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Kevin Matron

Toronto, McClelland-Bantam (A Seal Book), 1989. 260pp, cloth, $24.95, ISBN 0-7704-2327-2
Distributed by McClelland-Bantam Inc., 105 Bond Street, Toronto, Ont. MSB 1Y3. CIP

Post-secondary /Adult
Reviewed by Kenneth Elliott.

Volume 18 Number 1
1990 January

This is a scary book. Between its black covers lie thirteen chapters that will shock most thoughtful readers. Be prepared to change your attitude towards witches and pagans!

Matron covers the following topics: what is a witch, witchcraft on the west coast of Canada, witchcraft in Ontario, the Wiccan Church of Canada, other forms of paganism - shamans, druids and elves, satanism and black magic, and the problem of satanism and the Old Religion in a New Age. Chapter 11, "The Problem of Satanism," is worth the price of the book. In it the author shows the influence satanic cults and heavy metal music have on young teenagers today. It is a distressing and provoca­tive chapter - but one that is a must for adults caring for teenagers today.

The ethical code for witches is this: "Do what you will, if it harms none." They believe in the power and preservation of the earth, showing respect for all life forms. Their Craft antedates Christian­ity under the form of pagan mythic practices, and their celebrations or Sabbats centre on the cycles of nature - changes of the seasons, the birth, death and rebirth of crops - with human re­incarnation often playing an important role.

Matron states, "modern witches and pagans come to the conclusion that the Judeo-Christian belief system is not only irrelevant to present-day needs but that it is partly responsible for having led Western society astray."

This sad commentary on the Judeo-Christian heritage as seen through the eyes of some members of our commu­nity makes this work even more valu­able as a key to unlocking the fascinat­ing mystery of what we call life. The bibliography of fifty-one entries will allow readers to enhance their knowl­edge of this subject. Footnotes and an index would be a welcome addition to future printing of this work. The moderate margins and clear type make for easy reading. Readers are advised not to read this book before going to bed!

Kenneth Elliott, Laval Catholic High School, Chomedey, Que.
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