In my personal experiences (many of which have become part and parcel of my writings) with groups, anger has been both the snake in the grass and the 900-lb gorilla in the corner. Both anger directed outward – at society, politicians, horrid parents – and anger directed inward – stifling self-esteem, sabotaging creativity, volatile emotions – create disruptive group dynamics. For those of us who have felt the destructive power directed towards them within our community, we know just how immense anger’s wave can be.
Yet, it is simple truth that the most effective magic comes from a place of deep, strong emotion. In magic, we manipulate energy and emotion is energy. So it makes perfect sense to harness the energy of anger toward manifesting a specific outcome, ideally directing it toward a positive, healthy outcome.
In Pagan Anger Magic, Ms. Sullivan takes on an extremely touchy subject and handles it with great finesse. Many of us are afraid to admit to how much anger we feel, much less recognizing the consequences of our deepest moments of rage. IN this work, she shows us how to recognize our anger, locating where it originated and offers solutions for how to manage it (and eventually control it). In the end, we learn to understand how and why we are feeling anger and not lose ourselves to rage so that we can direct the energy.
Of course, she spends time discussing ethics and karma – I wouldn’t expect anything less of a responsible author in dealing with this subject. Here is the clearest example of how this book is written for Wiccans (with the absolute requirement of ‘harm none’), rather than Pagans (who have a variety of perspectives about ‘harm’). The time spent is a tad repetitive for experienced witches, but not nearly enough for newcomers – who really shouldn’t be reading this yet anyway.
To balance that criticism, let me say that her research on the various deities and their mythos in relation to the anger is excellent. I’m not a mythological scholar, but I’ve done my share of research and have a great library, and Ms. Sullivan found new and interesting elements for me to add to my knowledge. Many books avoid discussing the ‘dark’ God/desses except in one-dimensional sketches, but here we have complete profiles on the better-known Ones (like Lilith and Kali-Ma).
I found Pagan Anger Magic to be a good book to add to your ‘beyond 101’ reading list. For people working in groups, especially, this is a must read.
~review by Lisa
Author: Tammy Sullivan
Citadel Press, 2005