The Twelve Wild Swans: A Journey to the Realm of Magic, Healing, and Action

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9780062516848: The Twelve Wild Swans: A Journey to the Realm of Magic, Healing, and Action

Continuing the lessons and deepening the knowledge first set out in the bestseller The Spiral Dance, here is the first guide that works for both basic and advanced magical training. Authors Starhawk and Hilary Valentine transform a fairy tale about twelve wild swans into a set of instructions for an initiatory journey into the world of Witchcraft, providing a remarkable roadmap describing three distinct paths into magic, healing, and action.

"The practice of magic rests on the power of the word," says Starhawk. For circles, covens, and groups, this volume is the power of the word at work -- a sourcebook that instructs and inspires on many levels, from the craft of magical training to innerspiritual development to outer work in the greater world.

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Review:

Starhawk and Hilary Valentine, renowned leaders in the Wicca movement, use the transformative fairy tale of The Twelve Wild Swans to teach an advanced class on magic. More significantly, this is an introduction to a mature level of Wicca called "reclaiming," a model of witchcraft that blends magic, personal growth, and activism. The book begins with the first chapter of the fairy tale, in which a foolish queen wishes to exchange her 12 sons for a daughter. An old woman "dressed all in black" overhears the queen and makes the wish come true, granting the queen a daughter but turning her sons into wild swans.

From here the coauthors launch into a back-and-forth structure of telling the story and then stopping to show how it applies to a witch's initiation and transformation. For example, we all must leave the castle in order to heal our past. We all must spend some time wandering in the wilderness before finding our true home, and we all must conquer some form of "wicked vows" before we can reach full maturity. These are wise leaders and strong guides, well worth following on this life-altering fairy tale. --Tara West

About the Author:

Starhawk is the author of nine books, including her bestselling The Spiral Dance, The Pagan Book of Living and Dying, and Webs of Power, winner of the 2003 Nautilus Award for social change. She has an international reputation, and her works have been translated into many different languages. Starhawk is also a columnist for beliefnet.com and ZNet. A veteran of progressive movements who is deeply committed to bringing the techniques and creative power of spirituality to political activism, she travels internationally, teaching magic, the tools of ritual, and the skills of activism. Starhawk lives part-time in San Francisco, in a collective house with her partner and friends, and part-time in a little hut in the woods in western Sonoma County, where she practices permaculture in her extensive gardens and writes.

Hilary Valentine has been practicing and teaching Reclaiming Tradition magic since 1985. She lives in northern California.

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