By : A. J Drew
As featured in HORNS Issue # 4: Winter Solstice 2017 Digital Edition
There are books that surprise you, that give you the exact thing that you were looking for, and that leaves you wanting more. I started reading Wicca Spellcraft for Men, by A. J. Drew expecting something related to male spirituality, masculine mysteries, or anything that could be exclusive to we men, but I have to say I’m disappointed. Drew first wrote that there would be no introductory descriptions and no basic knowledge, that the reader should have an already solid background before reading the book, and if not, he recommended his previous book. I was confident enough to keep on reading despite not having a copy of his last work, but found that the author mixed introductory knowledge with specific subjects in several chapters.
Wicca Spellcraft for Men is more like a collection of essays that, despite being juicy and interesting and embodying Drew’s unique point of view, just have little to do with the title, and it’s interesting that, in one of the chapters, he criticized titles that were far from the content of the book. Page by page, the author described things we can all learn during the first years learning magic, and while it is great to have these lessons all together in one place, the title itself of the book was a total lie to me and I felt as if I was reading something else, which is not a pleasant experience for any reader. There is some useful information about gods and their associations, as well as some words about how to make spells for adult and young men, it would be hateful to deny it, but the amount of it is just too little compared with the number of pages that speak about ethics, magical theory, guidelines, and so on, just to mention a few of them.
When it comes to writing style, because of personal reasons alone, I have problems with the repetitive examples and format that Drew followed. The book is written in a harsh tone -- defiant, almost violent -- making me feel a little silly from time to time. Wicca is a beautiful religion that doesn’t deny the harsh parts of life, we know that, but, if anyone asks me, focusing on just these or the sweet moments in life are both mistakes to be prevented. It’s a book that’s easy to get through, to understand and to follow. The topics are not that complex, something to be celebrated as I know many will be drawn to this, but the general tone the author used is just bothersome to me. However, if your perceptions of Wicca and personal thoughts are similar, and if you prefer a much harder voice when it comes to teachings, you will like this book more than I did.
To include a list of correspondences and relationships between elements is something I prefer not to see that often (call me old school if you want), but I prefer longer descriptions and explanations on why those combinations work, something Drew only encourages us to do on our own but doesn’t include in his work. Near the end of the book, when you expect the rituals, the spells, incantations, maybe even divination methods that may work better for men, all you get is a list of correspondences for you to work with following the general structure provided in the first chapters. The only section with real useful content could be the pages in which Drew described the Gods, their archetypes, some of their mythology and the kind of works for which they were best suited. This was the most interesting part, and the most useful as well! I would have liked to have seen more of this in the rest of the book.
If you’re beginning your journey in Neopaganism, still trying to navigate through the many religious systems, then Wicca Spellcraft for Men is perfect for you. If that’s not the case, you’ll hardly discover anything new. I can only finish saying that despite the honest interest in reading the introductory book he mentioned first, I’m in no hurry to grab it.