Goths (or anyone else) do not buy this book! Knight makes several claims at the beginning of the book which she utterly fails to fulfill. She claims her book to be the “next step beyond Wicca for beginners.” This is a step backwards rather than beyond. Knight wends her way through all the topics in a Wicca 101 book but she doesn’t cover them thoroughly and leaves rituals incomplete. Knight seems to put associations where she pleases with little explanation about where she got the information. She proudly proclaims the broom represents womanly domesticity. If that is the meaning then throw out the broom. Yet she doesn’t discuss the cleansing properties of the broom. Also this pretty much means men cannot use a broom.
Knight is inconsistent in some of her ritual descriptions. In one place she has three corners being called in one way and the fourth in a completely different way with no explanation as to why. In some places she doesn’t explain the purpose of the ritual. In other places she does nothing more than call the corners but ends the ritual there.
Knight randomly combines different beliefs. While there is nothing wrong with this she makes claims that the tidbits are Goth in origin with no substantiating data. Additionally, Knight throws out random facts without corroborating them. For instance she writes that the “left side is most sensitive.” For whom? Where did she get this from?
Knight is very superficial throughout the book. She offers no insight or clarity on the Goth beliefs other than the assumptions anyone could make based on how Goths look. In her discussion on the Sabbats she is flippant and immature. Beltane is all about sex and having an all night party. While celebration is certainly part of it she never touches on the deeper issues of fertility and creativity. In describing four of the eight sabbats, she is either showy with Hollywood type glitz or condescending. Her astrology section is abysmally superficial with only short paragraphs describing each sign.
Knight presents a mish mash of beliefs, pulling from Celtic, German, Norse, Scandinavian and other sources. Her mythology is incomplete. She makes claims like fairies are Gothic but doesn’t offer any background or evidence.
Finally Knight is reckless and fails to put in necessary cautions throughout the book. She recommends combinations and uses of oils but offers no caution for testing for allergic reaction or taking things internally. Almost in passing, she suggests crystal elixirs but again offers no warning about the possibility of a reaction or which stones to avoid doing this with. Additionally she has an extensive chapter on sex magic but gives no warnings to have safe sex or that sex should only be between consenting adults. Furthermore Knight discusses the use of mutilation and piercing as a means of obtaining transcendence. Some people have serious issues with cutting and encouragement to do this is the last thing they need. She also discusses animal sacrifice without consideration for animal rights. These all indicate irresponsibility towards the reader.
Knight fails miserably in tell the reader anything about Goth’s beliefs, philosophy, mythology and rituals. She’s thrown together a conglomeration of beliefs and called it Goth. This is not a Wicca 101 book because she doesn’t even cover the basics let alone go beyond them.
~review by Eileen Troemel
Author: Brenda Knight
Citadel Press, 2006