Carve the Craft That's Yours Alone
by Kelly-Ann Maddox
This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Pub Date 13 Apr 2021 | Archive Date 6 Apr 2021
Watkins, Watkins Publishing
Rebel Witch reminds witches of the wondrous opportunity to jump into experimentation and invent something wild and individual, a practice shaped by their individual personality and life journey, rather than allowing themselves to be spoon-fed. It challenges witches to design a nurturing practice that is truly theirs.
There's information about all the elements of the craft, from energy raising, sacred space creation and receiving signs to casting spells, holding rituals, scrying, potions and much more ... crucially, in each case the topic is discussed from an exciting contemporary perspective. So, when Kelly-Ann talks about sacred texts, she stresses that you can choose the texts that resonate with you - so why not Alice in Wonderland or Narnia? Maybe you want to move away from the traditional Wheel of the Year and create your own divisions? Instead of honouring a traditional deity, why not construct your own, choosing elements from rock stars, movie icons or fictional heroes? Or embody magical signs in your clothing and jewellery? Creativity and experimentation are encouraged, with tips to help the reader to be inventive. A curious reader with a desire to create an inspired, deeply personal path and free themselves from conformity will finish the book ready to take action and make magick happen!
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 41 members
Love it! Like one of her housework ramble videos into one book. Love the write it out and try it sections - give the reader an opportunity to explore their own thoughts on the topic.
I loved this book and its ideas. From deciding whether you want to tell others about your religious adventures to daily practice in witch studies , Many things are covered in a fun and clear way. Each lesson or concept is discussed first. You are encouraged to write about what you think of the idea or exercise. The next step is actually an activity to implement it in your life. Read, journal, do it. I read each lesson with a smile because I recognised many of my own thoughts being expressed. Doing things my own way is something I never thought about before .What works for others may not work for me spiritually I understand.The problem was I didnt know anyone forging ahead with new concepts or ways. While reading this book I found I was having ideas and thoughts about doing things differently and then the journaling started. Just having an idea or thought is nice but actually doing it is another thing. Thats where the importance of writing about your experience comes in. This book is a well thought out and easily read account of making witchcraft part of your life in a meaningful way that encourages positive interactions with others and the divine. Very well worth reading and thinking about.
I follow Kelly-Ann Maddox on YouTube and have always enjoyed her unique approach to witchcraft and magick. In a world with so much gatekeeping, it’s refreshing to have someone encourage you to use your imagination and make your own rules. “Rebel Witch” is a very natural extension of what Kelly-Ann does on her channel and is a really great addition to any witch’s library. One of the beautiful things about “Rebel Witch” is that it doesn’t give super specific directions for spells and rituals. This book is more about inspiration and giving permission to witches who don’t fit the mold and want to know that they can practice their own way. Kelly-Ann points out so many interesting possibilities with lists of suggestions and ideas – things I had never even considered. More than anything, she reassures the reader that it’s absolutely okay for them to do things their own way. I would recommend this book to anyone who practices witchcraft, from beginners to experienced witches. It is such a great read to help reinvigorate your practice and boost your confidence about bringing creativity into your craft. * I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily. Thank you to NetGalley and Watkins Publishing.
But you can find your own way of doing it, dollface. Your craft, your rules – or lack thereof. The rebel witch process is about giving yourself permission to take seemingly sacred, non-negotiable things off the table completely if the fancy takes you! . This book is a well rounded way in to witchcraft. It has the A to Z to get you started on your way. From introductions in to the witchy calendar to helping you solve problems. I like that every chapter ends in an interactive way. It really helps you get engaged with the craft. And lets you find your own way. I highly recommend this book if you are thinking about or just started your journey. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
I received this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Let's get one thing clear: I'm ready to admit that I'm a fan of Kelly-Ann Maddox. I watch her videos on YouTube and I'm a patron of hers on Patreon. So when I saw that this book was available for request on NetGalley, I jumped with joy, clicked to request, and then spent a few days waiting. Waiting, waiting, waiting. And then... then I got the email saying my request was approved. I screamed. I legitimately screamed. And then I shed a few tears of joy. Aaaaaaaand then I rushed through this, I'll admit. I was in a rush because I loved reading this so much that I wanted to finish it fast so I could restart it. Mark my words, I will reread this piece of art in a few days, going through everything, savoring each word, doing every exercise (I did none of the writing stuff now, I thought about how I would answer the questions). Oh. Yes. The exercises! This isn't just a "read from page 1 to page whatever and you're done" kind of book, but this has two kinds of exercises: writing assignments and Try It! exercises. The first are questions and you write answers to them. The latter are, well, things to spice up your craft, to get you out of your comfort zone (in a comfortable way, of course). Kelly-Ann has a very adorable writing style. She uses petnames (so if you pick up this book, be prepared to called "chickpea" and "dollface" among others!) and some slang (which, I admit, made the book in some parts a bit difficult for me as a non-native English speaker... nothing a quick Google search couldn't save, however). Socially conscious and responsible, chock full of important facts and anecdotes. Five stars. Definitely recommend!
First of all, stepping into your own as a witch can be scary. I love that this book talks about deciding if you are going to tell others about your path. In my practice, I am very big on doing what feels right for you rather than doing what "gatekeepers" tell you. This was a very easy-to-read book packed with information for a witch at any level; from beginner to experienced. However, this is not what the average person would sit and read in one sitting. This is a novel that you use as a reference, continuously going back to it for more information.
Rebel Witch is described as a, “contemporary take on how to be a witch. Rebel Witch is an antidote to the cookie-cutter witchcraft agenda that gives a new perspective on the craft, asking each reader to create a powerful, personalised practice that taps into the current mood of female empowerment and spiritual rebellion” I didn’t really know about the author, Kelly-Ann Maddox, before the book but as soon as I knew I would be reviewing the book I did a little research and it made me want to read the book all the more. I came across her YouTube channel and she has so many useful videos that I am slowly working my way through. You may already know about Kelly-Ann and have ended up here because of her book, but I’m the other way around. I’m really glad I discovered her work on the Craft. As well as her YouTube channel she is a tarot reader, tarot teacher, a certified spiritual counsellor and now she writes books! She wrote the book during the several lockdowns we’ve had here in the UK and she has definitely become a little bit of an inspiration to me. Before getting to the content, I want to talk about the front cover because it is so beautiful! It was designed by Jenny Lloyd and you should definitely check out her other art because it’s all just as stunning. I love the colours that she has used on the cover - the blues and teals. Before I give you my thoughts, I want to mention some of the features of the book; what’s included and how it’s organised. It has been thoughtfully organised into three sections; let’s begin, make it happen, and let’s keep growing. Section one covers the main purpose of the book; what is a witch, the challenges and some inspiring and motivating thoughts from the author. The second chapter focuses on the ‘usual’ aspects of the witchcraft practice; the witches calendar - wheel of the year, deities and divine beings, tools, altars, sacred space, spells and rituals. At first it sounds like the norm, however, the author has put a unique twist on a lot of these ideas. Which I’ll get to later. The last section of the book looks at your continuing growth as a witch, including things you need to consider in your practice such as, your ethics, cultural appropriation (which is currently a big and important discussion in they Witchcraft community) and deeper topics such as shadow-work. After each chapter there are activities called ‘write it’ and ‘try it’ which allow you to engage with the topics that have just been discussed in the chapter. I found them interesting to help evaluate and explore what you want your craft to be. But I also didn’t feel that I needed to do every single one of the activities. The overall book focuses on a solitary practice. I feel that in recent years there has been a shift to witches being a lot more independent and solitary in their craft, rather than being part of covens. So it’s important to know this if you’re considering more of a group practice. Let’s start with some things I really loved about the book, for one the tone and style of Kelly-Ann’s writing is informal and she comes across as friendly. I found her vibe to be really comforting. It's nice to have this more ‘fun’ take on the subject as some witchcraft texts, I have read, can come across as authoritative and quite dry. The author also addresses the fact that there are already a lot of witchy books out there. If you watched my YouTube video about what I’m currently studying to add to my Witchcraft practice then you know that I feel like I’ve read enough about all the ‘beginner stuff'. There’s only so many times you can read about colour and candle correspondences, casting a circle, setting up an altar etc. So this is where this book differs, Kelly encourages a deeply personal practice that she describes as ‘authentic’ to you and encourages us to ‘leave behind what does not resonate’. When I started I did do this intuitively. I took what I wanted for my craft and left the rest, but beginners, especially, may feel a lot of pressure to embrace every aspect to be considered a witch. But this book is about ‘carving’ out a Witchcraft path that is yours and extremely personal to you. I love how Kelly describes it as ‘carving a path that winds around your psyche and goes to the door of your heart.’ She provides so many ideas and examples of what you could add to your craft that are unique and contemporary. I don’t want to give too much away so I’ll just give one example of something that stood out to me because it was something I already do. I’ve never really conformed to the prescribed belief that your altar needs candles, a chalice, athame, wand etc. and that they need to be placed in specific places on the altar to align with the cardinal directions representing the elements. It just never looks appealing to me, and doesn’t inspire me. The book mentions using images on your altar. I have a mood board (of sorts) that I change regularly depending on the seasons, wheel of the year or just depending on how I’m feeling. Kelly encourages the use of any images that inspire you - not just deities or things we would necessarily consider witchy. If you follow me on instagram then you’ve probably regularly seen my picture of Princess Mononoke from the Studio Ghibli film. I include her for the deep and spiritual connection she has to nature and I just love the film! At the moment I changed it for a picture of Jude and Cardan from Holly Black’s fiction book ‘The Cruel Prince’, for no real witchy reason other than I LOVE the book and feel a connection to the story and the characters. I also feel that the fae are very representative of Spring. Decorating my altar in this way was just something I did, but Kelly-Ann has confirmed to me just how important these books and films actually are to my Witchcraft practice. Not only does she explore unique ideas relating to altars, but also witchy tools, deities, sacred spaces and spellcraft. In the last section of the book, as I mentioned, it’s about making sure you are ready to go off on your own into your witchy world. The chapter I appreciated the most in this section was about scheduling and planning your Witchy time. Kelly-Ann does say that it may sound boring to talk about planning and scheduling your witchy time and not very rebellious, but I am all about the planning and organising! I love it! It makes so much sense to me because I am that witch that wants to learn and read and research and try everything that excites me, but actually making the time, and sticking to time to do that, can be tricky. This is definitely a chapter I’m going to come back to. I feel like I always have to offer good and bad things - because that is what a review is about. So if I’ve given a review where the book really wasn’t for me I consider what some people might appreciate about it and vice versa. So this is not really a criticism, it’s just something to consider. A lot of areas of Witchcraft are covered in the book and some people may wish to have seen more detail. For example, there are lots of types of divination practices discussed. However, there are no specific examples of how to carry out a technique - if that makes sense. I can understand why this might be, because if there was a guided example for each of the techniques then the book would be huge! Think about it more as an inspiration guide, where you can choose areas you want to explore in more depth. As Kelly says there are so many amazing resources out there that offer in depth guidance on your areas of interest. Speaking of other resources, I love the small ‘further reading’ section at the end - some of the titles went straight on my TBR pile! OK so time for some final thoughts: Even though I considered myself ‘settled’ in my practice and Craft there was still a lot said in the book that I didn’t realise I needed to hear and I found it to be incredibly inspiring. I think that even witches who feel deeply engrained in their Witchcraft journey, if you are open to change, then this book could help inspire your craft. Like I said at the beginning, and as Kelly mentions herself, there are a lot of books out there that cover Witchcraft for beginners and more are currently being written. This is not necessarily a bad thing. It means we have options and what may suit one person doesn’t necessarily suit another. I’ve read a few ‘beginner’ witchy books that I didn’t like because of things like the style or way it was written, maybe some of the views or ideas I didn’t agree with and that’s fine because those books may work for someone else. It is after all a personal preference. It’s a very subjective practice. With Rebel Witch I enjoyed Kelly-Ann Maddox’s writing style and tone and found that she held a lot of the same ideas and beliefs about Witchcraft that I did. As I was reading the book, I felt like I was agreeing with everything she was saying, and I love that she is honest and thoughtful throughout. To use one of Kelly’s phrases I felt ‘fuzzy’ while reading. Her personality really shines though in the book and I love the little bits and pieces she shares about her own craft. Although the book is called ‘rebel’ witch and is a very contemporary take on Witchcraft she still respects the traditions of the Craft and how important they can still be. I wish I had this book when I first started my witchcraft journey, for me she really nails what it means to be a witch. Thank you to NetGalley and Watkins publishers for the advanced copy of this book. If you want a copy of ‘Rebel Witch’ for yourself it is available to pre-order and it comes out on the 13th April.
A beautifully feminist forward contemporary guide to witchcraft. Very empowering and encouraging of finding your own path with a relevant and personalised practice. Kelly Ann Maddox has a beautifully engaging writing style, it feels as though she taking you by the hand as a guide and mentor. A beautifully inspiring read.