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Paperback The Second Circle: Tools for the Advancing Pagan Book

ISBN: 0806525592

ISBN13: 9780806525594

The Second Circle: Tools for the Advancing Pagan

Are you an experienced Pagan who is still hungry for more knowledge ... no longer a novice, but unsure of where to find the tools you need to learn more?

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Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Finally, the "whys" of what we're doing

I finished this book not too long ago, and I was pleasantly surprised by how helpful it was. Unlike most books that focus on the "this is how it is...now do it" mindset, Rauls puts the brakes on and goes "hey, wait a minute, why are we doing this? Why did we ever do this?" If you're feeling at all cynical about Wicca or Paganism in general, definately pick this one up. I know from experience that combing through the same BS over and over again - with no explanation to ease my overly rational mind - can make you frustrated and annoyed with Pagan concepts. "Second Circle" gives you some commonsense examples and those explanations to let you know that, yeah, there is a reason we are doing this. Somebody didn't just make it up. "Advancing" is a good term for this work. It isn't "Advanced" at all - these aren't cryptic, specialized concepts she's presenting. This is perfect for those who are...well, advancing, and on their own. You've read all the "...for beginners" titles, looked at every website imaginable...and you like this. You want to know more, but don't know where to start. For those who don't have teachers, guides, or a nice friendly coven just around the corner to turn to, "Second Circle" helps fill in those annoying little gaps of wisdom all "101" books forget to mention. Rauls doesn't go too in depth about anything - she doesn't mean to. This is a springing board to doing research on your own. While experienced elders are the key for good information, this is definately something all newly serious, solitary pagans should definately pick up.

Why isn't some of this covered in Wicca 101?

When I started reading this book I often wondered why some of the excellent material wasn't ever presented in Wicca 101. As I read on and really started to understand what the author was saying, I realized it was because you really do need to be a bit farther down the Path to understand what was being said. But more importantly, why these things are part of advanced training and growth and especially how to apply them. I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for advanced material. But don't just read it, really take in what the author is saying.

A Step Above the Rest

A gem standing out among the vast collection of generic books on Wicca and Paganism. The Second Circle is perfect for anyone who is past the basics and ready to move on to new and more advanced teachings. Even if you are already experienced, this book will still provide you with new ways to look at Pagan practices and plenty of things to consider as you advance further along your chosen path.Unlike other advanced books that are often too specialized or may only contain one or two chapters of new and useful information. The Second Circle offers suggestions and techniques to search out your own information and expand your knowledge base. There are great exercises designed to make the reader think about the basics in creative ways and explore new ways of thinking that broaden your understanding of Magic and Religion.Venecia Rauls write about advanced subjects such as forming a deeper relationship with your chosen deities, getting down to earth and working with nature, and exploring ways to help bring magic into your everyday life. This book also includes tips and ideas to help the reader get the more from what they have already learned as a beginner, giving advice and guidance to the advancing Pagan as they try to find a path that fulfills their spiritual needs and goals. This is not a simple step by step instruction manual. The Second Circle is a book about learning to explore Paganism on your own, as well as taking the steps needed to expand and refine your beliefs and practices. It's a must read for any serious Pagan.

A different approach

If you're Pagan and past the newbie stage, but aren't quite ready to be calling yourself an "elder" and are looking for a non-beginners book to get you going, definitely pick up a copy of The Second Circle. I'll be honest and admit that the author is a good friend of mine, but I don't think I'm being (too) biased when I say that her book covers some material I haven't seen in other "Wicca 201"-type books such as Patricia Telesco's Advanced Wicca (which is available from the same publisher; in fact, the two books seem to complement each other in terms of using different approaches to non-beginner Paganism.)Lots of people might look at a book like this and think, "Cool! This is going to initiate me into the Secret Mysteries of Advanced Paganism and I can just skip all that beginner's stuff!" Well, no. To get the most out of it you should already have a good grasp on how magic works, and a fairly solid understanding of the basics of Wicca or whatever flavor of Neo-Paganism you practice. The book isn't focused on one tradition or Pagan path, and it is mostly geared toward the solitary Pagan (though those belonging to a group or coven can also benefit from it), but it doesn't waste time explaining all that stuff every book for newbies already covers.The Second Circle discusses how the model of apprentice/journeyman/master can be used as an approach to one's own Pagan path. It examines how applying Jung's concept of the "hero's journey" to your own life can produce some surprising insights. There's a chapter on oracles and divination -- not the same old stuff about Tarot layouts and the inaccurate rune information you'll encounter in other books, but how to make oracles like the Tarot and I Ching meaningful to you *personally* and how to view events in your surroundings and in the natural world as oracles. The end of the book offers suggestions for Pagan "specializations" such as priest/ess, oracle, bard, healer, etc., based on one's own inclinations and abilities. There are no spells or rituals in The Second Circle. This book will not hold your hand or walk you through your next stages of learning and development, but will give you food for thought and help you decide how and where your road will take you next. This might sound dry, boring or even intimidating to people who're used to reading Cunningham or RavenWolf (two authors I personally feel are not very useful for non-beginners), but there are many personal anecdotes and some interesting "side" material included here that keeps the book very readable. Nearly everything in this book comes from the author's own experiences as a Pagan for over fifteen years. Rauls is a professional technical writer, and knows how to present complex material clearly and in a way that the reader should find useful and easy to understand. As I mentioned before, people looking for quick and easy techniques that will turn them into An Instant Advanced Pagan are going to be disappointed; the suggestions given here

Yes! Yes! Yes!

Do you feel like there's nothing left on the New Age shelf that can challenge you? Are your favorite pagan books not "pagan books" at all, but mythology and history books? Are you wondering what sort of role you'd like to play in the pagan community?Venecia Rauls says she wrote this book because she wants to save other advancing pagans the aggravation that comes from thinking they're all alone out there. She does this so wonderfully that I wish I'd had this book two years ago. Reading this book was like reading the story of the past few years of my own life--and as much as the "treasure hunt" for challenging material has helped me grow, it was validating to find that others were on the same search.This book covers where to find books that aid your path in places other than the New Age/Metaphysical shelf; ideas for gaining a rapport with Nature; one of the most thoughtful chapters I've ever read about how to get closer to your deities; and an examination of different "specializations" one can choose. I saw myself in the "Scribe" archetype; could you be a "Bard" or a "Healer"? You're not going to find spells or rituals here, but if you've been a pagan for a few years and want to know how to keep yourself on your toes, don't hesitate to buy this book. It will be a challenging guide--and a sympathetic friend--on your continuing journey.
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