Recently, I finished reading By Land, Sky, & Sea: Three Realms of Shamanic Witchcraft by Gede Parma. My first feeling when I closed the book? Awwwww, I wanted more!
No, but seriously, this is actually a very good book. I tend to be a little skeptical of books published by Llewellyn – for the sheer reason that they tend to not care about what sort of books they publish – but this little one surprised me with its…well, seriousness isn’t the word, but this is definitely not a Witchcraft 101 book. On a side note, I am very impressed with Parma’s combination of spiritual/religious practices from different cultures – he has taken very detailed care to respect the cultures that the practices belong to, advising the reader to also take great care and respect, avoiding the accidentally-racist cultural appropriation that tends to come up in a lot of Witchcraft/Wicca 101 books.
Gede Parma went into a wonderful amount of depth and research for his book, pulling information from his own extensive experiences and from reputed sources. However, the writing is not dry in the least – rather, it is poetic and wonderful to read. I’ve tried reading books of the same or similar subjects before that were written in a way that lost my attention and interest very fast, but Parma’s writing pulled me in right to the very last word. His descriptions are beautiful and simply reading the rituals, meditations, and exercises in his book is therapeutic. When I return from my vacation in Hawaii, I plan to start doing the rituals in it.
Now, as for the actual content of the book: it is divided in to three sections, each dedicated to the Land, the Sky, and the Sea. Everything in each section relates to that specific realm. In the Land section, you learn about different sorts of breath work specific to Shamanic Witchcraft, a grounding and centering technique, sacred body love, and divining the land, ending with a ritual dedicated to Land and the blessing of it.
In the Sky section, you learn to transcend the physical realm in the form of gnosis and the expanding of consciousness, a bit about Quantum mechanics and how it relates to magick, energy work techniques, astral travel, working with chakras, psychic work, ending with a ritual dedicated to the Sky.
In the Sea section, you learn the mechanics and techniques of trance, “journeying” aka pathworking, channeling, the descent of the Goddess and the myths related to it as well as a ritual of rebirth, and finally, ending finally with a ritual dedicated to the Sea.
At the end of the entire book he provides a wonderful conclusion and bibliography.
I must admit, I went through this book with a pen and underlined an obnoxious amount of passages. I wrote in the margins and communed with Parma’s words. Note: I only do this with my most-loved books. I plan on keeping this book for a very long time! He has interspersed the book’s chapters with wonderful and relevant quotes, and once again, his writing style was therapeutic to simply read. This is going to become one of those books that I go to over and over and over again!
Who should read this book: people who have already read Witchcraft 101 books and want something a bit more deep and detailed, but still easy to read. Those who are interested in Shamanic Witchcraft. And any Pagan who loves beautiful writing!