WITCHCRAFT – A HANDBOOK OF MAGIC, SPELLS AND POTIONS
BY ANASTASIA GREYWOLF
ILLUSTRATIONS BY MELISSA WEST
When I first opened the book to do a quick scan, I thought, “look at all of these spells, what fun!” I thought it very reminiscent of the witchcraft spell books that were around a few decades ago.
Ms. Greywolf starts with an introduction to Witchcraft, and what it means to her, recognizing that it means different things to different people. She describes how she would cast a circle. There is a small section on some of the tools of witchcraft, such as a wand, smudge stick, knife, etc.
The bulk of the book is just chock-full of spells. They are broken down into chapters, such as “Safekeeping Spells”, “Power Spells”, “Healing Spells”. There are “Spells Against Your Enemies” and “Counter Spells”; “Love Spells” and “Fortune Spells”; “Spells for Animals” and “Weather Spells”.
One of the things I liked the most was that the spells come from different traditions and cultures. In the section on “Safekeeping Spells”, there were Gypsy Incantations, Pow-Wow Spells, ancient Hindu incantations, and something the author calls “American Magician Spells”.
There is an ancient Macedonian Charm for banishing pimples, and a Gaelic Charm to cure drunkenness.
In the “Counter-Spells” section, there are spells against one who practices hostile magic, to exorcise a spirit, and strangely enough for a Witchcraft book, a European Magician’s spell against Witches, as well as a spell for a Witch to not be allowed to leave a church.
In this age of casinos popping up everywhere, the “Luck and Fortune” section has spells for success in gambling and a Pow-Wow charm to win every game of cards, which consists of tying the heart of a bat to your right arm with a red silken string.
Since everyone is usually most interested in “Love Spells”, there are spells to arouse passionate love in both a man and a woman, as well as those for obtaining a husband, or a wife. All of these, by the way, are Hindu Incantations.
“Power Spells” include a Cherokee Shaman’s ritual to find something that has been lost, and American Witch’s Spells for flying and making a truth serum.
There is a chapter on “Communing with the Dead”. While I personally do not believe this is something you should be doing unprepared or without years of training, there are European Magician Rituals and Charms for making a circle for a séance and getting answers from Spirits, as well as making those Spirits obedient.
The one thing I did find rather odd is that in several Pow-Wow and Gypsy Spells/Charms, the spells call upon the Lord Jesus Christ, as well as God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost/Spirit. Other than attending many Pow-Wows (at which the Christian God has never once been mentioned), I decided to do a little research on my own. As far as the Roma people, they do not have any official faith and there are those that have converted to Christian, Muslim, Jewish, etc. For the Native Americans in our country, there are many of them that have converted to the Christian faith, but they also honor their own tribal spiritual beliefs and customs. This would indicate that there may be charms in both Roma and Native American Traditions that call on the Christian deities, depending upon how ancient these charms may be.
The last two chapters are dedicated to symbols and omens, and the best day to do a conjuration. The omens are both good (seeing an animal in an unexpected place indicates the finding of a treasure) and bad (it is unlucky for three married brothers to live in the same house). There is also a listing of the meanings for the different colors. For conjurations, we are told that Tuesday is best for conjuring Lucifer and each of the other days of the week are best for conjuring other varied demons.
Ms. Greywolf does include a list of her sources toward the end of the book.
All in all, it really is a fun type of book. I do not believe that those who are actually pagan/wiccan/witches would find much use in many of the spells included here, although I do think there may be a couple of hidden gems; that being said, I do think they would enjoy reading them. For non-pagans, it would be a very entertaining read.