The history of Witchcraft is often misunderstood. Many people believe it was eradicated during the 15th century Witchcraft trials. Others think it emerged in Britain with the publication of Witchcraft Today by Gerald Gardner in 1954 and many more see it as a commercial product of Hollywood and TV.
Indeed, the Witchcraft and Magickal movements have become extremely diluted. As each new book on the subject is published, the core meaning of these ancient occult philosophies become increasingly confused.
Into this lackluster stream of Pagan mishmash enters Melanie Marquis: a founder of the United Witches Global Coven and a regular writer about subjects such as the Tarot and Paganism.
Given the current state of books on Magickal philosophy, I expected little from this book. Just the usual hackneyed collection of rituals, advice on how to make a pentacle, and formulated commentaries about ‘what it really means to be a Witch in today’s world‘.
But, this is no ordinary commentary on Wicca. Instead, it is a well-reasoned, deeply-researched and engaging excursion into different strands of Folk Magick practiced throughout the World.
Refreshingly, the central thread of this book focuses, not on the usual foundations of ceremonial Magick, but on some of the more obscure strands of augury and enchantment.
These include Binding Magick, Hand Magick, the use of nails and the practice of containing energies.
If these subjects seem a little off-the-wall with no real use in a Magickian’s toolkit, then it is worth noting that the book includes many examples of how popular these more obscure strands of Magick have become over the centuries.
In the West, we are a little too hung up with the idea that Magick has to be focused on the altar and athame.
Our Review of ‘A Witch’s World of Magick’ by Melanie Marquis
A Witch’s World of Magick includes a great deal of valuable Magickal insight, some fascinating historical detail about the Craft and useful practical advice for the more committed Wiccan/Pagans than those who might be curious or looking for a new way to impress their friends.
As I read this book, I recalled the utter joy I felt when reading some of the classic works on Folk Magick. In particular, ‘The Golden Bough’ by Sir James George Frazer and the influential ‘The White Goddess’ by Robert Graves.
Though it is nowhere near as dry as these two tomes, this book does reveal the same sense of awe and wonderment from peeling back a veil to the hidden worlds.
This is a wonderfully balanced book. It treads a fine line between dogma and doctrine and, at the same time, avoids leading the neophyte Magickian by the hand in a non-condescending way.
It avoids the mistakes many other writers make in marginalizing Magick. Instead, it reveals how the Magickal plane of reality crosses cultural and sociological borders.
The accompanying exercises and commentaries are another sign that the author seeks to expand her reader’s innate Magickal thought processes—not to impose her own!
She does not make any assumptions about the spiritual path that anyone is on. Yet, at the same time, she challenges the reader to consider the impact the diverse and fascinating Magickal philosophies that she has researched from all around the World could have on their lives. The result is a book that will be of interest to a wide range of Magickians.
A Witch’s World of Magick is an essential guide to Folk Magick. I recommend it to newcomers to Witchcraft, those who are confused by the modern interpretation of Magick and seasoned Magickians looking to re-ignite their passion for the subject.
Book of the Month: April 2014