Thursday, March 17, 2022

Book Review: Witch Please by Victoria Maxwell

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 free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I'm not going to lie; I agreed to review this book simply because I liked the cover and knew it would look good displayed in my home as it matched my decor. Witch, Please: Empowerment and Enlightenment for the Modern Mystic by Victoria Maxwell is a very basic introduction to modern witchcraft. Maxwell takes a secular approach to witchcraft, which is nice in an introductory book, although there are some Wiccan undertones. Overall, the book wasn't terrible, but this wouldn't be my first choice for a new witch.

Let's start with what I did like. First, the book is really easy to read, well organized, and beautifully designed. Maxwell begins with a basic introduction to witchcraft and how to set up an altar, cast spells, and perform other basic skills used in modern witchcraft. Unlike other introductory books, however, this book is very secular and there is no mention of specific traditions or holidays, although there are concise lists of deities from multiple cultures spread through the book. Maxwell is an advocate for combining spells and rituals with mundane work, which is imperative information for a new witch. I remember when I began practicing that I had hoped the spells would do the hard lifting for me and I could lay back and reap the rewards. Unfortunately, that is not how magic works and Maxwell makes that very clear throughout her book, including stories and examples to reiterate her point. She also stresses the value of gratitude in spellwork and states that "prayer without action is just lip service to the Divine." I think this last sentence was by far my favorite part of the book. Prayer is talked about a lot and used often, especially in times of crisis or great need. There is absolutely nothing wrong with prayer, but we must realize that praying alone is not enough to bring about the change we wish to see. Maxwell also advocates strongly for self-love and setting up boundaries with yourself and with others. Boundaries are the key to happiness and successful relationships. Boundaries are often overlooked in the spiritual community, not just with each other but with the entities we work with as well. I wish that Maxwell had gone a little deeper with setting boundaries and that these boundaries apply not just to the mundane world, but the magical as well. We must hold boundaries with the spirits we work with, spiritual leaders, and magical guides and recognize that they will have boundaries as well. So often witches overstep and demand help from others, especially spirits and deities, without recognizing that neither of them is required to help. In fact, they often don't want to help a witch who demands their time and attention. The book ends with some spells for creating a home sanctuary, finding love and self-love, attracting money, finding your purpose in life.

While the design is enough to get a reader to pick up the book, there is, unfortunately, little within its pages to keep a reader engaged. While there are certain elements I enjoyed, the information is extremely basic and found time and time again in other introductory books. If you have read one introductory book you've read them all. As I mentioned earlier, there is some slight toxic positivity, despite Maxwell condemning such an idea. She continues to push the narrative that negative thoughts and actions are the cause of many magical problems, despite the fact that such emotions are normal, healthy, and necessary. With that being said, Maxwell does discuss, at length, how the law of attraction often leads to victim-blaming, which I 100% support. This makes her message a little muddied, however, because she is slightly contradictory throughout the book. There is some mild cultural appropriation in this book as well as it includes deities from other religions and cultures, specifically Hinduism. While Hinduism is an open religion, its deities should only be used by those who practice Hinduism, not by secular witches. It's unlikely these deities would even answer your call in the first place which can lead to problems with your spells and rituals. Some other issues I had with the book were some mild food shaming (promoting 'clean' eating as a way to reach spiritual enlightenment) and the promotion of capitalism within the craft (if your crystal breaks you need to buy a new one mentality). Finally, Maxwell includes some essential oils without warning the reader of the possible dangers to animals within the home. This is a mistake I see made a lot in witchcraft books and for new witches who don't know any better, this can be extremely dangerous.

Overall, it wasn't a terrible book. However, as an experienced witch, I do not believe this book is worth the expensive price tag. It's very short and you can seriously read it in an afternoon. Witch, Please: Empowerment and Enlightenment for the Modern Mystic by Victoria Maxwell is available now.

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1 comment :

  1. Thank you for sharing your much appreciated views on another recent title with us. I very much second (or, third, I should say) the opinion that prayer without action rarely - especially if the act is repeated time and time again - leads to the desired outcome.

    Personally, I am usually more keen to try to give to/honour/learn more about the Divine or to find ways to work in tandem than to simply ask and expect instant miracles.

    Indeed, doing so has always felt wholly unnatural to me and I don't foresee that ever changing. We're a duet, to my mind, not a solo act on either end and, honestly, I wouldn't want it any other way. After all, how meaningful and beneficial can a one-sided relationship of any kind ever truly be?

    Many wishes for a sunny, excellent April coming your way, dear Willow.

    Autumn Zenith 🧡 Witchcrafted Life


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