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Out of the Shadows

Out of the Shadows: Myths and Truths of Modern Wicca

by Lilith McLelland

The author of this book has been a Wiccan priestess and activist for almost twenty years. The book is written in a very casual, matter-of-fact style that I liked, but may not suit everyone.

Basically, the book sets out to help separate the truth about Wicca from myth and media hype and to reinforce the fact that Wicca is a legitimate religion and not just a trend or fad. I think this book is especially good for beginners, as it provides basics such as a discussion on the difference between the terms 'Witch', 'Wiccan' and 'Pagan', an explanation of the significance of deities and a description of the major pantheons, and a history of Wicca that includes information about early influences and an overview of several major traditions.

The book also has some good information for those with more experience, especially coven leaders or others with more visible' roles in the religion. There are three chapters in particular that I think provide very useful information on important topics such as dealing with the media, discrimination, and the legal aspects of activism.

Included in one of these chapters is information on how to obtain tax exempt status for your group, and why you might or might not want to do so. After the serious stuff about the media, the law, and the IRS, the book goes back to its laid-back approach, with two chapters titled 'Three Things That Definitely Mark You as a Beginner' (e.g., claiming Granny was a witch, which the author calls 'number one on the bullshit index') and 'Fifteen Things Everybody Knows But You (And One Thing Nobody Seems to Know)' (e.g., the definition of a cone of power, and a description and abbreviated version of the Charge of the Goddess).

You may not agree with everything Lilith McLelland says in this book, but it's a fun, easy, and interesting read. I think is it a good, light-hearted alternative for a beginner to include in their readings and think the later chapters on legal issues and discrimination are very useful for non-beginners who are partly or fully out of the broom closet. ~ Val




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