The Wiccan Mystic: Exploring a Magickal Spiritual Path
by Ben Gruagach
Published by WitchGrotto Press, PB, 254pp
This book is a breath of fresh air amongst the plethora of books written these days on Wicca. The author writes with a level of understanding and common sense that clearly comes from a great deal of experience and practice. To illustrate my point – the author does not just say “Wicca is a mystery religion”, rather he sets the scene with concise precis of various of the classical Mystery schools and traditions such as Eleusis, Mithraism, the worship of Isis & Osiris, etc, moving into the idea of guild lodges and magickal schools, and then takes the reader into the question of Wicca as a mystery tradition.
This thorough and well contextualised approach summarises the nature of the whole book. Subjects are taken in turn, and considered in a way that is thorough without assuming too much or too little, and gives the reader a good background and leads them into the arguments in a way that is positive and encouraging.
Another refreshing aspect of this book is the emphasis placed on mysticism, as the title would suggest. Too often the mystical side of Wicca is sidelined to an emphasis on spells or religion, rather than the personal mystical nature that is at the core of Wicca, a point made well and stressed by Gruagach.
One of my personal bugbears with many books today is the bad and incorrect use of terminology, which perpetuates existing confusion and mistakes. The author is careful to clearly define his terms and how he is using them, which makes this work easier to appreciate. It is refreshing to see how clearly, for example, he defines invocation and evocation, rather than simply throwing the terms around interchangably to confuse the reader. Likewise the discussion of theurgy and thaumaturgy was a good inclusion, and reflects the calibre of the material in this book.
For once a Wiccan book that is what it says, intermediate to advanced rather than another 101 book with pretensions (or delusions) of grandeur.