Grovedaughter Witchery by Bree NicGarran

Grovedaughter Witchery: Practical Spellcraft
Bree NicGarran
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2017

wp35_Grovedaughter Witchery

Review by Hugh Eckert.

Every once in a while you run into a book and find yourself thinking, “Wow, I wish I’d had this when I was starting out!” NicGarran’s book is one of those- it’s basic in the best possible way: fundamental, taking nothing for granted, with an emphasis on doing your research. It’s written very clearly, and the author’s patient and practical tone is very helpful. There’s a strong emphasis on safely dealing with “real world” elements such as fire and dangerous plants.

This is not to say that this book is for beginners only. I really appreciated her discussion of the scarcity and endangered status of some magical plants, and her suggestions for substitution. The book covers a wide range of spell purposes and formats, with a good balance of “how to” and “recipe” sections. Many of her innovations could usefully expand the toolkit of any experienced spellcrafter. The reference material is useful, too- there are listings of plants by magical use, plus further sections for the “go-to” purposes like warding and hexing.

NicGarran’s system is heavily herbalism-based; in that and in many other ways it resembles folk magic systems from a wide variety of cultures, with one major difference: there are no goddesses or gods, no spirits, no prayers. This underlines an important point about this book- she views witchcraft as practical spellcraft, and presents her system without any religious elements. She states her position at the very start of the book; you can quibble with her definitions, but I can tell she wouldn’t budge an inch! That being said, she presents a strong framework that doesn’t require religious, spiritual, or astrological/lunar elements, although it would be easy (and probably enhancing) to add them in.

The book could use a separate section on raising and directing energy into spells to empower them; there are mentions of this scattered through the work, but consolidating them would make things clearer. The advice about spiritual attack is in general good, but I would have added a qualification that it can happen, and advice to seek a qualified spirit worker if it does.

This is a really impressive work- NicGarran has built it from the ground up, and tested every spell and charm that she’s created. I’m not much of a magician (though my spouse is), but I do occasionally need to do some spellwork. I’m going to keep this one on my shelf- I have a feeling it will end up being very useful.

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