Reviews

Language as Magic, Magic as Approachable in “The Magical Writing Grimoire”

A review of Lisa Marie Basile's new book, "The Magical Writing Grimoire."

We all know that language has power, but do we all know why? Author Lisa Marie Basile takes a magnified lens to this conviction in her latest book The Magical Writing Grimoire: Use the Word as Your Wand for Magic, Manifestation & Ritual.

Following her 2018 book Light Magic for Dark Times, which covers magic for coping in a crisis, Basile has delved further into how one — witch or not, writer or otherwise — can utilize the accessibility of writing to give themselves autonomy. Yes, a grimoire is traditionally known as a book of spells, but Basile makes it clear that it can apply to all, regardless of their spiritual practices or lack thereof. This flexibility can be found throughout the work, making it a true guide one can interpret for themselves as opposed to a structured self-help book that pressures readers to follow exact instructions-turned-solutions.

Though The Magical Writing Grimoire offers plenty of prompts and questions to get readers thinking (and writing), it also answers the questions, “why?” and “how?” I imagine that this would be especially beneficial to those who truly have no idea what they’re getting into and, conversely, to doubters who may see this craft as merely a new age trend. In her enticing introductory chapter, Basile discusses the history of writing as magic, the general connection between the two, and gives context for how writing as a form of magic (also described as wordcraft and word witchery) transcends a single culture or religion.

What I enjoyed most about this book was its breadth. For those who want writing prompts for introspection, you will find that in The Magical Writing Grimoire. For people who simply desire the tools for incorporating magic into their writing practice and daily lives, you can find that in the form of notes on astrology, moon phases, dreams, sigils, and more. Basile’s book is part journal, part textbook, part guide in a way that makes the reader feel like an equal in this journey. They are not being talked down to, or told what to do, but are instead being shown the possibilities for what they can choose to do. Basile has truly mastered wordcraft in the way that she uses her language to guide a spectrum of people down what may seem like a path that’s only meant for individuals with certain proclivities or talents.

In Basile’s grimoire explainer, you will find prompts and rituals relating to confession, eulogy, healing, manifestation, and mindfulness, amongst many others. With these in mind, it may seem like this book is solely for the individual — but Basile continually uses her writing to point outward. She discusses the importance of devising one’s craft, spells and rituals included, in a way that leads to the support of others (especially on social media). She also brings forth essential, inclusive points when it comes to physical and financial accessibility. If a spell calls for one to use their body in a certain way, but the reader is unable to, Basile advises that one modify this practice to fit their needs. For instance, instead of writing by hand, one can use an interpretive device. And one need not buy expensive materials in order to participate. The author also makes it clear that she wrote the book to honor the voices people have attempted to silence, acknowledging that freedom of speech is not universal. So as we explore our own voices with a sense of liberation, I’m grateful that Basile reminds readers that this is a privilege.

The Magical Writing Grimoire manages to encompass different facets of writing and magic without feeling wordy (pun intended). Basile’s writing style and outlook on magic is refreshing, as it lets readers know that every single person can partake. She does a spectacular job of highlighting intersectionality to tell readers that a personal practice — spiritual, writing, or otherwise — need not pose rules, regulations, or requirements. The art of wordcraft can be adapted to suit the individual, no matter their identity, obstacles, or needs. Yes, being able to write (and to write freely) is a privilege, but it doesn’t have to be one that’s out of reach. The Magical Writing Grimoire is a reminder that there is power in writing, but also that all writers have the power to shape their own story and how they go about telling it.

NONFICTION
The Magical Writing Grimoire
By Lisa Marie Basile
Fair Winds Press
Published April 21, 2020

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