True Magic is a primer, of sorts, for witches both new and more experienced. It combines elements of witchcraft, self-help, psychology, and emotional healing to provide a path of transformation for anyone interested in empowering themselves and improving their life. Written by Cyndi Brannen, this is both different to and yet a companion of her previous book, Keeping Her Keys — in fact, I could see many of the practices and rituals crossing over from one book to the other, building upon each other in terms of both imparting knowledge and encouraging magical practice.
The core framework running through True Magic is the power of the number seven — seven steps towards personal transformation, aligned with a form of witch’s ladder. These steps are Healing, Relationships, Sovereignty, Growth, Connections, Abundance, and Wholeness. Each step includes information, practices, rituals, botanicals, crystals, colours, and so on. There are seven moon phases featured within the book (new, waxing crescent, half waxing, full, half waning, waning crescent, and dark), each with their distinct energies. The four elements, three selves, and three worlds also feature, as does the liminal realm.
This book contains a variety of magical techniques suitable for the newcomer to witchcraft as well as the more seasoned practitioner. I fall into the latter category, and while there was a lot of information here that I’ve read before, there were elements and tips that I hadn’t previously encountered. There is a lot of the basics here — how to create an altar, a book of shadows, a magical apothecary — but there are deeper aspects too, like sigil work, shadow work, and an ever-progressing journey into energy work. Some of the rituals and visualisations take you incredibly deep, and there’s good self-care advice for after doing this sort of work. The journal prompts and quizzes are well-considered and gently laid out, helping the reader to integrate their practices and experiences. The addition of further reading (books and links) is a nice touch.
True Magic takes the reader on a journey of personal transformation through the blending of witchcraft, emotional healing, and psychology. Much of this work is based around healing the self, but there are options to expand upon this to offer healing and magic to those around you, your community, and the natural world. I liked how Brannen pointed out that all witchcraft should have an element of risk, should push you outside your comfort zone, should facilitate deeper understanding and healing. All of this is true, and learning how to hold all this and progress is just as important as knowing which stones, botanicals, colours (et cetera) one would use in a spell or ritual. As Doreen Valiente once said, “There’s a witch of the head and a witch of the heart…”
I enjoyed reading this book and can see how I would use some of the practices and ideas as a springboard for other magical and healing workings. However, I did feel — being a regular reader of Brannen’s blog — that some of the sections of True Magic were more fleshed out posts that I’d read before, perhaps with some more advice or practical tips. I do mean it when I say that this book would be good for witches both new and more experienced — but if you have some years under your belt, you could argue that a decent browse around the web can provide you with much of the information here, albeit obviously presented differently, and you’d have to build up your own witch’s ladder of transformational steps — not a bad thing in itself, but if you’re looking for a guide through those steps or are pressed for time/energy, then the journey True Magic takes the reader on is not a bad place to start. It’s certainly given me much food for thought and I do recommend this book to all who are interested in healing themselves, taking responsibility for their actions, and manifesting magic in their own lives.
I received an e-ARC from the publisher, Moon Books, through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Furthermore, in the interests of transparency, I know the author via her blog and Facebook.