Everyone goes through dark times.

“Life is, at best, a series of unpredictable happenings. They have the potential to elicit everything from pure joy to untold misery. Whether we’ve lost our lover after many years of marriage, or we’ve lost ourselves after a traumatic event like an assault or illness, defending against that bleak sea of darkness can be difficult as its waves crash up onshore, threatening to pull us under. The one thing we can do is choose how we respond.”

The book is divided into 9 chapters, not including the awesome forward by Kristen J. Sollee (author of Witches, Sluts, Feminists), and an introduction by the author that explains some of the basics like Who is a Witch?, Do I need to believe in God?, and techniques for grounding, cleansing, and recognizing your intention. From there you move through topics like Love, Grief and Trauma, Shadow Work, and Writing Magic.

If you are an expereicned witch, a lot of Ms. Basile's suggestions will likely seem too basic. And, for ill or good, there is a lack of focus on technique; the book includes bath spells, candle spells, journaling, meditations, altar practices, sigils and mojo bags.

The spells included are often unusual, such as “A Serenity Ritual for Powerlessness” (p. 66) or “A Practice for Honoring Your Truth After Experiencing Gaslighting” (p. 67). There are spells for confidence, making new friends and connecting with ancestors, but also a ritual to recharge after a protest or social justice work and a spell for disposing of psychic garbage. The author does not shy away from shadow work, encouraging readers to honor our own shadow side through addressing ideas of fear of aging, finding a shadow archetype, disposing of our own psychic garbage, confronting cognitive dissonance, and (where appropriate) illuminating the darkness.

I found it refreshing that Light Magic doesn't require that you believe anything in particular, no particular deities or spirits. This made it feel more flexible than many other spell books. As well, Basile manages to write for people with different capabilities, polyamorous people, non-binary folx, the marginalized, and non-traditional witches.

What stands out is the quality of the writing. The author is a poet and the founder of Luna Luna Magazine, an online witch community that publishes poetry, spells, essays and interviews. Her ability to convey difficult concepts in a warm and friendly manner is superb, with an intrinsic beauty and appreciation for rhythm that I enjoyed very much. There is a gloriously subversive and empowering message woven throughout: witchcraft is powerful and transformative when we engage in it with serious intent. Moreover, magick is a tool we can use to turn the tides against the trend towards darkness that we are experiencing in the world.

Highly recommended!

~review by Lisa Mc Sherry

Author: Lisa Marie Basile
Fair Winds Press, 2018
pp. 176, 15.99

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