Grovedaughter Witchery by Bree NicGarran
Every once in a while you run into a book and find yourself thinking, “Wow, I wish I’d had this book when I was starting out!” NicGarran’s book is one of those; it’s basic in the best possible way: fundamental, taking nothing for granted, with an emphasis on doing your own research. It’s written very clearly, and the author’s patient and practical tone is very helpful. There’s a strong emphasis on safely dealing with “real world” elements such as fire and dangerous plants.
This is not to say that this book is for beginners only. I really appreciated her discussion of the scarcity and endangered status of some magical plants. The book covers a wide range of spell purposes and formats, with a good balance of “how to” and “recipe” sections. Many of her innovations could expand the toolkit of any experienced spellcrafter. The reference material is useful, too; there are listings of plants by magical use, plus sections for the “go-to” purposes like warding and hexing.
NicGarran’s system is heavily herbalism-based; in that and in many other ways it resembles folk magic systems from a wide variety of cultures, with one major difference: there are no goddesses or gods, no spirits, no prayers. The author views witchcraft as practical spellcraft, and presents her system without any religious elements. She presents a strong framework that doesn’t require religious, spiritual, or astrological/lunar elements.
This is a really impressive work. NicGarran has built it from the ground up and tested every spell and charm that she’s created. I’m not much of a magician (though my spouse is), but I do occasionally need to do some spellwork. I’m going to keep this one on my shelf, as I have a feeling it will end up being very useful.
Review by Hugh Eckert
Witches&Pagans magazine, Issue #35, January 2018