Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Review: Goddess Spells for Busy Girls by Jen McConnel

Disclaimer! Jen is a dear friend and Circle Sister of mine, but this review is as fair and honest as I ever am. So read Goddess Spells for Busy Girls and decide for yourself if it’s just what you need to “Get Rich! Get Happy! Get Lucky!”

When my friend Jen hinted during a ritual many moons ago that she wrote a Goddess spell book, we were all shocked. When did she find time for something like this? Between her editing and teaching and fiction and more fiction, plus yoga school, and an involved spiritual practice, who has time to write a Goddess spells book? But I understand that sometimes projects are meant to be secret and kept to oneself, left to germinate in private before exploding into the world.

The story why Jen wrote this book is actually super charming, but I’ll let her save that for another time and for her own words. When more information about the book began to be revealed to those who are in her Circle, including the title, it all began to make sense. How can someone who is a full time writer and teacher and part time yoga teacher and five billion other things have time to write a book? Well, you make time for it, and the very book itself, Goddess Spells for Busy Girls, really captures this life of being a busy girl but making time for the Divine.

I actually really adore little spells and charms (they’re some of my favorite witchy things) so this book was a great addition to my collection and I can’t wait to try out some of the stuff she suggests. Jen has lots of great ideas here (some familiar to me, lots that are new!) and in addition to spells, devotional practices, and charms, she presents some autobiographical information, as well as a wealth of information about over a dozen worldwide goddesses. So not only did I learn more about Goddesses and mythology, but I learned about my friend, which was a delightful blessing.

The book is broken up into seven chapters and each chapter is broken up into a theme and a few different goddesses. For example, chapter three is entitled “There’s No Place Like Home” and it focuses on Brigid, Hestia, Juno, Bast, and Changing Woman. Each goddess is given a description of their personality (or at least how the Goddess has presented herself to Jen), and some of her myths, as well as some hints and advice on how to work with that particular goddess. I tend to not personally work with such a wide array of Deities, but a book like this does a good job of exposing the reader to goddesses and myth that they might not normally be acquainted with or work with.

As a fellow Busy Girl, I was charmed (tee hee) with many of these spells and rituals. Many of the spells actually are a lot like self-help or self-reflection exercises with lots of journaling and plenty of soul-searching. As a therapist, I’d actually love to be able to use some of these spells as exercises for my witchy-friendly long-term clients (right now I only do crisis services, so this idea will have to wait.) I have my favorites marked and annotated (and some I did not like or was less impressed with will be politely ignored.) Most of all, I can’t wait to try some of them out for myself (you know, when I’m less busy…)

as seen in a local new age book store
I tend to get annoyed with super girlie or overly feminized things that make like on the idea of gender binaries and stereotypes. If you’re easily offended by gendered language and classic “men do this/women do this” type language, be aware then Jen McConnel is quite a girlie-girl, and some of her stuff can seem a bit vapid or shallow. But my guess is that she’s tailoring this book to readers who are not seasoned Pagans or uber-feminists. In that way, Goddess Spells for Busy Girls has the potential to have wide-appeal to an audience beyond witches and Polytheists and really capture the attention of those who like chic-lit and self-help books. 

Essentially, Jen did a great job with this book, and it’s greatly inspired me. If she had the time to write a whole friggen book amidst a hectic life, then what excuses do I have to not practice simple acts of magic and devotion in my everyday life? And if I don’t have the energy to come up with a spell or charm on my own, “The Goddesses are here to help!”

Thanks, Jen, for sharing your lovely magic with the world!

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