Spells for Change
A Guide for Modern Witches
by Frankie Castanea
Narrated by Frankie Castanea
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Pub Date 20 Sep 2022 | Archive Date 19 Oct 2022
Andrews McMeel Audio, Andrews McMeel Publishing
Modern-day witches are a blend of the old and the new. They travel to the grocery store, work nine-to-five jobs, and teach in our classrooms. They also carry black tourmaline and quartz, and wave bay and rosemary bundles over their doorways.
Within an ancient and sacred practice, a new type of Craft has taken hold: one that combines the power of action with energy and intent, prioritizes self-realization, and matches its activism with manifestation.
With chapters on meditation, grounding, cleansing, banishing, binding, and more, Spells for Change will help the modern witch create change within the hearth, the heart, and the world—one spell at a time.
|DURATION||4 Hours, 27 Minutes|
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 25 members
Spells for Change is an excellent book for beginners. I really enjoyed the author's approach to narrating the audiobook. It is easy to read and did not get boring at all. Even as an experienced practitioner I really enjoyed listening to the book.
I want to start this review by acknowledging a couple of things; one, that I had no idea that the author, Frankie Castanea was a content creator (@chaoticwitchaunt) and I am not familiar with any of their content - as of writing this review I still have not looked up any of their content- and two, I am not a beginner witch, or witch of any kind, I simply had had an interest in witchcraft all of my life and am always curious to see what is available to young and new-to-the-craft witches. I am, however, someone who practices a kind of mindful spirituality, I’d call it. I love nature and believe in intuition and empathy and introspection as a guide for life and self-betterment. I do have some minor knowledge of the history of witchcraft and utilize tarot, crystals and herbs in my habitual and ritual mindfulness. Maybe some would say that makes me a witch, but I don’t give myself that title and I do not craft spells or seek further knowledge of spell craft.
I think it’s important to note that this is not a full guidebook, it’s very much an introduction. It would have been simple to include “beginners” in the tagline or even “an introduction” but, perhaps, that is implied. I do think this is valuable and outlines many aspects from the history of witchcraft to the tools of the craft as well as discussion surrounding responsibility of practice and intersectionality and inclusivity. It feels very welcoming, something that especially for young witches, will add a level of belonging. I grew up in a time and place where people still feared witchcraft and the idea of “witches”. It wasn’t just my strict, abusive home… it was the conservative small town, as well. I have even seen grown women, who consider themselves to be far from conservative, show fear and disdain around the threat of “witches” (supposed or real) as a scapegoat for things that make them uncomfortable. We are far from an accepting society and books like this have the power to make people feel supported but also, if someone wanted to better understand witchcraft, this is a wonderful place to find that.
I found the descriptions of tools, herbs, rocks and crystals to be very well conceived and not bogged down with too much information, again, as an introduction to the craft. Most of it is a collection of associations but Castanea also includes some of the ways they use the items in their own practice. I think that adds something that will make this guide more welcoming to beginners and take some of the overwhelming nature of learning a craft, down a notch. There are also warnings for handling and ingestion of these items. There is a section on meditation, which I particularly enjoyed and the inclusion of a small section on “shadow work” was wonderful and something that I’ve explored through my psychology studies and adds an endorsement for therapy. I think much could be taken, in general, but the discussions on self love and boundaries. But one of the best parts was the acknowledgment of so many origins across the world and the particular expertise that specific cultures possess. It also calls out the ways in which folk and pagan practices were stolen and colonized, and the ways in which historically marginalized groups were targeted I would have liked even more of these discussions, but again, this is a short and basic guide not a complete guide. Sustainability and ethics are also present themes in the guide. There is a sense of limits, and the grounding “fact” that magic is nothing without science, and you cannot deny the laws of science in your spell work and craft. Even if you don’t agree with everything Frankie Castanea says or brings up, there is room to understand. I really love that it takes what sounds very “abnormal” and asserts that it is, in fact, very “normal”. If anything, witch craft is about decolonization, activism, empathy and overturning of oppression. It is a way towards eradicating hate… or, arguably, should be - and is - for most practicing witches, today.
I listened to this via audiobook and Frankie Castanea has a confidence throughout. They have a calming voice and one that lends itself well to the energy and spirit in which the book was written. I found them to be knowledgeable and can see why their grounded charisma would lead to a following on social media. They have a comfortable, conversational tone. The guide, and Castanea by extension, feels rooted in the ever-changing nature of understanding as well as personal journey. They often reiterate that they are learning and will be learning for the rest of their life. This adds a level of accessibility that I appreciate from human to human.
“Spells for Change” isn’t currently available at my local library or in their audiobook libraries, but this was published on September 20, 2022 and is available in audiobook, hardcover and ebook (I believe). Many reviews speak to some typos in the physical book but I cannot attest to this and had no issues with the audiobook, whatsoever, and while I do think, for reference, it would be good to have this in physical form, the audiobook is enjoyable and at 4 hours and 27 minutes, it’s fairly easy to navigate if you need to check some of the information. I’m giving this one four stars and will keep in mind for recommendations in the future.
I want to leave it on this small, personal note, I think if a book like this had existed when I was a teenager I may have looked at my relationship to witchcraft differently, and found it attainable in a way that would have brought to me a lot of peace. I hope this book can do that for others, now. The idea that this journey comes back to the journey of the person is powerful. It leaves room for learning and self and societal betterment and even deeper understanding of the world, the earth, and it’s people.
+ Thank you so much to NetGalley and the publisher, Andrews McMeel Audio, for access to this audiobook.
A great witch guide especially for beginners! There is a section for almost anything you could think of - crystals, herbs, sigils, lunar phases, days of the week, magical tools, meditation, energy work, shadow work...it's got a lot of information! I really liked that the author made sure to address cultural appropriation in occult practices. I also appreciated that they mentioned several alternatives for smoke cleansing since White Sage is endangered as well as a sacred smudging plant. The author did a great narrating and it was a nice quick listen. I did not know of Frankie Castanea before this book - I simply liked the cover and the description - but they definitely did not disappoint! I'm super happy I requested the book! Plus there is a bibliography and further reading section and, from some of the preview images I've seen, the illustrations look beautiful as well. I would absolutely recommend this book as a useful reference and guide.
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