I read a lot of books on Witchcraft, but rarely is there one that I love so much that I will publicly recommend it. I am breaking with that tradition now, because I found a book that so impressed me, I immediately bought copies for everyone in my coven, Blue Moon Circle. Together, we will be reading, studying, and discussing it over the course of the year.
The book is called THE WITCH'S BAG OF TRICKS, and I met its author, Melanie Marquis at Pantheacon this year. It was her first appearance as an author, and she didn't even have a copy of the book yet, since it isn't officially out until June. She was such a sweetheart, we kept in touch via Facebook after the con, and after some hesitation, I offered to read the book and write a cover blurb for it if I liked it. No promises, but other established authors had been kind enough to do this for me when I first got started, and this felt like a good opportunity to pass on that kind of help.
And I am so glad I did! The book is amazing--so deep and smart and yet still accessable. You're not going to be able to read this in one sitting; take the time to devour one chapter, think over all she talks about, then go on to the next. This is a must-read for any witch that has been practicing for a while, and starting to think...what now?
I asked Melanie to come and talk about her book. So with no further ado, here is the author of the book I am recommending with all my heart.
Does your Magick Measure Up?
Guest blog by Melanie Marquis, author of The Witch's Bag of Tricks
Our magickal rituals are meant to be enriching, transformative experiences that have a real effect on both our inner world and the world at large. When our rituals become routine, however, it's easy to switch from active participant to automatic bystander, simply going through the motions without really feeling (or working) the magick. As this rut develops gradually over time, it can be hard to realize just how deep of a hole we're getting ourselves into. A failed spell, a backfiring charm, an empty and unfulfilling sabbat ceremony—when our magick has been a bit mediocre, we can lose faith fast. We begin to doubt our abilities and we may even hesitate to use them.
If this sounds familiar, look up! It's very possible to recharge your magick and refresh your spirit, and it's a journey you'll likely enjoy. In fact, it's a journey you will likely never end, as continued progress is the true key to satisfying, effective magick. Designing your own road forward is what my new book The Witch's Bag of Tricks (June 2011, Llewellyn Publications) is all about. I believe we have not only an ability, but a duty, to make our magick the best it can possibly be.
If your magick has been any less than fabulous, finding new ways to shake up your routine will help you regain the sparkle fast. One helpful technique to put a fresh spin on your spellwork is to test and track your magickal activity. Don't just cast spells. Take notes, experiment, record results, and evaluate your magick. Try performing several spells with the same goal, a week or so apart, and see which sort of spell works best for you. For example, you might cast a prosperity spell using a candle as the main focal point, envisioning the growing flame of wealth. If the spell yields no results within whatever time period you specify, try another method, perhaps using a tarot card as a wealth-bringing talisman. If you still have no results, try a spell using image magick. Note what spells give you the best results.
Another exercise to try tests your banishing magick ability. Try this the next time you have some really hard-to-wash pans to scrub. Perform a banishing charm on one side of the pan, using a blast of psychic energy to separate the layer of crud and direct it away from the pan's surface. Now scrub each side of the pan in equal measure, using the sponge with a uniform pressure. Which side cleans easiest? Did your banishing charm have any effect, or could your charmswork use some polishing?
What other experiments can you think of? Testing our magick and tracking results, noting successes and failures alike, allows us to see the “big picture” of our magickal development. Once we collect enough data from our magickal “experiments,” larger patterns become apparent. We're aware of strengths we can utilize and weaknesses on which to work. We're inspired to further our learning and empowered to make the most of our magick, which in turn, makes our magick more exciting, fulfilling, successful, and fun.
Melanie Marquis is the founder of United Witches global coven and the author of The Witch's Bag of Tricks (June 2011, Llewellyn Publications). Visit her online at http://www.melaniemarquis.com