Fiction Friday: Gifts For The Magic User In Your Life (A Bookshop Update!)
As of writing this blog post, we are a week from Hanukkah starting and a little more than three weeks from Christmas Day. It is gift buying crunch time, and every other blog worth their salt is putting out various gift guides for everyone on your list.
But what about the budding magical person in your life? The person who buys crystals because they feel like something a little more than a pretty rock? Who has started believing in the power of sage bundles and singing bowls? The person that has a corresponding candle for every need - and knows when to light them and use their flames?
Speaking to Ashley and Leslie recently had me reminiscing about our old blog, that we started as baby witches, trying to share our own budding knowledge. We’ve let the domain expire so the posts that I didn’t write have been lost to the annals of the internet, unfortunately, but as we were creating and working on that blog (and learning how we each worked as individuals, let’s be real) I often found it frustrating that there weren’t a lot of resources out there for baby witches. I realize that the magical community is older than the internet itself, so a lot of those resources are physical rather than virtual - it was one of the reasons we started that blog in the first place.
Since that time, though, I’ve been able to get my hands on a few books that I really like, especially as people are reclaiming their power lately and their beliefs in these things. Magic is having a moment. It’s no secret that I have always wanted to believe in magic, that I want magic to be real desperately and have always tried to find a way to make that world as real and tangible as the rest of the world. Since growing up, too, I have found that I am not the only one, and have been luckier still to create my own small coven with Ashley and Leslie and another friend, Aimee. I can go to them with any concern or question, beyond just being friends. We nurture this belief in each other, because there’s something to nurturing the power within the people in your life.
I put together a list of books at my Bookshop, that would make great gifts for any magical person in your life. There are a couple fiction, with heroines that aren’t as good-natured as typical heroines tend to be. There are a couple collections of stories, one with myths from all over the world for the goddess worshiper, and another with stories from the LGBTQIA+ world - how their lives intersect with the magic they use. And there are others that are great resources, for things that are maybe underrated, that treat them with the power they do hold - and how much anyone believes in them is up to them.
For the fiction side of things, I’ve listed A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik and Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust. They both have heroines who are strong and though unsure of their paths, are assertive in their lives - even when they make mistakes. Naomi Novik (the founder of fanfiction temple Archive of Our Own) has created a darker world of magic, and a different type of magical world, that is as refreshing as it is thrilling - where not everything is nice latin and pumpkin juice and magical feasts. Magic has a price, and her protagonist Galadriel is trying to fight against the prophecy her family set up for her - and survive her schooling in the process. Melissa Bashardoust’s book has a similar set up, with a heroine hidden away from the rest of her kingdom due to the curse on her skin - her skin is deadly poisonous to anyone that touches it. Based on and inspired by Persian fairy tales, the story follows Soraya as she tries to cure herself of her curse, and learns what the price of that cure is, and if it’s even worth it.
If fiction isn’t in the cards for the magic user in your life, there is Legendary Ladies: 50 Goddesses to Empower and Inspire You by Ann Shen, and Becoming Dangerous: Witchy Femmes, Queer Conjurers, and Magical Rebels. Ann Shen is an artist here in LA (and someone I am a big fan of) that created a beautiful collection of goddesses from around the world, with pages of their myths and what parts of the universe they preside over - should a person need to call on a goddess for guidance. Her art is beautiful, and each story goes straight to the heart. Becoming Dangerous is a collection of essays across the LGBTQIA+ spectrum, sharing their personal rituals that have helped them reclaim their power “in a world that would prefer them powerless.” All the rituals are used to resist and lend them power against the every day struggles of racism, sexism, slut shaming, and other systems of oppression. The perfect collection of magic for the fighter in your life.
If you are looking for something a little less heavy, there are a few good old fashioned resources I’ve recommended - Basic Witches by Jaya Saxena and Jess Zimmerman, The Astrology of You and Me by Gary Goldschneider and Camille Chew, The Encyclopedia of Crystals by Judy Hall, and Crystals: The Modern Guide to Crystal Healing by Yulia Van Doren. All of these books are perfect pieces for any level of magic user in your life. They all provide insight without judgement and can be constantly referred back to, as I have done repeatedly. They are not as serious as some books about magic can tend to be, and thus fit into any collection for any level of serious practitioner.
Magic, after all, is about the belief you put into it, and what you hope to get out of it. It is different for everyone, and every level, from the baby witches to the seasoned mothers and crones of the craft. This a guide, but by no means a mandate, and by even less means an exhaustive list. These are my favorite books, right now and forever, for any magical person in anyone’s life - if they are dipping their toe into the world or if they have already read all of them and need new copies.
If you have a friend or a family member or partner that has expressed any interest in any of these themes, I can’t recommend these books highly enough. I hope that they help you check a couple names off your gift giving list this year!
Disclosure: I am an affiliate of Bookshop.org and I will earn a commission if you click through the links provided and make a purchase.