In Lisa McSherry’s latest book, A Witch’s Guide to Crafting your Practice, the reader gets to experience the knowledge and teachings of the fundamentals of the Witchcraft path. This is a book I wish would have been around in the 90’s when I started my path. No matter where the reader is on their path, this book has something for everyone. (Full disclosure: I had the honor of taking an online witchcraft 101 class with JaguarMoon several years ago.) This book feels like an open door to reach so many others who have felt called to a pagan practice.
McSherry's writing style is informative and easily understandable. She literally takes the reader by the hand as they progress thru the journey at their own comfort level and pace. While this book is perfect for beginners, it also works well for those who are looking to continue to grow as Witchcraft is ever-changing as we move along in life.
The book is set out in two parts. Part 1 covers the Foundation such as a Book of Shadows, Creating an Altar, Deity work, Magic and Ethics. Part 2 focuses on Practice such as energy work, sacred spaces, rituals, spells, tools and more. Someone brand new to the craft can quickly become overwhelmed, but this book is meant to be guide to walk the reader thru the steps to build a foundation for their craft. One thing that truly sets this book apart is the outlook on modern times to be more inclusive. The author mentions that their own coven is currently revising and reviewing the rituals of the past that focused previously on only two genders. For example, making changes from High Priestess or High Priest to Lead or Second that can allow any gender to take on these roles. Just as our society is changing, so is the spiritual aspect of our lives and this book embraces the changes and encourages the reader to adapt to fit their daily life and craft.
Aside from the chapters filled with great information and guidance, I also love the provided activities to take the teachings a step further. For me personally, it is one thing to read and absorb the contents, it is another for me to next do hands on activities to really understand the material. Again the author provides step by step assistance to walk the reader thru the activities provided.
Once the reader has finished up on the Foundation aspect, the book dives into the Practice portion in Part 2. This part of the book covers everything from how to meditate, relaxation techniques, visualization, energy work and other activities that can be done daily. These are simple activities but important ones that are often missed or not really explained in other books on how to properly do them. That is one thing I really like in this book, the reader will not feel like they are missing something as everything is explained well.
Rituals and spells are provided, but more importantly the background of why and how we do them is also found. This helps strengthen our reasons for the work but also truly grasp and understanding what and why we are trying to accomplish. Once the reader has finished the book, they should feel confident in their journey and feel comfortable continuing their craft moving forward.
I highly recommend this book not just for those starting out, but anyone who could use some foundational brush ups and continuing to learn and grow!
~review by Amber Barnes
Author: Lisa McSherry
Llewellyn Publications, 2022
pp. 248, $18.99