According to Marcus F. Griffin, Advancing the Witches Craft is, ultimately, a study in your dark side. The author shares his own experiences while weaving together path working, ritual and training material. This forms a compelling and well-written narrative dotted with a bit too much Barnum & Bailey that has elements both of shadow-side work and of calling a familiar spirit a la old Craft practice.

While the subject itself is a refreshing change from the usual Wiccan rehash, Griffin does write the beginning of the book in the pompous tone of a high-pressure salesman. It could well be that Griffin is caught in the authority trap that has developed among modern witches entirely because of their own behavior towards one another: instead of considering ideas and then conferring authority, any priest/ess taking on a teaching or authorial role now has to start with authoritative posturing just to be taken seriously. With any luck that person also has something worth teaching. Later in the book Griffin abandons the rhetorical style, making the book a more pleasant – and educating - read. His initial tone may have its faults, but his lesson plans are solid and grounded in direct experience.

Then he includes a meditation where you build a star ship.

The meditation is quite good as long as you understand its context and purpose; it may also be a plant to explode the heads of those with a more rigid mindset. Griffin writes for and to witches ready to break with social molds in their inner lives, if not necessarily their outer ones.

This is an excellent test of whether the book suits you: if you can’t get past “spaceship meditation” then you probably won’t take what he has to say about incorporating the left-hand path into a full-on study all that well. You also really won’t like the possibility of doing magic that brings out your negative traits.

This book is primarily path working best done in pairs and groups. For someone just exploring shadow work, do not start here – Advancing the Witches’ Craft is for when you’re five years down the road in that kind of work. A starter book might include Timothy Roderick’s Apprentice to Power. After spending serious time working through those exercises and doing some serious self-excavation (and repeating some of it) you may then want to move on to Advancing the Witches Craft.

~review by Diana Rajchel

Author: Marcus F. Griffin
Megalithica Books, 2011
pp. 229 $20.99