A Witch’s Defense Manual – by Jason Miller.
This has been on my radar, and on my wishlist, for quite some time. I’ve been very curious to see if I’d find any of it useful. Besides, I needed a quick detour from all the angelical content I’ve been consuming as of late.
However, this isn’t completely devoid of angels (what book on protection would be?), but they are far from the mainstay of the text. This release takes a broad approach to protective measures and reversal operations in general, which in turn makes it likely that you’ll find something that aligns with your own personal praxis. A good thing, I think.
Now, before we go any further, I like to point out that I actually disagree with the author on how common actual magical attacks, or curses, are. I truly don’t believe they happen that often at all, and I’d be very wary of books telling you that you are an easy target, because, in a roundabout way, they are “magically attacking” you, the target audience, subliminally suggesting that you need to buy their product. Even dubious “psychics” or other kinds of magic workers with questionable ethics might convince you that you are either cursed or under a magical attack, just so that they can in turn charge you money to lift said curse or attack. Be skeptical.
It would take a very powerful mage to make a big dent in reality and cause your real harm. Most people that have reached that level of potency in their craft wouldn’t even dabble in such petty activities as that anyway. They have better things to do and aren’t concerned with imposing on other’s will or do anything to you without your consent. If you are feeling that something is off, or that someone is after you, there’s a much greater possibility that something else is going on. Which this book discusses in its first chapter.
With all the being said, there’s no doubt that some people will stoop very low, and try to get revenge or just wish bad luck upon you. We all know the type. Those fueled by jealousy and unresolved anger issues can sometimes project their own self-hatred onto you. Most of us will come in contact with them in one way or another throughout our lifetime. Even if this varies a lot cross-culturally, these attacks or curses might not even be intentional. Factor in the fact that you’re practicing magic and/or witchcraft, which attracts all sorts of astral entities and energies, and things can get weird. Fear not, this book has got you covered!
To fast forward a bit, and cut straight to the chase, what Mr. Miller advocates, is a regular practice of meditation, banishing rituals, and offerings. This aligns 100% with my own beliefs and experiences, and just for the information on this alone, I highly recommended this book as a starting place if you don’t already do these three things regularly. I’ll even go one step further and say that in most cases, all you really need is a daily meditation practice, as that will take care of most of the interference that comes in your way, on every level, from physical to the etheric and auric planes.
While I certainly enjoyed reading this book and found plenty of helpful advice, I have a few issues. First and foremost, Dion Fortune’s influence is seemingly downplayed, and she was only mentioned once in Chapter 1 and in its belonging footnote in the Notes section. Dion Fortune’s book Psychic Self-Defense, albeit terribly outdated in parts (as well as Fortune being somewhat problematic as most, if not all, magicians of the past tend to be), is regarded by many as the go-to primary sourcebook for magical protection.
What’s also curiously missing is a dedicated bibliography, although we do get a decent list of suggested books for further study, as well as an index. The latter is always welcome, even if in this case it’s a little on the short side, and I found the two things I actually looked for in it, Angels, Dion Fortune, and Florida Water, was not included (but there were luckily room for me to pencil it in in my own accord, so problem solved).
Furthermore, although I understand that each case of attack or curse etc. is unique and requires countermeasures specifically tailored to accommodate it, I personally feel this could have benefited a little from being more specific in places. You’ll also find that a lot of the included material is heavy on the Hekate side. Even if in most instances this is used just as an example and a way of demonstrating how to put rituals in practice, the inclusion of deity-neutral alternatives would be a better option in my opinion. And I’m saying this as someone who does work with Hekate.
First released in 2006, most of the material holds up, but I think an updated and revised second edition would be awesome. All of my criticisms can be considered to be minor, yet many areas could be improved upon, perhaps making this one of the newer go-to books for protection and reversal magick.
All in all, a good manual to have at hand should you find yourself being the victim of a magical attack, or just want to your protection game, or. This book should prove to be a useful resource in times of need and will be a very handy book to have a future reference. I keep finding myself referring back to it a lot, looking things up, well after I finished reading it.
Lastly, a huge thanks to Laura for giving me this as a Christmas gift!