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Buckland's Complete Book of Witchcraft

3.82  ·  Rating Details  ·  4,648 Ratings  ·  118 Reviews
One of the modern Wicca's most recommended books, this comprehensive text features a step-by-step course in Witchcraft, with photographs and illustrations, rituals, beliefs, history, and lore, as well as intruction in spellwork, divination, herbalism, healing, channeling, dreamwork, sabbats, esbats, covens, and solitary practice. The workbook formats includes exam question ...more
Paperback, 251 pages
Published September 8th 2002 by Llewellyn Publications (first published 1986)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Scott
Aug 05, 2009 Scott rated it did not like it
Shelves: spirituality
This book is responsible for more teeny-bopper wanna-be witches than any other book, with the exception of anything written by Silver Ravenwolf. It is full of questionable history and embarrassing "rituals" that are made up by the author himself, although he'd have you believe they are authentic. Buckland as an author is terribly full of himself and has a tendency to cite his own works as resources. Try not to take it seriously if you do read it.
Michelle
"The Big Blue Book." Where to begin? This (fortunately) was NOT the first book I read on witchcraft. I took a class at a local shop that taught out of this book though and I feel like it's a little too S&M for me.

I felt as if the whole time I was reading the book Buckland was telling me: This is exactly what witchcraft is, NO EXCEPTIONS! It was very cut and dry and his arrogance SEEPS off the page. If you're interested in traditional coven based witchcraft I suppose this book would serve yo
...more
Jack
Jun 06, 2012 Jack rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: THose with an interest in the Occult, Wicca, Paganism and beginning their Book of Shadows
I'll start by saying that I am not Wiccan. I've no real interest in Wicca anymore because it's become as lopsided as Christianity, but at the opposite end.

But, "Uncle Buckey's Big Blue Book" is designed for someone who wants a serious, orderly, introductory study into the esoteric arts of the occult (aka Wicca) and a basic understanding of many of the celto-centric, reconstructionist pagan beliefs in practice today. It is THE textbook with which to start. I have an earlier addition and I underst
...more
Jill
Feb 21, 2012 Jill rated it it was ok
Feb. 18 -- 3/4’s done with the book.

I’m mostly done with this book.
A lot of it I skimmed over as his suggestions are not pertinent to how I practice, which is alone and clothed, nor did I listen to his suggestions on how to ruin my stove by making my own athame.

While I understand the magic and connection by making something yourself (believe me, my passion is crafting and making things from scratch), metal working is not something I would suggest to a novice or anyone unfamiliar with crafting
...more
TailFeather
Aug 30, 2012 TailFeather rated it did not like it
Shelves: pure-drivel
Had this book for many years, re-read it many times. I even thought about doing some of the things he says are rituals. But I could never see how being naked, blindfolded, and my hands bound, with a man touching me with a sharp knife all over my body had anything to do with how I felt about the universe and the earth. Even though it's supposed to. I feel, like all other man-made religions, Buckland just made up his own rules and rituals. Some I feel are highly misogynistic. I find his claims on ...more
Steve Cran
Apr 04, 2012 Steve Cran rated it really liked it
I have read count less Wicca 101 books, yet no one should pass through their basic Wicca education without having read Raymond Buckland's classic. Originally written back in 1986 this book foresees the needs of many beginner Wiccans more adequately then what is being cranked out today. Some of his info is dated and there are more complete instructions else in other beginners books of this magnitude but I still learned a lot.

Raymond Buckland was trained and initiated in Britain by Gerald Gardner
...more
Julia C.
May 12, 2010 Julia C. rated it did not like it
Shelves: esoterica
A dear friend and mentor who meant well gave me this book about 17 years ago when I was relatively new to the pagan path. I must agree to disagree as to its value. While it has a few good spells for the beginning witch, it unfortunately also includes a "history" of Wicca that has absolutely no grounding in historical records; creating new spiritual traditions is fine but one must be completely honest about their provenance. In addition, the attitude that one *must* be an initiated Gardnerian Wic ...more
Jolie Bonnette
Apr 22, 2012 Jolie Bonnette rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: people who suspect they may want to become Pagan
Recommended to Jolie by: a friend who was a high priestess
This is a book I usually recommend for folks who suspect they might be a Pagan of some sort but haven't identified a particular branch of the tree they might be comfortable on. It gives some decent base information on a number of subjects related to Paganism and witchcraft and also gives a nice directory of the different "flavors" of Paganism and witchcraft. It serves as a nice jumping off point for people who are just beginning their Pagan journey.
April-lyn
Jan 19, 2009 April-lyn rated it it was ok
Shelves: occult
Has some useful/interesting information, but I was put off by his attitude and arrogance. Would recommend this to newbie pagan folks, but only to those who can take everything with a grain of salt and with well-honed BS radar.
Artful Existence
Jul 09, 2014 Artful Existence rated it liked it
This is an excellent book for those new to the craft and/or want a comprehensive guide. It covers all the important aspects of the religion and helps the novice begin her/his journey. I definitely recommend this book. I do, however, agree with much of the others' reviews about Buckland's arrogance. Please understand that you use this text as a reference text, and you do not simply take his word for everything. Religion (to me) is your own personal relationship with the Divine and who can tell yo ...more
Kerie
Jul 15, 2013 Kerie rated it did not like it
Shelves: esoteric
My first impression was that Buckland likes to use himself as the authority he quotes. That doesn't sit well with me; rings of egoism. There are lots of little interesting details in here, and great stuff on how to make your own tools; however, the religious end of things I am NOT interested in. Wicca does not appeal to me as my own path, though there are some useful tidbits in any system that can be used/adapted for personal use. Waaaaay too much is made of nudity, ritual bondage, and anointing ...more
Cosmic Tree
Jan 11, 2012 Cosmic Tree rated it it was ok
Shelves: paganism
I have never really been into Gardnerian Wicca or the similar traditions, as far as adopting it as my personal system, and this book really encompasses all of the reasons why.

The ritual scourging, binding and blindfolding, the ceremonial feel to things, how the author gives you a way to do things and why and why others ways are wrong "but feel free to do whatever you like."

The author makes it seem as though if I don't hand make my own athame, from cutting the metal to carving the handle, the too
...more
Eurik
Oct 06, 2010 Eurik rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
When I first discovred this, I loved it. I was fascinated. It was the beginning and the first milestone of my pagan practise that I recognised as such consciously.

Gradually, I grew more and more sceptical, as this book and especially it's Czech translation which I originally used is full of mistakes, misconcepts, over-simplifications and stuff that is outright ludicrous. Hovewer, every now and then, I still bump into things that I would otherwise haven't heard of, had it not been for this book.
...more
Nathan Burgoine
Jan 12, 2014 Nathan Burgoine rated it liked it
Almost a "workbook" of the witch, this book was a at times an interesting starting point for me, in that it brought up interesting questions from seemingly "just fun" ideas. Asking you what your best Wiccan workroom would look like really seems like a fun little diversion, but it sparks you into thinking about what you find more important than other facets, for example.

Then the more in-depth rituals popped in, which made me notice how.... well, sexist a bunch of it read. And there's a whole lot
...more
Michaela Hutfles
Jul 30, 2008 Michaela Hutfles rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Wiccans, Pagans
Refered to in my house as, "Uncle Bucky's big blue book of Witchcraft" it is the best DIY of pagan basics. Where as the Ferrar's "Witch's Bible complete" may give you all the litturgy and context for same, this one tells you how to make all the gear that you'll probably want to go with that litturgy & ritual practice.
His writing is clean, consice and very easy to follow. A great first step book to pick-up paired with Cunningham's "Wicca for the Solitary Practitioner" and you get 95% of what
...more
David
Jul 12, 2008 David added it
Shelves: back-shelf
This book was my introduction to Wicca. Luckily I quickly followed up with other books. Stuck with this alone, you won't be good very far or deep into the spiritual side of the religion. Looking back on it, I like so very little of it now. But it once represented a whole new world and way of thinking for me.
Today there really are a lot (read, too many) more up to date books for this to be anyone's introductory text. But I must say far too few modern books contain instructions for fitting metal m
...more
Ben
Sep 06, 2011 Ben rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
In my continuing trek through studying various belief systems, I wanted to familiarize myself with Wicca (the "old" faith or however they refer to themselves). I would have been able to give this a much fairer appraisal had the "history" actually had some historical grounding. I found myself continually banging my head against a wall at his claims. I am more looking forward to reading Cunningham's book on Wicca, since, in comparison to Buckland, he apparently leaves behind the outdated (and wild ...more
Carrie
Jun 29, 2008 Carrie rated it liked it
A lot of people seem to think this is a fantastic book, and if it works for them, great, but it definitely didn't work for me. Cunningham says in his books, that if it feels right it probably is, and nothing in the 'big blue book' felt right to me at all. I'm sure Mr. Buckland is a nice person to meet, but I spent the majority of the book wondering if he was just using Paganism as an excuse to get laid. Too stuffy, too ceremonial, and completely unrealistic, I wouldn't recommend this book unless ...more
Eric Rasbold
Jun 01, 2014 Eric Rasbold rated it really liked it
Another classic from the Old Guard.
J.D.
Jan 21, 2016 J.D. rated it it was ok
This is a very well-known text on Witchcraft, but it's not my favorite -- not by far. I remember a lot of the rituals and practices seeming a bit barbaric or unappealing to me -- for example, having to be naked, with hands bound behind one's back and the rope going up and around one's neck...oh, and did I mention you would also be blindfolded? (pg. 70) Yeah... So, this was my first experience with any text on Witchcraft, and I found it fundamentally unappealing. There were so few books on Witchc ...more
Zee
Oct 01, 2015 Zee rated it did not like it
This book was added to my reading list as a couple of wiccan sites I found (which I believe were written by men, which will become important as I continue).
It was touted as a “wiccan bible” and as I flicked through, I could see why.
I have never had a good relationship with Christianity, so please be aware that anything using the word bible makes me incredibly uncomfortable. I do not do Mr Buckland an honour when I agree to call his book the “wiccan bible”.
With the first cursory glance through th
...more
Story
I can't really give this book any kind of star rating, because for me, liking of disliking this book is irrelevant. In studying the history of the Neo-Pagan movement, this is an essential text, situating certain notions in their cultural milieu. It was invaluable during my thesis, with was an ethnography of the Pagan community in my college's city. I first encountered it while I was in high school, and it seemed to me to be a definitive text. But I second what many reviewers have said before: it ...more
Carrie {The Book Goddess}
Feb 16, 2015 Carrie {The Book Goddess} rated it really liked it
More epic reviews here: The Book Goddess


I've read quite a books on Wicca and witchcraft for research, everyone recommended this book to me. Even Goodreads said this was a book I needed to read. I think it's very informable and he does go into so much detail. It's all laid out there for anyone to pick up and follow. I enjoyed this book and learned so much. I do have a few gripes though. I know some people don't have a problem with Skyclad worship and such but I think it's totally unneeded. What y
...more
Riley
Jul 20, 2015 Riley rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: No one.
Recommended to Riley by: Barnes & Noble.
This was my first book on witchcraft and I regret purchasing it. The author (Buckland) interchanges the terms Wicca and Witchcraft, insisting they are one in the same. His practices insist on things that make people like me uncomfortable (Insists upon practicing skyclad (nude) to a creepy level, insists on letting some random person drag a sharp knife across your naked body as part of some absurd ritual, etc)

Authors like this made it very difficult for me to start practicing witchcraft, and they
...more
Conure Hermary
Jan 05, 2016 Conure Hermary rated it liked it
I have mixed feelings about this book. On one hand it is very interesting with good rituals and a chance to work through the chapters like it were a workbook. Even after 20 years as a practicing witch, I found much of his lessons useful and challenging. It gives a good idea of what early witchcraft practices were like (at least in my opinion) and it constantly makes me think about WHY I do the things I do in my own practices.

The down side is that he is SO ARROGANT. Constantly citing himself and
...more
Joseph
Jan 05, 2016 Joseph added it
I found this to somehow be a quick yet more than skimming of the surface of The Craft. Buckland speaks in an easy manner without taking a know-it-all condescending attitude. He provides real world examples along with personal anecdotes. It is easy to see why he is one of the more revered members of the Wiccan community. All the basics are here to help someone new to the The Old Religion and as a refresher course for those who have been practicing for quite some time. One thing particularly loved ...more
Spider Goddess
Feb 11, 2012 Spider Goddess rated it it was amazing
This book was my first foray into magick. I picked it up in the very early 90s. It will always hold a special place in my heart as it is a very good book for the beginner.
Once Upon a Darling
Jul 02, 2015 Once Upon a Darling rated it liked it
Shelves: witchy-books
I'm 50/50 on if I like this book or not. It was written by Raymond Buckland, who was the (self-porclaimed) guy to bring back the Old Religion Wicca in the United States around 1950. There is a lot of good to know information in this book but it is almost equally filled with over the top coven rituals and claims that if you don't do it his way, you are doing it wrong. The book is set up like a textbook, (but lacks the bolded text I love so much from my school days) so that each chapter is a lesso ...more
Courtney
Jul 17, 2012 Courtney rated it did not like it
Ah, "Uncle Bucky's Big Blue Book."

Credit where credit is due, Buckland did a lot to promote Wicca and its practitioners as normal people--who just happen to get naked in a group about eight times a year, chant, sing, dance, and give praise to the Old Gods.

While I found some of the information useful when I was starting out, even in the beginning, there were things that just had me raising my eyebrow and making WTF faces at the book. (For example, I have never, ever seen a Wiccan hug a tree, desp
...more
Thestolensteeringwheel
Jun 06, 2013 Thestolensteeringwheel rated it really liked it
Buckland's Complete Book of Witchcraft by Raymond Buckland was the first and best book on witchcraft I picked up. It summarizes and explains all the elements and practices of witchcraft in 250 pages. It's concepts and data are very well organized. From Wiccan history to sacred chants, this book gives an understandable format that anyone could read. It is a great starting point for anyone who wants to learn and go further in this subject. In each unit it gives reference to other relevant literatu ...more
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Goodreads Librari...: Wrong first publish date 2 18 Apr 21, 2012 11:56PM  
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Known as "The Father of American Wicca," Raymond Buckland was responsible for introducing Wicca to the United States. He was the author of the first American book on the Old Religion written by a witch - WITCHCRAFT FROM THE INSIDE - and has since written nearly sixty others, including the classic BUCKLAND'S COMPLETE BOOK OF WITCHCRAFT and the three encyclopedias: THE WITCH BOOK, THE FORTUNETELLING ...more
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