Author: Fiona Horne
Paperback, 250 pages
Publisher: Random House Australia
Publication date: November 2000
Only Available in Australia
Fiona Horne has been a practicing Wiccan Witch for fourteen years, and Life's a Witch is her third book. The previous two were beginners guides/memoirs, and sold well. This book is aimed at the younger generation, because Horne feels there is a lack of material available especially for teens. The writing style is very simple and colloquial, and Horne pulls it off without sounding condescending.
There are about 250 pages in the paperback, so it's well sized. Horne starts off with the basics of modern Wiccan Witchcraft, defining what a Witch is and what Witches do. She includes questions from teens, and her replies make for interesting reading. The part that makes this relevant to teens follows, and includes ideas on dealing with witchyness at school and home. Horne also discusses peer pressure issues, such as teen sex and drugs, in an ethical, magickal way - something I haven't seen before in this kind of book, and was impressed by. There is also an interview with an Australian teen Witch (the founder of the NightStar Teen Pagan Network) that I think all teens will enjoy, followed by a contribution section, where the art, poetry and spells submitted by other teens are provided. Her Tips section is a practical and fun guide to living as a teen Witch, and leads on to the chapter about magickal correspondences.
Situated throughout the chapters are spells and rituals related to whatever topic is being discussed. The emphasis is on doing, rather than reading. All spells are made up with easy to obtain ingredients. (Thank Gods for someone who understands how hard it is for a 13 year old to get hold of esoteric herbs!) All the spells are sensible and well written.
There are a few points I'd like to make:
1. Horne fails to distinguish between Witches and Wiccan Witches.
2. The book is a beginners guide for younger teens.
3. There is focus on practice rather than theory, with little discussion on why Wiccan Witches do these things and what they believe.
4. Because it was written by an Australia, the correspondences tend to be for the Southern Hemisphere. (I think this is a good thing, but then I live in New Zealand.)
5. The insights and anecdotes are what make this book special, so those who are looking for a straight guidebook will be disappointed.
Overall, Life's a Witch is a good book for the teen who is interested in practicing Wiccan-based Witchcraft and already understands some of the theology behind it. As opposed to other writers who have taken the basics of Witchcraft and dumbed it down for teens, Horne has specifically targeted issues that affect teens daily, and done so in an easy to read, informative manner. I give the book a four out of five, and recommend it to teens aged 13-18.
Reviewed by Mellee