BEWITCHING THE ELEMENTS: A Guide to Empowering Yourself Through Earth,
Air, Fire, Water, and Spirit
[TarcherPerigee, 336 pages]
“As the political climate continues to intensify, many of us are turning back to ritual, to self, to witchcraft, so we can move through this world with intention, purpose, and a semblance of peace.” – Gabriela Herstik, Bewitching the Elements: A Guide to Empowering Yourself Through Earth, Air, Fire, Water, and Spirit
In contemporary parlance, “witchcraft” can mean different things to different people, but I very much like the way Gabriela Herstik unpacks the term in her beautifully written book, Bewitching the Elements: A Guide to Empowering Yourself Through Earth, Air, Fire, Water, and Spirit.
Herstik breaks the practices and beliefs of witchcraft down into the five elements—earth, air, fire, water and spirit—making the book easy to follow and absorb. It’s the kind of book that a witchy woman like me wants to keep on the shelf for reference. Put simply, it’s the best book on modern witchcraft I’ve ever read.
For each of the five elements, Herstik shares both insightful musings and concrete practices for the modern witch, such as the following:
- A Tarot card spread deeply related to the element
- The best crystals to use to work with the element’s energy
- Rituals, great and small—from performing sex magick to decorating your altar to drinking tea
- Clues that you’re operating in your least or most evolved state
- Mantras and affirmations to bring greater empowerment into your life
More about sex magick
Personally, the section on sex magick (which, unsurprisingly, is connected to the element of fire) was particularly eye-opening. I’d heard the term before, but I didn’t really understand what it meant. I see the potential connection between sex and magick now: Because sex is connected to intense emotions and energy, and each of the elements is connected to these things, too, it makes sense to work with the universe and our intentions on this level.
It seems to me that many religious traditions look down upon sex, and some may even consider the pursuit of physical pleasure for its own sake a sin. One of the things I appreciate about witchcraft is that, as to my understanding, sex is seen as nothing to be ashamed of and is actually celebrated as a way to connect with the divine.
A valuable guide to living a witchy life
I gained so much insight and knowledge from this book, and I want to keep the notes I made handy so I can try some of the rituals (not just the sexy ones!). Do yourself a favour and check out this book, if you’re even remotely interested in witchcraft. It’s the best guide I’ve found for living a positive, peaceful, empowered witchy life.
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image 1: kai Stachowiak
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