Review: Call of the Horned Piper

Call of the Horned Piper by Nigel Jackson is a book that I have a love-hate relationship with. On one hand the book is fascinating, full of information that at the time of it’s publication wasn’t widely available. However, the book is in desperate need of an editor as one isn’t credited in the book. The book is full of run-on sentences, random capitalizations, and random spacings in the middle of words. Despite being poorly written, alternating between chunks of information that seem more like compiled research notes juxtapose melodramatic imagery and word choices, this out-of-print book’s information is still amazing. In fact, despite all its flaws, this remains one of my prized books in my library.

Image Credit: Dustin Lee | Edited by: Mat Auryn | CC0 License
Image Credit: Dustin Lee | Edited by: Mat Auryn | CC0 License

The book was written in 1994, and if it wasn’t Jackson’s first book, it was definitely one of his earlier ones. The book is somewhat of a prequel to his book Masks of Misrule, which is a much better written book. The book covers fascinating topics related to Traditional Witchcraft such as ancestral faery teachings, spirit lines, spirit flight, the world tree, the witches’ mark, familiar spirits and much more. The book has a strong focus on the Witches’ Sabbath, the Wild Hunt in its’ various guises and and the forms that the Witch Father and Witch Queen have taken throughout different European cultural myths to lead both.

The book was written with the intent as “a radical and fresh re-appraisal of authentic witch-lore which may provide a working alternative to current mainstream trends in Wicca.” However, despite this claim, it is only the lore and information in this book which is fantastic. The actual workings are pretty poorly constructed. For example, he provides a Hallowing and Casting of the Compass, which is really nothing more than a watered down and witchy version of the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram. Despite its’ horrible cover that feels like it was made in PowerPoint in the 90’s (which it most likely was) and rivaling his next book Masks of Misrule for some of the worst occult book covers ever – the book is full of his own artwork, which as always is extremely beautiful.

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