Teenage Witch’s Book of Shadows by Anna de Benzelle & Mary Neasham © 2001

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    Teenage Witch’s Book of Shadows (An Introduction to Sympathetic Magic)  by  Anna de Benzelle &  Mary Neasham  © 2001  Green Magic   ISBN  0953663159  94 pages   paperback  $14.95 (U.S.)

    This is an extremely short and basic book.  It epitomizes the concept of a “Wicca 101” book.  The second chapter (page 9 through 12) gives a very workable checklist of “13 Steps to Becoming a Witch.”  I don’t agree with everything here, but the final paragraph of item 10 (actually item 11, but the numbering is messed up) says it all “As a rule, remember KISS.  Keep it simple, stupid.”  Far too many “101” books emphasize the need for this item or that item.  This book avoids that pitfall.

    The more I read of this book, the more I felt it might even be a “pre-101” book.  For someone with even a basic pre-existing knowledge of the Craft this information is repetitive.  It puts everything into very simple terms.

    The authors include some very basic correspondence charts (which I like), and some basic spells (which I don’t like).  Unfortunately, to my way of thinking, the authors put too much emphasis on the idea of spells too early in the book.

    They also include a couple of chapters providing basic insight on the topic of divination (which I liked) and a chapter on “Romantic Sun Signs” which, while not going into any great depth, provides a description of the types of people born in each astrological house, how to “catch” one, and how to keep them interested.  I understand that this book is aimed at the teen market, but these last two items seem to reinforce misconceptions about Wicca, and I would have preferred different titles at the very least.

    The last four pages of the book list Pagan links and Websites for further information, many of which are aimed at Celtic and European background (not too surprising as the book is a U.K. production), and a short bibliography (only 15 title).

    The bibliography surprised me a bit, having a quarter of the title listed being productions of a single company.  The bibliography continues the light-weight theme, with a couple of exceptions.

    I wasn’t terribly impressed with this book, but it certainly fills a niche.  It contains enough good information to help dispel some concerns, but the title might put some people off.  It is not, in any conventional sense, a Book of Shadows, but it is “An Introduction to Sympathetic Magic,” with an emphasis on “Introductory.”


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