Natural Magic by Doreen Valiente

Natural Magic - Doreen Valiente

Natural Magic is a fantastic book. Written in a very accessible and personable manner, it teaches the witch about what magic truly is. This particular book resonates with me mainly because I believe magic resides inside us and what we use are extensions or tools to this. Doreen Valiente makes this point in Natural Magic, she is teaching us that we need to look around us because magic lives all around us too. From chapters about amulets, herbs, numbers, weather, sex and a great deal of other things. It will certainly inspire you to step out into the big wide-open spaces we have and work with it in our craft.

Doreen Valiente, although heavily associated with Wicca, is a fantastic author that really pushes the idea of the natural side of witchcraft. Unfortunately, I find some Wicca books to be very ritual heavy often featuring pictures of people performing spells in their living room – this doesn’t resonate with me as much as seeing the lone witch making magic in a woodland. This is why Doreen is a true inspiration to newcomers in the craft and those who have practiced for a long time.

The Charmers’ Psalter – 2nd Edition Gemma Gary

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Now on its second printing, The Charmers’ Psalter is a beautifully bound book printed in a handy pocket sized tome. Gemma Gary has created yet another wonderful collection of charms and spells. Gemma is an artist and writer based in the South-West of England and has written many books on her own personal tradition and practices. She has helped open the eyes of many people to creating their own traditions not only in themselves but to be inspired by their geographical surroundings.

The collection is a rather mysterious one as it isn’t quite clear what the date or origins of them are, it is thought that they possibly predate Judeo-Christian Scripture. What is bound within these pages has been used by those who practise the folk magic tradition and has served many cunning folk before us. It covers a vast array of both charms and curses, some of which can be muttered quietly hence the pocketbook version which can be taken anywhere you go. From love to broken bones to curses; a practitioner is certainly covered for all eventualities.

As usual, Troy Books have created a beautiful book. It is bound in gold foil-blocked rust cloth and is a very inspirational addition to a witch’s library. Use it as it is or use it to create your own charms. It is highly recommended.

You can buy it here.

 

Serpent Songs – Edited by Nicholaj de Mattos Frisvold

serpent-songsThere are a great deal of books on the craft out there that often feel rather self-indulgent, I may have just found something that isn’t. Serpent Songs is a book containing fifteen essays from practitioners and those who are well-versed in the craft of the wise.

Put together by Nicholaj de Mattos Frisvold, the writers will be rather familiar to those of you who have an interest in the traditional craft. The writing runs deep, truthful and is incredibly well written; almost academically so. As quoted on Scarlet Imprint’s website the book contains the works of Cornish and Basque witchcraft, the relatively unknown Swedish Trolldom, the persecuted Bogomils, and the oft misrepresented Italian Stregoneria.Members of 1734, Clan of Tubal Cain, and a member of the Companie of the Serpent-Cross. This isn’t a book for those who wish to pick up a “how to” guide, it is an anthology that lets you take a peak inside the beliefs and workings of their craft. It is laden with history that gives the reader an insight into a world we may not know about or that some have assumed didn’t exist. It is a cornucopia of knowledge and experience that will educate and inspire you.

Controbutors include: Nicholaj de Mattos Frisvold;Gemma Gary;Shani Oates;Arkaitz Urbeltz;Stuart Inman & Jane Sparkes;Tony MacLeod;Xabier Bakaikoa Urbeltz;Steve Patterson;Richard Parkinson;Francis Ashwood;Johannes Gårdbäck;Radomir Ristic;Anne Morris;Jesse Hathaway Diaz; and Sarah Anne Lawless.

It is available to buy here

The Book of Fortune Telling by Madame Fabia

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Whilst wandering the streets of Haworth one afternoon searching for the ghosts of the Bronte’s I happened upon a small bookshop. This little gem furnished me with a tome called The Book of Fortune Telling by Madame Fabia. Unfortunately I misplaced the book whilst moving and have only just been able to purchase it again.

The Book of Fortune Telling’s first edition was published by Daily Express Publications in 1935. After an Internet search I wasn’t able to really get much information on who Madame Fabia was. It could of course just be a pseudonym for someone putting the book together. In not so many words, Madame Fabia points out that the reader should not take the book seriously and that it is just for your entertainment; this could be an early disclaimer. In various parts of the world psychics and occultists have been asked to add this as a disclaimer which unfortunately spreads doubt and jeopardises the legitimacy of the service acquired.

This book, if you are interested in fortune telling is actually a really good primer. It features palmistry, astrology, handwriting, dreams, card readings, numerology and phrenology. An all rounder when it comes to the study of the future I’m sure you will agree. The best thing about this book is that it can help you gain interest into a certain area such as cartomancy if you so wished to pursue that field. I have to add at this point that this book isn’t on general sale as it is long out of print but online bookshops that deal in rare or old books will have it so keep an eye out for it. It is worth being in your collection.

The Long Hidden Friend by John George Hohman

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These words were written with the idea that this book was to serve as a charm to the carrier. Whoever would possess it would be able to find a charm to suit their needs.

The Long Hidden Friend first appeared in 1820 and now makes its way into the hands of Troy Books who have made it into a beautifully bound hardback tome. It contains a plethora of folk magic including charms, recipes, bindings, prayers and remedies for healing. It is beautifully illustrated and edited by Gemma Gary (who I am sure some of you will be familiar with), she also helps enlighten us about the author and the history of the book itself.

As a whole it really does feels like you have so much rich history and magic in your hands. In fact, the idea of it being a charm in itself is rather true if you apply it accordingly as each page explains in detail a recipe or a charm for just about anything. Either make it as your very own reference guide in any situation or be inspired by its contents to carry into your own practice. Not only is it a tool of inspirational magic but it is a slice of history that is a real treasure to keep in your library.

An ABC of Witchcraft by Doreen Valiente

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Doreen Valiente is quite the name in the craft. She studied and practiced magic since she was a teenager and was one of the first students of Gerald Gardner in his own tradition: Wicca.  During her lifetime she moved around the country a great deal, met many important people in the craft and she wrote many books on the subject. The one thing that is rather wonderful about this book is its breadth of subject matter which will be highly useful for those of you who wish to start on the path to witchcraft. This isn’t a spellbook and it is isn’t a “how to” book, all of that is pretty much up to you but this is a great primer for all things magical.

Doreen Valiente is mainly known for her Wiccan works but if Wicca isn’t your thing then don’t fret, this book will still be of interest to the magical scholar and “wayside witch” too.

Paperback: 416 pages
Publisher: Phoenix Publishing (WA) (July 1, 1988)

Village Witch: Life as a Village Wise Woman in the Wilds of West Cornwall by Cassandra Latham-Jones

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As one can imagine, there will be plenty of people that would disregard the job title – witch. Not for Cassandra. She is a village witch and the Inland Revenue are fully aware of this fact.

Cassandra decided to write this book as a way of telling her story. With quite a difficult tale to tell, she opens up her life to the reader and explores the path that led her to being who she is today. The first part of the book is her personal journey from childhood and through adulthood and the second is about her approach to magic. The second half goes way above the usual books on witchcraft, she encourages you to explore it for yourself rather than just reading someone else’s work from a page. It is an encouraging book that allows you to open up your mind, to explore, educate and use your own intuition. The magic is within yourself and all around you, you wont find the answers in someone else’s words.

Paperback: 228 pages
Publisher: Mandrake of Oxford; 2 edition (21 Jun. 2013)

Photographs from villagewisewoman.co.uk