The Weiser Concise Guide to Herbal Magick

by Judith Hawkins-Tillirson

Published by Weiser Books, 128pp, PB

reviewed by Soror Chamos for the Esoteric Book Review

This book is a refreshingly non-pagan herbal! Drawing from magickal traditions from around the world for information, with an emphasis on the Western Mystery Traditions, and set in the backdrop of the Tree of Life, it offers a magickal perspective on the use of herbs, which are too often ignored by practitioners who feel they are not serious enough. Well now they don’t have that excuse any more!

The corpus of the book is divided into two parts, the planetary division of the herbs, using the attributions found in Crowley’s 777 for the specific plants, and then expanding on properties and magickal associations and symbolism. The second part is on practice, and touches on helpful hints, practices from poppets to potpourri and Franz Bardon’s fluid condensers.

My main criticism of this book is that whilst I accept it is a “concise guide”, it feels like a lot of good material has been cut to make the word count. I could almost hear cries of anguish from an author having to choose what to cut from what feels like a larger work that would have been, I am sure, a very useful contribution to the field. It is obvious, for example, that when the author mentions the ancient Greek root cutters, she is fully aware of the importance of Empodecles, and his contribution to magick through the system of the four elements which he created and has become standard. Yet it is not mentioned, even though there is an almost tangible hole where it feels like it was.

All in all an excellent little work, and it is to be hoped that further, longer works will follow from this obviously proficient writer.

This book is available from all good bookshops, or directly from the publishers Red Wheel Weiser.