Bewitchments by Edain McCoy
4/5 – You should be reading this [TCC review guide]
Warnings: Chakras, some stuff stated as fact rather than preferred methodology. Some spells need more research as they could be dangerous using as is. Some spells may come from another culture so tread carefully to avoid cultural appropriation.
Overall, this book is a good spell resource.
Bewitchments: Love Magick for Modern Romances by Edain McCoy is a book I’ve actually taken out of the library twice. The first time I read it loosely before having to return it and the second time? I was T-minus five hours until the library opened before saying the hell with it and renewing them for another cycle. Even then, I still ended up finishing it the day it was due.
Why the struggle? I’m not quite sure. Bewitchments isn’t a big book. It’s 222 pages included the index and it’s a fairly widely spaced book – bigger than it needs to be. So it wasn’t a huge tome to read. Instead, I was having difficulty getting into it because of the subject material.
I’m not really interested in love. It’s not a major focus in my life and never has been. That being said, I have made a significant study of love spells in my practice for one major reason: it is, without a doubt, the singular most asked for thing I get as a professional. Love readings and requests for love spells are unending. That’s not an admonishment. It’s fact. And you know what? That’s perfectly cool. People want to feel love and I want more love in the world.
Anyway, I knew this book was in the library so I got around to finally reading it. I didn’t expect much. I expected a spell book with love spells. Instead, I got something interesting – actual acknowledgement of two of the greatest dangers of love spell – manipulating the free will and chasing after love that doesn’t want you.
The author warns of the dangers of chasing after someone who isn’t interested in you. She later goes on to have an entire section dedicated to explaining the manipulation of love spells and furthermore, rate the spells according to how much they might manipulate someone. This is, without a doubt, one of the cleanest love spells books I’ve run into.
There’s even a divination spread to determine what’s going to happen if you cast the spell and how to adjust to those answers accordingly. And another one to gauge the progress of the spells. A third is there to gauge the evolution of feelings. The book is primarily spells, so it’s incredibly useful as a tool and resource rather than a theory book.
That being said, I do have philosophical issues with the book. I do not believe that magic is born from the astral or spirit worlds and I don’t believe spells must be born, conceived, or go through these worlds in order to exist. That’s not how I believe magic works and it’s certainly not a universal worldview. McCoy’s belief that this is how magic works is stated as fact. That’s not exactly an admonishment. It’s a common belief in many witchy new age books and there’s no real answer for what magic is anyway. So while this doesn’t follow my personal beliefs and it’s not universal, I can’t exactly say it isn’t fact. Because what is magic anyway?
There’s a chapter on science involving sex and love but this is a developing field in science and seventeen years have passed since this book was published so the information probably isn’t up to date. This isn’t an area of science I’m overly familiar with but it’s extremely basic to the point that you can probably pick up the same factoids on wikipedia.
I run into issues with the prerequisites of successful magic and the six basic magical skills. Namely, that you have to do something physical in order to help the magic along – that’s not necessarily true and I’ve cast spells that have worked beautifully without me doing a single thing besides cast the spell. My second issue is the need to keep silent.
The whole keeping silent thing works on the theory that if you talk about magic then it won’t worked. That power shared is power lost. And if that’s true… then how the hell do we have magic books? How do we have spells? This is usually actually referring to currently active and working spells but eve then I don’t really ascribe to this belief. McCoy follows up this belief by saying that even if you don’t believe the power shared is power lost concept, you still shouldn’t say anything because negative input can damage the spell. That’s somewhat true – you can do a lot of harm to yourself and your spells if you’re super negative about it but… it’s not true for every kind of spell or spell caster or magic type. I think it’s something more like a formula. If you have more going on with the spell the less likely it is that it will be destroyed or damaged by mere negative thoughts. But that’s my experience so YMMV.
As said above, I have issues with the six basic magical skills. Pretty much the entire thing. Because visualization isn’t necessary. Centering and balancing yourself isn’t necessary. Altering your consciousness (and casting the spell in the astral) isn’t necessary. Grounding isn’t necessary. And some people cast spells without ever needing to charge or enchant magical vessels or catalysts or even raising or sending out energy. Results can be achieve without any of these. Don’t get me wrong. It’s a good, solid method and working within this method isn’t a bad thing at all. But your spell won’t fail if you don’t do one of the six things listed here.
There are more than the two ways stated for spells to fail. It’s less than two pages that this is discussed in but let’s be honest – why a spell fails could be a vast array of reasons and it’s incredibly dependent on both the goals of the spells, the goals of the spell caster, and the system of magic being worked within. If you must summon the elements for your magic to work, then not summoning them accordingly is a reason your spells will fail. But if you don’t work in that system then it’s not going to matter to you and that probably won’t be a reason your spell failed.
I’ve expressed my feelings about chakras before. Outside of their original cultural and religious context, chakras have been culturally appropriated to an extreme and the examples used in this book is no different. I had a twenty minute mental rant about the whole section while reading it but it boils down to the above sentiment pretty clearly. The idea that there’s only this one system to represent energy centers is foolish. It’s the most well-known but not the only one out there. I personally use a system based on joints and I know someone else who focuses on organs. I know I’m fighting a losing battle here but it’s something that still needs to be acknowledged and recognized. Especially when people misinterpret the chakras as wrongly as they often are.
When it comes to the spells, of which there are quite a lot, there’s a wide variety. Each spell is given a non-manipulative/ manipulative label (some will have both and the reason why will be given). The number of items needed, time frame the spell needs, and the best timing is also given.
A bunch of spells can also be used for friendship rather than for romantic love. The first spell, “The Magnetic Waters of Attraction” for example could very easily be adapted for friendship as McCoy states.
That being said, some spells may need extra research. “The Magnetic Waters of Attraction” is one of those. The spell calls for putting a lodestone in a water jar and leaving it there. Lodestones can rust when soaked in water. Who wants to dab themselves with rusty water? Instead, perhaps just letting the lodestone or magnet attach to the jar would be a better idea.
There are other spells in the book too. Binding spells, some beauty spells, and assorted other spells that are useful when dating or looking for love. Or looking to get rid of a lover. There are far too many spells in the book to break them down but it’s certainly worth a look-through.
There isn’t a system to how the spells are set up that I could see. They’re all jumbled together and that makes it incredibly difficult to find certain spells or certain kinds of spells. You’d either have to use the appendixes, index, or just search through each page to find the kind of spell you’re looking for. That’s the most annoying part of this book I could see.
As said, there’s so many spells that there might be a spell or two that needs more research or was lifted out of a specific culture but I didn’t see any. McCoy has gained some of her knowledge out of some Mexican traditions but it sounds like she was taught it by a practitioner so I haven’t mentioned that as cultural appropriation. (It is cultural appropriation but it isn’t wrongful in this instance.)
Overall, like most spell books, the most useful thing in the book are the spells themselves. They widely vary on types, methods, and usefulness but if you’re looking for a book with a lot of love spells, this one is a good choice. The information outside of the spells isn’t anything special – you can find similar material in every sort of witchy book imaginable. But for the spells alone, the book’s a fairly good resource to keep around, especially if you plan on using love spells.