The first thing you need to know about Entering Hekate's Cave is that it is not for newcomers to alternative spirituality and pretty much requires that you have worked through the lessons in the author's previous book, Keeping Her Keys. The second thing is that it is probably best not undertaken without real-world support. That second point causes mixed feelings on my part.
The author's previous work, Keeping Her Keys, suffered from a lack of editing to eliminate repetition and too many grammatical flaws. The value of the presentation of Brannen's Modern Hekatean Witchcraft was often obscured, which was a shame because the year-long course was well thought out and an excellent path for self-transformation. Entering Hekate's Cave is much better organized and edited, taking the reader on the next stage of Brannen's system. However, it offers a pathway through one's Shadow and therefore it is potentially psychologically dangerous to work through this book safely.
The author's background as a professional psychologist comes through clearly in the application of principles from depth psychology and cognitive behavioral therapy that are woven throughout the practices. The poems are especially lovely.
I suspect this work will either be lauded or derided with little middle ground between.
In the end, I support what the author is trying to do with this work, and think they offer an interesting and valuable perspective. Truly, if the reader is prepared, takes the time, and has real-world psychological support, Entering Hekate's Cave might be exactly what they need to move to a new level of personal development.
~review by Lisa McSherry
Author: Cyndi Brannen
Weiser Books, 2023
pp. 256, 24.95
See our review of Keeping Her Keys here.