Deborah Blake has been a practicing witch for seventeen years. For ten of those, she has been the High Priestess of her own Pagan group: Blue Moon Circle.
Her latest book is the follow up title to her extremely successful The Goddess Is in the Details: Wisdom for the Everyday Witch.
In this second publication, she has expanded upon her earlier work as well as continuing to express her opinions on what it means to be a modern Witch in an increasingly diverse spiritual landscape.
In the opening pages, she explains that the intention behind both of these books is
…to help you to live your best magickal and mundane life.
Blake begins her book with an appraisal of the modern Witchcraft movement and explains how it has changed since its early proponents, luminaries in the subject such as Gerald Gardner, first established its framework in the 1930s.
Blake admits that the world of Witchcraft is now extremely diverse with modern practitioners taking many different approaches to the craft—some of whom maybe completely new to the subject and possibly unsure about their own personal approach to the spiritual opportunities that Witchcraft offers.
To aid them in making the correct decisions for themselves, the author has included a couple of short articles, written by known and established figures in the Pagan world, that detail their perspectives on how to choose the right Wiccan or Pagan path.
Deborah Blake classifies herself as an ‘everyday Witch’ and qualifies this by revealing her own commitment to the craft by living by its tenets on a daily basis as opposed to someone who simply practices their art on an ad hoc basis and possibly only at the times of the New and Full Moons.
For her, the daily practice and routine of spiritual devotion begins even before rising in the morning with an opening ritial from her bed and then ends the day with a closing ceremony.
For anyone who has this degree of commitment to their chosen role, she advocates a similar regime of worship whilst taking time out during the course of the day to practice affirmations, meditations, prayers, and spell-casting.
She includes specific advice on how to connect to your chosen deity at any time of the day that you choose—a practice that may, or may not, require the creation of an altar as a focal point for the work.
If this all sounds too much to cope with in your busy life, you are not alone.
In chapter three of her book, Blake offers some insight into exactly why it is important for you to reorganize your life so that you find the necessary time to at least perform the basics of Witchcraft— such as finding time to recharge the batteries, connect to nature and to show some respect to the Gods and Goddesses in your life.
As a part of this cycle of work, the author includes a five-minute ritual of worship, useful methods for cleansing and protecting the aura, lessons on how to express appreciation, ways to perform a daily divination and reveals what she describes as a ‘Hibernation Vacation’.
As is the case with the majority of magickal systems, the most important characteristic that a practitioner can display is that of authenticity—both in the way that we approach and deal with other people and the way that we express our magickal personas.
To this end, Blake suggests three main approaches to becoming a Witch that she personally follows in her own magickal life: ‘awareness’, ‘appreciation’ and ‘attitude’.
The author suggests that examples of living an authentic magickal lifestyle includes the need for all Pagans to become environmentally aware, to eat ethically, save energy whenever possible, perform charitable work, nurture animals and maintain a strong committment to the Pagan path.
Sadly, one of the most damaging aspects of living a modern lifestyle is that it invariably disconnects us from nature, the seasons and the natural order of things.
In a subsequent chapter, the author offers advice on how we can learn to re-forge some of those lost connections by understanding the spiritual significance that the four seasons have in our lives.
She also reveals the effect of the waxing and waning Moons as well as advising you on how to integrate the four basic elements into your psyche.
From a Pagan perspective, the year comprises eight sabbats, or holidays. The author describes each of them and the effect that they have upon us.
In chapter eight, she returns to consider the form and structure of Pagan worship—whether as a solitary practice or, should you prefer, working in and with established groups.
She even offers advice on how to safely share your Witchcraft interests with others who might not understand what the subject is about. This includes advice on how to explain who you are and what you are doing to your children.
In her chapter titled ‘Fur, Feather and Fang’, Blake explores the relationship between Witches and animals. This includes connections to household pets, power animals and animal spirits.
For many Practicing Witches, their home is very often their temple. When this is the case it is important that it becomes a sacred space that is charged with energy and power.
This may require the creation of a small area devoted to the practice of magick or the creation of a temple dedicated to your chosen deities. In either case it is important to ensure that the house is psychically cleansed on a regular basis as well as kept physically clean and tidy.
The subject of practical approaches to the Path of Witchcraft continues in the next chapter. Here Blake talks about the daily integration of core principles into a Witches daily regime. This includes the need to integrate a code of personal ethics, the correct approach to problems and crises, help at such times that may need to come through the Gods. To this end, the author offers advice aimed at drawing upon their benevolence.
Everyday Witchcraft draws to a close with the author’s personal philosophy towards life as founded upon Wiccan principles. It closes with her personal essesment of a number of books on Witchcraft and Magick that have influenced her throughout her career as well as personal profiles of the guest contributors to the book.
The modern Witchcraft movement is in a state of flux. It is, in many regards, fracturing as a spiritual movement with so many Pagan paths emerging and taking core adherents off in a variety of different directions.
What is so clear from reading this book is that Deborah Blake is someone who believes passionately in Witchcraft but also recognizes the extreme levels of diverse themes that underpins it in this age.
Witchcraft clearly needs to re-invent or re-define itself and from reading this book it would seem that Deborah Blake is the person to do it.
This is a refreshing publication in so many ways. One of which is the fact that the author makes no presumptions about her reader.
She skillfully engages with what she understands to be clear confusion regarding the correct Wiccan path to take. She supports and guides rather than pontificates and preaches.
Sometimes, as an outsider seeking guidance, it is more valuable to draw in practical information from someone who has a wealth of experience in a subject rather than to study its mechanics.
In this regard, this book works so well not because it imposes core Wiccan theory upon its reader but because it oiffers a framework through which you can explore and evolve your own spiritual path.
At the end of the day, it is the strong sense of Deborah Blake’s deep commitment to Witchcraft and her tireless adherence to its core principles that acts as a leading light for those who might currently find themselves stumbling around in the dark confusion of conflicting ideological ideas.
Blake might say forget it all and simply follow your heart. If this is the case then she has written a powerfully energizing book that stands as a testament to her love of life, dedication to modern Witchcraft and deep appreciation of the natural world.
In a thoroughly modern approach to Witchcraft that stands head and shoulders above many publications of its type, Deborah Blake offers a fascinating and inspiring evaluation of what Witchcraft is and can be in the hands of those committed to the path.
Everyday Witchcraft is a thoroughly enjoyable, enlightening and empowering publication. It offers a great deal to those starting out on the Pagan path and causes those who are already on it to re-examine their own commitment to the cause.