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Deborah Lipp opens The Way of Four Spellbook by reiterating much of the same information as in her previous book The Way of Four: Create Elemental Balance in Your Life.  Obviously, for someone unfamiliar with her previous works this will not matter, but for those of us familiar with her work it is repetitive. Unhappily, what she writes about can be found in any almost any other Pagan 101 book that discusses the elements. Furthermore, she has a very specific magical practice and clearly expects the reader to practice her way – at least while trying to learn what she can impart. However even with those negatives, I have to say that Ms. Lipp explains magic superbly, thoroughly explaining the concepts of interconnectedness, power and intention, and how time and space are not linear.  She gives a clear explanation of these complex concepts without talking over the head of the average person; drawing a clear picture of how these concepts work and affect magic. Moreover, Ms. Lipp has a good sense of humor and an easy writing style. She uses excellent organization to present her material.

In some ways she puts strict limitation on doing magic, for example: only doing healing spells for someone you know, and with their permission. I feel this puts a box around doing magic and limits one from going with the flow. On the other hand, Lipp presents her beliefs and concepts beautifully. She is wonderfully organized and clear in her instructions. For most of her spells she offers tips on how to do it in a group, if the spell is written for a solitary practitioner. If she has written a group ritual she offers tips for a solitary practitioner. 

Ms. Lipp begins by discussing how to incorporate all of the elements into ritual, and then spends the majority of the book on spells using an individual element. She has a clear format incorporating sections of for using a goal, target, tools needed, other, appropriate deities, and the spell. This gives the reader a basic outline and ample opportunity to create a personalized spell.

Crucially, Ms. Lipp points out the responsibility which accompanies performing magic. She makes a point of telling the reader to be certain they know what they want, reinforcing the personal responsibility which goes hand in hand with performing magic. I also appreciated how she points out the practical aspects which coincide with doing spells. For instance if the practitioner wants a new job she needs to send out resumes as well as doing a spell to bring the right job. 

Overall, the format is easy to follow, the knowledge imparted is valuable, and it is all fairly easy to adapt to individual style and beliefs. While the book offers some review of general information, in the end it offers a very well organized and well written book covering elemental use in spellcrafting. Four stars.

 

~review by Eileen Troemel

Author: Deborah Lipp

Llewellyn Publications, 2006

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