Blackthorn is a well-versed practitioner in many disciplines including magic and botanicals. With their Protection Magic, they once again offer the reader valuable information within which to improve their lives.
One of the first things Blackthorn does endeared this book to me immediately:
If your protection magic was not enough, and you or someone you love was ahrmed or hurt? It is never the fault of the person that was harmed. That blame lies squarely at the feet of the person that did the harm... Victom blaming isn't okay, and we don't do that here. (p. xiv-xv)
Boom. Straight out and up front, I'm a fan already.
What fascinated me is how seamlessly Blackthorn weaves in physical and emotional security. Protection isn't just energetic, it's awareness and discernment. But, I'm getting ahead of myself.
At first the reader is introduced to psychic protection by examining what we are afraid of. This brilliantly allows the reader to make the information deeply personal; what I am afraid of (and therefore need protection from) is not the same as what even my partner is afraid of even though we share a home. The lessons of what equals safety and security were often learned early, almost always from our family of origin, and have very deep roots within our psyche. This chapter includes work on ethics, toxic positivity, PTSD, cursing, and spotting a scammer. The section on ethics was excellent, but felt out of place and this entire chapter felt a bit like all of the really important things that needed discussing, but didn't have a proper home. let me be clear: I wouldn't change a word of what Blackthorn says, but I wish the editor had been more thoughtful about how the information was presented. The section continues with a look at stones for protection and then techniques for psychic protection.
Then the reader is drawn into physical security, focusing on the home and then on one's self. Blackthorn apparently wondered whether to include this section, and I am very very glad they did. From using salt to setting wards to using tarots cards, the reader is given several ways to (easily) protect ones home. Then Blackthorn gets into the physical ways: changing the locks, adding a screen door, hardening the target (loved this), and when to pay attention to things happening outside your boundaries. This is an immensely practical discussion for almost anyone. For those readers with room for a garden (which can be a window box), Blackthorn has a chapter on innovative ways to invite plant allies to help. This section concludes with a discussion on personal security. Right off the bat, Blackthorn lays out some good rules:
- If you can get away, do it.
- If you can escape and get other potential victims to safety too, do it.
- But(my emphasis) get out so you can save yourself and call for help if others are affected.
This chapter discusses protective deities, the right to good boundaries, situational awareness, everyday gear to carry, and scenarios to consider and prepare for (which include identifying and dealing with a stalker and kidnapping). Sprinkled throughout are tidbits of magic to work: candle, knives, duct tape, deities to work with, defensive techniques, and more.
The third section looks at emotional security, with a chapter on essential oils, another on incense, and ending with a chapter on using tarot cards for protective spellwork. Each of these chapters are packed with good information and are a valuable addition to the book.
The final section offers information not easily placed in the other sections, correspondences to time and enhance your protective workings.
My one real criticism is that this isn't really a book for beginners. While there is good technique found all throughout, Blackthorn doesn't give context or direction for all of the underpinnings for doing magic. For example, the chapter on protection for the home opens with spells. Fantastic if you've already got a magical practice, but not good for a newcomer to magic work.
Highly recommended. Get this book on your shelves and read it until the pages drop out.
~review by Lisa McSherry
Author: Amy Blackthorn
Red Wheel/ Weiser, 2022
pp. 208, $16.95