Author: Paul Huson
Publication date: December 1980
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The year was 1970. I was 13 years old. I had picked up books on astrology and fortune telling as well as books like Zolar's The Encyclopedia of Ancient and Forbidden Knowledge. This was the first book on witchcraft I had ever seen. I bought a copy. My parents, used to seeing me regularly buy all sorts of strange books with my allowance and newspaper route money, didn't even bat an eye. This book, more than any other, is responsible for setting me on the path I'm on today.
Mastering Witchcraft isn't really about Wicca. It is simply a fantastic introduction to Witchcraft as magick, with very little on the religious aspects. Unfortunately, this book has a poor reputation in some sections of the Pagan community because it teaches attack and control magick. Huson leaves the ethical decisions on whether or not to use such magick up to the reader. He usually warns of the possible dangers, but does not make the decision for the reader by leaving the material out or glossing over it as most other books seem to do.
The first two chapters introduce the reader to magick and the magickal tools of a witch. The next four chapters contain more actual magick spells than most of the rest of my Pagan library combined. Divination magick, love and lust magick, countermagick and protection, and vengeance and attack magic each receive a long and detailed chapter. The final chapter is on forming a coven.
If you are a Wiccan, you may want to avoid this book because of the many ethical problems you will have with it. If you aren't a Wiccan, have an interest in magick, and have the pocket change to buy it, I strongly suggest you pick up a copy. Even if you would never cast a love spell or an attack spell to flatten your enemies, you will probably find a good number of useful spells that you can add to your personal grimoire or book of shadows. I'm one of the people who believes that one's magickal education is not complete if you do not at least know how such things as love and attack spells work. For example, just reading the chapter on attack magick will make you better at defensive magicks as you will know far more about what you are defending against.
In summary, Paul Huson's Mastering Witchcraft is a classic and useful text on low magick. If you have a good moral sense, I think it will make an excellent addition to your library. I just wish that it was still printed in hardback.
Reviewed by Randall