A little while ago I posted about the need for experienced Witches and magical practitioners to re-examine those “favorite” books they like to recommend to new folks – especially if they haven’t read them in the last 10 years or more. Part of this is because we tend to have nostaglia for books that meant something to us when we were newbies – and that’s largely because of where we were on our paths. After looking at them again with more experienced minds, we often find them lacking, full of misinformation, or just out of date when it comes to modern-day issues.
Another aspect of this challenge is to also make sure we’re reading what’s being published today – not only books that we perceive to be at our “level” but beginning books as well. This task applies to me as well, so as I encounter newly published books I think folks would benefit from, I’ll be posting them here on my blog.
The book I’d like to recommend to you today is The Night Journey by Yvonne Aburrow. This book is not meant to be an introductory book, but is geared more towards more intermediate (and beyond) practitioners. That said, I certainly think that some advanced beginners would definitely benefit from some sections of this book – and the rest they can revisit later. The Night Journey tackles a wide array of concepts from ritual technique and power dynamics in covens to queering your practice and addressing tough topics like appropriation and colonialism. There is a heavy focus on Wicca, which Yvonne is upfront about (being a large part of their personal experience), but I don’t believe that should dissuade any other kind of Witch or similar magical practitioner from checking out this book. In fact, what Yvonne shares not only gives greater insight into that structure and how to consider it through a modern, culturally-aware lens, but also much of it is applicable to any practice or tradition – especially those who work in groups.
Now some of the topics are extremely relevant to RIGHT NOW and there are modern media references. I mention this because some views, references, and research can change on a dime, especially when politics and social media are involved. As an author myself, I know it’s a tightrope walk to deal with current and relevant issues, and also create something that will still seem relevant 2, 6, 10, or 20 years down the line. What that means is that some parts are crucial topics for right here and now, others may become integral parts of the communal practice down the line so there won’t be a need to call them out, and other parts may shift out of focus. That’s just how print media works, so I recommend keeping that context in mind – whether you’re reading this book or anything else being written while we’re all dwelling in a sweltering cultural crucible. Either way you look at it, The Night Journey strongly addresses topics that many folks in the younger generations are actively asking and are concerned about. That means that the older folks can use this book as a vital resource to bridge the generational gap, get a better idea of what younger practitioners are worried about today, and actively work to enhance everyone’s practice collectively.
In summary: The Night Journey is a well-researched, current examination of practices, concepts, and beliefs that are relevant to the modern-day practitioner. It’s also an easy read in tone and approach, while being a chonky book at 364 pages. Definitely worth checking out.
You can purchase this book at https://shop.doreenvaliente.org (as well as find it on amazon).