📝 Spells8 Book Club XXX - Readers' Reviews!

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

The latest reading period for Book Club [Jul 28 - Aug 25] has now ended - thank you to everyone who joined in!

Members & Their Books This Reading Period:

  • The Book of Druidry by Kristoffer Hughes
    @BryWisteria

  • The Living Tarot: Connecting the Cards to Everyday Life for Better Readings by T. Susan Chang
    @Amethyst

  • The Path of the Sacred Hermit by Avallach Emrys
    @jan_TheGreenWitch

  • The Runes A grounding in Northern Magic by James Flowerdew
    @tracyS

  • The Spiral Dance by Starhawk
    @Shadeweaver

  • Witchcraft Therapy by Mandi Em
    @catherine11

  • Ancient Wisdom, Modern Hope by James T. Powers
    @MeganB

  • The Crooked Path: An Introduction to Traditional Witchcraft by Kelden
    @Jewitch

  • Empty Cauldrons: Navigating Depression Through Magic and Ritual by Terence P Ward
    @Amaris_Bane

  • The Magical Books of Solomon: The Greater and Lesser Keys & The Testament of Solomon By Aleister Crowley, S.L. Macgregor Mathers, F.C. Conybear
    @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:


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!

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:


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, September 29

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, September 1st

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.


From Pixabay

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:

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Book Title and Author: The Crooked Path: An Introduction to Traditional Witchcraft by Kelden

Status?: Finished

My overall rating of the book: 9/10

How does this book relate to my magickal practice?: As I began doing more reading and exploring of my path with paganism and witchcraft, I feel like a lot of books repeat the same information and tend to have a Wicca-leaning stance. There’s nothing wrong with things that lean toward the Wicca end of the spectrum, but Wicca itself doesn’t really resonate with me, nor do things that lean more toward high/ceremonial magick. The past few months, it’s been hard to find inspiration to be spiritually active like I want to be, and the thought of reading another book on Wicca or that just repeats the same information was honestly a turn-off.

I remembered that I had read The Crooked Path a while back and that it spoke to me at that time, so I decided to reread it. I’m so glad I did! It was exactly what I needed to reignite my spiritual fire, and I’m more excited than ever to continue on my spiritual path.

My personal thoughts/opinions: As I’ve already said, I’m tired of reading essentially the same book in a different cover with a different name on the front. Although this book wasn’t entirely novel in its contents, it was a breath of fresh air to read. It’s hard to explain, but the way Kelden writes, information is approachable by a novice but also allows more experienced Witches to be able to glean something new.

That being said, I personally wouldn’t necessarily recommend this book for a complete beginner to Witchcraft/Wicca without the aid of other books/resources While it briefly touches on the theory behind magickal practices and materia magica that goes into workings, I feel like it could go a bit deeper than it does. The complete novice may like to have other texts for some of the chapters. For example, I would recommend Scott Cunningham’s Earth Power and Earth, Air, Fire & Water to provide more information to go along with The Crooked Path’s “Part IV: Working with the Natural Landscape”. (But then again, I might be biased in this desire for more information because when I learn about something, I like to learn :sparkles: D E T A I L S :sparkles: about it…)

An interesting quote from the book: There are so many great quotes from this book that it was difficult to pick just one, but I decided on the following from the final section, “A Witch’s Farewell” (page 203) because they sum up the overall theme/message of the book:

  • “Traditional Witchcraft should be a personal experience, infused with the traditions and folklore of your ancestors and the magical virtues of your natural landscape.”
  • “There is no right or wrong way to practice Traditional Witchcraft, so long as it works for you.”
  • “Authenticity in Traditional Witchcraft comes from having confidence in yourself, from having personal connection with the spirits, and from magic that gets results.”

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

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Sometimes books are simply tools in the practice, but other times they are our best friends and greatest encouragers- I’m so happy you found your inspiration and spark again through your book! :blush:

I’ve had The Crooked Path on my (embarrassingly long) reading list for ages but still haven’t got myself a copy yet- it really sounds like a fantastic book, especially for those who practice more on the edges or outside of Wicca. I agree with you that many books on witchcraft are Wicca-focused or lean heavily on it (even the book on Slavic Paganism I have references Wicca more than I expected it would!) so as another practitioner who doesn’t identify as Wiccan, I also find it refreshing to read about other traditions and practices too.

Beautiful quotes- I really appreciate the encouragement and support to pursue one’s one unique path! :blush:

Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts, @Jewitch! :open_book: :heart:

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Spells8 Book Club XXX (Jul 28 - Aug 25)

Garnet

I’ve recently read a book called “the ultimate book of SPELLS”
BY Pamela J. Ball.

The contents go from Folklore, Festivals and Feasts
Geomancy, Feng Shui and Sacred Geometry.

PRINCIPLES AND COMPONENTS
She answers questions of what a spell is and different types of magic.
ASTROLOGY
Astrological Power

MAGIC AND DIVINATION Wowsy this was informative!
It includes Spiritual Development, Divination, Tarot, Crystal Gazing there’s more but can’t mention them without a word for word description.

MYSTICISM AND MAGIC
Explores Mysticism, Neo-Alexandrian Hermeticism, Gnosticism
Kabbalah and much more

SPELLS PREPARATION
Getting the Best from your Spells
Miss Ball has put together an easy to read and comprehensive book of magick and its diversity.

would I recommend it, YES
score: 9-10
blessings
Garnet

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Wow- it sounds like it covers a huge variety of areas with lots to explore, that’s really neat! And from what you’ve said, even within each category it branches into many deeper areas of study. Sounds like something I’d enjoy! :grinning:

Thank you so much for sharing your review, Garnet- I’m glad you enjoyed The Ultimate Book of Spells! :heart:

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Book Title and Author: The Living Tarot: Connecting the Cards to Everyday Life for Better Readings by T. Susan Chang

Status: Finished.

My overall rating of the book: 8/10

How does this relate to my magical practice: I was looking to delve deeper into the tarot and everyday uses of it.

My personal thoughts, opinions of the book: A good book for a beginner, if you like doing workbooks and a lot of writing with your studies. Not quite what I wanted but a good book.

An interesting quote in the book: “You might be worried you’re not intuitive enough for prediction. A lot of people first approaching predictive tarot think, God, I’m about as psychic as a doorknob. There’s no way I can predict anything. But the fact is, you do have predictive ability – everybody does – because you have pattern-making ability.”

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

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CW: This book is about dealing with depression. I have blurred portions of my review I feel may be triggering (TW: suicide) but please proceed with caution. Feel free to scroll past my post, I won’t be offended. :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

Book Title and Author: “Empty Cauldrons: Navigating Depression Through Magic and Ritual” by Terrance P Ward

Status? : Still Reading - I’ve finished part one and starting part two.

My overall rating of the book : 10/10

How does this book relate to my magickal practice?: Not 100% sure as I haven’t gotten to the actual magic/rituals section. So far the first section has had an impact on my understanding of depression.

My personal thoughts/opinions: I came across this book at a serendipitous moment in my life, and thus far, I’ve completed the opening section titled “Depression in the World.” In this review, I will primarily focus on this initial segment. The author skillfully interweaves his narrative with insights gleaned from the individuals he interviewed, striking an ideal equilibrium between quoted passages and his original thoughts.

The first section serves as a comprehensive “introduction” to depression and its impact on people. The author initiates with a chapter dedicated to the attempt to define depression—a task that ultimately proves elusive. Subsequently, a section captures my attention, where the concept of viewing depression as a spirit is introduced. While I have habitually regarded it as a flaw within my brain, this fresh perspective has enabled me to comprehend that I possess the capacity to influence how I respond to my depression. Although I am embarking on therapy to acquire effective coping strategies, adopting this mindset has empowered me to assert control over my response to its symptoms.

Concluding this initial segment, the author delves into our relationship with depression and underscores how nurturing our spiritual connection can guide us through its challenges. Notably, the author identifies several deities one can invoke for support, thereby enriching the spiritual dimension of the struggle.

Additionally, the author goes beyond the narrative itself by providing a collection of journal prompts and exercises that serve as a valuable supplement to the book. These prompts aren’t just tangential; they are thoughtfully designed to encourage readers to delve deeper into a range of topics closely related to depression. By engaging with these exercises, readers are offered an opportunity for profound introspection and exploration of their own thoughts and feelings. This enriching addition turns “Empty Cauldrons” into more than just a reading experience—it becomes an interactive journey that nurtures understanding, growth, and contemplation around the intricate landscape of depression.

An interesting quote from the book: There are several quotes that really stuck with me during my reading.

“I walk with privilege that is sometimes invisible to me, and I walk with depression, which is often invisible to everyone.” In discussion of biases that every human has.

“Thoughts that feel out of control can be caught by the pen, and held fast on paper to study from a safe distance.” In regards to the benefit of journaling.

“Depression can be explained emotionally, spiritually, and biochemically; no matter what words are used to describe it, depression is something you know best by experiencing it.” During attempts to define depression.

“I think it’s a poverty of the English language that we use the same word to describe how a five-year-old feels when his baseball game gets canceled because it’s raining and the way someone feels who’s about to jump off a bridge because life has become unlivable and untenable ,” said by writer Andrew Solomon in a 2014 interview.

“…depression can be managed in the living, but not the dead.” In discussion of suicide idealizations in depressed patients.

All in all, would I recommend this book?: Yes! While I’m only halfway through, it’s already made an impact on my thought process and practice, for the better.

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AMERICAN GODS
Can’t leave a full review as still reading, but so far, I like the way it meanders across the country, and is a very casual read. I feel like I’m on a roadtrip with Shadow. I like also the way Gaiman hints at who the gods are by their character traits rather than just name them. Still early days, so will write a proper review next month. Didn’t watch the TV series on it, so can’t compare. So I’ll leave this space now, and go join Shadow. :joy::heartpulse:

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I am reading Wicca, by Scott Cunningham.

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Book Title and Author: Ancient Wisdom, Modern Hope by James T. Powers

Status?: Finished

My overall rating of the book: 5/10

How does this book relate to my magickal practice?: First, I was sent this book by the publisher and will have a full review on my website eventually - whenever I get the extra time this week to write it up :sweat_smile:

Second, this relates to my practice for the sole reason of being an animist. The book itself has zero connection to witchcraft or paganism. Instead, it is about the wisdom and teachings of Native Americans and First Nations peoples, focused specifically on New England, USA.

My personal thoughts/opinions: I commend the author for his intentions, but I really didn’t connect with the book. It isn’t a bad book, but I do think the writing style was just not for me. There are long, run-on sentences that made it difficult for me to read.

The focus of the book is important, and the author approaches it from an academic perspective. He talks about the history of climate change and how the ancient people survived those changes. He also made the distinction between climate change then and climate change now. Then, it was slow and happened over hundreds or thousands of years. Now, the work of man is accelerating the climate change and we are struggling to adapt.

An interesting quote from the book: There are many quotes in the book, but I will just mention a couple here.

  • “There is hope and the answer is simple; the wisdom of the past can guide us towards a better future.” (context: the author’s preface letter speaking on climate change & ancient peoples)

  • “We must develop a reciprocal relationship that is based upon an understanding of the connectedness and interdependence of all life and that the Earth is an interconnected living organism.” (context: healing Earth & combating climate change)

  • “We have created a culture and society that seems unwilling and incapable of making the tpes of changes necessary to live once again in harmony and balance with Nature and prevent the further degradation of the environment.” (context: a chapter titled A Second Chance, detailing what the author thinks we need to do to heal the planet)

All in all, would I recommend this book?: Meh, not really. I feel like there are better options out there. For one, Braiding Sweetgrass is a book of Indigenous Wisdom written by an Indigenous person, not a white professor who just studies Indigenous culture and history :woman_shrugging:

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Congrats on finishing The Living Tarot, Amethyst! I like the quote- it sounds like the author has a very friendly and even humorous way of writing. And interesting about the workbook aspect of it- it sounds very hands-on! Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts about it :blush: :open_book:

Thank you for the heads up about the content- this sounds like a book that handles some very heavy topics, but that it does so in a very well-handled way. Writing about mental health is not easy to do, but it looks like Ward walked the delicate tightrope of sensitivity with grace and honesty. I haven’t been diagnoses with depression, but I do have anxiety and I imagine that some of the advice and guidance provided here may be of use. I’ll be adding this one to my to-read list! Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts, Amaris- I hope you continue to enjoy the book :heart: :books:

I just finished watching the Good Omens TV show and I’m ready for more of Gaiman’s works- American Gods sounds like a very fun read! I hope you continue to enjoy your time with Shadow- happy reading, Tracy! Do you think you’ll watch the TV show when you’ve finished the book? :wink:

That’s a great book! Cunningham’s works are classics :blush: I hope you enjoy Wicca, Maurice- happy reading! :heart:

Sorry it wasn’t what you were hoping for, Megan! It sounds like a book that would be valuable for those looking to learn about Native American practices in the New England area, but probably not the best match for readers hoping for wisdom about witchcraft. Thank you for the quotes and for sharing your thoughts! :pray: :blush:

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You’re welcome! It’s a very good beginner’s book. Very easy to read.

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Yeah, it definitely isn’t that. I was really hoping for information about animism and ancient practices. I did get some of that, but the writing style definitely wasn’t a good fit for me.

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Thanks Megan.

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You’re welcome! :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

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You’re both reminding me to reread this book. :black_heart: I also recommend it. It has a really down-to-earth, practical tone to it. I’m definitely more on the darker, shadowy side of things, so I find it refreshing to read less “love and light” toned content. (Not that there’s anything wrong with it, of course, just that it really doesn’t match my personal energy. Like sunlight. Sunlight and I aren’t really friends. Gosh, I’m digging myself into a hole… I’m going to stop. :joy:)

Do you happen to remember which book this was? I’m curious to check it out. I don’t know much about the potential of this part of the family, but I can’t ask because I will scare the life out of them – they’re not religious (they would be Eastern Orthodox Christian if they were), but they’re deeply superstitious in a very fearful way. There’s no such thing as good luck to them, after all, but there sure is bad luck and curses. :skull:

That being said, I am slowly introducing to them some things. I’m giving them good luck and protection charms, which they really appreciate, and it gives me peace of mind to know they’re protected. :smile:

Wow, what a tangent I went on… I probably need sleep. :thinking:

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Apologies for the late reply- yes! It’s called Słowiańska wiedźma (“Slavic witch”) by Dobromiła Agiles. It’s in Polish so I couldn’t read much of it, but my partner helped me through some parts- the book has lots of information about Polish pagan deities, rituals, and recipes, but often dips into comparisons with Celtic traditions and Wicca. There’s also a section about something the author calls “Slavic gymnastics” which, and maybe I missed something in translation, but was a rather… interesting inclusion in a book of witchcraft. But again, it’s not in my native language so I’m sure I missed a lot haha.

That is so sweet of you! It sounds like your love and care is overpowering the old fear and superstitions- that is a really powerful (and wonderful!) thing :heart: :blush:

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Thank you! :black_heart: Looking at its table of contents, there’s a lot of wonderful information in there. I’ll have to give it a read. :smile:

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I jumped straight ahead to the section on Slavic gymnastics. It explains that these movements are intended to be performed slowly and methodically, with a focus on identifying and energising “power spots,” as well as improving flexibility through stretching and tightening. This practice appears almost to be a Slavic spiritual yoga, and there is a brief comparison to yoga within the text. However, it is emphasised that Slavic gymnastics is typically combined with incantations, affirmations, Slavic horoscopes, and other elements.

The text also highlights that the terminology associated with this practice, such as “stojąca woda” or “standing water,” is chosen to evoke associations with femininity, tranquillity, self-discipline, patience, and concentration.

I know I’ve already got a long list of to-do’s thanks to everyone here (and I mean that in the most appreciative way possible – you all are wonderful guides), but @CelestiaMoon, what do you think? Shall we explore some Slavic gymnastics sometime? :joy: :black_heart:

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@starborn Sure, I’d love to, though you’d have to translate for me, my Polish is a bit rusty too :joy: :black_heart:

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