The Witch’s Heart, by Christopher Penczak
published 2011 by Llewellyn Publishing
Author information here
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Copy is a review copy
Rating: 5 out of 5
About the Book: Popular author Christopher Penczak offers a new book on the power of love and how to use practical love magick in daily life. Addressing unrequited love, sexual love, banishing love, and how to love and accept oneself, Penczak offers readers a deep look into their own inner witch’s heart through anecdotes, exercises, and a wealth of information from astrology to deities to stone associations.
My Thoughts: This is my first Penczak book. I’ve borrowed a few from a friend that I keep intending to read but have yet to actually read. When I requested this book to review, I thought it sounded very interesting, but, being single, I wasn’t sure how a book about love would be helpful to me. So I was pleasantly surprised to find that much of Penczak’s book is good for anyone, regardless of relationship status.
This is true only because he sets the book up in such a way that the advice and information contained within is applicable to a wider range of people than just those in a relationship. The information given is designed to inspire thought about what you want in a relationship, designed to make you think about what you want from love and in life. If you have a partner, great, this book will still be useful for you because you can use it to define what love means to you, and there are numerous sections containing suggestions for love spells, oils, potions, etc. for people with a partner as well as single folks.
Drawing from mythology, astrology, numerology, herbs, stones, runes, and a big heaping dose of common sense, Penczak presents a number of ideas to help the reader get in touch with their inner heart. (I mean, duh, it’s called The Witch’s Heart, it’s supposed to do that.) In the mythology section, he talks about gods and goddesses and archetypes of love deities. I do have one comment about that section with the list of love deities in chapter 5. I’m not entirely sure Guinevere (from King Arthur stories) can be considered a love goddess. Granted, I’m only an amateur Arthurian scholar, but from what I could tell in Malory’s version (one of the earliest versions of Arthurian works), Guinevere does not love Arthur. It is Arthur who loves Guinevere. While Guinevere may respect her husband, and owe her loyalty to him, I don’t agree that Guinevere can be considered one half of the king and queen love idea. I could debate this further, but I think I’ll save that for another post where I can discuss it more in depth, and wrap this comment up with the caveat that Penczak includes Guinevere in this list of love deities because apparently many neoPagans are raising Guinevere to this status, and not necessarily that she is included because of her historical myths.
If you’re at all hesitant about reading this book because of the stigma against practicing love magick, you should at least consider Penczak’s argument in chapter three, in which he discusses ethics and morals in relation to love spells. I found this chapter sound, reasoned, and well-supported with common sense examples.
I am a little unsure about the Greek word on page 3, part of the section in which Penczak explains different kinds of love. The Greeks had four different names for different kinds of love. The word I’m questioning is “phileo”, which is Penczak’s spelling. However, I’m unsure this is the correct form. I think it might be more proper to use φιλία “philia”, which has the meaning that Penczak describes, that of friendship and brotherly love. “phileo” looks more like the verb form, φιλεω.
Aside from that, I didn’t really find much wrong with this book. I found the exercises, especially the ones at the beginning, to be helpful and reasonable. The wealth of information in this book is wonderful. I like that he addresses morals and ethics, and really gets across the idea that loving and accepting yourself is a big key to finding love outside of yourself. Penczak explains it better than I can, though!
I’m giving this book a 5 out of 5. I liked it, and have no doubts that I will be returning to it again in the future.