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Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Book Review: The Power of Hex by Shawn Engel

book review, hex, cursing, protection, witchcraft, witchy, occult, protection, cleansing, spiritual, pagan, neopagan, magick, magic, spells, rituals, witchy book review

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.

Lately, I have been contacted by a number of publishers asking me to review books. I'm not going to lie, I am really enjoying it! It gives me an opportunity to read some of the latest material in the occult community and offer a complete and honest review to my readers to help you witches make the best choices for you and your money. I know I loathe buying a book and it turning out to be nothing like what I thought. Hopefully, with my reviews, you won't run into that sort of issue.

About two weeks ago, I was asked to read and review The Power of Hex: Spells, Incantations, and Rituals by Shawn Engel. According to the email I received, "...Engel shows young witches how to use their own power in an inclusive way, and empowers them to create their own spells with their new knowledge. This very gifted, full-color book sets itself apart because it aims to simplify this powerful type of magic while enforcing morality. We don't want to sink to the level of those we are cursing; hexing is meant to protect and arm."

There were a couple of statements in this description that intrigued me. First, it was inclusive. It's hard to find inclusive witchcraft books. Many are written from a white, cis-gendered, colonial viewpoint, so I was interested to see how this book was going to be inclusive. Second, I liked that the book was geared toward teaching witches to work on their own instead of just giving them a book of spells to perform. Finally, I liked that the book was curse-friendly. In the age of love and light, it's hard to find books that are left-hand path friendly. So with these things in mind, I jumped on the opportunity to read the book.

Overall, I enjoyed it. The Power of Hex is a short, easy read and approaches a variety of topics from a curse-positive point of view. You see, cursing and hexing often includes protection and healing spells, accompanied with binding, freezing, or banishing spells. Most people don't view any of these as cursing or hexing, but they are. Often times, the right form of protection will bounce any unwanted spell back to the original caster, which can do damage in the right circumstance. What I loved most was that Engel uses hexing as a way to fight patriarchy, racism, and other forms of oppression. She offers a variety of simple spells that anyone can use, explaining why the ingredients are included and the best time to perform each spell. Finally, the book ends with a brief explanation of how to write your own spells now that you have an idea of how spells are set up.

While I enjoyed the book, I felt many of the sections were too short. I would have liked to see a more comprehensive book on the topic, but this is a great introduction for those of you interested in using your magic to fight back. There is no bibliography or further readings, which always disappoints me, but most of the information is basic knowledge that can be found in a number of occult books. Furthermore, to be a book that touts being inclusive there are some problematic elements. There are a variety of symbols throughout the book that are culturally appropriated from closed cultures, including Hinduism and Judaism. From what I can tell, Engel is not Jewish herself, but either way, Judaism requires initiation into the religion. Therefore using The Middle Pillar and Kabbalistic Tree of Life is not open to those not part of the religion. Engel also mentions using chakras and discusses Hindu deities, which are also closed to those outside the culture. With a critical eye, however, it's easy to gloss over the practices that are closed and focus on the amazing spells, rituals, and practices that are open to everyone. Finally, the way the book is printed will make it difficult to read if you are visually impaired. Some of the pages are completely black with white writing, while others have images of varying colors behind the text. If you are visually impaired, you will likely struggle with the printed copy of the book. I am assuming a kindle version would likely be more appropriate.

If you are looking for a short introduction to hex-positive magic, The Power of Hex: Spells, Incantations, and Rituals by Shawn Engel is a great place to start and is available now for purchase.



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