I wanted to read and review this book because as a member of an initiatory tradition, I wanted to learn more about an egalitarian, non-hierarchical system of magic and Witchcraft.
The author begins with a history of Reclaiming, acknowledging the ties the tradition has to Feri, and expanding on the differences as well as the similarities. I do love how the witches of Reclaiming do not seem to see any separation between "sacred" and "mundane", as opposed to some of the other, older more hierarchical tradition of Wicca and Traditional Initiatory Witchcraft. It is a relatively new, modern tradition with a completely different take on the world of Magic than the older forms, and that's a really interesting thing. The main focus of their magical work seems to be social activism and social justice. They are VERY active in the areas of ecology and equal justice for all, as evidenced by their presence and participation in demonstrations at such occasions as meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
Reclaiming's work is based on their "Principles of Unity" which focuses on Goddess energies, the ability of all to work magic, the divinity of all, service to the earth and community, and inclusivity of all regardless of age, race, gender identity, sexual orientation, background or ability - an admirable set of foundation principles for any group. One of the criticisms frequently thrown toward many Wiccan and Traditional Initiatory Witchcraft groups is lack of inclusivity, so this is definitely a plus for Reclaiming.
She then goes on to delve into the structure of Reclaiming, which I found a bit overwhelming and confusing. Between cells, wheels, camps, dandelions and BIRCH connections, I got a little lost. After reading that section 3 times, I'm STILL confused. I could wish this had been a little better organized and laid out, because, honestly, I'm still trying to figure out all of the structure of this new, amorphous, somewhat changeable tradition.
The next section deals with practice and the wheel of the year, pretty standard stuff in any tradition, new or old. The breakdown of the parts of a ritual coincides pretty much with what I have found in my own ritual experiences, both in my personal Georgian tradition and in the pagan community at large in both Oklahoma and Denver where I have participated.
I like the layout of the series of classes that form the core of Reclaiming's training, including the elemental classes, and the borrowing of the Pentacles of Pearl and Iron from the Feri tradition. Some good, solid work there, and it expands and gives a new slant on a lot of standard training on these elements in any tradition. Witchcamp sounds like a great concept and I do wish these were available somewhere besides the coastal areas in the west and east. Sometimes it's frustrating living in the middle of the country where everything just jumps over us on the way to and from one coast to another.
At 97 pages, she packs a lot into this overview and for the most part, it's a good introduction to the tradition. I personally am more comfortable in a hierarchical tradition with clearly differentiated areas of responsibilities and privileges, and consensus decision making makes me more than a little crazy, but it was good to learn more about the inner workings of a more modern and adaptive tradition to fit these times we're living in.
~Review by: Rowan Moonstone
Author: Irisanya Moon
Moon Books, 2019
pp. 92, $5.99 Kindle, $10.95 Paperback