Review: Love Potions

This is one of the commercial ‘magick’ books that you’d probably see on display in the bookstore windows around Halloween or Valentine’s Day.  Some more experienced witches and pagans may think that it’s the kind of book that only those desperate for love would think of purchasing.

I bought Love Potions in a charity shop, where I paid roughly a fifth of the original price.  If it were in a bookstore, I wouldn’t even think of buying it at full price.  And before purchasing, I skimmed it, and was surprised at its’ contents.

While it contained ‘love potions’, they weren’t potions in the showy magickal sense.  Love Potions is more of a recipe book for beverages (mostly alcoholic) and cosmetics.  These recipes are designed to tantalise the senses of taste and smell, which are our most powerful sense as they can trigger thoughts and memories; and what better way to make a memorable impression that to tantalise someone’s tastebuds or intoxicate their noses.

It certainly brings to mind the idea that any solid or liquid is potentially a spell.

Even if one does not have a significant other, recipes like Titania’s Blackberry Brew or Morrocan Mint Tea are wonderful choices to share with family, friends or even by yourself; particularly if you’re spending Valentine’s Day by yourself.


Review: The Little Book of Pocket Spells

Though not my favourite book on magick, The Little Book of Pocket Spells is a convenient size to carry around, particularly when you’re travelling and don’t want to drag a large volume like the Element Encyclopedia of 5000 Spells  around with you.  It’s easy to slip into your handbag, or pocket.  My copy is worn and bent from the many times that I’ve taken mine with me on holiday, or just out with friends or family.

Because it’s such a small book,  The Little Boof of Pocket Spells summarises a lot of what is written in the larger books into one or two pages, such as the correspondences, the lunar cycle and candle magick.  However the spells aren’t categorised in any sort of order, which makes it bothersome to find the spell you want.

Most, if not all, of the spells within this book are quick and easy to perform, provided that you have the necessary ingredients.  And if you feel it necessary, you could add to these spells to make them more personal to you.

This would also make a great beginner’s book on magic and witchcraft.  Also, the little cat printed in the corner of each right-hand page that wags its’ tail if you flip the pages like a flipbook is a nice touch, particularly for slightly older children from around twelve years.


Now available as an eBook on Amazon. Click here.

Review: Encyclopedia of Spirits

Another wonderful volume from Judika Illes-this would make a wonderful addition to any library, whether pagan or non-pagan, for research or ritual work.  The Encyclopedia of Spirits compiles many of the major deities and spirits from around the world, from both present and past cultures, such as China and Ancient Greece.

A lot of the spirits, I have never heard of, mostly because I have never read or taken an interest in the cultures that they are part of.

Each article for each spirit has been well researched and well presented with clear description.  The profiles include their titles, alternative names, their place or culture of origin and rank within their pantheon (if there are), the different versions of the most well-known stories they are featured in, specific dates, places , plants and animals that are sacred to them (this only applies to deities), their manifestations, attributes and celestial bodies associated with them, as well as objects that would make appropriate offerings to them.  Although, not all profiles include all of the things mentioned.  At the end of each profile, Illes give names of deities or spirits associated, whether linked by familial connections or in stories.

Illes also uses examples from modern popular culture, particularly when it comes to spirits from Japan, as they are often used as inspiration for popular cartoons and comic books, such as Inuyasha and Yu Yu Hakusho.  Some of the most well-known American television dramas also use spirits that are notorious for hauntings and creating mischief, both harmful and non-harmful.

Some of these articles also include historical or cultural notes, particularly if deities were originally people who were ‘deified’ after death.

Whether you a writer of fantasy or horror, a pagan or witch, or just a follower of the paranormal and supernatural, the Encyclopedia of Spirits is an absolute must-have.

Review: The Witch’s Almanac

I purchased the 2008 edition of the The Witch’s Almanac from a charity store last month.  I paid for less than a third of the original price, so I was quite happy with it.  It didn’t matter that it was an older edition.  I had thought to purchase a newer edition, whether for 2010 or the 2011 one later in the year, thinking that the contents would change every year.  But I happened to see a copy of the 2010 edition of the Almanac when I was browsing around in WH Smith a few weeks later, and decided to have a quick look through it before deciding whether or not I should purchase it.  And thank goodness I did, as I was disappointed  by what was in it.  It was practically the same as the 2008 edition.  The only thing about the almanac that changes are the dates, and the rhythms of the moon, sun and planets and the cover.  It has all the same spells, rituals and information, and poems.  (Each section for the months has a poem at the end of it).  Even the illustrations are the same.

One would be better off, just buying one edition of the book, and buying a Witch’s Calendar, which has the rhythms on each day, and special dates marked.  Any other days important to your specific Path you can just add yourself.  For that, I would recommend The Witch’s Calendar published by Llewelyn.

Witchcraft and Pagan Book Recommendations

When studying magick, one should not limit themselves to just one book as their Wiccan or pagan “bible”.  It’s better to read more than one book on the subject, as different people will have different opinions and methods on the practise of magick.  Some you may agree with and others you may not, but it’s good to be well-informed.  However, you have to be careful on which books you buy, as some are not as accurate as others and have mostly been written for the sake of money.

I would like to recommend some of my favourite books on magick.  I hope you find them as useful as I did.

The Real Witch’s Handbook by Kate West

This is much easier to digest than some other books I’ve read on the Wicca and the Craft.  It’s not that it’s shorter or simpler, rather it uses language that is easy to understand, especially for someone who has only just started learning about the Craft, so it’s good for both teenagers and adults.  It also gives examples of how to celebrate the Sabbats in a non-magical way of you don’t really have the time to be casting spells or performing rituals during those times, as well as basic information about Wiccan principals and beliefs, the coven initiation system, herblore and spellcraft.  Kate West also includes a section on ‘coming out of the broom closet.’

A Witch’s Grimoire: Create Your Own Book of Shadows by Judy Anna Nock

As a comprehensive guidebook, A Witch’s Grimoire is a wonderful addition to any Wiccan or pagan collection whether as a study aid to those new to the study and practise of magick or as a companion for the more experienced practitioners.  This text is broken down into sections that one can easily follow, from the making of your own personal book of shadows to exercises on writing your own spells, rituals and invocations, with additional information on commonly used gemstones, magickal herbs and herb blends, spells, recipes and rituals.

Anyone wanting to have a look at my video on creating a Book of Shadows, please click here.

The Element Encyclopedia of 5000 Spells by Judika Illes

An excellent compilation of spells and rituals from cultures around the world.  A great reference book any Witch or pagan.  The categories of spells and other magickal practises are broken down into many subcategories, which is a bit of a bother but worth it.  I really like the fact that it includes spells from other countries, not just from around Europe.  The book also gives a long bibliography of the different sources that the author used to compile this encyclopedia, which is great, particularly if you’re trying to find a book on a subject that is a bit more obscure than the topics you usually see in bookstores.

If you would like to look at my more detailed video review/recommendation, please go to

10 Minute Magic Spells by Skye Alexander

A very useful book, if you don’t have very much time on your hands, especially if you’re a student at university, or have a demanding worklife.  The book is broken down into two parts; the first, explaining the workings and theories of magick, and essential steps that have to be taken when performing a ritual or spell; and the second part gives you the actual spells.  This is great for the absolute beginners, to give them the gist of what magic is about.  Just don’t go straight to the second part of the book, as I have been guilty of in the past.

Choosing Your Own Path


If you are very unsure about what path of witchcraft to choose, take some time to think about some of the following things:

  • What culture or religion are you interested in?  Research about the different cultures with their Gods and Goddesses.  See what appeals to you.  Some pagans and witches pick and mix what paths they choose to follow, others mainly follow one set of deities, with one of them as their patron, but still pay respects to other deities.
  • What do you enjoy doing?  Things like singing and dancing you can incorporate into your rituals.
  • Look into your family tree.  It’s good to know where you come from, and draw from it.
  • Talk to pagans.  Ask questions about their beliefs and lifestyle, most will talk to you if you show a genuine interest.
  • Read, read and read!  A lot of books written by pagans are from their own experiences, and take bits and pieces from them and incorporate them into your own lifestyle.