Weiser Field Guide series. Several of you asked me to review these for you, so I wanted to start with one of my favorite authors of all time, Judika Illes.
If you haven't heard of Judika, let me just say that you have been missing out! Her books are fabulous. I personally own and have nearly worn out her Element Encyclopedia of 5000 Spells and The Element Encyclopedia of Witchcraft.
I say this not only so you will check her out and peruse her other books, but that you'll take into account my personal bias toward the author.
Ok on to my review:
The Weiser Field Guide to Witches (paperback form. I don't know if it comes in a hard bound copy or not. I didn't see one on the RedWheel/Weiser page) is small in stature; but you know what they say, "big things come in small packages".
With this book, it's true. While I do have a bias toward the author, I did my level best to remain neutral when reading. What I found is that she went out of her way to include as much information as possible (not a word wasted!) on witches of all kinds.
Her introduction explains the intent of the book (excerpt): "A field guide is a book intended to help readers identify living beings or objects of natural occurrence (sea shells, for example). This may be a straightforward task when it comes to identifying butterflies or wild flowers, but witches are another story. Witches defy simple classification".
I wondered how one would create a field guide to witches, and as you can see from the excerpt, the task would have to be a daunting one.
Judika does it with her usual style and accuracy. The inclusiveness of so many traditions (chapter 1) amazed me. She even included atheistic witches in this guide!
In the title of the book it says "From Hexes to Hermione Granger, From Salem to the Land of Oz".. I add, "and just about everything in between!"
I'm really impressed with the flow of the the chapters, the vast amount of information and the easy-read style with which she writes.
Are you interested in the history of witchcraft, modern witches, witches in the media, tools of the trade, witchy arts and crafts, hunting witches, goddesses who are witches, animals who are witches, cool places for witches to visit and finding out if you are a witch? It's all in there!
I highly recommend this book for anyone who is at all interested in Witchcraft; someone new to the path, those who've grown up in it, and those who love good resource material.
I read it cover to cover in less than a day- it's that engaging. I've returned to it several times, not just for the purpose of this review, but because it's just that good. I keep finding the most interesting facts and tidbits each time I read it!
This is now on my must-have's list for The Craft.
Please, if you do decide to purchase, go directly through Red Wheel/Weiser. I know it's on Amazon and at other places, but I'd love for Weiser to get the business.
I know I'm gushing here. I really did love this book. I guarantee if you read any of Judika's works, you'll end up a huge fan like I am :)
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