Picture from Amazon.com
“The Goth way is a mixture of positive and negative – a mixture of romanticism and fascination with all things dark. It is a balance of energy, and to use it properly, you must stay aware” (p55.)
Goth Magick: An Enchanted Grimoire, is I believe the first gothy book on witchcraft that I picked up and I’m delighted to say that this book still continues to give me inspiration.
Published in 2006, this book offers a gothic spin on neo-wiccan practice, and includes chapters:
Introduction:- The Barbarian Path: The journey to a Magickal Life
- Under the Darkling Moon: Defining Goth Wicca
- The Magick Toolbox: Supernatural Supplies and Instruments of Inspiration
- Elemental Magick: Earth, Air, Fire, and Water
- The Winter Soul: Spells, Rituals and Gothic Enchantments
- Goth Rocks and Heavy Metal:Magickal Jewelry
- The Gothic Conjuring Calendar
- Goth Mythology:Flying the Fields of the Dead
- Supernatural Sex:Romantic Rituals and Make-out Magic
- Modern Primitives and Hipster Heathens
- Goth Astrology
- Dark Divination
- Living the Craft:Goth House Magick
- Gothic Resources:Fashion, Clothing and Culture
Although Brenda Knight refers to the practice within the book as Wicca, it must be noted that this is more Neo-Wiccan than Wiccan in that Wicca is an Oathbound Mystery Tradition.
She talks about the Wiccan Rede, and encourages personal responsibility, but she also refers to the three-fold law as literal which bugs me, as it is an incredibly unbalanced view.
She also talks of Wicca being a “roll your own religion”, which is something I discuss in my “Nature of Eclecticism”. Although I take no issue with an eclectic path, and I am myself creating my own system, it is not Wicca, so I never call it such (p8).
She talks about the persecution of Witches but the number she gives cannot be proven (p 10). She also emphasises the notion of women being the main targets.
I take issue with the notion of the sacred feminine, and it being associated with mystery (p11), as it propounds a common patriarchal view of the feminine, which relegates the female body and mind to the sphere of nature, irrationality and deviance.
She talks about the original `Goths` the Germanic tribe of Barbarians who invaded Rome. This Norse emphasis is a major spin within the book, as she delves into Norse Mythology within Chapter 7. If you are not interested in the Norse gods or don’t feel this connection, the information may not be useful to you (as of course my Patron Deities are from Egypt and Greece.) She also includes a Norse inspired Neo-Wiccan Ritual of Needfire within Chapter 6. She does also talk about the Modern roots of Goth.
Chapter 2 contains basic Wicca 101 information like Tools and basic correspondences, including a Gothy spin on each. She also has a small section on how to create a gothic altar and includes a lovely Banishing incense and her Ritual of consecration is one that I often use.
In Chapter 3 she talks about element magic and offers small rituals to do for each element as well as “North, South, East, West- a Ritual for Daily Life”. The simplicity of her rituals is wonderful, they are beautiful, easily adaptable and meaningful.
Chapter 4 delves into the Winter soul of Goth’s “The Winter Soul is mysterious. The Winter Soul is somewhat forbidden and foreboding. The Winter Soul is cold, ominous and travels alone. The Winter Soul is Romantic” (p37).
She includes a Winter Altar and some spells for the “Winter Soul”.
A reviewer from Amazon stated that Goths in hotter climes would not feel the need to erect a Winter altar. This is nonsense, I live in the Southern Hemisphere with temperatures sometimes reaching 36*C, and in Winter without fail I erect a Winter altar, as I’ve added this as part of my system. The Altar is not about “Winter” but about the Winter within us, it is a tribute the Shadow or Id.
It also seems that reviewer didn’t actually read the book, as the Lady of Summer is mentioned in a midnight spell not a Winter one (but enough of me lambasting people who refuse to actually READ the book and just GLANCE at it and then have the audacity to review it). The Chapter is as mentioned above about the Winter Soul not about the season. This is a lovely ritual that I’ve adapted for Esbats.
Chapter 5 is a nice section on jewellery and includes information on necklaces, rings, brooches, crowns and piercings. This section is much more detailed than most 101 books and I feel it is a great inclusion as many Goths I’ve come across adorn themselves in a plethora of jewels, rings and piercings. She includes a section on Crosses, which is interesting as some Goth Wiccans might actually enjoy wearing Crosses as much as Ms Knight. I do disagree with her sentiment that silver shouldn’t be worn all the time, as I feel its healing and calming energy is very important for me personally.
In this chapter she also includes a nice section on Crystal and Gem lore, going into cultural significance of certain stones, and includes myths associated with them as well as their properties.
Her section on Goth Sabbats in chapter 6 is not unusual to someone who is attempting to create her own path, as I’ve mentioned in “Re-articulating the Sabbats”, sometimes you have to throw out the traditional Sabbats to create a more cohesive path. Brenda Knight mentions the 4 Celtic Sabbats along with the Needfire ritual. In this section she includes recipes for Mead, Non alcoholic Mead and Lammas bread.
Chapter 7 focuses on Norse deities, with the odd inclusion of Cernunnos. I feel that this chapter could have benefited from a focus on Darkly aspected Deities from other cultures as well. This section also includes lore on faeries, a nice inclusion for the Faery Goths among us.
The Gothic naming Ceremony is a nice inclusion as well, as many Goths take on a pseudonym for interacting within the community and most Wiccans take on a magical name.
Chapter 8 as the title suggests focuses on sex, seduction and romance. She includes oil recipe’s glamour spells, spells for letting go, for finding new love, for trysts and a tea recipe. She also has a love letter spell called “Belles Lettres That Bind” (p 149), which will be of interest to any Victorian or Romantigoths who take pleasure in letter writing, specifically to a lover. An Ink recipe follows for those of us who like to create our own inks and write in quills. This is a great section for those of us Goths who are into Romance and Love and ehem… other things.
Her Goth astrology section is a cute spin on the usual astrology, emphasising the darker aspects of our signs and assigning some gothy roles that may be suitable. She also includes a section on Stones for each sign, and potpourri recipes that each sign could try out (Potpourri being big in the Victorian era).
The chapter on divination is interesting, including such things as the TV remote oracle, and a tongue in cheek-if slightly literal twist on Tarot. She also talks about scrying techniques, specifically in relation to the Crystal ball.
In the Last Chapter of the book, she includes a recipe for Absinthe Wine that I must try out sometime, and a nice section on gothic gardening ending with a potpourri spell for psychic protection.
As a whole I give this book 4 out of 5 Stars, and I recommend it to those who wish to add some goth inspiration to their practice. The book is a somewhat beginner/intermediate book. The Spells and Rituals are very poetic and simple and all are easily adapted and wonderful for inspiration.
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