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Book of Spells II.
Marian Green.
Simon and Schuster 2001. Hb. £9.99

I am not particularly keen on collections of spells. They seem to me to be largely aimed at those who want a quick fix to problems in their lives, and are often just a collection made from old texts by someone with no detailed experience themselves. And they are generic, with no connection with the individuals who want to work the spells.

Marian Green, who wrote this book (but Book of Spells I is by a different author), has many years' experience as a witch. She thoroughly knows the traditional sources, and the correspondences of colours, elements, days, deities, etc. This makes her insist that the correspondences be followed exactly, as they have a long history behind them. I would prefer more flexibility, so that the user can allow for her or his own associations, rather than this formalism, but I understand the rationale behind her views. The vast majority of the spells in the book are for self-understanding and self-development. Even the spell to bring money (which contradicts the introductory remark that magic brings luck, not money) is phrased in terms of a small sum and a requirement to put one's own effort in.

Each pair of facing pages is devoted to one spell. The left page discusses the background and the method of the spell, while the right contains a picture of the ingredients. The pages are of different colours, and the images on the right-hand pages are pleasing to the eye. The book is bound in purple and ties up with a silvery ribbon. The total effect is very enjoyable.

As our regular readers may recall, the only book on spells that I can whole-heartedly recommend is Robin Skelton's Spellcraft  (see article on Robin Skelton). The author, who was both a witch and a poet, showed how to create for oneself the words of a spell, by his analysis of the poetics of spells. The current book is much more conventional. But if you know anyone who is interested in ready-made spells, this book makes an excellent present. And remember that a good person to buy presents for is oneself!

Wood and Water 76, Autumn 2001 
© Daniel Cohen

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