that one cannot find the true path to the Gods through a work of fiction, and in order to fully understand the Deity you are being called to walk with, you must read and then follow what amounts to textbook knowledge. I disagree ... and I'm positive there are those of you out there who have their own ideas on this. Good for you, fortunately for the rest of us, your idea isn't the only one and for many, it isn't the right one either. You do you and the rest of us will follow the guidance of the Gods we follow.
I've read many of the classic how to guides, those books which are written by some very well know authors who feel they know their craft and their book is better than the next one you pick up. However, after a while of reading nothing but text or how to guides or peer reviewed articles, the words begin to run together and for me, this concept makes retention more difficult and less appealing. My book shelves and Kindle are full of textbooks on how to be a Witch and which Gods to follow and how to listen to what They are saying. I also have numerous books that are nothing but complete fiction written by those with the ability to bring their imagination to life on the pages we greedily consume. And it is in these types of books that I have had some of the most powerful smacks up side the head from my Deities, smacks more intense than those I ever experienced while reading textbook information.
Yes, I am fully aware they are fiction, yes, I am fully aware I can't twitch my nose and my house will be spotless, yes, I KNOW books of fiction, TV shows, and movies are not "real" depictions of magic and Witch or following the path the Gods have set before you. Yes, I know ... *sigh*
I also know when I read a fictional "story" I can lose myself in the character of the book, I can sometimes see my life in them, I can share the struggles of accepting the things that make them different from the rest of their family, friends, community, village, town, and world. I can relate and with relating comes the ability to absorb the lesson my Gods are trying to teach me.
The first book I can remember reading that had this kind of impact on me was Book of Shadows by Phyllis Curot. I am sure there were books before this one that had an impact on my life, but this is the first one I can remember. Some say this is an autobiography so it's more readily acceptable than fiction. To me, it's more of memoir (but it can be applied to your own life) and the story of her journey to self-awareness in the Goddess. There is a completely different approach at describing the various differences of faith and how studying them, one can grasp the idea of really learning to know themselves and understanding the roles of faith in a person's life. You really feel the emotions of the book and the warmth she put into. It's almost like she's teaching you, herself and if you are open minded, you will understand the lesson she is trying to give you.
I've read and reread more times than I can remember the Cousins O'Dwyer Trilogy and the Circle Trilogy by Nora Roberts, each of these trilogies have aspects of witchcraft in them. Yes, I acknowledge they are fiction, make believe, stories. They also are empowering, powerful, and each has characteristics of the Gods written into the story. Even though these are wonderfully fictional, the manner in which the Gods that are depicted gave me a chance to investigate that Deity further and caused me to have a better understanding of something I hadn't really thought about before reading these books.
In the All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness not only are there Witches and Vampires and Demons and Time travel, there are also spells I'd never heard of and incantations that had been reworded and reworked to give a different outcome. For example, I knew about the "knot spell" but had never seen it put to work in the manner the character Diana used. Yes, I was very skeptic about reading this book, it came out a time when I was firmly against any and all books that didn't teach a lesson. I got the lesson, it doesn't matter how you discover your inner strength or figure out your thirst for knowledge, any and all books are acceptable ways to travel on your journey.
When I began reading The Black Jewels Trilogy by Anne Bishop, I knew it was a very far fetched and imaginative tale that would go against everything I had learned thus far about being Witch. I didn't care about that, I just wanted to read the adventure and experience the dreams of a character that only wanted to make the world a good place for those she loves. The more I read and the deeper involved I became with the characters, the more I felt drawn to those experiences the main character lived on every page of that book (yes, book, I have the trilogy under one cover). And after I finished this trilogy, I went looking for more by Anne Bishop where I found The Tir Alainn Trilogy. I readily acknowledge Anne Bishop is a fantasy and fiction author, I also know she has a way of getting across the fact of other worlds, other times and other ways of life. While this type of learning isn't for everyone, there are those of us who embrace the experience.
Lastly, Tale of the Lost Daughter by Karen Clark is the most recent and by far the most controversial book I've read. Let me say I LOVE this book and barely made it to chapter 3 before I began crying my eyes out. I mean ugly crying, sobbing, gasping for air and tears freely running down my face. The controversy comes from those who are part of the SJW movement currently taking it upon themselves to police the internet looking for something to bitch about. Mostly screaming about a work of fiction not being the correct way to reach the Goddess or to learn about a magical life. Lucky for us who felt a deep connection to any of the Gods and specifically to Hecate after reading this book, we don't live by their rules of engagement and have been able to not only connect with the Gods but also follow the path along the journey they have begun leading us on rather than worry about what someone else is doing and bitching because it is "the wrong way" to walk.
In case you missed it up there in the "you need to know" section of the blog, the things written here on The Feisty Witch are MY opinions. The reviews of the above books are MY interpretations and how they each had an impact on my life. Your experience may not be the same and that's alright, I'm not going to climb up on my soapbox and tell you that you are doing it wrong, you are free to walk your path as your Gods direct. I hope you will at least take the time to read some of the reviews of these books left on Amazon ... there is a wide variety of opinions for each one.