Posted in [witchy reviews]

[Witchy Review] “Green Witchcraft” by Paige Vanderbeck

Full Title: Green Witchcraft: A Practical Guide to Discovering the Magic of Plants, Herbs, Crystals, and Beyond
Author: Paige Vanderbeck
Published: February 2020 by Rockridge Press
Genres: Nonfiction, Wicca, Witchcraft, Spirituality, Religion
Edition Details: 169 pages, trade paperback
Source: Purchased
Rating: {5/5 stars}

First Glance

Paige Vanderbeck is The Fat Feminist Witch, and she posts across various social media on witchcraft and related topics. She’s best known for her podcast, which is available on most podcast providers.

To be fair, though, I don’t do podcasts. I don’t have the focus to listen to someone speak without a visual, so I’ve only listened to one or two of her live shows thanks to Facebook Live. Still, between those and her non-podcast posts, it was exciting to see her publishing a book on green witchcraft. Added to that, I’m working to find new books for my personal library that aren’t a few decades old, so this definitely looked like a good option.

Positive Bits

Right off the bat, I think this book was written with the right amount of openness. What I mean is that we’re provided with just enough information and structure to function, but then we’re told to look into each topic ourselves and experience it directly. Too many books fall into the trap of telling you how energy feels or how magic works without giving any flexibility. In this book, we’re given a look at how each of our senses can interact with energies; as someone who can visualize the taste and smell of a peach but can’t visualize the image itself, I appreciated the discussion of different psychic senses being involved in your magical processes.

The fact that this book limits each category (stones, plants, etc) to fifteen examples is the perfect balance between being informational and being intuitive. By giving us a handful of examples and their basic magical information, we’re shown what potential different plants and stones have without being spoon fed associations to use. I think we could all use more intuition on our magic! Paige specifically tells us to consider the local flora for our magical workings, which is something I’ve been inspired to do now that I own a house. Having lived in half a dozen climates around the world while growing up, I can see the obvious benefit of looking at your specific location for plants, stones, trees, and other creatures to work into your magic.

Each spell and mixture of ingredients is satisfying as well as powerful. I love the simplicity of things like magical bath salts, because it’s important to bring your magic into your mundane moments like bath time. There’s also a note on several of the spells that explain optional additions to the working; this allows the caster to remain as simple or complex in their magic as they so desire. All in all, nothing felt inaccessible due to cost or content.

Less Enjoyable Bits

If you’re looking for a deep dive into the details of green witchcraft or a huge compendium of magical stones and plants, you’re going to be disappointed. This book is an introduction into green witchcraft and ways to incorporate it into your life, not an intensive guide into the dark corners of earth-based magic. Keep that in mind.

It would’ve been nice to see more information on how to find or discover the magical uses for different plants and stones. Sure, you can go buy a random collection, but I think there’s more power in figuring out magical associations yourself. The book tiptoes next to this idea, but we’re presented with things like elemental and astrological associations for items without any reference as to where or how to find those details. It was a missed opportunity to look a little closer at the intuitive side of green witchcraft.

I’ll be honest. I’m wracking my brain to find things I didn’t like about this book, and I can’t really think of any good reasons. I mean, I wish it was longer?

Tidbits Worth Repeating

The most important plants, herbs, and flowers for you to learn about are the ones that grow locally. What kinds of trees grow where you live? What are the native flower species? Are there poisonous plants and fungi onto which you might stumble? Their energy is all around you, and you have the privilege to be able to interact with them at all stages of growth, learning exactly how they work. – page 27

Your morning coffee is already a magical potion that energizes you and brings mental clarity. – page 79

As you go forward, creating your own path as you go, remember to remain curious and humble in the wilderness. – page 160

Is it worth the coin?

Yes – With two decades of witching under my belt, I can get a little annoyed at the repetition found in beginner’s books. Not this time! This book is perfect for a beginner, but it’s also inspired me to take a renewed look at my own path.

Author:

bookdragon, poet, witch

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