Book Review: Everyday Witchcraft by Deborah Blake

Everyday Witchcraft by Deborah BlakeThis year one of my goals was to read more, specifically about witchcraft and paganism. Most recently I finished reading Deborah Blake’s Everyday Witchcraft: Making Time for Spirit in a Too-Busy World. I am so pleased that I got this book and read it immediately instead of stuffing it in the back of my magickal book pile. I ended up really loving it, flagging dozens of pages, transferring quotes to my book of shadows, and generally thinking about living witchcraft everyday in a much more serious way.

The level of the book is probably not beginner, but is pretty much every level after beginner. Blake doesn’t explain witchcraft or paganism to the reader (thankfully), nor does she lean too much toward one path (thankfully). What she does do is gives lots of ideas for altars, elemental correspondences, home protection, and daily witchy stuff, none of which is fluffy nonsense. The chapters were around 20 pages each, which made it very digestible, and it’s organized into ten chapters with a bonus chapter of book recommendations (yes, please!). I ended up adding a whopping eight new magick books to my wishlist thanks to this reading, including one of Blake’s other books, which she plugs just a tiny bit too much (I don’t blame her though, if I had a book published I’d work it into every conversation, and she has a lot of books out).

The beginning of Chapter 1 was when I knew that it was a book that I would connect with. Blake writes: “Witchcraft today is different than it was in the distant past, when most of the people we would call Witches might not even have used that name for themselves. … Their Witchcraft may be where ours gets its roots, but it was not our witchcraft” (1). It might sounds strange, but that passage struck me forcibly. While we, as Witches and Pagans, do have information about “the old ways,” we do not live how they lived, and our Craft does need to adjust to this new world. Before I go on I have to say that there’s something about Blake’s authorial voice that I really connected with. I felt like I was talking to a friend, and that may be her writing, or it may be me reacting to her words, so keep that in mind as I continue to gush about this book.

Chapter 2 “The Everyday Witch” is where the title of the book comes in. Even though the whole book is on this topic, this chapter especially focuses on living witchcraft every day and how that can be accomplished. I have added small, morning-time rituals to my day because of it, and I’m already seeing the benefit of that addition. In Chapter 5 “A Simple Pagan Practice,” Blake gives helpful advice on how to simplify the way you practice so that it can easily become part of everyday life. I think many of us fall into the trap of being pagan on ‘special occasions’ like the Sabbats, being witches on the Esbats (that we remember), and not really thinking about it otherwise.

My absolute favorite chapters were clustered together near the end of the book. Chapter 6 “With a Little Help From My Friends” makes a compelling argument for being out of the ‘broom closet’ and how to present yourself as a pagan/witch. As someone who has recently ‘come out’ as a witch, I thought this was a great chapter, because it argues that we need to consider ourselves as ambassadors of witchcraft. Chapter 7 “Fur, Feather, and Fang” is about familiars and addresses the ‘spirit animal’ debate that’s so heated right now, including a helpful and culturally sensitive solution. Finally, Chapter 8 “Your Magickal Home” includes very helpful tips for infusing your house with magick, something that I am particularly interested since we might be moving soon. That’s a rundown of my favorite chapters; there’s a lot more to get out of the book than what I’ve listed here.

Conclusion

If you are a witch, either new to the Craft or a veteran, who needs practical ideas on how to better make witchcraft part of your everyday life, I cannot recommend this book highly enough. I enjoyed it tremendously, and at the end of 2016, it was one of the best books I’d read all year. Blessed be, friends.

Updated December 2017

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