By Amber C. Snider
We've rounded up the best books on spellwork, brujeria, healing arts, candle magic, and more.
An eclectic mix of new releases, staff favorites, and classics, these summer picks are perfect to pack up for a summer road trip or pore over during those balmy summer nights. They each offer something truly unique in the realm of witchcraft, ranging from ways to harness your candle magic skills, protect your energetic fields, work with the elements, practice sacred symbol magic, or learn more about Indigenous practices. Here, we bring you Enchantments' bestselling books for summer 2021.
Protection Charms: Harness Your Energy Force to Guard Against Psychic Attack, by Tania Ahsan
A favorite for Enchantments’ customers and staff alike, Tania Ahsan’s Protection Charms focuses on empowerment magic and protection spells. It’s the book for anyone who has “ever gotten involved in a Twitter spat...or worried about walking home late at night” and provides an arsenal against psychic attack to help keep you grounded. Ahsan offers insight in symbols, chakras, and talismans to protect your energetic field and aura, as well as at-home rituals to strengthen your psychic shields. A practicing witch for 25 years, Ahsan’s 160-page hardcover is a must-read for those interested in learning more about energetic charms (which can even be used for candle magic). “Protection Charms breaks down the principles and importance of energetic hygiene through the various ways you can ward you body, aura, and space,” says Victor Castro, an energy worker and professional photographer at Enchantments.
Candle Magic, by Madame Pamita
This practical, illustrated hardcover by Madame Pamita is also currently a bestseller at Enchantments. “Madame Pamita’s book is currently my favorite on candle magic right now,” says Victor Castro. “It’s not just an introduction, but also goes into the more experienced aspects of ceromancy and pyromancy. It also has several helpful appendices of herbs, crystals, talismans and symbols that are useful in candle magic,” he adds. “It really is a wonderful book. I highly recommend it.”
Marisabel S. at Enchantments agrees: “Madame Pamita does a really, really good job at walking you through how to charge a candle and which candles are important for different things. It also goes really well with her Parlour of Wonders business, so I now have a better understanding of what that shop is about after reading her book. I’m grateful to add to my own candle experience with this book.”
Orishas, Goddesses, and Voodoo Queens, by Lilith Dorsey
Hands-down one of the best books on traditional African religions, Lilith Dorsey’s bestselling Orishas, Goddesses, and Voodoo Queens seamlessly blends folklore and mythology with practical spellwork. Dorsey has been a Voodoo Priestess for nearly 30 years, with initiations in Santeria (or Lucumi), Haitian Vodou, and New Orleans Voodoo, as well. The book covers ways to honor the orishas, the meaning of ashe, and the importance of turning to women of color to elucidate the intersectionality of these practices. The book rarely stays in the shop given its popularity, so you may want to call ahead for this one!
Read our exclusive interview with Dorsey about their book here.
The Complete Book of Incense, Oils, and Brews, by Scott Cunningham
It’s safe to say that anything Scott Cunningham touches turns to gold at this point (at least when it comes to pen and paper) and his Incense, Oils, and Brews is no exception. Published in 2002, it’s still a bestseller and its informative, encyclopedic style makes it a staple on every witch’s bookshelf. Chock-full of recipes, formulas, and methods, it’s also a favorite for Enchantments’ staff, too. “I like that this is a compilation of several different books. It’s really easy to find the information on different incenses and oils in a ‘one stop shop’ sort of place, rather than buying several books on the subject,” says Marisabel S. “I’m also really partial to creating my own blends that I can energetically charge and I like the personal relationship I can build with the ingredients listed here.”
Ancient Egyptian Magic for Modern Witches, by Ellen Cameron Reed
Republished in 2021 by Weiser books (it was originally published under a different title) is Ellen Cannon Reed’s Ancient Egyptian Magic for Modern Witches. This 288-pager covers rituals, songs, and prayers to the ancient gods and goddesses of Egypt, highlighting Isis, Ra, Thoth, Osiris, and others. There are also meditations to enrich your spiritual path, instructions for making magical tools, incense, oils, and insight into hieroglyphs. If you’re interested in learning more about ancient Egyptian practices adapted for the modern age, this is the book for you this summer!
*Enchantments also carries various Egyptian deity statues, including Isis and Osiris. Call shop for availability.
Sacred Symbol Magic, by Sarah Bartlett
New for 2021, Sarah Barlett’s illustrated guide to magical and spiritual symbols is currently flying off the shelves. The book includes over 50 sacred symbols from a variety of cultures and spiritual traditions, as well as practical ways to harness each symbol’s latent power. “Sacred Symbol Magic is lovely,” says Victor Castro. “Great for novices or the seasoned acolyte, it contains a curated and elegant overview of symbols often used in esoteric illustrations. It’s broken down by category, making it extremely useful for those working with sigils and candle magic,” he adds. The fact that it's also a beautiful hardcover only adds to its appeal.
The Way of the Witch, by Sally Morningstar
Published earlier this year, Sally Morningstar’s 160-page The Way of the Witch includes full color illustrations and has already become a shop favorite for 2021. It’s a guide to the roots of witchcraft, offering tips for making charms, casting spells, building altars, and embarking on psychic journeys. Morningstar, a hedgewitch who has already authored over 30 books on spirituality, also runs an international course in natural magic and self-development. Offering refreshing insight into the world of witchcraft, including ways to honor the earth, The Way of the Witch is both enchanting and empowering.
Personal Magic, A Modern Day Book of Shadows for Positive Witches, by Marion Weinstein
Republished in 2021 with a foreword by Steven Hanes, Marion Weinstein’s Personal Magic is a total classic, worthy of a year-round place on your bookshelf. As one of the “grand dames of witchcraft,” New York City witch Marion Weinstein focuses on practical magic with an emphasis on ethics. As a version of her own personal book of shadows, it includes ways to invoke spirit powers, deities, and gods and goddesses, working with the moon and one’s ancestors, as well as protection and manifestation spells. This book is an excellent beginner’s guide or refresher for seasoned practitioners, offering how-to guides with the responsible caveat (yet all-too-necessary) that one should only practice when one fully understands it.
The Way of the Water Priestess: Entering the World of Water Magic, by Annwyn Avalon
Also new for 2021 but written in her signature enchanted style, Annwyn Avalon’s latest book is a hands-on guide to harnessing the power of water for healing, protection, and self-empowerment. The Way of the Water Priestess is all about reviving ancient practices, making water sacred again, and learning how to embody the sacred vessel of water that you already are. Plus, it’s also a staff favorite: “Despite being a Cancer, I’m not that connected with water. But this book does a good job at telling you the history of women’s connection to water, water magic, water sources, the moon, and intuition. It also has really nice recipes for baths towards the end of the book,” says Marisabel S.
American Brujeria, by J. Allen Cross
And last but not least, J. Allen Cross’s American Brujeria is currently one of the most popular books on the market right now. New to 2021, the book explores Modern Mexican-American Folk Magic with an accessible and conversational approach. It’s a great book for anyone interested in Indigenous practices, folk magic, healing, and shamanism. It covers spell casting, healing arts, oil crafting, protective charms, stories on folk saints, and the influence of Catholicism on these ancient traditions. But it sells out quickly (and it’s a staff favorite), so be sure to call ahead for availability.
*Note, these new titles are available for in-store purchase at Enchantments. For more great reads, check out our Books section on the website.
by Amber C. Snider
You don’t have to be an artist to invoke more creativity in your life. Here are seven ways to channel the divine muse, including creative exercises, manifestation tools, and spiritual tips.
Creativity is at the center of human nature. You could even say it’s at the heart of nearly everything we do as a species. And although the divine spark is never far away, it sometimes takes some work to tap into that moving, elusive, profoundly spiritual energy.
The ancient Greeks began all their epic poems and hymns with an invocation of the Muses (think of the Hymn to Demeter, The Iliad, The Odyssey, etc). It was based on the idea that creativity itself was a gift from the Gods and only through them, with their blessing, could we access or tap into knowledge of the universe, thereby catching a glimpse into that ecstatic world where creation becomes manifest.
Here, we outline 7 ways to “access” the deeper realms of your creativity (in the modern world), including sound bath meditations, art exercises, and mystical musings.
Seek out mystical art
The work of artists like Hilma AF Klint, Salvador Dalí, Frida Kahlo, Leonora Carrington, and more is steeped in spirituality, symbolism, and mysticism. Take a day trip to a museum and see their works in-person (similar to Julie Cameron’s idea of the “Artist Date”), purchase one of their art books and meditate on their images for a month, or simply Google search/explore their paintings via a computer screen. As you do so, notice what emotions come up when you look at a particular painting: What is it trying to tell you? Write down your reactions, use the art to help with your Shadow Self work (more on that here), or try to create an imitation painting.
We’re loving this list of artists from Dazed: Eight Female Artists Who Channel Spirituality Into Their Work.
The work of psychologist and philosopher William James at Harvard had a deep and lasting impact on the concept of “automatic writing.” Automatic writing involves tapping into the subconscious, but perhaps just as compelling, it was regarded as a tool to channel messages and ideas from the higher spiritual realms. One of his most dedicated students, the modernist poet and writer Gertude, took his ideas and used them to create some of her most revered literary works, cementing her place as one of America’s greatest avant-garde artists.
Try these easy steps to automatic writing here. To enhance a meditative state, try Enchantments Spiritual High incense or Divine Muse incense.
Use the sound as a tool to tap into creative insights, transcend the temporal, move deeper into the divine, creative spirit that moves through all things.
Try a free meditation app like Insight Timer, seek out sound bath artists like NYC-based Sara Auster (who does weekly sound baths via IG Live), or buy a set of crystal bowls to create your own musical flow at home, anytime. Try Purple Wisdom Oil (anoint your Third Eye) as you listen.
Set the intention to open Crown Chakra in order to unlock deeper creativity in your everyday life. Get in a comfortable position and use your headphones as you listen to a sound bath at home. Visualize what your life will look like with more creativity –– in all its forms. What will true creativity feel like? How do you look and move throughout the world with this heightened energy?
“Invoke the Muse” painting
Similar to seeking out mystical art, try to do a painting of your own, too. Even if you’re not a visual artist, it’s not only fun to “play” and try new things as an adult, but you could surprise yourself. First, set an intention for the painting: It could be as simple as “I want to see my inner child” or “I want to explore the origins of the universe” or “I want to channel Mother Earth.”
Then try a 5-10 minute meditation on this intention, going through your chakras one-by-one, from the Root Chakra up to the Crown, sending each energetic center light (read more about Chakra work in the article here). When you get to the Crown Chakra, ask for divine inspiration, sit there in the light you’ve created for several moments, open your eyes, and let your hand guide you.
Keep a notebook
We’re so confined to our phones (all the time) that there’s something freeing –– and also inherently creative –– about writing with pen and paper. Take a small notebook with you wherever you go and look for inspiration in the mundane. Write down overheard conversations, record observations of the natural world, draw pictures of tiny herbs and plants as you find them, jot down incantations, mantras, recipes, prayers, muse up new recipes, and pen messages from your Spirit Guides (you know, that quiet, yet powerful voice inside you).
Remember, just like Joan Didion wrote in her famous essay “On Keeping a Notebook,” what’s written inside these pages isn’t for the world out there, but rather it’s a document for yourself; to “remember” who you are, who you’ve been, and who you’ll become. And for the ultra-organized Capricorns out there, consider trying the Bullet Journal Method for your notebook. Keep a daily tracker of your spiritual activities, rituals, and recipes, all in one place.
Use what you have
Witchcraft has always been about making do with what you have on-hand. You don’t need to go out and buy “fancy” or trending tools. Looking for herbs for a sea salt bath ritual? Use the sea salt that’s (probably) already in your cupboard and add some lavender to the mix. Need to cleanse your home of negative energy? Again, try burning herbs you already have: Bay leaves, cinnamon, or rosemary. Design and personalize your own Book of Shadows, make a wand using found Birch or Cedar wood in your local park, create your own sacred oil blends. Use your hands, don’t be afraid to get a little messy, and have fun with the so-called mistakes.
Too often in this year of isolation we’ve shut down the world out there, often as a protective or survival measure. But the time has come to open ourselves back up. Inspiration is omnipresent in the natural world (but you knew that), so when’s the last time you ventured out of the house for the sole/soul purpose of seeking beauty?
For candle work and spells, check out this story on the best candles for creativity and renewal.