Book Review: Practical Magic For Beginners

reviewcover-practical magic for beginnersTitle: Practical Magic For Beginners

Author: Maggie Haseman

Genre: Non-Fiction, Mysticism

Rating: 4 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

Embrace your inner witch with this beginner’s guide to practical magic and spellcasting
If you have ever wondered about the mystical qualities that exist within you, this is the perfect beginner’s guide to everyday rituals and spellcasting. Practical Magic for Beginners is a simple, yet extensive reference that teaches you about conscious conjuring using a wide range of tools, techniques, disciplines, and elements.

Whether you’re interested in chakras, astrology, talismans, dreams, or anything in between, you’ll find what you’re looking for. Discover entry-level remedies, recipes, and spells, and learn about plant magic, herbal cures for common ailments, spiritual cleansing, and more.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

I’ll be frank… I think this book was miss-titled. I went into this book expecting a guide to, well, witchcraft – spellwork, incantations, maybe a little herbalism, something about the history of witchcraft, moon phases… basically, the usual witchcraft kit of information give or take some personal views.

That isn’t what this is.

The book is well written, incredibly thorough, if lacking much of a personal touch, and covers a wide variety of topics – don’t get me wrong. It’s a useful book to have on your shelves… it’s just not so much about “magic” and witchcraft as it is general mysticism. Very little in this book is about the topics mentioned earlier. If you want to learn about Tarot, crystal healing, palm reading, or divination, this is a great resource, and those practices can certainly be an aspect of witchcraft… but recognize going in what this book is, and what it isn’t.

Dystopian Dreams and the Absence of FFF

Good morning ladies and gentlemen of blogland! Just a remind for those of you who may have missed the announcement last week: There will be no Free Fiction Friday today, nor April 18th due to some review date restrictions I had this month. Free Fiction Fridays will resume as normal Friday, 25th of April.

Meanwhile, I thought I’d share the odd dream I had last night.

There are two types of dreams I tend to have: Those where I am the main character in the dream (as I assume most people dream), and then every once in awhile, I’ll have a dream where it’s more of a movie. I’m watching a story unfold between characters I’ve never met, and often there’s a lot of backstory behind what’s happening. Last night, I had one of these dreams.

The dream started far underground. The people in my dream lived in an underground dystopian society. Their home was this huge facility that at one point would have been home to thousands of people. Literally, hundreds of miles of tunnels and cavernous rooms created a maze underground. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, the society that lived in the underground facility was dwindling down to under 50 people. I got the feeling that they’d spent generations underground. They were dirty, disheveled, and their clothes were full of holes and patches. There were no lights, just torches, and the few signs of further technology were deteriorating over time. The one exception was this huge (five stories high) room which had the facility’s only exit. It was an energy-field driven barrier/doorway that the people where never allowed to use. It was the only indication to me that at one point, this society had been technologically advanced.

For whatever reason, the society had some pretty strict rules (or at least I got the impression it did), and one particular woman broke those rules. I remember she had a baby with her at the time, and for whatever reason, the council of the society decided to hunt her down and kill her. (I have this vague feeling the rule had something to do with the baby, but I’m not sure what it was). Anyway, the woman ran off into some of the deeper parts of the facility where people didn’t normally go. Here, rooms were collapsing and the floor sometimes gave way to huge cracks in the earth. This chase ended with the woman falling to her death, and the baby was taken away and raised under horrendous circumstances in a deep basement-like room. The child was practically feral, and most people didn’t know he even existed.

Fast forward 10 years.

It turns out, the woman didn’t die in the fall, and began to lead a rebel group that wanted to rebel against the society’s council. They mainly stuck to the deep tunnels, and most people weren’t even aware they existed. A type of guerilla war ensued when someone found the feral child in the basement and came to realize what the council had been up to (I’m still not sure what that is, but this is the impression I got).

The dream ended with the different factions in the main room (where the exit was) fighting over opening the door. The rebel faction wanted to see what was outside the tunnels, and the council was imploring them not to open the gate. Well of course, the gate was opened. The first person through was the woman who’d led the rebel faction…. and she didn’t return. five minutes later, another rebel went through…. and again didn’t return. Finally, one of the council members went through the gate, and immediately turned back, running for his life.

From beyond the gate, a creature stalked into the main chamber that I can only equate to a fast-moving, small dragon-like creature. It was probably the size of a large dog, but it was a vicious little thing, and it immediately started tearing the people apart.

I woke up. I have no idea where this dream came from, but I have a feeling it didn’t end well for the people in the underground facility. Still, it’s going into my plot journal for future reference. So, what about you guys? Ever have “epic” dreams that tend to be these vast, expansive stories about different cultures or events that have absolutely nothing to do with you? Leave a comment!