What do you do when people keep asking you questions about the whys and wherefores of witchcraft and Wicca? That was how my first book for Llewellyn, In The Circle: Crafting the Witches Path, came to be published. I tried to write the sort of book that I would have liked when I first began seeking answers, methods, and a sense of joy, mystery, and enchantment. At the same time, I wanted to provide something for those who had already been practicing witchcraft and wanted fresh perspectives to regain their sense of wonder that first led them into the Craft.
Judging by the response I have received from readers, they like my personal approach, so I decided to repeat that pattern with The Sacred Round,: A Witch's Guide to Magical Practice. It is for those readers who have absorbed the basics, are gaining confidence, knowledge, and proficiency, and are beginning to look around for new answers to new questions. Yet there is still enough basic material to satisfy anyone new to the Craft who is wondering how to get started. Above all, I wanted people to gain confidence from the material so that they might think "Well, that doesn't seem so difficult or complicated … I'll try that myself."
Tried and Tested
Everything in The Sacred Round has been tried and seen to work. I've included many spells and rituals that have been used by myself, alone or with my coven. I'm aware of how isolated some witches and pagans feel, and how difficult it can be to find a teacher or a group with which to expand on wisdom and experience. Therefore The Sacred Round contains material every bit as thorough as a teacher or training circle would provide. There is, for example, a chapter devoted entirely to the elements, including not only an explanation of earth, air, fire, water, and ether, but exercises and rituals to help the reader experience the teaching first hand. The same is true for the sections that deal with the seasonal festivals, the lunar cycle, meditation, chakra work, and most of all, magical and spell work. I have even included a section on divination, since tarot, runes, and scrying are very much a part of pagan practice. And, for those new to witchcraft, there is a detailed chapter covering the basic essentials of ritual, including magical tools, how to cast a circle and raise energy, call in the Goddess and God, and enjoy the process of spell work without worrying if you are "getting it right."
Workable Around the World
Although I live and have my ritual practice in Britain, my aim has been to provide workable rites and spells for witches living anywhere in the world. Most of the ingredients for my spell work can be found anywhere. My seasonal rites do mention fruits, flowers, and greenery local to Britain, but they are also common to other countries, and can be substituted by more appropriate ones for readers in exotic locations. We all need to work with the spirit of the land where we live, at least up to a point and as the seasons dictate, so I feel strongly that authors need to be wary of imposing specific local customs and traditions on their readers.
It has been my intention, with both my books, for people reading them to have fun and gain a sense of confidence. All of us in the Craft have been "newbies" with a thousand questions, and have felt overwhelmed by the mass of useful, but sometimes contradictory, information. Sometimes we can feel confused and insecure when faced with the strong and possibly conflicting opinions stated by recognized authorities in the field. Furthermore, all of us continue to learn and grow, both as individuals and as witches. The material I have provided in The Sacred Round draws on my own experiences, but also on the responses, skills, and above all, the wisdom of the many wonderful students I have been privileged to teach over the years. Ultimately each of us will find our own answers, will pursue our spirituality in the way that suits us best, and we will pass on these discoveries to those who follow in our footsteps, who in turn will interpret them in the way that feels most comfortable and satisfying. The Sacred Round offers a body of ritual, lunar, seasonal and elemental work that will enable the reader to form a strong foundation, fleshed out by the magical and spell craft provided in the book, furnishing the building blocks from which each person can eventually form his or her unique way of working.