This book was 2 steps up and 1 step back for me. We were going *somewhere,* but I didn't like where and how. Now maybe I, as a non-deistic Pagan, am unsuited to judge the efficacy of this book, but being a Pagan who lives in the concrete jungle, I hoped I was at least partially in their target audience. However, despite the subtitle, this is "Wicca in the Concrete Jungle" or at least "Heavily Wiccan-influenced Paganism in the Concrete Jungle." A lot of basics, just with more "urban" talk. I was hoping for more theory - less "what," more "why." I was hoping for a whole new way of approaching Paganism in the city. Less "use broken bottles as an emergency athame," more, "Here's how you use the city's energy without an athame."
I also disagreed with a lot of their advice: while I was glad they had a section on manners and behavior in the Pagan community, they lost big points by saying that, even if you know for sure another group's doing something dangerous, your most ethical choice may be to do nothing. I liked their suggestions on locating and communicating with the spirit of the city, I found their suggestions for getting to various places in the city to do magic as impractical as old ceremonial texts on burying a specific stone under a specific tree at a specific hour of the night on a specific day. Schwartzstein and Kaldera talk a lot to the urban poor (not that the urban poor are going to be spending money on this book), but then they turn around and advocate magic that people who work 3 jobs and get everywhere via public transit simply would not be able to perform. And while the section on ancient deities in modern times was interesting, honoring love goddesses by going to strip clubs and calling the dancers "Lady" or "Goddess" tops my list of "worst advice ever." That's no way to honor the Goddess, buddy - that's the way to get on the club's Creep List. Also, I've only heard of Sqaut, Skram, and Skor as "joke" urban goddesses and have never heard of Slick, Skrew, and Sarge, and while Kaldera and Schwartzstein try to serious them up into "real" deities, they fall short of that goal. The caricatured illustrations of said deities don't help one whit.
Their urban totem section is shaky, too: less information on what they animal is like and what having it as your totem means for your life and more using the animals like enneagrams to tell you what certain people are like. For instance, Kitty people are spoiled, maybe only children, and Silverfish people are bookworms who hate to be distracted by people. While there's some degree of wisdom in that, it feels like a gross oversimplification. Overall, not a book I can recommend unless you're an urban Wiccan just starting out on the path.
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