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Bookviews Book Reviews

      

 5-29-2006
 

 

The Reflexology Atlas
by Bernard C Kolster, M.D. and Astrid Waskowiak, M.D.

My first impression – Wow, what a book!  Having said that, I will now move on to the contents and presentation.

First, the presentation.  Large format – 13x10 on glossy paper, card cover.  Nice.  Flipping through the pages, there are numerous illustrations or photos on just about every page.  Closer examination reveals how-to photos and detailed diagrams of the material that is being discussed on each page.

So, the book has lots of pictures, but once you get into the material covered, you will understand why this becomes critical.  The book is a good “how-to” book on the practice of Reflexology.

For the average person, reflexology is an alternative therapy utilizing massage to further overall body health and well being.  It focuses on the foot, hand and ear, mapping out body “zones” that respond to massage touch.  These zones are referred to as “reflex zones”.  An example of this would be the tip of your big toe is associated with the skull.  Massaging this area lightly would stimulate the reflex zone of the skull specifically the scalp – left foot being the left side, right foot being the right side. 

OK, you have the basic idea.  Not unlike acupuncture where the needle is inserted into a specific pressure point to affect a particular part of the body, reflexology works in much the same way.  A simple explanation but one that works.

There is much put into this system, and you probably have seen Reflexology signs on practitioner’s offices or seen it advertised.  I know the local health food store here has a reflexologist practicing on premises and this is a smaller town.   Many folks here call it foot massage.  But the practice is not limited to just the foot.  Reflexology also includes the hands and ears in the practice, and you can achieve the desired results from the use of massage on these areas as well.

The book is written by two German doctors, once of whom is a physical therapist and specializes in reflexology and the other is not just a doctor but also a medical scientific editor specializing in natural healing methods as well as other general medicines.  So the book is written by not just practitioners but medical doctors using these techniques in their everyday practices.

As you go through the book, there is much information here.  This is where the illustrations and photos come into play.  While it is good to say – massage the something or other bone to work on the heart, it is much better to see an actual photo of a foot, with the skeleton superimposed over the foot to show structure and then the area to massage is outlined in color, clearly indicating the area of the body that this massage will benefit.  It is sooo clear, so easy to identify and very well laid out.  The whole book is put together this way, making it easy even for the beginner to understand not only the concepts, but also how it works.  There are figures that are “zoned” with overlays so you can see how this system works.

Hand positions are given.  Some of the basic massage techniques are discussed, but without the action, or having had a Reflexology treatment, you may be at a loss as to how this is traditionally done with the “caterpillar” method of massage.  Yes, we can understand “rubbing” the areas, but it wasn’t till I saw a video that I finally understood the “caterpillar” thumb movement, moving the thumb up and down the bottom of the foot or palm of the hand to find the areas that are sensitive and require further massage.  Books work well for some things, but for others you may be at a loss if you are not familiar.

But there is much more information in here.  There is a basic history, which is very good, explaining how this system works.  There are tips for doing the massage, nail care, removing calluses, massage positions (as in how to make your partner most comfortable as you work on them) and some good techniques for stretching, applying pressure to areas and more.

The book also shows how to work on hands, ears and head.  Again, great pictures, very good instructions and well thought out and presented.

The book also discusses Shiatsu.  Shiatsu is a massage therapy that uses “finger pressure”.  It also includes stretching and movement.  This Japanese technique is very relaxing.

There is so much more to this book that makes it valuable for anyone who wants to find out more about this alternative healing modality.  It can get you started on practicing on yourself and maybe even your partner.  Or you can get your partner to start practicing on you.  It is also a valuable resource for anyone studying this practice in school.

If you are familiar with Reflexology and want to know more, this book will provide all you need to know.  It is also a good study book for those who want to learn this healing modality.  It would go well with any courses you might be taking.  It is probably more than the curious would want to know about Reflexology, but once you understand and have a session from a practitioner, you may find yourself wanting to know more.  And for the price, this book is worth every penny.

So back to my original impression of the book… Wow, what a book!  boudica

 

Return of the Great Goddess ~ edited by Burleigh Muten

 

This little book is a collection of images and words that expresses, in some special way, a connection between the Great Goddess Mother and those who seek Her out.

It was curiosity that made me pick up this little book (5x7 with 188 pages), but the content is mighty big and convinced me to keep it.  This book is nicely bound on glossy paper and is an excellent print job.

The back cover points to contributors such as Margot Adler, Z. Budapest, Starhawk, Merlin Stone, Virginia Woolf, Marija Gimbutas – it reads like a “Who’s Who” of the writers and authors on Goddess spirituality.  And if you leaf through the book, there are images and photos that speak of the Great Mother Goddess.

The editor herself is the founder of Hands of the Goddess Press, which published the calendars that this book mirrors.  The layout of the book is similar: a page of text with an image opposite it.  The copyright of this book is 1994, and it is published in Ireland.

So, looking at what the editor writes in the introduction, we hear a very feminist point of view, expressing delight at the return of the Goddess figure in our society and discussing the movement to restore Her to a place of respect.  She discusses the Hindu tradition of Darshan, or the consideration of an image of the Divine as not so much a symbol but the real thing.  This book is filled with images that are meant to be symbolic of the Divine Feminine, are to be considered the Mother Goddess Herself.

As you page through the book, you will see images in paint, statues, and photos of the feminine.  Most of them lend themselves to the idea sought by the editor.  There are a couple of photos of some women who have had an influence on our feminine culture and while I would not consider them the Divine Feminine, I would consider them to be women who represent the element of the Divine Feminine as applied to a specific culture or project.

As you leaf through the photos, you will see images of art that represent the Divine Mother, and they are for the most part well chosen and do inspire. 

The other part to this is the text, which is a mix of quotes, passages, poems and moments of consideration of the expressions of various well known authors on the meaning of the Great Mother Goddess and the Divine Feminine.  There are excerpts of stories, lovely thought concepts, ideas and poems to read, contemplate and meditate upon.  Some of them are moving and some are surprising.  Some might be considered a bit driven.  But none of them are disrespectful, and there are many here to choose from.

As I wandered through the quotes and images of this book, there are some passages that surprised me, like the quote from the Book of Ruth on “Where you go, I will go.”  A form of commitment, no matter who you speak it to, and it can be applied to any person or Deity you choose.  Or the excerpt from Walt Whitman Song of Myself.  The images, such as Joan Bredin-Price’s Drawing Down the Moon guide you into contemplation.  An excellent example is Poetry City Goddess by Leah Korican with the image Crepuscule in Black and Brown:Wendy in which we contemplate the changing times and how the Goddess, while often depicted as the mother and the earth, is also the Maiden and the Warrior and in charge of her own life.

The end of the book contains an Epilogue in which the editor reflects on her own path of Goddess discovery and is an interesting ending to the book.  It is more of an affirmation for herself and her chosen path and a sharing of this experience more than anything else, but is nice to read.  The book also has a list of credits for all the material included.

I am not overly feministic, but often I find myself looking at the image of Woman, and how I am/we are reflections of the Goddess.  This book offers some additional reflections, some new ideas and a focal point for that moment’s reflection.  A nice little addition to your meditative library.  boudica

 

Modern Herbal Spellbook: The Magical Use of Herbs
by Anna Riva

 

I’ve been going back in my library and pulling out books that were around when I was first studying magic or books that have had influence on the magical practices we had years ago.  Anna Riva was such a person, having these small paperback books, usually around 65 pages, that were chock full of information that we couldn’t find anywhere else.

Anna Riva was considered special in that she also discussed the Black Arts, included these great little pictures of naughty or ominous things, and contained spellworkings that anyone could do.

She also included bits that were – not quite right.  These books date mostly from the early and mid 1970s, so we see some early attempts to “validate” the material by including bits of this and smatterings of that, some of which look and sound ridicules by today’s wisdoms, but it made for interesting reading back then.

But much of it was real.  It was taken from various practices - like folk magic, voudon, witchcraft, root workers, ceremonial magic and even Christian spirituality.  These books contained spells calling upon God, Gods and Goddesses, Saints and sinners.  And they were cheap, available in most botanicas where I lived, and she even has a line of oils and occult products you could buy to aid in your workings.

The book covers read like mystical pathways to forbidden knowledge.  “The exotic, magical uses of herbs in love potions” or “power over the living and the dead.”  Ohhh, they just beckoned you to take the book home and learn the mysteries of the universe.

And much of the material was right on the money and worked.  Even all the nonsense could be forgiven as window dressing when you took the book home, worked a spell and got what you were looking for.

The book is laid out by topics, like Black Magic, Good Luck or Protection.  The herbs are then listed alphabetically under each section, and each herb has it’s properties listed.  There are instructions on how to use the herb and a spell or working or purpose for each herb.

The explanations are not long.  This is not a big book, only 64 pages.  So the material is short, sweet and to the point.  Example – Violets - Mix with milk and anoint the face, and “there is not a young prince on earth who will not be charmed with thy beauty” according to ancient legend.  They all run about the same, with a few exceptions.

There is a brief introduction by the author at the beginning of the book.  Most of it is “bla, bla, bla” but she does encourage you to find your own path, there is no right or wrong way to work spells with herbs and you should keep a Book of Shadows, or a journal of your workings.  You can even write to the author - imagine that!

Like I said, the material here is interesting, and some of it will test the limits of your beliefs.  But this is not Wicca, this is witchcraft, and a witch will hex as fast as she sets down a cure.  So if you are squeamish about this kind of practice, you may not want to go here.   No fluffy bunnies here, thank you very much.

The book also includes the Planetary Hour table to guide you to when you should be working a spell, as well as astrological and planetary correspondences for herbs.  And of course the woodblock prints and some very enticing photos. 

The final disclaimer gives the casual reader the assurances he probably is looking for after going through this book.  But it is a word to the wise as well…Note:  The Modern Herbal Spellbook is not offered in an attempt to persuade any person of the supernatural powers or properties of roots and herbs, or of any other item mentioned herein.  It goes on to disclaim any guarantee or responsibility and you should seek professional help for legal issues or medical issues.  Finally:  The folklore of plants is as old as the written word itself, and the legends related are given as curiosa only.  Well, you can decide that for yourself.  boudica

 

The Little Book of
Hexes for Women

by Sophia

Here is another of those little books off the discount shelf of a local store that called me to review it.  I’m always up for a good old fashioned Book of Hexes.

But I am disappointed, again.  First of all, no Table of Contents.  Second, no index.  So this is a “hunt through and see if what you are looking for is in here” book.  Messy and time consuming.  I like my books to have at least a Table of Contents, so I can find what I am looking for in a hurry. 

But what do you expect for a discount book?  I had to hit myself and remind myself that while it lists at $9.95, I paid a tiny fraction of that.  OK, you get what you pay for.

So I started leafing through the book.  Again, big disappointment.  First Hex- Hex to Humble Techno Snobs.  Hmmm…  someone has issues with people who know more about computers than they do.  Even the incantation is a bit …. off.  And it tends to go on and on.

OK, moving right along, we have a hex For People Who Always Tell the Ends of Movies or Books.   How droll.  This person needs to find some new folks to hang with.  Where are the real hexes? 

Next one is A Spell for People Who Always One-Up You.  Gee, this person has some serious people issues to work out, doesn’t she?  Personally, so far, these folks are not worth the energy to do a hexing on.  I went on and started looking for a real “meat and potatoes” type of hex on someone who really deserves it.

The hexes cover “Type-A People”, people who stand you up, or steal your parking space.  Wait, now that one is worth it.  I looked at the hex itself.  Actually, this one is not too bad.  Cross the fingers, point at the car and recite the incantation hexing them with car trouble.  She then invokes the Goddess Squat to help find another parking spot.  Well, not too bad.  I prefer Asphalta myself, but we all have our favorite deities.  This one was worth marking. 

There is one for Someone who Cuts You Off on the Road.  Beep your horn, make the sign of the horns and a lame incantation.  Honk the horn to send the hex.  Hmmmm….  very lame.

To Banish a Troublesome Co-Worker or Acquaintance she does “doll magic” with a paper doll.  Novel but the incantation again is lame.  Interesting use of “doll magic” but it needs a little punch.

Some of the hexes or spells are reasonable, but most of them lacked something.  Most of them are not even woman focused.  What’s up with that?  Where is the focus on “for Women”?  One or two “dumped by a man” hexes and the book gets the “for Women” designation.

There is not enough “hex” in the hexing for my taste, and the situations for some of the hexes are a waste of time.  I want a good reason to do a hex, and someone giving me a bad haircut is not a reason for a hex, it is more a reason for a law suit.   Burglars and thieves deserve a call to 911, not a hex.  Or if we are going that route, I prefer an evocation of something small, black and nasty from one of the bottom nine levels of hell sent to hunt them down. 

Seems some of the situations in this book suggest using a hex rather than calling 911 or seeing a lawyer.  Sexual Harassment is a court case with a large cash settlement in my book.  Stalkers are more repelled by a court restraining order than by a hex.  Or use both, and make sure your hex involves specific body parts.

The hexes in this book lack real punch.  The author’s incantations limp in some places, stretch for a rhyme in others.   Unruly neighbors should get a call to 911, not a hex.  A couch potato should be dumped off the couch and told to move – to another house.  A hateful letter deserves more than ashes and a feather returned to sender.  It deserves at least a real poison pen letter in return.

This book I should have left on the shelf even though I paid a fraction of the cover price.  It just wasn’t worth it.  Even the title of the book lacks punch now that I look at it.  Doesn’t even make an interesting conversational piece on the coffee table. 

And now I pass this along to you, so you don’t make the same mistake.   This book is not worth it at any price.  Not even as a give away or a joke.

As for a hex on someone who sells a bad book, nope, not really worth it.  But it does rate a review, which in this case is my "hex" on this book. boudica

 

Da Vinci Tarot ~ Iassen Ghiuseley – artist, Mark McElroy for the book  A Lo Scarabeo Deck

Talk about jumping on the da Vinci band wagon!  But this was to be expected.  Some one was going to do it eventually.  And for a tarot deck, of course it would be Lo Scarabeo.

So I decided to give it a looking at and work with it a bit.  Right off the top I had issues with the images.

I always respected da Vinci as a master of the art medium.  His work was revolutionary for the time.  His designs were ahead of his time, working on such unheard items as flying machines and all sorts of early mechanical devices.

But the main image, Mona Lisa with a pontifical miter, in my opinion, is an insult to his art.  The use in the deck is supposed to be The High Priestess.  I could actually see Mona as The High Priestess, but why put the hat on.  It is comical and in poor taste in my opinion.

But that is how many of the images are in this deck.  Take something very da Vinci or da Vinci in appearance, add something that is supposed to be tarot related and you have a card.  Many of the images are “adapted” from da Vinci’s work, meaning the artist gave it a completely different aspect from the original work. 

Reading through the book, the author tells you where the deviations occur.  Take for instance The Magician.  The work is “adapted” from a work that many consider is not da Vinci’s and he has added elements to change what might have been John the Baptist into The Magician.

OK, I have much respect for the artist, and find this deck a stretch of his work.  Granted, it seems that da Vinci had a sense of humor, and may have even laughed at this, finding some strange poetic justice in some of the images.  So, trying to put aside my own feelings, I gave the deck a good looking at.

As typical for Lo Scarabeo decks, the colors are muted.  Actually, da Vinci’s work, as in the Mona Lisa, is not all that colorful, but there are some works that are very colorful.  So, while I could argue the point, I let it stand as the artist was looking to give a general feeling of Renaissance style in muted tones.  There are some subtle coloring to some of the works, but nothing brilliant or garish.  The artist keeps to the theme.

The works are not just da Vinci works.   The artist incorporates elements of da Vinci’s work into his own compositions.  The mechanical bat flies over a fortified city in The Fool.   The Chariot is a collection of pieces from various da Vinci works woven together by the artist.  The Devil is derived from a caricature of an old woman, several anatomical studies and a dragon from one of his sketchbooks.

I went through the deck, studying the imagery.  Knowing most of his works, and knowing what he was trying to say, some of the pieces did not fit in my opinion.  Others did fit, in a strange sort of way.  Justice being a woman holding a sword may fit, but the original work is The Annunciation, and Justice (Mary) holds a mirror which reflects da Vinci’s self portrait.   The Hermit looks tortured rather than older and wiser.   The Hanged Man is right side up hanging from his neck, rather than in the traditional pose of hanging upside down suspended from his foot.   The Wheel is interesting, with the Angel Uriel turning the wheel and grasping a sword.

The book explains some of the elements used.  Names of works used in the deck are given, and where elements are changed, or where details of specific works are used it is mentioned.  Meanings seem to be traditional, for some very nontraditional imagery. 

Working with the deck was very distracting at first.  While the deck follows the Rider-Waite deck format, and the meanings are very traditional, the imagery of the deck is what distracts.  You find yourself looking at the da Vinci images, wondering how they were interpreted that way, or at an image that the artist made in the “da Vinci style” and thinking… strange interpretation.  Some of the images are just out and out disturbing.  Death is an “allegorical sketch” of “Envy”.  This image rides on one of da Vinci’s machines, which would have been fine on it’s own as a “death machine” because they use his “multi-bladed battle wagon”, a horrific piece of machinery that would have been fine on it’s own.  But the image of Envy (a very distorted old woman) makes you scratch your head.  Yes, she appears deathlike, but da Vinci had drawn her as Envy.  Death does not seem to fit her, only in the visual not in the interpretation.  If you know the work,  she is quite disturbing in her own right, but does not seem to fit here.

But maybe I know da Vinci’s works too well to see what the artist was getting at.  The artist was looking for “impact” here, not the origins of the works.  And while the idea was interesting, it didn’t seem to carry it through for me.

As a curiosity, this deck certainly has it.  You do find yourself looking at the artwork, wondering what all was going on in the artists mind as he integrated pieces of da Vinci’s work to fit the tarot idea.  The art is interesting.  Where it is not da Vinci’s own hand, the artist very skillfully imitated his style.  And there are a few clever moments in some of the cards that will either bring a smile or a nod of the head.

But for a working deck, I find it does not blend in with the kind of atmosphere I want to suggest when working with a client.  While it did spark some curiosity from a few clients and most wanted to look at the deck, they chose another for me to do their reading. 

If you must have all things da Vinci, or if you collect decks and are looking for something a bit off the beaten track, this deck will please.  But for a working deck, you may want to look at some others.  boudica

 

The Pocket Guide to Rituals – Magickal References at your Fingertips
by Kerri Connor

This book is supposed to be a quick reference guide for “Rituals of Life” and “Rituals of Nature”.  The differentiation as made by the author is that “Rituals of Life” are Rites of Passage - births, deaths, handfastings etc.  “Rituals of Nature” are stated as daily events like sunrise and sunset, changing of seasons (changing of leaves, or first snow) and rituals of the elements, such as a Celebration of Air. 

The book seems more general and very basic pagan.  The book is laid out in chapters offering easy reference for what you want so you can find it fast.

Each event is broken down into basic components.  Themes for the rituals are offered based on the situation.  Some of them are a good place to start.   While the author offers some basics, this is bare bones workings.

To her credit, the material is a good overview of the process.  There are some good suggestions for starting points.  And the material is generic enough that anyone of any spiritual path can pick this book up and use it.  She offers colors to use, stones, incense and herbs and altar decorations.  She did think this through and there are some good ideas here. She also offers some “verbal assistance” in the form of words you could speak in case you don’t know what to say in your ceremony.

I wanted to look at this book in two ways.  First, I wanted to see it as a quick reference for situations that come up suddenly and you are looking for a quick reference.  Say you are visiting a few friends and get asked to do a spur of the moment “paganing” and you have a small pocket sized reference that might just come to your aid.  But to be honest, this doesn’t happen.  At least not to me.   I don’t get asked to do spur of the moment Rites of Passage.  Most of the Rites of Passage I do are planned out, and go much further than this book takes you. 

Or this could be looked at as a basic “everything” guide without having to have other books.  All the information you might need is collected here so you don’t need an extensive library.  For the individual who practices alone and does not have a budget to use on books that offer guidance and assistance with specific events, well, this might be ok.  But if I saw a High Priestess or community Elder pull out this book to do a Handfasting or a Maidening, I would not be too confident in their abilities.  I expect planning for these events that goes well beyond the small amount of information contained in this book.

I also think some of these situations are stretched a bit.  When I do a house blessing or cleansing, I might perform a small ritual but I don’t think I would do a ritual for my car.  Cleanse it, yes, and maybe bless and ward it, but not going to do a ritual for it.  I also don’t do rituals for birthdays.  A cake and a song in many cases is about as much as I would call “ritual”. 

What I did find interesting were the “Rituals of Nature”.  While sunrise or sunset move me to a daily ritual, meteor showers would not.  The “Celebrations” of the Elements, Full and New Moons and maybe seasonal changes might inspire me to ritual or I may include them as regular rituals, but a “spring blossom” or “summer warmth” would probably only move me to a meditation on the season.  My full blown rituals for the season would be done at the Sabbat.

The book does have a short two pages on wording your ritual and a small worksheet for planning it out.  But I am thinking the average practitioner will need more guidance than this to learn the ins and outs of ritual and how to plan and work it through.

If you are looking for a simple, basic first guide to inspiring and working different types of rituals, and you have no budget for books, you can do better than this one, but it wouldn’t hurt if you did pick this one up.  There are basics here to work with.  But you might also find yourself looking for something more.  boudica

 

Wicca Demystified:  A Guide for Practitioners,
Family and Friends

by Bryan Lankford

While it is nice to see someone attempting to write a book that is not a hand book or not a “Wicca 101” book, you have to ask… is this really an advanced study book on Wicca.

In this book you will not find spells and incantations.  You will not find rituals, altar tools, calling of the quarters or anything else that most associate with handbooks and “Wicca 101” books.  Yet the book calls itself a Guide. 

What you will find is one man and his Traditions thoughts on what it is to truly be “Wiccan”.  The Tradition is the McFarland Dianic Tradition, founded in the early 70s.  And I enter the caveat at this point – Your Mileage May Vary – depending on the Tradition of Wicca you practice.

The opening paragraph of chapter one “The Beginning” entitled “What is all this about anyway?” gives us this line:  The best place to start with any explanation is at the beginning, and the beginning of Wicca dates far back into antiquity. 

There are those who will “hmmmm” at this point.  Again, the caveat. 

The basic explanations on the word usage of pagan, witch and Wicca in the opening of the book are good.  But the most important read is his What I Believe at the end of the first chapter.  It sets the tone for the rest of the book.  I suggest you run through that and see if you are working on the same page as Mr. Lankford.  Most of it is good, but as every Tradition has its beliefs and basics, this will vary from Wiccan Tradition to Wiccan Tradition. 

The opening line from his chapter entitled “Wiccan View of Deity” - Wicca has many perceptions of Deity, but ultimately there is only one.” left me a bit cold. This Tradition sees all things Deity as One, with many perceptions, and there are many polytheists out there who will not venture past the opening chapter.  As the author states in the beginning of the book, he does not expect everyone to agree with him, and he would be surprised if everyone did.   Again, my Tradition is quite different from this, so I decided to agree to disagree and move on.

If you can get past all this, the book is an interesting read.  But I was confused by its purpose.  On the one hand, I saw an attempt to explain what Wicca is.  But if I am already walking the Wiccan path then I already understand what Wicca is.  I return to the subtitle:  Guide for Practitioners, Family and Friends – and it becomes clear.  While trying to work with those who are knowledgeable and appear as more than a 101 book, it still has to revert back to 101 basics to be a guide for those who do not practice. 

As a guide in that respect it works.  We have basic discussions on the Wheel of the Year, Rites of Passage, Can Children and Teens be Wiccan  and more.  There is lots of discussion on this Traditions ethics in spellwork, what the Rede means and then we move on to pointy hats, black cats and brooms…. 

It is nice that the book sidesteps the usual cookbook/crafters handbook/basic ritual 101 material.  The discussion, in my opinion, has to and does fit into a 101 category.  When trying to explain what Wicca is to anyone not familiar with Wicca, you still can’t venture too far past the basics.

There are some topical discussions on stereotyping our beliefs, with Wiccan beliefs as understood by this particular Tradition, and we are presented with why Wiccans do this and why Wiccans don’t do that.

There much discussion on ethics.  The author seems fixated with this topic.  These are taken in the context of how this particular Tradition views morality and how they fit ethics into their Tradition and practices.  It is nicely explained, and for the most part, the basics are offered.  You will find that this varies from Tradition to Tradition.  While no Tradition sidesteps ethics, some will be more liberal or conservative than others.

I came away with the idea that this book would be best suited to give to someone who knows a Wiccan and is interested in learning more.  While we don’t proselytize (see the chapter If Wiccans think their beliefs are correct, why don’t they try to convert others to their beliefs?) this book might be good to give to someone who is not sure what some of us might be all about.

I think if you find the material agreeable and in line with what you believe, then this book could be an aid to helping you explain Wicca to others.  However, as this has been done before and this tradition may not be in line with your own personal beliefs, you may want to review the material before passing it along.  boudica

 

How to Turn Your Ex-Boyfriend into a Toad & Other Spells
by Athena Starwoman and Deborah Gray

OK, so I picked this one up off the discount book rack and paid a fraction of the asking price.  I loved the box cover and if nothing else it would sit on my desk in my home office as a warning to others.

But I did crack it open.  The contents are interesting.  The box contains everything you need to do the
“featured” spell or a few of the other spells in the book – candles, incense, books, mirror and a plastic green
“toad” incense holder.
  And, of course, the spell book that provides the instructions for the spells.

The book, small 4 ¼ inches by 5 inches, is cute.  It has illustrations that remind me of a 1950s motif, sparkly, and written in easy to understand and follow language.  The book seems to be focused at the teenager, but ya know, there are lots of grown up ladies who have toads in their lives as well.

The book does not start out with the “featured” spell, but wets the appetite with some other kinds of spell workings.  Spells to find the Perfect Soulmate or Hot Up you Sex Life or Forget Me Not.   Each spell has a list of “ingredients” and contains the working for the spell, including moon phases and an “incantation”.   The spells are broken down into topics, like Love Spells, Naughty Spells for Naughty Girls, Home and Family Spells, The Rest of Your Life Spells and more. 

But the one you bought this box for is The Toad Spell, found, you guessed it, under the Naughty Spells for Naughty Girls chapter.  The ingredients that are not included in the box but necessary for the spell includes a handful of sandy dirt, a shirt from the toad and his picture with the option that you can draw one.  There is more, but none of the items are included in the box.   Just as an FYI, so you realize you will need more than what’s in the box.

OK, some of the spells are hokey.  The Beautiful Body Spell is more about affirmations and taking care of yourself and being yourself.  The same with the Create Your Own Destiny Spell.   Again, as you read the incantation, it is more about doing for yourself and making for yourself.  The Revenge spells are more about making yourself feel better now that the bum is gone.  The Success spells are about attracting cash and success to yourself and are more along the lines of real spellworkings, in my opinion.  But they too are filled with those little affirmations – such as “What You Think, You Become…” 

The contents of the box - the incense, the 5 inch candles, the mirror - are all props for some of the included spells.  While not always necessary, they are handy to have.  The incense however was not impressive.  Maybe it was old, but it was not something I would use.  The frog incense holder is meant for bamboo stick incense, as the hole in his back is just large enough to stick in of those small slivers of bamboo with incense on it.

Overall, the book is “mostly harmless”.  I think it would make a cute gift for the teen witch in your life.  The spells are nothing out of the ordinary, but for some first workings they could be performed by just about anyone. 

I wouldn’t go out of my way to find this one, but if I had a girlfriend who just got over a breakup I could see myself giving her one of these as a “pick me up” gift.  However, at a discounted price only. 

But I did have a gent visiting and seeing the box on the desk asked the question “Does it work?”  Well, living in the country, I do have many frogs out here.  And my reply was “Well, we do have a few extra toads out there this year.”  And the poor gent backed away and looked at me suspiciously.

I give it a few stars for “Entertainment Value”.  It can strike up a conversation, the frog is cute, and the candles are handy.  The book, while a bit hokey is not totally without merit.  It provides some affirmations for someone going through this kind of thing, and is more of a “Cool Down” process than a revenge type of book.  Interesting but not something that is absolutely needed.  boudica