically found in juvenile witchcraft books.

On to the good. The rituals are very beautiful, although after reading them you are going to have to plan them out yourself. As I mentioned, there are no lists of supplies or outline of what you will be doing beforehand. She simply jumps right into it. The little bit of history at the beginning was informative and well written. It provided me with some new information. She also has a letter dedicated to dealing with the questions from non-witches. They are wonderful suggestions! I plan on using some of them in the future. However, the best part of this book is the visualization or trance exercises. She gives a very beautiful guide to follow to initiate yourself as a witch, meet your spiritual familiar, meet the Triple Goddess and the Horned God, and how to ask questions, heal yourself and others, and seal your aura. If you need help with visualization or are unsure how to do it, this is a great book to read.

As I said, I give it 3.5 stars out of 5 because the rituals and visualization exercises are wonderful, but the format and misinformation were unhelpful, not to mention it was not a book about hedgecraft



PS: Did you notice the new watermark? Do you like it?

2 comments:

  1. I just finished reading this myself yesterday and completely agree with this review. Couldn't have said it better myself

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    1. Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed my review!

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