Friday, April 5, 2024

Book Review: The Holy Wild Grimoire by Danielle Dulsky

The Holy Wild Grimoire by Danielle Dulsky 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. I received a free copy of this book via Weiser in exchange for an honest review.

I have now officially read every Danielle Dulsky book published to date, and I have to say, The Holy Wild Grimoire: A Heathen Handbook of Magick, Spells, and Verses is by far my favorite. Dulsky's lyrical and powerful prose is showcased alongside practical spells, rituals, and lessons to create your own working grimoire. I have enjoyed all of Dulsky's work, but I believe this one is the most practical and helpful in regard to modern witchcraft and spiritual activism. This book is probably the easiest to follow, understand, and implement as well.

The Holy Wild Grimoire by Danielle Dulsky uses the elements to create a spiritual grimoire through stories, spells, reflections, and visions. While Dulsky refers to the book you are creating as a grimoire, but it feels more like a Book of Shadows in that you are reflecting on your spiritual practice not really adding spells, rituals, recipes, etc. Despite this, each chapter follows the same basic format: word spell, artful invocation, story lantern, opening spells, reflections, presences, visions, testament, and possible additions. The story lanterns were among my favorite aspects of the book. Dulsky is an excellent storyteller and the stories she includes always have a lesson or message corresponding with the theme of the chapter. Stories are a powerful way of conveying messages and teaching lessons in a palpable way. This is why fables, myths, legends, and folktales are so popular across cultures. Needless to say, Dulsky implements these story lanterns as a way to get the reader to reflect on their own life and practice.

Apart from the book being extremely practical, it's also built upon spiritual activism. In the introduction, Dulsky comments on getting rid of the binary, shifting understanding away from a human-centered approach to climate change, and recognizing the value of hope in removing oppressive systems. Each chapter or "book" includes aspects of spiritual activism. Book of Earth, for example, mentions that Earth is the home of all, and we must remove colonization, white supremacy, and capitalism from our view of Earth and home, food, body, safety, etc. Book of Fire talks about maintaining your spark so you don't burn out, while in Book of Air Dulsky discusses self-care and self-love practices. I appreciated Dulsky's discussion of these topics and know I will need to return to this book later to spend more time with the lessons, reflections, and spells. This work is important and takes time, but worth it.

The Holy Wild Grimoire by Danielle Dulsky Book Review

What spoke most to me, however, was the following passage from page 33: "We must remember that sometimes our circles have remained the same while we have changed. Our friendships, our partnerships, and our teaching circles may not have transformed at all, but we have; for this reason, the circles no longer serve us, but this does not mean they never served us." Dulsky then asks the reader to choose a circle that we can show up more authentically in. Seeing as I am currently going through such a transition, I really needed to hear (read?) that my prior practices served me well, even if they no longer serve me. I mentioned in The Future of Flying the Hedge how worried I was to write the post and implement changes on my blog. I still am. I still feel like I need to suck it up and keep doing what I have always done. The Holy Wild Grimoire reminds us all that growth and change is a normal process and if we are to grow, we need to let go of what no longer serves us.

I highly recommend The Holy Wild Grimoire: A Heathen Handbook of Magick, Spells, and Verses by Danielle Dulsky. As I said, this is by far her best work and one I will be returning to this summer when I have more time to apply the spells and rituals in my own life. You can order your copy of The Holy Wild Grimoire wherever occult books are sold.

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