The Twelve Wild Swans
by Starhawk & Valentine
Silver Chalice E-zine ~ Book Review

The Twelve Wild Swans, by Starhawk and Hilary Valentine, is a groundbreaking workbook for Wiccans who want to develop their skills and go further in their connection with the Earth and Spirit.

It's a fantastic beginner's book, the best I've seen on a whole range of Craft basics such as ...

  • casting a circle,

  • guided visualizations to access inner wisdom,

  • creating a protective shield,

  • getting to know the Wheel of the Year,

  • and other vital Wiccan skills.

Yet The Twelve Wild Swans is just as great for advanced Witches too, offering insight into profound levels of the Craft, lessons in power and energy awareness, and developing deeper spiritually.

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Your Journey To Power

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The Twelve Wild Swans works for Wiccans of all levels because of its unique concept.

The exercises are based on the mythical tale of 12 brothers who are turned into swans, and the journey their sister undertakes to free them of this curse.

This is a journey to her deepest self and her own power.

It is the journey each of us takes, as we leave the easy, sleep-walking state of our culture and begin to become conscious, whole people.

In their introduction, Starhawk and Valentine call this story "a profound guide through the process of growth and empowerment." And it is certainly true! If you undertake the lessons in this book, alone or with a group, you will find yourself evolving in strength, understanding, and power.

Each aspect of the tale illustrates important wisdom and skills anyone must have who undertakes to journey between the worlds and generate healing.

Other Great Wiccan Books by Starhawk

Choose Your Path

The revolutionary part will be familiar to anyone who has been to a Reclaiming Witchcamp. Each chapter of The Twelve Wild Swans is divided up into "Paths" — the Elements Path, the Inner Path, and the Outer Path.

The Elements Path focuses on the basics of Witchcraft and working magick.

The Inner Path guides you through your own history, and focuses on personal healing and accessing the power that your experiences offer you.

The Outer Path develops your ability to take these tools and powers and use them to create change in the world.

You can choose which part of Wicca you want to develop next, putting your spiritual journey firmly into your own hands... exactly where it belongs!

The Twelve Wild Swans is a "Must-Have"

As always, the Reclaiming tradition from which Starhawk and Valentine both come is among the best guides for Wiccans in the 21st century, in my opinion. Their ethics and principles, their intimacy with Wicca, their insightfulness, and their ability to liberate spiritual awareness and power in others is outstanding.

The Twelve Wild Swans is a must-have for the library of every dedicated Wiccan.

But more than having it, actually do the exercises all the way through! This is the way to learn, improve, and empower yourself as a Wiccan.

You can do this workbook several times through and always reach new depths of understanding and heights of joy in Wicca.

Excerpts from The Twelve Wild Swans

If we always use the same words to end a ritual, they become an anchor to the shift in consciousness we make when we leave sacred space and return to ordinary space and time. If we use the same grounding meditation again and again, in time just a breath and a memory of the image will ground us. - p 41-2

The more we grow in personal power, the more strongly our state of being impacts those around us. - p 42

Rose has found the courage to walk away from everything she has ever known. She simply cannot continue to live a life based on a lie and an injustice. She has committed herself to a clear purpose…. - p 67

An initiation involves a close, personal commitment, a karmic bond comparable to marriage. - p 89

No matter how ethereal the teaching, teachers cannot live on air. - p 87

The simplest forms and processes often evoke the most profound transformation. A simple chance to speak from the heart and be heard can be more transformative than the flashiest drum trance. - p 140

Gender is a construct…. Most of us go through life with our concepts around gender totally unexamined. - p 140

The idea is that a Witch's power is in her word…. - p 140

When we still our own voices, the crackling fire and the rushing water can speak to us. We begin to hear the deep communication that is always happening in the natural world. - p 188

The traditional, private celebration of Witchcraft follows the cycles of the moon, and when the moon is full, Witches gather together in living rooms, by seaside bonfires, on hilltops where drumming can go on all night, or under the lacy moon shadow of orchards.

Together we celebrate the great cycles of nature and of our miracle bodies and remember that we are all connected in the great web of life. - p 279

Remember that we are all here to take a stand for life, for all living beings on the earth.

We are all here together; together we are powerful.

Breathe the power of life. - p 304 (from a ritual for political action)

(All bold text, my emphasis.)

Rating for The Twelve Wild Swans: 5 Stars

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The Twelve Wild Swans: A Journey to the Realm of Magic, Healing, and Action, by Starhawk & Hilary Valentine. HarperSanFrancisco, 2000. ISBN 0-06-251684-1 (cloth), ISBN 0-06-251669-8 (pbk)

With Bright Blessings,

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