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Crystal Blanton specializes in books that address the emotional and social dynamics of Pagan society. She has examined coven dynamics and how bad communication habits (that many of us have) undercut group stability, she has set forth one anthology on racism within Pagan culture and is currently working on another. In this anthology, she along with several other Pagan practitioners look at the way Wiccans with chronic illnesses are treated within the Pagan community and also at how they treat themselves.

What Blanton has assembled is a book that the Wiccan community did not know it needed – and it needed it quite a bit. Practicing magic does not ward off the price of mortality. People get sick. Some stay sick. People get abused, traumatized and injured. We have our share of service people returning from abroad with PTSD. Yet Wicca, like other faiths, has a small segment of people who might suggest that the sickness or ill-circumstance happened as a result of “not being spiritual enough.” These are the people that fail to see that all spiritual journeys begin in imperfection and that sickness is its own spiritual journey.

From essays such as “the Purpose of Pain” that looks at what it does for those struggling with chronic or extreme illness to “The GI Joe Tarot” written by a war veteran about using the tarot to help himself deal with his PTSD, this book challenges the reader with essays heartfelt and personal, where you end up feeling some of the pain even when you fully understand you may never be able to relate to it.

Highly recommended.

~review by Diana Rajchel

Edited by Crystal Blanton
Megalithica Books, 2013

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