Monday, 21 October 2019

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Review: Craft by Gabriela Herstik

Craft by Gabriela Herstik

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Craft by Gabriela Herstik

Published: 15th March 2018 | Publisher: Ebury Press | Cover Designer: | Source: Bought
Gabriela Herstik's Website

Infuse a drop of magick into your everyday life.

Writer, fashion alchemist and modern witch, Gabriela Herstik, unlocks the ancient art of witchcraft so that you can find a brand of magick that works for you.

From working with crystals, tarot and astrology, to understanding sex magick, solstices and full moons; learn how to harness energy, unleash your inner psychic and connect with the natural world.

Full of spells and rituals for self-care, new opportunities and keeping away toxic energy, Craft is the essential lifestyle guide for the modern woman who wants to take control and reconnect with herself.

After all, empowered women run the world (and they’re probably witches).
From Goodreads.

Book Depository | Wordery | Goodreads

Craft by Gabriela Herstik is one of the books I've had my eye on for a while, and when I was finally able to buy it, I started reading it right away and flew through it. This book is fantastic!

What I loved most about this book is Herstik's focus on how no-one's practice looks quite the same, and every witch must find their own path. Craft is the first book I've read to really emphasise this. Other books have mentioned it, but then gone on to explain witchcraft and the various aspects of it, bu Herstik comes back to it time and again; "You could say something like this," "You can adapt this," "Some witches believe this, but if this doesn't work for you, that's fine." I'm paraphrasing, she might not use those exact words, but this is her theme throughout; she's not necessarily telling you what you should or shouldn't do, she explains things, she gives spells and rituals you can adapt, she gives advice and suggestions - always emphasising that you should do you. While reading the books on witchcraft previous to this, I've been feeling a little lost, when things were discussed that didn't really fit for me, so it was amazing to have Herstik emphasise that this is your practice and your spiritual journey.

I also loved Herstik's voice. Not only does she write as if she's having a conversation with you, but she allows her personality to shine through, too. Her passion and enthusiasm, even swearing - she's fully put herself into this book, which made me feel more relaxed while reading; it's like having a conversation with a friend, and one who actually cares. She's helpful, and down to earth, comes across as being approachable. I just felt like I trusted her, and the suggestions/advice she was giving.

There were a number of things in this book that wouldn't personally work for me, but I'm with Herstik's focus on finding our own paths, I actually felt ok about it. And really, the more I read about what isn't going to work for me, the clearer I'm getting on what my own path is becoming, which is so helpful. And it's so interesting to learn about the way other people practice. So even though there were a number of things that aren't right for me, it's still such an incredible book. The subtitle of Craft is How to Be a Modern Witch, and you really feel that that's what Herstik is. Especially with the chapter on Glamour Magick, which hasn't been mentioned in any other book I've read so far; the use of clothing, make-up and accessories in magick. It was fascinating!

There was also a lot of astrology which is just so helpful! I've been reading various witch's blogs online, and your personal astrology has been emphasised a lot, but there hasn't been much on working out what your birth chart means, but Herstik really breaks it down for you - and gives a lot more info than Practical Magic did. I'd already ordered a book on astrology before reading Craft, but it'll probably go into more depth so it's fine, but I think Craft would be really useful for at least starting to get to grips with your birth chart - I just suggest having your birth chart in front of you as you read this chapter, unlike I did the first time round, which caused a little confusion as not having anything to relate what was being said to (Herstik gives a number of websites where you can generate your birth chart for free).

I think it's important to point out that Herstik talks about "smudging" - a Native American practice - with white sage or palo santo - which are both endangered due to over harvesting - to cleanse your space, and also lists Moon goddesses from various cultures, and suggests working with whichever one catches your eye. This can be seen as cultural appropriation. However, I should also point out that Herstik has a video up on Instagram where she discusses what she's learnt in the year since Craft has been published, and addresses the use of the term "smudging", and burning white sage and palo santo, and how she's learnt since publishing, and now doesn't use any of them - the term or the specific herbs.

All in all, Craft is an incredible book, and one I know I'll be dipping in and out of as needed. Herstik has another book coming out at some point, and I'll definitely be picking it up. I really can't recommend Craft (or Inner Witch in the US) enough; it really is everything someone new to witchcraft could want in a guide. I'll leave you from a quote from the end of the book that had me really emotional:

'Your energy is sacred, your energy is powerful and your energy is transformative. May you never forget who you are: an incredible, powerful, worthy witch. May your magick grow as you do. May it evolve as you do, and may it help you bring a deeper sense of purpose and meaning to everything you do. With a blessing from the Earth and the Cosmos, with a blessing from me to you, with a blessing from the Universe, find your magick, find your path - and know in your bones that it is your truth.' (p280)

You might also like:

How I Came to Study Witchcraft Witchcraft Introductory Books Waking the Witch: Reflections on Women, Magic, and Power by Pam Grossman

Over to you graphic
Have you read Craft/Inner Witch? What did you think? If not, will you be giving it a read? Do you know of any other books on witchcraft with a focus on finding your own path? Any recommendations you have for me? Let me know in the comments!

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