- The Wizard and the Witch by Oberon Zell
- Publisher: Llewellyn
- Format: Paperback
- ISBN: 978-0738714820
Some people fall into Magick quite unexpectedly. Others read about the subject and become enthralled by it whilst many take up the hobby to impress their friends or frighten their mothers.
There is, of course, another important, but lesser known, band of individuals for whom Magick is the life-blood of their existence. It permeates every aspect of their lives, impacting every waking decision they make.
‘The Wizard and the Witch’ is an account of two such people who became America’s foremost advocates of Wicca and Paganism.
Together, and in conjunction with other occult luminaries of the 60s, 70s and 80s, Oberon Zell Ravenheart and Morning Glory Zell-Ravenheart carved an occult path that many others have since followed.
The story begins with the early years of Oberon. Detailing the post-Second World War years as he struggled to grow up with awakening psychic powers that were completely at odds with his education and up-bringing.
With a deepening fascination for mythology, the Bible and dragons, the world began to unveil itself in a powerful way.
On the other hand, his partner, Morning Glory Zell-Ravenheart, started her early life more geared toward Magick and fantasy. Inspired by the works of such writers as Robert Graves and Carlos Castendada, she became absorbed by tales of a more authentic spiritual tradition than the Christian one she was forced to be a part of.
After reading Diary of a Witch by Sybil Leek when she was 19, she knew she was destined to follow this emerging interest into Paganism, Goddess worship and Witchcraft.
The Wizard and the Witch then follows their personal, and joint, odyssey through their lives and reveals the diverse, chaotic, loving and madcap highlights (as well as lowlights) of their lives.
It draws in commentaries and reminiscences from several close friends and lovers—all people who played key-roles in their various projects.
The Wizard and the Witch is a complex tale which weaves its way through the trials and sacrifices, challenges and tribulations that trying to seed an authentic Magickal current requires.
It is a fascinating historical document in its own right. If you take the occult resonance out of the story, you can see what a great impact the Hippy Movement had on the thoughts and philosophies of the rebellious 1960s youth and the radically different mindsets of the drug and sex-loving 1970s generation.
The book can be commended on several levels. Not least of all, for its inclusion of commentaries by other people who, at various stages in the couple’s lives, were drawn into the world of the Ravenhearts and who were profoundly effected by their Pagan philosophies.
These greatly add to what otherwise might be a egotistic romp through self-aggrandizationment.
The book’s dynamics do ebb and flow greatly.
However, throughout, it remains a deeply moving and encouraging story which will mean a great deal to everyone who remembers the first time that they read books such as Robert Heinlein’s ‘Stranger in a Strange Land’ and Drawing Down the Moon by Margot Adler… as well as anything by the Pagan feminist Starhawk.
The important role music and literature had in these times is reflected throughout the book. They even mention the enthusiastic embrace of the Harry Potter books and the doors to Magick that the adventures at Hogwarts School that opened up to a new generation of spiritual-seekers.
Sadly, the telling of this fascinating story does fails somewhat in parts. It does not describe the full impact that the widespread integration that drugs, Magick and free-sex had in the lives of any of those involved.
These dynamics, vital in their personal lives and in formulating the elements to their Pagan philosophies, are disappointingly glossed over throughout the book.
Although, suggestions of their use and impact appear in several of the beautiful photographs included in the center pages.
The publisher’s editor actually addresses this issue of the story’s dilution in a later appendix. They reveal that the original manuscript for the book was some 370,000 words long!
It appears that, in trimming its length, a large amount of the more ‘colorful’ material was left out. This is a pity as the story sometimes leaves the reader feeling that following the complex narrative is a little like watching someone’s home movies: great viewing for those involved but rather less so for friends and neighbors.
Despite these reservations, this book is a generally engrossing tale and should be on the reading list of anyone considering embarking upon a Magickal journey of their own.
This story highlights the dangers, miracles, pitfalls and dizzy heights dedication to an occult path brings.
But, more importantly, the book is a breath of fresh air, offering an antidote to the soulless, spiritually-destructive society we live in.
If you are looking for an authentic account of the effect Magick has, I recommend that you buy this book and let a little light (and fun) into your life!
Credit: Review copy kindly supplied by PGUK, London.