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Traditional Wicca: A Seeker’s Guide, Thorn Mooney. IF YOU THOUGHT the secret, cultic aspects of Wicca survived only in black and white snapshots from the 70s, Thorn Mooney is here to tell you otherwise! She begins by shocking the reader with the news that traditional Wiccan covens are still alive and well. Acknowledging the strange reality that what most new Pagans believe about Wicca bears little relationship to its oldest and most consistent practices, Mooney sets out to describe them and equip seekers with basic information about traditional covens if they desire to seek one out for training.
As the high priestess of a Gardnerian coven in North Carolina, Mooney is well-positioned to provide that guidance. She begins by outlining what traditional Wicca is, what lineage means and how to go about the tricky business of determining a potential coven’s legitimacy within a tradition that the seeker does not yet have access to. She goes on to directly addresses topics that are frequently misunderstood and misrepresented, such as the role of hierarchy in traditional craft and the likely expectation of ritual nudity. She provides all this information with a kind tone, recollecting her own time in the seeker’s shoes.
Perhaps her most important section is her chapter on becoming a student. Covens are selective by nature and the experience of presenting yourself to potential teachers and finding that you are being sized up is unsettling for most people. But you are also sizing them up, and Mooney prepares the reader for this encounter in two ways. First, she includes a thorough discussion of red flags to look for and what they might mean. Then she tells you what to expect. Regional variations aside, traditional Wicca is a culture and every culture has expectations that no tells you about because everyone already knows them. Sharing the unspoken rules is immensely useful, especially for seekers who do not share their future coven leaders’ individual cultural, ethnic or linguistic backgrounds.
If you are not sure what working with a coven might be like or how to find one, or you have reached a plateau in your practice and have not previously studied with a traditional coven, pick up a copy of Traditional Wicca, a Seeker’s Guide. It might just be an important signpost on your journey!