The Witch’s Bag of Tricks gives tips, ideas, and contemplations for a witch looking to ante up the spell casting. Another recent attempt to bridge the gap between the plethora of beginner books and the wide gap to intermediate witchcraft practice, Marquis reviews the basics of correspondences from lunar phases to color magic while working in the rules most beginners learn, such as spell timing and cursing bans. She then advances the knowledge set forth with the why and how of breaking those rules. Marquis calls on the student to go deep into the psychic development aspects of magical skill, and rightly so. The better conditioned the intuitive nature, the more effective the magic worked.

Marquis also equates increased magical skill with increased magical power. It is a testament to the high quality of her book that this raises a point of contention.

While most magic-workers like to talk about “more power” and “empowerment” in witchcraft, we sometimes run the risk of becoming occult Tim Allens. Power in a magical context is the ability to conduct energy. A fit vessel can conduct greater amounts of energy. However, just as too much power can blow a fuse in our homes, too much power can have unintended, unnecessary and undesirable consequences in magic, too.

A fit mind commanding the energetic vessel understands that “more” and “faster” does not always mean “better.” While amping up the capacity for power is an excellent practice, an advancing practitioner must step back and understand that a true adept knows how much energy to throw into a working and at what point to stop.

Aside from this philosophical difference, however, the book steps in as a great way to bridge the gap between beginning and intermediate witchcraft studies. Filled with techniques and tricks most practitioners may or may not learn over time, Marquis addresses quite well the single biggest trip-up to most would be casters: the magical mindset. Her series of exercises help examine magical goals and the underlying attitudes that can trip up a caster on the way to the spell. This is an excellent addition for witches serious about their spell casting, who are in the phase of lining up books on “best practices.”

Highly recommended

~ review by Diana Rajchel
Author: Melanie Marquis
Llewellyn Worldwide
pp. 244 $16.95