Books of spells can be a bit hit and miss, in my opinion. Some are full of useful and original ideas for spellcraft, some are rehashes of traditional folklore and others are really only amusing fluff - intended more for entertainment than as practical magic. When I get a new spellbook I tend to dip into it, then put it on the bookshelf for future reference (or take it to the charity shop to save my shelf space if it falls into that last category)
I was recently given a copy of a new book called Planetary Spells and Ritualsby Raven Digitalis. I'd never read anything by this pagan priest of the Eastern Hellenistic tradition before, so didn't really know what to expect. Yet, after just a few pages, I have to say I was dead impressed and read the whole thing from cover to cover.
The full name of the book is Planetary Spells and Rituals: Practicing Dark and Light Magick Aligned with the Cosmic Bodies. As you might expect from that, it has chapters of spells on each of the planets, related to their astrological correspondences.
The book states: "The history of astrology and planetary magick is vast, hearkening back to the beginning of human civilization... It's widely accepted that planets influence energy."
Sun spells relate to power, confidence and strength, moon spells are for emotions, psychic ability and imagination, Mercury is for communication, Venus relates to love, the Earth is grounding, Mars is warlike, Jupiter brings abundance, Saturn relates to death in the cycle of life, Uranus brings change and freedom, Neptune is about intuition and vision, and Pluto brings about rebirth and transformation.
Publisher Llewellyn adds: "When you attune your magick to planetary energies, it becomes infinitely more powerful."
The book's subtitle also mentions "Dark and Light Magick", which are certainly another aspect of the spells within it. While many of the spells are what one would call light magic - for healing and good fortune - there are some pretty dark rites too. There are spells to explore the dark places in our minds, spells using lust and anger, and even a couple of curses.
Some modern witches are utterly opposed to even considering dark magic, which is fair enough. If you hold that view, leave this book alone. However, if you are interested in finding out about such things as curses, even if you would never cast one yourself, you will find Raven's writing on the subject to be intelligent, sensible and thought-provoking.
Raven's curses are only intended to harm those who are genuinely a threat, and the caster is warned that they must take responsibility for their own actions.
The book states: "It can be tempting, especially in youth, to curse other people. Ninety-nine percent of the time, there is not a valid reason to curse another person, even in cases of extreme frustration and hardship. If you have a tendency to get worked up or easily upset by occurrences in life, counteract your negativity by cultivating compassion instead. Turn to cursing only as a final outlet."
Raven also recommends taking practical steps to further one's goals when casting any spell. This can include seeking help from experts - be they doctors, therapists or lawyers.
Raven Digitalis is also the author of Shadow Magick Compendium: Exploring Darker Aspects of Magickal Spiritualityand Goth Craft: The Magickal Side of Dark Culture. I haven't read those books yet, but I was so impressed with Planetary Spells and Ritualsthat I'll definitely be looking out for them in future.
Planetary Spells and Rituals: Practicing Dark and Light Magick Aligned with the Cosmic Bodies is published by Llewellyn and is available through Amazon
Planetary Spells and Rituals