This month, I decided to delve deeper into a book review of Spellbound instead of just a quick social media post. As you may know, I always strive to stock my shop with books beneficial for witchcraft in the Southern Hemisphere. “Spellbound: The Secret Grimoire of Lucy Cavendish” is one such book that has earned a permanent spot here.
Spellbound was among the first books I bought and it truly impressed me. It offers insightful information on witchcraft practices specific to the Southern Hemisphere and explains the differences compared to the Northern Hemisphere. Finding such a book was a breath of fresh air, and it’s wonderfully suitable for both beginners and seasoned practitioners like myself.
What Makes it Beginner Friendly?
When I describe this book as beginner-friendly, I really mean it, but that doesn’t mean it’s not suitable for the more experienced. Spellbound is straightforward and doesn’t require a thesaurus to understand. Lucy Cavendish does well in providing phonetics for challenging words, like many deity names. The book includes seven concise chapters on the basics of witchcraft, explaining how and why it works in the Southern Hemisphere. Throughout these chapters, you’ll find short spells, enchantments, and Lucy’s personal notes on various aspects of the Craft. She also does an excellent job of explaining the differences in practicing witchcraft in the Southern Hemisphere, as opposed to the Northern Hemisphere, which I find crucial for practitioners in Australia or elsewhere in the Southern Hemisphere.
The Magic Inside
The magic in the book includes sections on love spells, protection spells, and spells for success, abundance, and power. The author, Lucy Cavendish, has also included a detailed section on the magic of days, featuring a spell for each day, along with a lengthy list of deities. But the book offers more than just these sections. Throughout, Lucy integrates simple spells into various topics, from clearing past energy to creating a protective Eye of Horus amulet.
In terms of weaving magic, the spells in this book are some of the most unique I’ve encountered. They clearly reflect Lucy Cavendish’s personal touch, giving the impression that these are spells she uses herself. These spells are simple and have that “homey” feeling of you’ve done this yourself at some point in time.
The uniqueness of the spells in this book lies in their clarity and simplicity. You never find yourself questioning whether you’ve performed them correctly. They don’t require obscure ingredients, and most don’t need elaborate rituals. However, for those who prefer more depth, the book does sprinkle in some longer rituals. Additionally, the Lucy Cavendish includes a section on the Wheel of the Year and provides brief, yet precise explanations on key aspects of magic, like casting a circle and understanding the Elements.
What I Love
What I love most about this book is its personal touch in the spells, especially since it was written before the era of AI. This gives the spells a unique, non generic feel unlike much of the content produced these days. Just trust me, it reads differently compared to books coming out these days.
But above all, my favourite aspect of Spellbound is its straightforward, non nonsense approach. The book adopts a clear format: introducing a topic, explaining why it matters, how to approach it, and then guiding you through the doing part. This structure really appeals to me. Spellbound covers a wide range of topics and knowledge in a way that’s accessible to someone new to witchcraft. It’s also ideal for those who have practiced Northern Hemisphere techniques and are now looking to align with the energies of the Southern Hemisphere.
What I Don't Love
I’ve mentioned before my dislike for rigid instructions or misleading representations in books. While Lucy Cavendish in her book doesn’t explicitly say “do this,” beginners might feel compelled to follow certain practices as absolute. For example, Lucy adopts practices from various traditions without acknowledging their origins, such as calling the quarters, a Wiccan practice. The book doesn’t clarify that these practices are not mandatory, like calling the quarters, summoning elements or guardians, or celebrating the neo-pagan Wheel of the Year.
I feel like this could lead beginners to mistakenly think these practices are essential. Although it’s a minor issue and Lucy doesn’t enforce these as strict rules, I think a brief mention that “not everyone does this” would have been helpful. This is similar to her section on the Law of Harm None. It’s a Wiccan concept, but not universally accepted or practiced. A little heads-up for readers on this diversity in practices would have been a nice addition and essentially the “cherry on top”.
Again, this is a very tiny issue and it’s my personal issue, but I felt it was necessary as it’s a book review and it is something I look for when it comes to books on witchcraft.
Red or Black Version?
Now, you might see two version of this book like in the picture at the beginning and that’s because the red version was the original version printed back in 2013 (?).
I don’t believe that one book is better than the other. The latest black and gold edition of Spellbound is essentially the same as the older red one. Both have their strengths and weaknesses, making them valuable additions to my collection.
I love the art in the red version, and its words feel more personal. This might be because the writing style and speech are similar to mine, and I appreciate personal touches, especially in “personal” grimoires like this one. However, I also love the black and gold hardcover of the new version and the intricate details on both the front and back of the book inside.
Regarding both versions, the black and gold edition is slightly more beginner friendly. It explicitly shows you which runes to draw for a spell, while the red version only tells you which rune to draw, without any rune guides in either version. I’d also say that there’s a lot more “fluff” in the black version, mainly because Lucy Cavendish writes about how the book was published so many years ago and things have changed.
Again, there’s really not much a difference between both versions so don’t feel like you MUST get the new one.
What do You Look For?
What do you look for in a book review?
In my case, it’s whether the book’s content is relevant to witchcraft in the Southern Hemisphere, and if it includes simple spells, historical context, or personal grimoire insights.
There’s nothing more frustrating than purchasing a book that forces you into a rigid perspective, especially when I’ve found contradicting information elsewhere. Spellbound, however, doesn’t fall into this trap. It reads more like a guide sharing personal methods and offers a different perspective on things.
This Spellbound book review might come across as a little scattered (morning sickness is killing me), but I hope it helps you make wise choices in selecting your books.
If you have this book, I hope you’ve enjoyed it, and if you don’t have this book, get it! You won’t regret it.
And if I’ve missed anything, or it doesn’t make sense, leave a comment or an email and I’ll try my best to clear any confusion up!
Speak in Spells again soon