The Crooked Path and Weave the Liminal
Here at The Rose Craft, we try to curate a selection of products and books that we find would be beneficial for our customers. Mostly beginner books, for now, we have gathered a small selection of some books we feel are good resources and references for the beginner witch.
We figured doing some book reviews on some of our books would be a good idea for those trying to decide what book to get while shopping online with us. Some reviews can be found within our posts regarding similar subject matter, like The Modern Witchcraft Grimoire being reviewed within the blog post “How to Make and Use a Grimoire.” Other reviews will be in their own posts like this one or “Llewellyn’s 2021 Almanacs” and “2022 Calendars and Almanacs.”
So take a moment, and see what we have to say about The Crooked Path by Kelden and Weave the Liminal by Laura Tempest Zakroff and then decide which one you want to take home today.
The Crooked Path by Kelden
As an introduction to traditional witchcraft, Kelden discusses and explores what Traditional Witchcraft is, how it differs from Wiccan witchcraft practices, and how to begin your own practice in it. Organized in ways similar to many books on the market for beginner witches, it provides an easy to follow and approachable method of learning about this particular path of witchcraft without diving overly deep into the esoterics of the path. There are many exercises throughout the book to provide various ways of engaging with the material.
Kelden breaks the book into thirteen chapters divided into five parts and including 47 exercises to engage in the material. Part I focuses on what Traditional Witchcraft is and the historical context of it. These first two chapters are relatively quick and provide a couple of good reflective journal exercises to process the information and what it means to you.
From there, Part II Working With Magic includes four chapters that bear some similarities to many books on witchcraft (traditional, Wiccan, and otherwise). Chapter 3 Magical Basics gives some brief discussion about ethics as well as general techniques one needs to know and have some degree of proficiency in to perform magic including visualization and raising power. There are several exercises included to think about ethics and practice some of the techniques discussed. Chapter 4 is all about witch’s tools in traditional witchcraft that includes exercises to DIY a couple of your own tools that are not readily available on the market. The next chapter then lays out some basic traditional witchcraft rituals that will be the basis of this path including exercises to practice and reflect on them. The final chapter of Part II is about spellcraft and how to adapt spells and charms from folklore.
Part III Working with the Otherworlds is where Kelden dives into the spirit side of a traditional witchcraft path. Broken into three chapters about the Witch Father and Witch Mother, ancestors and familiars, and the Otherworld itself, this part of the book really gets into the spiritual aspects of the path. Kelden discusses who and what the Witch Father and Mother are and how to meet and work with them. This chapter provides some of the more interesting differences between Wiccan paths of witchcraft and traditional paths of witchcraft. And then there is a dive into working with ancestors and familiar spirits as well as fetches, including how to meet and work with them. Finally, the chapter on the Otherworld dives into aspects visiting the Otherworlds via hedge-crossing. There are discussions here about the Witches’ Sabbath from folklore as well as how to make non-toxic flying ointment for hedge-crossing among other exercises to practice. This section provides some of the more interesting aspects of traditional witchcraft, in my opinion.
The penultimate section is about Working with the Natural Landscape and is broken into three chapters. Chapter 10 of the book starts off this section by discussing how to engage in the land around you. This chapter is a very relevant way to delve into a working practice in the area where you live by providing exercises to connect with the land wights and genius loci where you live. There is also discussion of the Fair Folk as well. From there, the next chapter deals with working with native plants and plant spirits, stones, and animals including discussion of augury and shapeshifting. This part then concludes with a chapter on Seasons, Weather, and Planets that includes a discussion on following your own local seasons and creating your own personal seasonal calendar to follow. This section also includes discussion and information on spellcasting around weather and the planetary and lunar influences.
The final part of the book is a final reflection on the Crooked Path of traditional witchcraft and how to incorporate it into your daily life. There is even a brief discussion of covens and how to perform a personal dedication to this path.
Overall, this book provides a nice guide to the basics of traditional witchcraft, making it far easier to approach than others that might be on the market. While it is great for beginners on this path, it may not be as in-depth for someone who is more experienced in witchcraft in general (maybe coming from a different path) and wants to explore a new path.
- Contains exercises throughout the book to practice, reflect, and engage in the material being discussed
- Familiar format for beginner books to delve quickly into the material
- Easy to read and engaging information
- Great introduction to a Traditional Witchcraft practice
- Table of Contents for each chapter and each exercise included in the book for quick reference
- Mostly basic introduction for beginners, so intermediate and advanced practitioners may be wanting
- Based on witchcraft from folklore
Weave the Liminal by Laura Tempest Zakroff
Weave the Liminal by Laura Tempest Zakroff is a book that explores how to be a witch in a modern world allowing one to navigate tradition in a contemporary setting. Zakroff’s path that she lays out in the book is meant to be one of self-discovery through personal experiences to create an authentic path that works for you. Composed of only six chapters filled with tons of information, this book is an interesting one for exploring a way to develop a path that is more unique for yourself.
Chapter 1 of the book provides a history of Zakroff’s Modern Tradition of Witchcraft. It delves into Zakroff’s origin into witchcraft and then how she founded her Modern Traditional path. There is a discussion of what it means for this path to be traditional as well as modern. And finally a brief acknowledgement of the three keys to this path: know thyself, maintain balance, and accept responsibility.
Zakroff moves on into Chapter 2 to discuss Who or What is a Witch? Here she delves into the definitions and history of witches. There is also a section discussing natural-born witches vs. made witches and the idea of initiations and self-guided paths. Zakroff discusses religion versus spirituality in witchcraft in this chapter as well as what it means to be a witch and use the word to label your path.
The rest of the book gets into more of the meat and potatoes of the Modern Tradition of Witchcraft. Chapter 3 A Path of Your Own Making delves into Zakroff’s RITES or areas to focus on when developing your path. These RITES provide the groundwork for everything on this path discussing your Roots (personal origins), Inspiration (what inspires you), Time (personal schedule), Environment (where you live), and Star (what is needed to craft your path). In this chapter there is discussion of creating your own personal Wheel of the Year as well as creating a personal manifesto of your path. Zakroff also delves into using tools and working in groups or needing a teacher on your path.
From there, in Chapter 4 The Witch’s Craft, Zakroff focuses on some of the ways to hone your skills in witchcraft and spellcasting. Starting with discussions on observation, listening, changing and resting, intuition and instinct, fear, what is magick, morality of magick, different types of magick, how to write your own spells, cursing, correspondences, rituals, sacred space, and more. This chapter is full of information on the actual practice and mechanics of spellwork in witchcraft.
Chapter 5 is all about exploring the liminal. This chapter dives deep into aspects of what the liminal is, how to experience it, and the spirits that make it up. Zakroff discusses the gods and their part in the path of witchcraft as well as other spirits like the ancestors, familiars, the dead, Within this chapter that is some discussion of more intermediate witchcraft as well.
In the final chapter, the book finishes out discussions of Modern Traditional Witchcraft and where to go from here. As with many books on witchcraft out there, this chapter provides a discussion of working alone or with a group of people and how to connect with them including a guide on etiquette. This chapter also deals with potential issues that may arise on the path of either working solo or with groups including dealing with fears and discrimination.
The book also gives a list of resources and recommended readings that can potentially help expand your knowledge on some of the areas discussed and provide inspiration for your craft.
Overall, it is a detailed beginners book that gives more information on what to consider when crafting your own path of witchcraft that can grow and change with you, rather than providing a specific tradition to follow. It provides some good insights into practical matters and how to really bring witchcraft into a modern and contemporary life without being stagnant or overly stuffy.
- Table of Contents breaks down each chapter into subsections for easy reference
- Journal prompts present periodically
- Provides a discussion and means of developing your own path and practice of witchcraft that works for you
- No particular exercises to practice the material discussed
- Journal prompts are buried within the text of the chapter
- Long chapters with a lot of information
If these two books sound like they are for you, check them out in the shop with the links provided above. Also check out book selection online or at our next market.
Are there any books of decks you want a review of? Let us know and we’ll make it happen.