When it comes to spellcasting, people still don’t talk too much about it beyond endless Pinterest posts of colors and correspondences. This approach is not exactly ground breaking material. When they do, it’s often in the frame of “I’ve lit a candle, or prayed for seven days, or smudged my home – now what?” Michael Furie’s book Spellcasting Beyond the Basics promises to push beyond this limited frame – and while still very beginner, it certainly exceeds typical beginner fare.

The most “beyond the basic” offering extracts from stars in the Milky Way. This unique idea, adding a new level of complexity to astrological spellcasting, may call to even longtime practitioners seeking new experiments. Stars do not have the benefit of the doctrine of signatures for a shorthand, nor do they have historical data beyond occasional appearances here and there in different astrological maps. This one section goes so far beyond the basics that it veers- much to the delight of readers experiencing magical ennui- into experimental research.

This book is absolutely worth recommending to a beginning practitioner, particularly since what happened to Amber K’s True Magick in its new editions has made it nigh unusable for anyone existing outside a coven/Wiccan paradigm. While the chapters might benefit from a re-ordering - psychic skills building really should come first, followed by the laws of hermetic magick, THEN the material on sympathetic magic, microcosm-macrocosm and magical seals. A sticking point for some may be Furie’s discussion of Gender as a subset of polarity. Many would like to do away with gendered terms for magical polarities altogether, particularly since outside of practices actually aimed towards conception of plant or animal…the male or femaleness of it all is irrelevant. Unfortunately, it will likely take decades for people to move completely past such unnecessary divisions. Credit to Furie for laying a tiny bit of ground work on that.

This book does go beyond the basics – and into actual practice, a nice change from ad nauseum holiday overviews and God/ess associations. For teachers looking for supplements to traditional teachings, it is a bit different from the usual. For beginners, it’s a great foundation that isn’t overly anchored in a religion that may or may not be a fit.

~ review by Diana Rajchel

Author: Michael Furie
Llewellyn Worldwide, 2016
pp. 272; $15.99
Review based on uncorrected proof