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Women of Power: The Woman as Magus by Jaq Hawkins

Womenofpower

This was printed in the Infinity Network Ezine that can be found here XD  There’s lots of GREAT articles there, check it out
Women of Power is a very interesting read about Women in magic throughout history and present time. The book itself is a slim black paperback book that is larger than your standard paperback, but not as large as a hardcover. It’s divided into 13 chapters along with an appendix, and is easily read through. Each chapter has a full-page black and white picture in it, featuring women in various stages of life. While these pictures are of decent quality, they’d probably add more if they were color. At times I found them almost unnecessary.

Chapter 1 is called “A woman’s place in Magic.” It was interesting to learn that there ARE women authors in magic, even in the 1800s (Helena Petrovna Blavatsky). Many of the points that Jaq makes about women as authors in the occult field are valid. To date, the field is mainly men. A decent amount of historical information about women is included in this chapter as well. Chapter 2 is “Ancient Teachings and texts of Wisdom.” The information about alchemy was particularly new to me; I found it interesting and a great addition to the overall theme of this chapter. The chapter covers magic as it began in various countries (among them, Egypt, India, and China), and emphasizes the necessity of balance. Balance is a key part of alchemy and magic as a whole, and is something that is lacking in western religions. I thoroughly enjoyed the large number of parallels discussed in this chapter.

The next chapter is about women as enchantresses. I found the idea of women as natural enchantresses from a small age to be one that I relate strongly to; I myself have consciously used this, and often catch my daughter doing it. The portion of this chapter I found particularly helpful was the section on enchanting and how to do it consciously, on page 42. I find that a lot of the more “natural” aspects of magic tend to be left off by many books on magic due to the way they’re left unappreciated by the community as a whole. These can be excellent building blocks and foundations for effective workings though. This was also informational: “Originally, the term virgin which is often equated with maiden meant an unmarried woman, one who belonged to no man” (page 43), as well as “the female magician can effectively use her talent to beguile toward anything which she might want to affect with magic” (page 44), which is a very unusual and unused concept. This is probably one of the chapters with information that made this book worth buying for me.

Chapter 4 is “Nurturing magic,” and the beginning of this chapter goes through the roles as a nurturer that many women fall into (ie. mother, controlling woman, etc). The information on mothers and the instinctive uses of magic with their children was very interesting. This chapter also covers a few anecdotes on court issues and the use of feminine deities, as well as magic and children and relationships with controlling men. This chapter overall is an empowering one for women. Next is “The Mysterious Dark Feminine,” which elaborates on the chaotic-ness of women and their wild nature. It covers “dark goddesses” like Hecate and Kali, and how to work with dark energies. This chapter covers some of the different qualities of magic that tend to be seen as taboo/dark, as well as the solo practitioner.

Chapter six is “Magical Partners” and is a great resource for anyone considering working with another individual. The ideal partner is a sexual one, but the cons are also laid out well. Covered in this chapter also are some of the major differences between men and women, as well as the ways these affect a magical relationship between a man and a woman. There is also a section on abusive relationships as well as platonic. “Women and Other Magicians” is the next chapter, which is a short and sweet chapter on the dynamics of interactions with other magicians. This is a useful chapter if you’re going to be interacting with other magicians, and also left some insights into goddess-worshippers and the dynamics of being a female magician. The next chapter is “Women and Magical groups,” which is an excellent resource for anyone wanting to work with some of the more formally created orders. The first few pages are about the history of orders, which is, as always, enlightening. Then it covers a little bit of group dynamics, adding “Anyone who wants to join a group should ask themselves why, and exactly what need they expect to have fulfilled by doing so” (page 93). There are a number of valid things to keep in mind about organizations listed, among them, flirtation being an issue and mob mentality.

Chapter 9 is “A Woman’s Intuition,” another area that magic tends to ignore. Interestingly enough, this chapter covers divination, psychic abilities, and impressions. 10 is about “The Blood of the Mother,” or menstrual blood. Here, it is viewed as the equivalent to sperm; full of the creation energy that so many claim to be essential for good spell work. The method of combining this blood and that period of time with a progression sigil spell is laid out. Also covered is the use of certain foods for ritual work. Next is a chapter called “Women and Sex Magic.” This chapter addresses sex in the west as well as the inaccuracies of female sexual stimulation for sigil work, mythological standpoints on sexuality of women, and dance. I particularly enjoyed the section on seed sigils.
Chapter 12 is “Old magic for a new age” and deals more with chaos magic. It covers the effect that the mainstreaming of magic has had on the field as well as some of the things that are lost from it. I starred the passage on chaos magicians needing a good base in other magical paths, and feel that this is something that is fairly true. The elements and their placement is also discussed.

The final chapter is “Coming into her Own,” and discusses the Matriarch figure. The appendix is on Progression Spells, and may just be good enough to validate owning the book by itself. It’s a method I haven’t heard of prior to picking up this book, and I think it’s a very strong technique that is definitely worth looking into. All in all, this is a great, short read. Obviously aimed at women, but men may enjoy it as well.

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