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So You Want to Be a Medium? by Rose Vanden Eynden

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For the most part, I really really enjoyed this book. The first half is filled with great exercises, advice and stories, as well as a very ‘down to earth’ approach to spirit work and mediumship. The author makes a point of trying to not involve religion, which while the attempt is nice, she ends up incorporating quite a bit of her Christian beliefs into it. No one is totally unbiased, after all. One thing I really appreciated is how she tried to be inclusive of LGBT and non-binary genders. She didn’t operate off the typical god/goddess binary. For the most part, it is a very good book and I learned a lot from it…at least, for the first half.

The main problem I had with this book was that she works with Indigenous and Native spirits. Specifically, that she works with them and calls them by their names in English. Like…Black Hawk. I’m sorry, but if you are going to work with a spirit from a closed culture, specifically a culture that your ancestors tried to wipe out, at least learn their names in their own indigenous tongue, or at least what tribe they were from. She treats Nativeness as a monolith, and it is so frustrating as a native person to see that. As I said in my Spirit Speak review, if you were a member of a culture that endured genocide, and you were woken up by someone who in your time period would have hunted you for sport, raped your women, slaughtered your children, burned your home and stolen your land, would you have a polite conversation with them? No, you would probably react violently or just laugh in their face.

So, while this book is, I believe, a very good resource on beginning medium work and spirit work, please please please remember to stay in your lane. Do not attempt to contact or work with spirits from closed religions and cultures, ESPECIALLY if you are white and that closed culture/religion is an oppressed minority culture and has endured a history of genocide by your ancestors. Just don’t do it. Respect those traditions and their people, as we are asking you to please not do this. As I have said before, was stealing our land and many of our practices and people not enough? Must they have our ancestors spirit’s and our sacred creatures too?

The other problem was that she talks about chakras. Please, please, unless you are a member of the closed religions and cultures that have access to that term, do not claim it. Respect them, but use the alternative term ‘energy points’.

So, while I do recommend this book to spirit workers at any level as it does have some good lessons in it, I also highly recommend that you read it with a grain of salt and do not follow in the author’s footsteps in regards to overstepping boundaries and appropriating/stealing/working with spirits that are part of closed cultures. Just…just, dont do it. Please.

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The Dreamer’s Almanac by Sasha Parker

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The Dreamer’s Almanac is a beautiful glossy, high quality, colorful book filled with easy to access information and lovely color photos depicting and explaining a wide variety of dream subjects. The beginning of the book briefly describes and explains the history of dreams, dream interpretation and the science behind sleeping and dreaming. The rest of the book is dedicated to listing and explaining different dream scenarios and what they could mean for our subconscious or for our future. This is easily my favorite book on dream interpretation, simply for how well it is organized, the beautiful photographs, and the easy-to-understand-no-frills-attached way that things are explained.

I highly recommend this book to anyone looking to find the meaning behind their dreams. This was a short review, I know. But I really don’t have anything bad to say about the book! You can get it here!

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The Hidden Messages in Water by Masaru Emoto

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The Hidden Messages in Water is a delightful and beautiful book by Dr. Masaru Emoto. It takes a scientific approach to a spiritual subject–how water reacts to human emotions. The book is filled with beautiful high quality color photos of Dr. Emoto’s experiments, where he has documented the reaction that water crystals have upon freezing while being exposed to a specific emotional sentence or phrase. I really enjoyed this book. It is beautifully written and you can easily tell how passionate the Doctor is about the subject material.

The book is easy to read, not terribly long, and I believe very useful, specifically for those who work with water as an element. It is so fascinating to know that water is indeed sentient (something many of us already knew, haha, but now there is scientific proof!) and that it responds and changes it’s molecular structure to mirror emotions. How beautiful and amazing!

I would highly recommend this book and I can think of no critiques for it. And, the icing on the cake: the author is  a person of color! You can purchase it here!

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Animal Talk by Penelope Smith

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After reading Animal Speak by Ted Andrews, I was super discouraged. I distanced myself from reading any kind of witchy books that focused on animals because of it. That book was so disgusting and culturally appropriative. I picked this book up because I had heard about the author on the internet. She is an ‘animal therapist’ and instead of magic or witchcraft, her book falls more in line with psychic and telepathic studies. The book covers the history of inter-species telepathic communication and how you yourself can use it to communicate with animals, wild or domestic.

I have to say I was very pleasantly surprised. I found no traces of cultural appropriation in this book and it is written in a very non-biased and secular way. The book not only teaches you how to communicate with animals, but also gives you exercises to try and several pages of personal examples from the author involving how to communicate with specific kinds of animals. I really enjoyed it. Smith doesn’t involve religion (I think she mentions her personal beliefs once in one of her personal stories), she doesn’t involve closed cultures, and she explains everything very clearly. I truly believe that after reading this book, with enough practice I will be able to fluently communicate with animals. I’ve always kind of been able to do so to an extent, but it kind of comes and goes. I’m really excited to put the new stuff I learned in this book to the test.

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The Witches Cupboard by Anna Zollinger and Bree NicGarran

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I’m FINALLY getting around to purchasing and reviewing Anna and Bree’s books and I thought I would start with their powder recipe book first. Man, as a certified Herbalist, I keep a lot of herbs around but there were a couple ingredients in here that I had to squint my eyes at for a second because I hadn’t heard of anyone using them for a long-long time. Like, Bloodroot. Or Dogbane. Not something you see everyday! And I have to admit, it was a treat. This little book was SO refreshing.

Anna and Bree do a phenomenal job at getting right down to it. There is only one introductory chapter and it covers the different powder bases and methods of use, as well allllllll the safety concerns when preparing/storing/using said powders. The rest of the book, save for the last couple of pages, is recipes. And wow, there are a lot! I am definitely going to be making some of them as soon as I can get my hands on some empty jars. The last few pages of the book are dedicated to resources, references and author biographies. I really enjoy using powders/dirts/salts in my practice (I have a constant supply of black salt, graveyard dirt, goofer dust, cascarilla powder and hot foot powder on hand at any given time) and I’m really happy to finally have found some new recipes to try.

I’m really excited to get their other book, The Sisters Grimmoire, once I have the funds. I really enjoy their simple and to-the-point writing styles. I highly recommend their work to any witches, beginner or seasoned, as I think any kind of witch would find it very educational and inspiring. Well, I’m off to go make some of Bree’s Banishing Powder!

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The Un-Spell Book by Mya Om

The Un-Spell Book (Pocket)

I bought this book to brush up on my energy work, and boy howdy, was I right to do so. Mya Om wrote another book called Energy Essentials, I think, that is for witchlings and beginners, but this was her second book, geared more towards intermediate work. Mya Om is a Wiccan witch from , and at first I was a little weary to be reading, yet another, Wiccan-wrote witchcraft book, but I was actually pleasantly surprised. While it does carry quite a few Wicca-esque parts (her ritual examples are very Wiccan), she carries a tone that aims to cater to any kind of witchy reader. Meaning, I guess, that she writes with an open mind, as a witch first and a wiccan second. She also was fairly respectful about the few parts where she did mention chakras. I dislike the use of ‘chakras’ and prefer ‘energy points’, but I’ve learned to kind of pick my battles with witchcraft books.

Overall, the book covers mostly energy work. The first 2 chapters are more introductory stuff, but I still found the exercises useful and the information was definitely something I needed to be reminded of. It covers trigger words, centering, grounding, raising, focus, will, intent, energy, etc. All the basics. The last few chapters cover things like elements, rituals and tools. These were really cool. She gave examples of several kinds of ways to connect with the elements and use different tools in rituals. I found this book to be really helpful. I’ve been having a lot of problems with energy work lately, just because I suffer from severe depression and anxiety, so I have no motivation or energy to do magic, but this book really inspired me to try a few new methods.

If you can ignore the subtle undertones (unless you ARE Wiccan, in which case this is perfect for you), then this book is an extremely useful and definitely something you should read. Even if you are a seasoned witch, the exercises and information are still really good to read over and practice to keep you sharp. I have no real complaints about the book, and I really enjoyed it (again, to my surprise). This is probably the first witchy book about energy work that I’ve ever read that wasn’t completely full of crap or full of overbearing Wiccan views. I will be adding this happily to my witchy bookshelf and will definitely be referring back to it often.

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Leaves in Myth, Magic and Medicine by Alice Thoms Vitale

Leaves in Myth, Magic and Medicine by Alice Thoms Vitale — Reviews ...

While The Complete Illustrated Encyclopedia of Magical Plants by Susan Gregg is probably my number one resource for plant and herbal information in magic, I would have to say that this is my number one resource for trees in magic. Alice Thoms Vitale is a wonderful author, and this book she has created is a work of art.

The book is a collection of trees and other leafy plants and all their wonderful information. It provides beautiful pressed scans (or maybe they’re very detailed drawings?) of each plant’s leaves, a detailed description of the plant and it’s role in the history of man, the scientific and botanical properties of the plant, the medicinal properties of the plant, and the magical and metaphysical properties of the plant.

While Susan Gregg’s book is an incredible source on herbs, this is an incredible source on trees. I think they are both incredibly useful and vital to my personal practice, not only as a witch, but also as an herbalist. I highly recommend picking up a copy if you are interested in incorporating trees into your practice, or are just interested in botany or green magic in general.

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The Complete Illustrated Encyclopedia of Magical Plants by Susan Gregg

... edition of The Complete Illustrated Encyclopedia of Magical Plants

The complete illustrated encyclopedia of magical plants (revised) by Susan Gregg is a wonderful source for anyone thinking about working with herbs and plants in medicinal, metaphysical and magical fields. I started compiling several books on the subject while I was studying for my herbalism certification, and this was one of the few that survived the cut after the fact. Its subtitle is ‘A practical guide to creating healing, protection and prosperity using plants, herbs and flowers’, but in my opinion it accomplishes so much more than that.

The book provides beautiful glossy colored photographs of each plant, which helps with identification, and each plant’s magical, historical, scientific, botanical, medicinal and metaphysical properties are listed. The book is organized in two parts, Enchanting Herbs and Other Magical Plants. The sections aren’t alphabetical, so you kind of have to search for a bit (or use the index in the back of the book) to find the plant you are looking for. But really, that is the only complaint I have. I found no examples of cultural appropriation or inappropriate references or biasedness towards wicca. It approaches the subject from an unbiased and honestly very refreshing point of view.

I think that this is a vital resource for any young witch, herbalist or botanist. Its one of the only ‘complete’ sources that I have managed to find in regards to the magical properties of plants. Susan Gregg does a phenomenal job.

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The Crystal Bible 1 & 2 by Judy Hall

The Crystal Bible by Judy HallThe Crystal Bible, Volume 2 by Judy Hall (Paperback): Booksamillion ...

The Crystal Bible

1 & 2

by Judy Hall

Judy Hall is by far what I consider to be my favorite author in regards to crystal information. She approaches crystals, rocks, minerals, gems and stones from several different perspectives. She lists the history of each crystal, the science behind it, the medicinal properties, the metaphysical properties and of course, the magical properties. Crystals are listed alphabetically, and family groups such as the Jaspers and the Agates, are listed under the main family name. (example: Jasper, red. Jasper, picture. Jasper, rainforest. etc etc) Judy Hall has written several of these books (I have yet to read the third volume), but I only have the first two books of it and I absolutely love them.

The books are crammed with useful information and the majority of my youtube videos and articles written about crystals reference her work as one of my main sources. The book is beautifully illustrated with color photos of the rocks, which helps with identification and there are sections in the front of the book that discusses the origin of crystals and crystal healing and the uses for different shapes of crystals.

These are the only crystal books I actually have kept consistently on my witchy book shelf. So many others are either incomplete, don’t compile enough information to my liking, are rank with wiccan references (cough *scott cunningham* cough) or commit a lot of cultural appropriation. The only thing that I didn’t like about this book was the references made to the use of ‘chakras’, which is more of a Hindu and Buddhist belief. While western cultures do have similar beliefs, I think that the culturally ambiguous term ‘energy point’ would have been better to use. That’s just my opinion though. It doesn’t really take away from the overall value of the books and their extreme usefulness to my practice and daily life. I think every witch and witchling that is interested in working with crystals should at least read these books, if not actually own them.

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Wicked Plants by Amy Stewart

Wicked Plants. Amy Stewart | Books | Pinterest

I picked this book up at Barnes and Noble a while back while I was taking my Herbalism certification. I’m very interested in getting started with working with poisonous and more dangerous plants. A lot of my fellow witches dabble in this kind of deadly botany, and it is indeed something to approach with caution. You can’t just dive in and not expect to accidentally poison yourself. I personally haven’t ever handled poisonous plants, aside from the basics like Wormwood, Lobelia and such. I have a lot of respect and admiration for people who work with these deadly beauties, though. And I hope to be able to in the future.

Anyway! The book! I honestly believe that any witch or witchling should own this book. It is chock full of wonderful information, not just about the effects and scientific information about the most common and infamous plants (there is a part two of this book, I think), but they also provide lots of examples of interesting appearances throughout literature and history of the plants. The book has some beautiful etchings and artwork by Briony Morrow-Cribbs and Jonathon Rosen, respectively. The plants are listed in alphabetical order and each plant is categorized by whether it is ‘deadly’, ‘illegal’, ‘intoxicating’, ‘dangerous’, ‘destructive’, ‘painful’ and ‘offensive’.

I really value this book and hold it in high esteem. Its educational, entertaining and an incredible resource. It holds a place of honor on my witchy bookshelf and I refer to it often. As I said before, I think everyone interested in botany, plants, herbalism or green magic should own a copy, and if you are a witch you should read it at least once. Not just for the interesting facts, but also to keep yourself safe and prevent any accidents involving these ‘botanical atrocities’.