Fire Lyte's new book, The Dabbler's Guide to Witchcraft published by Simon and Schuster, is one of the better books on witchcraft that I have read in a very long time. In his book, Fire Lyte promises to deliver practical knowledge to help you build a better foundation in witchcraft whether you're just getting started or you've been doing it for a while. In a book targeted at the average person with an interest in witchcraft, Fire Lyte manages to dispel many myths and misconceptions about witchcraft while offering different perspectives and food for thought.
This book is everything I wish I had when I was a new seeker in witchcraft. It probably would have helped me understand certain topics and concerns way earlier and saved me a lot of headaches and unlearning. I've been practicing witchcraft for a while now and I found myself nodding in agreement, stopping to reflect on my own practice, and jotting down notes for things to look into further. I find that if a book can make me stop and think, then it is definitely a book I want to keep on my shelf. Fire Lyte delves headfirst into topics such as spotting spiritual frauds, developing a filter, and cultural appropriation. He also touches on finding your reasons for witchcraft, whatever they are.
If you're not familiar with Fire Lyte's voice and style, then you're definitely in for a pleasant surprise. Fire Lyte has a way with words that is humorous without being sarcastic, honest without being blunt, and inspiring without being unrealistic. The book is written with his own personal flair, making the reading experience pleasurable and like sitting down for coffee with a friend. When difficult subjects come up, he isn't chastising but rather gives you the tools you might need to question what you experience and encounter. This definitely sets everyone up for success in terms of developing your own thoughts and opinions.
Fire Lyte was able to bring the magic and mundane together, blending seamlessly into a cohesive example for others. This is perfect, in my opinion, because he leaves room to question! I often find that books on witchcraft give spells and recipes but nothing else. There is no “why” included, and that’s my favorite question! He does a wonderful job engaging the reader, giving space for questions and room for reflection. The encouragement for the reader to seek out these answers for themselves is a breath of fresh air in a world that likes to tell us what to do and what to think.
I also very much appreciated the entirety of Fire Lyte's chapter that included the discussion of cultural appropriation. As a white cis-woman and someone who has been in the general community for a while, I try to be aware of my privilege and how my actions can affect BIPOC communities. As a young witch, though, this wasn’t the case. I didn’t really understand what cultural appropriation was or how it harms BIPOC communities until I got involved in the online occult space. I bought white sage. I told myself I was “smudging”. I never would have known better without the resources and hard work of those who educate online. This entire section is so important to the wider occult community and I like the way he approached it without centering himself in the conversation. Instead, he encourages the reader to seek out information from those communities and listen to them directly.
On that note, there is an entire section at the back of the book with recommended resources. This includes reading lists, podcasts, articles, notes, and citations. Fire Lyte mentions that the list of further reading and online media is not an exhaustive list but one that he thought went well with the book.
Out of the entire book, there is only one little part that I disagreed with and that is a section in one of the spells. In this spell, he says a piece of paper with glue and other bits can be folded into a boat and sent down a river or stream to keep an unwanted person away. I am all for leaving the earth better than it was before, and I know Fire Lyte is too because he mentioned it elsewhere in the book. I would suggest something other than letting paper flow down a river or stream. Other than that, the entire section of spells is wonderful. He calls them canvasses rather than spells, and for good reason. Within these spells, there are frameworks for customization as well as different questions and situations to think about. It allows the reader to think for themselves and know the reasoning behind the spell and subsequent actions.
Overall, I definitely enjoyed this book. The ARC I received was a digital version and I had already preordered a copy anyway. I can't wait to get it and go back through it. It is definitely a book that's going to stay on my bookshelf. I highly recommend it to anyone else that's interested in reading it!
The image used in this post is courtesy of Simon and Schuster at the link above.