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practical magic

Book Review & Interview – Practical Magic, a Beginner’s Guide to Crystals, Horoscopes, Psychics & Spells by Nikki Van De Car

January, 2019

Book
Review & Interview

Practical
Magic

A Beginner’s Guide to Crystals, Horoscopes, Psychics & Spells

I was lucky enough to receive
a copy of the beautiful book “Practical Magic”, written by
Nikki Van De Car and illustrated by Katie Vernon. This book was
published by Running Press Philadelphia, in 2017. It’s a beginner’s
guide to all things magical. It’s 152 pages long and is a hard back
book. There is an optional kit that accompanies this book, that comes
with a mini-book, 2 crystal tumbles, temporary tattoos, and a fold
out natal chart. Both the book and kit are available through many
retailers, including Amazon and Barnes & Nobles. The book is also
available for kindle. I was able to dig into both the book and the
awesome kit, so read on to hear my opinions.

First off, both the book and
kit are so beautiful! I love hardback books, and even more so if they
have a gorgeous cover with an appealing title and artwork. The
artwork throughout this book is very lovely.

This book is an amazing book
for anyone new to magic or metaphysical topics, as it covers many,
many topics and gives a nice overview of the subjects to get you
started. In the introduction of the book, Nikki says it perfectly:

“Here’s the thing-you
don’t have to believe in magic to enjoy this book. You just have to
want to.”

I LOVE that!

This book has 3 parts, (1)
Healing for Hedge Witches, (2) Magic for the Weekend Wiccan, and (3)
Casual Clairvoyance.

There is information on so
many topics, here are some (there are many more), auras, palm
reading, tarot, crystals, sabbats, horoscopes/astrology, dream
interpretation, herbs, chakras, and some recipes and spells too. It’s
chock full of subjects I personally am very interested in, and I know
most of my friends would be as well.

The book is geared toward
beginners to magic, but as someone that’s been involved in magic for
a long time, I still found the book educational and fun to read. Some
topics I’m more familiar with than others, but each chapter I got
something out of. I think anyone would enjoy this book very much.

Their is a very nice kit that you can get to accompany the book. In the kit you get an adorable mini book, a gemmy rose quartz tumble, a gorgeous tigers eye tumble, metallic & horoscope temporary tattoos and a fold out natal chart you can fill in with your birth info. There are sections in the book that will teach you about both the crystals and how to fill out the natal chart.

I love this kit, it ties in
with the book perfectly and is such a fun addition! If you know me at
all, you know I LOVE crystals, so I was thrilled two beautiful ones
were included!

Including the natal chart was
a great idea and very helpful for those new to astrology. And I’m
also a big fan of metallic flash tattoos, so love that this fun
element was included. The kit is also a great price for all that’s
packed in.

I thoroughly enjoyed both this
book and the kit. This would make a perfect gift for someone
interested in all things magical. Its also available through many
sites and at a fair cost. I highly recommend this book and kit!

Nikki
was so kind…
as to answer some questions I had for her.
Here are my questions and her responses.

Retha:
What inspired you to write this book?

Nikki:
I just love magic. I always have- I was the kid that talked to trees,
hoping a dryad would answer. As I got older, I let all of that go,
but writing this book gave me the freedom to get close to that
feeling again. It gave me permission to be open to that kind of
wonder- and that’s what I wanted to share.

Retha:
What is one thing you hope readers learn from your book?

Nikki:
I want people to recognize the power of their own will. Over and over
again in the book I say ‘magic is about intention’. And so it doesn’t
matter how you want to channel your intention, your will, your magic-
whether its through chakras or dreams or herbal remedies. What
matters is how you live your life in that sense of personal power and
possibility.

Retha:
What made you decide to include a kit to go along with your book?

Nikki:
This was my publishers idea! Its a fantastic addition, and I just
love it.

Retha:
Who is your target demographic with this book?

Nikki:
It’s pretty feminine, so for sure women. I’m in my late 30s and I
would 10/10 buy this book, so for sure I’m part of that target
demographic! But I feel like there’s an insurgency of a younger
generation of Wicca-curious millenials, and I hope this book can
support them.

Retha:
How long have you been interested in magical practices?

Nikki:
After I grew up and got all adulty, I let go of magic for a long
time. It was only within the past 5 years or so that I began to
reconnect with my love of magic- when I sort of re-met that part of
myself, and I found I still really like her! Once I gave myself
permission to explore magic again, I started incorporating rituals,
spells, herbal healing, and the like into my daily life.

Retha:
What is your favorite section in the book?

Nikki:
Personally, I turn to the herbal healing section ALL THE TIME. It’s
the most practical. But I loved writing the section on pagan
holidays, and those have become a large part of life. I love ritual
and holidays, and having explored the meanings of these celebrations,
I have found I really wanted to make them a part of my family’s life.

Retha:
Are you planning on writing more books on magical/metaphysical
content?

Nikki:
Yes! In fact I have 2 more on the way! “Magical Places”
is coming out in 2019 and “Wellness Witch” will follow
shortly thereafter! “Magical Places” explores the haunted,
healing and fairy-occupied places of the world, and “Wellness
Witch” expands on some of the healing practices in “Practical
Magic” with specific recipes and rituals.

You
can reach
Nikki
Van De Car
through

Instagram:
@nikkivandecar

Website: nikkivandecar.com

I
hope you enjoyed both my review and my interview with the lovely
Nikki, and hope you will check out her website and book!! A huge
thank you to Nikki for answering my questions & sending me her
book to review and enjoy!

Click HERE for Amazon Information
Click HERE for Amazon Information

***

About
the Author:

Retha
N. Lent

has been married for 17 years to her husband Mark & they have
four cats that are their life. She lives in Norristown, Pa. Retha has
her Bachelor’s of Science degree in Behavioral Counseling Sciences
from Drexel University. She is the owner of “Retha’s
Crystals
” & sells sterling silver unique crystal jewelry &
specimens on her FB business page. She has a FB group for her
customers and those interested in learning more about crystals &
all things magical called “Retha’s
Crystal Circle
“. She is also an advisor in the Sage
Goddess
Affiliate
Program.
She has her Holistic Healing Certificate and Pillars of Priestessing
certificates from Sage Goddess. She is also an Ordained Pagan
Minister from the Universal Life Church. Retha has a passion for
crystals, nature, astrology, working with moon cycles, ritual
practices, tarot and oracle cards, runes, essential oils, herbs,
manifestation work, ancient cultures, magic & music. Her favorite
place is New Orleans, La. Retha has an extensive personal crystal
collection and loves sharing her love of crystals with the world. She
has been a practicing pagan since she was 16 years old. 

You
can reach her at [email protected]
or on her business
page on FB
:
https://www.facebook.com/Rethas-Crystals-197411227666484/

Or
in her
FB group
:

https://m.facebook.com/groups/1960619300929876

Her
Sage
Goddess
affiliate link is:

www.sagegoddess.com/ref/84/

Or
follow her on Instagram at @spookygirl16

Celebrating the Old Ways in New Times

July, 2018

July 2018 for Celebrating the Old Ways in New Times

Bright Blessings.

I write this on the Summer Solstice, and Summer Seems to have hit early, with record breaking highs for the month of May here in my hometown, and all the sudden this week, the rain has cooled things to the high 70’s and low 80’s temperature-wise.

I am sure you know that the plants are loving it!

June and July are not only amazing months for us gardeners, but June, itself is LGBT Pride month. We had the Stonewall Columbus (Ohio) Pride Parade in downtown this past weekend, and for the first year in nine years, I had zero involvement. My guys also did not march, as the gentleman I passed it onto had to work.

Last year’s parade got National coverage as a group protested WITHIN the parade, halting the line, and being arrested on the spot. It resulted in anger from the people arrested, and the resignation of about a dozen Parade organizers.

It divided the community, and resulted in a lot of fights. Some believe the protesters were treated unfairly, others believe the protesters were out of line, and got what they deserved.

To my knowledge, however, there were no similar incidents at this year’s Pride.

The gay rights movement has been a lot of things over the decades, and quiet is not one of them. Many believe that to make an impact, you have to make a strong statement.

To A More Perfect Union

While I was unable to secure the interview I normally do when I preview a current film, I decided to go ahead and review this one anyways because it is such a crucial work focusing not only on the battle for gay civil rights, but traces the steps taken in a major victory in the legal system.

Here is their website, including a trailer you may watch.

https://perfectunionfilm.com/#home

To a More Perfect Union”, directed by Donna Zaccaro is a mesmerizing documentary that follows the life and love of Edith Windsor, who met partner, and later, wife, Thea in 1963. They became engaged in 1967, and could not legally marry until they 2007, and had to go to Canada to do so.

The film chronicles the gay civil rights movement in the US starting in the 1950’s up to modern times, including the famous 1969 police raid of Stonewall Inn in NYC. They fought back. Demonstrations lasted for five days, and Pride parades were started soon after.

Excerpts from the 1967 CBS special, “The Homosexuals” was shared on the film, and if is shown that in 1965, close to 3,000 homosexuals were arrested for being who they were, and homosexuality was classed as a mental illness, as well as a crime.

Fast forward to the 1980’s when AIDS first hit. Celebrities like Rock Hudson became spokespersons, and the community organized to demand research to learn to prevent, and cure AIDS.

Clinton’s famous Don’t Ask Don’t Tell was passed in 1992.

In 1996, a bill to “protect marriage” or the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) , ensuring marriage was between one man and one woman was passed.

Sadly, Thea died, and widow Edie was forced to pay an estate tax to keep the property she and Thea owned together- since the United States did not recognize their marriage as legally legitimate.

She sued the government. She won.

In 2011, Obama stated DOMA was unconstitutional. One by one, more lawmakers started speaking against it, individual judges struck it down, and even Bill Clinton, who was in office when it was passed, said it was time to undo it.

Decades of work by LGBT activists and lawmakers were able to undo it in 2015, and the Supreme Court proclaimed “same sex couples may exercise their fundamental right to marry in all states. No longer may this liberty be denied to them.”

Edie Windsor crossed the veil September 12, 2017, but she lived to see all the hard work pay off. This extraordinary woman, who lived an extraordinary life, and helped create beautiful changes in this world, will always be remembered and celebrated.

The work is far from over today. We have a President who is anti a lot of things, anti-gay being one of them. His team has already removed the White House LGBT page. Not only has vice President Mike Pence tried multiple times to pass legislation against gay marriage, but tried to make those seeking same sex marriage licenses be charged with a crime. He further tried to take funding from AIDS research and put it into funding conversion therapy.

The fight is not, and it may never be over.

If you want to watch this amazing documentary, nab tissues, and be prepared to be enlightened. I look forward to more films from this team.

Back to the Garden

July is going to bring much harvest of our herbs and hopefully, tomatoes. As I have worked to cultivate the patio garden, shifting from emphasis on the front where we get more sun, I have discovered tomatoes just don’t thrive as there is lower light than they need. Every year, I learn more. Last year, for example, I learned that you have to fertilize hardcore EVERY year, because if you grow a LOT of cucumbers and tomatoes one year, and fertilize afterwards just a little? You don’t get many plants the next year.

I have also learned that my back likes me better if I plant more on the patio and less out front, as it is a lot less work.

That is the mundane.

I also decided to learn a bit of plant protection and about non-chemical ways to protect plants. These are tips you can use for the suggested magical working for this month.

Magical Plant Protection

This year, a couple roses were simply decimated by some insect or another, and poison ivy enveloped a bush. I resorted to chemicals to kill the poison ivy and insects, and this means I cannot use the roses this year to cook with or make tea.

I had used the dish soap remedy for quite some time, and it just wasn’t getting it. I had to pull nearly every single leaf off the rosebush, and the poor rose looks like the insects won this time.

So, I wanted to see what people in days of yore did back before chemicals.

Many magical people use charms and blessings, and while people from centuries ago did all of that, they also understood that was not quite enough! One good predatory attack, and your crops were gone. An entire family or village could starve due to this!

Some non-chemical things they used, which we can too, included :

  1. Scarecrows- They help drive away birds that would munch the crops, but just putting one in the ground would not do. Scarecrows had to be treated properly or they would not work. They required clothing, as well as a nice hat to keep them cool in the sun. It was unacceptable for somebody to wear the scarecrow’s clothes, or very bad things would happen to the wearer! If you did not clothe your scarecrow properly, your crops would not grow!

  2. Artificial owls- These help deter critters who are fearful an owl will eat them.

  3. Shiny things to reflect the sun- These spook birds, and help send them away. Gazing balls are a good example, which are also supposed to drive evil away.

  4. Evil Eye amulets- Like gazing balls, there are amulets and other trinkets used to keep the evil eye away. Some believe envy from somebody who has the power of evil eye will make everything in your garden die. Another way to avert this is to share plants and your harvest with neighbors.

  5. Dogs- Not just for protecting sheep, man’s best friend will chase away birds and other critters who would munch your plants.

  6. Lady bugs- They eat some of the bad pests, helping keep plants healthy.

  7. Chickens- They love worms, caterpillars, maggots, and etc. A friend told me you don’t just want to let your chickens loose in the plants, as they peck, dig, and pull up roots. However, their very presence on the property helps cut down your pest population in general. And you get their eggs!!!!!

  8. Plant things that deter pests- Some plants that help include nasturtiums, marigolds, mint, lavender, citronella, wormwood, borage, and mums.

  9. Some natural pesticides include- Salt on slugs and snails, soapy water on June bugs, and diatomaceous earth. I also hand pick grubs out, and smash them, and do the same with june bugs.

  10. Have garden gnomes- They bring good luck to gardens. Feed your garden gnomes, and put a saucer of milk out for them daily, or you will have some bad luck. They will aid in security of the home and garden, as well as help do some chores , and make sure the plants grow. If you don’t do this, they will move things around where you cannot find them, and your garden will not grow.

Plant Lore and Practical Magic

Then there is a bit of plant lore that can be kept in mind for further success in plants!

  1. Never pick foxglove blooms. It upsets the fairies.

  2. Ask a plant for it’s permission before you transplant it, or it will die.

  3. Some believe plants will not thrive unless stolen! So, people gifting plants put them down and walk away so the recipient may “steal” them!

  4. It is considered bad luck to thank people for plants as well.

  5. Roses promise love and romance. No wonder people give their sweethearts roses! Give those roses to people you pledge love to, but they are not allowed to thank you!

  6. Rusty nails or iron objects in the garden when seeds are planted help them grow.

  7. Many have their gardens planted with beneficial herbs for healing as well as cooking. Different plants have different meanings. A quick google search will turn up multiple pages sharing plant lore. I find I always like to have mint, for example, and I don’t ever want to be without it. I love it for the smell and flavor, but it is also reputed to keep mice and flies away. It helps with upset stomach, and helps wake you up. It also dries well, and produces so much, and I love sharing it.

  8. Companion planting- This cannot be stressed enough. Plant things together that help one another grow. Perhaps most famous is the three sisters garden of corn , beans, and squash. The cornstalks provide structure for the beans to grow up. The beans put necessary nitrogen in the soil, benefiting all three plants. The squashes big leaves shade the soil, keeping it cool, and help prevent weeds.

  9. Make sure you out the right plant in the right spot. The soil has to be correct, the amount of sun it gets has to be correct, and most of all, you have to make sure you are capable of taking care of said plant. This is very mundane, but 100% necessary.

  10. Love your plants. It has been proven in many studies that plants that are showered with love produce better. This has been shown in studies where people fussed at plants, saying ugly things to them, and others, said supportive, loving things to different plants. The plants spoken lovingly to thrived, and the others died.

May your July be blessed. May your plants grow well, and may you enjoy the long days, warm weather, and the love of those around you, just as you are.

Blessed Be.

***

About the Author:

Saoirse is a recovered Catholic.  I was called to the Old Ways at age 11, but I thought I was just fascinated with folklore. At age 19, I was called again, but I thought I was just a history buff, and could not explain the soul yearnings I got when I saw images of the Standing Stones in the Motherland. At age 29, I crossed over into New Age studies, and finally Wicca a couple years later. My name is Saoirse, pronounced like (Sare) and (Shah) Gaelic for freedom. The gods I serve are Odin and Nerthus. I speak with Freyja , Norder, and Thunor as well. The Bawon has been with me since I was a small child, and Rangda has been with me since the days I was still Catholic. I received my 0 and 1 Degree in an Eclectic Wiccan tradition, and my Elder is Lord Shadow. We practice in Columbus, Ohio. I am currently focusing more on my personal growth, and working towards a Second and Third Degree with Shadow. I received a writing degree from Otterbein University back in 2000. I have written arts columns for the s Council in Westerville. I give private tarot readings and can be reached through my Facebook page Tarot with Saoirse. You can, also, join me on my Youtube Channel