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Book Review: Witchery by Juliet Diaz

image of the cover of the book, Witchery by Juliet Diaz with a full moon, leaves, and knotwork.
Cover of Juliet Diaz’s Witchery

I really adore Diaz – I found her via her plant podcast last year, follow along on Insta, and have several of her other books in the review pipeline. This all to say that I’m going in to this book with a good deal of fondness. Sometimes that fondness means I might miss some issues that other people don’t.

Diaz is excellent at weaving words – at once simple and beautiful, if the prose is a little bit purple, it’s easy to forgive with her accessible tone. Personally, I find her work to offer more of the feminine standpoints and I can see where certain types of male identifying folk might get a bit turned off by some of it.

Her offered spellwork ideas are pretty simple and more or less accessible (so long as you have a bathtub), but lack explanation of elements. She offers plenty of things to choose from but doesn’t really explain why those choices are there to begin with – why would Rue belong in this place in a spell for instance. If you don’t have a tub, it’s really pretty easy to make due – scale it down a bit, use a foot basin (or a Rubbermaid box big enough to put your feet in) you can do just a foot bath or incorporate it into your shower, using a washcloth or sponge or cup to pour the blend over you.

There are some things I might take issue with. For one, I would recommend also adding a tablespoon or two of carrier oil (Just regular kitchen olive oil works great) or solubilizer to any of her bath recipes that include essential oils rather than putting oils directly into the water – essential oils won’t disperse in water and can irritate your skin that way. I definitely don’t recommend leaving jade in water, especially tap water, for any length of time (chlorine, which is present in most tap waters is really bad for the stone). But I do agree with patch-tests for using plants you’ve never come into contact with before.

I do like that she goes into what self-care really is – taking care of the body so that the spirit can thrive. That includes getting the day to day stuff done – bills, laundry, eating well – getting the house in order relieves stressors and is, therefore, self-care which is just a subsection of self-love. Without self-love, it is much more difficult to come to a place where the partnership type love is both healthy and fulfilling.

She does an excellent job at explaining things that you don’t see very good explanations for – like varying types of grounding for instance. I don’t remember anyone explaining that to me, when I was starting out, I was just flying blind and going completely by instinct (but I’m old and there wasn’t quite the access to information when I was coming up).

It is by no means a perfect book but it’s definitely worth reading. I thoroughly enjoyed that it was a witchcraft book and not a Wicca book as, all too often, those are one and the same even though not every witch is also Wiccan. For me, this was definitely more geared to newer witches and people who menstruate and people who have access to bath tubs but there are a lot of good ideas and a lot of great spell bases to work from and I would absolutely recommend it to someone who is relatively new or someone who thoroughly enjoys learning.

Overall, for me, this goes on the glad I read it shelf and the new witch shelf.


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