During the hot, humid, oppressive heat of late August, it is hard to think about the taste of fall in the air. I woke up this morning cold and groping for my blanket for the first time in weeks. Standing on my back deck with a cup of coffee in hand, the air had the tiniest feel of approaching fall. I could almost imagine colorful leaves skittering down the sidewalk, dancing before those brisk fall winds that I look forward to each year.
As a Wiccan, I feel drawn toward reflection in the fall and the hectic pace of my life right now is really making me long for the slower step of winter. Winter is the season of rest and introspection. Most spiritual people will spend more time thinking and processing all of the running and doing that is so prevalent during the spring and summer. During this time, many seek out teachers or come to the pagan path. Take a look around at our local shops and public meetings. You will see more new faces in the next few weeks than usual.
As a result, many covens begin our initiation processes and will hold dedication rites for our new sisters and brothers on Samhain. Those of us who teach know that it is time to prepare. One thing that I do for new initiates, as I’m sure many people do, is to recommend books. A new title that I plan to recommend is High Magic by Francis Melville. I highly recommend that you teachers and students alike take a serious look at this author and his books.
High Magic at first appears to be a fluffy bunny book. Surely, I thought, this book is too pretty to be serious! However, as I flipped thought it, it became apparent that High Magic was well written and appeared based on trusted magic theory. It is very pretty with its faux red leather cover and gold embossing. It is full of illustrations done in wood cut styles, printed quarto style on heavy weight paper, and feels like an elderly tome in one’s hands though it is only about 8 inches by 6 inches in size. It is well written and covers a wide range of topics in a general overview – perfect for the beginner.
Printed by Barron’s, a leader in main stream educational texts, the book is well organized and a useful reference tool. We all remember those first shadow books. Old notebooks or binders were called into magical use, our younger selves scribbling away about what herb does what and which stone is useful for what purpose. This book isn’t a book of lists, but a solid introductory text book for those being who want to know exactly how to set up an altar (or temple) and how to prepare magical tools. It discusses theory and discipline. An invaluable tool for a teacher, I recommend it be put on the “must read” list for all newcommers – and I’m not just impressed with the fact it has an index that is actually useful.
Now, I do not practice traditional high magic myself anymore but I do include aspects of it in my own rituals. As we all know, one book is never 100% – each must find their own way and your coven will have its own traditions. There is a section on self-initiation and that is also useful, too.
A bit on the author Francis Melville. He lives and works in Somerset, UK. A master of four languages and a BA degree from Exeter University, he is also a professional translator. He has worked as a journalist, editor, publisher, and has also authored at least seven books on metaphysical topics since 2000. I plan on checking out some of his other titles as well.
So, this is one tome you might look over. Either way, those of us out there who help others find their own path will be gathering our resources. I hope this one example helps.
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