Basic Witches

When I was really young, a teenager who didn't quite know the length of her limbs yet, I liked to read Silver Ravenwolf books. They've aged a fair bit by now, and they show it here and there in problematic language with a 90's American mentality, but those books taught me a lot. They taught me that magic isn't about controlling the outside world, or bending it to your desire. In fact, they stressed the importance of respecting free will, and of never dishing out that which you aren't happy to receive in return. It gladdens my little rebellious, moon-worshiping heart when I see books like this emerge for a new generation, who might be drawn to the idea of witchcraft, but not know where to start. I was lucky, I had wise women I could go to for advice, but not everybody is so fortunate. 

Basic Witches, by Jaya Saxena and Jess Zimmerman, is an utterly beautiful-looking book. The illustrations, courtesy of Camille Chew, are pretty magical on their own. If you're looking for instruction on rituals, the witch's calendar, goddesses and gods et cetera, then it probably won't be very helpful, and it doesn't claim to be. More than anything, I feel it's a kind of feminist manual for discovering, or rediscovering, your own personal power and balance. It guides you through caring for your body, creating your life, and nurturing your friendships in a deliberate way full of witchy intention. It's packed full of many cool, simple spells that are easily adapted to suit your needs, if that kinda thing is up your street. You don't need any prior knowledge of witchcraft to have a go at them. Throughout the book you'll also pick up some of the associations witches connect to colours, crystals, days of the week and such, so that you can begin to create your own spells (in my opinion, spells you create from your own knowledge are the most effective and fulfilling) but these aren't the main point or substance of the book. It deals with some weighty and very current issues; body positivity, contraception and abortion, imposter syndrome, consent, libido, abusive relationships, self-care, social media, and mental health are all up for discussion. These conversations are woven through with more light-hearted magic, such as emoji runes, pop culture witches, cutting your own hair, whipping up your own makeup, and choosing a pet familiar. There is levity in the substance, and vice versa. You never feel talked-down-to or silly, and I would have loved the chapters on Glamours (beauty magic) and Enchantment (love and sex magic) to be a bit longer, as I found them so enjoyable.



The finished product is a book about witchcraft that feels very accessible, grounded, and modern. It's a sisterly work filled with witty and progressive advice for anyone, regardless of gender or religious background, who relates to the archetype of the witch: one who is persecuted for taking matters into their own hands, or for possessing too much knowledge. I would especially recommend it to people who might not consider themselves "magical", or "spiritual". I read a lot of books about the craft, about the ins and outs of herbalism, astrology, sex magic and goddess worship, but I also love to dive into books like this just as much; ones that are less about ceremony and more about the badass spirit behind all witchery. You don't have to believe in anything to read this book, except perhaps the power and potential within women, and the marginalized of this world. The magic being cooked up here is all in your mind, and there can be little debate about the power of the mind. Whether you're an atheist or just starting out on your journey into nature-based religions, there's much fun to be had in Basic Witches, and also much empowerment. Let's raise hell.


This post in NOT sponsored, but items were sent for consideration. All opinions are my own and completely honest, as always. For more, see my PR page.

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