Waking the Witch (Book Review)

Part memoir, part exploration of the witch archetype, Waking the Witch is not your typical witchcraft book, which is to say it won’t teach you how to do anything. That’s not what it’s trying to do, so it isn’t a failing of the book. Rather, it’s a series of long essays on how witches have been portrayed historically and in pop culture through current shows like Netflix’s Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, which will end with part four later this year.

She talks about Margaret Murray, Gerald Gardner, Charles Leland, Ronald Hutton. She also talks about The Craft, The Wizard of Oz, and Hermione Granger. She delves into the witch hunts and Malleus Maleficatum, but also delves into her adolescence as a young woman coming of age in New Jersey in the late1990s. The book’s theme is expressed on page 3, “show me your witches, and I’ll show you your feelings about women.”

She goes on:

The witch is a shining and shadowy symbol of female power and a force for subverting the status quo. No matter what form she takes, she remains an electric source of magical agitation that we can all plug into whenever we need a high-voltage charge.

She is also a vessel that contains our conflicting feelings about female power: our fear of it, our desire for it, and our hope that it can — and will — grow stronger, despite the flames that are thrown at it.

Whether the witch is depicted as villainous or valorous, she is always a figure of freedom — both its loss and its gain. She is perhaps the only female archetype who is an independent operator. Virgins, whores, daughters, mothers, wives — each of these is defined by whom she is sleeping with or not, the care that she is giving or that is given to her, or some sort of symbiotic debt that she must eventually pay.

The witch owes nothing. That is what makes her dangerous. And that is what makes her divine.

Witches have power on their own terms.

page 8

If you’re new to witchcraft, this ode to the witch will get you up to speed on who witches are and how society has thought about them over the centuries. If you’ve been around awhile, you will enjoy reminiscing alongside the author. The book won’t teach you how to cast spells, but it will remind you why you wanted to in the first place.

5 out of 5 stars

Waking the Witch: Reflections on Women, Magic, and Power

Pam Grossman

Gallery Books, 2019

Kitchen Table Tarot (Book Review)

I got my first tarot deck on New Year’s Day 1999. I don’t want to name the book that I bought to go with it, but it was boring and took itself Very Seriously. It insisted that I would need to be disciplined and that I’d have to study the tarot thoroughly and systematically like I was getting a PhD in it before I could ever use a deck. It told me all about the Kabbalah and warned me against doing mere “readings” when I should be gaining enlightenment.

Sheesh. It’s a wonder I didn’t toss the deck and walk away.

Kitchen Table Tarot is not that book. This is the book I wish I could send back in time to my 1999 self. I would have learned the tarot faster and had more fun. Melissa Cynova is not only knowledgeable and experienced, she’s wise and funny. Funny? Yes. About the Lovers, she says:

Aw, come on. What a gorgeous image. The sun is shining high and bright, the Angel of the Outlandish Flaming Hairdo is giving a blessing, with a fog machine, the Tree of Knowledge (complete with serpent) on one side, and a burning true on the other.

page 71

This book covers everything you need to know from picking up your first deck to reading for others. The chapters are:

  1. Getting Started
  2. Care and Keeping of You and Your Tools
  3. The Ethics of Reading
  4. The Major Arcana
  5. The Minor Arcana: The Pipes
  6. The Minor Arcana: Court Cards
  7. Professional Tarot Reading
  8. When Readings Go Weird

This book reads exactly like it promises: as though a friend were sitting down with you at the kitchen table to teach you the tarot. Cynova says she started writing it as a way to teach tarot to her friends, and it shows. I love that she encourages you to use the book during readings until you’re ready to do them without. Why is that so taboo? I mean, I understand if you’re charging big bucks for a reading and you just tell the client what the book says, but when you’re starting out and practicing, why should it be viewed as cheating instead of a valid method of learning? Because, although this book is interesting enough to read straight through, you won’t remember everything it says. If you read about each card as it comes up in a reading, you will associate the meaning with the situation and your skills will level up faster.

As the author says:

To me, tarot is a tool. How you choose to use that tool is up to you. It’s important to remember that without you, the cards are just pretty pieces of paper. You’re the one that drives the reading. Your intuition, your gift, and your connection with yourself and the universe or your client is what makes the cards come alive. your readings will only have as much integrity as you do, so use your tools well.

page 267

Melissa Cynova has another book coming out this September called Kitchen Table Magic, and I can’t wait to get my hands on that one.

5 out of 5 stars

Kitchen Table Tarot: Pull Up a Chair, Shuffle the Cards, and Let’s Talk Tarot

Melissa Cynova

Llewellyn Publications, 2017

Dark Wood Tarot (Deck Review)

Dark Wood Tarot (Deck Review)

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a tarot book and deck as beautiful as the Dark Wood Tarot. The last few years, Llewellyn has been printing the companion books in full color but this is the first one I’ve opened that has full page illustrations of the art rather than reproductions of the cards. This makes perusing the book feel like settling in with your favorite collection of fairy tales. The book and deck follow a character (the Shadow Witch) on her journey through the Dark Wood. It’s intended for use in shadow work, and the write-ups on each card include a description, a meaning, and a shadow (which corresponds roughly to what most books call reversals).

The artwork is gorgeous but I have to admit that I prefer the cards that depict humans. I find the animal cards underwhelming. Suits are swords, wands, cups and pentacles, though the pentacles look like apples that have been sliced in half. Courts are page, knight, queen, king. Swords are air, wands are fire. Strength is 8, Justice its 11. If you have any experience with RWS decks, you can read this one out of the box. The book is fantastic, so if you’re not experienced with tarot at all this set will be all you need to get started.

The book contains seven spreads, with names like the Shadow Self Spread and the Awaken Inner Magic Spread.

This is easily the nicest deck and book set I’ve ever bought. I want to shove the rest of my decks aside and spend some real time with this one.

The beautiful companion book
Cards with people (my favorite)
Cards with animals (not a fan)
pentacles that look like apples sliced across the middle (not sure what to think)

5 out of 5 stars

Dark Wood Tarot

Sasha Graham

art by Abigail Larson

Llewellyn Publications, 2020

ViceVersa Tarot (deck review)

ViceVersa Tarot (deck review)

The ViceVersa Tarot is unique in that the cards have no backs. Or, rather, instead of having an image that’s the same on the back of every card, each card has an image on its reverse side that is the reverse of the image on its face. In some cards the back looks like a night scene with the front looking like daytime. In others the backs reveal characters or objects out of the line of sight on the front.

The full-color book that goes with this deck has illustrations of each and calls them “this side” and “that side.”

Aside from the novelty aspect, this is a fairly standard RWS clone. Suits are chalices, pentacles, wands and swords. Courts are knave, knight, queen, king. Strength is 8, Justice is 11. Artwork is pseudo-medieval European and does not depict modern or diverse characters or situations. Honestly, I like the concept more than I like the artwork. I wish I connected with the illustrations more.

This is the kind of deck that could look impressive in a reading. My personal preference is to deal all the cards with “that side” up and flip them during the reading to reveal “this side.” This is because “that side” is often the back and the dark side so when you turn it over you’re revealing the front and brightening the spread. Like activating or turning on the cards.

5 out of 5 stars for the concept; 3 out of 5 stars for the artwork

ViceVersa Tarot

Massimiliano Filadoro and Lunaea Weatherstone

artwork by Davide Corsi

Lo Scarabeo, 2017

Pagan Tarot, new edition (Deck Review)

Pagan Tarot, new edition (Deck Review)

The first edition of the Pagan Tarot by Gina M. Pace came out in 2005. I had that deck but didn’t have the book. This edition is from 2019 and is sold in a box set with a full-color book. The illustrations of the major arcana are larger than the cards themselves, which makes them easier to study. Reading through the book cleared up some questions I’d had when I only owned the cards and they definitely make more sense now.

This deck follows the story of one character, a young female brunette witch. This allows the deck to tell a story, as you follow her character through her Fool’s Journey. The witch is racially ambiguous, but looks white or white passing on most cards. This is not a diverse deck. It is also not a deck that takes a favorable view of organized religion. Both churches and covens are portrayed rather harshly.

The art has a bit of a 90s vibe, especially in the clothing. In a few cards she’s dressed like she’s on an episode of the original Charmed. Suits are Swords, Wands, Chalices and Pentacles. Courts are Elemental, Novice, Initiate and Elder. The court cards are the most unappealing in the deck with Aces coming in a close second (why are Aces so boring in so many decks?!)

You may like this deck if you’re learning and exploring Wicca. It’s more Wiccan than generic Pagan. If you also happen to be a brunette woman, you could use the deck for personal work. It definitely reads more like a personal deck for spiritual readings than like a deck I’d read for others with.

This edition is more attractive than the first edition because the white borders have been removed and replace by a purple strip across the bottom.

First edition on top row with new edition below

When I received the deck, the cards were stuck together in one unfortunate clump due to their plastic coating. I peeled them apart and they shuffled easily and have thankfully not stuck together since. This deck also comes in a mini edition, which is tiny like the Everyday Witch Tarot mini.

3.5 out of 5 stars

Pagan Tarot, new edition

Gina M. Pace

Lo Scarabeo, 2019

Everyday Witch Oracle (Review)

Everyday Witch Oracle (Review)

I have been using the Everyday Witch Tarot for a few years and I honestly think the Everyday Witch Oracle is even better. The cards are larger, the people depicted are more diverse, and the art style is just as colorful and cheerfully appealing.

What the deck reminds me of most strongly is a reimagined Minor Arcana without the court cards. There are four suits: earth, air, fire and water, and ten cards in each suit. Within each suit the cards progress numerologically, from card one being the introduction to the element to card ten being its fulfillment.

I wish the book was in color like the book for the tarot deck; I’ve come to wish all tarot books are in color now. But this is a small book in black and white that fits inside the box with the cards the way oracle decks are usually packaged. For each card there is a short description, followed by three options: an action you can take, a divinatory meaning you can use in a reading, or magic you can do.

The biggest oversight is that the cards themselves are not numbered, so when you pull a card and want to look it up, you’ll be flipping back and forth in the book until you find it. I pulled a card called Meditation for Clarity and found its definition under “Air: Thought and Communication,” which makes sense except that the woman on the card is sitting quietly gazing into a pool of water, leading me to fruitlessly search for it under Water.

You will enjoy this deck if you’re looking for ways to work with the elements in your magical practice or if you already love the Everyday Witch Tarot and want a companion oracle that thankfully corrects the oversight of not featuring POC. You probably won’t enjoy it if you’re looking for something deep and heavy to use in shadow work. This deck is light without being trivial.

4 out of 5 stars (would be 5/5 if cards were numbered and labeled by element)

Everyday Witch Oracle

Deborah Blake

art by Elisabeth Alba

Llewellyn Publications, 2019

Revolutionary Witchcraft (Book Review)

Revolutionary Witchcraft by Sarah Lyons is a book that I picked up, intending to flip through briefly and ended up reading in one sitting. It differs from the books I covered in 3 Books for the Magical Activist because it focuses less on magic and spells (those are mostly in the appendix) and more on power: what it is, how it works, and how to work with it. Lyons says:

Witchcraft is a witch + their craft. Half of being a witch is about coming into your own power and learning how it relates to the power of the universe, and the other half is what you actually do with that power.

p. 8

This is a book where I broke out the highlighter and a pen and went to work highlighting passages, underlining, putting stars in the margins and adding my own comments. Some people don’t write in books, but it works for me and it helps me when I come back to a book later to see what made an impression on previous readings.

Never let your dreams be small, or your magic will be small too. It is our job as witches to shift what people think is possible and, in doing so, change reality.

p. 69

The chapters are: A Witch’s Place Is In the Struggle; Shaking Off the Dirt; Dream Big; The Pathways of Power; Witches and Wilderness; and an appendix called A Spellbook for the Apocalypse. The entire book is important but perhaps the best chapter was The Pathways of Power, which covers power mapping in depth. Power mapping is something you may not have heard of but it will improve your magical goal-setting and your basic understanding of the world.

The only (tiny) problem I have with the book is that, although there are page numbers on some pages, most of the pages aren’t numbered. Instead, they have little stars in the corners. This is a cute design but makes the book hard to navigate. If the table of contents or index points you to certain page, good luck finding it. You’ll just have to flip back and forth or, I guess, use the ebook version. Even trying to quote for this review, I had to find the nearest numbered page and then count for the above citation. This is not that big a deal for most people who aren’t intending to cite passages and it’s certainly not a reason to overlook this gem.

It’s long overdue that we fight like we have something precious to lose and the power to win. Now is not the time to just take pictures of our altars, but rather to use them. Now is the time for revolution.

p. 21

5 out of 5 stars

Revolutionary Witchcraft: A Guide to Magical Activism

Sarah Lyons

Running Press, 2019

Everyday Witch Tarot Mini (Deck Review)

Everyday Witch Tarot Mini (Deck Review)

I’ve had the Everyday Witch Tarot for a few years and I’ve always found it charming and friendly. It comes in a box set with a full-color book engagingly written by Deborah Blake. Now it comes in a mini version, which I assumed would be something like the size of a standard playing card. I was wrong. It is in fact much smaller.

It’s actually so much smaller than anticipated that I wasn’t sure if I’d even be able to shuffle it. I was. I’ve always found shuffling my decks relaxing and it was relaxing in the same way a larger deck would be, with an added element of cuteness. But the pictures are so small that if you were to do a reading with this and you hadn’t already worked with the full-sized deck or the app you might not be able to see much detail. You might not even be able to read the names of cards if you’re, ahem, over forty.

Priced at only about ten bucks, this is mostly a novelty deck. You could toss it in your purse and take it somewhere, but if it were a bit bigger (like the playing card size I expected), you’d be able to do the same.

If you already like and use the full-sized deck, you might enjoy the mini. If you don’t already own the Everyday Witch Tarot and you’re thinking about buying it, I’d recommend the full-sized version. The mini does not come with a book. It is quite adorable but not sure how useful it is.

4 out of 5 stars

Everyday Witch Tarot Mini

Deborah Blake

Art by Elisabeth Alba

Llewellyn Publications, 2020

3 Books for the Magical Activist

Witchcraft is not a political ideology, but it’s been frequently noted that it’s often the tool of the oppressed. It’s a type of power embraced by people who may have no other recourse. In that vein, while not all magical practitioners would consider themselves liberals, these three books have a definite liberal worldview. If that offends you, you won’t like any of them.

Hexing the Patriarchy is a small hardcover book with enchanting illustrations and quotes sprinkled in the margins. It’s only about 5×7 inches and 276 pages.

The book is set up to be alphabetical, for some reason. There are books that are alphabetical and it makes sense, like encyclopedias that cover a lot of different topics. It’s a way to organize the information. However, this book only has one entry per letter. So A is for Ancestors, B is for Binding, C is for Conjure.

The book is a hodgepodge of spells, rituals, recipes and activities, many written by Ariel Gore and some contributed by other writers. Although the other writers are credited in the sections where their spells appear, I wish there was a separate section at the back listing each contributor and a brief bio.

The book covers a wide variety of topics but doesn’t go into much depth on each one. Recipes are for things like Anti-Patriarchal-Bullshit Salt Scrub (page 39) and Personal Power Oil (page 67). Spells are things like Brujita Spell to Wear Down the Patriarchy (MK Chavez, p. 48) and Red Dragon Spells of Liberation from Supremacy Ideologies (Rhea Wolf, pm 55).

The chapter for F is “Fight Song”:

One of the ways the patriarchy undermines us is by making us feel like shit for everything from our waistlines to our leadership styles. By bombarding us with messages of unworthiness, these trolls hope to effectively disarm us so we’ll stay home shame-spiraling instead of hitting the streets and kicking their asses. To counter this, a witch needs an anthem.

Considering what we’re up against, we need a whole playlist of anthems.

p. 73

She goes on to recommend just such a playlist.

There is a brief introduction that explains why she wrote the book, addresses the controversy among witches about hexing, and lays out her purpose:

Patriarchy — the age-old system that enforces a gender binary and creates brutal hierarchies among men while universally privileging the masculine over the feminine — hurts all of us. It forces us to act as if men don’t need relationships, women don’t need selves, and trans and nonbinary people have no right to exist at all. We reject that system.

p. 15

Hexing the Patriarchy: 26 Potions, Spells, and Magical Elixirs to Embolden the Resistance

Ariel Gore

Seal Press, 2019

Magic for the Resistance was published earlier than the other books on this list, and it’s by an author who went viral for a spell to bind Donald Trump. It seems not to have worked, and if you’ve seen the prayer warriors who intervene (magically, though they’d never call it that) on his behalf, you’d have an idea why.

The man himself grew up in a church led by Norman Vincent Peale, who was famous for popularizing the Power of Positive Thinking. If you think that Trump doesn’t practice magic, you haven’t been paying attention.

I remember reading an article during the 2016 election that talked about a wall at his campaign headquarters that had pictures of his opponents (unflattering pictures, of course) and they were marked when they were “vanquished.” I am personally of the opinion that it makes no sense to cast magic against someone who works with magic because they have defenses, first of all, and often the ability to take the negative energy that is being sent their way and use it for their own purposes. If you don’t like the man, stop sending him your energy!

Aside from this, the book itself contains a lot of useful magical information. It starts with a general FAQ and a brief history of magical practitioners fighting off oppressors. Other chapters include Toolkit for Magical Activism, Offensive and Defensive Magic, Magic Beyond the Altar, Finding the Others: Coven and Community Building, Self-Care and Resilience, Preparation for Ritual, and The Magical Activist’s Spellbook.

A sample spell is “Black Lives Matter: Spell for Justice for a Victim of a Police Action” (p. 176), which is topical yet again (as it is all too often).

There’s an appendix in the back with some correspondences and some booklists divided by topic (I’m a sucker for sections in books that recommend even more books!).

In his chapter on Offensive and Defensive Magic, he discusses the differences of opinion on this type of magic, including people who don’t believe in ever doing any binding or hexing. He obviously does believe in it, but he explains:

It is also critical to examine how far you would go in a hex. If you wouldn’t do something by nonmagical means, don’t do it with magic. I advocate nonviolence as the most useful and practical mode of resistance, so I would never do magic that would physically harm or kill someone, like cursing someone to get cancer or to get hit by a bus, just as I wouldn’t slip a carcinogenic poison into their drink or shove them in front of a bus. I would most definitely do magic to nonviolently impede their actions from harming me or others I care about.

p. 89

Magic for the Resistance: Rituals and Spells for Change

Michael M. Hughes

Llewellyn Publications, 2018

They say you shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover, but we all do, and I have to say that this book has the least appealing cover of these three. That’s unfortunate, because the book itself is solid and the author is knowledgeable.

The first chapter has a section called Activism in Its Many Forms that covers “mundane” activism such as Petitioning and Letter-Writing, Lobbying, Outreach and Volunteering, Marching and Demonstrating, and Civil Disobedience and Direct Action. This is followed by a brief primer on how to do magic, from setting intent to raising power and magical follow-through.

The next section is called Getting to Work, and it’s broken into: Strategizing, Building a Defense, Building an Offense, and Victory and Loss. The Victory and Loss section has a spell to cultivate resilience and he says:

Throughout your efforts in both magic and activism, you will not only experience large victories and losses, but you’ll probably also experience them in smaller ways all along your journey. Certainly the work of justice and equality can feel like we are taking two steps forward one day and two steps back the next. When we’re lucky, it can feel like we’re speeding right up through the finish line as well. Because of the dynamic nature of victory and loss it is important that we channel the power of flexibility and adaptability with all things.

p. 128

The final chapter touches on magical activists in history.

Witchcraft Activism: A Toolkit for Magical Resistance

David Salisbury

Weiser Books, 2019

The books are listed here in order from the most eclectic to the least. Hexing the Patriarchy is a magical cookbook. Magic for the Resistance includes a lot of information about different types of magic and some spells and recipes. Witchcraft Activism goes most deeply into activism itself and has the fewest spells.

I’d recommend Hexing the Patriarchy to someone who was new and wanted to peruse the subject for the first time. Magic for the Resistance is better suited for somebody who is already an experienced magical practitioner who wants ideas on how to incorporate magic into activism. Witchcraft Activism is the best choice for somebody who wants to get more deeply involved in activism on all levels and also wants to use a bit of magic while they’re at it.

6 Great Books on Kitchen Witchery

6 Great Books on Kitchen Witchery

The first book I would recommend on Kitchen Witchery is simply a comprehensive cookbook on the cuisine that you regularly eat. I can’t tell you which one this is, because it’s personal to you and your background, culture, and family history. If you come from a culture with a tradition of baking, I’d also recommend a basic baking book of your choosing.

As far as books specifically on making magic in the kitchen, here are six to start with:

Supermarket Magic is a spellbook centered around ingredients you can find at your local supermarket, unlike spellbooks of old that called for ingredients you’ve never heard of and have to track down through specialty dealers.

The first chapter, on Navigating the Supermarket, contains two simple meditations for grocery shopping. One is for protection and the other is an anti-anxiety orb. These may come in even more handy now than they did when the book was written.

The next two chapters cover magical basics and magical ethics. The author has written two books entirely on spellcasting, and these chapters are like a condensed primer.

From there the book become a spellbook organized by magical intention, covering:

  • Clearing and Cleansing
  • Harmony
  • Healing
  • Love, Lust, and Beauty Magic
  • Luck
  • Money
  • Protection
  • Psychic Ability and Divination
  • Sabbats and Esbats
  • Miscellany (this is a few simple tables of correspondences that most books would call the appendix)

There’s a brief section on pages 53-57 on how to make oils, potions, powders, and vinegars. Within each magical intention, there are several different types of recipes, ranging from brews, oils and bath salts to witch bottles, powders, and charms. And, of course, foods. An example of a recipe is a good luck blend on page144 that calls for only orange juice, strawberries, and vanilla extract.

Supermarket Magic: Creating Spells, Brews, Potions & Powders from Everyday Ingredients

Michael Furie

Llewellyn Publications, 2013

Supermarket Sabbats is from the same author as Supermarket Magic and it centers on the idea that:

…with a keen eye and careful shopping, we can find that all of our festivals have representation in the supermarket.

p. 2

There is a (very) brief introduction that covers how to make potpourri, brews, incenses, magical oils, powders, and vinegars (we’re talking a paragraph or two on each) and a brief intro to how to do magic. If you’re never done magic before, this won’t be enough, but if you have then it’s all you need.

From here we head into four seasonal sections: Winter Wonderland, Spring Forward, Summer Surge, and Autumn Harvest. Every Sabbat is covered, along with New Year’s and Valentine’s Day (for some reason). The last chapter is called Special Occasions and it covers solar and lunar eclipses and Leap Day.

Each section contains recipes for potpourri, brews, incense, oils, powders, charms, foods, bath salts, witch bottles. Some sections contain things like spring cleaners or amulets. Each Sabbat includes and very brief ritual and a shopping list of ingredients for the recipes in that section.

Appendices in the back include a basic color magic chart and a more useful ingredient table of correspondences that lists, for each herb or food, the element, planet, polarity, and magical uses.

Supermarket Sabbats: A Magical Year Using Everyday Ingredients

Michael Furie

Llewellyn Publications, 2017

A Cart Full of Magic is a small book of magical correspondences. This author has previously written a series of small spellbooks. This is not a spellbook. It doesn’t contain a bunch of recipes or rituals.

Part One is a brief rundown on things like magical supplies and tools, visualization, and grocery shopping with intention.

Part Two is correspondences for Food, Drink and More:

  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Bread
  • Dairy
  • Nuts and Seeds
  • Grains and Legumes
  • Eggs
  • Sugar
  • Baking Goods
  • Honey
  • Vinegar
  • Oils
  • Salt
  • Herbs and Spices
  • Coffee and Tea
  • Water
  • Juice Drinks
  • Alcoholic Beverages

Part Three contains correspondences for Household, Hygiene, Beauty and Other Items:

  • Flowers
  • Essential Oils
  • Hygiene and Daily Ritual Products
  • Beauty
  • Housewares
  • Cleaning Products
  • Hardware
  • Seeds for Planting
  • Bird Food
  • Other Products (this section is a bunch of random items like candles, matches, safety pins, buttons, envelopes, jars)

Part Four is called Enhancing Magical Work. It includes using color correspondences, moon phases and days of the week, and some magical intentions such as happiness, health, love, money and the vegetable, flower, fruit, herb, essential oil, color, planet and day of the week to use in spells for that intention. There’s also a section on cleaning your home physically and spiritually.

It sounds like a lot to cover in a small book, and it is. It’s like the mini companion to the much larger Llewellyn’s Complete Book of Correspondences.

A Cart Full of Magic: Your Secret Supermarket Shopping List

Ileana Abrev

Llewellyn Publications, 2018

Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Wicca in the Kitchen is a cross between a book of correspondences and a cookbook. It has an introductory section on tools, food magic, and festival festival foods.

The next section is lists of foods and their correspondences:

  • Breads & Grains
  • Cakes, Sweetened Breads, Cookies & Pies
  • Vegetables
  • Fruit
  • Spices & Herbs
  • Honey, Sugar, Chocolate, Carob, & Maple Syrup
  • Nuts & Alleged Nuts
  • Salt, Vinegar, Soup & Noodles
  • Food from Sea & River
  • Beer, Wine & Alcoholic Beverages, Tea & Coffee
  • The Mystic Egg
  • From the Dairy

After that is a section called Magical Food Diets that is arranged by magical intention and contains food recommendations and recipes for each:

  • Love
  • Protection
  • Health & Healing
  • Money
  • Sex
  • Spirituality
  • Psychic Awareness
  • Peace & Happiness
  • Purification
  • Weight Loss
  • Other Magical Food Diets (Physical Strength and Magical Power, Fertility, Grounding, Conscious Mind, Luck)

The next section is called Scott’s Favorite Recipes and it’s a cookbook in the standard format (by appetizers, beverages, etc.) but it’s less than 30 pages long and there’s a note from the editor saying that Cunningham had intended to write a separate cookout but died before it was complete. There are some correspondence tables in the back.

This book would appeal to a Cunningham fan, as it’s similar to his other encyclopedias. If you have several other books on kitchen witchery you may find it redundant, but it’s a good place to start.

Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Wicca in the Kitchen

Scott Cunningham

Llewellyn Publications, 2013 (originally published in 1990)

Whereas the other books were magical books that happen to contain recipes, Romancing the Stove is a cookbook that happens to contain a bit of magic. It’s the most delicious book on this list, from an author who has written other cookbooks. It also has a focus on Roman goddesses, with sections like “She Wrote the Book on Playing Hard to Get” (a short essay on Vesta followed by recipes for Home-Brew Kahlua and Russian Huntress (which adds the Kahlua to crushed ice and vodka).

Interspersed among the recipes are short pieces about bath magic, candle magic, celebrating the seasons. Chapters include:

  • Good Goddess, Let’s Eat! The Kitchen Goddess Manifesto
  • Demeter’s Delights: Heartwarming Treasures for the Kid in All of Us
  • In Aphrodite’s Mixing Bowl: Delicious Pleasure and Tasty Favorites
  • Making Life a Picnic: Feel-Good Feasts at Nature’s Table
  • Vestal Pleasures: Food for Savoring Solitude
  • The Artemis Party: Fun Fare for Festive Occasions
  • Charmed Holidays: Celebrations for a Spell
  • The Golden Apple Invitational (this section has a story about the goddess of discord, Eris, and a recipe for Golden Apple Dumplings)

The best thing I can say about this cookbook is that I’ve been making Margie’s Cowboy Cookies (page 60) for almost two decades.

Romancing the Stove: Celebrated Recipes and Delicious Fun for Every Kitchen Goddess

Margie Lapanja

Conari Press, 2002 (previously published as Goddess in the Kitchen)

Witch in the Kitchen is another cookbook with magical sidebars rather than a magical book that also has recipes. Part One (Kitchen Magic) has information on making your kitchen a sacred space, setting up a kitchen altar, making a kitchen with apron, and performing kitchen rituals. There are some brief correspondences and idea for decorations.

The cookbook sections are: Autumn, Winter, Spring, and Summer. There are essays on each season, early season recipes, Sabbat recipes, late season recipes. There are also some spells and rituals for each Sabbat.

Right now we’re in late spring, and her recipes in this section include:

  • Sensuous Spinach Soup
  • Wild Salad (including actual leaves you pick from outdoors, like dandelion)
  • Beltane Asparagus
  • Toaster Tamari Almonds
  • Risotto Primavera
  • Aphrodites Love Cakes

The book is not overtly vegetarian but the recipes are quietly plant-based.

There’s a short section in the back on emotions and kitchen work. For example:

For those emotional, weepy days: Chop a lot of onions. Let the tears flow. Make exaggerated crying noises.

p. 203

There’s even a section on page 205 for what to do when you can’t stand the thought of cooking (few cookbooks mention it, but we’ve all been there).

Witch in the Kitchen: Magical Cooking for All Seasons

Cait Johnson

Destiny Books, 2001

Confused about where to start? I recommend Supermarket Magic and, if you can afford two books to start with, Supermarket Sabbats. Happy kitchen witching!