My favorite books on magicOctober 29, 2012 by di | Filed under Pagan Culture.
Yesterday’s book exodus led to the removal of five boxes of books and magazines. They sold to Half Price books for a whopping $94. While I could curse the skies at the Half Price pricing scheme, I consider the undercut rate only a token annoyance – they don’t make me take back the books they don’t want.
I’m good with that.
Also, the $94 is a symbolic contribution to the down payment on the home I’m buying. Hopefully the bake sale/art sale I’m participating in will raise my contribution to at least a full 2%.
This sudden absence of books from my shelves forces me to really look at what I kept. Despite very concerted “instruction” against them over my years of magical study, most of what remains are spell books along with reference books that I use … in the construction of spells.
So perhaps this week I can talk about books, since they dwell in the starry heavens as one of the three great loves of my life. (Sex and dancing accompany them.)
Today, I’m looking especially at the books I might be willing to swear by if such a situation came up. There is something in each of them I find profoundly useful in the practice of magic. Note that these books are not necessarily Wiccan. While that still falls into my “close enough” religious identification, the magic practice I’ve encountered that actually works for me is usually something I learn from another tradition or construct with elements of something I learn from another tradition. Because of this I’ve come to see Wicca as a religious tradition that allows for witchcraft – but I do not see Wicca as The Craft or as a word to use interchangeably with witchcraft.
Years ago I cleaned out the original edition of Tarot Spells by Janina Renee in one of my cleaning/moving frenzies. I wound up buying the original copy back, and now use it regularly. I used it to help my ex get a deposit check cut for him promptly by the normally dead slow apartment management where we lived, increased my psychic ability1 and I’ve used it in health and healing work. It’s remarkable especially in that it addresses mostly emotional magic. Most spell books focus on “find me love” or “find me money” because that’s typically what sells. This is despite really good advice/research appearing about why money spells don’t typically work. As for love spells … in my experience, they work when someone around already wants to be worked on. It tends to spiral back into negative behavior patterns unless you do the magic and day to day work of scrubbing your baggage. Baggage scrubbing is why I love this book: it really does address the more deep-seated emotional stuff, and even if I don’t do the whole magilla for the spell casting setup, the spells work.
It’s unclear to me whether Valerie Worth intentionally practiced witchcraft or if she stumbled upon something profound during a state of poetic surrender. Certainly she recognized her market, later on offering up a book of relatively original signs and seals that I never found quite as effective as her original book. However, her creative inclination continued on with poetry and the occasional children’s tale. The truth probably lies somewhere in between the mystical state so many poets desire to achieve and the daily exposures that happened in what began as a well-traveled life. Whether a real witch or not, her poetry book Crone’s Book of Words is a spell book. The symbols line up. The practices line up. Also, it exemplifies why rhyming spells – especially good rhyming spells – are in and of themselves a form of power. I’ve incorporated it into one of my pre-smoke allergy uncrossing rituals, and use several snippets of her work in other routine rituals I perform. I’ve certainly used a lot of her work in curse breaking magic to excellent effect.
Every time I loan this book, it fails to return. There’s a reason for that. I consider it better than even the oft-recommended book Psychic Self-Defense by Dion Fortune. Fortune’s work is a foundation classic – I do recommend it to people that are dead serious about getting deeper into magical studies. But much of the defense is termed in old-school ceremonial magic approaches, some of which magicians do not necessarily use today. Also, while humans are far less than excellent to each other in present day, it’s unlikely any of us will tangle with the non-excellent-to-each-other approach of Aleistar Crowley et. al. setting hundreds of black cats on Fortune.2 This difference in modern hex style is where Mickaharick’s spiritual cleansing comes in. It’s Christian based folk magic (although the later editions really tone down the hardcore Christian language.) It’s also very effective, practical and based on what the typical folk magician can afford. Like Fortune, Mickaharick places on emphasis on building discipline. His focus is through regular and sincere prayer, rather than through the repetition of daily ceremonial magic exercises. Both approaches certainly have power, but prayer is much more accessible than CM, especially for people only getting into spiritual cleansing practices because they have to deal with a human situation of non-excellence.
Ignore the recommendations for glitter, and this book will set well. For every spell you need a piece of paper, a candle thick enough to stand on its own, something to carve symbols onto said candle and a piece of paper to write a letter on. The simplicity is deceptive. What lies within are very, very effective spells. I’ve used the one to settle a disturbed condition after a particularly chaotic time in my life to great effect. Just as Valerie Worth’s work is now integrated into my uncrossing work, the Road Opener spell in this book is now also a part of my routine book of shadows spells. I’ve accidentally purchased multiple copies and not regretted it one bit. I only wish a digital version were available.
- perhaps one spell I am living to regret since I didn’t realize myself how high-pitched it already was [↩]
- Wait, did Macgregor do that? [↩]