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Practical Magic: A Beginner's Guide to Crystals, Horoscopes, Psychics, and Spells

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Practical Magic is a charmed introduction to the wonders of modern magic and mysticism, from crystals and astrology to chakras, dream interpretation, and, of course, a few spells! Focusing on three primary areas -- healing, magic, and fortunetelling -- this books provides the perfect primer for sophisticated dabblers, with inviting text and spell-binding illustrations. Clea Practical Magic is a charmed introduction to the wonders of modern magic and mysticism, from crystals and astrology to chakras, dream interpretation, and, of course, a few spells! Focusing on three primary areas -- healing, magic, and fortunetelling -- this books provides the perfect primer for sophisticated dabblers, with inviting text and spell-binding illustrations. Clear introductions on trending topics, like herbal tonics and astrological charts, are paired with home remedies, hands-on instructions, and suggested rituals in a chic, stylish format that will capture the imaginations of good witches of all ages.


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Practical Magic is a charmed introduction to the wonders of modern magic and mysticism, from crystals and astrology to chakras, dream interpretation, and, of course, a few spells! Focusing on three primary areas -- healing, magic, and fortunetelling -- this books provides the perfect primer for sophisticated dabblers, with inviting text and spell-binding illustrations. Clea Practical Magic is a charmed introduction to the wonders of modern magic and mysticism, from crystals and astrology to chakras, dream interpretation, and, of course, a few spells! Focusing on three primary areas -- healing, magic, and fortunetelling -- this books provides the perfect primer for sophisticated dabblers, with inviting text and spell-binding illustrations. Clear introductions on trending topics, like herbal tonics and astrological charts, are paired with home remedies, hands-on instructions, and suggested rituals in a chic, stylish format that will capture the imaginations of good witches of all ages.

30 review for Practical Magic: A Beginner's Guide to Crystals, Horoscopes, Psychics, and Spells

  1. 4 out of 5

    SA

    Okay, it's hard to believe that no one in this genre has had the audacity to title a non-fiction book "Practical Magic" until now, since for sure I and so many in my generation read and/or saw Alice Hoffman's Practical Magic and burned with the desire for that to be our reality. The misleading aspect of my four-star rating acknowledged, I am deeply conflicted about this book. First of all, it is gorgeous. Like, savouring every page gorgeous. Illustrator Katie Vernon's images are inspired, and fo Okay, it's hard to believe that no one in this genre has had the audacity to title a non-fiction book "Practical Magic" until now, since for sure I and so many in my generation read and/or saw Alice Hoffman's Practical Magic and burned with the desire for that to be our reality. The misleading aspect of my four-star rating acknowledged, I am deeply conflicted about this book. First of all, it is gorgeous. Like, savouring every page gorgeous. Illustrator Katie Vernon's images are inspired, and for me, divinely so. I was thrilled to see that several of her illustrations were printed as high-quality notecards, which I immediately purchased to frame for my altar/shrine spaces. Three of the illustrations are also printed as small notebooks, which I have delighted in scribbling through. Book designer Susan Van Horn elevated the book further -- from fonts to symbols to thoughtfully inset reference images, there's a care and quality here that is unmatched even in some of the loveliest witchy-magic-pagan volumes available today. (Of which there are many.) Also, fellow bibliophiles, the binding smells amazing. You know what I mean. So on a purely visual-aesthetic level, this is a five - nay, six! - star book, certainly one of the volumes I've enjoyed most over easily the last decade. As for the content, in general this is an okay 101 guide. It touches on a lot of different areas, from auras to crystals to herbs to divination, concisely and with reasonable introductory information. There's a few lines here and there that made me say, "Welllllll, yeah, but--"; yet that's pretty much uniformly the reaction I have to any introductory text on craft and practice, barring perhaps Scott Cunningham's timeless works. At its least, it recalls the shallowness of Ruby Warrington's Material Girl, Mystical World: The Now Age Guide to a High-Vibe Life, in the sense that there's nothing really bad about it, but that's not really an argument for it being good. At its best, the brief descriptions of, say, the chakras allow the loveliness of the illustrations to take the forefront of inspiration and curiosity. I would have preferred that each chapter ended with a "Further Reading" type conclusion -- Deborah Blake's Everyday Witchcraft: Making Time for Spirit in a Too-Busy World does a splendid job of this -- and, although I was gratified to find a bibliography at the end, it was dominated by URLs (which could change at any moment) to websites that are also highly general on their subject. That said, of the comparatively few books Van De Car did include in her bibliography, I generally approve of all of them as good volumes to begin digging deeper on each subject. There were only a couple of places that probably would have knocked this down to a two-star rating were it not for the overwhelmingly brilliant artwork. First, on page 61, there's a section called "How to Make a Gris-Gris". The first sentence reads: "Gris-gris go by any number of names, including sachets, charm bags, spell bags, and hex bags." And the author should have used any of those names instead of gris-gris. I'm not going to speculate on the author's hereditary background, but from what I've read of her blog, she does not appear to follow hoodoo/voudoun/voodoo as a tradition, and a gris-gris is a highly specific term for the item Van De Car goes on to describe in this section. Seriously, what the fuck. This is a highly generalized book of dead-basic information that, frankly, is more likely to end up in the hands of (young) white girls with disposable income, meaning that not only is the use of "gris-gris" as a generalized term inappropriate, it will likely not be at all clear that it is inappropriate, or why that is so. Some teenaged white girl is going to roll into her local pagan shop, say "gris-gris", and potentially fuck up her introduction to her local community and fuck off any shop runner with a basic understanding of the cultural appropriation. That's my two-star, right there. It's so innocuous, buried halfway through the book, amidst other sub-sections for working plant-based magic, and that's what makes it so fucking terrible. Any fucking contemporary editor should have caught this, whether they are practitioners or not. The second thing is equally egregious, but in a different direction. Chapter 7 is titled "White Magic", and is sort of a quickstarter guide to spell magic. The introduction is reasonable, and I appreciated the breakdown in "The Parts of a Spell", which included "Purification" as well as "Giving Thanks" in its steps. Good stuff, although again, very brief. Pages 78-80, though, are so-called "Simple Spells." I'm generally fine with the idea of providing basic spellwork -- most of it comes down to the person doing the spell anyway. But several of these spells are grossly irresponsible to provide to the novice. Take "Healing Spell" on page 81, for example: Use a garlic or sage smudge wand, and have turquoise, garnet, and clear quartz either on an altar or in your hands. Focus on the person you wish to heal, whether it is yourself or another, and direct your energies particularly towards the injury or illness in question. If you need to be healed, place the stone or stones on the site of injury or illness, or if the person you wish to heal is present, place the stones on their body. Hold your hand over the specific place, and visualize white light and energy flowing from your hand. Recite the following incantation: Let this pain ease/Let my power flow/Let this sickness cease/So mote it be. Fuck, where to start. FIRST, by structuring what is meant to be a "simple spell" around two potent herbs and/or three very powerful stones, the author is inherently overpowering the capabilities and experience of the novice practitioner. While there's a quick guide to cleaning stones on pg 25, there's no reference back to that practice for preparation before attempting the spell. SECOND, though the previous pages offered an outline of what is involved in casting a spell, none of those actions are mentioned here, nor is a quick "before you begin, go back to page 78 and follow these steps" provided. Some kid is going to jump right into the spell part itself without doing the necessary preparation, which doesn't help with the spell itself but more significantly doesn't reinforce the critical necessity of self-protection -- ESPECIALLY WHEN DOING HEALING WORK ON OTHER PEOPLE. Furthermore, this whole thing doesn't even touch whether or not the novice has permission to conduct a healing spell on another person, or the morality involved in applying your will to another person, or the rebound effect of applying your will to another person if you haven't effectively protected yourself and/or there is negative energy involved. I just kept thinking about this novice practitioner I met last year who performed a healing spell on another person (invited), who said after the fact that she hadn't thought about protecting herself before doing it, and was unpleasantly surprised when she swiftly became ill herself. This is what I mean about the irresponsibility (at minimum) of the spells provided and the scanty fashion in which they are presented. Here's the other egregious example, the "Love Spell" on page 85: First consider what kind of love spell you want to cast. Is it a general love spell to invite more love into your life? Are you hoping to attract or seal the affections of someone specific? If it is someone specific, write their name on a piece of paper. Make your smudge wand with a combination of myrtle, mistletoe, honeysuckle, dragon's blood, and caraway. If you're hoping to attract someone specific, you might want to add some sage, Mandrake, or lemon balm, and if you're casting a spell to improve your marriage, consider using some hawthorn as well. Light a candle and place rose quartz, smoky quartz, hade, and carnelian around it. Scatter rose petals around you, if you like. If you wrote someone's name on your piece of paper, light it on fire and place it in the bowl that holds your smudge wand. Recite the following incantation: Let me be open to the love that is here/There is much that I do not see/Let (NAME or THE ONE THAT I LOVE) draw me near/So mote it be. I felt like banging my head against a wall after reading that, and the reaction did not improve whilst typing that up. Again, the spell components are fucking powerful on their own, and when combined, are the equivalent of powering a night-light with a nuclear reactor. Completely disproportionate to the potential capabilities and experience of the novice, and frankly irresponsible and foolish as an author acting as an authority on the subject. I just. Imagining a novice taking this into their local shop, explaining to the clerk, and then imagining the look on the clerk's face in response is -- well, again, banging head against wall. Also AGAIN, the morality of the thing, the manifestation of the Threefold Law (or at least Very Appropriate Guideline), the dubiousness of casting A LOVE SPELL on a specific person -- it's all fucking terrible. Just fucking terrible. Very upsetting. And irresponsible as hell. In one way, it almost makes the whole thing worse that the book is so bloody beautiful. The experience of reading it visually is so delightful that it masks the actual content, which isn't a problem where the content is brief and general (most of it) but is a significant problem where the content is thoughtless and inherently dangerous. That this is marketed as a 101 further enhances the problem. So, there's my conflict. It's a pretty substantial one. I wouldn't recommend this, nor especially would I ever suggest this to a novice or someone generally interested in witchy-magic-paganism. The problems, though they are few in number, are alarming in their consequences. At most, I would encourage a practitioner with some experience to flip through this book at your local bookstore, take in the gorgeous design and awe-inspiring illustrations; then put it back on the shelf and go buy Katie Vernon's artwork instead. I wish I could convince myself to two-star this based on content. I really do. But the extremity of the sensual pleasure I got from the visuals manage to overcome the actual content of the book, for me specifically as a multi-decade practitioner who has a hard-on for design.

  2. 4 out of 5

    I'mogén

    Video review: https://www.youtube.com/edit?o=U&... This was a great book for beginners because it goes over terminology really easily, with lovely illustrations to further explain. I wanted to read this alongside my Mind, Body and Spirit magazine, in the hopes that it would give me some modern updates because I think the magazine is a reprinted older one. It definitely worked out for me because I found myself already knowing a fair few things, but I appreciated the little bit more depth this had Video review: https://www.youtube.com/edit?o=U&... This was a great book for beginners because it goes over terminology really easily, with lovely illustrations to further explain. I wanted to read this alongside my Mind, Body and Spirit magazine, in the hopes that it would give me some modern updates because I think the magazine is a reprinted older one. It definitely worked out for me because I found myself already knowing a fair few things, but I appreciated the little bit more depth this had and the different layout. It is such a beautifully put together book. The illustrations are absolutely stunning and the book itself is constructed so lovely. It just feels like great quality. I felt like this book taught me about myself, so I appreciate that I felt like I could connect with my inner self more deeply. This is totally one of those books that I need to come back to so that I can properly try out some of the things, after having a better understanding of them. I think the only reason that this didn't get a 5 star was because some parts did get a bit long winded and lost my interest, but for the most part it was simple to follow and embedded with a little bit of humour to add a dash of character and not just leaving it drowned in facts. I loved how the conclusion made each part relevant to different types of people reading this and was clearly open to the understanding that not every kind of magic is for everyone and not everyone is going to whole heartedly believe in it. It was just really well expressed and put together very well too. Pick it up, give it a go and enjoy! >(^_^)< Gén

  3. 4 out of 5

    Juli Anna

    Bland. There is neither personality nor expertise in this writing. Van Der Car makes some dangerous suggestions, including burning poisonous plants like belladonna, without much of a warning. They barely skim the surface on any of these topics, and some of the information is downright incorrect. The illustrations are lovely, but they don't make up for the lack of useful content. Bland. There is neither personality nor expertise in this writing. Van Der Car makes some dangerous suggestions, including burning poisonous plants like belladonna, without much of a warning. They barely skim the surface on any of these topics, and some of the information is downright incorrect. The illustrations are lovely, but they don't make up for the lack of useful content.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Abigail Natoli

    Very good introduction, covers just about all of the basics. I found it very interesting!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Lady H

    A gorgeously styled book and an excellent introduction for anyone curious about the esoteric. The best thing about it is it's a very down-to-earth book, acknowledging that a lot of these things probably are psychological/placebo effect/etc, but ultimately acknowledging that it doesn't really matter, because they're fun. As someone who loves reading about magic purely for the aesthetic, I appreciated this. This makes a great reference book; everything is laid out very clearly in short and succinc A gorgeously styled book and an excellent introduction for anyone curious about the esoteric. The best thing about it is it's a very down-to-earth book, acknowledging that a lot of these things probably are psychological/placebo effect/etc, but ultimately acknowledging that it doesn't really matter, because they're fun. As someone who loves reading about magic purely for the aesthetic, I appreciated this. This makes a great reference book; everything is laid out very clearly in short and succinct lists. I will definitely be going back to this book again and again.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Tamara Ludgarda

    Now I'm more of a witch than yesterday 🧙‍♀️ Now I'm more of a witch than yesterday 🧙‍♀️

  7. 5 out of 5

    abby

    as someone who is very new to this stuff, this book was pretty helpful. it’s very basic information but that’s what i was expecting. also it’s very cute

  8. 5 out of 5

    Dorian

    This book was really good! I honestly bought it because I knew it would have beautiful illustrations in it, but I was concerned because I thought it might not teach me anything new, but I was pleasantly surprised! It has so many good chapters and lessons in it! Nikki definitely knows her stuff, and I also really loved this book because she is pretty level with people. She knows that those from the magickal community and those who are just curious will pick up the book. She at one point is talking This book was really good! I honestly bought it because I knew it would have beautiful illustrations in it, but I was concerned because I thought it might not teach me anything new, but I was pleasantly surprised! It has so many good chapters and lessons in it! Nikki definitely knows her stuff, and I also really loved this book because she is pretty level with people. She knows that those from the magickal community and those who are just curious will pick up the book. She at one point is talking about whether people believe in spells or crystals or anything and whether it is the Placebo effect or it actually is magick and she says, “Does it even matter?” Like if that person ends up being helped, whether it be by the hands of crystals or just them healing (in the case of a healing spell), does it actually matter? I thought that was a really great point, and I definitely agree with it! I also loved learning about chakras (which I had a surface level knowledge about), and even auras (even if I am naturally skeptical about those). I thought she handled those subjects practically and she explained them really well. I loved how in depth she went into the art of palm reading (which I have always been curious about) and tarot (which was Review for me, but I still enjoyed reading it). However, my favorite thing that she covered was one’s natal chart or their birth chart. I had mine done ages ago, but I still was having trouble reading it for some reason, but she simplified it and made it super easy to understand, so that was super helpful to me. It basically charts the astrological signs, planets and the like according to the date, time and place you were born in order to show different aspects in your life that will become important in the future (the way you handle money, relationships, home, personality,...etc.) I love how she simplified it and I think it was super insightful! Overall, I really enjoyed this, and I think it was super gorgeous and insightful and you should give it a read regardless if you are part of the magickal community or not because it is really great and I think you can definitely take something out of it! I am definitely picking up more books by Nikki Van de Car, I can tell you that much.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Ivanna Berrios

    Full of cliches and somewhat culturally and spiritually empty. Ik its the purpose of an intro book, but just throwing together chakras with herbs with paganism felt wild. Making reference to voodoo/hoodoo magic without any cultural referent- also wild. Not rlly going into the ethics of sourcing materials and medicinal practices? Wild and irresponsible, which is still important even at the beginner level! This is a short, readable book good for just literally learning about herbs and the bare bone Full of cliches and somewhat culturally and spiritually empty. Ik its the purpose of an intro book, but just throwing together chakras with herbs with paganism felt wild. Making reference to voodoo/hoodoo magic without any cultural referent- also wild. Not rlly going into the ethics of sourcing materials and medicinal practices? Wild and irresponsible, which is still important even at the beginner level! This is a short, readable book good for just literally learning about herbs and the bare bones of what words/things are. Entertaining. I’m not a fuckin witch but i am a hater of all things vapid, underexplained, reeking of white assumptions, etc etc. Even though this isn’t my field, I feel safe in saying this book has problems for anyone attempting an introduction of substance beyond white hippie-isms and google-able information

  10. 5 out of 5

    Maggie Gordon

    Practical Magic is an introductory book to a variety of different metaphysical topics such as auras, divination, and spellcraft. Van De Car takes the approach of speaking to curious skeptics, knowing that her audience probably wants to know more about these topics, but also thinks that most of the knowledge contained within is questionable. She makes no promises of grand magic, and states multiple times that much of what she writes about has little scientific evidence, but does often make people Practical Magic is an introductory book to a variety of different metaphysical topics such as auras, divination, and spellcraft. Van De Car takes the approach of speaking to curious skeptics, knowing that her audience probably wants to know more about these topics, but also thinks that most of the knowledge contained within is questionable. She makes no promises of grand magic, and states multiple times that much of what she writes about has little scientific evidence, but does often make people feel better or more productively order their lives. If you know nothing about the basics of metaphysics, this may be a good introductory book. It's got gorgeous illustrations, so even if you think everything is hooey, you can enjoy the pretty :)

  11. 5 out of 5

    Lydia

    Armchair witchcraft by a knitting blogger. The reference/further reading section is over probably close to 70% websites. Check out the zodiac section and the descriptions of the signs' personalities and you can tell which ones the author has biases towards. Not a dig so much as something I find amusing whenever a casual practitioner writes an article (or a book). Basically, I wanted more from this book. It was all surface with no real body, and I would say could barely be called a primer. There Armchair witchcraft by a knitting blogger. The reference/further reading section is over probably close to 70% websites. Check out the zodiac section and the descriptions of the signs' personalities and you can tell which ones the author has biases towards. Not a dig so much as something I find amusing whenever a casual practitioner writes an article (or a book). Basically, I wanted more from this book. It was all surface with no real body, and I would say could barely be called a primer. There are better books out there. The book is beautifully designed and the illustrations are textured and lush. So if you are only in it to pin it, then this is a good option. Just pose it next to all of your crystals and candles. You know who you are.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Melissa D'andrea

    It was a pretty looking book but I believe it lacked depth for anyone seriously looking to get into Wicca. Seemed like it was meant for that person looking for the witchy aesthetic/hipster vibe that is so envogue right now. I think if you were a teen looking into an alternative belief system or someone who wants a light primer to something ~magical, than this book could be helpful. I did not find it super insightful, but may use it as a resource in the future.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Beautifully illustrated! It is a great overall introduction to the world of modern magic and its origins. I received it as a gift, and it will be a lovely, useful book to refer to in my own spiritual journey.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Callie Gonsalves

    lots of interesting information!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Artemis

    'An Enchanted Introduction for Casual Clairvoyants and Weekend Witches.' This takes me back to my teenage years, when I was mystical-and-astrology-curious. Starry-eyed. Everything in 'Practical Magic: A Beginner's Guide to Crystals, Horoscopes, Psychics, and Spells' is exactly what it says on the tin. It is brief and simple in informing each topic, but the writing treats its readers like adults. It spoke to me on a profound, nostalgic, and, strangely enough, grounded level. For anyone who might be 'An Enchanted Introduction for Casual Clairvoyants and Weekend Witches.' This takes me back to my teenage years, when I was mystical-and-astrology-curious. Starry-eyed. Everything in 'Practical Magic: A Beginner's Guide to Crystals, Horoscopes, Psychics, and Spells' is exactly what it says on the tin. It is brief and simple in informing each topic, but the writing treats its readers like adults. It spoke to me on a profound, nostalgic, and, strangely enough, grounded level. For anyone who might be at least a little curious about magic, energy, chakras, auras, crystals, herbs, tarot cards, pagan holidays, astrology, horoscopes, dreams, lucid dreaming, and palmistry; the book validates it. It is about focus, meditation, believing, healing, and finding your true self; and finding a healthy balance in your life - in mind and body - over many things. Love most of all. For a starting point, 'Practical Magic' is mature, yet personal enough to keep the reader engaged. Very interesting stuff. A tiny but beautiful treasure, full of lovely discoveries. I might buy a tarot card deck or two after reading this. It doesn't cover everything to do with witchcraft or mystical forces, of course; there is no list of gods and goddesses to idealize or invoke. It is not entirely a universal experience. It could have better explained what smudge sticks/wands are, too, among other details. But there are always some new things that even experienced and well-versed witches or witch experts can find out in different books, and 'Practical Magic' is no exception. The refined mystique, that is this witch book. Nice illustrations, as well. A positive and honest review that reaches out to different people, so mote it be. Blessed be. Final Score: 4.5/5

  16. 5 out of 5

    bella

    it's alright, but i wouldn't really recommend for beginner witches. here's why: 1. the order of the book is odd. the first thing she jumps into is chakras, but there are other things you need to research before that. 2. the book does not talk about safety, for example, the author does not talk about casting a circle or protecting yourself. it also talks about cleansing your crystals in water or sunlight, however it does not mention that some crystals are not sun or water safe. in fact, some will it's alright, but i wouldn't really recommend for beginner witches. here's why: 1. the order of the book is odd. the first thing she jumps into is chakras, but there are other things you need to research before that. 2. the book does not talk about safety, for example, the author does not talk about casting a circle or protecting yourself. it also talks about cleansing your crystals in water or sunlight, however it does not mention that some crystals are not sun or water safe. in fact, some will dissolve and others become toxic when placed in water. 3. cultural appropriation. the author uses the term 'gris-gris' to refer to spell bags. she includes all these other terms for this type of spell: spell bags, power bags, etc, she should've used those! gris-gris is from the hoodoo/voodoo/vodoun culture, which, from my research, is for african-americans. also, the (over) use of the word 'smudging" to describe burning dried herbs. "smudging" is a VERY SPECIFIC term used by indigenous cultures. "smudging" is part of a VERY sacred ritual. if you are not part of this culture/invited to do this particular ritual then you should regulate your terminology to "smoke cleansing" or "sage cleansing" since that's literally what you're doing. this isn't new information, and we have been aware of these types of cultural appropriation well before 2017 (the publish date).

  17. 5 out of 5

    Stef

    A nice introduction to topics like palmistry, crystals, tarot, and the like in an attractive, colorful hardbound book.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Joanne

    Practical Magic by Nikki Van De Car is a good general introduction, as it talks a little about many different subjects: chakras, herbs and healing, magick and spells, horoscopes, tarot, palm reading and dreams. It is a little basic, though, and only really scratches the surface. However, it does go into more detail about chakras than The Little Book of Witchcraft by Astrid Carvel, and has been the only book I've read so far that gives some insight into the meaning behind the various celestial bo Practical Magic by Nikki Van De Car is a good general introduction, as it talks a little about many different subjects: chakras, herbs and healing, magick and spells, horoscopes, tarot, palm reading and dreams. It is a little basic, though, and only really scratches the surface. However, it does go into more detail about chakras than The Little Book of Witchcraft by Astrid Carvel, and has been the only book I've read so far that gives some insight into the meaning behind the various celestial bodies and the houses in your astrological birth chart - which has helped with what I've been reading online. It also tells you how to make healing tinctures, herbal oils, and poultices, which was interesting. I'd say it generally goes well with reading The Little Book of Witchcraft.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Rachael

    An awesome book for anyone interested in meditation, witchcraft, herbalism, astrology, and anything in between. This book is gives a comprehensive look into chakras, auras, crystals, herbalism, tarot, astrology, and more. You will read about the backgrounds, history, and explainations of these practices as well as get some ideas on how to use these ideas in your own life. While the book doesn't go too far into each subject, it gives the reader a jumping point to either use at home or to further An awesome book for anyone interested in meditation, witchcraft, herbalism, astrology, and anything in between. This book is gives a comprehensive look into chakras, auras, crystals, herbalism, tarot, astrology, and more. You will read about the backgrounds, history, and explainations of these practices as well as get some ideas on how to use these ideas in your own life. While the book doesn't go too far into each subject, it gives the reader a jumping point to either use at home or to further their research- something I definitely recommend as this book is clearly a general information guide. Some subjects might be new to you while others will no doubt be familiar, some you will nod along with while others you might find a little far fetched.. but that's the beauty of this book- it gives the reader information on a bunch of different paths and allows you to create your own practice and beliefs from there. One, or I guess two, problems I have with this book is a couple uses of terminology that is questionable at best, and wild appropriation at worse. And these are just the two I caught- I do not proclaim to be a diversity expert, but I do know that as of 2017 (publish date) both of these terms shouldn't have been used: First, the author uses the term 'gris-gris' to refer to spell bags. The most forehead-slapping issue is that the author includes all these other terms for this type of spell: spell bags, power bags, satchels, etc. and she should've just used those! From my understanding gris-gris is VERY SPECIFICALLY from the Hoodoo/Voodoo/Vodoun culture and unless you are a practioner you shouldn't be using that terminology. This type of footnote definitely should've been included to help newcomers understand differences and to respect other cultures. Secondly, but in a similar vein, the (over)use of the word 'smudging' to describe burning dried herbs/ herbal smoke cleanse. Smudging is another VERY SPECIFIC term used by indigenous cultures, and from what I understand smudging is part of a VERY sacred ritual. If you are not part of this culture/invited to do this particular ritual then you should regulate your terminology to 'smoke cleanse' or 'herb cleanse' since those are more accurate anyway. Again, this is not new information and we have been aware of these types of cultural appropriation well before 2017 (the publish date). I dunno, if you would be reprimanded for taking a bath in christian holy water, or for using the body of christ as bread for your pb&j, what makes you think you can do that to other cultures without backlash? Its about having respect for others and the least we can do is use correct terminology to lead by example. I'd have rated this book higher if it wasn't for these two issues.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jenn

    I found a few things interesting (see my notes) but more that was super basic or that I disagree with the author on. 2 stars. Moving this book on - not keeping as a reference "So far this book is mostly fluff to me. She kind of has a weird approach. She talks about crystals being pseudoscience and placebo effect but then talks about magic as fact…. She also kind of poo poos all over herbal medicine and says it’s not that effective and it’s easier to take pharmaceuticals yet she talks about magical I found a few things interesting (see my notes) but more that was super basic or that I disagree with the author on. 2 stars. Moving this book on - not keeping as a reference "So far this book is mostly fluff to me. She kind of has a weird approach. She talks about crystals being pseudoscience and placebo effect but then talks about magic as fact…. She also kind of poo poos all over herbal medicine and says it’s not that effective and it’s easier to take pharmaceuticals yet she talks about magical properties of plants as fact. This is very bizarre to me." July 25, 2021 – page 56 36.84% "She borrows from other cultures. This book was written in 2017. Culture appropriation was a thing in 2017. We should not call our smoke cleansing materials smudge. Smudging is very specific to closed Native American practices. She also discusses gris-gris which is a voodoo practice (another closed practice). She does say they are AKA charm bags in the paragraph." July 25, 2021 – page 63 41.45% "A section I did find interesting so far is the part about auric bodies. She mentions 7 layers. I don’t believe I’ve seen the aura mentioned this way before. Will need to do more research since I don’t trust some of her other writings so far Also she’s very superstitious in her caution to wear white on Halloween/samhain so harmful spirits don’t get us." July 25, 2021 – page 76 50.0% "The chapter on the Sabbats is all right. Though she references the sun king at Yule which is a Wiccan thing and doesn’t carry that whole story through the other Sabbats. I do like the suggested ways to celebrate. She compares Mabon’s story to that of Persephone. That I would like to look more into" July 25, 2021 – page 89 58.55% "Interesting she discusses the Wiccan law of 3 and some other Wiccan tenets but when describing doing a circle she doesn’t call the quarters. The spells she includes are nice and simplistic which I do like." July 25, 2021 – page 100 65.79% "I actually like her breakdown of what the cards mean"

  21. 4 out of 5

    Fi

    Finally finished it! A lot has happened between me starting this book and me finishing it. All in all, I think this book is a really good basic overview of the multiple topics it covers. I am still fairly new to witchcraft and paganism, though I have read quite a few books on the topics and have more than basic knowledge of astrology, tarot and pagan holidays. Because of my knowledge, I felt that those sections were a little bit basic for me. I did really enjoy the section on palmistry, which I Finally finished it! A lot has happened between me starting this book and me finishing it. All in all, I think this book is a really good basic overview of the multiple topics it covers. I am still fairly new to witchcraft and paganism, though I have read quite a few books on the topics and have more than basic knowledge of astrology, tarot and pagan holidays. Because of my knowledge, I felt that those sections were a little bit basic for me. I did really enjoy the section on palmistry, which I know almost nothing about, and found it surprisingly very interesting (and accurate, to myself anyways). I think that this book is the perfect overview to give to someone who has vague interests in the topics that it covers, but if you have more than a basic understanding, it will likely be redundant. The illustrations are beyond beautiful, and are the main reason I bought the book. To me, they make it worthwhile to have this book in my collection. I also did like some of the spell ideas! They seem like they would be pretty easy to do. All in all, I enjoyed it! And will probably look back to it in the future! I think it had a lot of good ideas.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Bethan

    'Practical Magic' by Nikki Van De Car is a great book for anyone starting out on their witchy journey. Or even experienced witches looking to explore other paths. It provides a large, but basic, guide to different types of divination, astrology, herbs, crystals and even spells. The book contains lovely colourful illustrations that were rather eye-catching. What I liked most about this book is how it was addressed those who are just interested in learning about the community and addressed science 'Practical Magic' by Nikki Van De Car is a great book for anyone starting out on their witchy journey. Or even experienced witches looking to explore other paths. It provides a large, but basic, guide to different types of divination, astrology, herbs, crystals and even spells. The book contains lovely colourful illustrations that were rather eye-catching. What I liked most about this book is how it was addressed those who are just interested in learning about the community and addressed science and the placebo effect. As a witch myself, I think this is very important as we can not completely cut off the material world around us. Another great feature of this book was the reference chapter. In the end, the author gives a list of different useful books to explore deeper into the topic discussed. The only issue I had with this book was the discussion on sage and smudging. These are closed practices, so not everyone can use them in their practice. This should have been mentioned. Overall, it was a worthy read and I definitely recommend it to anybody starting out in witchcraft. Especially those who are looking into the wiccans root.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Cynthia Austin

    "Ingredients like eye of newton and toe of frog were actually just folk names. Eye of newton is another term for mustard seed, and frogs feet were buttercup. It's been argued that these folk names were really code names that practicing witches used to keep their potion recipes secret." I'm not sold on chakras and auras, but I am still curious. All subjects of magic were discussed briefly. My favorite section was the herbs because like pharmesuidicals, they are medicinal. If an herb can care a hea "Ingredients like eye of newton and toe of frog were actually just folk names. Eye of newton is another term for mustard seed, and frogs feet were buttercup. It's been argued that these folk names were really code names that practicing witches used to keep their potion recipes secret." I'm not sold on chakras and auras, but I am still curious. All subjects of magic were discussed briefly. My favorite section was the herbs because like pharmesuidicals, they are medicinal. If an herb can care a headache, perhaps that's magic! You definitely won't be ready to go out and practice witchcraft after this read, but it will give you a better understanding of where magic originated from and the fact that all you need to do is believe.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Sarafina van Ast

    I LOVE this book. The illustartions are so nice and the way the writer takes you from chapter to chapter is so much fun. I went through this book so fast and still learnt so many new things. Is does not go into all the details of every subject but it gives you just enough to go on your own little adventure. For people that are intrested in chakras, tarots and sabbaths but don't want to comit to a large book with lots of information this is perfect. I learnt to much in a short time even though i' I LOVE this book. The illustartions are so nice and the way the writer takes you from chapter to chapter is so much fun. I went through this book so fast and still learnt so many new things. Is does not go into all the details of every subject but it gives you just enough to go on your own little adventure. For people that are intrested in chakras, tarots and sabbaths but don't want to comit to a large book with lots of information this is perfect. I learnt to much in a short time even though i'm not sure this is all real it sure brought me some insight.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Tiffany Bencko

    I really give this book a 2.75 because it touches on a lot of subjects, but barley even scratches the surface of the subject in question. This is a very beautiful book with beautiful illustrations on nearly every page, that's why my ratings is as high as it is. If you even know the slightest bit about magic, this book might teach you a couple of new things, but I'd say this book is for someone who has absolutely no knowledge of the Craft. very much a beginners book. Like I said though, very aest I really give this book a 2.75 because it touches on a lot of subjects, but barley even scratches the surface of the subject in question. This is a very beautiful book with beautiful illustrations on nearly every page, that's why my ratings is as high as it is. If you even know the slightest bit about magic, this book might teach you a couple of new things, but I'd say this book is for someone who has absolutely no knowledge of the Craft. very much a beginners book. Like I said though, very aesthetically pleasing.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Andrea

    Really enjoyed this one. Appreciated the unpretentious and accessible approach. "Magic" has as much power as you give it. You're not sure if you believe in auras but you think crystals are alluring, herbs have more healing power than western culture gives them credit for, and you recognize that chakras are an early understanding of the endocrine system? This book may be for you. Will definitely be modifying my current (secular) holiday traditions to incorporate some of the traditional pagan ritu Really enjoyed this one. Appreciated the unpretentious and accessible approach. "Magic" has as much power as you give it. You're not sure if you believe in auras but you think crystals are alluring, herbs have more healing power than western culture gives them credit for, and you recognize that chakras are an early understanding of the endocrine system? This book may be for you. Will definitely be modifying my current (secular) holiday traditions to incorporate some of the traditional pagan rituals outlined here. Beautiful illustrations, interesting and witchy.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Ghost girl

    The one thing I did not care for in this book is that it mentioned burning Bella Donna. Bella Donna is poisonous and not safe and when this was mentioned in the book there was no warning or word of caution about using it. It was mentioned as casually as if the reader were being advised to burn lavender. It doesn’t sit right with me that an author would advise their readers to burn something poisonous and give no warning or word of caution as to the harm this could do. I cannot recommend it for t The one thing I did not care for in this book is that it mentioned burning Bella Donna. Bella Donna is poisonous and not safe and when this was mentioned in the book there was no warning or word of caution about using it. It was mentioned as casually as if the reader were being advised to burn lavender. It doesn’t sit right with me that an author would advise their readers to burn something poisonous and give no warning or word of caution as to the harm this could do. I cannot recommend it for this reason.

  28. 4 out of 5

    NeonHippie

    This beautiful book is for anyone who is interested in learning about witchcraft, has thought about it & even for the more advanced witches around us 😉 I bought this book for myself as my bday present & I can’t delve too deeply but I know this will be a book I come back to repeatedly even years down the rd into this epic journey! Thank you Nikki Van De Car for writing this book for people who are feeling lost/inspired/newly awakened or all of the above, like muah! Haha Thank you again!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Marina

    I absolutely love this book, I found it was the perfect introduction for someone like me, and I loved that it had so many themes in one place! Even though I already knew quite a bit about astrology and chakras, I found new information I didn't know about so that was really enjoyable as well. Overall, I really recommend it especially if you're not sure whether or not you're into this type of stuff. I absolutely love this book, I found it was the perfect introduction for someone like me, and I loved that it had so many themes in one place! Even though I already knew quite a bit about astrology and chakras, I found new information I didn't know about so that was really enjoyable as well. Overall, I really recommend it especially if you're not sure whether or not you're into this type of stuff.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Siobhan

    As a beginners book, like other ones it has it's own selection of material watered down. It's a good book to wet a beginners whistle and peek their interest in different subjects within witchcraft, magick etc. But if I were a complete beginner I would not know that it is missing important subject matter such as centering and grounding which is important for all aspects of magick discussed in this book. I still recommend it. As a beginners book, like other ones it has it's own selection of material watered down. It's a good book to wet a beginners whistle and peek their interest in different subjects within witchcraft, magick etc. But if I were a complete beginner I would not know that it is missing important subject matter such as centering and grounding which is important for all aspects of magick discussed in this book. I still recommend it.

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