Trigger Warning: This novel and review discuss the following: religion, spirituality.
Goodreads Rating: 4 Stars
This was such a fun read! As you all know, I’m a huge fan of reading about the occult, and though I’m not sure how much I believe in everything I’ve read, I still find myself fascinated with coincidences and such that I notice after reading about certain topics.
I happened to read Basic Witches on my travels north in a single day via audiobook, and I’m definitely going to get myself a copy of the physical book because there is so much information that I would like to reference back to. The audio was perfect for the drive- the narration (by Amy McFaddon) was conversational and fun; a mix of humor, instruction, and confession. In the introduction, the authors state that Basic Witches is perfect for those who aren’t necessarily believers in magic, but nonetheless feel drawn to learn about the subject and who maybe even want to dip their toes into the realm.
Next commences some really interesting background and history on witches and witchcraft, including it’s feminist roots and honestly terrifying female persecution. Growing up in the Northeast, it was common to hear all about Salem and the witch trials, and of course I read The Crucible in high school as part of our English class curriculum. Hearing more about the historical side of witchcraft was very enlightening, and made the taboo of it all way more realistic and sensible. For example, there was mention of why women were often singled out as witches- for doing things such as living alone, enjoying sex, or mixing up concoctions aimed to heal someone. In that time period, this was considered odd, anti-Godlike, devil-worshiping behavior (*cough*Puritans*cough*) and therefore the local conclusion? Witches.
After clarifying that witchcraft doesn’t include warts and cauldrons (unless you’re into that, in which by all means, do you boo) the co-authors discuss different ways to introduce magic into your life. There were so many simple things suggested to do that I never would have thought of as magic, such as wearing certain colors, styling your hair in certain ways, or wearing certain types of make-up. My response to many of those suggestions were, I could easily do that!
In the end, I found the five hours of audio way too short because I enjoyed it so much. All the information was very accessible, easy to understand, and not laced with “hocus pocus”. I thoroughly enjoyed it and would certainly suggest it as a resource for anyone interested in modern occult books!
TL/DR: Basic Witches by Jaya Saxena and Jess Zimmerman is a reference guide to simple “magical” actions, rituals, and mindsets that can help influence your daily outlook. You don’t have to believe in magic or be a witch/wiccan to read it, either!
Read it? Yes, if you’re into the occult or curious about magic anything.
Recommend it? Yes, though only to the people I know who would be interested in the topic. I understand it’s not going to be for everyone.
Buy it? Yes, as this book has so much information that you’ll want to reference later!
If you liked this novel or review, check out these similar reads:
- Toil and Trouble: A Memoir by Augusten Burroughs
- Moon Magic by Diane Ahlquist
- Love Signs by Linda Goodman
- The Curious Dreamer’s Dream Dictionary by Nancy Wagamon