Digging through some old boxes of books to donate for our upcoming yard sale, I ran across a copy of Making Spells and Charms: A Practical Guide to Simple Spellweaving by Sally Morningstar. I had completely forgotten about this book; indeed, I can’t even remember when or where I purchased it. It is a gorgeous book, however, with full photos and a very Harry Potter-esque feel. With that said, does its aesthetic quality really mean it’s a useful book in any form of pagan rites?
In a word, I would say yes. As with any magic, I truly feel like anything that you incorporate must be meaningful to you; so if anything within this book is meaningful to you—or if you can pattern something meaningful for yourself out of any of the rituals in this book, which I think most pagans can do—then sure, it’s going to be quite helpful. It’s also got plenty of ideas you can use not just in spellwork, but also in decorating, I think!Morningstar goes through several important aspects of spell casting at the beginning of the book, such as energy breathing, grounding, and preparation prior to doing spells. Everyone is different, so this should not be taken as “What You Have to Do!” Morningstar’s pledge to harm none, though helpful and definitely worthy of use, may not be for everyone, either; I don’t mean that you shouldn’t harm anyone, but that you may have a personal invocation to utilize instead that is more meaningful for you, in which case you should definitely use it instead.
I do appreciate Morningstar’s full color photos of both ritual items as well as a person smudging, giving offerings, and participating in other rituals; could you imagine what it would have been like with such resources a few decades ago, when such practices were merely whispered about? I remember first starting out as a pagan in my teens, trying to pronounce words like “athame” and wishing I’d had someone to help, or at least visuals—and that was still during a time when there were lots of resources available. Books like this can be exceptionally helpful.
That said, I would caution people to not only read books like this one on their path toward paganism. I would recommend a wide variety (particularly anything by Scott Cunningham, my favorite pagan author, who puts everything into easy-to-read format) of material before you decide on this course for your life, for sure. Timothy Roderick’s Wicca: A Year and a Day is a great tool to use to help you decide for sure.