Cover Image: Burn a Black Candle

Burn a Black Candle

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Member Reviews

Thank you NetGalley for this ARC for an exchange for an honest review.  

I feel this is a must read if you are info the Occult, very interesting.
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Connecting with your ancestors, the idea of getting back to your roots, is an important piece of learning who you are as a witch. I love that the author, Dee Norman, acknowledged her ancestors in the beginning of the book and continues to share her real-life experiences. It added that extra touch that is often missing from books of this nature. 

The beginning portion of this book helps to lay the ground work for those just beginning to learn and dabble in magick. However, once she starts to discuss the Italian folk magick it was easy to get lost in the pages and feel a little more connected.

I think this was a great read and I love that it includes personal stories to establish trust and connection. I definitely recommend this one!
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A Must Have

I appreciate the fact that Dee Norman acknowledges her ancestors in the beginning of this book. Very respectful thing to do.

Dee discusses Italian-American Magic, their difference and some background information on each. She states that our most important magical tool is our mind keeping a magical diary. She explains that when you are performing magic, the goal is to concentrate your will and then bring the force of your will to bear upon the situation, and the physical tools that we use, such as candles, herbs and images, assist the process but our mind is what commands our personal influence and manipulates the powers at hand.

The author emphasize that our mind is our most important magical tool, however, there are many physical items that can assist us with our magical work and she list and discusses several in this book. Many of such tools are candle, herbs, magical powders, salts, oils and many others. She provides exercises for building our own magical tools. 

This is a book well worth anyone having in their physical library. It is an all-around go to book dealing with almost any subject dealing with the art of candle burning, from belief, tools, altars, cleansing, and other subjects about caring for your items.  Highly recommend.
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Burn a Black Candle by Dee Norman is a wonderfully personal and yet widely applicable look at Italian American Magic as a practice and living culture.

What Worked for Me

1. Excellent workings and spells in almost ever section of the book that can be preformed with little to no need for obtaining materials one wouldn't likely already have..

2. The Author's personal stories throughout the work gave the book a warm and inviting feeling without overshadowing the practical and informative sections.

3. Lovely illustrations  and section divisions

4. Acknowledgement that one can cast the evil eye without intention and that return to sender workings can cause undue harm.

What Didn't work as well for me

1. There were not quite the number of safety tips and reminders I expect from a working book. This was especially true in the candle magic section.

2. In Sections mentioning working with spirits or Fey there weren't particularly strong warnings or advice for what to do when a being has a negative response to being contacted for a type of working or at all.

Who Would I recommend this book for?

Burn a Black Candle by Dee Norman is an excellent read for non witches for an easy to read introduction to the idea of magic while at the same time being a good book for witches at all stages of their magical journey looking to delve into an Italian  American view of of practical magical workings.
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I requested this book from NetGalley because I wanted to learn about Italian American Witchcraft. I am not Italian and I really wasn't sure what the book would cover. 

I was not expecting to learn as much as I did from this. I had no idea how much magic was in Catholicism. I had no idea how many different parts there are to praying the rosary. I didn't know how many saints there are. It was so interesting and charming.

 I enjoyed Dee's tone in her writing. It felt very warm and friendly. 
I don't want to give away too much of what you will learn from this book but I found it informative and interesting. That's not something I can usually say about books in the witchcraft genre. 

My criticism would be that I think the blurb should include that the book does cover a lot of Catholic-influenced information. I think in the witchcraft community some people really don't want to touch any form of Christianity so that would be a good thing to disclose before someone buys this title. 

That being said, as an atheist I still liked this book and it taught me things I will never forget. 

I would recommend this book to people who are coming into witchcraft from a Catholic background or a Christian background and want to marry those two things together in their practice. 

It's also great if you are not from that background at all and you want to know more about it.
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It's an interesting book about Italian-American practice. The Italian traditions are more complex and the one in this book is related to the area of Neaples/Campania.
Please note that there are at least 6 different traditions so "Italian magic" is a bit meaningles unless you specifiy which one.
But it you want to learn about how tradition of a part of Italy evolved this is an interesting book.
One note: I'm Italian born and bread, had the pleasure of meeting traditional healers and I would recommend The Beneadanti by Carlo Ginzubur for real Italian tradition
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine
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Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with an electronic ARC in exchange for an honest review.  
This was very,very well done. 
I an not Italian and don't incorporate Italian traditions into my witchcraft but this was a very interesting and informative read. The cover and title caught my eye right away, and I absolutely love the way this book is formated. It goes back and forth with stories from the authors childhood and family along with sharing traditions and knowledge about incorporating those into witchcraft and spirituality. The information inside is useful for anyone, and the formatting and illustrations makes it easy to read. This would be a good thing to have on hand for reference. I would highly reccomend this to anyone looking to incorporate folk traditions with their witchcraft, particularly if you are drawn to Italian traditions.
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Perhaps this book is in the wrong category? It seems more like a memoir.... the author takes up many pages speaking of her own life. The reader doesn't know these people - there isn't a strong exposition to get to know the family, to connect with the backstory. The cover and promise didn't meet my expectations. I will not be sharing this on Goodreads.
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This was a super interesting book! I’ve never read a grimoire, or any book on practical magic aside from tarot cards. I really liked how most of the sections ended in a series of exercises for the reader to try, most of which would benefit any endeavor, not just magical ones. 

I am half Italian so a few of these rituals were familiar to me, and I looooved that the author included personal anecdotes and tidbits of Italian and catholic history! I will be buying this book when it is released so that I can more easily flip back and forth between exercises and spells/recipes.

Thank you to Dee Norman, Watkins Publishing, and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this ARC!
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Another spiritual, magic, tarot read, again I wanted to explore all aspects so thought I could learn a lot from this. A lot of things I already do but have learnt to bring more spiritual awareness into my life.
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Incredibly interesting to read this. I haven't studied Italian magic much. The author writes very well and the personal stories are very sweet.  Thank you to NetGalley for the advance read.
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I really enjoyed this a found it really interesting. This is the first time iv read a book likes this I’m always really enjoying fiction witch books but never informational. 
As a beginner I found this book really insightful and interesting I never tried any of this things in this but I found it really enjoyable to learn about magic pacifically Italian folk magic.
I liked reading about the author’s personal life and learning things about catholic holidays (I’m personally not religious) 

Overall I found this a enjoyable and and interesting read.
Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for a review copy for a honest review
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This is an Italian American grimoire. A grimoire is a book of  practical magic (in Italian, magica practica) and is a collection of magical practices, including spells and rituals for protection, divination, constructing an altar, recipes for magical potion and descriptions of the various magical tools, including oils, candles, powders and salts. Includes specifically Italian American magic topics, such as working with the Catholic saints and Virgin Mary,avoiding the evil eye, holidays, funerals and weddings. Appendices. Glossary. References
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When I saw this title, I was excited. I have always felt a connection between my spiritual practice and my Italian heritage. My son and I have a whole host of kitchen witch traditions around our Sunday marinara time. This helped me take something that felt more intuitive and develop it based on folklore and heritage.  I'm not exactly sure I would call it a grimoire, but it was an excellent look at Italian Folk Magic and culture. I am excited to use the book to help deepen my son's Italian roots.
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I really enjoyed reading this book. Its contents is clear, to the point and well explained. Dee also shares a lot of stories throughout which helps to add great context to the magic that she presents (which is refered to in the book as magia practica/practical magic and lavoro spirituale/spirital work throughout).

Those already familiar with Italian magic and customs will find information that they are familiar with, but there are also plenty to variations to enjoy and new ideas for working. Those who are already familiar with magic in general can probably skip the basics at the front of the book, however it was great to see that it was included for those less familiar. The book really works for all experience levels.

If I did have a con for this book I would probably say, as did another reviewer, that the use of the word Grimoire in the title may be a little misleading as to how the book is presented.

Overall I think the book offers great value to a wide range of readers and it is very enjoyable and informative.

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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I enjoyed this book, but was left somewhat confused by it being an 'Italian American Grimoire' - there was a small part at the beginning that spoke about Norman's life and her nationality but other than that I'm not quite sure why it was branded like this.
There's a lot of information in here, and it's beautifully illustrated but I can't help but think it's misleading due to the title.
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This title is a very good intro to Italian folk religion . I am more than a little familiar with the practices mentioned in this excellently written book as I too grew up in its world.My grandmother did much the same as Dee's as far as helping with headaches and sickness, This bok is truly remarkable for bringing back to the many second and third generation Italians who no longer have Nonna or Grandpa to give advice. I will pass this on to my children the book is that good. I only wish I could learn how Grandma took off headaches with a handkerchief and prayers that she learned from her mother. If you come from a magical family write down for your own sake and for others so that this does not go extinct . This book is a treasure and one like I havent seen before.
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This book shares some great content about the practice of Italian magicking.  It provides an introduction to magic, which you can gloss over if you’re an experienced practitioner, and go straight to the content you’re looking for.  So whether you’re new to magick or an experienced, this book has something for everyone.  The thing I love the most is how the author brings together her Italian Heritage with her Catholic beliefs.  So many people believe you can’t do both, but many do.  With the author’s tone, you’re not just reading about magick, you’re reading the notes of a friend who is sharing her life and memories with you, making this even more meaningful.

I love learning about how others practice and whenever I see a new book about magickal practices in another culture, I HAVE to read it.  Often I find much more than just a few tidbits of interest, because these authors often share their heritage, their ancestresses and more.  This book hit all the right spots and shared so much that I want this to become a series of with the author, of Magick around the World.  You need a copy for your bookshelf!
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My ancestry is celtic so that's mainly the type of witchcraft I've been practicing, but I found this Italian version very interesting! I also found that Dee Norman's backstory and explanation of Italian witchcraft traditions to be really fascinating and helped me better understand the rituals, spells, and practices.
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In case you don't already know, I am not a beginner witch. I have been practicing for almost 8 years. However, I am new to Italian folk magick. I started trying to get back to my roots and ancestry recently. So when this book became available on NetGalley, I literally saw it as a sign and jumped at the chance to review this book. I am so happy the publisher gave me a chance.

Now the reason I pointed out that I wasn't a beginner is because of the fact that the first third of this book is basic magick. While one should know the basics before attempting any niche magick, I found it frustrating to have to skim my way through so many chapters before getting to the specific Italian magick information. I am so glad I stuck it out as I found a lot of the content to be valuable. I learned more about certain saints which I really enjoyed. I also loved the many recipes and exercises throughout the book. I'm personally saving to buy a house so I personally loved the information about Saint Joseph and how to cleanse your house before officially moving in. I will definitely keep the new broom thing in mind.

I also learned more about some Catholic holidays. I was raised Catholic but it never felt fully right. However, Italian folk magick makes me feel more connected to it and makes me more willing to blend my beliefs and magickal practices. I'm very excited to try making my own Three Kings Salt next year. 

The touches of the author's personal life also made this a heartwarming read. I enjoyed also seeing some real-life experiences and examples in the book mixed in. Definitely much preferred over just straight-up reference books.

Overall, I think this is a great read for those new to Italian folk magick or even magick in general. There are a lot of great exercises and great stories to read. I am definitely planning on buying my own copy when the book officially releases!
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