Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Hitting The Books

Looking for new pagan subjects to learn about, I decided to head over to the nearest used book stores today. I have been craving new books to read, as the ones I already own don’t cover some of the things I want to learn about in depth or beyond basics.

Although you never know what you will find at a used book store, I had a few books in mind that I wanted to find, one being Gerald Gardner’s Witchcraft Today, as this book is looked at as the one that started modern Pagan “revival.” Alas, I didn’t find that one even though I went to several places. Even checked for a new copy, but couldn’t find one. I might have to check out Magus Books in Minneapolis next time I am in the area. Magus Books is a huge Pagan bookstore that is near the University of Minnesota campus. Unfortunately, I was nowhere near the area today.

As I am picky about what I will read regarding paganism, I passed up much of what the used bookstores had to offer. What am I picky about? The way the information is presented. I think that most of the books published today about modern paganism come off as corny. Especially the ones published by Llewellyn. I tend to pick up books that deal with one subject, instead of giving an overview of many subjects, or in other words, more “beginning” type books. Although you can learn a lot from Wicca/Paganism 101 books, there are only so many that you need to look at before you grasp “the basics.”

There seems to be much talk on the web about moving beyond the 101 type status, but there is not much out there that does go beyond. I am guessing that this is the beginning times of such books and information. Now that there are more people that have been involved in Paganism for many years, we are starting to see more “advanced” discussions on many subjects. That is good.

That’s one of the reasons I think I like pagan blogs, because there is an instant sharing of ideas as they are thought of, and people show how they relate their beliefs to how they live instead of just presenting information. That is good, too. People from outside of Paganism can see that Pagans lead normal lives.

Anyway, back to the books. I ended up picking up three books today. Two used and one new. I just couldn’t help myself on the new one; the cover was just too beautiful and the information inside seemed well organized. Here are the books I bought:

The Golden Bough by Sir James George Frazer – Although I have read this before, I didn’t own a copy and have been wanting to reread this as I had read it back when I was a teen and want to see if I can get a better understanding of it now that I am older. Bought used.

The Art of Ritual by Renee Beck and Sydney Barbara Metrick – I wanted to expand on what I had learned about rituals a few weeks back and felt I needed a book that dealt totally with rituals instead of just adding a chapter about the subject. This looks like an interesting read. Bought used.

Earth Wisdom by Glennie Kindred – This book has a beautiful cover. I know, never judge a book by its cover, but that’s what made me pick it up and quickly skim through it. Although I am not a fan of the typeface used within the book, I decided that it was worthy to be added to my bookshelves. Lots of information on earth awareness and cycles. Information about the holidays relating to seasonal activities. Bought new.


Now I ask for suggestions from all of you. What are some of your favorites regarding Pagan topics?

6 comments:

Andy said...

I avoid Ravenwolf like the plague. Overall, I would agree with your assesment of Llewellen. For a religious faith with no dogma, there sure is a lot of stuff in print about it!

My favorite authors are Starhawk, Currott and Valiente (she was there when Gerald started as well). Pretty much anything by them makes me think.

My friend, Jim, before he passed away, told me that the fiction of Charles DeLint summed up his feelings about paganism; what it means, what it is about. Having read one book by DeLint, I see what he means.

I also enjoyed Apelius' the Golden Ass for its description of Isis worship and an explanation of why a man in the early centuries of CE would choose Paganism over Christianity as it existed then. A book on my list to read is Aradia: Gospel of the Witches which influenced many founders of the neopagan movement.

Andygrrl said...

Have you read Carol Christ? I'm halfway through her book The Rebirth of the Goddess, and I think it's fantastic. She was a theologian concerned with Judaism and Christianity before she got into Goddess spirituality; she really knows her stuff.
Great blog, btw!

Sojourner said...

Andy - I am not impressed by Ravenwolf either. She seems to promote her books to a younger audience and therefore the text is very dumbed down.

I have been contemplating picking up a copy of a Valiente book, but am having trouble finding a local place that sells decent pagan books instead of the mass market crap. I will have to make a stop into Magus Books in Mpls soon, but live to far away to do so on a regular basis.

Andygrrl - I haven't read anything by Carol Christ. That book sounds very interesting. Thanks for the suggestion.

Also, thanks for the compliment. :)

Inanna said...

I've just begun reading your blog, so forgive me if I mention books you've already read.

I recommend a novel, The Fifth Sacred Thing, by Starhawk; Living in the Lap of the Goddess by Cynthia Eller; Book of Shadows and Witchcrafting by Phyllis Curott; anything by Carol Christ; and People of the Earth, eds. Hopman & Bond. (That last has perhaps been republished under a new name? I think you'll like it if you like the blogs; it's a series of interviews, about ten years old, with famous Pagans - very informative about the range of Pagan beliefs.)

Sojourner said...

Thanks for the suggestions. I will be adding those to my list to read.

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