Recognize and celebrate the magic of life with timeless rites and spells. Create a magical household―a haven of harmony, safety, spirituality, security, and romance. The benefits include a happier existence, protection against thieves, improved health, restful sleep, satisfying spiritual experiences, and a perfect environment for positive magic. This warm and wise guide by much loved author Scott Cunningham has been helping people create sacred space in their homes and gardens for nearly twenty years.
Scott Douglas Cunningham was the author of dozens of popular books on Wicca and various other alternative religious subjects. Today the name Cunningham is synonymous with natural magic and the magical community. He is recognized today as one of the most influential and revolutionary authors in the field of natural magic.
Scott Cunningham was born at the William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Michigan, USA, the second son of Chester Grant Cunningham and Rose Marie Wilhoit Cunningham.
The Cunningham family moved to San Diego, California in the fall of 1959. The family moved there because of Rose Marie's health problems. The doctors in Royal Oak declared the mild climate in San Diego ideal for her. Outside of many trips to Hawaii, Cunningham lived in San Diego until his death.
Cunningham had one older brother, Greg, and a younger sister, Christine.
When he was in high school he became associated with a girl whom he knew to deal in the occult and covens. This classmate introduced him to Wicca and trained him in Wiccan spirituality. He studied creative writing at San Diego State University, where he enrolled in 1978. After two years in the program, however, he had more published works than several of his professors, and dropped out of the university to write full time. During this period he had as a roommate magical author Donald Michael Kraig and often socialized with witchcraft author Raymond Buckland, who was also living in San Diego at the time. In 1980 Cunningham began initiate training under Raven Grimassi and remained as a first-degree initiate until 1982 when he left the tradition in favor of a self-styled form of Wicca.
In 1983, Scott Cunningham was diagnosed with lymphoma, which he successfully battled. In 1990, while on a speaking tour in Massachusetts, he suddenly fell ill and was diagnosed with AIDS-related cryptococcal meningitis. He suffered from several infections and died in March 1993. He was 36.
I feel "Spells and Rituals" is a bit of a misnomer here. The book is a collection of folk magic for the home -- some spells and rituals are listed, but not many (my definition of ritual here is the more ceremonial magic inspired type, not the small little things we do everyday -- your mileage may vary).
I would have called it Spells and Recipes for a Happy Household. Cunningham packs this book full of things you can do to ensure peace and wellbeing in your house, as well as a chapter on portents for when things may NOT be so peaceful.
Is this book essential to every witch's practice? No, not hardly. However, for the hearthwitch who just doesn't know where to begin, this book would be a very handy starting point. Someone looking for a very specific spell and quickly would be best advised to look elsewhere -- this is the sort of book one has to read cover to cover to really reap the rewards of it.
I know I'm keeping it on my shelf of useful books.
Granted, this relatively quick read doesn't include much on full-blown rituals or spells, so if that's what you're wanting in a book, this probably isn't the one for you. What Cunningham and Harrington offer in these pages, however, is a collection of folklore/old ways that can inspire more creative spell working and talisman conjuring in the modern witchy household. Personally, I love learning about the folklore and traditions of the world and this alone has made The Magical Household one of my favourite Cunningham books. For those who have not fully stepped out of the broom cupboard, Cunningham and Harrington offer incognito altar/talismanic ideas that allow one to bring more magick into their personal space without screaming their witchiness. Rereading this classic has also given me ideas on crafts to make with my Boys (who have expressed interest in my Path). The Magical Household is not a book for everyone but it can help us hold onto hearth-lore and wisdom in a time where many of us lack an actual hearth. )O(
I guess the only reason I took so long to read this book is that I don't recall ever seeing it in a local bookshop and I rarely buy by mail/online. I got this (along with quite a few of the other books on my waiting list) with a prize gift certificate to Pentacle Press. So here we are, reading Cunningham like back in the day. lol So forgive this review of it's nostalgia and a bit of eye-rolling.
First, I'd forgotten how much Cunningham likes to give introductions. This book has a preface, and introduction to the book's content *and* an introduction on his viewpoint of magic itself. Each chapter begins with a healthy preamble of the topic (for example, before discussing magic involving personal cleansing, he talks about the psychological, elemental, religious, cultural, and emotional aspects of bathing. This feels like a *lot*!) It's also been a long time since I've read a book with a glossary at the end. That's pretty standard for Cunningham so regular readers won't be surprised.
Oddly enough, at times this book feels like it was intended for *non* magic folk. Because it's about revering the special kind of peace that can be found in a clean, safe, happy home, it would seem logical that any reader of any background would find it useful. This is especially true with the many tidbits of traditional folk magic and superstition throughout. But the overall handling of the information is very much Wiccan/Pagan. Working with Sabbats, altars, and lots of pentagrams might be a little too much for non-practitioners to bear. Plus, the title "The Magical Household: Spells and Rituals for the Home" doesn't really feel inclusive to those just interested in learning quaint and old-timey ways to make your home as welcoming as Grandma's.
As a non-Wiccan, I found myself skipping over bits of the usual dogma (so it seems to me): curses are always bad and cast by foolish/mean people, most bad magic is impossible (The Evil Eye is described as "the *supposed* glance capable of causing great harm...once almost universally feared." No mention of this being the simplest and most common kind of curse nor that it was feared because it was cast quite often and with ease.), and that magic is full of limitations and exceptions. I don't really recall why this book would need to talk about cursing at all, but that topic always seems to slip in with authors who are totally against the practice. But that's not a big deal to me. The hardest bit to overlook was when he gave information on protecting against burglaries but then noted that all the magic in the world won't protect you if you leave your windows unlocked. To me, this is puzzling. Why would a person invest time and energy into magic if they're just told to do the standard stuff anyways? Doesn't that just reinforce the nay-sayer's attitude that spells don't really do anything? If I *can't* lock my windows or have a good reason not to, magic *should* guard them. If I choose to leave my house unlocked, with all doors flung open and all my possessions completely vulnerable, I should know how to cast a spell strong enough to make thieves walk right by it. In short, I don't like to limit magic's abilities or have others tell me the limits of my own.
On the positive side, this book does give lots of interesting ideas. Because of the wide variety of information, of course, I found it to be hard to reference after reading. But the attitude of the book is inspiring and I'm sure I'll be adding even more magic to my home when I do my big house cleansing in the spring. This would be a good one to dip into now and then for ideas rather than read for specific information. For groups or families, several workshops could be made from this book and all with inexpensive projects, too! It's a sweet little book with the best of intentions.
I probably didn't read this book for the normal reasons. I was actually looking for a reference to another work that I'd read but couldn't remember the name. So I picked it up looking at the bibliography. Only then, I got curious about how he used the reference, and so I read the chapter surrounding it. And then, because I was quite drawn in by the writing style, I read the entire book. Possibly, due to it having a co-author, The Magical Household is quite a lot better than his classic Wicca for the Solo Practitioner (which I read almost 20 years ago for a class on World Religions). While that one is both descriptive and prescriptive, this one is much more historically based/scholarly in describing how European superstition and magical ritual elements of daily living came to American culture, and how it shows today in our word choices, among other things. This is completely not the book that I expected this to be from the cover. It's way better. Drawbacks: Although it will not be a drawback to most of his readers, he's writing from a solidly Wiccan perspective, and even though this book is way more inclusive of other religions than some of his others, it's still obvious author bias. Which is fine, you should just know coming in. I'm not Wiccan or pagan, so while I got what I came for from the book, I would recommend it sparingly and to people who could use it. I know, that's hardly a drawback to most of his readers. What I am, though, is Jewish. And I was a bit disappinted at many of the references to rituals that are clearly Jewish (for at least several centuries before Christianity) being referred to as 'pre-Christian' without any further mention of influence. We who know our ritual/liturgical history know of the surrounding cultures and religions and where their influence comes in. Saying something is 'pre-Christian' but without the easily accessible qualifier of where it came from, while at the same time describing in detail where Christianity got some of its ritual is quite a put-off, and somewhat feels like he's lumping everything pre-Christian into Pagan, which decidedly it is not. Even though the author/s do a surprisingly great job at etymology and have done clear research, this is not a history book. I wonder what potential this book would have if it were updated and re-edited?
This was a very good depiction of the different parts of the household and what the magical meaning was. The book was chock full of interesting tidbits from Pagan, Judeo-Christian, Eastern religions and more.
I liked that the book was set up with each area as a chapter and then it moved through the different magical lore about that specific area. There were, different magical associations and spells within each chapter. The gardening chapter was especially helpful.
A brief overview of mostly European folk rituals. It might be interesting for some, it wasn’t what I was expecting. I thought the authors contrasted what a “magical household” (in my mind a harmonious private space) meant for different cultures. But if you want to read about house-related superstitions this is your book.
With suggestions for how to bless, decorate, and magically involve every room and area of your house, Scott Cunningham's book helps magical people live a magical existence. There are ideas for outdoors as well as indoors, and though some might be a bit impractical, there is some useful philosophy in here (like why it's useful to cover a television when it's not being used, so passive entertainment isn't always focused upon as the major draw of family togetherness time). That said, I was living in a Floridian studio apartment at the time I read this book, and I got a little frustrated by repeated references to cellars, garages, and fireplaces. Not so much in a "well this section doesn't apply to me since I don't have that room" way, but in a way that made me feel like my living style isn't compatible with the suggestions that seemed to call for a sprawling, open, communal atmosphere.
Very disappointed. This book was definitely one of the worst books by Scott that I've ever read so far. This is not a book aimed to witches, it is aimed to those who simply wanna have a good atmosphere at home and is looking for something to help them. It is full of supersticions and history about house lores.
It does has some interesting bits, some interesting spells and a beautiful message about creating a nice enviroment at home, but I believe there are better books out there about household spells. The worst thing is that, the authors were recommending us to practise those silly supertisions that we know that do not work! I found my self often skimming through the reading.
I found this book kinda disappointing and I'm not sure why. It gave a lot of good suggestions for "magical" ideas for the household, but it wasn't interesting to read and it kind of assumed too much about your home (like, that it probably has a fireplace, cellar, et cetera; in other words, it assumes you DON'T live in a one-room apartment). I didn't take much away from this that I could actually use.
After having been a fan of the great Scott Cunningham for a few years I had to have this book. I bought it for my mother who was moving at the time. We both read it and were very interested in the use of folklore and history used in this book. For such a small book it stil makes for an excellent read.
As a practicing Witch, I find myself doing all sorts of rituals in the house daily without even thinking about it consciously.
This book is one I'd recommend to anyone who'd like to incorporate a few more "witchy" rituals into their household routines. They are well written out, easy to comprehend, and don't expect the practitioner to have advanced knowledge or a plethora of ingredients.
The 1-5 Star Review is the total of what I have to say about this book, specifically.
Caveat: This review is historical/archival in nature. 'Date read' is speculative.
This book is one of many books I have read about the occult/paganism/witchcraft. This was the readily available faith in my household as a child. Additionally, I worked for a company in this field, 2015-2016, and had to read an ocean of this stuff to do my job.
Like televangelists, and snake-oil salesman, these publishers prey on the vulnerable. The authors are mentally ill: suffering from 'magical thinking' and delusions. Worst of all, most of them can't write worth a damn.
Llewellyn Worldwide is the absolute worst on both counts. I wouldn't even trust their overpriced CALENDARS to be accurate.
These books are also big offenders on the the 'cultural appropriation' front. In fact, they're in the running for worst case ever. So-called 'eclectic witches' steal aspects of other religions and mythology. They make it clear that they don't understand them, or feel the need to, before shitting in someone else's bed. The publishers/authors then profit off this, leaving the reader less smart and more broke.
The living Venn diagram of demographics for these books would look like this: She's a white, American woman. She dropped out of college to attend massage/cosmetology school. Growing up, her strict parents took her to church every Sunday. She kissed a girl 10 years ago, and likes Katy Perry. To quote Holden from Chasing Amy, "Over- or underweight [people] who don't get laid - they're our bread and butter."
Though a copypasta of it, these books never tell you about hermeticism. They don't prime you to understand hermeticism. Hermeticism, by the way, is also total bullshit. It is, at least, historic -- and seminal in almost all spooky fiction involving rituals or alchemy.
If I give one of these books anything above 2 stars, it's a decent example of this type of book. It might have a redeeming feature, like reference material for fictional world-building. Having worked in this field, including sales of these exact books, I can tell you... the fix is in, they know it, don't buy this stuff.
Pleasant narrator. I enjoyed the overview of the history of tradition and rituals in managing house and hearth over the generations, from ancient times to more present day. I did enjoy how the author drew from a variety of cultural traditions, beliefs, and superstitions as they shared concepts.
Once the author started getting into more specific details, like use of certain herbs or items for various charms, it became clear that this section of the book would be best to consult via a print edition. Otherwise, the listener would need to take copious notes to keep it all straight. So for someone very interested in these ideas, it might be best to invest in a print copy for easy reference. There is a LOT to unpack here.
I also enjoyed that this author made it clear that anyone picking up this book need not feel pressured to change their beliefs in order to take what they would like from the book, and leave the rest. (For instance, I don't believe that bathing on certain days will achieve a certain goal, such as financial gain.) I think the main benefit of the book is to learn about various superstitions that have been passed down, rather than as a handbook of factual truth beyond cultural history.
Admittedly, I haven't read too many books about witchcraft. However, almost all of them have seemed like more of a pain than anything else. Collectively, whether it's Wiccan or general paganism or whatever, I feel like every book of magic I've read is like "make sure you have 5 white candles and 5 red candles and to do this spell that might get rid of a pimple draw a circle with your athame, light all the candles, call down some goddesses, recite a poem to them that sounds like a spell, blow out all the candles clockwise, and bury everything in your backyard." Quite frankly, I find this wasteful and cumbersome.
So, you can imagine how pumped I was when I picked this book up and it's nothing like that!! It's just a compilations of superstitions and beliefs. It's so simple. No fancy ingredients necessary. No ritual. It's just "hey so if you draw a pentagram in your soup with your wooden spoon that blesses it." That's what I've been looking for and I'm really happy about it. Highly recommend this book.
This is not a book suited for reading all the way through. There is so much information in every chapter, sentence after sentence, that it is best used as a piece of reference material or an idea generator whenever you are looking to make a certain part of your home/home journey more magical. At the same time, the book is not nearly long enough. There are so many things that are included without explanation, like sentences to the tune of "do this at 9AM on a Monday and you will money will come your way" or something similar, and the reader is just supposed to accept that as fact. There's no lore or story behind so many of the the practices in the book, but it does spend quite a bit of time explaining the significance of the place in the home the chapter is dedicated to.
The book feels unbalanced, but it is undeniably a wealth of practices and things to further research. That and that alone is why I rounded up the star count.
I enjoyed reading this because it has a lot of old folk stories and superstitions about the home in it. Some of these were things my grandfather would do and always swore by and it was sort of fun to see that those beliefs were based on a more widespread idea.
I don't think that the book is all that helpful, though. There is nothing within it outside the entertainment value of the folk stories that I think I could actually use in my house.
It was also rather interesting to see how much general attitude seems to have changed since this book was first published and now. But that was not the point of the book and was only incidental.
This book likely won't be a permanent addition to my collection of witchcraft books, but I'm still glad I read it. So long as you don't expect it to be super useful in your Craft, then I'd recommend it if you come across a copy of it somewhere.
Really enjoyed this very accessible and interesting book. Stuffed to the bindings with practical easy to use spells, folk wisdom and magic, wriiien in a slightly different style than his other books I can see the additional detail and succinct direct literary style which engages the reader with its sheer depth of research and involving style. For the price you can get this for on Kindle or 2nd hand paperback you'll be making a worthwhile investment if you are moved and inspired by excellent works like this. If you do read snd enjoy this book in a practising level, may I suggest to you the two very excellent books by Raymond Buckland entitled 1. Candleburning rituals and Advanced Candle Magic Similar in style and very well presented powerful practical spells and rituals and a lot more. Blessed be.
The book has many good points and I like this author, but stating that is a "shame" not to have a bathtub in one's home was unnecessary. Instead, the authors could show us how to adapt spells to suit ones particular lifestyles. All ways of life are valid...(as long one doesn't hurt others of course). Another thing: superstition is not magic. Magic is born from a place of power, superstition from a place of fear. I did not run from fear basic system beliefs to start believing in something that does not serve me but instead limits me. I don't have a problem with simple spells, I have a problem with beliefs that do more harm than good. And it's puzzling why this author would write a book full of old wives tales since in another one he states that broken mirrors don't give bad luck* (which happens to be true). *Earth power.
Scott Cunningham is one of the first pagan authors whose work really resonated with me, so whenever I read a book of his that I haven't already read, it's a pleasure. This book is a little bit different, though, being mostly a collection of folklore and some basic charm ideas like witch bottles largely grouped by theme, like rooms of the house, your car, or the garden. It have read quite a few pagan books and books of folklore in my time, so there was a lot here I had already heard about, but also a surprising amount I hadn't. The book doesn't detail the history of these ideas, and they pass by in a bit of a blur, particularly in the audiobook version, which I chose. This covers more ground than some of Cunningham's other work, so it is also a bit less detailed on specific topics at times, but I am also a bit nostalgic for that feeling I got when first reading his works, so I still really enjoyed it.
I hate to write a less than positive review of a Scott Cunningham book. I’ve loved his work and this is the first book to disappoint. It was only quick ideas that were just a sentence or two before moving along. I will admit, listening to the audiobook version was better for this compared to the physical copy. The few full rituals were very helpful and some of the ideas are great. I just didn’t love the layout of this book compared to his other works. If you’re willing to write down the paragraphs that apply to what you’re wanting to do, it’s fantastic.
Really adorable. Such a nice read to finish up on this chilly afternoon. Has a lot of great historic and cultural information on blessing, enchanting, and protecting homes. I had for example never thought of the hearth / fireplace as the centermost heart of the home until reading about the history of magic and hearths here. I can't wait to start making my home more magical!
This was just a cute little book about rituals and superstitions. It felt like the author also writes for the “Too Cute” show on Animal Planet. I recommend anyone curious about The Craft look into it for some light reading. It’s just too cute. 😊
I think this should have been a reference kind of book, but unfortunately it is written as if expected to read through. Lots of interesting things are told, but very little is said by way of explanation. My favorite part of the whole book is the chapter on the household altar.
Love this book! Great ideas for every aspect of your home and life. Learned a lot of information and will definitely refer back to this book for ideas on how to live a more magical lifestyle. Amazing information
Amazing! My only regret is I bought the audiobook and there are so many precious informations that I would have liked to buy the book instead in order to use stickers and add notes. It's a fascinating book! The audiobook narrator has an amazing voice by the way.