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Recently I received both Crone’s Book of Charms and Spells, as well as Crone’s Book of Magical Words (both by Valerie Worth), as early Christmas gifts; two items from my ever burgeoning Amazon wish list.

They are both delightful little books. Though published in the late 20th century, they read as a relic from the late 19th; one can imagine some Romantic poet speaking such charms to the Spirits of Arte beside a rushing stream. There are charms and amulets, spells in the forms of poems, and rituals for the honor of the Sun and His Bride, the Earth.

Much of the material could be used directly or with modification by the enterprising Witch – and, lest you think it’s all Pre-Raphaelite fluff, be advised that there are a few bindings and curses strewn among the flowers.

Here are some excerpts to tantalize the curious:

“The purple-blooming Thistle, of many forms and sizes, is, like the Stinging Nettle, both vicious and mild. For its best use, take it from the sword-guarded flowers, when in autumn they shall pale and open to silver silk…”

“…Replace the inscribed bones in the box, and also all others that remain unmarked, and shake the box to mix them well. Then, with the eyes shut, draw from within one bone, on which shall be written the single truth.”

“…Then, setting the golden candle down before the circle of red ones, throwing back the black cloak to reveal the red robes beneath, the leader should say this: ‘Behold now Sirius, sun of suns, star of thy stars, though in the sky thou art invisible: Yet I descend in the guise of flesh…’”

In Crone’s Book of Charms and Spells, the prose is simple and lyrical; in Crone’s Book of Magical Words, all the spells and incantations are in the form of rhyming verse. I liked them especially for their sense of wonder and enchantment in the presence of the natural world; the Sun, Moon, the green Earth and the herbs of the field, that first drew many of us hence along our respective paths.

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