Friday Reads: Practical Magic
“Friday Reads” is a (nearly) weekly blog written by reference librarian Faith Lee about great books, magazines, and the occasional reference work. Topics may be new titles added to the library, selections from the Staff Picks shelf or about something she recently read. Admittedly, there is a definite slant toward nonfiction, because, well, she’s a reference librarian and likes to learn new things. Guest bloggers take a turn sometimes too. No matter the source, good reads are featured here.
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Practical Magic: A Beginner’s Guide to Crystals, Horoscopes, Psychics & Spells
by Nikki Van De Car with Illustrations by Katie Vernon
As the author notes in the introduction, this is a book for the occult-curious. Do you read your daily horoscope in the newspaper? Have you bought an amethyst because it just might bring peace and happiness? Do you want to learn how to interpret your dreams? “You don’t have to believe in magic to enjoy this book, you just have to want to…” states Van De Car.
Part 1, titled “Healing for Hedge Witches,” explains chakras, crystals and auras. A chakra is an energy center in the body, generally envisioned as a wheel or swirl found in specific places along the spine (chakra is Sanskrit for “wheel”). Crystals, as you may know, are thought to have healing qualities. This book describes over twenty crystals and how to clear and activate them. Turquoise, for example, guards against disease and environmental pollutants. Auras, visible energy fields around the whole body, have seven layers and several colors, all of which reveal something about the person’s physical and mental states. “An orange aura generally means that the person is healthy and full of vitality and energy.”
Part 2, titled “Magic for the Weekend Wiccan,” covers healing with herbs, plant-based magic, pagan holidays and white magic. Here you can learn how to make tinctures, oils and poultices, smudge sticks, a gris-gris (otherwise known as a sachet or charm bag), and of course, spells. (I purchased this book for the library because a patron requested a book with spells.) The next pagan holiday will occur on the full moon after this Tuesday’s spring equinox. Called Ostara (pronounced OH-star-ah), it is a celebration of the balance of night and day at the midpoint of spring and it is sacred to the goddess of fertility, Eostre. Do either of these italicized words make you think of a Christian holiday around this time?
Part 3, titled “Casual Clairvoyance,” covers tarot, astrology, palmistry and dream interpretation. In this section you can “learn to interpret messages from within, as well as without.” With lots of explanations of signs, markings, and symbols in this section you should be able to interpret a variety of messages with greater clarity. Have you had a dream where you were flying? You can attribute that to finally making a decision you were putting off or feeling confident that you can achieve your goals. Good for you.
Practical Magic: a beginner’s guide to crystals, horoscopes, psychics and spells by Nikki Van De Car can be found on the new nonfiction shelf with the call number 133.4 VAN, until it vanishes.