Mastering Witchcraft Discussion

By October 25, 2011 Books, Witchcraft & Magic No Comments

Mastering WitchcraftPaul Huson‘s Mastering Witchcraft: A Practical Guide for Witches, Warlocks & Covens, originally released in 1970,  is a classic masterpiece of witchcraft publishing. If you’ve made it this far along the path without reading it (egads, that’s like saying you’ve never read Doreen Valiente!), I urge you to go out and procure a copy immediately. There are still many first editions in circulation and it was recently reprinted as a modern paperback.

It was my witchcraft teacher who told me I must read Huson, he being of the older generation when the book first came out and I of the newer generation raised on Starhawk and Hutton. I delighted in reading it; here was a book that finally matched my darkly witchy soul and was unashamed of speaking of power, darkness, spirits, and necromancy. I ate it up and thirsted for more as it differed so greatly from the goddess-power-do-no-harm books I was used to finding in bookstores and the library. Instead of giving a message of “not to do any real magic because you can’t be trusted to make the right decision”, Mastering Witchcraft gives out the message that the responsibility of your actions lies with you alone and that guilt and shame have no place in spellwork if it is to be effective. After all, why fight our nature? We are what we are – might as well own up to it.

Trothwy over at The Used Key is Always Bright has been hosting a weekly book club for a couple of months focusing on Mastering Witchcraft and now that it’s reached its conclusion she’s put together an online discussion featuring an assortment of witch personalities who will be guest blogging their thoughts on each chapter for those who couldn’t attend the book club in person. The guest posts start with me covering the Introduction and Jason Miller giving his thoughts on the first chapter. Other witch personalities who will be participating include Harry, Hyperion, Deborah Lipp, and Peter Paddon. This project is meant to foster discussion, so if you’ve read Mastering Witchcraft, comment away!

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  • Amy says:

    This is an awesome book- one of my favorites! Right up there with Robin Artisson and a few other truly witchy books that are woefully slight in numbers compared to some of the more popular, but less substantial titles that you can find.

  • Mike says:

    One of my favourite books as well. It is also pretty controversial and I knew someone who was kicked off an Internet forum for recommending it because it was “amoral” for including cursing rituals and reciting the Lord’s parayer backwards as part of a self-initiation. Paul Huson claims he was never initiated into the Craft and has said that he got the material in the book from libraries. Some sceptics like me think he may be a bit economical with the truth, but no doubt he has his reasons.

  • hisprecious1 says:

    Not only am I now interested in this book (no I’ve not read it!), but I’m going to add it to our book list for the Pagan Book Club I’m starting here locally! Also, going to visit these other blogs and see how they are handling discussions and stuff….thanks for sharing this!


  • I finally bought my copy (a first edn.) about 3 or 4 years go…it was a happy (and dare I say “magickal” find) at our local Half Price Bookstore. I gladly burned through that tone in mere days!

    It’s since become a favorite of mine, alongside other classics such as Laurie Cabot’s “Power of the Witch” (a *real* game-changer!!! If no one’s read that book, then, they simply MUST track one down for it’s chapter on alpha and the science of witchcraft alone), as well as the Farrars, and Martello!

    Some of the information, he has told me, were, in fact, acquired by some older Covens he came to know….such as the wine recipe which called for Hyacinth and lily-of-the-valley, if I recall correctly.

    • Ian Phanes says:

      The problem with Cabot’s “science of witchcraft” information is that it is in direct contradiction with known scientific evidence. The point that drove me craziest was when she pointed out (correctly) that scientists have determined that Jupiter is emitting more energy than it is receiving from the sun, then goes on to claim that eventually the scientists will realize that the excess energy is blue light (the color she corresponds with Jupiter). The problem with that statement is that scientists already know which wavelengths Jupiter is emitting what on. Otherwise, they couldn’t know that Jupiter was emitting excess energy. However, the wavelengths are not in the visible range. *If* Jupiter was emitting blue light in large quantities, it would look blue in photographs. Only someone who really, really doesn’t have clue one about science could have written what she did.

      Other than that, what did you find “game-changing” about Cabot’s book? I read it years back, and don’t remember anything particular about it other than the bad science. If there’s other unusual information, please let me know and I can revisit it.

  • Geetar646 says:

    I noticed a special someone already has a first edition pictured on her bookshelf in hardcover no less. Fancy that before reading this entry I chanced upon the old leaner, meaner Sarah in the entry Luciferian Witchcraft from Oct., 2009 which might be read in pari materia with this nice little entry. I also like the part about the ” proto-Indo-Europeans” in the latter. Would that those goose-stepping lads had not ever given us all the bad P.R.

  • Gwelt Awenydd says:

    Bought my first copy in elementary school in the late 70’s from an ad in the back of National Enquirer. Unfortunately, I ended up burning it when I became a Christian. A few years ago I picked up another copy. Odd I went from self-styled Satanist, to Christian, to New Ager, to Satanist again, to Gnostic Luciferian, to Pentecostal Christian, to Wiccan, to Tradcraft Witch, to whatever I am today. Some ride huh? Oddly my new copy of Mastering Witchcraft has creases on the cover very similar if not identical to the one I burned. Awesome book and one of the most well worn reference works in my library.

  • Mike says:

    Wade, when you say ‘he’ got the information about the wine recipes from ‘older covens’ is the ‘he’ Paul Huson as I always thought Laurie Cabot was a woman? Do you have any more information on these ‘older covens’?

    Huson has said he met some associates of Robert Cochrane when he was still living in England and that provided one source for his book. In it he mentions Tubal Cain being one of the aspects of the witch-god and that could have come from that source or possiblly from elsewhere as it is not a concept that was exclusive to Cochrane.

  • Marilyn says:

    A veritable treasure of a book, one of my very first on witchcraft back in my pre-teen days. I still refer to it and am still amazed at the wealth of knowledge that lies within.

    It is wonderful to see it gain (finally!) the wider appreciation it does deserve after years of being the proverbial red headed stepchild swept under the rug by many supposed ‘authoritays’ on the Craft. :)

    It basically formulated the type of Witch that I am today and will always have a special place in my heart… I love Paul Huson!

    Now I wish the term “Magical Dead” would catch on among folk like us, which is what they are called in “Mastering Witchcraft”. I never see anyone other than myself use the term and it describes the Spirits that I work with perfectly! 😉

  • SoulFire says:

    @Wade. Cabot was not the first to write about “alpha countdown.” That info is not new. Ten years earlier, Starhawk included the technique in _The Spiral Dance_. She calls it “rainbow induction.” David St. Clair also includes the technique in his 1979 book _Lessons in Instant ESP_. And before that was the Silva Method.

  • Maggie P. says:

    I am greatly enjoying the discussion over there and it comes just in time as I have only just now read the book.

    Thanks for posting this! I wouldn’t have found it without you.