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Spellworking for Covens is a welcome change from the "Witchcraft is E-Z" type of recipe-spell books that are available in almost any bookstore with a metaphysics section. This book assumes the reader has an advanced beginner/intermediate level of knowledge.  If you are not comfortable with the basics of ritual structure and spell work, it would probably be best to go back and review them before reading this book. Ritual outlines are given, but it's assumed the reader will know what comprises each ritual element and its importance. Group visualization and energy-directing exercises are given, but these are meant to help the group learn to work together, not to teach the technique to the inexperienced. 

 

Possible obstacles to effective group work are discussed in great detail, and possible solutions offered. Topics covered include coming to agreement on when group work is appropriate, crafting a ritual/spell that all members can enthusiastically participate in, and when solitary work may be a more appropriate way to address a need. Dealing with group members who seem to be in constant crisis, as well as coping with dissenting members without destroying the coven are also discussed frankly— a welcome acknowledgment that covens are not always happy, functional families of our own choosing.

 

Nearly half of the book is devoted to scripted spells for a variety of needs ranging from general protection to enhancing a couple's fertility, all designed to be performed in a group setting. A separate chapter gives suggestions on how to adapt spells one has worked as an individual for group work.

 

It is hard to know how much the spells included in the book will appeal to any individual reader.  I found the real value of the book to be in reminding me how seriously spell work should be taken, and even more importantly, how carefully one should proceed in forming a coven and working magic with others. Too often, it seems we are so happy to find other Wiccans that we put up with behavior from them that we would never tolerate in our mundane friends, just for the sake of having a working group. One of the early chapters, "Group Magick and the Group Mind," made me reconsider who I really wanted to work magic with. In my opinion, this book is worth reading if only for that chapter.

 

~review by Jackie Gorman

Author: Edain McCoy

Llewellyn Publications 2002 

241 pp., $14.95

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