Posted by: Nyxks | January 27, 2007

Gypsy Magic

Gypsy Magic
by Patrinella Cooper © 2002
Red Wheel/Weiser
160 pages
Paperback
ISBN 1-57863-261-7
$16.95 (U.S.)
Reviewed by: Mike Gleason

This is an unusual review for me for a couple of reasons. First, and most importantly, I know absolutely nothing about Gypsy Magic. Oh, I know a couple of folks with Romany in their backgrounds, but nothing about their magick, except for the occasional small bit encountered in works on other topics. Second, I normally get review copies from publishers, but I got this one through a book club I belong to, so I actually paid for it!

On the surface this is “just” a book of simple folk magic and fortune telling. If that were the extent of it, it would still be worth the price. But, it is more than that. It is a simplified (thus, easy-to-understand) guide to putting yourself in tune with the universe. No elaborate pantheons or ceremonies, it simply provides inspiration and guidance to learning to trust yourself and your own feelings, and that makes it all the more valuable.

Chapter 6 is composed of three charts: planetary correspondences (day of the week rulerships, and color), hours of the days and night, and aromas. All of this information appears in many books, so it is not unexpected. The only problem is with the planetary hours. This chart fosters the belief (as do many printed sources) that each planetary hour corresponds to a clock hour, when that simply is not the case. The technique to calculate the actual length of each hour is not difficult, it is simply time-consuming (an inconvenient at times). Still, it would have been nice to see the proper explanation given here.

Chapters 8 through 11 (pages 55 through 130, inclusive), comprising almost half the book, are devoted to the basics of assorted divinatory systems. While the information is very basic, it is also frequently reinforced by the reminder that: A) Nothing is set in stone’ and B) The only “meanings” that matter are what the indicators mean to the reader.

Chapter 11: “Working with the Tarot” illustrates several layouts, including a variation of the Celtic Cross spread that I had never tried before.

The book ends with some simple spells and herbal healing information. Again, this information is extremely basic.

While I don’t honestly think this book is great, it is one of the few books I have seen on the market written by a member of the Romany families. It certainly is not “an insider’s look at the Gypsy way of life,” but it does offer some glimpses. You don’t need this book to learn about folk magick, but you might enjoy it just as a break from heavier reading.

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