Book Review: The Circle Within

Dianne Sylvan

The Circle Within:  Creating a Wiccan Spiritual Tradition

St. Paul:  Llewellyn Publications, 2004.

This is possibly the loveliest book on Wiccan practice I have come across.  Ms. Sylvan is sensible and down-to-earth, and offers kind, insightful advice for building a personal spiritual practice for Wiccans.  Although this is a practical book, there is an almost contemplative style of theology guiding her discussion.  While Ms. Sylvan states she does not meditate, many of her suggestions sound very contemplative to me.  Many of her practice suggestions are structured devotions, but she also promotes regular communing with nature, and states that grounding and centering, both contemplative practices, are the best way to find God.  I feel she offers an accessible way to incorporate more contemplative practice into Wiccan spirituality.

She advocates a personal daily involvement with religion for Wiccans, rather than being “Sabbath” Wiccans who only practice on holydays.  She suggests the practice of simple rituals and mindfulness between Sabbaths to enchant daily life and promote union with God.  For her, religion is her source of meaning rather than merely a way to work magic.  Instead, she advises us to live magically and not just cast spells to get more things.  She believes our real task in life is to seek union with God, and a personal spiritual practice that includes daily devotions allows us to commune with and listen to God and achieve this union.

The book is divided into two parts, the first discussing how to form a personal spiritual practice and the second with sample prayers and rituals.  The text is insightful and informative, and full of personal examples from her own life.  Her advice is ideal for many Wiccans who really must spend most of their time out in the world but who desire a deep, satisfying spirituality that can fit into their busy daily lives.  With her warm and gentle guidance, her readers can find a sustaining and enlarging spiritual practice of their own.  I found this book delightful as well as useful, and I recommend it highly.


Copyright © 2016 Teresa Chupp.  All rights reserved.


2 thoughts on “Book Review: The Circle Within

  1. I save your blogs like a precious jewel to be enjoyed at the end of a long day. Thank you so much for your posts Blessings and light to you, my friend.


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