LIGHT FROM THE SHADOWS - A Mythos of Modern Traditional Witchcraft
By Gwyn, published by Capall Bann at £11.95. 238pp. ISBN: 186163061-1 (Reviewed by David Taylor)Turn down your lights and cue the spooky music and the dry ice. Listen carefully and you may hear a lone church bell. For we are talking about Traditional Witchcraft. (Cue thunder clap).
Okay so this may be a little over the top, but Traditional Witchcraft is a label used by its practitioners to boost their own stake on the craft and make themselves more authentic and therefore more elite than other neo-pagans. This book will provoke reaction. Traditionalists will be horrified by the ‘secrets' revealed in the book, and the wannabe Trads will be delighted by the ‘secrets' it reveals.
So what are these ‘secrets'? As you would expect a book on the Craft (even Trad) there are the usual suspects: ritual tools, festivals, quarter correspondences etc. All of this is backed up by folkloric references.
As a non-practitioner I found this book difficult to review. Yes there are element in it that are based on good and authentic folkloric customs, but then again there are elements that are not. An example of this is the constant insistence that the Green Man is a pagan deity. Nice idea, but not backed up by the evidence either in folklore or archaeology. Can Trad Craft trace its roots back through the mists of time by the use of folklore and other traditions? In the end I wasn't bothered.
This isn't to say it is not a good book. It is. Gwyn obviously has a passion for the Craft, and unlike earlier Capall Bann books it is very well produced. I suggest you skim through it in the book shop before parting with your cash. It may after all be just what you have been looking for, but for this reviewer it was just another book on witchcraft adding to the growing plethora already out there.