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Wicca: A Modern Guide to Witchcraft and Magick by Harmony Nice || Book Review || Was it good?

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Hey everyone, welcome back to my channel or
welcome to my channel if you’ve never been here before. Make sure that you hit that subscribe
button down below and give this video a thumbs up if you enjoy it. Today we are doing a book
review. Now I have never done a video book review before. I do have book reviews on my
website. I’ll link those in the description below, but today we are reviewing Harmony’s
book Wicca. If you have been on YouTube or anything of the sort, you probably recognize
her – Harmony Nice. She has her own YouTube channel. I will leave her link in the description
below as well. And yeah, I got this book a couple of months ago and I honestly just got
around to reading it because life is crazy. But yeah, I finally read it and I want to
give my opinion on it and my opinion is that I didn’t like it. So I want to tell you why. Out of my star
rating, I give Harmony’s book a two out of five stars and I’m going to go ahead and talk
about the pros and the cons of this book, the things that I liked and the things that
I didn’t like. So, the first thing that I liked about Harmony’s book is that it’s very
personal. So, before you even hop into the content of the book itself, she has this whole
like preface about her story, how she came to Wicca and really how she started exploring
it. And throughout the whole book it’s very personal. She does attempt to write it in
a manner that it’s just like sitting down and having a conversation with a friend, which
I really appreciate when it comes to books like this. Sometimes. So in Harmony’s particular
case, I do enjoy that fact about her book. Something else that I liked about Harmony’s
book were the illustrations and I’ll pop some pictures up here on your screen of a couple
of my favorite illustrations and images from within her book. Now these bring Harmony’s
style to her book. These illustrations in my opinion really embody who Harmony is as
a person and as a Wiccan. Now full disclosure, I have watched Harmony’s videos for a long
time. I think she’s a lovely person and it’s in this manner that I see Harmony in this
book and in these illustrations. Now there are two specific sections in Harmony’s book
that I really liked. The first one is her section on a Book of Shadows and then the
second one is chapter 22, and it’s called Small Changes. So in her section on what a
Book of Shadows is, she has a lot of good information about creating your own Book of
Shadows and really making it personal to yourself and your practice. And I really appreciate that she didn’t just
hop in here and say that you need to have this, this and this in your Book of Shadows
or else it’s not a Book of Shadows. Okay. Now with chapter 22: Small Changes. I feel
like this was a really important chapter that she included in her book. And it’s something
that I don’t see talked about a lot and chapter 22 is called Small Changes. One thing that
I see with a lot of baby witches and new pagans and Wiccans is the fact that everyone is always
so overwhelmed with the amount of information, the Sabbats, the Esbats, deities and herbs
– and it’s so much information and it can all be so overwhelming. And Harmony’s chapter
called Small Changes is really about how you can begin to incorporate all of these different
aspects into your practice, one thing at a time. And that you don’t need to hop in with
both feet all at once because it’s just going to create havoc for you and chaos and going
through and doing these things one step at a time in small changes in your life really
can help you to encompass and embody these beliefs as a person and live your life the
way that you want to and the way that you embody your practice. So that I think was a really important chapter
and I’m really glad that she incorporated that into her book. Now as far as the cons
and the things that I didn’t like about Harmony’s book…don’t hate on me, okay? Harmony is
a great person. She’s a lovely human being, but I just didn’t like a lot of the aspects
of her book. And I want to tell you why. So, the first reason that I am not a big fan of
Harmony’s book is the lack of sources. Now you can see in this picture here, these are
her sources. She has four books listed here as sources. Three of them are written by Scott
Cunningham and the other is The Modern Guide to Witchcraft by Skye Alexander. She has four
websites. She has five YouTubers. She has five Instagrammers and a hashtag and some
shops. So with the amount of information that is
contained within Harmony’s book, I expected more resources. I expected more sources and
more variety. I mean three books by Scott Cunningham and one other book by another person?
That’s not a lot. And I know she included some websites. Some of those websites are
familiar to me and I really think that Harmony’s book is just a basic surface level intro to
Wicca type of book. There’s nothing really that digs deep into the theology, into different
practices, and the spirituality, and even the deities within Wicca. So, something else
that I find as someone who edits and writes for a living is the editing of the book. Now,
this isn’t on Harmony because she’s not an editor. She wrote the book, but she didn’t
edit it as far as I know. But the editing of this book is awful. So what I mean by that is, flipping through
the book, the book is split into three parts. The first part is What is Wicca. The second
part is Why Explore Wicca, and the third part is How to Get Started. Like that’s fine, I
guess. But in the first part, What is Wicca? The chapters are Wicca, Witchcraft and Paganism,
Divination, Nature, The Threefold Law, Morals and the Wiccan Rede, Magick, Wiccan Paths,
The Book of Shadows, and Deities. In my opinion, divination has no place being in the section
What is Wicca because divination has nothing to do with Wicca. It is its own separate occult
practice and I think these sections need a very large reworking. So, What is Wicca and
How to Get Started should be closer together and not separated by five chapters on why
you should explore Wicca. Also there is like a large amount of run on sentences and just
sentences that were really hard to read. And I attribute this a hundred percent to
the editing because a good editor would have changed that a little bit while still being
able to keep Harmony’s voice within the book. But let me see if I can find something really
quick to read to you. Okay. This right here, really quick. It’s all one sentence. “After
you have taken those first steps in creating and writing your Book of Shadows, you will
enjoy building a relationship with your book as you record more and more, whether it is
in the form of notes, drawings, found objects, clippings, artwork, or anything else that
you choose include.” That’s a really long sentence. So, going through and just counting
all of the words in that sentence, it’s more than 40 words included in one sentence. And
that’s, in my opinion, too long. That could have been broken up into a couple of sentences
while still being able to keep Harmony’s voice within the book. So the editing and the way that it was written
for me just made it sound, it made it really hard to read and comprehend. And there were
certain parts of it where I had to go back and reread it to make sure that I understood
what I had read because of the chunkiness and the clompiness of some of the sentences
and paragraphs. And then there are some things within this book that I think the information
is just downright wrong. So, the first thing that I have to talk about in regards to incorrect
information is the Wiccan Rede. So, let me read you her little paragraph that she has
about the Wiccan Rede. She says, “The Wiccan Rede is a set of moral codes or key statements
that Wiccans can use as principles to guide their lives. As I said, many, but not all,
Wiccans choose to do this. Of course it is entirely a personal choice. The Wiccan Rede
is written in the form of a poem and is frequently written at the beginning of your Book of Shadows.
The original author of the Wiccan Rede was influenced by several well-known Wiccans dating
back many, many years, but in fact the author remains unknown.” So that’s just not true. And the version of
the Rede that she has in here is from, I found it on a couple of different websites, but
a quick Google search about the Wiccan Rede will turn up some basic information about
where it comes from. The first thing about the Wiccan Rede is the fact that the Rede
itself is not this long poem. The long poem that is included here is just a longer form
that was actually first written by Lady Gwen Thompson. I’ll talk about that in a second. But the Rede itself is just the ending – “An
it harm none, do what ye will.” And that was first recorded or first publicly recorded
in 1964 I believe by Doreen Valiente. So, there’s our first public acknowledgement of
the Rede. Now if she’s talking about it being used for many, many years, maybe she’s talking
about the history of where the Rede might have come from in regards to Aleister Crowley’s
influence – and I will leave a link in the description or somewhere. I’ve covered this
before actually, so I’m not going to go into too much depth about why I disagree with that
part of it. Now, the long form that probably inspired this particular poem in Harmony’s
book was actually published in 1974 in a magazine. That magazine was called Earth Religion News.
Shortly after that publication, there was another poem that came out written by Lady
Gwen Thompson. Now the long form of the read by Lady Gwen
Thompson was published in a Green Egg Magazine and Lady Gwen Thompson actually attributed
it to her grandmother. That is contested. However, we, you know, the author is probably
known. It’s probably one of these particular people. Although it can be contested, it’s
incorrect to say that the Rede goes back many, many years and that the author is unknown
because a Google search will tell you who the author of this particular long form poem
of the Rede is. And that’s Lady Gwen Thompson. Another incorrect thing in her book, in my
opinion, is the idea of Shaman Wicca. Now this is on page 47 of her book and it’s in
this chapter where she is describing different paths within Wicca, and these would be considered
different traditions. And she included something called Shaman Wicca. Now it’s just full of
incorrect information and a bit of cultural appropriation in my opinion. So the section on Shaman Wicca – it’s just
a paragraph. It says, “For an extremely long time, Shaman practice was seen as an individual
path distinct from Wicca. Nowadays, being a Shaman and a Wicca are thought of as being
a very modern combination, despite the fact that uniting the two paths has been a tradition
for longer than we could imagine. Shaman Wiccans follow the same typical traditions as other
Wiccans but they use their practices and techniques to connect with the spirit/sacred realms.
Shaman Wiccans can reach different states of consciousness, speak to spirits from which
they gain knowledge and answers and predict the future. Shamans also practice both physical
and spiritual healing. A Shaman Wiccan can follow any deities they would like, but can
also use spirits to help with magical workings. Again, Shamans can be solitary or work within
a group or coven.” I don’t know where she’s getting this idea
of shamanism, but as far as I’m aware, shamans are part of indigenous cultures and it is
a closed practice. You cannot be a shaman Wiccan because they’re two completely separate
paths. And shamanism has been really just ripped from the hands of the indigenous peoples
and the native peoples that practice shamanism and whitewashed and just turned into something
that it’s not. So that’s a completely separate topic for another day. But Shaman Wicca is
not a thing in my opinion. So that’s that. And then on page 15…so this is right in
chapter one. Like, it’s this part that I have highlighted here. I don’t know if you can
see it. Let me see. So, I have it highlighted here. When she defines paganism, she says
a pagan is simply someone who follows a nature-based religion, paganism. So I have two bones to pick with that. First
off, paganism is not a religion. Paganism is an umbrella term that encompasses many
different faiths and belief systems. And two, the definition of paganism is not a nature-based
religion. Paganism as defined by the Webster dictionary is, let’s see, what did I write
down? A follower of a polytheistic religion. There are so many different polytheistic religions
out there that being a pagan would not fall under Harmony’s definition of a pagan as someone
who follows a nature-based religion. Not all pagan faiths are nature based. There are some
out there that don’t give a shit about nature and their priority is something else. So that
definition as defined by the dictionary, is incorrect. And I think it is wrong to say
that all pagans follow a nature-based religion because then you’re excluding some people
who don’t. Also, on the fact of what Wicca is and what the belief systems of Wicca are,
there’s really no mention of how deities and gods and goddesses are portrayed and worshiped
and honored within Wicca. She basically says…so it’s chapter eight.
Chapter eight is her chapter on deities and gods and goddesses. She says that “There are
so many deities that you could follow and many ways that you could choose to see and
worship them. There are no right or wrong choices here. It simply depends on what feels
right to you, which deities you feel drawn to and also the path that that you decide
to take as a Wiccan.” So traditionally Wicca has a God and a Goddess. Depending on the
tradition, the names of those two deities are going to differ. But there’s no mention
within this section, within this chapter on gods and goddesses, the difference between
the pantheons. I mean she does go through and list several Gods and Goddesses and their
aspects. Like Apollo under the Greek section. She has written God of music, prophecy, truth,
healing the sun and light. She lists Roman, Egyptian, Celtic, Norse,
Slavic Japanese and African. I don’t know enough about the Slavic, Japanese, or African
deities to really speak on whether or not those are closed cultures. I’m not sure. So,
if you know the answer to that question, you can leave that in the comments below for me.
But as an Irish pagan, the Celtic section kind of bugs me because Celtic is not this
whole like area. Celtic people include Irish, Welsh, Scottish – this whole section. And
some of these deities are, you know, only Irish or only Scottish or something. It’s
not this whole like catch all term for all of the gods and goddesses in this area. But
that’s a personal nitpick of mine being an Irish pagan. But there’s not anything here
that really describes how the gods and goddesses of Wicca are honored or worshiped or revered. So it’s lacking really for me in the spiritual
aspect. Then there’s also something…it gave me pause, I guess. In her chapter on meditation,
she’s talking about mantra meditation. This is on page 77 for anybody that has the book.
She says that it’s a meditation during which you say a specific word or sound over and
over again, and the vibration of the word coordinates your body and the universe. That’s
fine. But my issue is with the next paragraph, it says, “I would recommend drawing down the
moon for this and using the moon meditation technique to start with.” So, with my experience
in Wicca, Drawing Down the Moon is a very particular ritual. And I don’t know if this
sentence here was just a lack of words and maybe she was trying to think of something
else to say but drawing down the moon sounded better or more…I don’t know. There’s a word
that I’m thinking of. But I don’t think that that was the right
place to put drawing down the moon because as far as I’m aware, drawing down the moon
is a very particular ritual in which you are invoking the goddess into yourself. And in
my opinion, you wouldn’t do that just for a mantra meditation. You wouldn’t bother the
gods to bring her into yourself for your meditation. So, I don’t know if that was just a mince
of words or what, but that bugged me. And then going along the lines of incorrect information
and things that are just hard to prove or have been proven to be not true is on page
180. And this is chapter 20 where she’s talking
about the Witch’s Alphabet. She…now this is Theban. Theban? Theban. I don’t know how
to it. I never actually say it out loud, but it is, you know, if you Google Witch’s Alphabet,
it’ll come up with that. And it’s this here. Now she says, “The symbols used are believed
to possess immense power and to have magical properties and, for several centuries, witches
have used this alphabet as their own.” So, I don’t think that’s true. She says that “the
origin of the alphabet is uncertain, but there is evidence that it was used in the 16th century
in a book called Three Books of the Occult Philosophy.” So a quick Google search on the
Theban alphabet comes up and it says that it was first published in someone’s book called
Polygraphia in 1518. However, there is no evidence that I could
find that says witches in particular have been using this alphabet for centuries. So,
if you can correct me on that, like if you have sources and stuff for that, leave them
in the comments below please. And I will add them to the description and let it be known
that maybe in this section I was wrong. If you’ve got sources that say otherwise. And
that goes for everything in this video. Because again, I’m going off of my own knowledge and
my own experience with Wicca and my own ability to research and cite sources. Now, this last
point that I have to make here is a little nitpick of mine, and it has to do with a spell
that she has in her book. So, this is page 163 and 164. It is called a Banishing and
Purification spell. Now for her being a vegan and really caring
about the environment and for a lot of Wiccans really caring about the environment, I would
hope nobody would actually do the end of this spell. Because the last step, step seven…now
this is a jar spell. So, you know, you place all of your ingredients in the jar and then
you do what you’re supposed to do with the jar. But step seven of the spell says, “Place
or throw the jar into the water.” And in this case, she’s talking about a river, the beach,
or somewhere appropriate for disposing of the situation. “Place or throw the jar into
the water and then turn your back on it. Throw your offering over your shoulder into the
water too. Then walk away and don’t turn back or return to the area until the next full
moon arrives in the following month.” Please don’t put a glass jar full of a bunch of stuff
into a flowing body of water or any body of water for that matter. Like I don’t see that as doing spell work.
I see that as littering. Do not throw a jar or something that is not biodegradable into
anywhere on the planet. That’s not being ecofriendly. That’s not doing anything to help the planet
except for disposing of your junk in the beach or in the ocean or in a river. Please don’t
do that. There are a million other ways that you can go about doing a banishing spell that
don’t require you to leave a jar in a river or the ocean for it to be possibly carried
away and possibly be a harm to the natural environment. So, don’t do that. All in all,
I really, really wanted to like this book because Harmony is such a lovely person, but
I just can’t. I mean with my experience in Wicca and all that I know about the path and
the faith and with my academic background I guess, and my ability to research and use
my sources appropriately – I can’t like this book. I appreciate her effort, but I don’t
appreciate the information that was pushed forward in this book and her lack of sources. In my opinion, four books – three of them
by the same author and a couple of websites – don’t denote research and accurate information.
And I have the same bone to pick honestly with a lot of books about Wicca. That’s not
just Harmony. That is, you know, I have the same bone to pick with some of Scott Cunningham’s
books and Buckland’s books. And it’s just…it might be a personal preference of mine that,
you know, sources are cited and we’re being sure that we’re being given accurate information
and that we can trace the source of that information. But this book really fell short for me. And
it really shows me that Harmony, even though she’s a lovely person, she is a little bit
inexperienced in my opinion, to really have gone through and written a book. And I was expecting this book to be, you know…I
wasn’t expecting it to be this some huge well-researched, you know, five pages of bibliography or anything
like that. But with the title of Wicca: A Modern Guide to Witchcraft and Magick, I really
expected more out of this book. I mean, my favorite part about the book is the cover.
So, if you want to get the book for yourself, I’ll leave links in the description below.
I’m actually…this book itself is listed in my shop because it’s not a book that I
really need to keep around. So, if you want to get a used copy from me, go ahead and check
out my shop. It is going to be this particular one. So, it does have some like highlights
or whatever in it, but yeah, two out of five stars. Final opinion: do not recommend. So
yeah, if you have any books that you would like for me to review, leave them in the comments
below and I will do my best to review them. Please know that this book review does not
encompass my entire opinion of Harmony herself. I think she’s a lovely person and she does
great work and she’s got an amazing channel. But this book did really fall short for me.
So, until next time I will see you in my next video. Bye for now.

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2 thoughts on “Wicca: A Modern Guide to Witchcraft and Magick by Harmony Nice || Book Review || Was it good?”

  1. Bass Town Ncs says:

    epicly awesome

  2. Abyss Of Bliss says:

    this vid of yours just made me subscribe. thanks so much for the effort. 🙂

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