Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Book Review: Magic for Hedge Witches by Harmonia Saille

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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.

Hello, dear readers. I come to you today with another book review. If I am honest, I finished this book a couple of weeks ago, but haven't had a chance to review it as my life has been as crazy as always. The first thing I take off my plate is always blogging, and for that, I apologize. I am working to do a better job and get back to doing more of the things I love. I even purchased a new planner designed around goal setting to try and help me get my life back together. Since the pandemic hit in 2020, I haven't been able to get my feet back under me. Half the time I am so tired and exhausted, that I spend hours disassociating on TikTok...Not the healthiest habit, but it is helping me cope...somewhat. But what better time than summer to try and reignite my witchy passions?

Magic for Hedge Witches: Sourcing Ingredients, Connection, and Spell Building by Harmonia Saille is the long-awaited third installment of Saille's Pagan Portals series on hedgecraft. When I was given the opportunity to review this book prior to its release I knew I had to take it, even if it was going to take me a while to get around to reading it. I loved Saille's earlier books, which inspired my hedge riding series, and hoped this book would be just as good. Unfortunately, I was left very disappointed. It's not nearly as well-written as her other books and honestly feels like she is rambling most of the time. There is a lot of disconnect between this book and her others, which is an absolute shame. Saille uses a racial slur first thing in the introduction, which was a huge turn-off, and follows it by confusing gender and sex, and some slight cultural appropriation of Hinduism. Saille also chides the use of such terms as "black and white" magic, saying to use other terms instead, but then uses the terms herself when describing magic. This contradiction tells me Saille doesn't wholeheartedly agree with what she is saying, which is disappointing. I really hate to start off a book review with what I didn't like, but these issues were difficult to get past, especially when you are hit with them first thing. However, if you manage to get past the rambling and inappropriate word choices, there is some great information hidden within its pages.

Saille provides several spells, many of which are completely unique and creative. Each spell is written as a guide to spellcasting, walking the reader through possible ways to perform the spell, instead of saying this is the only way to do it. Saille walks the reader through the why and how, offering suggestions here and there to help the reader learn the basics of spell crafting. I really enjoyed this method, believing it leaves the heart of the magic up to the reader. I was left feeling inspired by her creativity and excited to try using my ingredients in new and creative ways. She includes spell ideas for finding a new job, repairing relationships, banishing, and starting over among other things. There are also recipes for different spell bags and incense that can be used during hedge riding, which I loved.

My favorite part, however, was Saille's research on witch bottles and the folklore surrounding them. I learned so much I hadn't known, including the folklore of the Dutch's witch's jug. I am such a sucker for folklore and was excited about new information. Her research is clearly outlined and supported in her bibliography, which has given me some new sources to look into. She does, however, often source herself which is disappointing, but there is plenty of other material listed to help you learn more about topics discussed in the book, including the folklore behind different animals, plants, and other natural objects. Along with this section, Saille provides modern interpretations of the witch's ball and jug that are sure to delight.

I'm not going to sugarcoat it: overall I am disappointed with this book. With that being said, there is valuable information scattered throughout, information that has inspired me to conduct more research and write new spells. I believe this book is worth reading, with a critical eye of course, simply for Saille's presentation of her spells and rituals, especially if you are a hedge witch. She takes a practical approach to spell crafting, teaching the reader how to connect with your ingredients, develop correspondences, and create spells that work for you. This alone makes the book a worthwhile read, even if I was disappointed. You can purchase your copy of Magic for Hedge Witches: Sourcing Ingredients, Connection, and Spell Building by Harmonia Saille.

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