Author: Jamie Woods
Trade Paperback, 193 pages
Publisher: Ten Speed Press
Publication date: 2005
List: US$12.95, C$17.95
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
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
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
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