Real Energy – Phaedra and Isaac Bonewits

Real Energy: Systems, Spirits and Substances to Heal, Change and Grow
Phaedra and Isaac Bonewits
New Page Books, 2007
288 pages

Note: This review originally written for and published in newWitch magazine.

When I first picked up Real Energy I was expecting a work on energy manipulation and healing techniques. There is some of that in there, but the Bonewits duo came at it from a totally different angle than I expected. Not that I’m complaining, of course.

The authors cover a variety of esoteric topics ranging from spirits and other entities to elemental correspondences, all with an emphasis on the energies inherent within these systems. The book is basically a thorough introductory guide to the energetic model of how magic works. Some of the information may already be familiar to more experienced practitioners, but if you want a detailed analysis of the energetic model, this is it.

Real Energy also features one of the better weavings of magic and quantum mechanics I’ve seen. The Bonewits even manage to get a physicist who’s also an initiated witch to put in his two cents on the matter, which makes for a particularly unique perspective. Along the way we also get plenty of supporting evidence from both ancient and modern source materials, complete with endnotes, additional reading, and a healthy bibliography. Rather than sticking to traditional Western occultism, various paths and subcultures are touched on, from Theosophy to the Otherkin community.

If you like Isaac’s general style of writing—detailed, researched, and with a good dose of humor—you’ll enjoy reading this book. However, Phaedra displays her talents as a writer too, which makes me hope that there’ll be more from her in later works.

This would be a good read for those who have heard of energy in the magical sense, but aren’t quite sure what it is, as well as anyone who wants to work more within an energetic paradigm. I applaud this Dynamic Duo for offering up a well-researched, well-written work on a popular topic.

Five pawprints out of five.

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