Witchy Book Reviews! Spells8 Book Club Reviews Masterlist - Sessions I ~ XV

Cool beans! I’m glad book club is continuing! :books:

I’m going to be reading The Real Witch’s Handbook by Kate West. It’s a beginner book, or at least it says it is. It goes with a book The Real Witch’s Craft which has exercises for a year’s worth of working with magic and learning. I really want to get into that one next year, so I’m going to read the Handbook first so I know what it’s talking about. It looks very promising.

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When you said ‘Doctor Who’ I got it… I have trouble just keeping one calendar let alone projected alternate timelines that may or may not converge… WHEW! I kept hoping I would get smarter as I got old-er…
I appreciate your honesty @kasie… it helps me prioritize my reading. THANK YOU!

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You’re welcome @berta! I vaguely remember a conversation about how time is not liner from a Star Trek episode but it’s been so long since I watched, I can’t remember it. LOL. That and Doctor Who is about all I’ve got on physics. I hope someone here likes it though!

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I’ve got my fingers crossed that this one is actually what it advertises itself as! :laughing: And wow- The Real Witch’s Craft sounds amazing… and also ginormous! I can only imagine how much information it must have if it has an additional handbook to go with it :astonished:

Can’t wait to see what you think of the handbook! :open_book::grin:

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The Handbook I plan on reading an bit day by day through the year, sort of as a devotional. I have Pagan every day but I’ve read it the past three years, I’ve gotten used to it. I need something new to read in the mornings. LOL.

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Reading as a devotional- that sounds lovely, @Kasie! And a great way to absorb the information over time. :+1:

I’ll have a new book club post out in a few minutes- so feel free to add in the book(s) you hope to read over the next few weeks! :grin::open_book:

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I added, I’m just not sure I did it right. I have no idea how to add another dot at the end of my post for someone else.

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It’s perfect, @Amethyst! I know Wiki Posts can be a bit confusing but you’ve mastered it :grin::+1:

Enjoy The Real Witches’ Handbook! :open_book::heart_eyes:

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Book Title and Author: Madame Young’s Guide to Health by Amelia Young

[Available for free online as part of the Project Gutenberg. ]

Brief Synopsis: Amelia shares her life knowledge on herbs and plants native to the USA (she was once a Bostonian like me!). She studied languages, philosophy, and anatomy and also studied with a local Iroquois tribe. The goal of this book was to make natural medicine more accessible and easy to understand for other women.

i_frontis
[Picture from Madame’s Young Guide to Health]

Status? : Finished

My overall rating of the book : 7.5/10

How does this book relate to my magickal practice?: :green_heart: Green and Kitchen Witchery are core parts of my magickal practice. I am always excited to delve into new knowledge about these topics!

Things to be aware of: Project Gutenberg added this to their free collection in 2017, but the original work was published in 1858. This is one old book!

I should also note that while this book has some sections that can be enjoyed in a sit-down reading session, most of the information in the book is presented in list format.

The sections on herbs, plants, recipes, ailments are really just a big list. There is a helpful index, where key words can be searched and the reader will be directed to what they need.

However, the sections on: women’s anatomy, collecting/storing herbs and plants, the state of the medicine world back in the day, and Amelia’s other bits of history and advice are all presented in a chapter-like format.

This makes the book both a good resource as well as an interesting read!

Interesting quotes from the book:

FOR A COUGH.—Take two heads of garlic, a lemon sliced, four ounces licorice, half a pint of liquor, four ounces flax seed, three pints of water, boil down to one quart, and strain; take a tea cup full on going to bed. (66)

I thought it was interesting to see that even back in the 1800’s people were using garlic, lemon, and licorice for cough! While this isn’t my go-to cough recipe, these are familiar ingredients that have survived the test of time.

ELDER WINE.—Take sixteen quarts of elder berries, clean from the stem, put with six gallons cold water in a large tub; let them stand two days, then boil them till the berries fall to the bottom; strain and squeeze, and to every gallon liquor add three pounds brown sugar; boil and add quarter pound bruised ginger, two ounces allspice, and cloves, if you like; when cold, add a little yeast; let it work two days, then cork bottle up tight.

I love elderberries and found this recipe to be very tempting. It sounds spicy, sweet, and while a lot of the recipes she shares sound pretty icky, this ones sounded delicious! :yum:

To my beloved sex- seeing so many of you daily imposed upon by those who profess to be acquainted with prolapsus uteri, or falling of the womb, and knowing that two-thirds of the married ladies are very ignorant, as regards the structure of their own bodies, and therefore the more easily imposed upon, I will endeavor to give a full description and explanation of the living animal, which we call physiology. (115)

Amelia makes it very clear that this book was written BY women FOR women. She talks a lot about how the medical world during her time was dominated by men. The purpose of this book was to educate her fellow women and give them resources and more power over their own bodies- awesome!

:warning: Warnings: This book is OLD! The medicinal advice here should be cross-checked with modern knowledge to be sure of safety. Terminology is also very dated and terms common back then are baffling now.

  • For example, in the recipe for “An Ointment for the King’s Evil” I had no idea if the “King’s Evil” refers to a type of ailment or if she is actually trying to cure the evil ways of a king. (edit: googled it- The King’s Evil refers to tuberculosis of lyphm nodes in the neck)

Amelia does dip heavily into religion at times and also has some very harsh opinions on controversial topics (such as abortion and masturbation). While they are likely a reflection on that time period, reading about these stances may be upsetting for modern folks with more liberal beliefs.

Other thoughts/opinions: All in all I thought it was powerful to read the inspiring worlds of an early leading and ambitious woman trying to empower other women and share knowledge.

On the other hand, it is a reminder that every source has it’s bias and that all reading should be done while remembering the situation of the author. Knowledge and opinions change over time. And in the context of medicine, things that were once deemed safe or okay are now deemed not okay- and vice versa!

We can show empathy to those who lived in a different situation and keep an open-mind, but also sort through knowledge presented and remain steady in the beliefs we hold dear to our hearts.

I also can’t help but wonder if Amelia’s views about certain issues would be different if she was raised in the modern day :thinking:

All in all, would I recommend this book?: Yes* - keeping in mind the warnings above. I enjoyed it and there is definitely benefit in this book (at the very least for an insight into herbal medicine and early American feminism), but it should be read with a selective eye :face_with_monocle:

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Okay, so I haven’t actually finished my book yet but will continue reading it. I’ve got two going right now :sweat_smile: and work and home life has me swamped lately.

I can say this – so far, I really enjoy it. There are several sections of the book that really make a lot of sense and Temperance has a way of putting things that are just perfect and easy for others to understand.

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Elder Wine eh? That’s pretty neat. Sounds like a pretty good book with some detailed information. I have an interest in herbology that I haven’t acted on yet, since healing in The Craft uses herbs frequently, I can see how a book like this would be of benefit. It also sounds like a good read. And all the way from 1858! Well when it comes to witchcraft sometimes the older is better. :slight_smile: After all, what would witchcraft be if you didn’t find yourself pouring over an old tome every now and then.

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What a fascinating read! Glad to have it preserved digitally.

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I was such a slacker with reading this time around, but I am feeling better and look forward to the next one.

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Book Title and Author: I Want by Jane Velez-Mitchell
Status: Not finished, but this is my 2nd time reading this book.
My rating: 8/10
I Want has no witchcraft involved. But it helped me in many ways to discover myself and that alone is magical.
My Thoughts/Opinions:
I bought the book because I enjoyed Jane Velez-Mitchell on the morning show on the channel station, HLN. I learned that Jane and I have alot in common. like the book because Jane tells of her own personal story and how her addiction started, how she sought help and became clean.
She includes pictures throughout the timeline.
She was inspiration for me to want to seek help when I was active in my addiction.
Interesting Quote:
“I am what I want. What I seek to consume, posses, and achieve is a mirror that reflects my lusts and cravings, values and priorities, and moral boundaries or lack thereof.”
(Hence, the title) -Jane Velez Mitchell

I’d absolutely recommend this book! It’s serious, but funny at times. It’s a story of a celebrity overcoming challenges. A journey from addiction and overconsumption to a simpler, honest life. Who wouldn’t want that?


Here’s the picture on the book cover:

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Sorry the picture didn’t load the correct way. Idk what happened :thinking::face_with_hand_over_mouth:

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Book Title and Author: The Real Witches’ Handbook by Kate West.

Status? : Finished

My overall rating of the book : 8/10

How does this book relate to my magickal practice?: It’s a good foundational book.

My personal thoughts/opinions: This book as a lot of the information one need’s to start their practice. I mostly read it so I could read the follow up which is The Real Witches’ Craft: Magical Techniques and Guidance for a Full Year of Practicing the Craft by the same author. Its a great beginner book though, full of useful information.

An interesting quote from the book: “Witches are normal everyday people, the kind you pass on the street without giving them a second glance or thought.” Yes, this is the first line of the book, but I like it because it demystifies being a witch. We’re just as normal, or as abnormal, as the rest of the world.

All in all, would I recommend this book?: Yes! All in all it was a good book, well written and easy to read.

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Book Title and Author: Llewellyn’s Complete Book of Correspondences: A comprehensive & cross-referenced resource for Pagans and Wiccans
by Sandra Kynes

Status? : Finished

My overall rating of the book : 10/10

How does this book relate to my magickal practice?: This is an encyclopedia of witchy correspondences - a tool for all manner of spellwork

My personal thoughts/opinions: I. Am. Obsessed. As mentioned in the previous post I decided to read this book cover to cover as I would any other and I’m so glad I did. I’ve BURIED this book in post-its with spell and potion ideas, shopping lists, quick references and notes. I now use this book several times a day to look things up.

An interesting quote from the book: The book is mostly lists but this is taken from the introduction to chapter 2 ‘The Plant Kingdom’ and I thought it explained how we use plants beautifully:

"Leaves share the symbolism of the entire plant and can be used as its representative. Symbolizing growth and expansion, leaves, twigs, and branches can be used to develop your purpose.
Seeds, nuts, and pips represent the beginning of things and can be instrumental when encouraging something new in your life. They also represent duality, such as the alternation between life and death, light and darkness. Because of this they can provide balance and change.
With the base word fruit, fruition means completion, culmination, achievement- and so a piece of fruit can symbolize the manifestation of an intention or power. Also symbolizing abundance and fertility, fruit can be used to amplify or increase energies. From below, roots ground us and give our work stability.
Nuts, bark, and thorns represent protection and can provide protective energy for magic. In addition to defense, thorns characterize purification and were used in ancient China to drive out evil spirits. "

All in all, would I recommend this book?: Yes! YESYESYES! Though now I have it if anyone needs any correspondences just @ me haha it is ALWAYS within reach :kissing_heart:
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I read two books during this period. They are part of a series called Happiness in Your Life. The series will eventually have 12 books in it. Currently there are 4 out. It appears much of the content is from author Doe Zantamata’s suite of websites based around her Happiness in Your Life theme.

As many of you know, my brain :brain: was scrambled by events from Labor Day weekend. I used to read legal documents and peer reviewed journals for fun. These books are between a 6th grade to 8th grade reading level. (My medical team says my ability to read more challenging material will eventually return as I continue to read more and more. I guess it helps with me heal. :upside_down_face: ) All of that said, these are decent books and wonderful introductions to concepts presented in them. I enjoyed reading them and I have already started on book 3, Forgiveness.


Book Title and Author
Happiness in Your Life: Karma
by Doe Zantamata

Status
Finished

My Overall Rating of the Book
8/10

How does this book relate to my magical practice?

Good karma increases people’s connectedness and collective good. Bad karma isolates people and results in a more self centered collective. -Overview - What Karma is, and What it is Not

While not specifically about Wicca or Witchcraft, this book is helpful when considering the Wiccan Rede:

An ye harm none, do what ye will

An Interesting Quote from the Book
There are 15 chapters in this book, 12 on the “Universal Laws” of karma. Each chapter is full of quotable material. It was hard to pick just one so I included three that, when placed together like this, tell a summary of the book.

However, karma is not a reward and punishment system. Karma has a basis in understanding.

There are close to 7 billion people on this earth, and if you asked each one to write down their thoughts about people, circumstances, health, and themselves, you’d get 7 billion answers. To each person, this would be a true reflection of how the world really is, and they would not completely agree with anyone else.
Your world can be heaven or hell, depending on how you view yourself, people, and events…
If there is something wrong in our world, there is something wrong in us.

Your world is a paradise waiting to be discovered but it must first exist within you, and it cannot exist without you. Choose to believe in great things, and act out of love, and love and great things will make themselves known to you, or form wherever you may look.

The above quotes are from the introduction, chapter 5, and chapter 15, respectively.

Would I recommend this book?
Yes :star_struck:

karma


Book Title and Author
Happiness in Your Life: Intuition
by Doe Zantamata

Status
Finished

My Overall Rating of the Book
8/10

How does this book relate to my magical practice?

Intuition is a sense, just like sight, touch, or any of your other senses. There’s really no magic to it. You have it naturally, and you can either train it to be able to better use it, or not. -Chapter 1: The Sense

Chapters in the book include Flashes, Premonitions, Dreams, and Psychics, Telepathy, Mind-Reading, and Influence Over Others, and Chakras. So the reader of this review gets to determine if any of this is beneficial to their practice. Personally, I thought the book was thought provoking as it relates to my beliefs. (There is also a chapter that spends a considerable amount of time on meditation.)

Interesting Quotes from the Book
While I could quote giant swaths of this book, two from chapter 9 really stick out to me. (There is a section in chapter 3, spanning pages 38-41, that could be quoted in full but I won’t do that to you. :sweat_smile: )

Intuition comes from your higher self. This higher self is infinite wisdom and love.

A lot of awful things happen when people think they are listening to their intuition, God, Allah, or whomever they believe is the voice inside their head. Your intuition will never, ever, ever instruct you to harm another person.

Would I recommend this book?
Yes :star_struck:

intuition


Edit: Uploaded pictures of the books, curtesy of Amazon.

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**Book Title and Author:**Modern Guide to Witchcraft by Skye Alexander

Status? : Finished

My overall rating of the book : 9/10

**How does this book relate to my magickal practice?: This book highlighted some specifics within witchcraft that I am interested in, giving a deeper knowledge opportunity. It also opened my eyes to some that I was not aware of.

**My personal thoughts/opinions: I enjoyed this book very much. It was an engaging read and left me feeling as though I had learned a good bit more within the scopes of witchcraft.

An interesting quote from the book: A witch is someone who uses his or her power along with the natural laws of the universe to shape reality in accordance with his/her purposes. Witchcraft is the practice of manipulating energy through various means to produce a desired result. Magick is the transformation that occurs when a witch/magician bends or shapes energy using paranormal techniques. The “k” at the end of the word distinguishes it from magic tricks and stage illusion (or sleight of hand).

Alexander, Skye. The Modern Guide to Witchcraft: Your Complete Guide to Witches, Covens, and Spells (Modern Witchcraft) (p. 17). Adams Media. Kindle Edition.

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

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It’s a busy time of year for sure- no worries at all, @MeganB! Glad to hear you’re enjoying them so far :blush: I can’t hear wait to hear more about what you thought of the books when you’re finished! :open_book:

I totally agree, @colin! There’s something really neat about looking back into the past through the words of a book. And Amelia was a very interesting woman- from Boston, too! I felt drawn towards her experience as well as her knowledge. Herbology is a wonderful aspect of magick and ties many things together (Kitchen Witchery, Green Magic, Potion making, aromatherapy, etc). I hope you have fun as you dive deeper into herbs, Colin! :herb::green_heart:

It was indeed, @Berta! I’m also so grateful to see organizations like the Guten Project not only preserving old and cultural knowledge, but making sure these resources are free and accessible to all :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

No worries, @Siofra_Strega! Have you had a chance to pick out a book you’d like to read for the next reading period? :blush:

It sounds like a great book that holds a lot of meaning for you, @Christina4! In a sense, it reminds me (especially the lovely quote you shared) about shadow work and taking that deep but sometimes painful look into the mirror. Thanks for sharing the recommendation! :heart:

It sounds like a book well worth a read, @Amethyst! And I love the quote you chose- what a wonderful way to welcome readers into the world of witchcraft. Now this sounds like a great book for beginners to the craft! :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes: So glad you enjoyed this one, Kasie!

I’ve seen you sharing bits of advice from this book, @Limeberry, and I was so excited to read your overall thoughts about it! :star_struck: It sounds like it is not only a great resource, but also a source of inspiration for your creative spells and rituals too! It definitely sounds like it is worth a read- thanks for sharing!

The Science of Happiness is quickly emerging a new area of study- I’m so excited to hear your thoughts on these books, @praecog29! It is an area I am very interested in as well :blush: Good for you for recclaiming your reading ability- I think all books are worth a read, regardless of the “age level” they stick onto it. Worthwhile lessons can be found in any book- big, small, pictures, or all text! And I think the best teachers present things in ways that people can enjoy regardless of age. This series sounds interesting and touches on so many wonderful subjects- magic and beyond! Thank you so much for sharing your insights :two_hearts:

Looks like you found a great one, @Rowan! I’m so happy you enjoyed this book and that it was such a valuable reading experience for you :books: I also love your quote about the reasoning why some witches choose to spell magick with a “k”. Thanks for sharing your thoughts! :raised_hands:

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