By Deborah Lipp
Llewellyn Publications, 2006, $16.95 US
Review by Erin
Deborah had asked for reviewers to look at her book back in the beginning of 2006. Because I knew nothing of her work, I asked Llewellyn to send me all the stuff she had wrote. Now I’m glad I have it on my shelf.
This book is a logical extension of the book “The Way of Four” that she wrote previously. While there is understandably some overlap in the material, it is not nearly as bad as it could be. There is necessary explanations of the elemental structure she uses in her practice, to give the reader context for their own study, then Deborah dives into the meat of the matter, the spells.
Understand something, I am NOT a fan of spellbooks. I think they are overdone and in most cases leave the implication that all life’s ills can be solved with the right spell. They gloss over or skip entirely the actual things that make a spell effective; the process of casting the spell and the actual manipulation of the magickal energies. But this is a spellbook I would give to a rank beginner without hesitation.
She does not skip over the energetic manipulation, there is a long chapter before the spells that talks about the theory behind the spell. She also talks at length about topics that I don’t normally see in spellbooks, the tools, the ethics, the preparation of the mind and the preparation of the magickian’s body, which I have seen in no other work.
The spells are ones that generally you can’t follow without having read the text preceding it. I know that it is a tricky thing to do, but Deborah does a stellar job of waking that very thin line. Throughout this book, she gives the information that is needed, makes sure that there is some information that is required but provided in other sections while still keeping the spells useful to the reader.
And this does NOT focus on things that can be considered High Magick or Ceremonial Magick. She stays with witchcraft or elemental magick in this book, never really drifting far from that. Even though she doesn’t stray too far from the topic at hand, the spells are as useful and direct as she can make them and will appeal to a wide range of new magickians. They also never stray into “get revenge on others” kind of spells that kill so many similar books. These spells are things like “Dream Awareness”, “To Restore a Libido”, “A Kitchen Blessing”, “To Bring Fertility”, CLASSIC witchcraft, which most books on spells and “witchcraft” are sadly missing these days.
Even with all this, I feel there are some few slight problems. First off, the inclusion of deities in the spells. While I DO believe that there is absolutely a need and a use for deities in any magick or ritual application, she lists deities in these spells, making it another “pick a God from Column A, two devi from Column B….” And while she does talk briefly about the use of a deity in a spell, it is not to discuss the aspects that you are drawing upon or what you should be asking for from that deity, it is simply to say “I’m suggesting these deities and you don’t have to use them if you don’t want to.” But for the new Llewiccan, it may look like they are supposed to use those deities and with only three paragraphs of guidance, I don’t feel that is enough.
The other thing that I found somewhat irritating is the amount of ceremony these spells used. For example, the “To Restore Libido” candle spell uses four pages of chants, instructions and illustrations to do this spell. While I think that this instruction is ABSOLUTELY necessary and it is a wonderful example of this, I found the amount of instruction to be personally irritating. Please note, that I am not knocking the review down because of this factor, it is a personal bias and one that I am aware of.
All things considered, I am going to give this book 4 1/2 stars out of 5. I think that this book is everything that a spellbook should be, and very rarely are. It is a book that needs to be given to all those who are looking into doing magick on their own who don’t have a teacher. This book and “Before You Cast a Spell” should be REQUIRED reading for anyone who is just starting in the magickal paths. I feel this is a superior book.