Twelve Wild Swans by Starhawk & Hilary Valentine

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The long-awaited continuation of the teachings of the best selling classic The Spiral Dance. 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

Paperback, 326 pages.

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