Category Archives: Book Reviews

Kitchen Witch: A Memoir

KItchen Witch A Memoir

This books is a very interesting read. It describes the life in detail of Cora Anderson who is on of my spiritual ancestors. She was a very wise women and a powerful witch.

This book is her memories and life story. There are bits of witchcraft wisdom in there held in a single chapter or a few poems (the tradition she was involved in creating has a lot of poetry as lore). The most interesting bits of this book were not in the folk wisdom or the recipes (which Cora was well known for) but were in the meat of the book and the first section which was all about her life story.

If you were expecting a book with details about craft workings in her life this is not that book. This book tells her life story and includes some of her award-winning recipes. If you are willing to read the life story about one of the crafts best known elders you would do well to read this book.

The entries in her memories bring me back to simpler times while yes there were hardships but the solutions to the problems were simpler and folk remedies and treatments. The story of her life is very uplifting and encouraging.

Review: Old Style Conjure Wisdoms, Workings and Remedies

Old style Conjure Wisdoms, workings, and remedies

This book is not exactly what I expected. However Mama Starr didn’t leave me without wisdom and insight. To be honest I wasn’t entirely sure exactly what I thought I was getting when I got this book. I knew there would be folk remedies in there but that was about it. It was actually for the folk remedies that I bought this book.

The introduction of this book is actually very uplifting. This section should not be ignored. It contains the reason why she wrote this book and a cleansing exercise for the readers to do if they are ready to start making changes in their lives. Its simple exercises and affirmations that really make the meat of this book. The introduction cleansing rite is just the first to open the doors.

Prior to really getting into the meat of the word Mama Starr provides associations for candle colors and other magical and spiritual associations for the days of the week. The first section of this books covers daily affirmations. There is an affirmation or “daily wisdom” for each and every day of the year. Each month starts out with the Herb of the month, basic month trivia, sacred stone for the month and birthstone for the month.

The second part of the book is full of folk magic and healing remedies. She starts this section off with a fair warning that she does not expect anyone to try these themselves but if they do each individual must take their own responsibility for any averse effects that the treatments may have. She is not a doctor after all. These are just things that her family did while she was growing up to treat various ailments as they had no money to go to the doctor.

This is the reason why I bought this book. This section covers a small variety of the remedies that she used growing up and continues to use them. From earaches to dipper rash, nightmares and spirit removal this small section of the book covers many remedies that have proven to be effective. Some of these remedies are things I had seen elsewhere like the earaches with garlic oil.

Finally she ends the book with resources and references that readers may find useful. She also includes her own websites on there for further references as well as many other well known and trusted Conjure resources.

So if you are looking for a book of simple daily wisdom this is it.

Review: The Heart of the Initiate

The Heart of the Initiate

The Heart of the Initiate is a wonderful book. This book was created by Victor and Cora Anderson for their students and those interested in the Feri tradition of witchcraft. The forward states:

“THIS BOOK IS A VALENTINE from Victor and Cora Anderson to you. For those of us who are their initiates, the Andersons live on through the many personal recordings and letters we held close and treasure. We’re grateful for this great opportunity to share rare insights into the Anderson’s teachings, and offer you an imitation of what it was like to be their student.”

It is clear that the Andersons wanted their teachings to be preserved and shared. That they wanted more people to understand and know what their tradition was and is all about. The proof is in the quote mentioned above. For this reason the book was created which allows seekers like me and students of Feri to see what the actual founders and high masters said about the tradition and their teachings.

Due to the nature of this book there are not chapters. The book reads like correspondences which is what they are. There are a few sections in which various teachings are written about in letter or essay form, but not your traditional chapters and sections style.

The first section of the book is called Some Pictish views on the old religion. Here we learn about some origins of the practices and how the religion is different from others. It talks about the origins and how sex is sacred. There is a little bit on basically all aspects of the Craft in this section written by Victor.

The second section of the book is called Commentaries. In this section there are a few specific articles on points important to the specific Feri tradition of witchcraft as they teach it. Topics include Raising power to divinity, Sexual Initiation, Sexual ethics, Training and Initiation, The Consort, The Guardians, The morning prayer, Possession, and Salvation. All of these concepts are teachings important in the Feri tradition to some extent and these basic articles express how they work and what they mean.

The third section of the book is the most informative section of the book. Here there are glimpses at some of the rites and materials actually presented to their students. There are exercises and explanations given. The letters are written by Victor and Cora presented to us as they responded to their students. The only thing missing in this section would be the letters from the students to their teachers so the context makes more sense.

The very last section of the book is important for seekers like myself. In many books on traditional witchcraft there is an exercise to switch from a Christian path to a Traditional witchcraft path which involves the reciting of the Lord Prayer backwards. Here Victor describes yet another prayer that can be used which is essentially a modified version of the Lords prayer for seekers trying to be open to new paths and teachings.

Review: The complete Book of Incenses, Oils & Brews

The complete book of Incenses, Oils, & Brews

The complete book of Incense, Oils, & Brews is a wonderful guide to working with these practices. Like many of his other texts the author Scott Cunningham created a very useful and effective resource for working many different types of magical spells and rituals. This text works great in companion with his Aromatherapy book and his two Herbal Magic books-Herbal Magic and his Magical Herbal encyclopedia or it can be used effectively on its own as its own resource. The text provides a comprehensive list of tools you will need as well as instructions on how to make the different items found within the book.

This book is broken up into three different sections. Each section addresses a specific aspect of working with and creating incenses, oils, soaps and more. This organization makes the book ideal as a reference guide for making these powerful spiritual and magical aids. By having the three sections a beginner to incense and oil work will be able to get the most out of it while an experienced crafter will also be able to find just what they are looking for and nothing else.

The first section deals with magic basics, proportions, empowering the creations, ingredients and creating your own recipes. This is the foundational portion of the book. Here the author goes into the very basics of what you need to know in order to make the most out of thi reference guide.

The first chapter here is on magic basics. While many people interested in this text probably have a basic understanding of the practices and concepts associated with magical practice this chapter is a nice refresher. For those new to magic the information here is very basic and a great introduction for some one who wants to have practical applications right away. The chapter covers ethics, power, working for yourself and working for others. It also covers the basic magical tools that you may need in your journey within this text.

The second chapter is very brief. This chapter was included because people asked for specific proportions to the ingredients in individual recipes from an earlier edition of this book. This chapter says to use them as guidelines but also to trust your intuition and personal judgement. The importance of keeping a record of your work is stressed here as well.

The third chapter focuses on empowering your creation. After you make an incense or an oil they need to be charged for use. This chapter gives you a small ritual way to empower these new objects as well as explains why additional power is needed for the incenses, oils, and brews to be effective.

The fourth chapter is a chapter on the ingredients that you will find in some of the recipes. Here the author mentions how we can obtain the items for various recipes. The chapter also gives information about uncommon terms and ingredients that might be found within magical oils and incenses. The explanation here provides an easy guide to the ingredients listed later on in the book.

The last chapter in the first section is all about creating your own recipes. As some one who makes their own incense blends this is a chapter I refer to often to check my process. Here the author explains that you can use what you have to make things work. The guide includes thinking about the form of what you are going to make and then herbs and other associations. There is even a sample incense process given to illustrate the process involved.

The second section makes up the bulk of the book. This is where you have the recipes for the incenses, oils, brews, and other items contained in this book. This is the real reference section here. This section provides beginners with step by step recipes to work with from the beginning and allows experiences crafters and practitioners to find inspiration for their own work. The types of items covered allows every one to find something they can work with.

The section starts off with incenses. Working with incenses is one of the most common herbal and magical or spiritual practices and it covers many cultures so it makes a great starting base. In the first section of this chapter the author talks about the two different types of incenses and the benefits and issues of working with either one. He gives a step by step guide on how to make the different types of incenses. Then he starts the recipe selection. One of the key parts of this section is how the book notes which incenses shouldn’t be inhaled and or that contain dangerous ingredient so you may want to look up a substitute.

After the incenses Cunningham discusses making oils. In this section the author talks about how you can make oils and also which oils work well on their own for different purposes. The first part of this chapter is the how to and the second section covers the recipes and guides on making the oils.

After oils the author covers in this order Ointments, Inks, Tinctures, Herb Baths, Bath salts, Brews and potions, Soaps, Herbal satchels, Powders, and miscellaneous. Each section contains as the previous sections did how to make the items and why they are being used. The recipes cover many different needs allowing for a wide variety of practices and magical tools.

The last section deals with different ways you can make substitutions in your work allowing for a person to work with what is available rather than needing to get a lot of expensive new herbs and items. The author includes planetary substitutes, herbs & basic ingredients,elemental, and need based. This section allows a person to be able to make anything they want and need based on what they have in their home and maximize them to the fullest extent.

Review: Earth Power by Scott Cunningham

Earth Power

The book Earth Power by Scott Cunningham is a very simple to read and easy to follow book that covers the basics of magic and witchcraft. The author provides several easy to follow spells and rituals that enable a new seeker to be able to read the book and start practicing magic right away. This tome provides spells and rituals for beginners as well as experienced practitioners of magic.

This book is divided into three sections. The first section of the book talks about the basics of magic and spell crafting. This provides a foundation for being able to use and work with the materials found later on in the book. This section is made up of four different chapters each covering an aspect of the basics of magic. It is here that the instructional and how to aspects of magic are really discussed.

The first chapter in the book starts the basics section. This chapter begins with an illustration of natural magic being practiced. This example provides the context for this chapter which is the nature of the universe and the real nature of magic.

The second chapter in the book focuses on what magic is and how to practice it. This chapter covers what is needed to practice magic as well morality in regards to magic. Here we learn the forces behind magic and why magic works.

The third chapter is all about magical techniques. Here the author focuses on the use of symbolism and the use of those associations in magic. The author includes a list of common symbols and associations for the beginner to reference as an idea. Finally the chapter ends with techniques of energy raising as well as the importance of mental focus and concentration.

The last chapter in the first section is really our introduction to the majority of the book. Here the author introduces the concept of the four elements and how they work in magic. The author includes only bare bones basics about the elements as more detail is given later. The idea here was only to introduce the elemental concepts and associations so that the rest of the book makes sense.

The second section of this book focuses on the elemental powers and elemental magic. The elements in witchcraft and magic are powerful forces and this section deals with calling upon the right element for the right purpose. In this section we learn all about the elements and what magical practices they rule over. This section is only four chapters long, one for each elemental force. Here is where we begin to see the practical applications and uses of natural and elemental magic.

The fifth chapter focuses on the element of Earth. Within this chapter the author expands on the basics given in the previous chapter about the element of earth. There are several different spells and rituals given that focus on and use specifically the element of earth to manifest the desires.

The sixth chapter focuses on the element of air. Here we learn about the different aspects of the winds based on direction and how we can best use the attributes of air. There are spells and rituals here for calling up the winds as well as working with the element of air to the best of our abilities.

The seventh chapter in this book focuses on the element of fire. Here we are shown ways that the element of fire can be useful outside of candle magic. The author includes a few different spells that utilize the unique personality of the fire element.

The eighth and last chapter in the second section of the book deals with the element of water. Many of the spells and rituals in this chapter deal with cleansing and healing. Through the spells and rituals in this chapter the aspects of the element of water in magic are clearly described.

Finally the third section of the book covers natural magic. This section focuses on magic that is not elemental in basis but uses the forces of nature to work with you to create your goals and desires. Here you will see aspects of the elements present in the spells and rituals, but the focus is not on the element but the magical practices in themselves.

The ninth chapter in this book focuses on the use of stones in magic. Stone and crystal use is very common in magical practices these days. This chapter illustrates how to work with basically any stone and not just gems and crystals that have specific associations with them.

The tenth chapter in this book focuses on tree magic. Here we learn and understand some of the magical aspects and attributes you can find with trees. Like before there are spells and rituals provided to give an idea of the types of spells one can create when they work with trees. The author also included a list of trees and their associations to maximize ones magical practices.

Chapter eleven deals with image magic. Here we learn the concepts associated with using pictures or symbols to represent people in spell work. The most common image magic is the poppet or voodoo doll, but that is not covered here. Other aspects and uses of image based magic can be found in this chapter.

Chapter twelve in this book focuses on a very old form of folk magic. Here we learn about and begin to understand the concepts of knot magic. There is a little bit of history and folklore given here but the meat of the chapter is in the spell examples that are given for knot based magic.

Chapter thirteen deals with candle magic. There are many texts out there that cover candle magic. This chapter focuses on the use of candle magic in natural magic. There are not many spells and rituals in this chapter but the information still provides a starting point.

Chapter fourteen deals with wax magic. This chapter is not about magic per say but more focused on types of divination that can be done using wax. Divination and magic have historically gone hand in hand which is why this chapter is in the book.

Chapter fifteen is about the use of mirror and magic. Like candle magic and image magic there is a lot of folk lore regarding magic mirrors and how they can be used in spells and rituals. There are several different spells and rituals using mirrors in this chapter including directions on how to make your own magic mirror.

Chapter sixteen deals with magic using storms. Here the author explains the power that weather based magic can have. There are spells for different occasions and purposes but also spells on how to protect yourself from the elements of the storm as it were.

The final chapter in this book chapter seventeen deals with sea magic. This is an excellent way to end the book as we go back to the illustration of natural magic given in the first chapter. Here we learn why we can work with the tides and why some spells are best done at the seaside.

As a text book for magical use this book basically covers most aspects of magic. Through this text different types of magic are expressed and shown. Through the divisions of the book the reader can understand the concepts of magic and how to best use the natural world in spells and rituals for their individual needs. As a resource for correspondences for spell work there are better books available, but as a spell book for nature magic this is an excellent guide.

Review: The Spiral Dance

The Spiral DanceThe book The Spiral Dance is considered a classic in modern witchcraft literature.  The author Starhawk put this book out at a time when there was little to no information published publicly on Witchcraft and people were starving for information.  In the 35 years since the original release of The Spiral Dance many more books have been put on the market, but the Spiral Dance remains on the top of many recommended reading lists.

The one down side to this book is that it does focus heavily on the feminist movement and feminism.  At the time the book was written the author was heavily involved in the feminist movement and feminist spirituality, so it makes sense that this book would reflect those interests and activities.  This book is one of the reasons that religious witchcraft is considered to be “women’s religion”.  The theme and focus throughout the book is the use of witchcraft and Goddess spirituality to reclaim women’s rights and women’s power.

The subtext to the title “The Spiral Dance” reads :”A rebirth of the ancient religion of the Great Goddess”.  The text is a very apt description for the information that you find within the book.  When you combine the focus on the Great Goddess with the feminist movement at the time you have a book that covers feminist witchcraft and feminist spirituality and why its important for the world we live in.

Now Starhawk does talk about why feminist spirituality like the Goddess movement is important to men and what Men can get out of the practice of witchcraft.  So while the book is geared towards women and feminist spirituality, there are benefits described for Men and practices of Male witches discussed.  The overall tone though is geared towards women and women’s mysteries.

This book is 13 chapters long.  Each chapter has a specific lesson that expands on the information in the previous chapter.  Within several of the chapters are easy to do exercises and meditations.  These meditations and exercises are provided so that a solitary witch or someone seeking witchcraft can learn practices that will allow them to become witches in their own right.

Each chapter starts out with a ritual or a description of the practices found within the chapter to illustrate the lessons and information found within the chapter.  Some of these stories are fictional and some of them are from experiences within the authors own coven settings.  These personal experience illustrations form some of the most powerful aspects of the book allowing the reader to see what sort of experiences they may have in their own work while not telling them explicitly that these will be your experiences as well.

The first chapter completely discusses witchcraft as a Goddess focused religion.  Here is where we first learn the concept of a Great Goddess and of feminist spirituality.  The author also goes into the history of witchcraft and what exactly witchcraft is as a religion and a practice.  Its a basic starting point illustrating the misconceptions and issues many people have with witchcraft.

The second chapter goes into the worldview of witchcraft.  Every religion has a way of viewing the world.  Here we re provided with a creation myth for the birth of the God and Goddess within this version of witchcraft as well as the essence of the Great Goddess.  Here we are given the concept of the soul/spirit as well as the concepts of energy working and the view on the cosmos.

The third chapter talks about covens.  Here we learn about the common structure of religious witchcraft and the way that this structure functions.  The author illustrates both same sex covens as well as mixed gender covens and why coven structures work.  The comparisson between covens and traditional religious structures provide ways for seekers and students to understand the functional differences between a church and a coven.

The fourth chapter discusses sacred space.  One key component in witchcraft rituals is the creation of sacred space.  This chapter provides several different ways of working this ritual as well as reasons behind the creation of sacred space.

The fifth chapter is all about the Goddess.  This religious witchcraft tradition is Duotheistic meaning it focuses on the worship of a Goddess and a God.  In this chapter we are introduced to the Goddess and her roles within the religion.  We learn how to call her and how both men and women can relate to her.

The sixth chapter is all about the God.  While the Goddess is the focus in the feminist version of witchcraft that the Spiral Dance teaches, the God is still important.  This chapter illustrates the relationship between the Goddess and God and how they need each other and work together to be one.

The seventh chapter is all about the use of symbols within magic.  Magic works through the use of symbols and directing energy related to those symbols.  This chapter in the book has several different spells to try as well as exercises to develop your own understanding of symbols and your own association with symbols.

The eighth chapter is all about the Cone of power.  This particular chapter focuses on Coven based workings, but the concepts of raising and directing energy in the shape of a cone is applicable to the solitary student.  Here we understand what it means in witchcraft when the concept of energy direction and manipulation is discussed.

The ninth chapter is about trance work.  The basic definition of magic given early in the book is the idea and the ability to change ones concious state at will.  This chapter explores the use of trance and the reason why trance work is part of witchcraft.  Basic meditation and trance concepts are addressed here and there are several different exercises within the chapter for trance work and meditation work.

The tenth chapter of the book focuses on initiation.  Solitary witches who read this book will not get as much out of this chapter as a witch who is working for initiation within a coven or specific tradition.  This chapter describes what it means to be initiated and provides a coven based initiation ritual as a sample.

The eleventh chapter in the book focuses on esbats or moon based rituals.  Within witchcraft the moon is sacred and is revered as a symbol of the Goddess.  Moon rituals are typically in many cases working rituals while sabbat rituals are more worship based.  Moon rituals can be based on the full or new moons or other moon phases, though full and new are the most common.

The twelfth chapter in the book focuses on the wheel of the year or the sabbats and holiday celebrations of this tradition of witchcraft.  Here the author provides sample rituals for ideas as to how to honor the sabbats as well as providing information on the lore and meanings behind the sabbats.

The final chapter of this book is focused on developing religion.  Here the author explains the issues that can arrive when religions become based on dogma and established practices and don’t change.  The author explains what exactly witchcraft as a religion is and how it has to continue to change and evolve in this modern world.  Here we learn the dangers of thinking in strict absolute terms as well as in dualistic terms.

Despite the age, this book is useful.  Its a good book for establishing witchcraft as a religion and explaining why religious witchcraft is so different than traditional religions.  The book covers the basics and provides enough information that a solitary seeker man or women can start their own practice and create their own relationship with the God, Goddess, and the Great Goddess.

Review: The Wiccan Way-Magical spirituality for the solitary Pagan

The Wiccan WayThe Wiccan Way (Published in the UK as The Hedge Witches Way) is a very good book for beginners. This book covers a very simple way to practice magic and witchcraft without the requirement for long formal rituals. This book covers an important topic that most books on witchcraft don’t talk about, even those which come at witchcraft from the perspective of a religious practice. This book covers the concept, practice, and creation of witchcraft prayers.

For many people the practice of magic and prayer are intricately connected. Many books teach that spell casting is a witches way of saying a prayer. While some spells are prayers, this book examines exactly what a witches prayer is. This book covers what makes a prayer a magical act and what makes a prayer an act of devotion, as a witch uses prayers both for magic and for forms of worship.

The US title of the book is a bit more accurate than the UK title of Hedge Witches Way. The reason behind this is that Hedge witchcraft is a very specific form of witchcraft dealing heavily with trance work and spirit companions. While the author does include prayers for traveling and working with the spirit realms, the focus of the style of witchcraft in this book is not shamanic or trance based, and as such this book is not about Hedge witchcraft but a different form of modern Wicca or Wiccan styled witchcraft.

The author calls the witchcraft and magic described in this book as Wildwood Mysticism. The author teaches that this particular form of witchcraft does not need intense structured and formal rituals. The author mentions here that maintaining an altar and saying a simple prayer to the God and Goddess is all that you need to do to practice this style and form of witchcraft.

The first chapter in the book is all about prayer and enchantment. This first introduction chapter basically covers the nature of witchcraft. Here the author mentions a sense of nature being sacred, a connection with spirits and spirit forces, and why prayers can be effective ways of connecting with the various forces in life and that are responsible for life. The author even mentions just how easy it is for the distinction of the difference between a prayer and a spell to fade for witches, as witches who follow this path work their spells and magic through the use of prayer.

The second chapter is a chapter about the Gods that are worshiped and prayed to in this particular tradition or style of witchcraft. The author starts the chapter by mentioning how the Gods of witches were demonized in the past and how we need to bring their truth back. The author then gives a basic idea about the God and Goddess of this tradition including an introduction to the cosmology or worldview of this practice explaining the three realms or worlds and how their God and Goddess manifests in each of them.

The third chapter of this book is about mysteries. In religious witchcraft the experience of the mysteries is the goal of the rituals. In this specific tradition the experience of the mysteries is related to the prayers. This chapter explains why prayers help us access those mysteries and experiences. The chapter also explains why some prayers should be kept private and why some are meant to be shared. This chapter is key in understanding the importance of prayer in this style of witchcraft, as the mysteries are the experiences of the God and Goddess as well as magic and the flow of the universe.

The fourth chapter in the book is about the theories and practices of magic. Here is where the author describes and defines clearly what wildwood mysticism means and is as a practice. The author here defines what it means to be a witch. The author ends the chapter with a list of the practices that makes one a wildwood mystic and a witch in this practice pointing out prayer being the central component to all of them.

The fifth chapter is a chapter on initiation to wildwood mysticism. To the author the witchcraft is the action and practice of the magical aspects while the wildwood mysticism is the actual spiritual practice and components. Before one can be a witch in this practice they need to become attuned and accustomed to the forces of nature through a wildwood mystic initiation. This chapter provides the ritual and prayer outline for this practice. The chapter ends with ideas and areas of study to increase ones awareness of the tides of nature and the feelings of wildwood mysticsim.

The sixth chapter in this book is about the maintenance and creation of an altar to the Gods and to the practice of wildwood mysticism. Here the author provides a very basic and simple idea of what an altar can be. There are no fancy elemental tools and associations on this altar set, rather a bowl of water, a twig or plant for the world tree and something for the God and Goddess. The key point here in this chapter is the practice of saying prayers at an altar as an act of devotion and worship. Its the idea that you can worship with prayers at an altar without elaborate rituals and ceremonial tools that you see in so many other books on witchcraft.

The seventh chapter in the book covers initiation into the practice of witchcraft and the practice of gaining the powers of the witch. As shown earlier the practice of the mysticism and the witchcraft are separate yet connected. This chapter explores and explains how one can use prayers in ritual to gain the powers of a witch and to become a witch yourself providing several different prayers and ritual actions to naming oneself a witch with the powers of a witch.

The next three chapters are very practical chapters. These chapters focus on the practice of need based prayers and magic. These chapters provide insight into the different types of spell work that wildwood mystic witches can and may perform.

The eighth chapter gets into spells for healing. Here the author provides several different types of healing prayers and spell actions for different situations. The author explains how different types of prayers and a different world aspect should be used for different types of healing work. The prayers provided here serve as an excellent base for healing prayer and spell work.

The ninth chapter in this book is again a chapter focused on spells and prayers for a specific need. This chapter focuses on money and wealth. Like everyone else witches have issues with money and they have bills to pay. This chapter provides several different unique prayers and spell actions for different types of wealth and money.

The tenth chapter in this book focuses on good luck and good fortune. Like the other two chapters the prayers and spell actions in this chapter address the three worlds and the aspects of the God and Goddess in each realm that are important to those prayers. The author also examines the different types of good luck and good fortune out there and why you may want to work and pray for them.

The eleventh chapter in this book is probably the most useful chapter in the book. It is in this chapter that the author finally teaches the reader how to write their own prayers. The nine previous chapters provided several different examples of prayers in different situations. By looking at those prayers a reader can have an idea of how prayers may be constructed. The author provides a three step process for writing prayers and provides blanks in them for you to insert your own concepts and addresses. There are also two prayers for example set up as being written.

The twelfth chapter in the book focuses on writing prayers with the assistance of a familiar spirit. Familiar spirits and spirit guides are common themes and concepts in witchcraft traditions. Here the author explains and provides rituals to get and meet your own familiar spirit, but also explains how and why they are useful in prayer writing.

The thirteenth chapter of the book focuses on another traditional practice of witches. That practice is the ability to travel in spirit body to the different realms and worlds. This is the one hedge witch and shamanic aspect of the book. While the other realms and worlds had been addressed through prayers and had spiritual associations given to the other realms, it is only in this chapter that the reader learns to navigate those realms themselves to gain spiritual insight and prayers of their own.

The fourteenth chapter of this book focuses on steps on the path. Here the author provides different tasks and steps that one can take to making wildwood mysticism and witchcraft their path and part of their daily lives. The author begins the chapter by showing through a symbol that the path of a witch is not straight and that it curves and spirals. The author provides examples of ways we look to the other worlds for guidance and nine different actions we can take to make our spirituality and life whole. This chapter is really about the work it takes to bring this spiritual path to daily life, providing ways to make it a part of your daily life.

The final chapter in this book is about the wheel of the year. This chapter focuses on the typical 8 sabbats of religious witchcraft and ways to celebrate the wheel of the year. There are three different spell actions given for each sabbat (one for each of the worlds and realms) as well as a prayer that focuses on the energetic forces and theme of the sabbat.

By the end of the book the reader has an understanding of a cohesive style and tradition of witchcraft that works with minimal tools, nature energies, and prayer. The book teaches witches not only the importance of prayer work, but how effective prayers can be as a magical and spiritual practice and focus all on their own.

Book Review: The Fools Journey through Sunnydale

Fools Journey through Sunnydale

The Fools Journey through Sunydale is an excellent way to combine the work of the tarot with a modern media source that many are familiar with. When the series Buffy The Vampire Slayer became popular there was a surge in young teens and adults that were interested in the Tarot and in witchcraft because of that series. This book is a way to combine the interests of the two groups in a way that shows the real true supernatural and occult symbols in the series and gets the message of the cards across.

As some one who started to read tarot cards and explore the occult at the same time this series was popular the use of the characters and the storyline to explain the symbols on the cards and the meaning of the cards is fantastic. It shows how in day to day life and how in that fantastic world of darkness how the cards can be seen. This book bridges the gap between the occult fiction in Buffy and the reality in this world showing.

Each chapter in the book focuses on one of the major arcana cards in the typical tarot deck. The chapter begins with a description of the traditional Raider-Waite card followed by an understanding of the symbolism in the card and the cards meanings both upright and reversed in a reading. The next section of the chapter examines the few ways the card has been manifested in the show. The last section of each chapter focuses on a character from the series that the author believes manifests all aspects of that particular card the best.

The author does not limit the understanding of the cards in the Buffy Universe and the content in understanding the meanings of the cards t just the Buffy the Vampire series. The author does include in several different occasions descriptions of actions and situations from the spin off series Angel, which provided just as much information for the cards as Buffy herself did. The focus of the book though is on the Buffy the Vampire series cannon with the references in Angel being there to highlight the points seen in Buffy.

After reading through this book with a tarot deck, a reader can have a deeper understanding of the message of the cards in their deck. When you look at the episodes mentioned and the charterers with the traditional meanings of the cards its easy to see where the authors choices come from.

The references to a modern pop culture force make the meanings of the cards accessible and easier to understand to a new generation. This generation was raised with the occult in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Charmed, Angel, and the tail end of the Sabrina the Teenage witch series. By relating the cards to those characters and situations, the people who grew up watching those series can relate to the cards through relating to characters they enjoyed growing up.

Review: A Witches World of Magick

A witches world of Magick

The book A witches World of Magick is full of magical practices and concepts from around the world. For this reason the book is aptly titled. Through out the book the reader is exposed to magical cultures from the Meso-American cultures (like the Incas and the Aztecs) to Jewish Folklore, to Hindu Vedas. This book covers global magical practices.

The author of this book did a lot of research into the different folk magic practices and traditions around the world in the creation of this book. The authors dedication to providing a diverse selection of folk magic and folk lore on each topic covered is clear by the wonderful footnotes and credits given throughout the book.

This book is not your basic how to book on witchcraft or magic. If you are looking for a how to write a spell or how magic works book than this book is not for you. This book is focused on and for those in the intermediate area of study. This book is designed to provide experienced practitioners new ways of practicing magic and looking at magical concepts from folk magic practices around the world.

A witches world of Magick is an informative guide to folk magic around the world. By the end of each chapter the reader has covered several different approaches to magical techniques in folk magic traditions that they may have never heard of or explored otherwise. Each chapter while they cover specific magical concepts and techniques covers the magical concepts and techniques from different perspectives in different cultures. In doing this the author provides many different views of magic and different ways to look at magic.

There are ten chapters in this book. Each chapter focuses on a specific type of magical concept or practice. With the common thread or practice for the chapter defined, the author in each chapter provides the reader with a ton of different sets of folklore and folk magic.

The book opens by mentioning how universal the concept of magic is and how wide the varieties of magical practices there are. With in the first chapter it is clear that the book does take a global approach to the practices and magical workings. While the title of the book is “A witches world of magic” not all of the traditions and practices that are discussed are considered witchcraft. The book really only touches on witchcraft at the end of each chapter, providing witches with questions to think about for their magical practices as well as concepts for how the folk magic discussions can be applied into an individuals witchcraft today.

To further illustrate that the book is not a book for beginners the first chapter in the book covers working magic with out the use of tools. The chapter is titled No-Tools Body magic. Its clear right away that the author is showing advanced magical techniques covering the practices of the evil eye, through speech and voice alone, to gestures and movement of the body to make magic effective.

The second chapter covers potion or mixing magic. Once again the author provides a few unusual ways of thinking about potion making and mixing ingredients to make a spell work. From gypsy love potions to a tale about two Polynesian wizards the author covers both conventional and unconventional forms of mixing magic and potions. Again the author ends the chapter with concepts for the practicing witch to ask themselves to further their new magical practices and concepts.

The third chapter discusses container magic. The chapter does not mention Jar spells as found in Hoodoo and other forms of magic but rather other types of containment spells. The concept of talismans and amulets as a container for magical energy is addressed her, but is addressed in a manner related to folk magic concepts. Once again various cultures from Egypt to Nigeria and even the PowWow tradition of the Pennsylvania Dutch magical practices related to containing forces and power are discussed in that chapter.

The fourth chapter is all about knot magic and binding magic. The spells covered here include a well known folk charm by sailors to create wind while at seas. Other knot magic and binding spells cover love and protection. From Gypsy magic to the sacred knots of the girdle worn by Zoroastrrians binding and knot based folk magic can be found in that chapter.

The fifth chapter is all about puncture magic. Yes the concept of voodoo dolls or dolls punctured to create a magical effect is covered here. However the dolls are only one of many different magical practices discussed here in this chapter. Not all piercing magic is baneful or curse like. The chapter covers a few examples of healing magic through punctures.

The sixth chapter is all about identification. In magic it is important to have a clear target or concept in mind when working a spell. If you are doing a distance healing for someone its important to know their name or have some way to connect the energetic forces to them. This chapter covers many different ways that a person can identify the target of their spell. From actual names to using body parts the folk magic in this chapter shows how identification of the target is essential.

The seventh chapter is actually related to the previous chapter. This chapter covers decoy magic. Here the magical practices include the well known witches jar, as well as using rocks or stones to distract a spirit. From using masks and loud noises to making an actual representation of the original target as a decoy, decoy and distraction magic is covered here.

The eighth chapter is about curse breaking. The author is clear in the beginning of the chapter that the two most common forms of magic practiced are those of healing magic and those of protection and curse breaking. The various mentioned include using parts of the body (hair, spit, etc) of the curser to remove the curse, destroying the artifacts, and sending back curses. From a modern American curse (the curse of the Bambino) to the Evil eye methods of curse breaking come in as many different forms as there are cultures in the world.

The ninth chapter is about masks and mimic magic. In shamanic cultures shape shifting is often involved in getting to know an animal spirit and to work with the animal spirit. This is just one form of mimic and mask magic involved. Other techniques include jumping high in the fields to show how the crops should grow. The idea is that by showing the fields how to grow they will and that by becoming the animal or spirit, that animal or spirit will manifest there and lend its power to the working at hand.

The final chapter discusses and mentions group magic and ritual. Group magic and ritual was common once but not so any more. From the ancient rituals of those who follow Dionysus to mentions of our modern day Pagan Pride day celebrations, the author covers why group magic is essential and why it should be considered a practice.

By the end of the book the author has given multiple cultural practices that a witch can integrate into their own practices and take inspiration from. The goal of this book is to inspire the witch to look at folklore and folk magic and find new ways of adding to their magical practices. This book is just what the intermediate witch needs to take their magic to the next level using only folklore and traditional practices.

Review: The Conjure workbook by Mama Starr

The Conjure Workbook Volume 1: Working the Root is an excellent tome on Southern Conjure work. When I picked up this tome I knew that it was going to be full of Christian mysticism and biblical references. That is what Hoodoo and conjure is. The Southern Hoodoo and conjure traditions are a mixture of folk beliefs from pre-slave days in Africa and the various Christian faiths in the south. This was how the slaves were able to hold on to a bit of their previous culture and identity.

If those who are looking to learn about Hoodoo and conjure work are expecting information to come from a pagan perspective and are looking at this work they will be disappointed. Mama Starr is very clear about her roots and the roots of Southern Conjure which are in Christian belief systems of the south. While she does say that you can be of any belief system and still work the spells and rituals she provides, unless you respect the Bible and understand that it is filled with lore, spells, and practices you will not get anything out of this book.

The author begins the book by discussing the work of ancestors. Here the author begins explaining one of the core concepts and beliefs across Conjure/Hoodoo/Rootwork traditions. There is an overall belief in an existence of an afterlife and that our ancestors will be there to answer us. The author starts by describing how they help us and work with us and finally ends with setting up an altar to venerate and pray to your ancestors.

I mentioned the importance of respect for the Bible as a sacred text and as a book of power as that is the second topic discussed in the book. As I said early on the author is clear in that this book is a southern conjure book which is going to have referenced to the Bible in there. Most of the references are in the Old Testament but they are still Bible references.

After working with the ancestors is covered, crafting altars and work spaces is discussed, and the Bible is mentioned as an important source the Author gets into the spirits and beings that are often worked with in her practice of Hoodoo. Prior to reading this book I was aware of the work with the archangels and the saints. Here I learned of new spirits and beings also associated with Conjure as well as how we can even work with the prophets in the bible.

Each being mentioned came with several different prayers and ways that you can work with them. These early workings are here to give you an idea about the powers each spirit has. These workings also introduce you to the concepts of repeating works, and how actual effort is put into the work. The author makes it clear that these things are repeated several times for effectiveness.

As the book continues the author mentions and focuses on another core belief in rootworking traditions. That belief and practice is one of divination. Starr provides many different ways of working divination including a very traditional practice of reading the bones. While the actual practice of bone reading is not discussed, the author does include its history of use. The author included a photo of her own bone set.

As the book continues the author continues an easy to follow step by step instruction on workings. The author also continues her straight talk. The author is very serious about their work and their tradition. Throughout the book the author mentions how some of these works are dangerous and are not to be simply played with. She does this not to discourage people from doing these works, but to encourage people to take the work seriously.

The author does speak only of their own tradition and practices. While the author does give you all the information you need to create your own Hoodoo/Conjure practice she does encourage you to find an actual teacher to learn more complex works. As an example the author explains why some packet spells written by other authors aren’t as effective as they could be because of folding the paper of the packet in a different manner than she was taught with an explanation of why the other method may actually backfire.

This book is filled with practical information. With the authors attitude, explanations, and the step by step processes in the book the tome The Conjure Workbook volume 1: Working the Root provides everything you need to know in order to effective start working your own spells and rituals. By working the spells in the book you develop understanding of associations and correspondences which can be useful in creating your own effective spells.

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