I recently read a book written by a popular YouTuber - Harmony Nice - and I was not happy about it. Her book is called Wicca: A Modern Guide to Witchcraft and Magick. I wanted to give a brief review of it here for you, but more importantly, I wanted to talk about the need to be critical of the books you read as well as the authors who write them.
“Harmony Nice is at the heart of a growing community of modern-day wiccans who practise natural magic to improve their own lives and the world around them. In Wicca she encourages you to explore the positive impact that ritual, meditation and embracing nature can have on your creativity, confidence and sense of self-worth. Discover how to cast spells, start your own Book of Shadows, join a coven and feel empowered to follow a path that feels good and true to you.” Book Blurb – Back of Book
Harmony included a chapter titled “Small Changes” (chapter 22 for anyone interested) that I felt was important, and I’m glad she included it. In this chapter, Harmony details different methods and ideas for incorporating different aspects of Wicca and your practice in your life. This is an important chapter, in my opinion, because a lot of new witches, pagans, and Wiccans get overwhelmed with the amount of information that is available and how to incorporate everything into their lives.
Jumping into Wicca can seem to be extremely complicated and overwhelming to begin with. Where do I start? Which tools do I need first? What do I learn about first? Which path should I follow? For me, the key to starting off your Wicca journey simply and effectively (I wish I had done it this way!) is to take gradual steps, to dip your toe into it rather than trying to jump in with both feet! - Wicca: A Modern Guide to Witchcraft and Magick by Harmony Nice; page 192
She also has a wonderful chapter on creating your own Book of Shadows. In it, she gives many examples of what your Book of Shadows can include but doesn’t tell you what can and cannot be included. She leaves it open to interpretation and allows for your own personalization and inclusion of information that is important to you.
Her reference page includes a total of…
- Four books – three of them by the same author
- Four websites
- Five YouTubers
- Five Instagram accounts and one hashtag
- Several shop websites
For resources, that’s nothing. And it is very apparent to me that Harmony’s information – besides her personal story – is a rehashing of your typical Wicca 101 books. Nothing is cited, which might just be a personal nitpick of mine, but I would like to know if she was getting her astrological information from an astrology book or some random website found on the internet. Anyway, that’s a personal preference of mine. There is a difference in the information that comes from an educational or non-fiction book versus a freely available internet source.
The whole premise of this post is to point out that just because someone is popular, has a large following, or is generally a likable person doesn’t mean that they will be an authority on a subject. Since most of us are solitary practitioners, we are responsible for our own education and the information that we obtain. This means that we need to be able to think critically about what it is that we are reading.
I remember when I first started reading about Wicca and learning about spells, I came across a website that had a spell to change your eye color. Now, the way the spell was written was not glamour magick. The spell claimed that it could physically change your eye color. Now, I know that it is impossible to change genetic appearances with magick. You can’t change your eye color in the same way that you can’t make yourself a mermaid or a dragon. That doesn’t mean that you can’t glamour yourself to change your eye color, but that’s a different topic entirely.
Anyway, I don’t remember the entire contents of the spell, but I do remember one very important thing that stood out to me. The spell called for the witch to get a candle that was the color they wanted their eyes to be. Okay, fair enough. That would work in glamour magick. However, the spell then said that the witch should drip the candle wax into their eye .
Someone who doesn’t know any better and who thinks that this is how magick is supposed to work can seriously hurt themselves if they do something like this. Now, this is an extreme example, but it is a real example that I have seen out there in the world.
I just want you all to make sure that when you read, you use your brains and those critical thinking skills you possess. I always recommend reading a book, even if someone says the book is bad. Why? Because even though the entire book may be bad in general, there might be some good information in it! You just have to use discernment and pick apart the accurate information from the inaccurate information.