Sunday, January 16, 2011

My First Review!

Today I will do something I had been planning on doing for awhile here on this blog; a book review!

The Way of the Horned God: A Young Man's Guide to Modern Paganism
By: Dancing Rabbit and Illustrated by: W. Michael Dooley
Reviewed by the Kitchen Witch (Me!)

IN the interest of full disclosure the author sent me this publication in pdf form via e-mail with the request that I review the book here on my blog. I'll begin with what I liked about this book. The story in the beginning was very cute. I liked the fact that right off the bat it was brought up that since the advent of feminism girls have been given special days and careful thought but that boys of late have come up dry. That isn't to say that it isn't important but the question "when are we going to have a class on boyism?" is also very pertinent. I think that the fact that Paganism writes much about the Goddess and woman's spirituality but is silent on males and their place in the Pagan landscape is sad. I was unable to connect with the Christian view of God because he was a stern male figure waiting to punish me for the very living of my life as a happy fulfilled human being. I think that as Pagans we lose a lot by only focusing on the Goddess and not also the God. (Yes I know not every tradition does this but the God is underrepresented in Pagan literature.) Many Pagan women left Christianity because of the lack of balance; and yet we continue to ignore this in our own faith and I think our sons may grow up to reject Paganism for the very same reason that we left Christianity. Good male role models are few and far between, too many boys grow up with this lack of heroes and that leaves them open to many undesirable things (Drinking excessively, driving too fast, ect.) I think that The Way of the Horned God is a step in the right direction. As a Pagan mother I want to show my son that Paganism has a place for him and that he can find a good male role model in the God without forgetting the Goddess. This book is all about the balance between the two. It is a basic 101 book that you could give to your son as a way of helping him find his balance point within Paganism. There are rituals (including a typical self initiation) and advice for the young man seeking to practice Paganism that should be familiar to anyone who has been practicing for awhile but would be a nice first introduction for an older boy who knows little about it. Just because it's a typical 101 book don't think that a boy who has been involved with Paganism since an early age won't find something useful in this book. All in all I would recommend this book to any Pagan mother of a son who wishes to give support to her son on his path. The link to the chants contained in the Chanting section was spectacular; I found it helpful a really wonderful resource. I also loved the illustrations, ok I found them cute.

THAT all being said there were a few things that I squinted at a little. Right in the beginning it is mentioned that a Pagan male could practice in secret against the wishes of his parents. Yes I know that some minors who wish to practice Paganism would find life difficult with their Christian parents but I don't enjoy the implication of hiding something from parents. The author does mention that this is not an ideal way to go about it then spends a good portion of the book talking about how if you do it a certain way that nobody would have to know you were practicing Paganism. Yes Paganism is perfectly normal and I believe that if necessary for job or personal security practicing in secret may be alright but I also believe that being out of the broom closet is an important step in gaining mainstream acceptance. I feel the author also contradicts himself a little when he said that you don't need a whole slew of cool tools and props but in all his ritual outlines he uses a whole slew of fancy stuff that not everybody has (or wishes to use), this is my only real bone to pick with the rituals contained within the book. Again in the interest of full disclosure I find that I have this problem with almost every Pagan book I read. You need this color altar cloth and a black handled knife and a white handled knife and rose water and this herb and this colored candle ect. That just never jived with the kind of Paganism I was working with I've always been a Kitchen Witch and I probably always will be even if I had a million dollars to spend on tools I would rather use what I already have in the house and garden! Or instead of buying it making it myself. Not a huge deal but I felt mentioning them would make this a more complete review. If this review was helpful and you would like a copy of this book for yourself it is available on!

Well there it is my review (aka. opinion) of The Way of the Horned God.

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