Year Published: 2002
# of Pages: 358
Cover Type: Hardcover
Witch: A Magickal Journey contains two of Fiona Horne’s previous books Witch: A Personal Journey and Witch: A Magical Year. (Both of which are now only available in this combined volume.)
Witch begins with the story of how Fiona Horne discovered Paganism and witchcraft, as well as how she came “out of the closet” and let the world know that she was a witch. Although this is a personal story, including anecdotes about her former band Def FX, it is also a story that many Pagans can relate too, since it has that familiar theme of feeling like one has come home.
Ms. Horne includes her own version of the essential laws of witchcraft:
- Do what you will as long as it harms none;
- Do what you will as long as you don’t interfere with anyone else’s free will;
- That which you send out returns to you threefold.1
Generally speaking, I am not happy when the wording of the Rede is switched around, but I think that Ms. Horne’s rules are reasonable, especially when backed up by some of what else is in her book.
The “herstory” section of Witch is just a little sketchy, but overall fairly reasonable. Ms. Horne does claim that the Venus of Willendorf is a representation of the Fertility Goddess (caps her’s), but this is still up for debate. She also mentions Margaret Murray’s work, but recognizes that is suspect, if not outright discredited.
In the practical section of the book, Ms. Horne writes about how to create one’s own sacred space, how to make magical cosmetics, and how to create one’s own spells. She also provides frank discussions of nudity versus robes in ritual, the use ritual jewellery, and tattoos. Although, the section on tattoos seems to suggest that most witches have one, which is far from true. She also provides a useful calendar of magical days throughout the year, even if the holidays she chose are somewhat arbitrary.
Ms. Horne also provides reasonable guidelines for creating one’s own spells through a sort of buffet-style system. She gives lists of herbs, colours, God and Goddess, Elementals, etc. I do have some concerns when it comes to how the deities, elementals and angels (!) are presented. Ms. Horne says nothing about using care when mixing pantheons, and she also lists very odd animals as elementals such as cat for fire, and serpent for water.
Witch also includes eight full-colour pages. The pictures include a generic flower and leaf picture with text relating to herbs, the obligatory photos of Ms. Horne (she is nude in two, which is not unexpected), four nice photos of the elements, information and photos about four of the Sabbats, a diagram of the chakras, and pictures of an altar and some crystals.
The biggest problem with this book, in my mind, is Ms. Horne’s equating of witch and Wicca. Ms. Horne may be a Wiccan witch, but not all Wiccans are witches, which is something she needs to remember. I also think that Ms. Horne tries too hard to be “hip” in this book, using slang, like wanker, that do a lot to date the book and dumb it down.
There is a lot of good information scattered throughout this book. Ms. Horne states several times that for magical workings to succeed there must be strong intent behind them, and also that witchcraft is not a crutch to be used to resolve ourselves of responsibility. I was also very pleased that in her chapter on familiars she states clearly that not every pet is a familiar. (I can attest to this as my own cat couldn’t be any less magically inclined.)
I am surprised I enjoyed the book so much, since I am not a Fiona Horne fan. In the past, I have found her to be a little too fluffy for my taste, and focusing far too much on spells. While there are several spells in this book, the are presented in a way that encourages the reader to make changes in their life themselves.
Rating: 3.5 – A fun book aimed a older teen readers. I am concerned about the amount of spells included, and the lack of serious ethical discussions.
1. Fiona Horne’s Witch, pg. 10.