So, I recently came into possession of a whole trunkload of witchy books, some good and some bad. I've been working my way through them, and thought I would share my thoughts.
How to Enchant a Man by Ellen Dugan. Now, I thought, that's a bad
title. But so what if it's heteronormative and vaguely desperate
sounding? Maybe that's what sells! ...and it's not like I'd read this
crap in public. So, onward, maybe there's good shit inside!
No. No, there's not.
The author is very firmly in the "no manipulative magic" camp. That shit is
very important to some people, so I can accept that. (Although it does
tend to mean less awesomely bizarre folk magic traditions.) But her
attitude is sort of... well. Warm and fuzzy. Goddesses/The Goddess are
portrayed as always loving and kind. Which, you know, sure whatever...
but then she later on advocates calling upon Lilith. That strikes me as a
little weird and potentially dangerous.
Now here's the thing that really bothered me more than the toothless
spells and the fluffiness... This book came out in 2008. But you know
what it reads like? The Satanic Witch by Anton LaVey. If you watered it down with a gallon of rose water, anyway.
Dugan spends a whole book telling people not to do manipulative magic...
but to basically manipulate people mundanely. At least if I'm reading
LaVey he's being honest about his intentions. (And when a former carny
is more honest than you? There is a problem.)
To sum up: Cosmo in witch form. Blech.
Continuing on the looooove train, we have Bewitchments by Edain McCoy. The cover looks like a 90s makeup book, so it has that going for it. I confess I actually thought this was going to be the worse of the two love books. HAHA ON ME.
McCoy's book is a straight-up collection of love spells from various traditions. Every spell has a little guide that states whether or not it is manipulative, how many items you'll need, time frame needed, and a suggestion for the best timing.
There's no morals preached. The fact that most love spells are worded for male-female partnerships is actually acknowledged, and the author takes the time to suggest that such spells can be adapted to suit individual goals. There's still some "no duh" Cosmo-style tips about body language and shit, but it's not presented in an insulting manner.
But my favourite part of the entire book is found near the beginning, before the actual spells. It's a tarot spread for gauging a spell's progress. It's fucking brilliant because while it's in a love magic book, you can use it for ANY spell. I've used it a few times and it seems to work beautifully.
To sum up: I would have actually paid for this one.