Tuesday 23 February 2016

Review: Pagan Portals - Candle Magic, A Witch's Guide

No, I haven't reviewed my own book - Willow Merrymoon read an advance copy of Pagan Portals - Candle Magic and wrote a review, giving me permission to post it on A Bad Witch's Blog:

Lucy Starza's book on candle magic is in Moon Books' popular Pagan Portals series. It is a slim volume, attractively presented with a lovely illustration offering a promise of things to come.

The author states that her purpose in writing this book is about "how to harness the magic of candles in many different ways" (p.xiii), and it is aimed at anyone who is interested in candle magic, from the newcomer to the well-seasoned.

The book is divided into four distinct sections - candle spells; ceremonies and rituals; meditation, divination and psychic sight; and history, chandlery and safety. Section One offers many spells, with plenty of information on how to add to the power of the candle spell, e.g. use of scents and essentials oils, when to cast your spell, and types of candles. Section Two gives great information about rituals and the use of candles within them. The third section goes into detail about the uses of candles within meditation and divination, whilst Section Four addresses the history of candles and candle-making along with some very good points relating to safety issues.

Starza has a style of writing which is simple and to the point. She doesn't go all round the houses to say what she want to say, and all this makes for easy, enjoyable reading. She is very pragmatic, having her feet very firmly on the ground. In other words, she takes a very practical approach to candle magic, and none of the spells, rituals or psychic work requires hard-to-find ingredients. A good example concerning candles is as follows - "...miniature candles are so great for candle spells...they burn down fast " (p.9). Her reasoning is that if the spell requires that a candle be burnt right down without blowing it out, it could be dangerous to leave it burning all night. Another example - again, very practically-minded, the author addresses issues of outdoor ritual work, urging people to be mindful of safety and viability.

At the end of Section One there is a chapter named 'Grimoire'. To quote the author - "A grimoire is a collection of spells" (p.49). Alongside some of the more obvious spells, such as getting a job or recovering lost items, Starza has included a couple of more unusual spells, i.e. Big Hugs Candle Magic and Magic Fondue Spell. This latter involves a lot of stirring and chanting...double, double!

An important point to note is that the author is not 'preachy' or dogmatic - "go with what feels right to you" (p.45).

The book contains some beautiful and beautifully simple rituals,starting with Casting the Circle. There is a strong emphasis on the use of candles in this ritual act, bringing light and life to
this act of magic.

Right at the end of the book the author provides numerous tips on the subject of safety, which are very simple yet so easily overlooked.

The only weakness in this book is with regard to the ethics of candle magic. She writes two pages on this subject and given its importance, a little more attention to it would have been good. However, the rest of the book more than makes up for it. The author has the gift of inspiring her readers, making them sit up and want to grab the nearest candles in order to get going.

On a personal note, I couldn't put this book down and have no doubt I will be referring to it many times. I imagine that working candle magic with Starza would be terribly exciting, for that is how she comes across. Failing that... I hear candles calling!

Pagan Portals - Candle Magic is officially launched this Friday, February 26, 2016.

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1 comment:

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