handbook

Book Review – Love Magic: A Handbook of Spells, Charms, and Potions by Anastasia Greywolf

August, 2018

Book Review

Love Magic: A Handbook of Spells, Charms, and Potions”

by Anastasia Greywolf

Published by Wellfleet Press

Copyright May 29, 2018

Pages: 256

This book is marketed to “help readers navigate through their amorous adventures,” such as people hoping to “catch that person you’ve been secretly in love with for the past five months” and to help when “an unrequited crush is not getting your subtle hints.”

In her introduction, Anastasia Greywolf, a practicing witch and herbalist and a founding member of the Coven of the Moonbeam Ravine, states, “Whether you want to find ‘the one’ or simply make your pets love each other, get rid of a bad date or set yourself free from a bad energy of a relationship from the past, you’ll find the magic to make it happen in these pages (check the back for a full index of spells). From more than a dozen contributors, they draw from a variety of traditions and spiritualities.”

Some of the magic is traditional while most is modern.

I agree with Greywolf that “of all the mysterious forces in the universe, love may be the most powerful” and “love is hard to control.” I don’t agree that all the incantations, concoctions and charms offered to harness it are necessarily proper. Yes, love spells have been around “forever.” However, if something interferes with a person’s freewill, warning bells go off in my head.

For instance, there is a “Sisterhood Spell for Female Friends” contributed by Susan Adcox. Noting you “can never have too many sisters of the heart,” she offers a spell to make a relationship with a casual friend or acquaintance grow into something more. It involves burning a white candle and saying, “Bound by choice and not by blood, Be for me a sister good. Share the joy, halve the pain,
Our love will ever wax, not wane.”

While it seems harmless, my ethics would keep me from doing it because it’s trying to get someone to be a good sister. Rather, I would find another way to address the situation. If I was shy or too intimidated to approach the person, I would do some magic to bolster my self-confidence and courage. I would also recognize that this woman may not choose to be a close friend for any number of reasons that may very well have nothing to do with me. Not knowing the person well, there could be something about her behavior that would make not being close to her actually be for my highest good and greatest joy.

There is much to consider when doing a spell, and those involving others require the most thought and experience, which is why I caution people not to just pick up a book and follow some instructions without thinking through every detail and possibility.

A traditional spell Greywolf offers is “To Marry Whomever You Choose.” It reads, “To make the person you love want to marry you and ensure a union, the solution is simple. Obtain the heart of a chicken and swallow it whole.”

Other than being extremely squeamish about swallowing a chicken heart whole, I am also extremely squeamish about making a person love me. There are at least half a dozen ways I can see this go sideways.

The same goes for the spell “To Get a Marriage Proposal” contributed by Luna Eternal. Among other steps, it has the reader repeat three times,”With the love that is ours / I call upon this ancient power / Engagement is what I seek / Proposal is what you offer to me / By the power of three times three / As I will it, so mote it be!”

I see this as a form or manipulation. I also recognize my bias comes from how I practice and I acknowledge not everyone walks the same path the same way.

Spells can be found in the book that do not reach into someone else’s space. The “Pre-wedding Bath,” submitted by Jill Robi, is one of those. It calls for lighting pillar candles on each corner of the bathtub, adding certain essential oils to the water and floating rose petal upon it while envisioning “the best version of your special day, pulling positive energy into yourself, and projecting that into the universe.”

Robi’s “Wedding Sachet,” and Greywolf’s spells “To Cure Pre-Wedding Jitters” and “For Bandaging Past Wounds” are but three more examples.

I appreciated that along with steps to take “For Courage to Break Up With Your Lover,” contributor Aoife Witt wrote, “Important note: Most of us dread breaking up with a significant other. If the reason you are nervous about initiating a breakup is because your significant other may become violent, you may do this spell but please do not rely on it. Go to a safe place, and call the proper authorities.”

Among the more interesting spells I found in the book was this one to love yourself.

 

The Narcissa”

by Hollen Pockets

This is a spell to fall in love with yourself. Perform in times of need.

Take a rock and break your mirrors. You don’t need them right now.

Keep the rock and break your scales.
Take some scissors and snip your measuring tape. Keep the scissors and cut your hair, no mirrors needed. Speak the words: It doesn’t matter. It will grow.

Go for a long walk or get out of the house in whatever way you can. Use your body. Count the beats of your great heart.

Find a reflective pool. If needed, fill your favorite bathtub and look into that.

Speak the words: I have all I need.

Smile at your reflection, blurry and imperfect in the reflecting water. Smile and smile and smile.

 

For readers who want to craft their own spells, or modify one from “Love Magic,” the lists of colors, stones, herbs, essential oils and flowers found at the back of the book are helpful. There is also a section on love omens – from apples to wishbones – along with the meaning of various birds, a list of lucky days, and information about how each phase of the moon relates to love magic.

As with everything in life, it is wise to take what you need and leave the rest. I hope you will do so with this book as well as all others that show up on your path.

Love Magic: A Handbook of Spells, Charms, and Potions

 

***

About the Author:

Lynn Woike was 50 – divorced and living on her own for the first time – before she consciously began practicing as a self taught solitary witch. She draws on an eclectic mix of old ways she has studied – from her Sicilian and Germanic heritage to Zen and astrology, the fae, Buddhism, Celtic, the Kabbalah, Norse and Native American – pulling from each as she is guided. She practices yoga, reads Tarot and uses Reiki. From the time she was little, she has loved stories, making her job as the editor of two monthly newspapers seem less than the work it is because of the stories she gets to tell. She lives with her large white cat, Pyewacket, in central Connecticut. You can follow her boards on Pinterest, and write to her at woikelynn at gmail dot com.

Learning Lenormand

February, 2018

The Lenormand Oracle Cards and Booklet


A few months ago, I received my first set of Lenormand cards. I wrote about them here: http://paganpages.org/content/tag/lenormand-cards/ . If you remember, at the end of that article, I posted pics of the set of cards that I wanted to get and for Yule, I bought them for myself. They arrived in the mail on the third day of Christmas, if I remember correctly. I was so happy to get them!

They are exactly what I wanted. They have the “antique” looking pictures of the original cards but also the playing card inserts that to me, are the essence of the Lenormand. I was quite amazed at their large size but I considered that a plus – it makes the imagery of the cards easy to see. And since I usually lay out any divinatory method on the rug on my living room floor, then the issue of needing an “enormous table when it come to laying out all 36 of them in a Grand Tableau” (Matthews, 8) as Caitlín Matthews cautions in the Introduction of her superb The Complete Lenormand Oracle Handbook – the oriental rug in my living is more than large enough to handle all thirty-six cards.

These new cards are, in fact, quite bigger than the Lenormand Fortune Telling Cards.

As you can see, the little verse that is in the insert in the upper middle of the Lenormand Fortune-Telling Cards has been replaced with a playing card. Other than this, the cards are virtually the same, except for size and the pattern on the back of the card. In my limited study of the Lenormand, I have come to understand that the card on the right is the German version of the Lenormand and the card on the right is the French version. However, I do fear that this is a very simplistic way of looking at the cards and I am probably quite wrong in my assessment. While the Lenormand was most popular in Germany and France, there were also decks in Belgium, Dutch, Russian, Brazilian and even American – all similar and different at the same time. (Matthews, 7). So while I would like to make a definitive statement about these cards – like, it was the French who added the pips – I just can’t. I don’t have the proof to back up my statement.

The little booklet that came with The Lenormand Oracle cards was written by Laura Tuan, an European author who writes in Italian and French for a variety of publishers, including LoScarabeo, the publishers of these cards. This booklet was written in Italian and translated by Julie Bradshaw. After having read through over half of Caitlín Matthew’s book, I found Laura Tuan’s booklet mystifying! For openers, she uses reversed cards! On page 9 of The Complete Lenormand Oracle, it states plainly, “Cards always read upright” (Matthews, 9). But this is not so in Tuan’s book. Upright cards are marked with a “C” and reversed cards are marked with a “D”. I have no idea why this is so. I called a friend of mine who is fluent in Italian and he could not give me a clue as to the meaning of “C” and “D”. We both wondered if the letters were arbitrarily assigned by either the author or the translator. But it doesn’t really matter – I am going by what Matthews says and reading the cards upright only.

The other thing I found curious is that, unlike the booklet that came with The Lenormand Fortune-Telling Cards, there was no “dictionary” of meaning for the cards. Instead, there are two “guided” spreads – the Horoscope spread and the Gypsy spread – and the meanings of the cards are given in relation to those spreads. In the back of the books, she has several “unguided” spreads, with “positions” for each card to set upon and what they mean at that position. Again – I have to refer back to Matthews – “In Tarot, cards are laid out in redecided or named positions…Each position is an essential part of the reading and helps define or frame how the card laid upon the place is to be read…Conversely, Lenormand cards work by proximity to each other, creating meaning through juxtaposition. This is a more linguistic method…Lenormand cards work together to create different meanings…” (Matthews, 10).

This is not the first booklet for a deck of Tarot or Oracle cards that I read through and decided that it was better off left in the box it came in. I have quite a collection of them. The way I see it, if you have a really good text on the subject, that’s what you use. Right now, The Complete Lenormand Oracle Handbook is my basic text for learning the Lenormand – it’s my Norton Shakespeare, so to speak. Of course you can’t read too much on any subject or have too many books – heaven forbid! – but it’s always good to have a good basic text on any subject – something you can refer back to again and again.

I did consecrate the deck as Tuan suggests on page 8 of the booklet. I had to tweak the ritual a little bit, as I didn’t have a red table cloth or any incense, but I made do. A red napkin worked just fine for a cloth and some crushed basil burning in a small censor was a fine insence. This, of course, is par for the course in my little witchy world! If you can’t improvise, then you can’t make magic!

In the upcoming months, I will be working with Caitlín Matthew’s excellent book and whatever other books on the Lenormand I may find. But as I said previously, The Complete Lenormand Oracle Handbook is going to be my basic text for this subject. I do hope you find it as fascinating as I do!

Click on Images to View Amazon Information

 

References

Matthews, Caitlín. The Complete Lenormand Oracle Handbook: Reading the Language and Symbols of the Cards. Rochester: Destiny , 2014.

Tuan, Laura. Lenormand Oracle. Torino: LoScarabeo, 2013. Translated by Julie Bradshaw.

**

About the Author:

Polly MacDavid lives in Buffalo, New York at the moment but that could easily change, since she is a gypsy at heart. Like a gypsy, she is attracted to the divinatory arts, as well as camp fires and dancing barefoot. She has three cats who all help her with her magic.

Her philosophy about religion and magic is that it must be thoroughly based in science and logic. She is Dianic Wiccan and she is solitary.

She blogs at silverapplequeen.wordpress.com. She writes about general life, politics and poetry. She is writing a novel about sex, drugs and recovery.

Seeing the Signs

February, 2018

A Review of Sasha Fenton’s Fortune Teller’s Handbook

I have been a fan of Sasha Fenton for thirty years. I remember when The Fortune-Teller’s Workbook: A Practical Introduction to the World of divination first appeared at my favorite library and I borrowed it again and again. I was so happy when I found it in on Amazon.com – I snapped it up immediately. It’s the kind of basic text that any student of the divining arts ought to have, and it is perfect for beginners. Not only is it written in a clear and concise manner, it has some fun divination techniques – and who says that divination can’t be fun? – such as The Oracle of Napoleon (see http://paganpages.org/content/2015/11/seeing-the-signs-18/) and Flower Reading. According to Amazon.com, Sasha Fenton has written 125 books on divination, spiritualism and the occult. I know, as someone who hangs around libraries and book stores, her books are always on display.

(Sasha Fenton. Photo from www.redwheelweiser.com)

Apparently, The Fortune-Teller’s Workbook is out of print and hardcover copies are going for $59.99 and up on Ebay. They are increasingly hard to find, so if you happen to come across one, I suggest picking it up, if only because it’s going to be a rare and therefore increasingly hard to find – and perhaps a good investment, as well.

(My dog-earred copy)

A few months ago, I reviewed Sasha Fenton’s new edition of Fortune Telling by Tarot Cards: A Beginner’s Guide to Understanding the Tarot (see http://paganpages.org/content/2017/12/seeing-the-signs-36/). An obvious companion to this wonderful guide to reading and using the Tarot to its fullest potential, is Fortune Teller’s Handbook: 20 Fun and Easy Techniques for Predicting the Future. Published by the publisher as Fortune Telling by Tarot Cards, Hampton Woods Publishing Company, Incorporated, out of Charlottesville, Virginia, and distributed by Red Wheel/Weiser. The two books came out the same year which tells me that they were meant to be companion pieces. Both books have glossy finishes on the covers and they are the same convenient size.

For Amazon Information Click Images

 

I started reading the Introduction. Immediately, I thought: this sounds familiar. I opened up to the Introduction in The Fortune-Teller’s Workbook, and there were almost the exact words. I examined the chapters on Numerology, Runes, Flower Reading and the twelve other chapters that are in both The Fortune-Teller’s Workbook and Fortune Teller’s Handbook, and in every instance, the prose was almost the same. A word or two here or there was changed and the overall syntax was tightened up. A good editor could do that.

You can’t say they’re the same book, since they both have chapters that the other one doesn’t have. But fifteen out of the twenty chapters in Fortune Teller’s Handbook were originally in The Fortune-Teller’s Workbook, which is more than half of the book. I am not making any kind of accusations here – they are both wonderful books – but really! Over half the book!

I have to say that I was very disappointed in Sasha Fenton. I guess if an author wants to plagiarize their own work, that’s their prerogative, but it seems unethical to me. At least reference your earlier work! I searched all over Fortune Teller’s Handbook to find any reference to her earlier book. There was none whatsoever.

That said – and I’m sorry but I had to say it – I still find Fortune Teller’s Handbook: 20 Fun and Easy Techniques for Predicting the Future a worthy book. Don’t let the silly cover put you off. There’s a lot of good information in here – especially for the beginner. Information that is in this book that isn’t in The Fortune-Teller’s Workbook includes Phrenology (reading the bumps on a person’s head), Face Reading, Graphology, Moles, and Itches. I thought the chapter on face reading very interesting. I had no idea there were different ways of reading a face – The Chinese Way or the English way. It makes me wonder – are there any other techniques for reading faces? Perhaps a Gypsy or Romany way? This would be a subject to research.

And I had to laugh at the chapter on Graphology. Is anyone taught how to write in longhand anymore? I know I had to teach my son how to sign his name because he only knew how to print. In an increasingly electronic world, perhaps some high-tech version of Graphology is needed? It’s an interesting idea – I’m not even sure how it would work! But I am no techie!

One thing a book like this is really great for is Bibliomancy. Yes, I know that Bibliomancy is opening a book at random and reading whatever is there – I wrote about it three years ago here http://paganpages.org/content/2015/04/seeing-the-signs-12/ – but sometimes when you are stuck with a problem, you don’t even know which form of divination to use – where to start looking for answers. A book like this opens the doors to finding the solutions. Even if all you do is open to a random page – let’s say, page 77, which is a reference page for the suit of Hearts for playing cards – I’d say, the book is telling you to pick up your playing cards – the ones you use only for divination – and do a quick 3-card spread. The first card represents your body, the second card your mind, and the third card your spirit. What are the cards saying in these positions? What are they saying to each other?

My body card was the 5 of Spades – happy home but bad-tempered people surround me. My mind card was the Queen of Spades – my witchy self. My spirit card was the Ace of Hearts – the start of a happy time in my life. I don’t see these cards talking to each other so much as merely tolerating each others presence. What is the Queen of Spades going to do with the Ace of Hearts? Shoot an arrow through it? She’s really on her eye on it, doesn’t she? At the same time, she’s watching out for those contentious 5’s behind her, threatening to cause a ruckus in her happy home. Who are these people? These 5’s? As usual, there are more questions than answers but that’s all good – it gives me something to work with. At the very least, I use those images in a poem or a collage.

Anyway – there is a lot in this book. If you are looking for a good all-around book about the various arts of divination, either for yourself or as a present for a beginning, I could not recommend this book any higher. And whether or not Sasha Fenton copied and pasted the information from an earlier book – honestly, it’s all good. When you are given a key to knowledge, don’t ask where it came from! Just take it and turn the lock and open the door!

Find Fortune Teller’s Handbook either at your local library, bookstore or on Amazon.com.

Click Image for Amazon Link

 

References

Fenton, Sasha. Fortune Teller’s Handbook: 20 Fun and Easy Techniques for Predicting the Future. Charlottesville, VA: Hampton Roads Publishing Company Inc., 2017.

Fenton, Sasha. Fortune Telling by Tarot Cards: A Beginner’s Guide to Understanding the Tarot. Charlottesville, VA: Hampton Roads Publishing Company Inc., 2017.

Fenton, Sasha. The Fortune-Teller’s Workbook: A Practical Introduction to the World of divination. Wellingborough: The Aquarian Press, 1988

***

About the Author:

Polly MacDavid lives in Buffalo, New York at the moment but that could easily change, since she is a gypsy at heart. Like a gypsy, she is attracted to the divinatory arts, as well as camp fires and dancing barefoot. She has three cats who all help her with her magic.

Her philosophy about religion and magic is that it must be thoroughly based in science and logic. She is Dianic Wiccan and she is solitary.

She blogs at silverapplequeen.wordpress.com. She writes about general life, politics and poetry. She is writing a novel about sex, drugs and recovery.