by Patricia Telesco
New Page Books, 2004 $13.99
Review by Daven
It’s a hard thing to be asked to review a friend’s book. Trish is my friend, and even though our friendship developed after I got this book, it predates my reading it.
I’m going to be honest here. This is a book that I think should be in the library of most of the practicing witches out there. It is a very good introduction to the art of divination.
Trish not only goes through the basics of divination, but she does so in such detail that one could sit down and make their own divinatory system from the ideas in this book. Which is a good thing since she also includes quite a bit of instructions on making your own divination tool.
She doesn’t stop there. She goes on to break down most of the existing divinatory methods and explores them in brief, as well as mentioning other divination systems that don’t exist currently, but which should, given the current state of the art.
The reader must keep one thing firmly in mind while reading this book; these systems are described in brief, not in depth. There is no comprehensive table for tea-leaf reading for instance. The good news is there is enough information that one can extrapolate a table from experience.
This is the key to this book, experience. Most of the information in this book counts on the reader having knowledge of some sort of mystical practice, and being able to hear and understand and/or feel those internal promptings that tell a reader that this is true, that is not.
A complete novice CAN use this book, but if they try to use it as a “one book guide” to the art of divination, they will be woefully lost. It is a reference and it is a good one, but it the equivalent of the last volume of an encyclopedia, it tells you where to find the information you were looking for.
There are some divination methods that are not present. For instance I couldn’t find the shell cast system used by Santerian clergy or a means of divining by bread that the Italians used. Based on what I know, I can guess at what the Italians used. There is a small section about bread, but it’s very brief and does not encompass more than a few sentences.
It is an invaluable reference and companion book to many others. While reading it, I found gems of advice that I knew, but had forgotten about. I felt my mind stimulated so much so that two different divinations that would be highly appropriate popped into my head, and I found ways of using the systems I have more effectively. I even learned something about many of the systems I know about, like dowsing. It is also very easy to extrapolate from the knowledge in the book to use with other systems not mentioned.
For example: While reading this book and reading about bread being used as a divination I suddenly thought of a very appropriate divination for Samhain.
Make a loaf of bread, long and thin like a baguette. Concentrate on questions while making the bread and just before baking choose one end and that is to represent now. Let the bread rise and bake it. When cooled, cut the “now” end off and the patterns of the bread/yeast are the current happenings in your life. Next, cut the bread in half lengthwise, either top to bottom, or like a sandwich or any cross section you choose. Make sure it’s lengthwise cut though. The patterns of the yeast will show you what is going to happen during the year. The further from the “now” end that the information appears, the farther away in the year it will occur. The half in your hand is what will affect you but is out of your control. The one remaining on the table are things you can directly control/effect. Interpretation is as for tea leaves.
It’s an easy divination, and it’s not mentioned, but it would be highly appropriate for a harvest fest like Samhain or Mabon, and the basics of reading this are contained in this book, but not the details. Without my experience, I would not have thought of this system, and no matter how I searched in this book, I would not find anything similar to it.
I’m giving this book 4 stars out of 5, and suggesting that those experienced witches who are interested in divination would be well served to buy this. I mean this sincerely without my friendship with Trish being part of this. I think that a novice who is willing to work could use this book in their list of references, but any of the “I read a BOOK” set of newbies will probably want to pass it by. Effort and research will required to get the most out of it.
Guest Review by Lady Theresa
As a kitchen witch myself, I find this book a subject of envy. Ms. Telesco has condensed years of research, study and practice into a slender volume of knowledge. I would expect this book to be 500 pages under ordinary circumstances. Mrs. Telesco has used humor, and grace to condense it all into 209 pages.
There is a brief overview of who, what, how, when, where and why that includes a brief overview of the authoresses’ ethics and beliefs.
She then plunges into more kinds of divination than Horatio or I ever dreamed of knowing, certainly not with the depths she brings to the subjects.
I could go on for another page and a half, listing a fraction of the unusual things she has personally used to divine things, however, following own economy of style I will be brief.
Amazing! Must Have! 5 Stars! Buy this book! (Now for a faint plea… Mrs. Telesco, could you possibly break this into sections and expand into the very esoteric areas? I promise to buy them all.)