Small and easy to read, Marion Weinstein's Personal Magic is a powerhouse of valuable information for witches of every path and perspective.
Marion Weinstein (1939 – 2009) was an author, teacher, media personality, and proud New York City witch. Known as The Ethics Witch, she is one of the founders of the modern witchcraft movement. She was the first to coin the phrase and define Positive Magic and clearly delineate its use. I was fortunate enough to find her at the start of my journey as a witch and her writing influenced me in many ways. I don't agree with her on every point she makes, but I appreciate how much she makes me think about my spirituality and what being a witch means within every aspect of my life.
Personal Magic is organized into three sections: Primary Work, Advanced Work, and an Afterword. The latter section is a bit of a hodgepodge, covering a range of topics including ethics, serving the community, and morphogenetic fields. “Welcome to my religion,” she writes as the first sentence of the first chapter, getting right into it at the outset. Weinstein welcomes you to her version of Wicca and whether or not you identify as Wiccan, your Practice has very likely been influenced at least in part by it. Standing alongside better known names, Weinstein is often overlooked, which is a shame. Weinstein defines magic as transformation, and goes further to say that “the specific kind of transformation used primarily by the Witch is manifestation”. While she shares several examples of rituals and spells, she’s always very clear that the reader should feel empowered to create rituals and spells that are authentic expressions of who they are as Witches.
Written 20+ years ago and substantially unchanged, there are places -- mercifully few -- that make the modern readers wince. An example is her stance on choosing Deities to work with. She writes, “when you choose your Deities, personal feelings of affinity and resonance are more important than your ancestral roots in this lifetime. The reasons being, who knows what nationality you might have been, in alternate or former lives? Or want to be in future lives?” Not explicitly awful, but offering a opportunity for a slide into cultural appropriation, especially for a newcomer to witchcraft. Some readers might find her insistence that “…all Witches are Positive – all real Witches” is too simplistic, as is her speaking for all witches when that's a fairly infinitely diverse group.
Previously published in 2003 as Earth Magic: A Book of Shadows for Positive Witches by New Page Books, this 2021 edition by Weiser Books is a gem of a publication that offers both new readers and those familiar with Marion’s work fresh access to her unique, enchanting wisdom.
~review by Lisa Mc Sherry
Author: Marion Weinstein
Weiser Books, 2021
pp. 222, $16.95