Book Reviews, Tarot

The Everyday Enchantment Tarot (Deck Review)

There’s a lot to love about this beautiful deck, with the artwork being at the top. Poppy Palin takes the cards and brings them down to earth, switching out the medieval and Renaissance imagery with scenes that look like our lives today. The cards retain their traditional names. Court ranks are Page, Knight, Queen, King, and suits are Blades, Wands, Cups, Coins. Backs are reversible.

This deck is more serious than most about diversity. There is not only racial diversity and representation of sexual orientations, but there are also a variety of ages, levels of physical ability, as well as people of different socioeconomic levels, from doctors and lawyers to construction workers and waiters to the homeless.

various ages, races, and sexual orientations are depicted
Cards show people who have had a mastectomy or who use a wheelchair or who have Down syndrome or blindness.
Rock star, construction workers, a surgeon who works at a research hospital for breast cancer.
Lawyer, farmer, waiter, tattoo artist.

Theoretically, this should be one of the best decks of our time. However, the size. My goodness the size. When you open the box, there is a book printed in landscape format and the book is under the deck in two stacks.

The cards are heavily coated, don’t shuffle well, and even though my hands aren’t tiny it’s a stretch to even put my thumb below the cards and hold them with a finger at the top.

Everyday Enchantment compared to Radiant Rider Waite
Size comparison Everyday Enchantment versus Radiant Rider Waite.
The card on top is from the Tarot de Maria Celia, which is a joy to shuffle. Then the Radiant Rider Waite. Finally, the Everyday Enchantment. You can see how much larger it is than a comfortable size for me.

They could have been smaller if they didn’t have the ugly borders around the picture. But since the titles of the cards are in the bottom border, if you trim the borders off, you will lose the card titles and the images themselves differ so much from a standard deck that you might not be able to figure out what card you’re looking at if you do that.

five out of five for artwork; two out of five for being impossible to actually shuffle (If a borderless mini version came out it would be one of my favorites).

The Everyday Enchantment Tarot: Finding Magic in the Midst of Life

Poppy Palin

Schiffer Publishing

2018

Book Reviews, Tarot

Tarot de Maria Celia (Deck Review)

I don’t usually take to Marseille-style decks, but I really fell in love with this little deck. Tarot de Maria Celia is a reinterpretation of the Marseille deck by Filipino artist Lynyrd-Jym Narciso, who previously created the Vanessa Tarot. Like the Vanessa Tarot, this deck is small (close to playing card size) and comes in a tin. That’s where the similarity ends, though.

Maria Celia is a redrawing of classic tarot in a modern color palette. I realized, looking through it, that part of the reason I never took to Marseille decks in the past was the primary red, blue, yellow palette. Amazing what a difference color can make. The images themselves are redrawn but in a classic style. They don’t look modern, and in fact they have some ivory and cream distressing to look aged.

I totally wrote those numbers on the cards myself with a Sharpie because I suck at Roman numerals. If you hate the way it looks, relax. It will not be on your version!

At first glance, I thought the backs didn’t show reversals, but as I playing with the cards a bit I realized that, although the design itself doesn’t show reversals, the distressing gives it away if you look closely.

The titles of the cards are in French, so the Magician is Le Bateleur. Suits are baton (wands), coupe (cups), epee (swords) and denier (coins). Court ranks are Valet, Cavalier, Reyne, Roy. Justice is eight, Strength is eleven. The Roman numerals are old school — nine is VIIII instead of IX, fourteen is XIIII instead of XIV.

There is a tiny stapled pamphlet (the LWB, or little white book) that explains briefly how to read pips if you’re intimidated by decks without scenes on the Minor Arcana. I think this deck will appeal even to people who think they don’t like this style of deck. It got me so excited I wanted to try again with traditional decks, which I sort of gave up on years ago.

I took this picture before I broke out the Sharpie and attacked my cards. This is what they look like out of the tin.

I basically think this cute little deck is the most Tarot of all Tarot decks that I own. I absolutely love it.

Five out of five stars

Tarot de Maria Celia

Lynyrd-Jym Narciso

US Games

2018

Book Reviews, Tarot

Radiant Wise Spirit Tarot (Deck Review)

I think this is currently my favorite RWS deck. People always tell you that you should start with the Rider Waite Smith Tarot, and there’s something to be said for learning the archetypal cards behind so many innovative new decks. It helps you read the new decks right out of the box. But the RWS decks themselves aren’t always something we enjoy reading with. I do think this version has made some helpful changes.

The first thing you notice is the new color palette. For a deck that’s been around more than 100 years, this soothing antique palette is a better fit than some of the more garish colors we’ve seen on other editions.

The Fool in Radiant Wise Spirit, Radiant Rider Waite and Albano Waite, no filter
The Moon in Radiant Wise Spirit, Radiant Rider Waite and Albano Waite, no filter
Wheel of Fortune in Radiant Wise Spirit, Radiant Rider Waite and Albano Waite, no filter
The Sun in Radiant Wise Spirit, Radiant Rider Waite and Albano Waite, no filter

The second innovation is removing the borders. I remember several years back when people were talking on the now defunct Tarot Forum about using paper trimmers and corner rounders to remove borders from decks. I’m glad the publishers were listening, because I personally can’t get a professional cut at home using my arts and crafts supplies. Plus, if they’re published without borders (rather than trimmed) they are the same size as a standard deck (rather than smaller) so the illustrations themselves can be enlarged. This pulls you into the pictures more and helps them feel more immediate.

This is literally the most standard of decks (as in the RWS is a standard deck and this deck has changed nothing about the line art itself). Suits are Swords, Cups, Wands, Pentacles and Courts are Page, Knight, Queen, King.

Backs are reversible.

lily and rose backs

They come in a solid box (not the flimsy kind where you’re going to wear out the lid opening and closing it) with a small booklet written by Sasha Graham. The only spreads in the booklet are one card, three card, and Celtic Cross.

The card stock itself is as perfect as it can get. Thick enough to not feel flimsy, but not too thick to shuffle. Glossy enough but not plastic. They feel durable.

I would recommend The Radiant Wise Spirit Tarot for anyone looking for a RWS deck to study or read with, especially if the previous color palettes were the main thing turning you off from RWS to begin with.

5 out of 5 stars

Radiant Wise Spirit Tarot

Arthur Edward Waite, illustrated by Pamela Colman Smith, colors by Barbara Nosenzo, text by Sasha Graham

Lo Scarabeo

2019

Book Reviews, Tarot

The Nightmare Before Christmas Tarot (Deck Review)

I love the Nightmare Before Christmas Tarot Deck! It’s beautiful.

It reads right out of the box for anyone who’s familiar with the Rider Waite system. It also comes with a little booklet that includes a full-color picture of each card and an introductory upright and reversed meaning. There are three sample spreads in the back, named Eureka!, A Peek Behind the Cyclops’s Eye, and Blown to Smithereens.

Backs are reversible (and they’re gorgeous — not enough decks have backs that I like as much as these).

Courts are Page, Knight, Queen, King. Suits are Needles, Candles, Potions, Presents.

The majors are all beautiful and a lot of the minors are as well, but some of the minors are basically pips and, while they look nice, they’re not as inspiring in a reading as the ones with characters.

The cards have a glossy finish that doesn’t shuffle well right away. I spent several minutes separating the cards into stacks in lieu of shuffling because they were clinging to each other. They become easier to shuffle the more you work with them.

Anyone who likes Tarot and The Nightmare Before Christmas will definitely want to get this deck. It’s not perfect, but it’s charming. It’s illustrated by the same woman who illustrated the Dark Wood Tarot.

4 out of 5 stars

Disney and Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas Tarot Deck

by Minerva Siegel, illustrated by Abigail Larson

Insight Editions

2020

Book Reviews, Tarot

Tarot del Toro (Deck Review)

If you’re a fan of Guillermo del Toro as well as Tarot, you may like this deck. It illustrates the major arcana and court cards with images from del Toro’s films (or, in the case of The Magician, the man himself!). For example, The High Priestess is Nuala, the elf princess from Hellboy II. The Lovers depicts characters from The Shape of Water.

The booklet that comes with it is small but engaging. It begins with a foreword from Guillermo del Toro, in which he says:

My mother read the Tarot to anyone that would ask her — regardless of the time or setting. She always carried her deck of cards, nestled in a velvet pouch inside her handbag, and treated it with great care and respect. The edges of the cards were worn and stained from the frequency and familiarity of their handling.

Guillermo del Toro

Most of the booklet is written by Tomas Hijo, creator of the deck, and it explains his process of rewatching the films and selecting how to translate the imagery onto the cards. There is a little story about a Don Miguel, blind tarot reader from the town of Salamanca, who helped in the deck’s creation and who teaches some spreads in the back. This may be true but it has a mythical quality to it that may be exaggerated. I found myself flipping to the Hierophant to see if maybe I’d find Don Miguel there (instead I found The Master, the supreme vampire from The Strain).

Tarot del Toro is in the Marseilles style, meaning the numbered cards of the minor arcana are “pips” which do not show scenes of people doing daily life things. If you don’t read with pips and you intend to read with this deck, that might disappoint you. Normally I would say, “Well, there’s no shame in using the guidebook” but in this case the book has longish explanations of the major arcana, brief paragraphs about the court cards, and almost nothing to say about the pips.

Suits are Blades, Wands, Goblets, and Discs.

Courts are Valet, Knight, Queen, King.

Backs show upright or reversed cards.

Though the illustrations and color palette are in the style of older decks, the card stock is slick and plastic. They could take some breaking in before they’ll shuffle smoothly, as they like to stick together. Some tarot readers use fanning powder in cases like this (available at magic shops).

If you’re a fan of del Toro, you’ll probably enjoy the deck. If you’re just looking for a Tarot deck and you’re not familiar with del Toro’s work, this may not be a great place to start. If you’re ambivalent about his films or find them too dark, you’ll probably feel the same way about the deck.

3 out of 5 stars (mostly because the pips were uninspired)

Tarot del Toro

Inspired by Guillermo del Toro, illustrated by Tomas Hijo

Insight Editions

2020

Book Reviews, Tarot

Witchling Academy Tarot (Deck Review)

If you like Harry Potter or the magical girls anime genre, you’ll enjoy Witchling Academy Tarot. The book that comes with the deck is small but fun. It follows the adventures of Charlie, an apprentice at the Witchling Academy of Magic. The Major Arcana has a story about Charlie’s battle against Corrupt Magic, and it tells the Hero’s Journey through leaving home for the first time (the Fool) to completing the first year at the academy (the World).

Each of the Minor Arcana suits is a house that students are sorted into.

“House of Wands will learn how to channel fire magic through their wands and hone their wand-battling skills. The House of Cups will focus on the art of potion crafting while learning to enhance power with their water magic. The House of Pentacles has a full curriculum on healing and growing plants with earth magic. Last but not least, House of Swords Apprentices will be taught how to master their swords, using air magic to enhance their abilities.”

p. 1

Each of the suits has its own story to help you understand the progression from Ace through Ten. I feel like this would be great for a beginner, as it ties all the cards together rather than having a seemingly unrelated deck of 78 cards to memorize. The character of Charlie is central to the deck and this helps ground the story so we can remember what each card means and where it fits in the overall. Charlie also has a little blue and white parakeet familiar named George who appears on most of the cards.

Two of Pentacles

This is a friendly deck that makes the cards approachable. Each card has a Daily Incantation, which is like an affirmation, such as for the Two of Pentacles, “I can easily balance all my tasks with beauty and grace.” Then it has a Magical Meaning, which is what we’d usually call the upright meaning. These are positive and upbeat and have advice like, “Manage your time, energy, and resources well, and you will not lose your balance. You can handle any challenges that are thrown at you.” Then there’s the Shadow Meaning, which corresponds to what we usually call the reversed meaning. For example, “The Two of Pentacles reversed is warning you that you might have overcommitted and are being overwhelmed by your schedule.”

There is a short section in the back about how to use the cards for spells or spreads. It keeps the upbeat tone of encouragement. “All the professors and I are so proud of your dedication. There are no right or wrongs, and everyone who attempts a spread will pass their finals! So what are you waiting for?”

I’d recommend this deck for beginners, young readers (or young at heart readers), girly girls, or anyone who wants to see how the Tarot can be integrated with storytelling. This deck follows the Rider Waite Smith (RWS) meanings and the backs are reversible.

five out of five stars

Witchling Academy Tarot

Pamela Chen, illustrated by Mindy Zhang

Llewellyn Publications

2021

Black Lives Matter, Book Reviews

White Fragility (Book Review)

During the 2016 election, I was standing in a long line of voters waiting our turn, and a white woman in her late 50s took the opportunity to address the captive audience with her spiel that went something like this, “In my day, there was no such thing as racism. Obama invented racism. Nowadays everybody is oversensitive and suddenly they see racism where there was never any before.”

Delusional? Sure. But she was delusional in a specific way that’s not unique to her. It’s common among white people, and especially women of her generation. When she says there wasn’t any racism when she was young, she’s not lying. She’s saying that she lived in a bubble that allowed her not to see or address what was going on for black people in our country. She’s saying that bubble allowed her to ignore racism, pretend it was something from the long-forgotten past, and, most of all, think of herself as a good person. She’s saying that attitudes and opinions she’s held her entire life are now being called out for what they’ve always been: racist. And that makes her uncomfortable.

I can remember when I was growing up being told, especially of people’s grandparents, things like, “He might make some ‘off-color’ remarks, but we just ignore those. He’s old and doesn’t know any better, but our family isn’t racist.” What’s changed isn’t the amount of racism but the amount of patience for old people simply not knowing any better. Nowadays we expect people to learn and grow, and it’s perceived as an attack.

In White Fragility, Robin Diangelo says:

…pointing out white advantage will often trigger patterns of confusion, defensiveness, and righteous indignation. These responses enable defenders to protect their moral character against a perceived attack while rejecting any culpability. Focusing on restoring their moral standing through these tactics, whites are able to avoid the challenge.

p. 109

The author goes on to explain:

White equilibrium is a cocoon of racial comfort, centrality, superiority, entitlement, racial apathy, and obliviousness, all rooted in an identity of being good people free of racism.

p. 111

So when issues of race are addressed, white people immediately feel like they’re being told they aren’t good people and apparently being “nice” is more important in our culture than addressing issues and righting wrongs. As the author says:

White fragility functions as a form of bullying; I am going to make it so miserable for you to confront me — no matter how diplomatically you try to do so — that you will simply back off, give up, and never raise the issue again. White fragility keeps people of color in line and “in their place.” In this way, it is a powerful form of white racial control. Social power is not fixed; it is constantly challenged and needs to be maintained. We might think of the triggers to white fragility … as challenges to white power and control, and white fragility as the means to end the challenge and maintain that power and control.

p. 112

If you’re new to books on race in America, start with White Fragility. It will help answer how a woman can stand in line in a voting precinct gerrymandered to have fewer people of color than are actually in her town and confidently assert that Obama invented racism.

It also has a list of resources with books, articles, blogs, podcasts and films to help you figure out where to go next on your antiracist journey.

5 out of 5 stars

White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk about Racism

Robin Diangelo

Beacon Press, 2018

Book Reviews

3 Books for the Magical Activist

Witchcraft is not a political ideology, but it’s been frequently noted that it’s often the tool of the oppressed. It’s a type of power embraced by people who may have no other recourse. In that vein, while not all magical practitioners would consider themselves liberals, these three books have a definite liberal worldview. If that offends you, you won’t like any of them.

Hexing the Patriarchy is a small hardcover book with enchanting illustrations and quotes sprinkled in the margins. It’s only about 5×7 inches and 276 pages.

The book is set up to be alphabetical, for some reason. There are books that are alphabetical and it makes sense, like encyclopedias that cover a lot of different topics. It’s a way to organize the information. However, this book only has one entry per letter. So A is for Ancestors, B is for Binding, C is for Conjure.

The book is a hodgepodge of spells, rituals, recipes and activities, many written by Ariel Gore and some contributed by other writers. Although the other writers are credited in the sections where their spells appear, I wish there was a separate section at the back listing each contributor and a brief bio.

The book covers a wide variety of topics but doesn’t go into much depth on each one. Recipes are for things like Anti-Patriarchal-Bullshit Salt Scrub (page 39) and Personal Power Oil (page 67). Spells are things like Brujita Spell to Wear Down the Patriarchy (MK Chavez, p. 48) and Red Dragon Spells of Liberation from Supremacy Ideologies (Rhea Wolf, pm 55).

The chapter for F is “Fight Song”:

One of the ways the patriarchy undermines us is by making us feel like shit for everything from our waistlines to our leadership styles. By bombarding us with messages of unworthiness, these trolls hope to effectively disarm us so we’ll stay home shame-spiraling instead of hitting the streets and kicking their asses. To counter this, a witch needs an anthem.

Considering what we’re up against, we need a whole playlist of anthems.

p. 73

She goes on to recommend just such a playlist.

There is a brief introduction that explains why she wrote the book, addresses the controversy among witches about hexing, and lays out her purpose:

Patriarchy — the age-old system that enforces a gender binary and creates brutal hierarchies among men while universally privileging the masculine over the feminine — hurts all of us. It forces us to act as if men don’t need relationships, women don’t need selves, and trans and nonbinary people have no right to exist at all. We reject that system.

p. 15

Hexing the Patriarchy: 26 Potions, Spells, and Magical Elixirs to Embolden the Resistance

Ariel Gore

Seal Press, 2019

Magic for the Resistance was published earlier than the other books on this list, and it’s by an author who went viral for a spell to bind Donald Trump. It seems not to have worked, and if you’ve seen the prayer warriors who intervene (magically, though they’d never call it that) on his behalf, you’d have an idea why.

The man himself grew up in a church led by Norman Vincent Peale, who was famous for popularizing the Power of Positive Thinking. If you think that Trump doesn’t practice magic, you haven’t been paying attention.

I remember reading an article during the 2016 election that talked about a wall at his campaign headquarters that had pictures of his opponents (unflattering pictures, of course) and they were marked when they were “vanquished.” I am personally of the opinion that it makes no sense to cast magic against someone who works with magic because they have defenses, first of all, and often the ability to take the negative energy that is being sent their way and use it for their own purposes. If you don’t like the man, stop sending him your energy!

Aside from this, the book itself contains a lot of useful magical information. It starts with a general FAQ and a brief history of magical practitioners fighting off oppressors. Other chapters include Toolkit for Magical Activism, Offensive and Defensive Magic, Magic Beyond the Altar, Finding the Others: Coven and Community Building, Self-Care and Resilience, Preparation for Ritual, and The Magical Activist’s Spellbook.

A sample spell is “Black Lives Matter: Spell for Justice for a Victim of a Police Action” (p. 176), which is topical yet again (as it is all too often).

There’s an appendix in the back with some correspondences and some booklists divided by topic (I’m a sucker for sections in books that recommend even more books!).

In his chapter on Offensive and Defensive Magic, he discusses the differences of opinion on this type of magic, including people who don’t believe in ever doing any binding or hexing. He obviously does believe in it, but he explains:

It is also critical to examine how far you would go in a hex. If you wouldn’t do something by nonmagical means, don’t do it with magic. I advocate nonviolence as the most useful and practical mode of resistance, so I would never do magic that would physically harm or kill someone, like cursing someone to get cancer or to get hit by a bus, just as I wouldn’t slip a carcinogenic poison into their drink or shove them in front of a bus. I would most definitely do magic to nonviolently impede their actions from harming me or others I care about.

p. 89

Magic for the Resistance: Rituals and Spells for Change

Michael M. Hughes

Llewellyn Publications, 2018

They say you shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover, but we all do, and I have to say that this book has the least appealing cover of these three. That’s unfortunate, because the book itself is solid and the author is knowledgeable.

The first chapter has a section called Activism in Its Many Forms that covers “mundane” activism such as Petitioning and Letter-Writing, Lobbying, Outreach and Volunteering, Marching and Demonstrating, and Civil Disobedience and Direct Action. This is followed by a brief primer on how to do magic, from setting intent to raising power and magical follow-through.

The next section is called Getting to Work, and it’s broken into: Strategizing, Building a Defense, Building an Offense, and Victory and Loss. The Victory and Loss section has a spell to cultivate resilience and he says:

Throughout your efforts in both magic and activism, you will not only experience large victories and losses, but you’ll probably also experience them in smaller ways all along your journey. Certainly the work of justice and equality can feel like we are taking two steps forward one day and two steps back the next. When we’re lucky, it can feel like we’re speeding right up through the finish line as well. Because of the dynamic nature of victory and loss it is important that we channel the power of flexibility and adaptability with all things.

p. 128

The final chapter touches on magical activists in history.

Witchcraft Activism: A Toolkit for Magical Resistance

David Salisbury

Weiser Books, 2019

The books are listed here in order from the most eclectic to the least. Hexing the Patriarchy is a magical cookbook. Magic for the Resistance includes a lot of information about different types of magic and some spells and recipes. Witchcraft Activism goes most deeply into activism itself and has the fewest spells.

I’d recommend Hexing the Patriarchy to someone who was new and wanted to peruse the subject for the first time. Magic for the Resistance is better suited for somebody who is already an experienced magical practitioner who wants ideas on how to incorporate magic into activism. Witchcraft Activism is the best choice for somebody who wants to get more deeply involved in activism on all levels and also wants to use a bit of magic while they’re at it.

books on kitchen witchery
Book Reviews, Herbalism, Kitchen Witchery

6 Great Books on Kitchen Witchery

The first book I would recommend on Kitchen Witchery is simply a comprehensive cookbook on the cuisine that you regularly eat. I can’t tell you which one this is, because it’s personal to you and your background, culture, and family history. If you come from a culture with a tradition of baking, I’d also recommend a basic baking book of your choosing.

As far as books specifically on making magic in the kitchen, here are six to start with:

Supermarket Magic is a spellbook centered around ingredients you can find at your local supermarket, unlike spellbooks of old that called for ingredients you’ve never heard of and have to track down through specialty dealers.

The first chapter, on Navigating the Supermarket, contains two simple meditations for grocery shopping. One is for protection and the other is an anti-anxiety orb. These may come in even more handy now than they did when the book was written.

The next two chapters cover magical basics and magical ethics. The author has written two books entirely on spellcasting, and these chapters are like a condensed primer.

From there the book become a spellbook organized by magical intention, covering:

  • Clearing and Cleansing
  • Harmony
  • Healing
  • Love, Lust, and Beauty Magic
  • Luck
  • Money
  • Protection
  • Psychic Ability and Divination
  • Sabbats and Esbats
  • Miscellany (this is a few simple tables of correspondences that most books would call the appendix)

There’s a brief section on pages 53-57 on how to make oils, potions, powders, and vinegars. Within each magical intention, there are several different types of recipes, ranging from brews, oils and bath salts to witch bottles, powders, and charms. And, of course, foods. An example of a recipe is a good luck blend on page144 that calls for only orange juice, strawberries, and vanilla extract.

Supermarket Magic: Creating Spells, Brews, Potions & Powders from Everyday Ingredients

Michael Furie

Llewellyn Publications, 2013

Supermarket Sabbats is from the same author as Supermarket Magic and it centers on the idea that:

…with a keen eye and careful shopping, we can find that all of our festivals have representation in the supermarket.

p. 2

There is a (very) brief introduction that covers how to make potpourri, brews, incenses, magical oils, powders, and vinegars (we’re talking a paragraph or two on each) and a brief intro to how to do magic. If you’re never done magic before, this won’t be enough, but if you have then it’s all you need.

From here we head into four seasonal sections: Winter Wonderland, Spring Forward, Summer Surge, and Autumn Harvest. Every Sabbat is covered, along with New Year’s and Valentine’s Day (for some reason). The last chapter is called Special Occasions and it covers solar and lunar eclipses and Leap Day.

Each section contains recipes for potpourri, brews, incense, oils, powders, charms, foods, bath salts, witch bottles. Some sections contain things like spring cleaners or amulets. Each Sabbat includes and very brief ritual and a shopping list of ingredients for the recipes in that section.

Appendices in the back include a basic color magic chart and a more useful ingredient table of correspondences that lists, for each herb or food, the element, planet, polarity, and magical uses.

Supermarket Sabbats: A Magical Year Using Everyday Ingredients

Michael Furie

Llewellyn Publications, 2017

A Cart Full of Magic is a small book of magical correspondences. This author has previously written a series of small spellbooks. This is not a spellbook. It doesn’t contain a bunch of recipes or rituals.

Part One is a brief rundown on things like magical supplies and tools, visualization, and grocery shopping with intention.

Part Two is correspondences for Food, Drink and More:

  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Bread
  • Dairy
  • Nuts and Seeds
  • Grains and Legumes
  • Eggs
  • Sugar
  • Baking Goods
  • Honey
  • Vinegar
  • Oils
  • Salt
  • Herbs and Spices
  • Coffee and Tea
  • Water
  • Juice Drinks
  • Alcoholic Beverages

Part Three contains correspondences for Household, Hygiene, Beauty and Other Items:

  • Flowers
  • Essential Oils
  • Hygiene and Daily Ritual Products
  • Beauty
  • Housewares
  • Cleaning Products
  • Hardware
  • Seeds for Planting
  • Bird Food
  • Other Products (this section is a bunch of random items like candles, matches, safety pins, buttons, envelopes, jars)

Part Four is called Enhancing Magical Work. It includes using color correspondences, moon phases and days of the week, and some magical intentions such as happiness, health, love, money and the vegetable, flower, fruit, herb, essential oil, color, planet and day of the week to use in spells for that intention. There’s also a section on cleaning your home physically and spiritually.

It sounds like a lot to cover in a small book, and it is. It’s like the mini companion to the much larger Llewellyn’s Complete Book of Correspondences.

A Cart Full of Magic: Your Secret Supermarket Shopping List

Ileana Abrev

Llewellyn Publications, 2018

Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Wicca in the Kitchen is a cross between a book of correspondences and a cookbook. It has an introductory section on tools, food magic, and festival festival foods.

The next section is lists of foods and their correspondences:

  • Breads & Grains
  • Cakes, Sweetened Breads, Cookies & Pies
  • Vegetables
  • Fruit
  • Spices & Herbs
  • Honey, Sugar, Chocolate, Carob, & Maple Syrup
  • Nuts & Alleged Nuts
  • Salt, Vinegar, Soup & Noodles
  • Food from Sea & River
  • Beer, Wine & Alcoholic Beverages, Tea & Coffee
  • The Mystic Egg
  • From the Dairy

After that is a section called Magical Food Diets that is arranged by magical intention and contains food recommendations and recipes for each:

  • Love
  • Protection
  • Health & Healing
  • Money
  • Sex
  • Spirituality
  • Psychic Awareness
  • Peace & Happiness
  • Purification
  • Weight Loss
  • Other Magical Food Diets (Physical Strength and Magical Power, Fertility, Grounding, Conscious Mind, Luck)

The next section is called Scott’s Favorite Recipes and it’s a cookbook in the standard format (by appetizers, beverages, etc.) but it’s less than 30 pages long and there’s a note from the editor saying that Cunningham had intended to write a separate cookout but died before it was complete. There are some correspondence tables in the back.

This book would appeal to a Cunningham fan, as it’s similar to his other encyclopedias. If you have several other books on kitchen witchery you may find it redundant, but it’s a good place to start.

Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Wicca in the Kitchen

Scott Cunningham

Llewellyn Publications, 2013 (originally published in 1990)

Whereas the other books were magical books that happen to contain recipes, Romancing the Stove is a cookbook that happens to contain a bit of magic. It’s the most delicious book on this list, from an author who has written other cookbooks. It also has a focus on Roman goddesses, with sections like “She Wrote the Book on Playing Hard to Get” (a short essay on Vesta followed by recipes for Home-Brew Kahlua and Russian Huntress (which adds the Kahlua to crushed ice and vodka).

Interspersed among the recipes are short pieces about bath magic, candle magic, celebrating the seasons. Chapters include:

  • Good Goddess, Let’s Eat! The Kitchen Goddess Manifesto
  • Demeter’s Delights: Heartwarming Treasures for the Kid in All of Us
  • In Aphrodite’s Mixing Bowl: Delicious Pleasure and Tasty Favorites
  • Making Life a Picnic: Feel-Good Feasts at Nature’s Table
  • Vestal Pleasures: Food for Savoring Solitude
  • The Artemis Party: Fun Fare for Festive Occasions
  • Charmed Holidays: Celebrations for a Spell
  • The Golden Apple Invitational (this section has a story about the goddess of discord, Eris, and a recipe for Golden Apple Dumplings)

The best thing I can say about this cookbook is that I’ve been making Margie’s Cowboy Cookies (page 60) for almost two decades.

Romancing the Stove: Celebrated Recipes and Delicious Fun for Every Kitchen Goddess

Margie Lapanja

Conari Press, 2002 (previously published as Goddess in the Kitchen)

Witch in the Kitchen is another cookbook with magical sidebars rather than a magical book that also has recipes. Part One (Kitchen Magic) has information on making your kitchen a sacred space, setting up a kitchen altar, making a kitchen with apron, and performing kitchen rituals. There are some brief correspondences and idea for decorations.

The cookbook sections are: Autumn, Winter, Spring, and Summer. There are essays on each season, early season recipes, Sabbat recipes, late season recipes. There are also some spells and rituals for each Sabbat.

Right now we’re in late spring, and her recipes in this section include:

  • Sensuous Spinach Soup
  • Wild Salad (including actual leaves you pick from outdoors, like dandelion)
  • Beltane Asparagus
  • Toaster Tamari Almonds
  • Risotto Primavera
  • Aphrodites Love Cakes

The book is not overtly vegetarian but the recipes are quietly plant-based.

There’s a short section in the back on emotions and kitchen work. For example:

For those emotional, weepy days: Chop a lot of onions. Let the tears flow. Make exaggerated crying noises.

p. 203

There’s even a section on page 205 for what to do when you can’t stand the thought of cooking (few cookbooks mention it, but we’ve all been there).

Witch in the Kitchen: Magical Cooking for All Seasons

Cait Johnson

Destiny Books, 2001

Confused about where to start? I recommend Supermarket Magic and, if you can afford two books to start with, Supermarket Sabbats. Happy kitchen witching!

Book Reviews

Llewellyn’s Complete Book of Correspondences (Book Review)

The first thing you notice about this book is its size. The pages are about 8 inches by 10 inches and there are over 500 of them. It’s a paperback, sadly. It’s the kind of book that would be a tome if it were hardcover. It starts with an introduction, which is fewer than 10 pages, and the entire rest of the book is just what it sounds like: tables of correspondences.

The first section is sorted by issues, intentions and powers. So here’s where you’d look if you wanted to do a prosperity spell or a creativity spell.

The other sections are organized by Plant Kingdom (trees, herbs, garden plants and shrubs, miscellaneous plants), Mineral Kingdom (gemstone and minerals, metals and alloys, from the sea), Animal Kingdom (animals, birds, marine life, reptiles, insects and miscellaneous, mythical creatures), Deities and Other Beings (goddesses, gods, magical beings and spirits, angels), Astrological and Time Reckoning (the zodiac, the solar system, moon phases, the full moons, the seasons, the days of the week, the times of day, celebrations, the ogham and Celtic tree calendar, the runes and runic half-months) and Miscellaneous (the elements, the directions, colors, energy: yin and yang, the chakras, numbers, and the tarot).

There is an appendix (guide to plants) and an extensive index.

In a book this size, you’re bound to find a few things here and there that you disagree with. That’s actually good, because it means you’re forming your own correspondences. This book has plenty of room to write in the margins and it also has about ten blank pages in the back that you could use for your own notes.

The author admits in the introduction that her bias is toward Pagan and Wiccan correspondences because that’s what she knows best, so it might be less useful for ceremonial magicians, and she explains that Afro-Caribbean traditions are out of her area of expertise. She also delves into her ideas on why we use correspondences, and that she doesn’t think of them merely as tables but as webs of connection, “where the correspondences we use are not only associated with an intention but also with each other.”

Although we tend to reach for our favorite correspondences again and again, she says:

When it comes to magical correspondences, I found that using different ones from time to time provides a way to fine-tune rituals and especially spells. While it is true that power is built up over time by repeated use of something, stepping off the beaten path to explore different approaches is when magic really happens.

p. 1

This is a book that I owned for a few years as an ebook but eventually ended up buying the paperback. I works better as a paperback. It’s a reference book you’ll want on your shelf if you’re writing your own spells.

5 out of 5 stars

Llewellyn’s Complete Book of Correspondences: A Comprehensive & Cross-Referenced Resource for Pagans & Wiccans

Sandra Kynes

Llewellyn Publications, 2019 (originally published in 2013)