Thursday, June 22, 2023

Book Review: The Green Witch's Guide to Magical Plants & Flowers by Chris Young and Susan Ottaviano

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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.

I find nothing quite as fascinating as plant folklore. I've always been strongly attracted to plants, the energy they carry, and the spirits that reside in them. When I was asked if I wanted to review a copy of The Green Witch's Guide to Magical Plants & Flowers: 26 Love Spells from Apples to Zinnias by Chris Young and Susan Ottaviano, I couldn't pass up the opportunity.

This hardcover book is absolutely stunning. Each page is fully illustrated by Ottaviano, creating a sort of herbal grimoire. It's so beautiful that I would place this book on a coffee table to proudly display rather than out of sight on a bookshelf. Furthermore, the pages are bogged down with tons of information, making it a quick read and this enjoyable for guests looking for something to occupy their time during a visit. Don't let this shortness of the information deter you, however, for what is there excellent and well worth the read.

The book begins with a basic introduction to green witchcraft, including tools and supplies and ten ways to begin your green witch journey. The list encourages basic witchy practices like researching, creating a grimoire, grounding, and meditation, all great practices for beginner and expert witches alike. Sometimes the seasoned witch needs to be reminded of the basics. The book then moves on to cover 26 plants and flowers for magic and love including their magical uses, spells, rituals, and recipes for each. While the book is geared toward love spells, Young makes it clear in the introduction you don't have to have a love interest in mind to practice the spells in this book. It's okay to love yourself and use these spells, rituals, and recipes for healing. Furthermore, all the spells, rituals, and recipes are completely vegan and cruelty-free, which I greatly appreciate.

For each plant, there is a brief overview of its history and folklore, a "2 Green Witches Sayeth" which is reminiscent of old wives' tale rhymes, a spell or two, a recipe (if edible), magical properties, magical mindfulness tip, growing recommendations, and a "Did You Know?" fact. Despite its small size, this book of full of excellent information, including new recipes and spells I am interested to try. I even learned something new with several of the "Did You Know?" facts and have some new ideas for magical mindfulness I wish to incorporate into my own practice. I am most looking forward to trying my hand at Queen Anne lace jelly and the strawberry tart.

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The book ends with a dinner-for-two menu which I am 100% on board with trying, especially the tagliatelle with wild mushrooms and truffle oil (chef's kiss), additional plants for love magic not mentioned earlier in the book, and even how to break a love spell. I think this last part is an extremely important and often overlooked aspect of magic. What happens when you want to break the spell, especially if it's started going sideways? I appreciate Young and Ottaviano covering this crucial detail.

While I overall greatly enjoyed the book, there were a few things I didn't like. In "What is Green Witchcraft?" Young suggests that magic is only used for good and positivity. I highly disagree with this. While it certainly doesn't seek to harm the environment and the natural world, green witchcraft is often used to fight oppressive systems. The idea that everything is good and positive wreaks of Wicca, not witchcraft. I also hate how short this book is and how small it is. I would love for this book to be larger, cover those plants mentioned at the back of the book, and may go into a little more detail, but I understand this is an overview and not an encyclopedia. Honestly, I would love for Young and Ottaviano to write another book or two on plants and flowers for protection, abundance, etc to add to this stunning book. Maybe create a whole collection?

I recommend The Green Witch's Guide to Magical Plants & Flowers: 26 Love Spells from Apples to Zinnias by Chris Young and Susan Ottaviano for anyone looking for some new spells, rituals, and recipes for love. It's a beautifully illustrated, enlightening guide to 26 commonly used plants and flowers every green witch needs.

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