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Review of "Evolutionary Witchcraft" by T. Thorn Coyle

Updated on December 2, 2016
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The Midnight Muse studies folklore, traditions, and mythology so that she can continue to preserve these beautiful living traditions.

Basic Information

Evolutionary Witchcraft
T. Thorn Coyle
Penguin Books
Non-Fiction, New Age Spirituality

Background of the Review

This is my review of the book, "Evolutionary Witchcraft" that was written by the author, T. Thorn Coyle, and was published in 2004 by Penguin Books. Shortly after the publication of the book, I received a copy from the publisher for the purpose of reviewing the book and writing a review. When I first received the book, I believed that it would be another eclectic amalgamation of miscellaneous information that is typical of the Neo-Pagan movement. I was delighted to find that the author provided a much more substantial approach to magic and spirituality than I expected. Although the information provided appears to be firmly grounded in the author's personal experiences, it does provide useful information that is useful to those within the larger Neo-Pagan community and not just those whose paths originate within the Reclaiming and Feri traditions. The review below is a summary of my opinions regarding the content of the book.

Evolutionary Witchcraft by T. Thorn Coyle
Evolutionary Witchcraft by T. Thorn Coyle | Source

Evolution of a New Tradition

Evolutionary Witchcraft” is a reflection of T. Thorn Coyle’s personal studies through many cultural traditions and magical studies. The focus of this book, however, appears to come from the Starhawk’s Reclaiming Tradition and Victor Anderson’s Feri Tradition. Her writings remain consistent throughout and allow the reader to embark on a journey of learning and understanding of the basic concepts that merge these two key traditions into a single cohesive magical system. Many of the concepts brought forth require a preliminary understanding of occult philosophy and the concept of the body as a sacred temple. As a magical system, “Evolutionary Witchcraft” provides serious students with the keys to understand the process that is required to transform the world in accordance the manifestation of the will.

Strengthening the Body and Mind

Focusing on the individual and their personal spiritual and magical growth, or evolution, the reader is provided with the tools necessary to transform into a self-aware person capable of manifesting the energy within. Rather than approaching growth on a purely spiritual level, T. Thorn Coyle conveys the importance of recognizing and improving upon each aspect of our being to strengthen the whole of individual. This book emphasizes methods of change that create the catalyst for the reader to emerge from the chrysalis of transformation into the world with the ability to create change. Once reborn through the gift of hard work and understanding, the reader is also provided with methods by which to manifest change through their intentions.

Focus on Magical Development

T. Thorn Coyle does attempt to occasionally introduce spiritual concepts and the recognition of deities and honored ancestors within her writings; however, she falls short of any cohesive spiritual tradition and perhaps it would have been better for her to have focused entirely on magic. One gains the feeling after reading “Evolutionary Witchcraft” that perhaps the author herself is struggling with the concepts of spirituality and magic. Within the first chapter of the book, Coyle inadvertently addresses this quest for spirituality and its slow progression toward more studies that were based more strongly in magic.

A Modern Tradition of Witchcraft

Coyle should be highly commended for speaking of Wicca as a modern tradition of Witchcraft and not attempting to create a pseudo-historical approach it. She also provides some of the best advice that can be found within a published book regarding such topics as initiation and the search for a teacher. T. Thorn Coyle provides insight into the roles of dedication and study, the importance of in-person teaching, and the fact that initiation is not something for everyone and is only performed by one who has already been initiated.

Evolutionary Witchcraft

Concluding Thoughts

In all, “EvolutionaryWitchcraft” provides an excellent approach to the study of magic and an excellent formula for transforming the practitioner into a vehicle capable of creating change in the world around them through the manifestation of their intent.

© 2015 Midnight Muse


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