cover image Shadow Magic: Unlocking the Whole Witch Within

Shadow Magic: Unlocking the Whole Witch Within

Nikki Van De Car, illus. by Khoa Le. Running Press, $22 (184p) ISBN 978-0-762-48149-1

In this affirming guide, Van De Car (Practical Magic) encourages readers to explore their shadow side, the “aspect of the self that contains what we’re afraid to express.” Defined by Carl Jung as existing outside the “light of consciousness,” the shadow self can manifest in dreams or unbidden waking moments of anger or anxiety, according to the author. When properly celebrated, however, the shadow self allows for “creativity, imagination, intuition, and wonder.” Van De Car outlines ways to connect with one’s shadow self, among them dream interpretation to uncover hidden fears; astrology to tap into intuition; spells to guard against negative energy; and tarot reading to reveal inner truths. Scattered throughout are spells for creativity, intuition, and self-love, along with brief profiles of historical and mythical figures who embraced their shadow selves to powerful effect—such as Baba Yaga, a sometimes-good, sometimes-menacing character from Slavic folklore, and 19th-century New Orleans healer and “Voodoo Queen” Marie Laveau, who “mixed Catholic and African spiritual traditions in ways that people continue to practice.” While readers might already be familiar with the practices Van De Car discusses, they’ll appreciate her message that “we cannot be the fullest expression of ourselves” unless “we embrace... all that we are.” Enriched by Le’s gorgeous, deep-hued illustrations, this is a necessary addition to any collection on magic and witchcraft. (Sept.)