10-Minute Magic Spells by Skye Alexander: Book Review

Image from NetGalley

Disclaimer: I received a free, advance copy of this text from Fair Winds Press of the Quarto Publishing Group through NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. Thank you!

10-Minute Magic Spells: Simple Spells and Self-Care Practices to Harness Your Inner Power by Skye Alexander certainly lives up to its title. Each chapter is divided thematically and contains spells, self-care practices, and other tips that can be completed in a short amount of time to enhance your life. The spells are specifically designed to be easy to complete and typically incorporate tools and ingredients that can easily be found at your local grocery store, your pantry, or just laying around the house. Several of the themed chapters focus on love magic, prosperity, protection, and more!

This book is perfect for someone who is just getting their feet wet when it comes to witchcraft. If you don’t have a lot of time, money, or space to dedicate to your craft yet or you want to play around before fully devoting yourself to Witchcraft, you’ll probably have a lot of fun with this book. If you’re a more advanced practitioner, however, it is unlikely that you’ll be satisfied with this book.

I completed reading 10-Minute Magic Spells within about two days; it is incredibly short and does not give much explanation into the intricacies of the Craft. This is a good thing if you’re just looking for spells and activities to add to your witchy repertoire, but may be disappointing if you’re hoping for more explanation into why things work the way that they do.

I did have a few issues with 10-Minute Magic Spells. There is a bit of cultural appropriation within this text, specifically with its use of mojo bags. Mojo bags are a magical technology found within hoodoo, not witchcraft, and are created differently from a generic spell sachet. I wish this text had simply called these mini-spells sachets rather than mojo bags because the book did not accurately depict them or their history.

Overall, I think 10-Minute Magic Spells by Skye Alexander is a simple, accessible text to help a non-witch or beginner-witch gain a deeper interest in the Craft. Since it does contain some cultural appropriation, I likely would only recommend this book if I knew the reader had a basic understanding of cultural appropriation and how to identify it. Many of the spells were very cute and put a smile on my face, so it would be a fun book to have on a shelf for a rainy day.

My Rating: 2/5!

10 Minute Magic Spells: Simple Spells and Self-Care Practices to Harness Your Inner Power is available for purchase online and in bookstores for $18.99.

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Primrose’s Breakup Spell

Purpose: This spell is designed to help end a relationship in an amicable way. If you’re ready for a romantic relationship to end, this spell can help make it possible.

Tools and Ingredients:

  • Two white candles, preferably figure candles: to represent you and your partner
  • A sharp object: to carve into the candles
  • Matches or two lighters
  • Red string: to represent your romantic bond
  • Blessed water
  • Scissors
  • Break-Up Oil (optional)

Procedure

1. Begin this operation on the first night of the waning moon and complete the operation by the first night of the new moon.

2. On the first night of the waning moon, cleanse yourself, your working space, and your tools. Perform any other preferred pre-spell rituals such as casting a circle, calling upon protective spirits, and more.

3. Carve your name and date of birth on one candle, and carve your partner’s name and date of birth on the other. Place both candles on a flat, heat-safe surface approximately six inches apart. If they are figure candles, place them so they are standing back-to-back.

4. Tie the red string around the middle of each candle, binding them together. Anoint both the string and the candles with Break-Up Oil if you have decided to use it.

5. Using two matches or two lighters, light both candles simultaneously. As you watch the candles burn, either repeat to yourself or think “May the romantic bond between us weaken.” Keep repeating that phrase for 13 minutes.

6. Once the 13 minutes are over, let the candles burn for an additional 13 minutes. Then, blow out the candle that represents your partner and then blow out the candle that represents you right after it. Cleanse yourself.

7. Wait three days.

8. Once the three days are over, repeat steps 5 through 7 until the night of the new moon. Depending on the size of your candles, you may need to adjust the time you burn them so you still have some candle left by the night of the new moon.

9. On the night of the new moon, repeat steps 5 through 7 for the last time, but do not extinguish the candles. Take out your scissors and state aloud or in your mind three times: “May the romantic bond between us break!” Cut the string with the scissors.

10. Extinguish the candle that represents you and let it cool; leave you ex-partner’s candle burning. Remove the red string from your candle and soak both the string and candle in the blessed water.

11. Wait until your ex-partner’s candle burns completely. During this time, you may wish to say a prayer wishing them peace and happiness as you both move on from the breakup.

12. Once the candle has burned completely, soak any remaining red string in the blessed water. Cleanse yourself and your space.

13. Leave the remaining part of your candle and the red string to soak in the blessed water for three days. After that time, you may dispose of the water, candle, and string.

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The Most Important Skill in Witchcraft

Before you bust out the herbs, the grimoires, or the crystals, there is one skill that you absolutely need to master before you begin practicing witchcraft. Without this skill, you are essentially setting yourself up for confusion, failure, or possibly even something worse.

That skill is discernment.

What is Discernment?

Discernment is defined by Dictionary.com as “the ability to judge well.” Discernment is the skill that you use to to decide if you’re actually cursed or if you’re just experiencing a string of random bad luck. It is the skill you use to decide if the spirit you’ve contacted is actually an all-powerful god or if they’re just a trickster hoping to mess with you. It is, essentially, the skill you use to determine if your supernatural experiences are genuine or not.

When a beginner first embarks on their Witchcraft journey, it can be easy to see omens everywhere or see anything that’s slightly out of the ordinary as something otherworldly. It’s totally normal to go through a “frenzy” period where everything seems to be magical, even if it isn’t, until you learn how to evaluate a situation or experience.

Discernment is a bit like a muscle; the more you approach each potentially-magical situation with a critical eye, the easier it’ll be to see what’s real and what’s just a coincidence, a trick, or a trick of the mind.

And, conversely, without discernment you may not be able to identify actual phenomena and end up ignoring important signs.

How Do You Practice Discernment?

To determine if an experience is genuine or otherwise, the following questions can be helpful in breaking down a situation so you can judge it on a deeper level without being overwhelmed. Once you build your skills of discernment, you likely won’t have to go through each of these steps in depth, but when you’re just starting, you may find it helpful to ask yourself these questions.

Does it seem too good to be true?

If a spirit approaches you offering unimaginable power if you make a deal with them, that’s a bit of a red flag. While deals with spirits can and do occur, it would be extremely unlikely that a spirit would offer that much power to a person without an existing relationship and without asking for something equally valuable in return.

Do your experiences seem to mimic or copy what you see or read online (or offline)?

Sometimes when we first step into the community, we can see so many other people talking about their amazing spiritual experiences. You might read someone experienced numerous omens or signs. After that, you may notice your own “omens.” Sometimes, once an idea is put in your head, you may be primed to see something similar in your own life. If you find that all of your experiences occur after reading about something similar happening to someone else, your mind may be playing tricks on you.

Do you notice any patterns in the phenomena?

Genuine supernatural phenomena such as omens or the signs of a curse appear in patterns or alongside other synchronicities. Of course, a pattern doesn’t always indicate that something spiritual is occurring, but repeating phenomena is worth investigating.

For example, if you notice that every time you leave an elaborate offering for a specific god, you see a rabbit in your yard, that could be significant sign that the offering was well-received and should be investigated further to confirm it. If the rabbit is a sacred animal to that deity, it could make the sign even more significant. However, that sign would seem less significant if see rabbits every single day with no connection to giving offerings or performing any devotional activities because they happen to burrow nearby.

Can an experience be explained away with mundane means?

Say you suddenly catch the flu. Days after that, you accidentally drop your favorite crystal and break it. Is that a sign of a curse or just coincidence? Chances are, unless you’ve recently upset a witch, it’s probably just a coincidence. If you have the flu, you may be more prone to clumsiness, so dropping your crystal could just have been an unfortunate accident that can be explained away through mundane means.

Similarly, if you live in an older home, it is common to hear creaking or other noises at night. Exhaust all mundane explanations before assuming that it must be something supernatural.

Can you confirm the experience through divination?

Divination is one of the best skills you can have in your toolkit. Sometimes, it can be difficult to discern something ambiguous without it, so learning at least one system of divination will make your life a lot easier. If you think you’re seeing omens, feeling like you might be cursed, or might have a spirit buzzing around your house, divination can help clarify things.

There is a bit of a “danger” when using divination, however. Our minds our primed for confirmation bias, so we may ignore readings that go against what we might expect or interpret readings in ways that favor our point of view. As long as you are conscious of this, you can at least actively work against it. And if you feel that you can’t silence your own internal bias, having a trusted diviner perform a reading for you may also be helpful.

Conclusion

Take your time when building your skills of discernment. No Witch is born with the ability to immediately sense energies and detect genuine phenomena. However, if you approach each new experience with a sense of skepticism, you’ll eventually begin to notice “tells” which reveal the validity of an experience.

While it can be exciting to learn that all things magical and mystical exist, real life magic isn’t like the movies. Discernment is what helps us determine fact from fiction.

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Simple Ancestor Offerings

Our ancestors love and watch over us, sometimes even without our knowledge. However, if we neglect our ancestors and the bond that they share with us, their watchful eye may begin to wander when we need it the most. And just like you may feel hurt if a loved one ignores you, your ancestors may be saddened by a lack of communication.

Offerings, even if they are simple, are a great way to show your ancestors that you appreciate how they watch over and guide you. Of course, the more thoughtful the offering, the more appreciated it will be.

It is important to remember that offerings needn’t be expensive to be thoughtful. An offering that you pour your love into even if it is inexpensive will most likely be more appreciated and well-received than an expensive offering that you give flippantly. Some of the items listed are traditional ancestor offerings while others are more modern and based in UPG; please use this list as a guide or a source of inspiration rather than a set-in-stone rule book.

Traditional Offerings

  • Bread
  • Wine
  • Rum
  • Tobacco
  • Incense
  • Food that your ancestors enjoyed while they were alive
  • Water
  • Art (preferably created by you)
  • Coins and money
  • Candles
  • Write poems or letters to your ancestors

Non-Traditional Offerings

  • Spotify playlists of their favorite songs
  • Create a collage of pictures of your ancestors to use as a phone or laptop background
  • Create a blog or website to act as a digital altar for your ancestors
  • Did one of your ancestors love a particular hobby or craft? Learn how to do it yourself!

Once you have selected what you want to offer, simply place it on your altar and pray to your ancestors, dedicating the object or act to them. If the offering is something edible that will rot over time, dispose of it by burying or burning if possible. If not, throwing it away will suffice as well. Different traditions have certain protocols for disposing of offerings, so do a bit of research to see what works best in your belief system.

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The Internet and Spirituality

I would argue that spirituality is more accessible than ever thanks to the internet. Log onto Facebook and you can find numerous groups with thousands of people willing to swap ideas about witchcraft or trade tarot readings. Join Instagram to see millions of pictures of altars, tools, and even a handful of funny witchcraft memes. Or watch a YouTube video to learn how to meditate, cast spells, or contact spirit guides. Learning about spirituality is simply a few mouse clicks away, and more and more people are living more spiritually enriched lives because of it.

But there are certainly downsides to the ways in which spirituality and the internet have intermingled. Nowadays, anyone can claim to be a spiritual leader regardless of training or experience, sometimes even scamming unsuspecting seekers of knowledge out of their hard-earned money. Some predatory mentors/teachers even use their position of authority to groom and abuse those who trust them and seek out their guidance. Of course, these issues were present within spiritual communities even before the internet, but now these predators have an even wider reach.

And even if a person is able to avoid the scammers and predators that lurk within the community online, there is still a major issue that remains and that no one can avoid.

Social media, in general, promotes an unhealthy level of competition. This level of competitiveness combined with spirituality is a nasty mix that often leads to people forcing themselves to conform to the majority in order to appeal to an audience. I personally fell victim to this for many years, and I know many other spiritual people who have had a similar experience.

Social media fuels the Ego. With each like, retweet, reblog, or subscribe, we feel a brief rush. However, if we notice that someone else is getting more attention while we get ignored, we may feel a deeper sense of rejection. And so, we chase the “high” that comes with the approval of others, feeding the Ego and starving our True Selves.

I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve had my spiritual or witchcraft-related content plagiarized or reposted in order for someone to attain the likes and approval that they so desperately crave. Or how many times supposedly spiritual and “empathetic” people have bullied and harassed people whom I know because they were perceived as more “popular.” Rather than build each other up, members of spiritual communities online are beginning to tear each other down.

This article isn’t to say that social media is evil or that you need to reject social media and the internet in order to be spiritual. Instead, this is a plea to everyone to be more mindful about the ways in which we interact with one another online. Spirituality should not be Ego-driven. If you have knowledge that you want to share, you should do so. However, if you’re sharing that knowledge in order to feel superior or to tear others down, maybe it is best to take some time to reflect on why you feel the need to take those actions.

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Spirit Initiations and Awakenings

When I first began this blog, I never anticipated talking about spirit initiations. It was never something that appealed to me as a witch. As the term implies, spirit initiation is when an entity, whether that is a god or spirit or other unearthly being, enhances and activates the power that exists within every witch. For those who subscribe to Traditional Witchcraft beliefs, this is a necessary starting point in their journey down their personal path. But for other types of witches, spirit initiation is seen as optional or not even considered. Since I myself am not a Traditional Witch, I existed in the latter category for the majority of my time as a witch.

For those who have undergone this form of initiation or awakening, it is often seen as life-changing and rewarding. However, it is also seen as a painful process. Most initiations, whether they are spiritual in nature or secular, include some sort of ordeal. Aspects of the self that no longer serve a person must be left behind, and the individual must be reborn. In the Spiritual Baptist faith, their initiation includes sealing oneself away for several days in an uncomfortable room with little to no food and water to symbolize Death and Rebirth. In Catholicism, a budding Catholic must undergo years of religious education, choose a new name, and undergo Catechism. Whether dramatic or mundane, simple or complex, initiations are intended to recreate a person.

And I was certainly recreated during my initiation.

As I said, the thought of undergoing an initiation felt a bit redundant. After all, I was already a witch and felt that I was fairly decent at it. And while I do worship deities, I don’t often involve them in my Craft. But over time, I couldn’t help but feel this pull towards initiation. It was like there was this desire inside of me: a desire for a deeper, more profound connection to myself, my Craft, my Goddess, and to the world around me. While I had certainly read that spirit initiation is less something you decide to do and more something that you are called to do, I could never have prepared for the experience of it all.

While I won’t go into the details of my initiation under Persephone as the information that I’ve learned is for me and me alone, I can tell you that it was simultaneously the most difficult and the most rewarding spiritual experience that I’ve ever had. In the beginning of it, after the formal “ritual,” it felt like my life was falling apart. Friends left me, electronics malfunctioned, projects that I had been working on for years had failed. I felt completely alone and very nearly fell into a deep despair.

But then I started to see the light at the end of the tunnel. And I was reborn.

The friends that I had lost were never true friends, and my relationship to my friends who stayed with me became stronger. The electronic malfunctions got me to step away from the Internet, a major source of my anxiety, for a period of time so I could truly find myself instead of constructing an identity that was palatable to others. (For example, I never would have written a post like this before my initiation; it would have been far too personal.) And the projects that had failed? They were projects that I had only continued to maintain for the sake of my ego and were actively detrimental to my spiritual health. In short, my life truly did fall apart. But a new, healthier life replaced it. Like a Phoenix, I rose from the ashes.

I wouldn’t label myself as “awakened,” as awakening is a process. I am certainly more “awake” now, but I am also aware that I’m back at the beginning in a lot of ways. This is the start of a new cycle, and I can hardly wait to see what I learn this time around.

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Primrose’s Healing Spell

Purpose: This spell is designed to heal astral/psychic wounds, not physical. This spell is best performed after being hexed/cursed/etc.

Note: This ritual is written to be practiced skyclad, but do whatever feels most comfortable for you. Make sure you research all ingredients and their safety before applying them to your skin.

Tools and Ingredients:

  • White towel
  • White blanket
  • Bowl and spoon
  • Aloe: promote healing
  • Coconut Oil: protection and purification
  • Blessed water
  • Salt: to cleanse and purify
  • White candles
  • Incense (any cleansing incense or burnable herbs will work: ex. sage, frankincense)

Procedure:

1. Take a bath or shower. Focus on cleansing away all of the physical dirt. As you scrub it away, begin visualizing any negative attachments begin to weaken.

2. Dry yourself off with the white towel and wrap yourself in it for a moment. Once you are dry, wrap yourself in the white blanket and walk to your ritual space(where you keep your altar). Make sure the room is comfortably warm.

3. Light the candles and place them on your altar. Dedicate the candles to speeding the Place your other ingredients on your altar. Cleanse your room with the incense smoke. Begin praying to ancestors, spirit guardians, deities, and other spirits who you typically involve in your Craft. Using your own words or a pre-written prayer, ask for their protection and assistance. Ward the space.

4. Approach your altar. Mix the aloe, coconut oil, blessed water, and salt in the bowl. Pray over the bowl and set the intention that this mixture will remove any lingering negative attachments, soothe any spiritual/astral/psychic wounds, and promote spiritual healing.

5. Dip your finger into the bowl and apply a drop of the mixture on the center of your forehead, the center of your chest, on the palms of each hand, above the navel, on the back of the neck, and on the bottoms of each foot. As you apply each drop, visualize yourself being bathed in a healing mist.

7. Afterwards, thank the spirits who helped you and say goodbye. Extinguish the candles and close the ritual with your preferred method.

8. Repeat this ritual once a day for 7 days.

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