Here is where I crosspost my craft/occult/religion book reviews that were originally posted to my tumblr.
Basic Witches by Jaya Saxena and Jess Zimmerman
original review published on April 22th 2019
Pros: The book is happy, thoughtful, and an uplifting read. A lot of the spellwork outlined is incredibly easy and accessible. I personally enjoyed the aspect of realistic self care outlined in this book. I really applaud this book for being a great beginners book while still sticking to good magic basics and not skimping out. It’s a very practical book for the everyday person who wants to become a witch. This book also touches appropriately and respectfully on difficult topics such as loss and abuse. As a final point, the art is absolutely wonderful in every single way.
Cons: While this book does make an attempt to include a nonbinary and male audience I feel like the authors ultimately do alienate them. The introduction does address this and state that the book is for everyone, and that they have their own reasons for mostly addressing women, but it still can be off putting (and maybe even dysphoric for some.) Basic Witches is also absolutely a beginners book and you won’t get as much out of it if you aren’t a fresh newborn witch baby. This book has some Wicca mentions that are just labeled under “Witchcraft” beliefs which I find to be dishonest. This book also has a section where it uses “White Magic” and “Black Magic” to mean something good for you or something bad for you which I find to be just as dishonest, and also, racist.
Who is this Book For?: This book has a very narrow target audience that is “young woman who wants to be a witch but doesn’t know anything about witchcraft.” If you’re reading this on tumblr then that audience likely isn’t you because you’re probably already deep entrenched in witchblr. I think this would make a wonderful gift for any of your friends who have seen your craft and are curious about starting their own craft. Though I think there are some good spell/ritual ideas in here for anyone who’s looking to make the mundane more magical, or are in need of some spoonie or easy spells to do. Edit as of 9/5/23: Looking back, I don't even think I would recommend this book to beginners. I feel like this was written to cash in on witchcraft being popular and I do not think either authors are serious practitioners. Borrow this from a library, copy down the spells you want, and return it, don't bother reading it seriously.
Prayers of Honoring Grief by Pixie Lighthorse
original review published on April 19th 2019
Pros: This book is formatted wonderfully, assigning different prayers to cardinal directions, and comes with the prayers, questions, and space to write your own thoughts after each section. The prayers are so thoughtful and intriguing that they draw me in each time and make me truly feel like I’m honoring several parts of grief that we usually don’t think of honoring. This is a thoughtful, healing, self affirming, self care book for any of us struggling with grief and everything that comes with that, including trauma, loneliness, and acceptance.
Cons: At a $25 price range, it’s a rather steep price for a book that looks rather thin and is only softcover. I have a suspicion that this has to do with self publishing/printing prices, since the book seems to be published by her. It’s been invaluable to me, and the fact that the price range being steep is the only real complaint I have hopefully speaks volumes about the content therein.
Who is this book for: This book is for witchy people who are suffering from Grief, though honestly, my mom who is not witchy in the slightest has enjoyed prayers from this book. If you’re interested in honoring your own process and need help with that, this is absolutely a book you should pick up. I keep mine in my nightstand instead of on my bookshelf.
A Book of Pagan Prayers by Ceisiwer Serith
original review published on April 14th 2019
Note that I read the most recent edition, published November 2018.
Pros: There is certainly charm to this book. A lot of the writing is down to earth and easy to read which I always enjoy in my nonfiction reading. The guy knows how to write a prayer or two, and the book comes with it’s own instructions and permission to edit the prayers as you wish to apply to your own deities.
Ehs: This book is pretty Wiccan though it does try to write about both the Wiccan God and Goddess and other deities as well. This could be great or bad for you depending on if you’re Wiccan or not.
Cons: The author includes a section on Hecate and Loki out of pure spite and writes that these deities are “scary, dangerous, and difficult to deal with.” In the Hecate prayer, he calls her a “Bitch Goddess” which was incredibly uncomfortable for me, particularly coming from a male author. (I know there are multiple meanings of the word bitch, but I honestly just Don’t Trust Like That.) He also in the back of the book in a glossary says that Loki was not worshipped historically which seems to be up for debate.
Who is this book for: This book is absolutely for people who wanna write their own prayers but don’t know how to start. I would treat this as a workbook to help jumpstart you into prayer writing. I would not use this book for factual research about deity, and I would take his own personal opinions on prayers and worship with a grain of salt.