Tuesday 19 December 2023

Resolving Resolutions: Magical Books of 2023

In January I resolved to: "Blog about a magical book every month." It was one of my 10 New Year Resolutions. This month I've been posting about how I did with each of my plans for 2023. The picture to the right shows a few of the magical books I read, but here's what I posted each month:


Operation Cone of Power: I rarely review fiction on my blog, but Operation Cone of Power by Philip Heselton and Moira Hodgkinson had to be an exception. It's a fictionalised retelling of a magical working on eve World War II in which a coven of witches gathered in the New Forest to aid Britain's fight.

The Wildwood Way: I loved The Wildwood Way: Spiritual Growth in the Heart of Nature. Author Cliff Seruntine is a permaculturist, shamanic practitioner and writer who lives in a remote cabin out in the wilds of Nova Scotia. In The Wildwood Way, he writes about living in harmony with nature over the course of a year.

I also wrote about a beautiful book by Irisanya Moon, called Earth Spirit: Honoring the Wild.


Wanderland - A Search for Magic in the Landscape: This is one of my favourite reads from 2023. It's a tale of one woman's quest to find places in England that seem magical.


A brilliant book about feline folklore called The Magic of Cats came out in the spring. It's by druid Andrew Anderson and I recommend it for anyone who loves moggies.

If someone asked me to recommend a book as an introduction to paganism from ancient times to the present day, I'd say Pagans: The Visual Culture of Pagan Myths, Legends and Rituals. I was lucky to be sent an advance copy to review. 

The Way of Four is a classic book about the magical elements of earth, air, fire, and water and their use in witchcraft. I reviewed a new edition with a foreword by voodoo priestess Lilith Dorsey. 


I picked up The Cult of Water in a charity shop for just 50p. It's one in a series brought out by the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic. This is what it says on the back cover: "Aided by a witch and the magician Alan Moore, David Bramwell takes an occult journey back in time up the river Don." It was a great little find.

Another new edition of a classic book I reviewed was Sandra Kynes' Star Magic: The Wisdom of the Constellations for Pagans and Wiccans. I found it fascinating. 


The Aleister Crowley Manual is a no-nonsense workbook teaching Thelemic magic in straightforward and relatively easy to follow steps. I say relatively easy to follow, because mastering Thelemic magick still takes a lot of time and effort, as author Marco Visconti says. I recommend it.

The Witch's Survival Guide contains spells, rituals and elemental magick for those dealing with the stresses and strains of the modern world. A useful and practical self-help book for witches.


In June I  shared an extract from a lovely book, Where Fairies Meet: Parallels Between Irish and Romanian Fairy Traditions, by Daniela Simina, and enjoyed reading it too.

I also wrote about Tarot: A Life Guided by the Cards which is a brilliant mixture of tarot tutorial and autobiography of the author, Maddy Elruna. Tarot is something I do regularly, but I learnt a lot from reading this book and loved the style of writing.


Pagan Portals: Planetary Magic offers an explanation of the history and uses of the power of the planets, what each represents and the colours, herbs and other material components associated with them. Author Rebecca Beattie also goes into each day's planetary hours, to tap into the right energy for whatever spell you're doing. Very much a recommended book.


In Witchcraft Unchained: Exploring the History and Traditions of British Craft, Craig Spencer explores the history of British witchcraft in recent times and explains what witches do in a practical way.

Riches for Witches by Sheena Cundy offers ways of making our lives rich in both magical and more mundane ways.


Troubled by Faith: Insanity and the Supernatural in the Age of the Asylum by Professor Owen Davies offers an academic of study of early psychiatry, religion, and the supernatural as social history of the time from the early 1800s to the early 1900s. Quite an eye-opener.

I also read The Silversnake Project by Phil Smith and although I didn't post a review I did write about it in connection with the environmental activities it prompted, including this eco-magic altar.


This was the month when my own book Pagan Portals - Rounding the Wheel of the Year was published. I gave an online talk as part of the launch and I blogged about it with the recording.

I also reviewed The Science Spell Book by Dr Cara Florance, a children's title designed to inspire kids to experiment with all sorts of things that seem magical but are firmly scientific.


I read two books by Daniela Simina in 2023. In November I posted about A Fairy Path: The Memoirs of a Young Fairy-Seer in Training, her autobiographical account of growing up in Romania and learning witchcraft at a young age.

I also blogged about two books by Professor Owen Davies this year. I bought a copy of his Art of the Grimoire at the launch talk and party at Treadwell's in London, and enjoyed reading it afterwards.


Earlier this month I blogged about Beautiful Books for the Magical Season. In the post I listed several novels that would make great Yule gifts or festive reading as well as a short review of A Curious Invitation: The 40 Greatest Parties in Literature by Suzette Field.

Here's how I did with some other resolutions:
Launching Rounding the Wheel of the Year
A Year of Witchy Crafting

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