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Book review: Italian Folk Magic by Mary-Grace Fahrun

Cover of the book Italian Folk Magic and on the cover are orange and red ribbons, a braid of garlic, rue flowers, a red charm of a hand with first finger and pinky up and a gold charm of a fist and a small red pepper charm.
Cover of Italian Folk Magic

My preference with books of this nature does seem to be an easy conversational style of writing and this book very definitely falls into that category. The author has an excellent knack for description. I am not Italian, nor have any experience with large raucous families but she describes it so well, I can picture it and understand it.

Italian folk magic feels like a very catholic approach where Appalachian folk magic feels more protestant founded. But there do seem to be an awful lot of similarities between the two. Italian folk magic does seem to be very food oriented which fits right in for me. The author of the book  runs the site, Rue’s Kitchen and has been for 24 years now – – but that does seem to be more archived than current.

This whole book is very kitchen and hearth witch oriented as well as being hedged with Christian overtones just due to the cultural foundations. There’s a great list of herbs and spices, elemental correspondences to the equipment in the kitchen, a good pantry list, and most interestingly to me, a guide on setting up the kitchen for magic as well as for food (especially as they are often one and the same).

There are some amazing recipes and ideas for holidays and cautionary tales about inviting people, even the ancestors to dinner. There’s a quick section on folk healing with spells and old wives’ tales. There’s a chapter on nature and getting to know it and a little bit on how to get past the idea that you’ve got a black thumb when really, you’re just approaching the idea of plants from the wrong angle. There’s a bit of elemental types of correspondences throughout and a very large section on superstitions and proverbs that was entertainingly written and very interesting.

Honestly, there are a lot of interesting things in this book that I would never have thought to look up. I do prefer my tarot cards but if I ever happen across Italian playing cards, I guarantee I’ll be picking them up and giving them a try with the descriptions in this book. There’s a little bit of everything in this book, actually, even divination of lottery numbers that I might give a try to – you never know.

I will say that this is not a book I would have gone out of my way to pick up. I got it in a humble bundle of some honestly great magic and witchy books that I’m slowly making my way through reviewing all of. Most of. I don’t enjoy doing negative reviews and just because I didn’t care for something doesn’t mean someone else might not get a great deal from it and there were a few books in that bundle that were definitely not for me. But overall, this book was a really interesting read and I’m glad I read it. I might even come back to read it again someday. This would go on the “Glad I read it” shelf.


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