Title: House Magic: The Good Witch’s Guide to Bringing Grace to Your Space
Publisher: Conari Press
Pages: 240 pp
Price: Varies (out of print)
ISBN: 1573245682 / 978-1573245685
In this little book, modern-day witch Ariana endeavors to teach us how to organize and bewitch our living spaces so that we can make our lives more magical, more harmonious, and overall more enjoyable. The book is divided into a plethora of chapters, each of which focuses on a different element of reshaping a home to be the best it can be. For example, one chapter is devoted to “clearing the clutter”, another to “altars and sacred spaces”.
Ariana encourages us to “create our own reality” using tools readily available within our home, such as symbolic paintings or color arrangements that will magically enhance our lives and help us generate the kind of energies and focuses that we want more of.
The book covers a very wide scope for being small. Ariana fuses elements of Wicca, feng shui, chakras, Tarot, astrology, meditation, and various other New Age practices into the chapters, using a blend of all these practices in order to magically, physically, and spiritually cleanse and tidy a home. It’s interesting to see so many practices — which can seem unrelated from afar — combined into one multifaceted practice. However, this was the main thing that bothered me about the book, and was the main reason why I, overall, didn’t find the book enjoyable or applicable. It seemed scattered and unfocused. Yes, each chapter was devoted to covering a particular aspect of house magic; but with each chapter combining so many different manners of approaching the given task, the task became confusing and convoluted. For someone who prefers to remain extremely focused or remain within their own personal religious practice when cleaning their house, this book would not work well. It seems like overkill to use chakras and feng shui and astrology and various other spells and methods to perform one aspect of house magic. I would have found the book much nicer and more informative if it had remained focused on one or two particular methods without jumping around so much from practice to practice.
For example, when the reader approaches “clearing the clutter”, we are instructed to deal with the matter of clearing our rooms with meditation, a series of blessing rituals, smudging, and, of course, down-to-earth cleaning. There’s nothing wrong with any of these methods in and of themselves, but I think presenting them all at once to the reader — a reader who might not be familiar with all these aspects of New Age practice — is overwhelming and produces an even more cluttered feeling in the reader’s mind, especially since the sections crosslink awkwardly with later chapters of the book. Smudging is covered more in-depth in the chapter on scents and air magic — but the crosslinking is not done in a way that makes traversing the book easy. The chapter utilizing smudging comes before the chapter on scents and air magic, so now the reader feels lost and confused. I know I certainly did while I was trying to use the book.
There is one good thing about the book to mention: Ariana’s voice and writing style are perfectly suited to this kind of book. She leads the reader gently yet knowledgeably through all the steps of redesigning one’s home. She is never intruding, commanding, nor pompous, but she does lay out what feel like tried-and-true methods for clearing out a room or for arranging furniture to be in harmony with whatever deities or spiritual forces the reader chooses to honor. She talks to you as if she were right there with you, giving you advice and support. Her inclusion of her own personal background and her own personal stories add a nice, friendly touch to the chapters. She feels like a friend you’ve known for years.
(I also especially loved that she leaves the choice of deity/religion up to the reader — many books like this make the assumption the reader is one thing or the other, but Ariana, although approaching from the perspective of a witch, simply says “Spirit Motherfather” or “universe” and lets the reader fill in the rest for themselves.)
Personally, I didn’t find the book helpful because it was too much from-here-from-there, but I would recommend it to someone who is eclectic in their approach to spirituality and who likes to try a little helping of everything. This book, with its quirky chapters and wide-branching reach, might suit people whose tastes lean in that direction. It would also be good for someone who is exploring New Age and wants to sample everything and try it on for size. Want practice with astrology, Tarot, meditation, and every other kind of magical method? This would be the book for you.
[Reviewed by Belle DiMonté.]