by Brandy Williams
Llewellyn, 2005 $12.95 US
Review by Daven
Any magic book that professes to be for beginners is one that I pay special attention to. It is very rare that someone actually writes a book that will be understood by a rank beginner in the area of Magic.
This book does a pretty good job of doing this.
As I read through this book, I was impressed by the exercises in each chapter. They were short, to the point and completely relevant. Considering that many of the exercises that are written out are almost the exact same exercises I teach and use in my classes, I was slightly concerned. As I checked though, it became quickly obvious that the exercises were listed because they work, not because they were mine. Which made me feel much better.
The additional information listed is interesting. It is advice and thoughts, explanatory material which helps the novice understand why one does things this way. It’s useful information that is needed to help those who may not know any better, and there is enough that is new to help the experienced witch or magician get a new spin on their practice.
I did learn something. There was a clear explanation about the planetary hours and what they did and how to calculate them. I had never understood why the planetary hours were stressed in so many systems when it simply seemed to be a matter of timing.
There are a couple concerns I have. First is that there is no theory in this. The author states that she is not going to give theory since it is more important to have practice and this is, after all, a _practical_ book. I feel that this is an error since it is important to have the theoretical side of knowledge to work from, otherwise it’s just repeating what you have read.
There is also < shudder > spells and rituals. While giving a ritual framework is necessary to being able to practice effectively, just giving spells and rituals without the theory to go with them means that the reader of this book is going to be performing the rituals without understanding how they go together or why they do “thus and so”. Which means that, in the end, as good as this book is, it’s little more than a spellbook with exercises.
Overall, I am giving this book 3 stars out of 5. That rating makes this book above average and of use, but not one that I would run out and buy immediately. This is definitely a book for beginners, although I would have been happy to see more in the way of theory to explain to those same beginners what is happening behind the curtain.