Book Review: Magick for the Elemental Witch

Witchcraft by the Elements

"Magick for the Elemental Witch" by Deanna Anderson. Image courtesy Andborough Publishing LLC

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Author Deanna Anderson presents a follow-up to her first book, Magick for the Kitchen Witch, which serves as a guide for those of us who see the hearth as the center of the home. Now, Anderson delves into the magic of the four classical elements, with Magick for the Elemental Witch (ISBN 978-0-9823971-8-3).

Deanna Anderson presents us with the second book in the Copper Cauldron series, and takes a look at elemental magic.

If we assume that magic can be created and performed by invoking the power and energy of the four classical elements -- earth, air, fire and water -- then our natural world is indeed full of endless magical possibilities.

Anderson begins with a review of the four elements and their correspondences, as well as addressing the concept of the fifth element, Spirit, as found in many Neopagan religions. She says, "Working with all of the elements either separately or combined can really lend a sense of old-world™ or ancient power to magick and rituals. Exploring and working with each element separately helps one to get attuned to that element and to know it well, if it is an element that they feel a kinship to or it is of their birth sign it may even help a person explore their inner selves and learn more about themselves."

In the second section of Magick for the Elemental Witch, Anderson reviews the correspondences associated with each of the elements.

Of note are the pages of detail on how each element is viewed in a variety of cultures. In addition to correspondences with roots in Celtic lore, Anderson includes the way that the elements are viewed in Eastern cultures and ceremonial magic.

The real meat of Magick for the Elemental Witch, however, comes in the section detailing how to work with the individual elements.

In fact, this is where Anderson really shines. Each area begins with a historical look at the ways in which various cultures would have honored the elements and found ways to invoke their power. This is then followed with a list of element-specific correspondences, tool usage and associations, and finally, spells and rituals.

The Earth section explores a variety of magical practices and customs, such as the traditional Wiccan altar, the use of graveyard dirt in hoodoo and folk magic, the simple magic of a charm bag, and the sacred salt jar, just to name a few. Stones and rocks get a lot of attention - as they should -- as do plants, trees, and herbs. This section is wrapped up with the mythology and folklore of earth magic, including creation stories, elemental beings, and deities associated with the land and soil.

The section on sea magic is a fascinating look at the power of water in all its many forms. From the fabled Fountain of Youth to oceans and streams, water is a life force for all of us. Anderson says of water, "Regardless of where it comes from, water gives life to animals, plants and humans; it is warm and relaxing; cool and refreshing; it nurtures and nourishes; it cleanses and cleans; it anoints and blesses and it is an essential element that we, as humans and pagans cannot do without.

Correspondences for water include a section on dream symbolism -- who hasn't dreamed of water or flooding? -- as well as a look at how water is viewed in other cultures. Tools and uses are covered, and there are a number of workings involving water energy as well. The sections on sea salt and ocean magic are especially detailed, and Anderson includes a couple of different methods of consecrating water for practitioners to use.

Air is our breath; it is our very existence and life is the line that introduces the section on air magic, and it is powerful indeed. Air correspondences are explained, and a considerable amount of space is dedicated to the use of wind and air in prophecy and divination. There are also some great spells and rituals focusing on the use of air energy for different magical purpose.

Finally, a chapter on birds and insects offers insight on symbolism, and there's a significant bit of information on weather magic.

Magick for the Elemental Witch delves into the use of fire energy in magic. From hearth and home rituals to candle ceremonies, this section includes tips on fire scrying, volcano energy, and the use of smoke and ashes in spellwork. Fire in the sky is also reviewed, with sections on lightning, meteors, and the sun itself. There's also some wonderful fire folklore and mythology included.

Last, but certainly not least, Anderson looks at magic using the fifth element, Spirit, which appears in so many Neopagan paths. Again, the use of spirit as an element from various paths is introduced, as well as tools and correspondences for spirit workings. There's a wonderful section on angels, demons, and household spirits that is well worth reading more than once.

Magick for the Elemental Witch is a great addition to any practitioner's library - in fact, with this book, Anderson manages to avoid spreading herself too thin and instead fills the pages with rich lore and history, side by side with practical advice and ideas. The focus on the elements is broad enough that there's new information, and yet focused enough that it all fits together -- really, this book is a bit like five books in one, and it's a refreshing and new approach that we don't often see in Neopagan publications. Definitely worth picking up a copy, and you'll probably find yourself using it for reference on a regular basis.

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