There are many books published each year that are geared towards explaining the basics. The basics of magic, of paganism, of energy work, of wicca… if you can imagine a topic, there is probably a new basic book produced each year. In Simple Wicca, practitioner Michele Morgan has managed to create a delightful exploration of this religious practice.This is a re-publication of the book she first published in 2000. The new edition includes a foreword by Judika Illes.

Ms. Morgan introduces the reader to Wicca through her own experience as a newcomer to the Craft. In doing so, she banishes the many myths that surround this tradition, and explains its main tenets of ethical responsibility and personal responsibility. A brief look at the burning of witches during the Inquisition is handled well, as is a list of Traditions within the Wiccan religion.

Interested readers are then shown the basics of how to begin to practice.  Chapters include information about the lunar cycle and the mysteries of the moon; the solar year and the Wiccan days of celebration; casting the circle (creating sacred space and using magical tools); as well as an entire chapter on using Elemental energies.

I found the pacing and tone to be welcoming and although there have been other books on this tradition (one could say 'many' books, even), few are as straightforward and easy to follow. Most of the others are overwhelming in scope for a beginner -- particularly the ones that focus on spell casting.

Simple Wicca does discuss the creation of spells, but only after the reader has been introduced to more than half the book. Even then, Ms. Morgan wisely described the nature of spells, and how to create them, but avoids the pitfall of generating lists of spells for all purposes and needs. Instead, she guides the reader through the mental processes of creating a personal spell -- one that will (by its very nature) be more effective than a spell written by another.

Her discussion of Rituals includes a succinct and descriptive list of the various types of rituals that one can perform. This list is one that I had not seen before, and it was a valuable reminder of the places in my own life where ritual can play an important role. Moreover, as she walks the reader through a ritual, her reminders and comments were useful and frequently humorous. For example, she reminds the reader that '…While billowing sleeves might indeed add to the pageantry of your ritual, flaming sleeves would not!'

Simple Wicca offers not only practical guidance in the Craft, but also an emotional and spiritual understanding of the practice. I highly recommend this book for beginners and witches of all levels as a wonderful read.

~review by Lisa Mc Sherry

Author:  Michele Morgan
Conari Press,  2000, 2008

pp. 170, $12.95