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Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Book Review: Baba Yaga's Book of Witchcraft by Madame Pamita

Baba Yaga, Slavic witchcraft, Ukrainian witchcraft, witchcraft, pagan, neopagan, occult, book review, witchy, witch, witchy book

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 have been looking forward to reading through this entire book since I was given a chapter sample a couple of months ago. I knew, before even reading the sample, that this would be a book I needed on my shelf based entirely on the title alone. While I do not have any Slavic ancestors (that we know of, although there is ancestry from Germany so there is a chance), I have a yearning deep within my soul begging me to learn more about Slavic witchcraft and folklore. This is the same yearning I have for Nordic and Scottish witchcraft and folklore, from which I know beyond a shadow of a doubt my family hails. So when I was graciously sent a copy of Baba Yaga's Book of Witchcraft: Slavic Magic from the Witch of the Woods by Madame Pamita from Llewellyn I immediately dove into the contents.

The first thing you will notice about this book is the beautiful exterior and interior design. The cover is a beautiful portrayal of Baba Yaga's famous house, while the inside is adorned with traditional Ukrainian red and black stitching. This is hands down one of the most beautifully detailed books on my shelf, and the design adds to the magic within.

Unlike other books, Madame Pamita combines story and practical magical advice to teach the reader about Slavic witchcraft. Each chapter is divided into three parts: story, the voice of Baba Yaga, and practical information. The story, which opens each chapter, is a mix of folklore and modern invention that follows the life of Vasylyna, who seeks out the help of Baba Yaga after being cruelly turned out by her stepmother (sound familiar?). This story reveals a bit of Slavic witchcraft, which is discussed in detail later in the chapter. The story is followed by the voice of Baba Yaga, who shares her rough and gruff wisdom with the reader. I looked forward to reading the tale in each chapter and found myself sometimes skipping ahead to see what would happen to Vasylyna next. This is certainly an entertaining way to introduce each chapter and engage the reader. There is nothing else like this on the market, at least to my knowledge, making it new and refreshing. When you read as many occult books as I do, the same format over and over again gets redundant and boring. This was pleasantly surprising, unique, and thoroughly engaging. Furthermore, the stories helped with the flow of content. Without it, the information would seem disjointed and unrelated.

Overall, this is a fairly lengthy book at almost 300 pages and twenty-one chapters. Madame Pamita introduces the reader to the different practices of Slavic witchcraft including stitch work, poppets, the crossroad, nature spirits, the spindle and loom, decorated eggs, and even the bathhouse. She includes practical spells, rituals, patterns, recipes, and advice any witch can use in their practice. This is a book I know I will be returning to again and again. There is so much useful information and I found myself taking extensive notes while reading. It's been a while since a book has had such a profound impact on my personal practice and taught me something new.

There is absolutely nothing I did not love about this book. It is culturally sensitive, inclusive, and open. In the wake of recent events, preserving, honoring, and respecting Ukrainian culture, folklore, and witchcraft is incredibly important. Madame Pamita does an amazing job honoring her ancestors and Baba Yaga in Baba Yaga's Book of Witchcraft: Slavic Magic from the Witch of the Woods. I know they would be so proud of her accomplishments.

I encourage you to pick up your own copy of Baba Yaga's Book of Witchcraft: Slavic Magic from the Witch of the Woods by Madame Pamita and help preserve and support Ukrainian and Slavic culture. I also encourage you to take other actions such as volunteering, donating, and supporting the efforts in Ukraine. If you are unsure where to start, check out Care.org. They are looking for donations and volunteers to help Ukrainian refugees in Poland and other surrounding areas. You can also support small Ukrainian-owned businesses such as Aleksandra (@madame_ionesco) who offers tarot readings. If Baba Yaga taught me anything, it takes a village, even when we practice in solitude.


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