Practical Guide to the Runes by Lisa Peschel

A Practical Guide to the Runes: Their uses in Divination and Magick
by Lisa Peschel

Published 1989 by Llewellyn Publications
ISBN: 0-87542-593-3

Tools of the Trade, The Runes in Divination, Principles of Divination and Rune Layouts, The Runes in Magick, Principles of Rune Magick, Talismans, Ritual Carving and Consecration, and Appendices.

I got this book over 10 years ago when it only cost $3.95. I have no idea what it costs now. I use it primarily for symbols to put on ritual items, talismans, etc. For this, I think this book is great. It is easy to read and easy to use.

In the appendices it shows how to combine runic symbols to get more specific results, it shows what colors correspond to what you desire as an outcome, it shows what runes correspond to the days of the week, it lists the magical properties of certain trees.

I don't know that I would use it as a primary source. But, as an additional or secondary it has proven to be invaluable to me, especially for the price.

Lisa Peschel is an artist, educator, and writer. She works to educate the public about the natural way of life in addition to divinatory practices and herbalism.

The Herbalist by Joseph E. Meyer

The Herbalist by Joseph E. Meyer

ISBN 0-916638-00-6
Published in 1918 by Meyerbooks, revised and updated by Clarence Meyer in 1960, this edition printed in 1993

This book includes sections on medicinal plants, plant vitamins and minerals, beverage teas, spices and flavoring herbs, colors for food and cosmetics, plant dyes for fabrics, botanicals for potpourri and sachets, dentifrices, gargles, cosmetics, smoke flavoring botanicals, botanical curios, and over 500 illustrations.

The outstanding aspect of this book, in my opinion, is the illustrations. It is the reason I bought the book. There are line drawings with some of the herb listings, there is a section which is totally color drawings and color photographs. To me, this part is invaluable.

The information is organized well. I like the way the sections are divided. This book is very easy to use.

The only thing that really bothers me is that there is no information on the author(s) and their background and/or training. However, on the back cover is a list of other books they have written. So, as with most other works of this sort, it probably wouldn't hurt to look in other books and see if other authors are in agreement.

Overall, an excellent resource.

Llewellyn's 2006 Herbal Almanac

Llewellyn's 2006 Herbal Almanac
Multiple Authors

ISBN 0-7387-0151-3
Published 2005 by Llewellyn Worldwide

This contains articles on growing and gathering herbs, culinary herbs, herbs for health, herbs for beauty, herb crafts and herb history, myth and magic. It has a moon chart for the year 2006 and a short article on the quarters and signs of the moon.

I have enjoyed this book immensely. Under each heading there are 3-6 artlcles. This is one of those books I have read from cover to cover. The articles I especially enjoyed were Traditional English Gardens and Cooking with Southwestern Herbs both by Chandra Moira Beal. There is also a section at the end of the book giving a bit of information about each writer.

What I did not like about to book is that no sources are listed. For all I know, the authors could have made this up off the top of their respective heads.

As a whole I like this book. I just know that the information should be verified in other sources before being used. If you are interested in herbs and gardening, this book is a good light read.

New Choices in Natural Healing, edited by Bill Gottlieb

New Choices in Natural Healing
Edited by Bill Gottlieb

ISBN 0-87596-257-2
Published 1995 by Rodale Press

Synopisis: Self-Help remedies for many common ailments. These remedies include acupressure, aromatherapy, ayurveda, flower therapy, food therapy, herbal therapy, homeopathy, hydrotherapy, imagery, juice therapy, massage, reflexology, relaxation and meditation, sound therapy, vitamin and mineral therapy, and yoga. Ailments from acne to yeast infections are listed in alphabetical order. In each section, the types of remedies that apply are listed. There is also a paragraph on when to know it is serious enough to warrant a trip to a your doctor. Also included are detailed instructions for each type of remedy.

I like this book simply for the abundant information it includes. The editor does has a tendency to “talk down” in the entries he authored. But, I have found that a lot with other books and authors as well.

This is a good book if you want information on several types of natural healing. Something else I have found useful in this book is the glossary of Common Degrees in Alternative Medicine. This explains just what each degree stands for. This could be helpful when researching Alternative Medicine Practitioners in your area.

At the time this book was published, Bill Gottlieb was the Editor-in-Chief of Prevention Magazine Health Books.

Herb Contraindications and Drug Interactions by Francis Brinker, N.D.

Herb Contraindications and Drug Interactions
By Francis Brinker, N.D.

ISBN 0-9659135-0-3
Published 1997 by Eclectic Institute, Inc.

Synopsis: Provides contraindications and drug interactions for 184 common therapeutic herbs. Also identifies in the appendices additional herbs relevant to: potential allergic responses, increased sensitivity to sunlight, urinary tract inflammation, intestinal absorption of medicines, sedative medicines, heart medicines, blood sugar levels, and pregnant and breastfeeding women (identifies herbs best avoided to protect their children.

In my opinion, this book is a must for anyone who uses or plans to use herbs for medicinal purposes. I have never seen this information in another book or when I buy herbs. I would think that not many people would know where to find this information. But, since the goal of herbal medicine is to feel and be healthy, this is information that needs to be known before a regimen is begun. This book is very useful to anyone who wants to avoid complicating their current condition and/or treatment.

Francis Brinker, N.D. is a 1981 graduate of the National College of Naturopathic Medicine in Portland, Oregon. In addition, he completed the two year Postgraduate Studies Program in Botanical Medicine and taught Botanical Medicine until 1985.

A Compendium of Herbal Magick, by Paul Beyerl

A Compendium of Herbal Magick
By Paul Beyerl

ISBN 0-919345-45-X
Published 1998 by Phoenix Publishing

Synopsis: 330 herbs covered in detail with over 100 illustrations. Sections include magickal classification of herbs, guide to the usage of magickal herbs, deities and magickal herbalism, and herbal correspondences with astrological associations for all herbs by planet and sign.

I personally love this book. It is straightforward and very informative. The information included comes from 20 years experience as a Master Herbalist.

In the listing of individual herbs there are two parts to the information. The first one is the lore of the herb. This includes historical uses of and beliefs about the herb. The next is modern magickal usage of the herb. This section makes up most of the book.

There is also a section which lists common names of plants as they correspond to the names used in the book.

Personally I find this book very useful. It is a great companion to a book that has the medicinal properties of herbs.

Paul Beyerl is the founder and also a priest in the Lothlorien branch of Wicca. In addition, he is a Master Herbalist, a Master Astrologer, and an educator in the fields of tarot, gem, and mineral lore.

Earth Power: Techniques of Natural Magic by Scott Cunningham

Earth Power: Techniques of Natural Magic
By Scott Cunningham

ISBN 0-87542-121-0
Published 1983 by Llewellyn Publications

Synopsis: A collection of folk magic with sections on the basics, elemental magic, and natural magic. Appendices of information on color, herbs, and runes.

The section on natural magic includes stone, tree, image, knot, candle, wax, mirror, rain, fog, storm, and sea magic. This is pretty much a book of spells. In my opinion, this book would be good for a beginner and intermediate practitioner. The advanced witch would probably be disappointed with this book, though. Then again, there might be something here you haven’t seen, since there are so many spells included. Or you might get an idea on how to incorporate even parts of spells into your own.

This book was written for Wiccans. But, nonWiccans, like myself, can also get a lot of information from this book.

Herbal Medicine by Dian Dincin Buchman

Herbal Medicine: The natural way to get well and stay well
By Dian Dincin Buchman

ISBN 0-517-32093-2
Published 1979 by Random House

Synopsis: Sections in this book are: My Favorite Herbs, Other Favorite Herbs in Brief, A Herbal Selector, How to Make the Herbal Medicine, and Resources.

This book is mediocre, in my opinion. There is a lot of info, but it is mostly in the form of “this herb was used by someone for “X” ailment”. I dislike that kind of information because it doesn’t tell if it worked or not. I could use sugar for everything that happens to me, doesn’t mean it would work. The section “A Herbal Selector” is more informative, with more solid details as to the use of herbs for specific ailments. My favorite section of this book is “How to Make the Herbal Medicine”. In this section there is an abundance of information on growing and harvesting herbs and how to prepare herbal remedies. In my opinion, this section is what makes this book valuable.

There is no religious slant to this book. It is purely informational.

Wheel of the Year by Pauline Campanelli

Wheel of the Year: Living the Magical Life
By Pauline Campanelli

ISBN 0-87542-091-5
Published 1989 by Llewellyn Publications

Synopsis: Month by month information on living the magical life.

I like this book because it is a bit like a diary of everyday life as a witch. It is written mostly in first person, which gives it a personal touch. Makes you feel as if you are "in" the life of a witch. As with so many of this type of book, there is a lot of opinion and personal preference. But, that will be found in most books.

For each month, the magical events are described. There are recipes and rituals for each occasion. There is also lots of information such as when to plant, when to harvest, what types of wood to use for certain magical goals, how to make magical tools. It is really a warm, fuzzy type of book, in my opinion.

The only real negative aspect of this book is, again, the authors assume everyone is Wiccan. But, I believe this book is worth getting around that assumption for the info included.

The Real Witches' Kitchen by Kate West

The Real Witches’ Kitchen: Spells, recipes, oils, lotions and potions from the Witches’ Hearth
By Kate West

ISBN 0-00-711786-8
Published 2002 by Element an imprint of HarperCollins Publishing

Synopsis: As the long title says, this book contains spells, recipes, oils, lotions and potions. There is also a short section in the beginning explaining Wicca. There is a section of terms and definitions.

This book is excellent for beginners. It explains in great detail how to perform rituals. It also explains the religion of Wicca. There are lots of recipes that seem easy enough for anyone to try. There are recipes for teas, herbal baths, soaps, foods, oils, lotions, etc.

I do, however, have several small problems with this book. I am not Wiccan, so the constant assumption that anyone reading this is Wiccan gets a bit annoying. Also, the measurements are in ounces. My measuring cups don’t do ounces. That makes for a bit of confusion. In addition, the recipes for soaps, oils, and lotions begin with “go to the store and buy unscented soap/lotion/oil bases and add “X” for your chosen fragrance. I was hoping for recipes for these items from scratch. The section on bathing is a bit condescending. But, then again, maybe some people do need to be told to bathe regularly.

While it sounds as if there was more bad than good with this book, that is not truly the case. It really depends on what you are looking for. As stated earlier, it is an excellent book for beginners. It’s also very good if you are looking for an idea of the realm of the Kitchen Witch. When I bought this book I was looking for some kind of more detailed description of what a Kitchen Witch does than I could find on the internet. There is a lot of basic info included. But, if you are looking for something advanced, beyond beginner, you will probably want to look elsewhere.