I have been a practicing pagan for two decades now, and the thought of reviewing a book for “idiots” put me off.  But this book is misnamed: it contains a lot of valuable information about Paganism and presents in terms that anyone can understand. I appreciated the scope-- virtually every aspect of Paganism is included. The explanations and descriptions of various Pagan practices, ideals, Sabbats, and rituals are brief as befits an introductory book. But other topics discussed are shamans, Druids, Wicca, the spirit world and the elements. There are four chapters on rituals, and I found the author’s claim that we already do rituals in our lives (high school and college graduation, marriage and funerals, for example) refreshing. There are several chapters devoted to Pagan magic, which I believe will help demystify a complicated subject. The book’s last few chapters offer advice on how to live a Pagan lifestyle, and there’s an extensive list of recommended reading at the end. One could spend months just reading through the list of books.

McColman is no stranger to the important work of deep spiritual inquiry, integration and synthesis. His Well-Read Witch is an excellent reference, and in The Idiot’s Guide to Paganism he blazes a new trail by making a much-needed and substantial offering to the modern spiritual seeker moving through a domain that can often feel like a never-ending maze of switchbacks.

~ review by Lisa Mc Sherry

Author:  Carl McColman
Alpha Books 2002
pp. 362, $18.95
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