The Complete Book of Spells, Ceremonies & Magic by Migene Gonzalez-Wippler gives a good general overview of various magical systems around the world as well as a good brief history of magic in the western occult tradition.
This books touches on a lot. Its really a starting point for the beginning student. Those who are a little more advanced and well read might find the information boring and repetitive. The book starts out by giving a brief history of the western occult tradition then takes the reader on a tour around the world examining various cultures magical practices. I don’t know what this book could have possibly left out from Enochian magic to the rites of Haiti and Latin America this book has it all! It also has a interesting section in the back covering some interesting magical spells throughout the ages.
I think this is a fantastic book for any student starting out. It’s a launching point to study a myriad of subjects. I still find myself using this as a reference book and flip to it frequently. It contains a lot of handy reference tables. The only thing that annoys me about this book is the authors tone at points. It can be a little condescending. One point of contention is she talks about Aleister Crowley and identifies him as a black magician. Some would disagree with this point and consider the great magician only misunderstood. I personally disagree with viewing him as black left hand path magician. I think that Crowley really encourages his “evil” image for his own gain. My suggestion is to read the book and make your own judgements after doing more research.
The books was originally printed in 1978. My copy was printed in 2000 by Llewellyn. I picked it up on a whim at half-price. That place is a danger zone for me. Everytime I go in there I end up spending way more then I intend.
I haven’t had much experience with this author. Has anyone read anything else published by her?