Wit, Will & Witchcraft will always strive to be a source of learning and information for witches of all backgrounds looking to learn more about witchcraft and the occult. Finding the right books to read is incredibly important and one of the main ways witches new and seasoned alike can continue to learn and fine-tune their craft.
To start off our hopefully long series of book reviews, we are going to take a look at a wonderful and informative book called The Complete Book of Amulets & Talismans by Migene Gonzalez-Wippler. The book’s main focus is discussing the history, technicalities, and usage of amulets and talismans from around the world. Gonzalez-Wippler does an amazing job at approaching the information from an educational standpoint and keeping that information secular as we go through the book. The book does go over religious practices, but in regards to how they used symbols and amulets throughout history and how that ties back to their individual histories and stories.
Migene Gonzalez-Wippler is a Puerto Rican new-age author and a leading expert on the Afro-Caribbean religion of Santería. She has a long list of works such as The Complete Book of Spells, Ceremonies & Magic; Dreams and What They Mean to You; and Santeria: The Religion just to name a few. She holds degrees in psychology and anthropology from the University of Puerto Rico and from Columbia University. Her diverse and detailed educational background and work in the cultural anthropology world have allowed her to cultivate amazing information throughout this book. Overall, she kicks ass!
The book leaves no detail out as you start to read. Starting off with describing basic definitions and tying in concepts of ancient mystical practices such as sympathetic magic to show how amulets have been around since the beginning. The content then starts to take off by going over various historical periods and how various groups of people formed their views and methods of making talismans and working with amulets. Gonzalez-Wippler does something not many traditional and even some modern books related to spiritualism, mysticism, the occult, or witchcraft do: discuss practices from a worldwide perspective. She touches on a variety of geographical groups and goes in-depth on how they worked with amulets and talismans, all the while providing examples and documentation on those symbols for your reference. The book discusses some of the larger religious movements and breaks down symbols they used whether past or present. It was interesting to learn not only the historical references behind some of the most popular symbols but what the overall architecture of each symbol meant and how it worked for them in their religious practices.
Intertwined throughout each chapter are many valuable pieces of info that are worth taking note of and that can be of value to your practices. Migene does a great job of tying in a variety of practices throughout the book such as astrology, color theory, crystal associations, using metals and their associations, number and letter charts and breakdowns, herbs and other natural items and their amuletic uses, and so much more. There is no shortage of amazing and valuable technical info that can help better understand the concept of amulets and talismans. And eventually, lead you on the path to making some yourself.
The book lists a variety of symbols throughout each chapter, so a good amount of pages are just reference drawings. Who doesn’t love a good read with pictures? Not only are these great resources for witches looking to dive into the world of amulets and talismans, but also just a great place to find symbols that could be used in other practices. We are going to be adding them slowly to our index of symbols so be sure to check back if you can’t grab a copy yourself. Overall this book is a great reference book so keep it nearby as you start to work more with symbols and amulets.
While the information is dense and detailed, the book overall is incredibly interesting and a refreshing educational resource for someone who is interested in the occult, witchcraft, or other forms of spiritualism. After reading I left knowing more than I ever did and wanting to continue to learn more. It also inspired me to start making my own talismans. If you are looking for something new to practice and want to learn it from a seasoned and reliable source, this is the book for you.