Readers' Favorite

September 29, 2017

Basic Witches by Jaya Saxena and Jess Zimmerman

by Donna Huber

I wasn't aware that witches were such a hot trend these days but as the opening of Basic Witches declares, "Witches are everywhere these days. Fashion trends feature flowy black clothes and dark lipstick, magazines and websites run special witch-themed issues, and hipster covens are forming in Brooklyn." Since I wasn't aware of the trend, I wondered did they mean real witches or more in a pop culture sense.
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Basic Witches
August 2017; Quirk Books; 978-1594749773
ebook, print (208 pages); self-help; women's studies
In the same opening, it is made clear that it is more in the vein of pop culture, even going as far as naming some iconic "witches" such Sabrina, the teenage witch, and Hermione, the smartest witch of her age. As the authors point out, those historically accused of witchcraft may not have made pacts with the devil, but instead, "The witch was intimidating...Too strange. Too unruly. Too much." In my 20s, we called it 'Girl Power', but for today's 20-something women being a witch means being free-thinking, nonconforming, intelligent, independent.

In their book, Jaya Saxena and Jess Zimmerman encourage women to be themselves, do what makes you happy, and to have a positive thinking. They emphasize, "this book cannot teach you to levitate, conjure wealth, or communicate with ghosts...What it can teach you are mantras, incantations, rituals, and other tiny spells that allow you to tap into your latent abilities and hidden power." (self-confidence, inner calm, and emotional acceptance).

They cover just about every topic in health and beauty. They start off with a chapter on "glamours" features clothing, haircuts, perfume, and makeup. Then move on to wellness and health. They don't rely on just on natural remedies but also encourage you to see the doctor (they even offer a "spell" to make you comfortable seeing the doctor). Chapter 4 is all about the importance of community. Then they move onto relationships and negativity and end with deciding your destiny.

I like that there is a bit of witchy history sprinkled throughout the book. For example, in the chapter on health, we learn that often the local wise woman, who understood plants and natural folk medicine, would be accused of witchcraft. Formal medical education was an all-boys club, and men felt threatened with the authority and respect these women often commanded (and presumably cut into profits).

I think it would make a great gift for your 20-something girlfriends. The hardcover version comes in a nice gift book size with an attached bookmark ribbon.

Buy Basic Witches at Amazon

Donna Huber is an avid reader and natural encourager. She is the founder of Girl Who Reads and the author of how-to marketing book Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour.

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