Book Review of Shadows: The Big Book of Practical Spells by Judika Illes


Practical, inspirational, and comprehensive, The Big Book of Practical Spells is a useful tool and resource for beginners and experienced devotees of the magical arts. Here in one majestic volume is a basic introduction to magic; a psychic glossary; a primer on the four elements, colors, and magical supplies (including minerals and botanicals); and a compendium of spells for any situation you may face.
With Judika Illes as your guide, you will learn how to enhance your psychic power, cleanse your aura, protect yourself from malevolent powers, and create and use a wide variety of spells. There are spells for marriage, fertility, pregnancy prevention, babies and children, money, healing, and transitioning to the next life. These are spells that will help make life easier, more productive, and stress free.–

Let’s get 1 thing straight right here and now – Judika Illes fucking rocks. When it comes to spell books she’s the queen! The encyclopedia of 5000 spells is a wild and spooky ride in the best way. Every spell in the book isn’t modern or practical, but every single one is super interesting. In this book we get practical spells that also totally grabbed my interest.

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The book is divided into three parts – magic 101, magic allies, and finally Spells – but there are rituals and recipes and spells in every section. Nothing in the book comes from one particular religion or path, and actually a lot of different ways of practicing magic are explored all throughout! The first part goes through some common beliefs associated with practicing magic, different religions and traditions that incorporate magic, the elements, and common tools. The next part goes more in-depth into tools but also talks about working with plants and crystals and animals, and there’s a whole little section on dream magic! I was so excited to see multiple dream pillow spells for all kinds of magical dreams!

You might not be new to magic and think you don’t need this first part, but I found it to be a really great collection of info that will come up during spellcasting. It makes the book a great reference when you’re creating or even right in the middle of casting a spell. I also just loved the way it was all written and presented. I found it a great balance between modern magic, and the witchcraft I grew up practicing.

Photo by Halanna Halila on Unsplash

Ok this brings us to part three – THE SPELLS. The section starts with very psychic and magic-focused spells like aura cleansing, divination, psychic enhancement, and protection; multiple sections you’d put under the heading of LOVE like beauty, love, aphrodisiac, marriage and fertility spells; anti-fertility spells!; and of course money, enchantment, and death. It features everything from incense recipes to full rituals, magical baths, candle spells, divinations you name it. On pages 204 and 205 there’s the Hecate bath featuring milk, honey, and lavender (my jam) that’s very simple, and then this really intense Hibiscus “I Love Myself” Bath with a lot of ingredients! I love it because sometimes simple is the way to go, but sometimes gathering special ingredients is a part of the magic as she says in it’s intro: “This next bath ritual is one of the more time consuming to prepare but that’s an essential part of the ritual: you are affirming that you deserve the effort.” I loved that. None of the ingredients are impossible to find but hoo-boy will you end up with a big beautiful bath. I also loved that there was an abundance of info about using honey in magic!

Like any book of spells, 100% of the spells may not be applicable to your life, or might not work for you, but there are so many great spells in here to help you in your everyday life AND your magical practice. I would feel comfortable recommending this to anyone interested in working magic since it incorporates a good variety of spells from a bunch of different paths and places. I didn’t find any ingredients lists that I thought were completely outrageous or impossible, and everything was thoroughly explained with a big bad bibliography to match. Judika remains the QUEEN of spell books!

Judika also edited The Weiser Book of Occult Detectives which I adored and reviewed for Halloween!

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