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The Craft Companion: A Witch's Journal

Title: The Craft Companion: A Witch's Journal
Author: Dorothy Morrison
Publisher: Llewellyn Publications (A division of Llewwllyn Worldwide Ltd.)       Date: 2001

The paperback cover's frontpiece has a border of vines with what appears to either be mapel or grapeleaves interspersed. This, like the rest of the cover, is done in shades of green. At the center, the first portion of the title appears in a bold font that is supposed to resemble the archaic fonts from the deep past. Beneath this is a simple line drawn triquertia. The subtitle is below that in a more modern version of the first font. Unlike the title and the author's name, the subtitle is in black. The author's name is printed below in an unbolded version of the font for the title. The cover would have been semi-aesthetically pleasing if it weren't for the line drawing being in contrast to the lush border and the change in font and font color for the subtitle. The spine of the book continues the font usage from the author's name. It is in white with the line drawing of the triquertia placed between the title and the author's last name.

The backpiece of the cover is in an entirely different font than the frontpiece or the spine. This is done entirely in black text. The blurb on the backpiece is a rather trite little poem from the author. The only elements carried over from the frontpiece is the lush border about the margins of the page and the single occurrance of the frontpiece's font for the words 'The Craft'. The binding of the book is spiral bound with the spine of the cover a cohesive part of both the front and back covers and the binding passing through it at the point where it meets the back cover. For some reason, the right side of where the binding is located is a strip of white that runs the length of the book and just barely larger than the holes for the binding to pass through.

The paperstock is of rather cheap quality, like the cover and the binding. The text on the first section is similar to the text on the backpiece of the book. The section header is in the same font as on the front cover. The remaining section of the book has on the left hand page a header of intertwined vines and then a label for the flavor text in the font from the front cover. On the right hand pages, a leaf image is at the upper left and lower right corners of the lined space. A header in the same font as the flavor text gives the subtitle of the book. Oddly, the only pages numbered are the ones on the left side. This makes looking for items by page awkward. The line spacing on the right pages is wide ruled and extends from the left to the right margins with black space of approximately half an inch on either side and on the bottom margin. The leaf images slightly intrude into this blank space.

From the perspective of how this book is contructed and laid out, I am very disappointed. Looking on the back cover, the suggested retail price is $14.95. For that much, you should have better covers and binding. There should also be better utilization of the space on the page. There is an excessive amount of white space on the pages. I suppose it makes marginalia easier but I doubt that was the intent. Just on the physical properties of this book, I sincerely believe it was vastly over priced and a $1 composition notebook would serve the purposes of this book far better. Putting aside the terrible lay out and construction, I have some real issues with the flavor text.

I recognize this is written from a Wiccan perspective. I recognize that all gods are considered the face of the God and all goddesses are likewise considered faces of the Goddess. This is something that I tried to keep in mind as I read through her invocations of different deities. Her two dimensional perspective on the deities is grossly disappointing and encourages the user to take such a perspective in dealing with said deities. This is a dangerous practice that can lead to offending deities, even if you take the semi-dualist perspective, it is insulting to the 'face' of the God and Goddess to interact with said deities as though they are two dimensional items, mere masks worn for unknown purposes. These 'faces' are holy and should be treated with the respect that is due to the deity being worshipped. Her treatment of the deities as something you can ask for things with out giving anything in return is insulting to the deity. We would not do this to humans, it is viewed as improper manners. If you're worshipping a deity, proper manners convey respect and should be used vigilantly.

I found the spells and charms presented to be pedantic at best or lies of omission at worst. The example that encapsulates this is the spell for removing a bee stinger. The user is instructed to apply a paste of baking soda and water to where the stinger is present. Then to recite the formula that Morrison gives. The stinger will be lifted and it will be possible to remove it. This is not due to the recited formula, which Morrison presents as the implied reason of success. It is due to the action of the baking soda and water. Elementary first aid skills would say this.  The technique can be used sans incantation and still be successful. Morrison, however, gives her readers the impression that the formula is the cause of success. This is intellectually dishonest and made me want to throw the book at the wall.

As someone who has a background in Wicca, an understanding of magical practice, and a basic grasp on magical theory, I lack sufficient words to express my disapproval and displeasure with Morrison's work. Her appeal to authority at the outset of the book presents her as someone the reader can trust and take her words as fact. This is clearly not the case as you seriously look at the spells and charms she presents. In some cases, the problem is mearly misinformation. In other cases, it sets the reader up for a potentially very bad experience. The best example I can think of here is the invocation to Loki. She presents Loki as a merry trickster who will bring joyfulness into the caster's life. This is a complete disregard of Loki's role in the Norse pantheon and of his nature. While Loki can be described as a trickster god, he has a well established reputation for bringing change about in a brutal fashion when so inclined. This is not a deity to be invoked lightly or for frivilous reasons. (Unless that is something established in your relationship with him, and even then caution is advisable. This word of warning comes from someone who is a fulltrui of Loki. Loki can be fun but he can also be very dangerous.)

Morrison's work in this book leads me to conclude that her other texts carry on this shallow theology and casual misinformation. She claims that she has over twenty years of experience in witchcraft and is established as a spiritual leader and an experienced education. Looking at this book, I can only believe that her experience is in wish fulfillment and deception. And the wish fulfillment is not of the sort that one would think of as something like the actions of a fairy godmother. No, the wish fulfillment I refer to here is entirely in the case of what could be considered a clinical psychological problem.

I know some will find my assessment of Ms. Morrison to be excessively harsh and that I should read her other books. I may read something more from her but I do not anticipate my opinion changing for the better. What limited text she presents in this book makes me disgusted and angry. I do not recommend this book to any practitioner of Wicca, witchcraft, or any of the magical arts. Her cavalier attitude towards the subject matter is repulsive and lazy.