Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Review: 'Spellcasting: Beyond the Basics' by Michael Furie

Ever since I didn't get my Hogwarts letter I've been looking for different types of magic in the world, whether it's Wicca (of which I'm not a very big fan), Celtic druism or something else. So when I saw Spellcasting on Netgalley I knew I had to get in there. Since then I've become slightly addicted to Llewellyn's output, although I'm still waiting on some of the magic!

Pub. Date: 08/02/2016
Publisher: Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd.

Spellcasting is an exploration of magical theory and practice, natural techniques that utilize spiritual forces. Join author Michael Furie as he provides lessons on manifestation work, self-awareness and meditation techniques, altered states of consciousness, connecting to the natural world, planetary and stellar information, and information on the Hermetic laws. Discover practical techniques, spells, and rituals for different magical goals, as well as special spells such as the "Princess and the Pea Ritual" and the "Elements of Self-Esteem."
Now, for this review I'm largely putting aside the debate on whether magic exists and, if it does, what it is and how it works. Personally I think the idea of magic is a very open and diverse one which can be interpreted by every one differently. Different societies have opposing concepts of it, even different generations look at it differently. To completely deny the possibility based on the fact you've never seen someone flying a broomstick would be a bit too harsh, especially if there's so many interesting books about magic out there in the world. It's a subject that's always fascinated me and as such I am always glad to jump into books such as Spellcasting to find out more. And I have to say that the magic discussed in Spellcasting is one I found very interesting, while its advice on meditation is very useful as well.

The book is split up into three sections and is very much a kind of guide book, meant to help you on your way towards casting spells. As such the first part focuses on Magical Theory, exploring how knowing yourself, nature and the world around you can help you know your craft and strength. I found the discussions herein very interesting as the idea of working together with nature to realise your goals is a very attractive one. The second section focuses on Magical Practice, discussing different types of magic such as divination and providing in help in taking spells to the next level. The more skeptical you are, the more you'll have to push yourself to take this text seriously. But if you approach it with an open mind there are some really interesting concepts here. The final section focuses on recipes for oils and incense to work your spells with. The including of different herbs is something I liked about this type of magic since, medically speaking, certain herbs do indeed, for example, calm you down and allow you to focus more. By being partially rooted in reality, the actual "working" of the spells is up to your own spirituality.

Michael Furie's writing is very clear and precise. Spellcasting is clearly a book meant for instruction and as a reference book, allowing people to practise their own skills while reading or, like me, take a dip into the water and see what it's all about. His language is clear and he goes out of his way to explain concepts which may be unfamiliar to beginners, even if Spellcasting is a follow up to an earlier book called Spellcasting for Beginners. Even for those who go into this book with a mind set against its topic will find that Furie at least manages to enlighten them on something they question even exists. These kinds of books are a great example of how trying something out can lead to learning about how different people approach life. Even if this type of magic, or any magic at all, isn't something you want to try, there's nothing wrong with finding out more about it.

I give this book...

3 Universes!

Although I enjoyed reading Spellcasting I'm giving it 3 Universes simply due to how niche it is. If magic isn't something you're interested in this book simply won't hold very much interest for you. If, however, like me you're curious and have an open mind, I'd definitely recommend giving Furie's book, and Llewellyn Worldwide's other books, a try.

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