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Thursday, December 5, 2019

Book Review: The Modern Witchcraft Guide to Magickal Herbs by Judy Ann Nock

book review, magical herbs, witchcraft, kitchen witch

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Time for another book review witches and I am so excited to share this one with you! I just finished The Modern Witchcraft Guide to Magickal Herbs by Judy Ann Nock and I am in love! This is one of the best witchcraft herbal books I have ever read in all of my life. Yes, it's better than Cunningham. Blasphemy, I know.

Nock begins the book by breaking down common uses of herbs, from medicine to gardening to cooking, with magical correspondences sprinkled throughout. I absolutely loved all the little historical asides, myths, and folklore on the different herbs or uses she was discussing. These asides offer a glimpse into the past and offer a deeper understanding of how magical traditions regarding plants developed over time and why we have many of the magical correspondences we do today. To add to my love, Nock also takes a scientific approach to herbs, advising readers to be aware of reactions and always consult a physician or herbalist when using herbs.

In the section on gardening, which is one of my favorites, Nock introduces "sacred sustainability," or the idea that we should live and harvest sustainably and that this act is sacred in and of itself. This resonated with me as an environmental science teacher and as a witch. She discusses creating your own magical garden as well as how to create your own compost with a magical spin. Her discussion of compost and how creating it is a magical act tied to the Wheel of the Year, the Elements, and the Triple Goddess was deeply profound. I honestly had never thought about compost as being magical, but after reading her explanation, I'm converted. If anything, she taught me at that moment to recognize the magic in even the most mundane of acts. She evens offers an amazing composting ritual to do when you begin your gardening journey. I've never been so excited to create compost in my entire life. Haha!

She follows up with a great section on kitchen witchery, which, while short, introduces the idea that cooking is a magical act. This section could have been longer, but there are lots of great books on the topic out there and I believe Nock was just trying to briefly introduce the subject to peak interest. The following chapter covers herbs in wellness. Here, she breaks down the different schools of thought on treating disease. I was thankful she pointed out some of the flaws of homeopathy but would have liked to have seen more in this section explaining the controversy behind it. Homeopathy is based on the idea that like cures like and through dilution we make a cure more powerful. There is ZERO, and I mean ZERO, scientific evidence to support homeopathy, which is very different from naturopathy and other holistic forms of medicine. But I digress. This is definitely an argument for another time.

Following this introduction to the uses of herbs comes a beautifully illustrated section covering 100 herbs and their history, associations, and magical uses. I would have liked to have seen this section fleshed out a little more, especially regarding the history, but fully understand that to cover each herb in such detail would take many a book. Despite this, the section is great and offers some new information, even for me! I look forward to seeing the illustrations in the physical copy. They are beautiful in the electronic copy I read, so I can only imagine they are even better in person.

Part 2 is all about using herbs in magical workings. Her uses and suggestions are new and inventive and have given me so many ideas for future spells. This is the first time in at least 2 years that I have read through spells and been like, "Oh! How thoughtful and inspiring! I am going to use this!" Her spells cover everything from self-care, luck, love, divination, shadow work, and healing. Nock also offers suggestions on how herbs can be used as magical tools and on your altar. There is mention in this book of the Rule of Three, but it was so brief that it didn't turn me off from the rest of the book. There is so much more to this book than Wicca.

I can't even begin to stress how much I loved this book. In fact, I went ahead and preordered a copy because I just had to have the physical copy to make notes in. If you only purchase one book this year, make sure its this one. It is an absolute must-read for all witches, new or not. The Modern Witchcraft Guide to Magickal Herbs by Judy Ann Nock will be available on December 10, 2019, so preorder your copy today!


4 comments :

  1. A blog that not only has fun articles and great information, but also acknowledges, and welcomes, science and evidence-based information! Thank you. Will definitely consider this book, as I am a green witch as much as anything else!

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    1. Thank you! As a scientist, I can't help but rely on science and evidence-based information to inform my practice. I know that science cannot explain everything, but we should trust it when its able. I think you'll really enjoy this refreshing take on magical herbs. I can't wait to get my copy in the mail so I can reread it and make notes all over it. Haha! Thanks for reading and commenting!

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  2. Thanks for such an informative review (and amazing blog). Sounds like just the sort of book I was looking for; adding it to my Christmas list now :)

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    1. And thank you for reading and commenting. I am so glad you like my blog. :) Def add this one to your Christmas list! I wish I had finished it before I posted this year's gift guide, because they would have made the list for sure. Hope you have a wonderful holiday!

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