Remember that time I said I was going to review an indie ebook each month? Yay, the day has finally arrived. First up: It’s Witchcraft: A Beginner’s Guide to Secular and Non-secular Witchcraft by Jamie Weaver.
Before I get into it, there are two reasons I wanted to read a book on witchcraft. The first is Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I adore the storylines about Willow (a witch), and I would like to share here that I called Willow and Tara’s romance the moment they trapped themselves behind a door with a refrigerator. (Perhaps my proudest TV prediction.)
The second is a song called “Meet the Witch” by a band from the 90s called Big Dipper. The refrain goes, “But you aren’t alive til you meet the witch” and it has a great clangy guitar sound.
My mild interest in witchcraft began with Willow and blossomed into a mild obsession when I heard this song. I wanted to write a story about a witch set in the 90s.
But I know zippo about actual witchcraft, so I started hunting for a book that would tell me about the basics of being a modern-day witch. There are a ton of big, heavy tomes out there about the history of modern witchcraft, but I wanted something that would give me the basics without too much pain. I was poking around Tumblr when I found Jamie Weaver’s book.
It’s Witchcraft is a wonderful intro to witchcraft that is encouraging, down to earth and clearly written. It’s just what I was looking for: a succinct, clear explanation of what witchcraft is today, plus how to be a witch (first step: get an altar). There are well-organized instructions for rituals that are straightforward and allow room for your own tweaks. My favorite aspect of this book is how reassuring Weaver is; you don’t have to subscribe to any particular belief system, even within witchcraft, to start learning and participating in it.
In fact, you don’t even need an altar; you can retreat to an “interior” altar if your surroundings don’t allow for one.
I highly recommend this book to anyone curious about witchcraft; it’s cheap, and if you are embarrassed about your interests, as I sometimes am, you can hide it on your e-reader.
And an aside to fellow writers: ebooks are a great way to research what is going on now in the sub-culture of your choosing. This ebook was written by a witch for fellow witches. It is not a heavily researched tome on the history of witchcraft in America, but it is an insider’s perspective on what it means to be a witch and how a witch operates in day-to-day life. Short of meeting a witch, this ebook offers excellent insight into the daily experience of witchcraft. So no matter what you are researching (archaeology! hotel owners! the French countryside!) I encourage you to do a little hunting around ebook-land for a resource written by a practitioner or expert in her field.