I always look twice at what I call a “amateur encyclopedias,” even more when it is about love-related topics, and I was not even sure about taking this reading. Love Magic: A Handbook of Spells, Charms, and Potions, written by Anastasia Greywolf and illustrated by Melissa West, was a surprising reading. Maybe not as good as I expected it to be, but a surprise nonetheless.
Anastasia Greywolf did a great job putting several formulas together in the same book, and I think the chapters are quite useful in more than one way. This is not just the overwritten book about making someone fall in love with you: it also offers alternatives for matters of family, friends and even pets.
To include “digital” magic, that which uses Internet, cell phones, and more, was a clever decision from Greywolf. Millennial witches will smile for having the wisdom of the past combined with modern world’s marvels in Love Magic: A Handbook of Spells, Charms, and Potions, and I admit I’m tempted to try a few of them although I’m not a fan of the idea.
Also, it is reassuring to know the author took the care to explicitly say that magic is not always the best option and that someone should never try to impose their will on something, forcing the other person to feel or do whatever they want regardless of that person’s decision. Not many do this and it’s good to see things are different in this book.
As an advice, I’ll say that readers should have a basic background on herbs and candle magic in order to understand how the spells, charms and potions listed in the book work. I’m a believer that knowing will always help to have a better control of what is happening. Love Magic: A Handbook of Spells, Charms, and Potions doesn’t do this, but it is quite obvious how some elements work.
I have to be honest, there are some formulas that left me a little worried about them because of what they use and need in order to be done, but I prefer to think that they are there in order to give an insight of what traditional witchcraft was in the past. I wouldn’t like to see one of those if not in a work of fiction.
On the other hand, the work of Melissa West matches the tone of the book perfectly. She has a professional style that also uses a bit of charm to make this a more entertaining reading, but is purely based on medieval printing. Strange at first, but appealing in the end.
There were a couple of images I really liked, and made me feel drawn at Melissa’s art. It would be interesting to see her working on other styles and books to see what else she can do. However, the result for this one, although simple, is right on track. Art and writing are on the same page.
It could be that Love Magic: A Handbook of Spells, Charms, and Potions is not the most educational of books, but it is entertaining, has good contributions and it could be of use for starting witches, those still learning about the craft and about the shape spells should have.
Print Length: 256 pages
Publisher: Wellfleet Press (May 29, 2018)
Publication Date: May 29, 2018
About the Author
Anastasia Greywolf is a practicing witch and herbalist with many decades (some say centuries) of experience in casting and conjuring. She lives in the Northeastern United States where she is a founding member of the Coven of the Moonbeam Ravine.
About the Illustrator
Melissa West is a painter and printmaker whose work explores the magical place where comfort and menace meet. She lives in Santa Cruz, California, and has exhibited in many galleries in the area as well as being featured in Pilgrimage magazine. You can see more of her artwork at MSWest.com. It is also available for sale via her Etsy shop at https://www.etsy.com/shop/mswest
About the Reviewer
Bader Saab is a digital journalist and self-published writer; a solitary, eclectic Wiccan interested in the darker side of magic and divination; a gothic guy who tries to educate whenever he can. He hopes some day to succeed in one of them.
Illustration credit: Melissa West