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Home > Books & Reviews > Pagan > The Enchanted Diary Search

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Book Review:
The Enchanted Diary: A Teen's Guide to Magick and Life

Author: Jamie Woods
Trade Paperback, 193 pages
Publisher: Ten Speed Press
Publication date: 2005
List: US$12.95, C$17.95
ISBN: 1587612453
Price & More Info: Click Here

This book is aimed at teenage girls and will have minimal appeal to the average teen male. In this, it conforms to the common perception that the Craft is dominated by females. This isn't necessarily bad, since there are both male and female "mysteries" (mysteries in the sense of needing to be experienced and incapable of being transmitted any other way). Although I, personally, believe that every entity experiences lifetimes as both genders, I do understand that most people can't access their experiences as the opposite gender.

Although this book contains some space for writing and doodling, I would disagree the "blurb" on the back cover when it describes it as offering "plenty of space to write and doodle." In its 189 pages (with 4 pages of index following) I counted less than 40 pages for writing and doodling (right around 20% of the book) which doesn't amount to "plenty" in my estimation.

What this book does provide plenty of is basic information on topics ranging from astrology, palmistry and tarot, to simple rituals and "potions", with a smattering of "herstory" thrown in. All of this makes perfect sense in a book aimed at teen-aged girls.

Ms. Wood postulates the existence of three types of magic and, although I had never thought about it in these terms, I can see how it works. She defines magic as ritual, everyday, and wild. While most folks think primarily of ritual and everyday, or high and low, magick wild magick is what you experience unexpectedly while walking in the woods, seeing the clouds build before a thunderstorm, or being dazzled by a starlit night.

Although this is most definitely a "101" book, the author makes a few assumptions about pre-existing knowledge in her readers. For instance, she jumps right into the fourfold nature of life in the first line of "Elementals" when she says: "The elements of nature - air, fire, water, and earth -are the building blocks for life and creating magick." This may come as a shock for those young ladies whose chemistry teachers have just exposed them to the periodic table of elements.

Although I appreciate her emphasis on the positive side of magick (she avoids the "you must protect yourself at all times and costs" mindset), I find her idea of calling the elementals to visit with no preparation a bit disconcerting. Although elementals can be harmless I have always been taught that one must properly send them on their way when finished working with them, and Jamie makes no mention of such activities.

There are numerous editing errors in this book, most of which are simply typographical (e.g., "her" for "hear"), but some are a bit more obvious and inexplicable. On page 36, while discussing how to determine your "personality card" in the tarot, she gives the following: "...for a person born on December 23, 1988 it would work out like this"




                        2026 = 2 + 2 + 6 = 10

which doesn't work at all since it should have started with 1988, not 1991. She then goes on to tell the reader to reduce all numbers over 23 after saying to keep all numbers between 1 and 22. Evidently 23 is a null number -- you don't reduce it, but it doesn't fit into the overall scheme of things.

The author's take on palmistry is unlike any I have ever encountered before. Other than describing the general shapes of hands, naming the fingers and identifying the mounts there is nothing of traditional palmistry in this section.

The symbolism she assigns to animals is extremely simplistic and, although it incorporates some of the character of each animal, I found it much too limiting. For example, for bear she says: "...the need to rest, to hibernate..." Where is mention of the fierce protectiveness that is so much a part of bear?

I am not used to people raising the cone of power before casting the circle, and I'm not really sure how I feel about this as a beginner's technique. I suppose it all boils down to what you were originally taught.

To a certain extent Jamie seems, to me, to be a bit of a Pollyanna. She doesn't believe that hexes can work without the victim's permission (either explicit or implicit). That strikes me as not believing a bullet can hurt you unless you allow it to. Granted, belief can heighten the effects of a hex, but disbelief can't protect you from evil.

Reviewed by Mike Gleason

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