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Guest Rowan

13 Moons: Journal of a Natural Witch -- Book Review

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Guest Rowan

13 Moons is a rare thing: a ‘101-style’ book about Traditional British Witchcraft. It is clear that author Fiona Walker-Craven is directing this book to the novice witch. The books begins: ‘Assuming that you have no previous experience of working magic (other than to have felt a stirring of the blood that comes upon you when you have been casually walking in the woods, or even just cutting through the park on a spring morning), let’s begin…’ And ends with, ‘…we have only touched the tip of the iceberg, and there will be many wonderful experiences to come, but hopefully I have managed to pass on some of the essence of the old ways, enough to help you discover the witch within.’ The author uses the wheel of the year to teach basic Traditional Craft skills. Each chapter focuses on a main technique or lesson, and subsequent chapters build on these progressively.

 

January -- Wolf Moon – Finding a protective amulet, which you will be encouraged to use in all craft work

 

February – Storm Moon – A rite of purification

 

March – Chaste Moon – Cast a circle of protection, gather tools

 

April – Seed Moon – Roodmass (aka Beltane, although it is not called that in this book) – Lore, rites and traditions associated with

 

May – Hare Moon – Finding a familiar and shapeshifting

 

June – Honey Moon – Encouraging the use of honey and herbs, and the collecting of jars and other witchy bits and bobs, Summer Solstice

 

July – Mead Moon – Home-made mead, a Mead Moon bonfire ritual, gathering ritual tools, scrying

 

August – Wort Moon – Encouragement to study herb lore, gathering of herbs, herbal healing poppet spell, herbal remedy recipes

 

September – Barley Moon – Autumn Equinox rite, encouragement to learn about herbal prenatal care and midwifery

 

October – Blood Moon – Lord of Misrule lore, Hallowmass traditions and ritual

 

November – Snow Moon – the Wild Hunt, traditions and preparations for the long winter ahead

 

December – Oak Moon – more about the Lord of Misrule, Winter Solstice ritual

 

Thirteenth Moon – Witches’ Moon – Ideas for making this moon your own

 

Interspersed with all this, Fiona Walker-Craven includes personal anecdotes, commentary and tidbits of insight that you will find in few , if any, similar books. At the end of the book is an elaborate guided meditation called ‘Pathworking to the Sleeping Goddess.’

 

The book is filled with rather stern admonishments against laziness as well as warnings against straying from the solitary path. ‘If all this seems too much like hard work, ‘ she writes, ‘then forget the idea of being a witch.’ Personally, I appreciate her frankness. Witchcraft is not an easy path; it takes work, study, and practice.

 

‘Sometimes we have to face up to the fact that for the most part it is wiser to keep silent, to remain a little island, protecting those treasures we hold dear. Maybe this pure inner island that is our own natural magic is the real Isle of Avalon.' I find that a beautiful sentiment. A little later, she cautions that it is ‘almost impossible’ to get into a Traditional British Craft group, and warns against any group that seems too open to new members. ‘Keeping yourself to yourself,’ she counsels, ‘and well closed down, will enhance your magic a thousand times more than standing in a pseudo-group and effectively being vampirised. Stand strong, but stand alone for awhile yet, this way no one can spoil your magic.’ I think it is wonderful that she is forthright about the need to truly know, dare, will and keep silent. ‘There may come a time,’ she adds, ‘when you will meet someone with whom you can really work magic.’

 

Fiona Walker-Craven achieves her book's stated goal. This book will help to train you to develop your own magical craft. You will not find endless recipes for potions, pre-written incantations, or elaborate instructions for spells or rituals. Instead, you will be guided to experience the fundamental characteristics of each moon of the year, and explore what it means to you, how you will live it day-to-day, and how you will celebrate it. This is a book of personal magic, and even though it's for the beginner, this book should prove rewarding to just about anyone.

 

I have read and given away many well-regarded books for the novice witch, the typical commercially available variants of Wicca. Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner by Scott Cunningham, Hedge Witch: A Guide to Solitary Witchcraft by Rae Beth, Grimoire for the Green Witch by Anne Moura, and A Witch Alone: Thirteen Moons to Master Natural Magic by Marian Green. None of them has been a patch on this book. I don’t know why, but Fiona’s style just feels like you're having a forthright conversation with a serious practitioner who is giving you the best and most direct instruction she knows how. I appreciate that so much. And the best thing is, I can go back and look at it over and over again.

 

This book is out of print and hard to find. The copy I found promptly fell apart as soon as I started reading it. I have solved that by dismantling the book and reassembling it in an A5 ring binder, with each page now preserved in acid-free pockets. I actually prefer it this way, because now it lies flat, is protected from spills, and allows me to add my own notes, recipes, photographs, etc, very easily. I am confident this book will be a resource that I will refer to regularly every moon of every year, for many years to come. I am grateful to have found it, and I highly recommend you seek it out.

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Great book review! I'm glad you love te book.

I'm not sure it's a book for me, but I am a little interested in it now. However, I did a search and the only used copy I found wa selling for over $250.00. Which to me is kinda insane. Perhaps i will find it one day and get to leaf through it.

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I would love to get my hands on a copy of this book - it's too bad its rare and out of print. I wonder if the publisher would consider a re-print if they got enough interest - or even a re-publish as an ebook.

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Guest Rowan

It is crazy hard to find and quite expensive. It's still worth keeping an eye out for, though.

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I would love to get my hands on a copy of this book - it's too bad its rare and out of print. I wonder if the publisher would consider a re-print if they got enough interest - or even a re-publish as an ebook.

 

Unfortunately, the publisher, Ignotus Press, is no longer in business, so it looks like the chances of a reprint are zero to none.

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Unfortunately, the publisher, Ignotus Press, is no longer in business, so it looks like the chances of a reprint are zero to none.

 

Actually, with the publisher out of business, reprint chances (either paper or ebook) are better. She owns the copyright (unless she was really stupid, which I doubt). Her contract (however it was written) is now null and void and she's free to do whatever she wants.

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Guest Rowan

Actually, with the publisher out of business, reprint chances (either paper or ebook) are better. She owns the copyright (unless she was really stupid, which I doubt). Her contract (however it was written) is now null and void and she's free to do whatever she wants.

 

I hope she does a second edition! I'd like to see how she might update or change the original. I wonder where she is, what she's doing and how her life is going. I hope all is well with her, she seems like a lovely lady.

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I hope she does a second edition! I'd like to see how she might update or change the original. I wonder where she is, what she's doing and how her life is going. I hope all is well with her, she seems like a lovely lady.

 

She probably has a webpage or amazon page. Best way to get her thinking about a reprint is to plant the seed! Send her an email...

 

M

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Oh, good to know Mountain Witch! :]

 

if anyone else is interested in sending her an email, here is her goodreads page:

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1966663.Fiona_Walker_Craven

 

and I also found a facebook page, but I'm not sure if it's legit, it looked like an empty communtiy page/fan page rather than a personal FB. But I'll keep looking for a way to contact.

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Thank you for this review. I have added it to my list and have been checking everywhere for a copy, with no success. I'll keep looking. There is one copy on amazon for almost a $100,000. Geez...I don't think I'll be taking that copy though.. :lolol:

 

 

~Anara

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Holy hell, that's an insane price someone is asking. :blink: I have a copy that I was able to snag for $25 last year. For those looking for a copy, just keep your eyes peeled, because a reasonably priced version usually comes along every now and again.

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Holy hell, that's an insane price someone is asking. :blink: I have a copy that I was able to snag for $25 last year. For those looking for a copy, just keep your eyes peeled, because a reasonably priced version usually comes along every now and again.

 

LMAO, I know, I nearly fell out of my chair laughing!!roflhard.gif

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Holy hell, that's an insane price someone is asking. :blink: I have a copy that I was able to snag for $25 last year. For those looking for a copy, just keep your eyes peeled, because a reasonably priced version usually comes along every now and again.

 

 

LMAO, I know, I nearly fell out of my chair laughing!!roflhard.gif

 

 

Jeez la Wheez ! That has to be a typo ! You know Ladies, when I think about this, and the price of such a book so revered and recommended, it gives me pause to think about " What the hell would happen to it, after I'm taking a dirt nap ??? " Apparently Lela, somebody didn't know what they had, when you snagged it for that resonable price. I'm going hunting for this book. lol !

 

Regards,

Gypsy

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The publisher's blog sounds like perhaps she's moving her titles over to O-Books (publisher of my first book). It may be that they'll pick that title up if the used prices are any indication of market. (Nearly $10K???????? :roflhard:)

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This little book happens to be on my bookshelf.

I randomly came across it at the Chalice Well bookshop in Glastonbury on one of my midsummer visits when it first came out around 2002/03.

The plain grey and white cover was the thing that appealed to me at the time, though like any craft books being sold I was'nt sure I was going to like it I thought if nothing else it would be holiday reading while recovering from the all night drumming on the Tor (I do love a good party).

 

It's a nice little book-certainly not worth the ridiculous amounts it seems to be going for (seems to have reached mythological status-no offence intended to FWC I bet she never realised it would be quite this type of popular).

I think what has made it popular is that books that lean towards a simpler craft way of working are few and far between, that and the fact that FWC writes like she could be anyones down to earth straight talking aunt (like her or lump her). Which is why it remains on my shelf ready for me to pick up again when I feel the need (when over the years there has been no-one else who is'nt wiccan) to be reminded that things don't have to be complex all of the time and that confidence in your personal practice, however simple that appears, is really a key to many experiences.

 

This is a book (hopefully if it is republished) to encourage those new to a simple, land based, type of practice( note, like every book there is- it won't appeal to everyone by any means).

 

In all fairness, I think that there's probably a '13 Moons' inside many a trad witch waiting to be written....if only they would...

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:jawdrop: WTF????? I've been told I should write a book on my Lunar astrology. I guess I should! LOL :naughty:

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And I'll tell you again!!! You should!!!!

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(Double post...sorry..... :( ) I just reread the OP & am absolutely flaberghasted! Surethere are 13 Moons, ALL of them (by what ever name you choose to "call" them have purpose, but more importantly it is which moon (in it's full phase", where it is in the astrological sky, it's present phase, and when it is is present in the sky, that matters to me. No 2 moon's are alike. Certain phases (such as waxing, waning & VOC), are similar but the position & planetary influences at the present time are more affecting than "whatever" name one chooses to name it.

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Apparently Lela, somebody didn't know what they had, when you snagged it for that resonable price. I'm going hunting for this book. lol !

 

Regards,

Gypsy

 

If the seller only knew how I robbed them blind, lol! Honestly I wouldn't pay more than what I did, and good thing I didn't, because the binding is crap and the book promptly fell apart.

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Guest Rowan

If the seller only knew how I robbed them blind, lol! Honestly I wouldn't pay more than what I did, and good thing I didn't, because the binding is crap and the book promptly fell apart.

 

I paid way more than you (but not THAT much) and mine also promptly fell apart. I peeled it completely apart and put the pages in an A5 ring binder. :) It's a keeper.

 

ETA: Oops, I already said that in my review! Doh!

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Guest copperhedge

Just for the record, it is very unlikely 13 moons will ever be reprinted or that any of the remaining members of the Whitestone covens will ever resurface publicly. It isn't to do with legal issues.

The main lady behind Ignotus Press and "Fiona Walker-Craven" (not her real name) were friends but there was lots of politics and power plays and the whole thing turned very ugly. Not to mention all the scandals and mainly unfounded bad publicity that the Whitestone Coven suffered and led them to disappear into the shadows in the first place.

The notoriety of these covens mean that all the books published by them will always remain in high demand, so if you have a copy, hold on to it!! Especially if you live in the States because it is even less likely that you will come across a copy in some random book shop.

 

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