Author: Jamie Wood
Trade Paperback, 292 pages
Publisher: Celestial Arts
Publication date: September 2001
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With The Teen Spell Book: Magick for Young Witches, Jamie Wood, co-author of the excellent The Wicca Cookbook, offers up a spell book aimed at teenage Wiccans. While it is an interesting offering spell-wise, it suffers from major flaws, especially in its introductory and background material.
The book opens with a short introduction to Wicca. Almost all my major problems with this book occur in this introductory material, in the first twenty or thirty pages of this book. The author presents Wicca as an ancient religion and talks about how the religion went underground during the Burning Times. While this was a popular legend in the early days of the Wicca religion, scholars have long since shown Wicca to be a modern creation. Next the author moves on to a description of Wiccan traditions and straight to another major problem. A couple Non-Wiccan Pagan religions (Asatru and Kemetism -- Norse and Egyptian in this book) are listed as traditions of Wicca. In reality, they are completely separate religions from Wicca. There's no excuse for this either. This section concludes with a brief discussion of the Wiccan festivals. Those new to Wicca deserve accurate information about the history and branches of their religion. This book, unfortunately, does not provide very accurate information.
Fortunately, once past this initial section, The Teen Spell Book improves quite a bit. The next 50 pages or so provide Wiccan deity associations, background on spell casting and the magick circle, and various correspondences. While this material seems a bit disorganized in its presentation, it is useful and clear.
The meat of this book follows, over two hundred pages are filled with detailed, two to four page, descriptions of spells. Some of these spells seem silly to me, but as I'm 45 -- well past my teen years -- I think that's to be expected. One nice thing about all of these spells is that they are truly Wiccan spells. Unlike many spell books aimed Wiccans, you will not find any spells that seem to have been designed for use only by those who have completely forgotten the Wiccan Rede -- although a few (like "Win the Election") do strike me as borderline. The spells in this book are fairly simple both in procedure and requirements, which is a major plus in a book aimed at beginners.
Considered purely as a spell book for teens, The Teen Spell Book isn't bad at all. It contains simple spells aimed at teen needs which are clearly explained and stress the need for mundane follow up action. Unfortunately, the flawed background material in the first few pages of the book makes it impossible to recommend to its natural audience of impressionable teen beginners.
Reviewed by Randall