Posted in [witchy reviews]

[Witchy Review] “The Complete Book of Moon Spells” by Michael Herkes

Full Title: The Complete Book of Moon Spells: Rituals, Practices, and Potions for Abundance
Author: Michael Herkes
Published: July 2020 by Rockridge Press
Genres: Nonfiction, Magic Studies, Witchcraft, Spirituality, Moon Magic, Goddess Worship
Edition Details: 218 pages, trade paperback
Source: Won via Instagram Giveaway
Rating: {4.5/5 stars}

First Glance

I won this book from an Instagram giveaway hosted by @fatfeministwitch (Paige Vanderbeck) and @the.glam.witch (Michael Herkes) in July. They asked for affirmations based on a moon phase prompt, and mine was “I am a child of the universe, my bones and blood are stardust!” I’ll admit that I hadn’t run across Michael’s Instagram prior to the giveaway, but his posts are always colorful and inspirational.

Positive Bits

Right off the bat, I was impressed and excited by the book’s plan to break down the lunar cycle into eight different phases instead of the standard four. Even moon-focused books often direct your energies to the New and Full Moons, with basic details on the differences between waning and waxing moon energies. Here, we get spells and rituals designed for all phases of the moon, taking us deeper into the practice of lunar magic.

Each section starts with a journaling prompt, helping you to form your magical intentions before you start working your magic. I think this provides real guidance for working through your magical goals with focus, rather than a complete set-it-and-forget-it approach. Also, your journaled notes will be there later for reference, so you can look back and see what works for you personally. As someone who struggles to journal regularly, I think these prompts are pure gold! They give just enough of a push to guide me into writing down my thoughts throughout the lunar cycle.

The layout of this book is perfect for active use! Each ritual and spell only covers two pages, facing each out. That means you could prop it open on your altar and work from the pages without having to flip back and forth for details. It prevents you from feeling overwhelmed by an ungainly mess of ritual instructions, which is often a problem with pre-made rituals. All in all, the aesthetics and functionality of this book put it high on my resource list. Rockridge Press once again used colors and formatting choices to enhance the book’s message, and I’m starting to think they’re a publisher to keep an eye on.

Less Enjoyable Bits

I get a little disappointed when anyone shortcuts their ritual closing process. The ritual outline for starting your magic is nicely detailed, from casting circle to calling quarters to raising energy. But when we’re all done, the closing of the circle turns into a quick description of giving thanks. I feel like you need to either be general in your instructions for both calling and releasing the elements, or you need to include full descriptions for each piece of their participation. It’s a pet peeve I notice in a lot of pre-made ritual descriptions including the processes used by my old coven, so it’s not a deal breaker. It’s just frustrating.

There are a few times that random ceremonial or hoodoo magic practices are pulled in without explanation, but this is the nature of being a witch outside of a standardized path. I’d likely research symbols and actions with more detail if they weren’t familiar to my personal practices, so this didn’t make any spells or rituals stand out as malformed. Instead, I reread the spells that had these kinds of details and looked for the why.

Every witch is different, and so are our ethics. That said, I took issue with one particular spell in this book. In a spell for strengthening an existing relationship, we’re told that hair is the easiest biological bit to retrieve from your partner without being noticed. However, if you’re in a healthy relationship that you simply wish to enhance, I would think you could safely ask for permission to use their hair instead of sneaking around. Call me old fashioned, but that doesn’t sound like a relationship with open and honest communication. I recognize, though, that this is my personal ethical approach to magic that directly includes another person.

Tidbits Worth Repeating

The universe does not operate on our sense of time. Spellcasting is not a fast-food spiritual practice. – page 19

Not everything goes the way you think it will. Sometimes life takes a sharp turn off course, and you either back up and get back on the road or change course completely. Regardless of which way you go, I’ve learned it’s best to just enjoy the scenery of whatever detour you take. – page 88

All obstacles present new experiences for us to learn and grow from. It is through embracing these hardships that we learn just how strong we are. – page 144

Is it worth the coin?

Yes – this book would be a good resource for someone just starting their lunar practice, because it strikes a balance between simplicity and focus. For those not new to their path, the spells can provide a shot of inspiration to revive and rejuvenate your moon magic.


bookdragon, poet, witch

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