Author: Gwinevere Rain
Trade Paperback, 160 pages
Publication date: September 2002
Price & More Info: Click Here
It has gotten to the point where I cringe when I see a book on Paganism, Wicca, or magick aimed at teens. So many of these books are either full of misinformation or contain things that would trouble just about any parent who took the time to read it. Therefore, when I requested a copy of Gwinevere Rain's Spellcraft For Teens: A Magickal Guide To Writing & Casting Spells I was prepared to be disappointed.
The author of Spellcraft For Teens is herself a teen. This will probably give the book a certain credibility with teens that many of the books written by adults aimed at teens lack, but it also means the author has less experience in magick and in life. The writing style is light and breezy, without being overly familiar and intrusive. I suspect this style of writing will go over well with teens.
The preface explains the purpose of the book. The author intends to provide a basic spell design kit for teens -- a compromise between designing and writing spells from scratch and using spells designed by someone else. This is an interesting idea. In the introduction which follows, Rain tells how she got involved in the religion of Wicca and casting magick. No grandmother stories or other tall tales here, the author admits learning from books and from the Internet.
The first chapter of this book is a very brief introduction to the religion of Wicca and the the practice and tools of magick. The description of Wicca is very brief, which will upset some even through the title of this book is Spellcraft For Teens and not Wicca for Teens. While brief, the information is fairly accurate for modern Wicca. The author even gets the difference between witchcraft and Wicca right -- something many Wicca 101 books by adults cannot manage to do. Most of this short chapter is devoted to magickal tools and how to use them, however. The safety tips for candles, for example, are excellent and even mention that one's parents might not let one use candles.
The second chapter discusses the ethics of Magick (from a Neo-Wiccan point-of-view) in easy to understand terms. Separate sections discuss the ethics of casting spells for others as well as the ethics of banishing, binding, and love spells. This part concludes with a discussion of how to do Wiccan-style ritual and a clear, step-by-step description of circle casting.
The third and fourth chapters are the "spell design kit." The third chapter includes three to five chants for each of the following major categories of spells: banishing, blessing, binding, healing, love, beauty, money, truth, purification, power, and protection. There are also three more specific categories: book blessings, stopping gossip, and psychic powers. Finally, there is a chant for an "undoing" spell for attempting to undo magickal mistakes. These chants do away with the hardest part of creating a spell from scratch for most new to magick: coming up with words to say. The fourth chapter explains how to create a spell, discusses various magick techniques (candle magick, conjuring bags, knot magick, and poppet magick), and lists the colors, herbs, and charms associated with the categories of magick. The chapter concludes with sections on incense and oils.
The final chapter is a brief introduction to magickal record keeping. The author describes what she believes belongs in a book of shadows and provides a form for recording spells cast. The book concludes with appendixes on finding supplies and further reading, a glossary, and a pattern for a poppet.
I'm still not sure why teens need special books written just for teens. When I was a teen in the early 1970s, I was reading books like Mastering Witchcraft, The Grimoire of Lady Sheba, Gardner's Witchcraft Today, Hans Holzer's books on Paganism, Frazier's The Golden Bough, etc. Nevertheless, Spellcraft For Teens is one of the better introductory books on the magick of witchcraft aimed at teens that I've read. Unlike some such books I've read, it does not advise teens to hide what they are doing from their parents, to harass bookstore employees, or the like. It just presents a Wiccan-style magick system in a clear and simple manner that should empower teens without feeding their egos or their feelings of alienation from their parents and the world.
If you or a teen you know is looking for a very basic book on magick written especially for teens, Spellcraft For Teens is one of the best choices I've seen. It is fairly accurate, very practical, and written in a teen-friendly manner that somehow manages not to be parent-hostile.
Reviewed by Randall