Circle, Coven, & Grove


Circle, Coven, & Grove:  A Year Of Magickal Practice

by Deborah Blake. © 2007 Llewellyn Publications. ISBN 0-7387-1033-4.
253 pages. Paperback. $14.95 US.

Green, Celtic, Alexandrian, Eclectic: every circle, coven, and grove of Witches is as unique as the magick they practice. No matter what kind of Witch you are, High Priestess Deborah Blake’s guide to ritual has something for you.

Part instruction manual, part personal journal, and part Book of Shadows, this all-in-one ritual handbook is an ideal tool for busy Witches, new covens, and new priestesses, priests, or coven leaders. Celebrate the Wheel of the Year with original group rituals that can be used as written, personalized to reflect your coven’s unique style, or modified for solitary practitioners.

Along with practical tips on ritual basics, there are beautifully written New Moon rituals, Full Moon rituals, and Sabbat celebrations for each month and season.

Circle, Coven & Grove presents basic correspondences for magickal practice and coven work essentials such as circle etiquette. With seasonal spells, blessings, and rituals for celebrating holidays, increasing energy, giving thanks, healing, and more, this friendly book has everything you need.

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Circle, Coven & Grove: A Year of Magickal Practice

Below are on-line reviews for Circle, Coven and Grove: A Year of Magickal Practice. The author of the review, the website where it may be found, and the date of the review areincluded when provided.

So you’ve gotten a group together, and you want to celebrate the lunar cycles and the solar Sabbats. However, you can’t string two words together, and everyone else is too shy to take charge. On top of it, you have a Gardnerian, a Dianic, three Eclectics and a fam-trad Witch (not Wiccan, thanks) in your merry collective. How on earth are you going to manage a ritual that’ll make everyone happy?Well, while magic and paganism aren’t one size fits all, Deborah Blake has offered a nice collection of prefabricated rituals for the Sabbats and the full and new moons. They’re designed for groups that aren’t necessarily made of one single Wiccan tradition who want to celebrate together. Along with a full year’s worth of rituals divided by month, there’s auxiliary information (including another rehash of Wicca 101 that probably wasn’t necessary, but wasn’t terrible either) to support your own customizing efforts.Blake is an excellent writer, both of ritual poetry and of prose. I enjoyed how she worked natural imagery into some of the rituals, and made them truly interactive instead of “Okay, the HP/S and I are going to do the work, and the rest of you just stand there and watch”. It’s obvious she’s had plenty of experience with a group setting, and conveys what she’s learned quite well.I do have the occasional quibble with the book. For instance, in the Beltane ritual she suggests cutting down a tree as an option for obtaining a Maypole, at which I literally cringed. Also, one of her appendices includes the Elder futhark of runes, written by an associate of hers. Unfortunately, the associate also includes the blank rune which, if she’d researched respected Norse pagan authorities, she would have found was created in the 1980s by a less-than-respected author rather than being an original part of the futhark.

Still, these are pretty minor complaints buried in what’s a pretty good book, particularly for the beginning group. It’s largely composed of rituals, so if you’re looking for a book on pagan group dynamics, this isn’t it. But if you want some convenient rituals to use throughout the year, this is a great choice.

Teresa Chrissy, from
Belladonna’s Hearth

Deborah Blake does a remarkable job of helping out budding covens with her new book Circle, Coven & Grove: A Year of Magickal Practice. Within this book, she gives us the Wiccan basics, group practice essentials, circle etiquette, ritual elements, correspondences for spellwork, and not to mention a full year’s worth of esbat and sabbat rituals!

The fantastic appendices are full of brilliant information on New & Full Moon dates through 2009, study group topics, suggested further reading, index of runes, index of magickal work and a superb glossary.
This is a great buy if you are just starting out in a coven (circle or grove) or any type of pagan study group. Thoroughly enjoyable! This book will make the trial and error period so much easier.

Mike Gleason, from
This book is definitely a “101” book. It is designed to provide basic ideas and structure for a year’s worth of rituals. However, unlike many books of basics, this one supplies ideas for New and Full Moons attuned to each month.
Of course, the author makes sure to state early that the reader is not bound by the ideas contained in the book. As she points out, she has presented to concept of a “rebirthing” ritual as appropriate for an April Full Moon, but if you feel the need for such a ritual at some other time of the year it may be used whenever you need it.
She provides some basics of Wiccan philosophy and history and, very importantly in my opinion, some basics of Circle etiquette. She claims that this chapter “may well be the most important chapter” in the book. I agree fully with that statement. It is nice that she provides some correspondences and some definitions and all the rest, but Circle etiquette is the lubrication which allows individuals and groups to work together smoothly. Although Wicca is a highly individualistic religion, it is necessary to share come commonalities, and Circle etiquette IS such a commonality.
Some of the ritual instructions are a little strange to me, but that is a function of the fact that I was trained in a lineaged tradition and she is Eclectic. I have no doubt that her directions and instructions will work and be effective. She stresses the importance of listening to your inner voice to decide what is right for you and your group.
Perhaps my one major objection to the way this book is set up is Ms. Blake’s assumption that, in any given month, the New Moon will always precede the Full Moon. That isn’t always a valid assumption; as well know (for example, this month started with a Full Moon). While some experienced practitioners can make adjustments easily, newcomers might find this disconcerting.
The sample invocations and meditations she provides are doubtlessly effective. They give a variety of ideas to work with and can certainly provide some needed inspiration for developing your own ideas.


Monday, 01 March 2010

Circle, Coven and Grove is nicely written and informative, great for any practitioner, novice to high priest or priestess. Deborah Blake has put together the basics of successful practice and a wheel of the year schedule that is easy to follow for any magickal seeker wishing to follow the old ways. This book is packed full of hints, tips, suggestion and practical etiquette for a happy and pleasant magick experience. No matter your style or path, this book encompasses all. Easy to follow spells, and holiday celebration rituals are especially beautiful. Circle, Coven and Grove is one of the most cheerful and friendly books I have the pleasure of reading in a long time. A true witch’s hand book; a must for all who seek.