Perhaps the greatest value of Sexual Dynamics in the Circle is the documentation of the creation and dissemination of sex magic and ritual in the 20th century. The second most valuable aspect are the references sprinkled throughout of other works to study for the practitioner interested in exploring sex magic and ritual in greater depth. Overall, however, the prose meanders, desperately craving an editor's firm hand and a clear sense of organization. Perhaps I am too modern, but when a paragraph starts with a clear sentence of determination, I expect that piece of text to stay on topic.

Melusine Draco is a prolific author and writer. While I am far from agreeing with everything she sets forth, Draco certainly demonstrates a deep knowledge of the Mysteries, time and time again. Perhaps the most difficult aspect of this book for the modern reader, most of us, is Draco's view that Traditional Witchcraft is an elitist, hierarchical and patriarchal system in which there are only two sexes/genders and that duality is intrinsic, even crucial to connecting with the Old Ones. Without that connection all magic is sterile. (Please note that I am paraphrasing Ms. Draco, not taking her words out of context. Her blog mirrors this language repeatedly, for example:

"Traditional witchcraft acknowledges the natural – and essential – polarity between the sexes and can’t be bothered with what passes for the contemporary mainstreaming of what is in reality a very old art.  The Old Craft covens that continue to exist in the shadows still maintain those ancient links and retain those elitist, hierarchical and patriarchal elements; while those who continue to seek them out have no problem in coming to terms with the traditional values of the teaching."

In this book in particular, she (confusingly) states: "Any form of sexual bias has always been frowned upon within traditional British Old Craft because it reveals a complete lack of magical awareness and/or proficiency on the part of the newcomer." (p.42) Good to read! however, in the very next paragraph Draco writes, ". . . we make no secret of the fact that Old Craft is unapologetic about being god-oriented and Magister-led in its practices."

That said, Draco clearly acknowledges that sex magic does not require a partner of the opposite sex (or even one at all) because we are all made up of male and female energies. "Everyone, regardless of gender, has both masculine and feminine energies: same-sex couples can do sex magic as successfully as opposite-sex couples." (p. 22) Moreover, she addresses those readers who feel estranged from their own bodies, or from the celebratory pleasures of sex, asking them to step back and address these issues before engaging in sex magic.

In the end, this is a very mixed review. There are gems of wisdom sprinkled throughout Sexual Dynamics in the Circle, but the muddled prose and stream-of-consciousness writing almost completely obscures them.

~review by Lisa McSherry