📝 Spells8 Book Club XXI - Readers' Reviews!

Wishing a very warm welcome to all of the Witchy Readers! :open_book:

The latest reading period for Book Club [Sep 16 - Oct 14] has now ended - thank you to everyone who joined in!

Books & Members This Reading Period:

  • Keeping her Keys. An introduction to hecate’s modern witchcraft by Cindy Brannen
    @martje

  • Animal Spirit Guides by Steven D. Farmer, Ph. D.
    @Amethyst

  • Encountering The Dark Goddess: A Journey into the SHadow Realms by Frances Billinghurst
    @Amaris_Bane

  • The Spiral Dance by Starhawk
    @Amaris_Bane

  • The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow
    @August_Wandering

  • Mystical Dragon Magick by D.J. Conway
    @Kasandra

  • The Faithless by C.L. Clark (Fantasy)
    @gardenstone

  • The Spirited - Connect to the guides all around you by Rebecca Rosen
    @jan_TheGreenWitch

  • Wild Magic: Celtic Folk Traditions for the Solitary Practitioner by: Danu Forest @Siofra_Strega

  • Buckland’s Complete Book of Witchcraft By Raymond Buckland Amazon.com
    @Wysteria_Norn

  • The Holistic Witch By Shawn Robbins and Leanna Greenaway
    @TheMuslimWitch

Even if you are not listed above but you read a book during this reading period/ you decided to read a different book than listed- you are very welcome to share and discuss here too!


Time to share your thoughts with your coven! :star_struck:

This discussion post will serve as a place to share your thoughts and opinions on the book you chose.

  • :heart_eyes: If you loved your book and think everyone should read it- awesome! Talk about your favorite points or something you learned.
  • :woman_shrugging: If you didn’t connect with the book- consider explaining why it wasn’t for you.
  • :angry: Absolutely hated your book of choice? Warn others to stay away!

This is a great place to share your love for books and find recommendations for new books to read :+1:


Picture from Pixabay

Your book review can be as simple or elaborate as you’d like :writing_hand:

If you’re not sure what to talk about, here is a suggested format you can use. Feel free to write as little or as much as you’d like!

Book Title and Author:

Status? : Finished / Still Reading

My overall rating of the book : ???/10

How does this book relate to my magickal practice?:

My personal thoughts/opinions:

An interesting quote from the book: " "

All in all, would I recommend this book?: Yes / No

Remember that your review is uniquely yours- this is a chance to let your opinions and voice be heard :raised_hands:

Please keep in mind that others may have opinions that differ from yours- when responding to the thoughts of others please always show respect! Remember that 100 people will read 1 book and have 100 different experiences. That’s what makes sharing interesting :heart:


What if I didn’t finish my book / joined late? :raised_hand:

No worries at all!

You are welcome to share your thoughts about the part you have read so far. If you joined the session late and have just started, feel free to talk about your expectations for your book. You can continue reading it into the next reading period.

And whether you read a book or not - you are very welcome to jump in and discuss what others share about their books! :handshake:


Picture from Pixabay

Deadlines and Dates :spiral_calendar:

You have 5 weeks to share your thoughts and discuss- until the next Readers’ Review Post appears in the forum!

Deadline for Reviews for this Session: Friday, November 18

While you have plenty of time for reviews, know that the next reading period will begin in one week:

The Next Reading Session will Begin: Friday, October 21

On this day a post will appear where you can announce your next book (or continue with your current reading!).

Until then, you can find more info about the club in the Book Club FAQ.

Witch reading
Gif from Giphy

It can be hard to find the time and motivation to read on your own- hopefully book club helped provide a bit of motivation and that it led to some wonderful new knowledge and discoveries in your Craft :books:

Thanks again for joining in and being a part of Book Club! I am so excited to read your thoughts and learn more about the book you spent time with :blush::open_book:

Blessed be! :sparkles:

:books: :heart: :infinite_roots:

5 Likes

@jan_TheGreenWitch Book Review: Spirited - Rebecca Rosen

Book Title and Author:
Spirited - Connect to the guides all around you
Rebecca Rosen

Status? :
Finished - this book is a quick read, but could take weeks and a few re-reads if you do the exercises with ‘purpose’

My overall rating of the book :
8.5 - This book is put forth as a path to find your own way and personal practice of spirit work, but it is truly a simplified version of honing your psychic powers in the most elementary way and I feel like there was a lot of things that weren’t explained enough to use, and the testimonials were a few too many for my liking, I would have enjoyed more meat on the bone. The one passage that alludes to the Akashic records is so brief, it should have either been left out or expounded on in at least the most brief way.

How does this book relate to my magickal practice?:
This book discusses how to use your intuition better and hone psychic abilities since they are the foundation of using and cultivating your various different clairs to tap into spirit energies in three forms: passed loved ones, guardian angels, spirit guides.

My personal thoughts/opinions:
This book is a primer for someone’s entry into working with spirits and why one would want to do so — presented in a not so woo woo way for the most part (as much as you can when your subject matter is speaking to the dead). Rebecca has created an easily digestible read with very concrete ways to tap into your own intuition to reach out and work with your guides/spirits to deal with unresolved issues in this life or prior lives and create a life you desire. She also explains how to gain comfort and move past grief in a healing way so that it is not disruptive in the present.

She focuses on how to be mindful in the present and not to procrastinate with dealing with our ‘baggage’ in life because you either deal with it now, or you will need to deal with it in the afterlife in one way or another. Unaddressed issues will always come back to haunt you so you may as well address them head on. Rebecca states that everything in your life you are dealing with is of your own creation, either set in place with your Soul Group in the afterlife or by your own actions here in this life. Even cancer and things that appear to be out of our own sphere of control she explains that they are ultimately of our own creation, and why.

I like all of the meditations she offers in the appendices and mantra/chants to bring in and attract the right type of spirit and how to protect yourself along the way. The book draws on many teachings, especially those of Hinduism and aspects of Tibetan Buddhism specifically around reincarnation even though she specifically states that she is not purporting any religious beliefs. She explains reincarnation well and also what happens when you die, and subsequently in the afterlife.

I like Charmin’s ‘review’ on GoodReads which is more of a summary, I’ve included a snapshot below for those wanting more information.

An interesting quote from the book:
“He continued to attract people into his life that drained his energy…. He alone made the choice to stifle his needs, invite people into his life who needed him, and then resent them for it afterward. Once he recognized and took responsibility for his contribution to the situation, he regained power over his life and started making different choices.”

All in all, would I recommend this book?:
Yes - if you are interested in the spirit realm and honing your psychic powers and clairs, this is a great book with interesting perspective and insight into this practice - if you are more advanced and already have your own practice and belief system regarding spirits and the afterlife, unless you want to know about another perspective, this will not provide more extensive experience for you.

7 Likes

I think that, when dealing with spirits (especially those of lost loved ones), it can be easy to get very immersed and caught up in the past- I really like that this author encourages mindfulness and remaining focused in the present :pray:

This sounds a bit similar to the Law of Attraction- out of curiosity’s sake, would you say that her beliefs here align with the LoA, or take a different direction?

I always like to hear others’ beliefs when it comes to death, reincarnation, and how spirits are involved in the cycle. It was confusing for me for a while to believe in both lingering spirits of the dead but also reincarnation- at face value it can seem a bit contradictory! This sounds like a very interesting read :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts, Jan- I really enjoyed hearing about this book! :raised_hands: :heart:

7 Likes

I’d say @TheTravelWitch_Bry that her beliefs are 100% in alignment with the LoA, taking it even a step further in that when you are with your Soul Group in between lives and you set your intention for the next life, that is setting up your entire challenge scenario in this life for what you and your soul group have agreed you need to set up to attract to rise to the next soul level and learn, so by going through the challenges you are presented with in your life (that you have actually been the architect of), you are unwittingly part of attracting a situation where you can bring about a rise to your next level of soul in the afterlife.

And isn’t most of what we do in witchcraft all LoA - or at least LoI (intent) anyway? :wink: (IMHO).
:brown_heart:

7 Likes

Thank you for explaining this, Jan- it is really interesting to hear about! And I think you explained what might otherwise be a tricky concept in a really great and easy-to-understand way :grinning: :pray:

I don’t strictly follow the LoA in my personal practice (I consider it to be more like a “Guideline” of Attraction than a “Law”, if I can channel my inner Pirates of the Carribean haha) so I’m a bit biased on this. I do feel like the idea of setting your own challenges in order to better yourself is actually a pretty positive take on life’s challenges :+1: But with full respect to this theory and the author, I’ve seen and heard about some pretty horrific things that I would hope people, even in a higher and more enlightened state, would never wish upon even their own worst enemies- nevermind themselves :worried: But maybe this is what is needed to rise to new levels? I’ll have to ruminate on this more. It’s definitely interesting to think about- thank you again for sharing the messages of the book! :heart::blush:

I’m with you fully on this one! :raised_hands: Intent is so important in magick- it’s definitely a central pillar, if not the heart of the Craft itself (IMHO too here :wink:)

Lots of love and blessed be! :sparkles:

6 Likes

Yes, @TheTravelWitch_Bry, I’m with you on this as well — the author has her explanation about this too - a couple - 1) we are all part of a soul group where many of us come back only intending to live a short time and possibly not a very good life/ horrific, with the sole intent of helping out another soul’s journey, again all worked out in the ‘between lives’. Also, 2) there is still free will here on earth, so ‘the best laid plans’ can collide with other soul plans that are very different or have gone awry. Anyway, I don’t explain her belief as well as she does and she doesn’t go as in depth as one could in this specific book, but it does give one much to ruminate on for sure. :brown_heart:

7 Likes

As usual, I’m dancing to my own drummer :upside_down_face:

Book Title and Author: Enemies in Love by Alexis Clark.

Status? : Finished

My overall rating of the book : 10

How does this book relate to my magickal practice?: None whatsoever but with my interest in history, I was intrigued. I also was not disappointed. I’m such a sucker for a love story.

My personal thoughts/opinions: “Sigh” Love?" Ain’t it grand

An interesting quote from the book: " "

All in all, would I recommend this book?: Yes / No

I read the most remarkable book, called Enemies in Love by Alexis Clark.

Let me quote one line from the book;

“You should know my name. I am the man that is going to marry you.” At 19 he said this.*

Men today can’t give you 2 full sentences in a text.

It’s The true story of a black nurse and a German Prisoner of War, who fell in love during World War Two, and eventually married. Though their story began more than 70 years ago, it feels very relevant today as America continues to wrestle with issues of racism and hate.
The 19-year-old German soldier was severely beaten after they found out he was involved with the black nurse.
She was in the American military and treated badly because she was black. She actually could have been court-martialed for treason.
The book mentions the US army had a process for separating out the German soldiers that were nazis and the ones who weren’t nazis but had no choice but to fight in the war. A lot of non-Nazi German soldiers were shocked when US people responsible for shipping them off to their POW camp would rightfully denounce the evils of nazism, but then in the same breath tell them not to mix with the black and Mexican women in the areas around the camp.
Blessings
Garnet

10 Likes

I think you explain things wonderfully, Jan! I apologize if I put you on the spot with the questions- it’s a really interesting theory and I super appreciate you helping to walk me through it :pray::heart: :blush: It sounds like a book I could sit with for quite a while, and even if I didn’t agree with the author on everything, sometimes not agreeing with something is what helps you realize where your beliefs actually lie.

Thank you again for the great thoughts and your really wonderful review! :raised_hands: :two_hearts:

7 Likes

Dance away, Garnet- you inspire me to dance along with you! :dancer: :sparkles::smile:

This sounds like such a sweet love story absolutely loaded with history! While I’ll occasionally read books about very heavy topics every now and then when they’re about something I’m studying, for pleasure reading I’m a baby and I like my happy fluffy fantasy tales :laughing: :unicorn:

It sounds like this story latched onto you and didn’t let go until the final page- I’m so glad you enjoyed the book so much, Garnet! :heart::books: Thank you for sharing your thoughts on it!

8 Likes

Oh my, its taking me forever tonrrad this book :laughing:

Although I have only read about 40%, I have enjoyed the different techniques & the natire based ritual & activities that are wrotten out in the book.

I enjoy the background, history, & explanations of what is that is being described or when you would use that particular technique.

I will try to read some more this weekend though. To me its very interesting & insightful for a Celtic based path :hugs:

8 Likes

Book Title and Author: Animal Spirit Guides by Steven D. Farmer, Ph.D.

Status: Finished.

My overall rating of this book: 8/10

How does this book relate to my magickal practice? : I wanted to learn more about spirit guides and animals so this really helped.

My personal thoughts/opinions: This is a great book if you’re seeing an animal and wonder what that means for you. I do wish they would have gone into more about when an animal is just an animal and when it’s a guide but otherwise it’s a great book. Lots of good information on about 200 different animals!

An interesting quote from the book: “When you know that you’re getting a communication from an animal spirit guide, the first thing to do (unless your driving) is to close your eyes, imagine that animal’s spirit is in front of you, and in your mind ask the question, “What do you want me to know?” Take a deep breath, relax your body, and see what sort of information and impressions you get – whether visual, auditory, kinesthetic, or cognitive. By doing so, you’ll often get a “hit” on what the meaning of the visitation is.”

All in all, would I recommend this book? : Yes.

10 Likes

I have not had a chance to read more of Dark Goddess or start Spiral Dance so I have no reviews this go-round.

7 Likes

Buckland’s Complete Book of Witchcraft (Llewellyn’s Practical Magick)
Part of: Llewellyn’s Practical Magick (11 books)

At the time of this review the price was $18 for the ebook and $9 for a good used hard copy.
Publisher: Llewelyn Publications. Published 2010. Pages 692.
Status: Finished – but I know I’ll revert to it in the future.
Overall Rating: 10/10
Recommendation: Recommended for all Witches, Magi, alternative practitioners, and the curious.

“Wicca is based on a teaching of love for all life. Keep this in mind; in fact, make it your ideal.” (pg. 25)

So many aspects of Wiccan practice are beautifully elucidated, such as that early peoples “lived hand-in-hand with nature through necessity. They were a part of nature, not separate from it. An animal was a brother or a sister…” (pg. 54) Is it a wonder then, that at the dawn of the Age of Aquarius, that people would seek religions that emphasize equality and the worship of both the masculine and feminine (pg. 71). Even the Wiccan priesthood is expected to be equal to every other participant, with the only exception of leading for a pre-determined period (pgs 182+). “Participation is important” is a phrase repeated often to emphasize the importance of the individual to every witch action – be they a coven member or a solitary practitioner. This concept of oneness and equality is further underscored by Buckland when he explains the Wiccan belief of death and reincarnation, handfasting and parting, and the birth rite ceremony.

“Do not see a thing working…see it finished.” (pg. 563)

As one would expect, the book is replete with spells, incantations, recipes, charts, etc. But the reader may be surprised at the sheer quantity of the above! The pages come alive with lists of herbs, stones, numerous useful spells, altar settings, and rituals. One can just imagine that, at the time of publication when access to the internet didn’t exist, this book must have been a true treasure. Now, even with all the immediate-access information we have at our fingertips, I would say that it is a must for all witches, magi, alternative healers, and those seeking solace in goddess and god wisdom pathways. Buckland does an incredible job of providing valuable insight and practical knowledge for both full covens and the solitary practitioner.

“An’ it harm none, do what thou wilt.”

7 Likes

Book Title and Author: The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow

Status? : Finished

My overall rating of the book : 10/10

**How does this book relate to my magickal practice?:**It was not only highly entertaining but woke me up to the huge variety of cultures that practice the Craft in some way or another.

**My personal thoughts/opinions:**What a fabulous read! The author’s use of words is absolutely delicious! And the premise is delightful. Witches rising amidst the suffragette period in Salem. Just wonderful. And she includes the magic of men as well. So very diverse and all-inclusive of race, gender, and identity.

An interesting quote from the book: " “They come in odd forms and unlikely languages - Spanish prayers and Creole songs and Choctaw stories, star-patterns and dances and drum-beats - and not all of them are easily translated to ink and paper. Bella begins to believe that the Library of Avalon was only ever a sliver of witchcraft in the first place. She begins to believe that the words and ways are whichever ones a woman has, and that a witch is merely a woman who needs more than she has.”

All in all, would I recommend this book?: Absolutely!

9 Likes

That is deliciously profound.
Too often, recently, if one doesn’t loudly disagree (aka create a zero-sum game) on everything, silent contemplation is taken for agreement.

8 Likes

I couldn’t put it down! Every chance I had I was reading it. What a tale! What a fabulous work of fiction! I love fiction that is so good it draws me in and the writer’s world become real for me! :+1:t4: :smiley: :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

7 Likes

I actually ended up reading The Jasmine Throne by Tasha Suri, which is often placed in a similar category to Clark’s series (to the point that the authors have joked about whether each entry’s cover matches the others). Anyway, I found it much easier to make time for reading when it was an audiobook.

Status? : Finished

My overall rating of the book : 9/10

How does this book relate to my magickal practice?: Thinking about how loneliness, kindness, and love work into the way our magick develops.

My personal thoughts/opinions: The Jasmine Throne was an intense, heartbreaking book, but extremely well written and bringing us characters that need far more representation in the Fantasy genre.
There’s magick, politics, queer rep, and family drama, all set against the background of a country that doesn’t realize it’s nearly tipping into war, and a magical disease where plants take over people’s bodies.
A great read for those of us obsessed with our gardens!

An interesting quote from the book:
Sacred wood. She watched as Gautam held the shard close to the rot-struck branch, as the lesion on the branch paled, the redness fading. The stench of it eased a little, and Priya breathed gratefully. “There,” he said. “Now you know it is fresh. You’ll get plenty of use from it.” “Thank you. That was a useful demonstration.” She tried not to let her impatience show. What did he want—awe? Tears of gratitude? She had no time for any of it. “You should still burn the branch. If you touch it by mistake…” “I know how to handle the rot. I send men into the forest every day,” he said dismissively. “And what do you do? Sweep floors? I don’t need your advice.” He thrust the shard of sacred wood out to her. “Take this. And leave.” She bit her tongue and held out her hand, the long end of her sari drawn over her palm. She rewrapped the sliver of wood up carefully, once, twice, tightening the fabric, tying it off with a neat knot. Gautam watched her. “Whoever you’re buying this for, the rot is still going to kill them,” he said, when she was done. “This branch will die even if I wrap it in a whole shell of sacred wood. It will just die slower. My professional opinion for you, at no extra cost.” He threw the cloth back over the infected branch with one careless flick of his fingers. “So don’t come back here and waste your money again. I’ll show you out.” He shepherded her to the door. She pushed through the beaded curtain, greedily inhaling the clean air, untainted by the smell of decay. At the edge of the veranda there was a shrine alcove carved into the wall. Inside it were three idols sculpted from plain wood, with lustrous black eyes and hair of vines. Before them were three tiny clay lamps lit with cloth wicks set in pools of oil. Sacred numbers. She remembered how perfectly she’d once been able to fit her whole body into that alcove. She’d slept in it one night, curled up tight. She’d been as small as the orphan boy, once. “Do you still let beggars shelter on your veranda when it rains?” Priya asked, turning to look at Gautam where he stood, barring the entryway. “Beggars are bad for business,” he said. “And the ones I see these days don’t have brothers I owe favors to. Are you leaving or not?” Just the threat of pain can break someone. She briefly met Gautam’s eyes. Something impatient and malicious lurked there. A knife, used right, never has to draw blood. But ah, Priya didn’t have it in her to even threaten this old bully. She stepped back. What a big void there was, between the knowledge within her and the person she appeared to be, bowing her head in respect to a petty man who still saw her as a street beggar who’d risen too far, and hated her for it. “Thank you, Gautam,” she said. “I’ll try not to trouble you again.”

Suri, Tasha. The Jasmine Throne: 1 (The Burning Kingdoms) (pp. 16-17). Orbit. Kindle Edition.

All in all, would I recommend this book?: Yes!

(I still hope to read The Faithless in the next couple of weeks, before October slips away from me.)

7 Likes

It sounds like it’s been a really great read so far! When you’ve got a great book there’s no need to rush- take your time and enjoy! I hope you continue to enjoy it, Siofra :blush::open_book:

I agree that it’s a pretty important distinction between animals in nature and spirit animals! Although it sounds like the book had some really interesting wisdom about spirit guides and the meaning of many different animals- 200 is a lot! It sounds like it’ll be a great reference book going forward :star_struck:

Thanks for sharing your review, Amethyst! :heart:

No worries and no rush, Amaris! It is so busy now, especially with the upcoming Sabbat. The books will be there for you when you’re ready! I hope you enjoy them both when you jump in :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

10/10- I’m so happy you enjoyed the book so much, Wysteria! :partying_face: :two_hearts: You know it’s a great read when you feel you’ll continue to use it as reference in the future. Thank you so much for sharing the quotes and for your thoughtful review! :blush:

It sounds like an amazing book- especially from what you’ve said about how inclusive the author is! Reading your thoughts here I could definitely see myself enjoying this one- it’s got culture, adventure, magick, and all the things that make a great story (imo!). Thank you so much for your review! :heart:

I agree, and it’s shame that it happens like that! There are definitely times when one should stand up for themselves, but I completely agree that some issues require careful contemplation- when it comes to the most important things, the more respectful thought and care put in, the better for everyone involved :pray::blush:

This one has a gorgeous cover too- perhaps they hired the same designer or cover artist! :grinning: Goodness, the messages of this book are really profound- it sounds like it encouraged a lot of reflection and thought. It takes a really powerful book to call out emotions that reflect ourselves and our situations- this sounds like a really great read (and hooray for the representation! :raised_hands:) Thank you so much for your review of The Jasmine Throne and I hope you enjoy your read of The Faithless too! :books::blush:

5 Likes

Oh it was very thoughtful and engaging! The artists for the covers are not the same (Jasmine Throne was http://www.micahepsteinart.com/ while The Unbroken is by https://www.tommyarnoldart.com/) but they have, in the SFF genre, been grouped as the Sapphic Trifecta along with She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan (which has a typography-focused cover but it’s still that saffron gold). I have to read the last one, still, and then the Oleander Sword is out so I can continue with that series if I can get in a better habit of making time to read!

7 Likes

So many exciting books! :heart_eyes: And that’s so cool that they have a theme going with the covers (even if it was unintentional!)- it seems to help encourage fans of one book/series into checking out the others :books::blush:

I know the feeling of too many enticing books but never enough time to read :laughing: :+1: I hope you’ll find some extra reading time and that you enjoy your books, @gardenstone! :sparkles:

5 Likes