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Book Review: "What Witches Do" by Stewart Farrar

Stewart Farrar first met Alex Sanders through an article he was writing about witchcraft for a magazine. Fascinated by the subject, Farrar decided to seek out practitioners of witchcraft and arranged an interview with Alex Sanders, who was a well-known figure in the witchcraft community at the time. The interview led to a meeting, and Farrar was impressed by Sanders' knowledge and charisma. This initial encounter sparked a friendship between the two, and Farrar eventually became a student of Sanders, delving deeper into the world of witchcraft and leading to a collaboration that became the book.

What Witches Do book cover versions
What Witches Do book cover versions

The Soul of What Witches Do

"What Witches Do" was one of the first books accurately portraying British Traditional Witchcraft practices. Published in 1971, Farrar offers insights into Alex and Maxine Sanders' practices and beliefs, taking the reader into the heart of Alexandrian Witchcraft.

Farrar's critical yet open-minded approach guides readers through historical anecdotes, interviews with witches, and personal experiences. With well-researched explanations and personal experiences, the book offers a vivid picture of British Traditional Witchcraft, dispelling misconceptions and prejudices surrounding the witch cult.

What Witches Do - Spanish and Portuguese versions.
What Witches Do - Spanish and Portuguese versions.

A balance between practical and philosophical aspects

One of the book's strengths lies in its first-hand description and observation of the rituals and practices that define the Craft. There is a practical understanding of techniques and tools like the cords, scourge, and the sword, as well as a solid presentation of Craft's core concepts.

"Witches Do" demystifies magic, explaining how its principles are grounded in natural laws and psychology rather than supernatural superpowers. The book also explores the nuances of personal ethics, providing a voyage of introspection. It emphasizes the importance of personal responsibility, honesty, and accountability.

Readers can explore the philosophical foundations of the Traditional practice through its pages. Farrar's exploration of these aspects encourages questioning their beliefs and pondering how the Craft might infuse their lives with meaning and enrichment.

Moreover, "What Witches Do" conveys the sense of community and camaraderie inherent in a well-functioning coven, offering a glimpse into the roots of the Alexandrian Tradition.

What Witches Do book cover by The Crowood Press, 2021
Reprinted edition by The Crowood Press, 2021

The importance of "What Witches Do" and its relevance for today

"What Witches Do" remains a cornerstone of Traditional Witchcraft. It is hard to find such profound exposition and contact with non-initiates as a diverse and often secretive path.

Alex's approach and teachings have also sparked discussions and debates among practitioners. Still, it is undeniable that the blend of modern and traditional elements incorporated by the Sanders provided more depth for the rites and expanded its boundaries.

Through Farrar's interviews and personal insights, he demonstrated why Alexandrian Witchcraft had such a revolutionary impact on the Craft, making this book a valuable resource for seekers, practitioners, and those curious about the Craft.

Book Review: "What Witches Do"



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