Sea Witch – Wendy Joubert

Sea Witch
Wendy Joubert
Self-published, 2008
192 pages

There have been a handful of books on ocean-related magics to come out recently. Now that I’m living within a reasonable distance from the Pacific Ocean, I’ve been taking more of an interest in this area of elemental magic. So I was really looking forward to reading this particular text. It turned out to be a real mixed bag, with some good points, and some areas that could use some work.

I’ll start with the strong points. It is very clear throughout the book that the author loves the ocean, and everything about it. It’s also obvious that she’s done a lot of work magically and spiritually with this particular ecosystem, and she writes from her heart. She’s very considerate of the natural environment, reminding people to not kill animals just for their shells, and including environmentally friendly spell components. She covers a lot of territory, from shells and sand in magic, to the connection between the Moon and the Tides in sea witchery, and even some assorted bits of old lore about the sea. There’s a lot of neat stuff in this book, and I learned a bunch of interesting tidbits on a variety of subjects. The illustrations are lovely, and it has one of the most attractive cover photos I’ve ever seen. It is a book that has been written with a lot of love and a lot of passion for what the author does, and that really comes through in the writing and the energy of the work.

Unfortunately, the book falls into a lot of the problems that self-published works often do. While there aren’t a load of typos and mistakes, the book is in serious need of editing. The biggest problem is organization; the chapters don’t segue well from one to the next, and the order seems a little arbitrary in places. Additionally, the content could use a lot of filling out (but not filler!). A lot of the chapters are very sparse on information, except where the author goes into correspondences–and even with the correspondences, more background information, such as how she developed her information, would be useful. Here are some things I’d like to see:

–More of her personal background, how she developed her relationship to the sea.
–More elaboration on how someone may develop their own relationship to the sea, and more elaboration on what landlocked folk may do as a substitute.
–More information on magic with the moon and tides
–A better organized single section on historical sea witchery and other nautical history that is considered relevant, and why it’s relevant to modern practice, rather than having historical information scattered in a couple places. Also, citations for where she got specific bits of information would be helpful.
–More information that isn’t just correspondences and spells; discussion of the reasons for working with the sea, as well as the need to connect with it for spiritual and even ecological reasons. Also, reasons for including the correspondences that are there, why they’re important, how to work with them for more than spellwork.
–Less of the Wicca/magic 101 material; we don’t need to learn all over again how to cast a circle or write a spell.

Basically, where the book is right now is primarily a book of somewhat scattered correspondences and pre-crafted spells. As I said in the beginning, there are a lot of really neat ideas, and this isn’t just something someone wrote to make some extra cash. Unfortunately, self-publishing is a tougher prospect than a lot of would-be authors realize. If the author hired a good editor to help with the organization and fleshing out the content more, I think this could be a really awesome book. As it is, I think it has a lot of good potential, and just needs some help with the polishing.

Two and a half pawprints out of five.

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2 Comments

  1. June 8, 2008 at 6:32 am

    Lupa:

    Thank you so much for your review on my first book. It’s nice to have a person be honest about it. I had a few people read and edit my book before I published it and I wish they would have been more critical about it. I will make sure I have someone of your caliber edit my next book before it’s published. Thank you so much 🙂

    -Wendy Joubert

  2. Mary said,

    June 11, 2008 at 2:35 pm

    it was said in the book that you can use lakes, a tub, etc if you cant get to the beach.


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