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Living Wicca: A Further Guide for the Solitary Practitioner

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Librarian note: an alternate cover for this edition can be found here.

Un'esposizione puntuale e concisa dei fondamenti della wicca per i lettori di ogni età, desiderosi di avvicinarsi a questa religione neopagana. I devoti della Dea e del Dio, uomini e donne accomunati dalla medesima fede, potranno approfondire la conoscenza teorico-pratica della magia delle Streghe wiccan. Scott Cunningham con questa guida si rivolge a un pubblico di iniziati ai quali viene offerta l'occasione di addentrarsi nel magico mondo della wicca per potenziare le proprie facoltà occulte e celebrare individualmente cerimonie e riti di grande potere.

240 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1993

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About the author

Scott Cunningham

140 books1,177 followers
Scott Douglas Cunningham was the author of dozens of popular books on Wicca and various other alternative religious subjects. Today the name Cunningham is synonymous with natural magic and the magical community. He is recognized today as one of the most influential and revolutionary authors in the field of natural magic.

Scott Cunningham was born at the William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Michigan, USA, the second son of Chester Grant Cunningham and Rose Marie Wilhoit Cunningham.

The Cunningham family moved to San Diego, California in the fall of 1959. The family moved there because of Rose Marie's health problems. The doctors in Royal Oak declared the mild climate in San Diego ideal for her. Outside of many trips to Hawaii, Cunningham lived in San Diego until his death.

Cunningham had one older brother, Greg, and a younger sister, Christine.

When he was in high school he became associated with a girl whom he knew to deal in the occult and covens. This classmate introduced him to Wicca and trained him in Wiccan spirituality. He studied creative writing at San Diego State University, where he enrolled in 1978. After two years in the program, however, he had more published works than several of his professors, and dropped out of the university to write full time. During this period he had as a roommate magical author Donald Michael Kraig and often socialized with witchcraft author Raymond Buckland, who was also living in San Diego at the time. In 1980 Cunningham began initiate training under Raven Grimassi and remained as a first-degree initiate until 1982 when he left the tradition in favor of a self-styled form of Wicca.

In 1983, Scott Cunningham was diagnosed with lymphoma, which he successfully battled. In 1990, while on a speaking tour in Massachusetts, he suddenly fell ill and was diagnosed with AIDS-related cryptococcal meningitis. He suffered from several infections and died in March 1993. He was 36.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 170 reviews
Profile Image for Steve Cran.
887 reviews88 followers
July 28, 2011
Scott Cunningham was not only a luminary for Wicca but in my humble opinion he was a luminary for spirituality in general. Ask any magical person and all they have is praise for Scott Cunningham. That is very rare.

Scott Cunningham was versed in all sorts of magic. His specialty was Wicca. This book continues were his book "Wicca for the Solitary Practitioner" left off. since many Wiccan and magical practitioners in fact have no access to an actual coven are reliant upon self teaching. The solitary practitioner will have to develop his or her own Wiccan tradition while sticking close to the original Wiccan foundation. Scott Cunningham gives the beginner a foundation with which to build there own tradition.

The solitary Wiccan will have to be self taught. Scott Cunningham give the neophyte the tools for such an endeavor. There are 4 basic tools for the lone practitioner. The first one is study. The lone Wiccan can read books to get their information. Books can take you pretty far as can a teacher or high priest but remember this eacch has it's limitations and both can only answer so many questions. The next tool is thought. Think for yourself and question everything. The next is prayer. pray to the God and Goddess for guidance when you are perplexed. Lastly experiment. Do the magic and see what works for you.

What about illness? Should you do your rituals when you are sick? Sickness affects individuals in a variety of ways. The common sense approach is to modify your rituals accordingly and if you are seriously ill enough you may have to skip out. As an individual practitioner you will read up on many things. Gonna have to weed through it and decide what works best for you.

I have taken a lot of material and wrote it down in my book of shadows. Some of it i have modified for my own personal use. Here a general outline for a self initiation.

Self intiation
1) Purification
2) Alter Set Up
3) Cast Circle and call quarters
4)Invoke Goddess and God.
5)Symbolic death of the old self
6)Pray to Goddess and God- a dedication
7) Cakes and Ale-Relaxation
8) Thank the Goddess and God and open the circle.

Many people will talk about learning Wiccan Mysteries and how most books do not teach the Wiccan mysteries. One does not need to be taught Wiccan mysteries directly. Simple observation of nature can teach you a lot. Watching an apple grow then fall from the tree and go through the process of decomposition and eventually sprout into a tree can teach us about the cycle of life and death. Scott Cunningham fills this chapter with plenty of examples.

The part I liked best about the book was the sections dealing with prayers to the God and Goddess. I have copied several items down and modified them for my own use. Scott Cunningham informs us that the Goddess and God dwell within each of us as they do without. We need to pray to the God and Goddess and regularly as well as leave offerings. We also need to leave regular offering as well.

This is my morning prayer partially modified.

Oh Goddess within
Oh God within
oh Goddess of the moon, waters and the earth
Oh God of the forests and mountains.

Remember our prayers need to be respectful.

Oh Goddess within
Oh God within
oh Goddess of the moon, waters and the earth
Oh God of the forests and mountains
i give thanks to you for all the wonderful
things in this life Job wife and health

Oh gracious Goddess
Oh Gracious God
Lend me strength, health and love during this coming day.
assist me with the challenges ahead. Share your divine wisdom teach me to respect all things.
Remind me that the greatest power of all is love
Blessed Be.
( I then light the candle)

I then start my second morning prayer

bless this day sun of Fiery Light
Bless this day prepare me for the night.
Fire growing , sun is glowing
growing and flowing down on me.
( I light candle number 2)

i then do my incense offering and here is the prayer

What I take I freely give, accept this offering great god and goddess.
Tis a symbol of my devotion. May it strengthen my bond with you.

(I now light my tea light to burn the rose water)

This is my prayer for the pendulum

Oh Goddess with in
Oh God with in
Oh Goddess of the moon , water and the earth.
Oh God of the forests and mountain
Oh shining ones of great wisdom
Guide this pendulum in my hand if you so please
Guide me please to discern the truth Help me if you will.

I have also included an outline for a simple rite that can be used if you are on the go or an ultra beginner.

1) Cast a circle
2)invoke the Deities
3) State you reason
4) state need and ask for assistance
5) Thanks Deities
6)close the ritual

Some valuable technique also include raising the energy. I have copied two method for my book of shadows
Basic Model
1) Visualize your need
2)Raise energy
3) release your energy

method 1

! Visualize your need
2) repeat like a mantra you need or desire saying it faster and faster as you tighten your muscles.
3)Release the energy

Method 2
1) Visualize your need
2)dance clock wise and make it faster each time.
3) Collapse on the floor
To send the energy out you visualize your need and then direct it out with your athame

as you can see the book is comprehensive and loaded with information. It is simple and easy to read giving one a direct connection to the Goddess and God. He gives further information on what tools you will need and how to organize your book of shadow.
This book is an A+
Profile Image for Heather Purri.
37 reviews30 followers
April 24, 2020
Difficulty Level: Beginner

This is kind of like a workbook to go with the book A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner (let's call it AGFTSP). It reviews some of the concepts from AGFTSP but walks you through them step-by-step, breaking them down into bite-sized pieces. The purpose of this book is to teach you how to create your own Wiccan tradition and a Book of Shadows to go with it.

While my first thought was that experienced practitioners would be the ones creating our own traditions, this book argues that most Pagans should create a bare bones tradition right away and build upon it as they become more experienced, that way it reflects the exact nature of their spiritual practices. Which makes a lot of sense.

- Step-by-step guide.
This book is kind of like a checklist of what to do under each section of your Book of Shadows. I say "kind of" because everything is written out and explained in detail; rather than in a checklist format.

For instance, the section on Rules has you write "Rules" as reminders and as promises to yourself. So, you make a section on to whom you will reveal your spiritual practices or that you will have complete secrecy, and the gravity of this. Then you make a section on how often you will do various rituals and rites, and why that's important to you. Then you make a section where you write the time of day that you set aside for worshiping the gods, and why They are deserving of worship. And so on.

My Book of Shadows actually doesn't contain much beginner information. It's mostly spells I wrote. However, this book makes it so easy to write a Book of Shadows that I might actually do it.

- There's one rule that I don't think Cunningham thought all the way through (or didn't explain well enough).
In the Teaching section, there's a rule about not teaching folk magick as part of Wicca. It says you can practice and teach folk magick, but don't call it Wicca. I understand that throughout the book he's stressing that the foundations of Wicca should always be present in Wiccan rituals; however, I think a no folk magick rule is nonsense (but well-intentioned). I would say Gerald Gardner founded Wicca as a way to structure folk magick and make a ritual framework that could incorporate any folk practice. Cunningham's own books are loaded with folk magick. So I don't get it. Nowadays, Wicca is increasingly syncretized with folk magick, and it's still clearly and distinctly Wicca because of the ritual structure.

- In the section on Beliefs, a few of his Wiccan "beliefs" are outdated now. That's not his fault; just a reflection of changing times. (This book is from the 1990s.)

(1) He said that generally covens don't discriminate based on sexual orientation, and that any type of prejudice is anti-Wiccan. Although it's clear that he considered prejudice based on sexual orientation to be wrong, I should mention that nowadays it would be completely unacceptable to exclude someone based on sexual orientation or gender identity. The exception would be niche groups like a group for Italians only, a group for lesbians only, a group for Asians only, etc.
Note: Cunningham himself was openly gay.

(2) He said that Wicca, as a religion, is not itself political but that covens and individuals can be political and activist. The world is a lot more political now, to the point where many would say that it's irresponsible and unethical to be anything other than outspoken about political issues. I'd say most Wiccan, Pagan, Satanist, Unitarian, etc. groups are extremely political.

(3) He says that Wiccans can't charge for initiation or private lessons. That's not really a rule anymore. It was originally part of Wicca because of Catholic indulgences (pay to get into Heaven). Some traditions practice it and some don't, but all sizable traditions have fundraisers, suggested donations, and/or membership fees. When Wicca was founded, witchcraft was illegal in England and covens were small groups who met in secret in the woods at night. They didn't need money for renting out campgrounds and fairgrounds.

Similarly, in the section on Rules, there's a rule that says not to charge for magickal workings because you'll get full of yourself. (It says charging for supplies [at Wiccan study group meetings etc.], books, handicrafts, and certain services like spiritual counseling are fine.) I think nowadays most Wiccans would disagree that goods or services need to be free. We deserve compensation for the skills that we worked hard on honing.

This Book is Not for You If... :
- If you don't like structure, rules, and ethics, then this book may not be for you. You're supposed to follow it by the book because Cunningham felt that if you were going to make a Wiccan tradition, it had to include traditional Wiccan elements. He, of course, said to customize things to your liking, but he was rather traditional by today's Wiccan standards.

Personally, I'm a stickler for clearly laid out rules and beliefs, so I appreciate the importance he placed on them.

- If the gods aren't an important part of your spiritual practices, then this book may not be for you. It discusses at length things like how to write prayers to the gods and how to express gratitude to the gods.
Profile Image for Carrie (The Butterfly Reader).
1,017 reviews96 followers
February 10, 2018
As always the author writes so wonderfully simple that anyone can grasp what he's saying and that's what first pulled me into his work because he was easy for the newbie that I was to understand. Now I read his work because I enjoy it. I loved the prayers in this book and the stuff on the Sabbats.

I love what he says about the God and Goddess. My favorite part of this book is how he says to do what feels best to you. Which I like, because not everything in Wicca will fit every single person so I love being able to draw from certain things and leaving others behind when they just don't vibe with me.

I also love the laws that he goes into in this one. I think that's one that isn't really talked about in other books. Least the ones I've read... maybe I'm reading the wrong books. Anyway, I do think this is a book good for anyone who's into Wicca and looking for something a bit more than the basic stuff. This isn't for the person who's just getting into Wicca, this book expects you to know a little about the practice/religion.
October 29, 2019
This was a very Interesting read, considering it was written during a time when topics such as these were taboo... Cunningham had a way of writing that expanded the reader's confidence to trust in themselves and their personal discoveries. His writings were NOT - "follow my way as the only way." No, he believed in having readers ask questions within themselves and search for what feels right to them..
Profile Image for Amy.
542 reviews20 followers
November 30, 2009
Wicca has always interested me. I am not a solitary practitioner of Wicca. However, I do think that this book would serve as good reference, supplementary reading for people who are interested in learning more about becoming solitary practitioners of Wicca. This book assumes that the reader has already learned the basics of Wiccan beliefs and practices, not a sufficient instructional guide to becoming a solitary practitioner on its own, but, as its subtitle reads, a further guide for the solitary practitioner. For those interested in learning more about Wiccan traditions, this book is loaded with suggested reading. I like the author's message that Wicca is an open religion, available to all interested people, will read more by Scott Cunningham.
Profile Image for Penelope.
54 reviews7 followers
August 27, 2011
I would recommend this book over the Wicca: a Solitary Guide because of its chapter on creating your own tradition. I think being able to create your own spiritual tradition and walk your own path is something very important and useful for those new to Paganism as a whole, not just Wicca. Great read.
Profile Image for Driver.
566 reviews3 followers
December 2, 2018
I'm not a Wiccan but Scott Cunningham's books are an integral part of my understanding of (my own branch of) Paganism and spirituality in general.
What this man has done for all of Paganism cannot be measured or explained with mere words.
I appreciate especially his consistency, open-mindedness, and daring to approach subject matters from different/"non-traditional" angles.
This further guide for the solitary practitioner completes his "Wicca: A Guide For The Solitary Practitioner" quite nicely, answering many a question and offering good insight into how to create your own tradition without basically cherry-picking or being disrespectful to Wicca or other traditions Wiccans often draw from.
A fantastic read!
Profile Image for Wise Fool.
259 reviews27 followers
March 5, 2017
Another GREAT book in his collection!
Not only easy to read but so honest in his writings and a real joy to read!
If your interested in Wicca, Pagan, Spells or just spirituality... read this book!
Enjoy it you shall!
Profile Image for Fantasia ☮HippieMoonchild☮.
1,342 reviews95 followers
February 26, 2021
Rating: 4.6 / 5

I think everyone's first question for this book is the same as my own "What does this have that Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner did not have?"

Well, the truth is, just to state this right away, there is quite a bit of repeat in this from Cunningham's first publication, as mentioned above. So no, it's not 100% new information or anything like that. Rather, it's building up on the information that he already set down in his previous work. Wicca is the foundation and introduction, and Living Wicca is the practical and day-to-day application of learning.

What I was looking for and what I did find in this work though is acknowledgement for what self-ritual really means in a Wicca context, and how I may apply it for myself. In this, it did not disappoint, and thus earns it as another five start read going right up on my spirituality shelf.

Now, between the two works, if you're looking for insight into what Wicca's all about and the in-depth foundation behind it, then Wicca is the book you should be reading, with Living Wicca as only its companion work. It is also a smaller book, and several pages are suggestions of further readings that you can look to in order to improve your knowledge as well, so keep that in mind.

However, as a simple, direct, and step-by-step beginning to how to, as the title says, LIVE Wicca, this is really a great start. No complex principles, no restricting suggestions, nothing like that. As always, reading Scott Cunningham is like talking to an old and humble friend--I think you'll enjoy it if you come with an open mind to what he has to say.
Profile Image for Kay.
827 reviews18 followers
December 16, 2012
I'd somehow forgotten how utterly approachable Cunningham's writing style makes his books. He's non-threatening and friendly, two excellent traits for someone who wrote a lot of introductory books for wicca. Even though it's supposed to be a "further guide", a lot of the stuff is the same from his first book "Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner". He does expand on some concepts and adds in things like creating your own tradition, but a lot of it seems repetitive. Also the longer I read it, the more his writing style irritates me. He writes like an authority, but then says no author is an authority. It seems very black-and-white, when in fact theological issues are anything but that.

Overall I think the book is more useful to someone who has been practicing for less time than I have, and someone who is not as widely read. This sounds pompous, but I do think it's true. This book would be an excellent companion to some other introductory books on paganism more generally. As always, question as you read and be introspective/reflective.
Profile Image for Matthew Stefan.
152 reviews4 followers
March 2, 2020
Much less informative than his previous book. This one definitely emphasizes more of the religious aspects of wicca and seems to only scratch surface level topics, such as meditating, praying regularly to the god and goddess. While I loved his first book, this one seemed so shallow.
Profile Image for Lee.
138 reviews
August 23, 2019
A much better read on Wicca than many others that I have encountered. Though shorter than many books I have read on the subject, I feel as though I learned more about the history and legends of the God and Goddess.

The author shuns the use of harmful magic and repeats "harm no one" in this book. A solid rule that many religions have but few parishioners follow.

Though I am not a practitioner of Wicca, I found there to be several instances of a self-help lesson to be learned within these chapters, for Wiccans and non-wiccans alike. For example, do not look at the things you do not have. Instead, be thankful for the things you do. Align your thoughts to a positive path and allow your body and mind to relax in the lesser stress of positivity.

I have recommended this book to a Wiccan friend as I am curious what she thinks about the contents. My opinion is that both practitioners of the arts as well as those who simply seek to learn something new, can all find something useful to them within this book.
Profile Image for Ilaria Massariol.
172 reviews11 followers
April 10, 2022
Un ottimo libro: vengono spiegate in modo chiaro e semplice le tecniche di uso consapevole dell'energia atte a creare il cambiamento voluto (la cosiddetta magia), oltre a come approcciarsi alla Wicca in solitaria.

Da allegare, secondo me, alla lettura di "Wicca" sempre di Scott Cunningham, in modo che alcuni capitoli siano più chiari e la comprensione più facilitata.
Profile Image for Ashley (Red-Haired Ash Reads).
2,606 reviews135 followers
March 5, 2018
A great resource for solitary wiccans. I found Part III of this book to be extremely helpful and a great resource for those still learning/ in the beginning stages of wicca. The book of shadows section is great for those wanting to create a BOS but don't knowing where to start or what to include.
Profile Image for Lily April.
88 reviews3 followers
August 29, 2023
[3.5*] Interesting - most stuff either not relevant or fairly basic but got a few new bits here and there.
Profile Image for MariaIsoldde.
42 reviews8 followers
March 25, 2021
This book is rather helpful to those of us that are new to the craft and want to have a more basic daily practice where we can have a much more intimate relationship with the God and the Goddess. It answers a lot of questions that none of the books out there go into detail about. Most of the books basically just assume that you use your own common sense when it comes to certain aspects of daily practice. But this book on the other hand actually gives you insight into things that you never thought or you wanted to know but you weren't sure of yourself when it came to doing a daily routine.
Profile Image for Anne.
5 reviews1 follower
June 21, 2008
I came across this book some years (6 I think) after "Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner" (by Cunningham also) had been published, which was the book that put me on my chosen path. By then I had had the chance to read work from other prolific Wiccan and/or Pagan authors, past & present, but by far Cunningham's writing style, information and how he relays it to his captive audience and also his passion for the subject makes him hands down my favourite author to date.
Basically it is a continuation of "Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner", but don't be fooled by that because unlike other "sequels" it has a wealth of different & additional information, so is well worth the read and the price of the book. Happy reading!!!
Profile Image for Cazangelcat.
56 reviews11 followers
February 17, 2012
This is a brilliant sequel to Cunningham's 1st book and still has more basic info, but not as much as the 1st.
I like the way he encourages you to create your "own tradition" in Witchcraft, whilst also creating your own spells and deciding which rituals to follow etc.
Remember this is just The beginning of The journey and any new Witch/wiccan needs to read and study many books before deciding what tradition, if any? To practice?
The first 2 BASIC Scott Cunningham's books aré a great place for anyone new in seeking out witchcraft and wicca.
Profile Image for Tempest.
11 reviews1 follower
May 8, 2011
I found this book to be a very good follow up to Cunningham's "Wicca. A Guide For The Solitary Practitioner". It is more than just expanded information on the previous book. One of the aspects of this book that I like best is that it deals more with the validity of solitary practice, telling the reader not to feel let down if coven wiccans don't accept you right away as wiccan. It's a very informative, enjoyable, and easy to read book.
Profile Image for Surrey Pagans.
14 reviews12 followers
January 14, 2017
This builds on the information Cunningham wrote about in "Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner". For advanced practitioners, "Living Wicca" is probably too simplistic, but for those who have moved beyond the beginner phase, but don't know enough yet to consider themselves advanced, this book is perfect. Concepts touched on in "Living Wicca" are explored more in depth. Written in Cunningham's simple style, this is an easy and enjoyable read.
Profile Image for John Jonzzman.
5 reviews2 followers
September 25, 2011
Some things I like about this book: the sections on teaching & creating your own tradition. Bottom line: the book makes you think! It encourages creativity & a responsible appraoch to things. All in all, very nice work.
Profile Image for Gaile.
1,260 reviews
June 11, 2013
For the curious, the researcher and those actually wishing to live Wiccan, this is a handy guide as to explaining what the religion is and is not, the practices, the tools and ritual, symbols, way of life and the worship of the Deity as both God and Goddess.
Profile Image for Padhopper.
23 reviews
December 1, 2011
Like the other Scott Cunningham books, this is well written, and a must have for anyone interested in where to start.
Profile Image for Liz.
14 reviews
August 11, 2014
There's a lot of restricting rules in this one compared to what I'm used to, and I personally like to go with what feels right, rather than what others dictate...
Profile Image for Lodane.
100 reviews10 followers
November 18, 2018
The 1-5 Star Review is the total of what I have to say about this book, specifically.

Caveat: This review is historical/archival in nature. 'Date read' is speculative.

This book is one of many books I have read about the occult/paganism/witchcraft. This was the readily available faith in my household as a child. Additionally, I worked for a company in this field, 2015-2016, and had to read an ocean of this stuff to do my job.

Like televangelists, and snake-oil salesman, these publishers prey on the vulnerable. The authors are mentally ill: suffering from 'magical thinking' and delusions. Worst of all, most of them can't write worth a damn.

Llewellyn Worldwide is the absolute worst on both counts. I wouldn't even trust their overpriced CALENDARS to be accurate.

These books are also big offenders on the the 'cultural appropriation' front. In fact, they're in the running for worst case ever. So-called 'eclectic witches' steal aspects of other religions and mythology. They make it clear that they don't understand them, or feel the need to, before shitting in someone else's bed. The publishers/authors then profit off this, leaving the reader less smart and more broke.

The living Venn diagram of demographics for these books would look like this:
She's a white, American woman. She dropped out of college to attend massage/cosmetology school. Growing up, her strict parents took her to church every Sunday. She kissed a girl 10 years ago, and likes Katy Perry. To quote Holden from Chasing Amy, "Over- or underweight [people] who don't get laid - they're our bread and butter."

Though a copypasta of it, these books never tell you about hermeticism. They don't prime you to understand hermeticism. Hermeticism, by the way, is also total bullshit. It is, at least, historic -- and seminal in almost all spooky fiction involving rituals or alchemy.

If I give one of these books anything above 2 stars, it's a decent example of this type of book. It might have a redeeming feature, like reference material for fictional world-building. Having worked in this field, including sales of these exact books, I can tell you... the fix is in, they know it, don't buy this stuff.
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