When Lupa asked me to do this review, I was of two minds. I thought “well a GOOD book on animal magick would be a wonderful thing for the community.” The other part of me thought “I doubt this is going to be that book.”
I LOVE it when I’m wrong.
This is not a book that is an encyclopedia about the Spirit Animals or what they do or don’t do. There are tons of other resources for that.
This book gives you practical information on working with not only the Spirit Animals, but also with familiars and those who see themselves as being animals in some regard. It talks about things like lycanthropy and how to call a familiar to you. It also discusses things like combining your energy with that of the animals you are dealing and working with.
Of interest to me was the section talking about the energies left in those bone and fur that you acquire. There are many points she makes in talking about the remnants other than meat on those fur skins. I had never really thought about the fact that the spirit of the animal can hang around. Considering just how many animal products go into general life, not just the metaphysical life, it is a point that has needed to be made for some time.
Even with all this praise, there were some things that I found difficult to endure or frustrating.
The first is the responsibility of the publisher. The style of the typesetting set my teeth on edge. The double-spaced lines were irritating. They reminded me of what I had to turn in to the teacher for sophomore English. After a bit, it seemed as though the publisher was attempting to pad out a short manuscript to make it look better.
I understand the author’s main experience is with Totemism, but as I read on in this book, there was more and more relation to totem animals and to using your totems. The specific topic was related to the subject under discussion, but still, reading about invoking an animal spirit (no matter how interesting and engaging the actual story is) by dancing in its pelt relates back to Totemism. I had the same experience with the information about guided meditations on the animals, which is another form of a vision quest.
Then I found that a major piece of information is missing. In the first chapter, Lupa mentions a meditation It’s apparently a meditation that changed her life, where she discovered the totem animals for each chakra. She implies that this is a common meditation and discovery journey. But I have never heard of it. Since the steps to the meditation weren’t in the book, I expected it to be in appendix. But it’s not. That bummed me out.
One thing that needs to be mentioned and Lupa is to be commended for, the frank discussion of animal sacrifice. Given that there are those in the various Pagan communities who actively practice animal sacrifice, it is something that needs to be discussed without the automatic shying away of disgust, and without the stigma which is attached by some to those practitioners.
Although there are some flaws, this book earns four starts out of five. Lupa did an excellent job on this book, discussing a topic which so easily could have degenerated into a list of animals and what they can do with clarity and consideration I have seen in few other places.
I am very glad I have a copy of this book and it will be one book I am sure to reference many times in my own works with my cats and with my Spirit Animals in the future.
Immanion Press, 2006
Originally published at: www.davensjournal.com and reproduced here with permission.