Author: Richard Webster
Trade Paperback, 254 pages
Publication date: June 2001
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Richard Webster has written a large number of popular books on occult subjects generally aimed at the complete beginner. I've always ignored them. However, the title of his latest book, Write Your Own Magic: The Hidden Power in Your Words, intrigued me. The market hype made this book sound like a book on magick for the complete beginner that wasn't just a grimoire of prewritten spells. I decided to give it a try.
While I will not be putting this book on my most recommended list, I was pleasantly surprised by it. The author covers "word magick" for the beginner in a friendly and understandable manner. There is a good mixture of design your own magick and prewritten spells. A wide variety of types of word-related magickal methods are described, albeit usually briefly and without a lot of background or theory. Write Your Own Magic has more of a "New Age" feel to it than it does a "Pagan" feel. While this may bother some Neo-Pagans, it does not affect the overall usefulness of the book to the novice.
The first five chapters of this book are general background material. The author accompanies this material with anecdotes from his own experiences. Magickal ethics in covered in the third chapter. This is the only place I have a major problem with this book. The author believes that one should never do magick for another without their permission. Unfortunately, the example he gives of why someone might refuse magick sounds like someone who was willing herself to die because she was depressed after the death of her husband. While a depressed person may claim not to want help, that's usually the disease talking (and should not be listened to) from what I've read.
The seventh chapter gives magical methods from around the world for sending a wish out to the universe. The next chapter covers making written amulets and talismans. Next is a brief chapter on using crystals and gemstones. The tenth chapter talks about mandalas. This is followed by a short chapter on group work. The last chapter of the book discusses more formal spells, with a good number of prewritten examples.
Overall, this is a good magickal cookbook for complete beginners. It stands above many of the others on the market by providing general methods for doing magick as well as prewritten spells. While this requires a bit more of the reader than a collection of prewritten spells does, it gives the reader the tools he needs to use magic for his own needs -- even if those needs were not directly covered in the book. If you know someone who just wants to be able to use simple magick to improve his life, this is a good book to recommend.
Reviewed by Randall
Additional Books by Richard Webster