BY RYAN WILLEY
WITH ILLUSTRATIONS BY MARK RIES
EDITED BY TRENT DEERHORN
The following auto-biographical novel was written by a friend of mine, Ryan Willey, of Saskatoon, SK Canada. It is also a book of shadows including spells, magical correspondence tables, rituals, prayers, etc.
I read this book over a couple of days. Its a book that once you start, you want to continue reading as you want to find out what’s next brewing in Ryan’s mind as soon as possible. I’ve always like biographies, I love to find out what makes people the way they are... While not a biography, per se, there is a lot of references to the author’s childhood and how he sees that this is part of what makes him, him.
Ryan Wiley is a witch who happens to be gay. I love the way he starts the book with the Wiccan Rede. This is an important pillar of what makes up the author’s life and it sets a tone for his long journey through the unknown to get to where he is today. For those of you who do not know it, here is the Rede:
Wiccan Rede [modified from original]
Bide the Wiccan Law ye must,
In perfect love and perfect trust.
Eight words the Wiccan Rede fulfill;
An’ ye harm none, do what ye will.
Embrace the changing seasons with love and joy,
Like my child within, powers of girl or boy.
Invite thine beloved, come and play,
Like my sisters within my heart’s stay.
Spring’s rain smell begins to wake,
Remember earth’s health is at stake.
Bide the health of dear Mother,
Rejoice, her love returns one another.
In Summer’s love of life itself,
It gives my spirit the Mother’s health.
Out we go into forest’s grove,
Prepare the cauldron, heat the stove.
As Fall prepares for coming death,
I follow the echoes of my dead beloveds’ breath.
Into the night I remember their love,
I say a prayer and look above.
Go out into the cold twenty-fifth,
For those who know religion’s myths.
Remember and rejoice the coming sun,
Rejoice the cycle, life hath begun.
Call the corners on the midnight moon,
Moon Goddess send love to my magical tune.
Sunrise with thy shine so bright,
Sun God saves from bumps in the night.
What ye send forth comes back to thee,
So ever mind the Rule of three.
Follow this with mind and heart,
Merry ye meet and merry ye part.
--Written By Ryan Willey
According to the book, the author was an occultist long before he knew he was gay. In his early childhood, Ryan discovers his pagan propensities before he became self aware of his sexual orientation.
The book itself is not organized by chapters, but rather headings just as one experiences life. Ryan lets us into his most personal thoughts. The tales of the most important parts of the authors life are told in such a way that allows the reader to picture exactly what the particular scene plays out. Fore example:
“We took it home, lit a candle and immediately opened the
board from the box. My older sister and her friend used it at this
time for the most part. The planchette looked as though it moved
while they barely touched it and they seemed to be talking to a
spirit. They asked general questions about the spirit but I was
rather skeptical at this point and wished that we had taken that
money which our mother left us for lunch to buy something else.”
Ryan Willey has a way of “trapping” you in his mind ... this is not a bad thing as it is because of that you really do get to see what makes Ryan, Ryan. You absolutely have to keep reading to see how the scenarios play out.
During his prepubescent years Ryan describes his innermost feelings and how he was burdened with them, and a perceived notion that he was alone with these thoughts. The thought of being gay hearkens to the same time in my life.
He talks a lot about love, That is a refreshing thing as in a life that has so many negative things it’s great to have positive experiences as well. Love for other boys, the wants and needs that he is feeling is told in such a way that again, the reader really experiences what the author feels. Ryan Willey is good at this.
This book, talks about several key times in Ryan’s life and he describes them with, again, very descriptive words and tantalizing phrases. He talks about becoming a youth leader in a church he is not sure he belongs in, showing his inner struggle to find his identity, where he attempts (like most gay boys), that he should pursue a relationship with the opposite sex, as that is the way society is. Hard feat to do, with all the unrequited sexual tensions of a love of people of the same-sex.
Ryan has had an interesting life. Being lucky enough to see ghostly manifestations, messages from the other side, and visions, as well as luck with the Ouija.
He finally comes to the conclusion surrounding his sexual orientation:
“I finally came to the realization that what I was feeling for these
boys in my life was far more than sexual curiosity. With having a
friend who I had feelings for walk away from me and that hurting
more than the breakup with my ex-girlfriend, I started to realize
what my inner most natural desires were. I wanted a boy to love
me back as much as I loved the other boys for whom I had
fallen. However, it was rather challenging to become comfortable
with that idea.”
This in of itself was of special interest to me. I wanted to compare my life with his. You know, this book is a must read for prepubescent gay or boys that have same-sex urges, that they are struggling with... Even more so for those that are not in the mainstream religions. Paganism falls into this category. And also mentioning suicidal thoughts. As I said a must to read.
He takes you thru “The Magic in Witchcraft” which is extremely detailed. A great thing to have detailed for those readers with a propensity for Wicca but don’t have a clue how to start with it. For those that aren’t, the things he writes about will be of interest to non believers as well.
Ryan ultimately finds happiness in his husband Josh. Which was great to include, showing that life does indeed get better. This is true of most people where growing up was a struggle. I speak from experience here. When I was going through the tumultuous times in my life, I wish I would have had this book. It is a must read. I only hope that the world treats being gay as just one of the ways that people are unique. I like the way Ryan wrote this book. After all, it’s one thing to be gay, it's another to be a gay witch.
About Ryan Willey: Ryan Willey is a Canadian Wiccan author from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. He has published this book entitled “Becoming the Devil They Fear: A Gay Book of Shadows” and has two google blogs, one of which has had previews to his upcoming book. He has found endless support in many “witchy” Facebook groups and many members of those groups are excited to purchase his book.
“Becoming the Devil They Fear” has many journal entries in regards to his past struggles of embracing his sexuality and simply being himself in right-wing religious communities. It also shows how he outgrew Christianity but still has respect for Christian friends who do him no harm. It’s a Book of Shadows with relatable spells to his journal entrees, which also includes paranormal experiences, magical correspondence tables, rituals and prayers.
You can “Like” his author page on Facebook at:
You can read his book previews at:
and his other blog entries at:
Has Ryan become the devil his past religious communities fear or is there another meaning behind the title? Find out for yourself by ordering a copy of “Becoming the Devil They Fear: A Gay Book of Shadows” at Amazon.
http://www.mcnallyrobinson.com/ ISBN: 9781772800890
**Read some excerpts below:
Opening the door
A Sister with a Connection to 'the Other Side'
Falling for a Christian Boy
The Moment Everything Changed
The Cult Revisited
Religious Manipulation in Regards to Homosexuality