Book Review: The Path of the Witch

reviewcover-thepathofthewitchTitle: The Path of the Witch

Author: Lidia Pradas

Genre: Non-Fiction, Spiritualism, Witchcraft

Rating: 4 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

Witchcraft is not one defined path—rather, it is a diversity of practices you can curate and align with based on your lifestyle and unique gifts. Which witch are you?

Do you have an affinity for working with plants and herbs for magic and medicine? You may be a Green Witch.

Is the kitchen and home space sacred to you? Are you able to tap into the sensory and healing properties of food for spellwork? Is cooking an intentional act for you? You may be a Kitchen Witch.

Are you able to easily connect with the spirit world or the liminal realms? You may be a Hedge Witch.

Can you do many practices with ease? You may be an Eclectic Witch.

The Path of the Witchdescribes the many different types of witches, their gifts and abilities, and their practices. Each path shows readers activities and rituals that they can use to discover and explore that type of witchcraft and discern which one is the fit for them.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

This book was interesting. Though not a practicing witch myself, I’ve done a fair bit of reading on the subjects and have studied a lot of the basics of both witchcraft and the Wiccan religion. The path of the Witch by Lidia Pradas held a generous amount of information about different aspects of the craft – from general knowledge to recipes, and history. It was a lot of information to absorb, but I really appreciated how thorough the author was about different aspects of each practice.

My only real nitpick about the book is the manner in which it was organized. It was divided into specific categories of witches rather than covering the different aspects of the practice as a whole, shared between the different, more specialized paths. The differentiation between Green, Kitchen, Wiccan, and other types of witches felt very narrowing the way it was divided.

That aside, as I said, the book contains an abundance of information, and if you’re looking for an intermediate level read on witches, you are sure to find some good info here.

Book Review: Missing Witches

reviewcover-missing witchesTitle: Missing Witches

Author: Risa Dickens & Amy Torok

Genre: Non-Fiction, History, Witchcraft, Witches, Feminism

Rating: 2 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

When you start looking for witches, you find them everywhere. As seekers and practitioners reclaim and restore magic to its rightful place among powerful forces for social, personal, and political transformation, more people than ever are claiming the identity of “Witch.” But our knowledge of witchcraft and magic has been marred by erasure, sensationalism, and sterilization, the true stories of history’s witches left untold.

Through meditations, stories, and practices, authors Risa Dickens and Amy Torok offer an intersectional, contemporary lens for uncovering and reconnecting with feminist witch history. Sharing traditions from all over the world—from Harlem to Haiti, Oaxaca to Mesopotamia—Missing Witches introduces readers to figures like Monica Sjoo, HP Blavatsky, Maria Sabina, and Enheduanna, shedding light on their work and the cultural and sociopolitical contexts that shaped it. Structured around the 8 sabbats of the Wheel of the Year, each chapter includes invocations, rituals, and offerings that incorporate the authors’ own wisdom, histories, and journeys of trauma, loss, and empowerment. Missing Witches offers an inside look at the vital stories of women who have practiced—and lived—magic.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

Missing Witches by Risa Dickens & Amy Torok was not what I expected. Going into this book, I was expecting a comprehensive telling of the unknown (or little known) histories of the witch… and it is only by a tenuous stretch of that expectation that I can say that the book tried.

The overall problem I faced is that the book was exceedingly scattered in the way it was written. The narrative was longwinded and cut frequently by even longer quotes and roundabout asides by the authors. On any given page, I found it difficult to discern what the current topic even was.

It is my feeling that the book was not organized well, and was written in such a way that only the most determined will be able to slog through it. This book will not be accessible to your average reader, and frankly, I’d encourage you to find your history elsewhere if you can.

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.

Book Review: A Practical Guide For Witches

review-cover-a practical guide for witchesTitle: A Practical Guide For Witches

Author: Ylva Mara Radziszewski

Genre: Non-Fiction, Witchcraft

Rating: 5 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

Witchcraft is a vast and varied range of magical rituals and beliefs―which means refining and deepening your craft can seem overwhelming at first. A Practical Guide for Witches is a simple but comprehensive reference to guide you through using witchcraft in all aspects of your life. It’s a solid foundation of knowledge and wisdom that empowers your practice to grow.

Inside you’ll find approachable spells, nourishing rituals, and encouraging advice that can help all witches channel their energy into everything from blessing house plants, to soothing a broken heart, lighting candles for protection, and attracting good luck.

This powerful guide for witches is:

  • Truly practical―No matter where you are on your path, this book draws on all types of witchcraft to help you tap into the enchantment of daily life.

  • Find your roots―Explore a brief history of witches and an introduction to magical practices like manifestations, setting intentions, the phases of the moon, and building altars to the seasons.

  • Magic for all areas of life―Use your craft to strengthen your health, happiness, relationships, career, and beyond.

Awaken your power and infuse magic into everything you do with A Practical Guide for Witches.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

A Practical Guide For Witches by Ylva Mara Radziszewski is one of the better witchcraft books I’ve read this year – and I’ve read quite a

few. I found the author’s inclusive and welcoming approach to the practice to be very calming and reassuring. The book was well written, easy to follow, and packed with a wealth of historical knowledge and modern practice.

There’s a little bit of everything in this book, from spells & charms to practical everyday advice, and philosophies on practice. If you are a practicing witch, or just someone interested in learning a little more about modern witchcraft, I’d recommend this book as a good place to start, as well as a useful reference for your library.

Book Review: The Complete Book of Moon Spells

reviewcover-the complete book of moonspellsTitle: The Complete Book of Moon Spells

Author: Michael Herkes

Genre: Non-Fiction, Witchcraft

Rating: 4 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

Luminescent and ever-watchful, the moon is a powerful source of energy and a conduit for magical abundance, bestowing blessings from the universe to help you achieve your goals and desires. The Complete Book of Moon Spells provides down-to-earth guidance on the phases, folklore, and science of the moon, as well as contemporary life-changing moon spells you can perform to cultivate love, money, health, success, and happiness in your everyday life.

Discover a primer on the orbit cycles and phases of the moon, as well as how moon magic manifests in abundance. Create your lunar atmosphere with advice on various techniques for casting moon spells in alignment with the moon’s phases, including ceremonies to perform and the ingredients you’ll need. Once your intention has been set, watch it manifest with easy-to-follow moon spells, rituals, and potions for love, success, joy, and peace.

The Complete Book of Moon Spells includes:

  • Nighttime rituals―Live in magical abundance with more than 60 simple-to-do moon spells and potions divided by the 8 lunar phases, including additional considerations to make the most of each moon spell.

  • Many moons ago―Explore the mysteries of the moon with an overview of the history and modern practice of moon magic, the effects of each moon phase, and which cycles will yield the abundance you seek.

  • Magical mind―Whether setting an intention or self-reflecting, The Complete Book of Moon Spells provides space in each section to imagine, inspect, and inspire you on your magical journey.

Embrace lunar power and enrich your life each day with The Complete Book of Moon Spells.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

The Complete Book of Moon Spells by Michael Herkes was an interesting read for me as someone who isn’t a practicing witch but instead has approached this topic from a more academic standpoint. I’ve spent the past year reading a wide variety of modern witchcraft and Wiccan literature, as well as delved into researching the more historical aspects of the topic.

Though I don’t practice, I find the topic compelling. I would assume that if you are reading this review, you are likely a practicing witch, so feel free to discard what opinions I may impart here, or at least take them with a grain of salt.

Overall, I think the book was well written. It contains a good amount of historical background to moon-centered witchcraft practices as well as common mythologies. There is an abundance of spells and some potions included within these pages with clear instructions and lists of needed materials. There are also many affirmations and incantations. I think if you are a practicing witch, you’ll find this a good resource for a wide variety of spells.

As an outside observer of the practice, I only have one nitpick – which is that the author is not a poet, and the incantations are rhymed in the way of children’s literature – very sing-song in nature. I would encourage the practicing witch to find their own words if they feel the need. Having read quite a lot of modern witchcraft literature in the past year, I’ve found that most spellwork I’ve read comes with a sense of thoughtfulness and peace that I’ve found to be lacking in these incantations. That isn’t to say that they won’t be effective for you – but if the nature of how they are said bothers you as it does me, don’t feel discouraged from using your own words.

Book Review: Witch Hunter

review-cover-witch hunterTitle: Witch Hunter [Witches of the Woods 1]

Author: Steffanie Holmes

Genre: Paranormal, Romance, Historical

Rating: 5 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

Europe – 1351. Centuries ago a curse was placed on Ada’s family; every seven days a woman from her line must sleep with a man – any man – or the entire coven will lose their powers forever. As a fledgling witch, it is Ada’s turn to continue the seven-day cycle, but with the plague wiping out more men every day, who will she find to take into her bed? BBW Ada goes to a sacred grove to perform a ritual to bring a man to her, and a man appears. But he is as dangerous as he is handsome …

Ulrich of Donau-Ries is a battle-scarred witch hunter, tired of the stranglehold the church has over his destiny. His heart hardened by violence and the woman who betrayed him, Ulrich is determined to never again fall in love. But that all changes when he finds Ada, naked and waiting for him. She is the first woman to loosen the chains around his black heart.

When Ada is accused of witchcraft, Ulrich seizes his chance to be close to her once more. In Ulrich’s dungeon, they find solace in each other, and innocent Ada learns to embrace her lover’s dark fantasies. But will Ulrich’s heart thaw in time to save Ada from being burned alive at the stake?

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

I’m actually a little surprised to say that I really enjoyed this book. I’m not huge on BDSM or dungeon play in my romance. I don’t particularly have a problem with it, but I don’t actively seek it out, and it’s always left me feeling a little uncomfortable when it pops up in my romance reading, so when I went into Witch Hunter by Steffanie Holmes, I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about that aspect of the plot. Surprisingly, I was completely fine with it—though I know there will be some people out there that won’t. So before I get much further into this review and waste your time, let me say that there are quite a few scenes held within this book where the main female lead is strapped into or onto torture devices. She was in pain… BUT she was also consenting and enjoyed herself. If that isn’t your thing, then feel free to move on.

That being said, even though there was a fair bit of somewhat torturous BDSM involved, I never felt like Ulrich was being intentionally cruel or harmful to Ada, even when she was in genuine pain. I never questioned that she was happy to be put in the situation she was in and she enjoyed it. The situation was tricky, though. She was, after all, in a real dungeon dealing with a man who “tortured and burned witches at the stake” for a living, and I can understand how some more sensitive readers may find this book a little much to handle. To each his own, right?

Personally, I thought the story was fabulous. I loved Ulrich as the dark and brooding anti-hero and Ada as the sadly naïve newbie witch. The characters were colorful and distinct, and though I didn’t like all of them (I’m looking at you Bernadine), I felt they were necessary to the plot and well written.

Now, I was holding onto an ARC copy, so there were a few typos here and there (all of which I turned into the author/publisher), but none of them were distracting or particularly detrimental to the story. For the most part, the writing was clean, easy to follow, and well paced.

My only nitpick was one particular scene where Ada had been held in a dungeon for days on end before she was ravished by Ulrich, and I just kept thinking “omg… I bet she smells so bad right now.” She’d had rotten food thrown at her, she’d been locked in a damp cell with little food or water, and she certainly hadn’t had a bath… and I’m sure the guy loved her dearly…but… ew.

Overall? I really enjoyed the book. It was a great romp into medieval paranormal fantasy. If you’re a fan of Dark Romance, give it a try. You may really enjoy this book! If BDSM/Dark Romances are your thing,  you may want to look for something a little fluffier…but you’ll be missing out. Personally, I can’t wait to read further into this series, and I look forward to the next book!