HELLO!!

Hello everyone,

I’m terribly sorry for the lack of posts. I have no excuses for the disappearance (other than beginning a new career) and have made the decision to disassemble this page. I’ve found that I can’t seem to dedicate myself as a lone wolf.

Though there is good news. I’ve partnered with another like-minded individual who will keep me more accountable and we’ve decided to create a new blog that will open on the New Moon. New posts will happen weekly on Fridays and alternate authors.

Please check us out at MidwestWitches.wordpress.com on Friday. We’ll have a lot of the same kind of information (like book reviews), plus much more knowledge we’ve both acquired throughout our spiritual journeys. We also intend on taking  mini-road trips to review some events that are happening more locally as well as information on local vendors. We’ll be using code-names since we live in the Bible Belt and one of us isn’t out of the proverbial broom-closet at work, so instead of Liz be on the lookout for anything authored by SidheSidhe Teg. You can reach me in the future at the following e-mail address Midwestwitches@gmail.com.

Blessed Be!!

Bird Magic by Sandra Kynes & a Personal Experience

***This post is not part of the review, but a description of how this book came to my attention and my previous personal experiences with birds.***

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When I began my journey into paganism I was barraged with images of owls. I very literally would not go a single day without finding at least one owl staring back at me from somewhere. Fellow pagans even noticed that whenever they were with me owls would be present, whether that be in a store, hiking, or simply listening to a radio station. Something would grab our attention that screamed ‘owl’. Non-pagans who knew nothing of my religious interests began assuming that I had an obsession with owls, because even they saw the owls whenever I was around. I tend to get Christmas gifts every year that include something with an owl on it because of this.

And while owls have been a near constant for the last five years or so, other birds tend to grasp my attention as well. Ravens are much more prominent in my life now and red cardinals have always held a special place in my heart. I even saw a great blue heron for the first time of my life this year. To say the least, I’ve become much more aware of the birds that surround me and have a tendency to research them whenever I come across an unfamiliar species.

This, of course, led me to research different birds and the meanings behind their presence, particularly the owls. And the owls still are present, not nearly as often as they were when I first began my religious journey, but I have definitely learned to pay attention when they do show up. So it should be expected that when I was approached by the author to provide an honest review, without her knowing any of my past experiences and only finding me through WordPress and Goodreads, I couldn’t decline the offer after seeing the cover image. The owl staring back at me seemed to have the expression of shouting at me with it’s eyes, telling me to continue reviewing books, to continue learning, to continue on my path. After finishing Kynes’ book I believe that she backed up that message with her description of owls through the Goddess.

Wiccan Spells For Beginners by Naomi Hill

Wiccan Spells for Beginners is a short 50 page work written by Naomi Hill, published by Wiccan Spells Edition in 2014 and published using CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform in 2013. While the cover was eye-catching and the description intriguing, the fact that it was published through CreateSpace should have been an indicator that the book would fall flat when examined fully. The writing is simplistic, using short phrases instead of full sentences at times and reflects how some individuals speak, rather than how one should provide detailed information. The lack of editor is also evident in the plethora of incorrect information and misuse of terms.

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The first three chapters describe Wicca and the belief systems that the author attributes to Wiccans. This is where the author seems to confuse the religion of Wicca with witchcraft, which is the use of spellwork. While the two do co-exist, a person can practice witchcraft and spellwork without following the religion of Wiccan . So the explanation that Wiccans can also be atheist is not correct. An atheist can perform spells and do witchcraft, just as a person of any faith or lack of can. But generally, while still very open to beliefs and rituals, the religion of Wicca is duotheistic, with Wiccans believing in both a God and a Goddess figure.

In the first chapter that actually begins discussing spells (chapter four) the author uses terms and phrases such as white and dark magic, which technically doesn’t exist (though some people still use these terms). Magic is magic, it isn’t white or dark, but depends on one’s intent. If a person follows the Wiccan Rede then they do not do any kind of negative or ‘dark’ magic. Therefore, immediately following up the statement about magic using those terms with reference to the Rede made absolutely no sense. The author also uses the term ‘wizard’ in reference to a male witch. The term ‘witch’ is used to describe both female and male practitioners, no educated witch would use the term wizard. From these small, but ignorant, mentions alone the book was nearly abandoned. There weren’t any mentions of spellwork until chapter four after all and even then it was filled with inaccuracies, so many that I don’t have time to correct them all.

So from the statement on the cover of the book one would assume that this work included quick and simple magic spells and rituals that would improve your health, wealth, and relationships. It does include some spells, with chapters broken down into spells regarding luck, love, travel, health and success, personal power,

which are so simple they’re almost childlike (though it’s not recommended that children do spells without supervision). Some spells do incorporate herbs, oils, and colors correctly in regards to meanings and connections (green = money, though can also mean health), others use items that have no magical connections or meanings (rabbit pellet? really?). It definitely would be best to double and triple check ingredients when doing any of the spells mentioned in this book. Intention and visualization aren’t mentioned until chapter nine, which is well after some people may have begun casting. Only one spell mentions any aspect of the God and Goddess, making this barely a book about Wiccan spells and more a book on general spells that also includes some (often incorrect) information regarding Wicca.

Witchcraft Today by Gerald Gardner

Witchcraft Today is in fact, outdated, considering the original publication date is from 1954 by Rider and Company. It was reprinted in 2004 by Citadel and includes an introduction by Dr. Margaret Murray, who passed away in 1963, proving that it hasn’t been updated in quite some time. Much has changed since the 1950’s, however, if a reader is expecting information from that time period they’ll be greatly disappointed, as it provides primarily shoddy information from pre-Gerald Gardner eras.

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While I’ll admit it was a quick and interesting read, the constant references to the author’s own opinions (I think, I believe, etc.) makes any tidbit of information within questionable. It seems as though instead of fact-checking historical events or customs he half-heartedly assumes that what he’s heard through the grapevine is the end-all-be-all. Perhaps this was the case though, since there weren’t many books about witchcraft available in the United States at that time.

However, the fascination with this book within the Pagan & Wiccan communities today is astounding considering that Gerald Gardner provides no basis for any of his ‘factual’ claims. He provides no bibliography (again, perhaps understandable) or index, and is vague at best when explaining where information was obtained. In regards to format, the chapter subheadings are often confusing, at least in the copy I read where the first ‘paragraph’ was a breakdown of what would be discussed in each chapter in half-sentences. Basically, this book seemed more like a breakdown of what Gardner thought about topics and less about what is factually known today about those topics.

An updated book with footnotes of where his thoughts could be either proven or dis-proven, complete with index, bibliography, and recommendations for further reading on topics that are glossed over would be a nice idea for the next reprint that is sure to happen.

Pagan Portals the Morrigan by Morgan Daimler

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What a fantastically appropriate title for this informational book, The Morrigan: Meeting the Great Queens! If you know anything about The Morrigan, then you already know that the title of ‘Morrigan’ can cover a number of goddesses, all of which are great queens of their domains. And if you don’t know that, and you have interest in this ‘dark’ goddess, then this book was written just for you.

Morgan Daimler stuffed this short piece to the brim with academic information and personal experiences, making it a definite go-to reference book if you wish to know anything about The Morrigan. However, if you crave more details about The Morrigan the author does lay out recommendations and sites her sources for further reading. Daimler has written a number of books relating to other Pagan topics that seem interesting and already have many positive reviews on other sites. She is definitely an author worth further exploration.

Pagan Portals is more of a series title than a working title, and consists not only of books written on other gods and goddesses (Celtic and Greek), but also about topics such as pathworking, fairy witchcraft, astrological herbs, hoodoo, and many, many more. This series is published through Moon Books, which is a company that specifically caters to Paganism and Shamanism according to their website. From just browsing titles on their site you can find almost anything you may be interested to learn more about.

Salt is for Curing by Sonya Vatomsky

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If you enjoy poetry with dark imagery and ‘witchy’ depictions then Salt is for Curing is definitely up your alley. Sonya Vatomsky beautifully describes her life, love, and survival through mental images of food and spell symbolism. Written in sections, like that of a sophisticated feast, this tiny, 77 page paperback will fill your mind with contemplation and is just what your soul needs to feel satiated.

While the author describes her debut as simply a “collection of poems about bones, dill, and survival”, it is so much more than that. The publisher, SATOR (which is magical in its name already), goes further to describe the poems as able to “conjure up a vapor of earthly pains and magical desires; like the most enduring rituals”, that “Vatomsky’s poems both intoxicate and ward”. This may be going a little overboard on the magical wordplay from SATOR, but at the same time the reader really does feel intoxicated with Vatomsky’s writings. It’s as though her pain and desires can be felt through her poems, which feels like more than just excellent writing.

I’ll admit that I really only picked up this gem because the cover caught my eye. So props to Ken Baumann who designed that. Any witch should at least be familiar with the idea of salt circles, and with the hint of the pentagram the cover screamed at me to at least explore the interior. Instead, I greedily gulped it down as though I’d been starving my entire life. I intend to go back to it (after I have some spending money to purchase it!) and slowly roll each poem around in my mouth for a better taste. Definitely worth the time and money, considering what elation it gave to my being.

Personality Numbers

While this is the least significant number according to Michelle Buchanan and can be overshadowed by the previous numbers we calculated as well as one’s Astrological Sun Sign, I felt like this number was worth a shot. This is calculated just like the Destiny Numbers and Soul Numbers, but instead of your full birth name or just the vowels, we instead calculate the consonants. My consonants are (23 = 2+3= 5), (13 = 1+3= 4), and (20=2). Adding those all up 5+4+2 = 11. So basically my Destiny and Personality Numbers are the same, just like my Soul and Life Path Numbers are the same. So while I haven’t necessarily reached this point yet, other people already perceive me as an “Inspirational Teacher”, according to the book I’m basing all of this information from. It’s an interesting idea, but I may need to ask in order to confirm this finding.
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