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Voodoo Rituals; a User's Guide by Heike Owusu

Okay, I'm new to this community and a bit rubbish at explaining stuff, so please forgive the rather pants reviewing skills!

Voodoo Rituals; a user's guide

Author; Heike Owusu

ISBN 1-4027-0035-0

Price; £9.99/US$12.95

This book is primarily aimed at beginners but is also useful for those who would like a basic understanding of Voodoo. It covers everything from the Loa (gods) to making, charging and the use of various magic aids such as wands, mirrors and masks. Also included are types of doll magic a section on demons, elemental and sphere creatures and sections on "magic exercises" (basically how to get into the right state of mind to work magic, how to do claivoyance etc) and working magic which includes things like knitting and weaving magic.

The good bits; despite being titled voodoo rituals the stuff it describes can easily applied to any tradition and most of it can be done, should you want, by yourself in your kitchen/workspace. Everything is easy to understand without being patronizing and the author doesn't shy away from the topic of bokors (black magic practitioners) and includes the kind of things they use and how to defend against them, which makes a refreshing change from the usual "all witches are good and any witch who does a bad thing isn't a witch" rubbish you often get from books dealing with witchcraft/wicca/paganism. It was also a pleasant surprise to discover that a voodoo practitioner uses many of the  thigns found normally in "western" traditions such as runes.

The bad bits; Voodoo itself is an umbrella term used to label many different religions including Santeria and Palo mayombe, and to be honest the sheer scale of voodoo means that everything is straight to the point with no historical references and few explanations as to how or why things are the way they are. Also, if you're expecting an explanation of the beliefs and practices of Santeria and New Orleans/ Haitian type voodoo you're going to be sorely disappointed as Haitian voodoo only gets the odd mention and Santeria gets no look in at all!

In summary then, if you're curious to know what your voodoo counterpart gets up to of a quiet afternoon, would like to read something that isn't from the usual western P.O.V or would like to learn something new to suplement what you already know then this book would be useful. If you are looking for something seriously in depth on the subject on voodoo then i'm afraid you'll have to look elsewhere.

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Witchcraft Healing : by Muller-Ebeling, Ratsch, & Storl & Intro

Hi, all. I am a new member to the group. I have been around herbs and kitchen witch practices most of my life. The below review is one I wrote over in witchy_reads a bit ago, with some editing. I still stand by what I wrote then. I have more books to review on the subject, and I look forward to meeting you all. If the moderator(s) would be so kind as to correct any faux pas that I might have made in this post.

Title "Witchcraft Healing: Healing Arts, Shamanic Practices and Forbidden Plants",
Author(s):by Claudia Muller-Ebeling, Christian Ratsch, & Wolf-Dieter Storl,
Publisher: Inner Traditions Books, 2002
ISBN: 0892819715
Price: $24.95 (US)

CONTENT: When I picked up this book at the local Barnes and Noble, I thought it looked very good. I don't think however, I was quite prepared to be as impressed as I was with the work. It is not just a work about herbs and Witchcraft and their history, but a treasure trove of world cultural traditions and the folk healing modalities.

As a professional herbalist, I was really very happy to see the amount of research and documentation that went into this book. It really delves into the European shamanic traditions and healing arts and folk religions attached to them. This is something, which is sadly quite lacking in alot of literature that is about "shamanism". So much of of it is a bastardization of Native American practices and urban legend. Not so with this book. You get a clear idea where the lines of the histories of Witchcraft and folk medicine practices got blurred and blown far out of proportion by way of legend and outright lies. And you also get an in depth look at how many of these plants were used. The authors pull no punches, poisons, halucinagens and abortifacients can be found listed in this book. I think this is the first time in many years that I have seen an herbal book dare to list them, let alone discuss them. I also learned about some plants that I had no knowledge of before and I am always up for that! This, I believe is how Witches in the past truly practiced, and how many still practice to this day throughout the world. The focus however is on European Witches and Western herbalism.

Witchcraft Medicine is clearly a scholarly work, but it it is not so much that the subject is at all dry and uninteresting to read. It was for me quite the contrary. I couldn't put it down! There is no relgious-centric slant to it at all. There are no sensationalist claims about 8 million Witches being murdered during the so-called Burning Times, for example. It's just lots of very straight facts, which is important even for Kitchen Witches. There is too much that is junk out there, and this book I would count it among my top ten historical herbals on my personal bookshelf. This book is a very impressive body of work. Note that there are not really recipies or proportions as to using these now.

RATING: A+ (And if I could rate it higher than that I would!)

Please Be Advised

I want to say "you're welcome" to the people who have thanked me for starting this group. I hope it will be of benefit to everyone who joins and monitors. I also hope it becomes and stays relatively active.


I am asking everyone to please read the community info before submitting posts. Please. It is nothing personal. I don't really know you, so how can it be personal? And, I don't like being "mean". But... the whole premise of this community is Book Reviews.

So, while I'm sure the spells, charges, recipes, etc. that you have and want to share are wonderful and informative, this is not the place for them. There are several groups out there for that type of post. All posts to this group will be book reviews. Period. Well, except for this one. :)

I'm not trying to make anyone mad or want to leave. I just want this to be clear from the start. And, I don't feel I made it clear enough. So, I have added a little bit to the community info.

Thanks for joining the community. I do appreciate all of you.
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The Herb Book by John Lust

The Herb Book
by John Lust

ISBN 0-553-26770-1
Originally published in 1974

I own the paperback version which was published by Bantam Books.
It was originally published by Benedict Lust Publications.

Synopsis - This book includes a 333 page section with detailed listings of about 2000 herbs, their uses, where they grow, etc. It also includes a history of herb study and use, a glossary of botanical terms, how to grow and dry and store herbs, how to prepare herbs for medicinal use, tea recipes, dying information.

Religious slant - This book has no religious slant that I have seen. It is informational only.

Personally, I love this book. It is my bible. It has lots of information and not much, if any, crap. It includes line drawings of many of the plants. Each listing includes the correct name of the herb, the common names, the scientific name, medicinal parts of the herb, a physical description of the herb, properties and uses, and preparation and dosage. Some of the entries include doses for different types of preparations, such as tinctures and teas, etc.

I really can't say enough about this book. I heartily recommend it to anyone who wants a reference on the medicinal properties of herbs.

NOTE: This has no religious references. If you want to know something such as which god/goddess likes which herb or what herb to use for protection, this is not the book to have.