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Before You Cast a Spell: Understanding the Power of Magic [Kindle Edition]

Carl McColman
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

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Book Description

This book explains the universal laws and principles that form the foundation of magical practice and will help you find the confidence and skill essential not only to writing and casting your own spells, but to applying magic to every area of your life.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

McColman argues that readers must understand universal spiritual principles before they attempt to go about casting spells, raising or directing energy, or performing other kinds of magical procedures. Especially directed toward neophytes, his book uses a chatty style, employing catchy phrases such as, "First of all, let's get crystal clear about something, straight up. Magic and spellcraft involve power-spiritual power." The author, a spiritual writer, teacher and speaker, takes readers through the myths of magic, laws of magic, ethics of spellcraft and concepts like the Goddess and the God. His approach is slow and precise, as he suggests, for example, that readers wait three days before casting a spell to make sure they really want the outcome. "Have you really tried every possible mundane means to achieve it?" he asks. McColman, who grew up Christian, believes the notions that magic is superstition or evil are "outmoded." His modern guide promises a careful approach to changing life through magic.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1353 KB
  • Print Length: 192 pages
  • Publisher: New Page Books (October 15, 2003)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #240,935 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent! March 11, 2004
What can I say about a book on magic that has no spells in it, no rituals, no guided meditations and no instructions on how to cast magic on the cheerleader so she has warts?
I can say "Well done". I can say "Bravo!" I can say a heck of a lot.
Carl takes the position of "teach a man to fish" rather than taking the safe course of "give a man a fish" that most current spell books take. It is not the recipe of the spell that you need to know, but all the discipline and knowledge behind the spells.
Many magical-training courses seem to take the fish giving stance; the Masons, the Rosicrucian and Wiccan covens for some examples. This book is what every book of spells in current publication attempts to do, but can't given their space limitations. Instead, the current crop of spellbooks take the attitude of giving the reader what will sell and become, in effect, fishmongers. This book, by cutting out all the "recipes", is able to deliver instruction that every student of the occult must have.
Those that hate the "k" on magic will be pleased, as Carl does not follow standard practice.
I could write a hymn of praise for this book, but there are actually some things that are problematic. My major concern with this book like many others of this type, is the author's confusion of Witchcraft and magic with Wicca. Yes, there is the (by now) standard injunction that the Rede and the Threefold law apply to all magic. The author even states it applies even if you don't believe in it. I am heartily tired of seeing this particular statement.
If one can ignore that, this is an excellent book. I like the chapter bursting the common myths of magic, like "magic will make you happy" and "magic is a shortcut to fulfillment".
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Essential Overview of Magic! November 19, 2003
BEFORE YOU CAST A SPELL is the book every magical practioner needs to read first -- before they make some of the most basic mistakes. I love the way this book so clearly points out the most common myths about magic, and proceeds to explain what magic is really all about.
I especially love the way BEFORE YOU CAST A SPELL outlines the differences between magic, meditation, and ritual, and the way it describes how the way you interact with the chakras in your body make a huge difference in what happens in your life.
While BEFORE YOU CAST A SPELL doesn't teach how to practice magic, it is clearly the most essential guide book for anyone beginning a walk down the magical path. I give this book my highest recommendation!
Cynthia Sue Larson
-- author of "Aura Advantage: How the Colors in Your Aura Can Help You Attain What You Desire and Attract Success"
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Step one - know what you are doing... October 27, 2005
Here is a book for beginners unlike any other. This small, entertaining and easy to read volume has the odd feature of not containing a single spell. Among the sea of Cast-a-Spell variety books that have little or no information in them about the "why" and "why not" of spell casting this book stands out like a diamond surrounded by coal lumps.

Mr. McColman quotes an old proverb that says, "Give a man a fish, and you've fed him for a day. Teach him how to fish, and you've helped him feed himself for a lifetime." In a few short chapters, the author explores the ethics of magic in depth, something that is sadly lacking in other Wicca 101 books. He explodes myths generally assumed by a newcomer and replaces the myth with reality.

In several chapters he talks about what magic can and cannot do for you. He also explains why ethical magicians do not cast certain types of spells. He explains what magic is, where it comes from and how it works. He carefully explains why some spells work and others simply won't. He talks about spirituality and a path to a magical life. And he talks about ethics, again.

The reader is given a strong foundation on which to base their magical work. Mr. McColman will give the most inexperienced Witch the confidence and skill necessary to apply magic to every area of their lives.

W. Lyon Martin Author/Illustrator of "An Ordinary Girl, A Magical Child"
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential reading!!! November 8, 2007
This is an excellent book. It is written for people who are new to the world of magic, which the book clearly states. However, I've been involved in Wicca since I was 16, and the book raised some really good points for me. Most people who are new to the craft think that it's all about the spells. I made the same mistake when I started, I think most witches do. But it is about so much more!! If you have been in the craft for many years and have been happy and sucessful in it, I guess this book isn't a must buy. However, I think we all could get something out of it. In my opinion it's not at all "fluffy" to make sure that new witches are very clear about the law of return. It's about making choices and taking responsiblity, which the book does a good job of explaining. If you want to cast a spell on the evil slut who stole your boyfriend, I don't think the 3 days will change your mind. But I wonder how much sucess you'd have at it, since it's so negitive. But if you were clear about what you wanted to do and knew about the consqecuense, well, it's on you. I cast only a few spells a year, most are part of Sabbat rituals. I think that this book makes ethics and vaulues and responsibilty really clear, but the final choices are up to you (and the goddess).
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars It ain't for me
it's ok after reading a few chapters this book isn't want i wanted 1) is this guy is very rude in my opinion he sometimes i feel he sounds like a jerk there are better ways he... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Korey Lapp
3.0 out of 5 stars Great info, but seriously...put down the 2x4, sir!
I think the premise of this book is great: basically, the author drives home the points that a) witchcraft is not a quick fix for all of your problems and that witchcraft demands... Read more
Published 17 months ago by B. Warrick
1.0 out of 5 stars ...
The book was not quite what I thought. I actually got the first chapter through free online classes site and it seemed really great, so I bought it. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Ali
5.0 out of 5 stars this is simply a most have.
this book is great, if you every thought about casting a spell you really need to get and read this book, its easy to understand and sheds a hole new light on spell casting. Read more
Published on September 15, 2012 by Lisa Thomas
4.0 out of 5 stars Cast A Spell review
When I bought this book I was new to the Craft. A lot of people interested in witchcraft seemed to be in it just for the spell work. This book gave me great guidance in this area. Read more
Published on December 9, 2010 by James E. Allison
3.0 out of 5 stars Think before you act.
Although this book was easy to read and understand it left alot out that I felt should have been discussed under this heading. Read more
Published on January 29, 2007 by Linda Marsh
5.0 out of 5 stars The title tells it all
There ARE *very important* things to know *before* you begin any serious spell working. Sadly, what most 'newbie-pagans' only want are the answers. Read more
Published on January 1, 2007 by multifarious_reader
1.0 out of 5 stars Title is Deceiving
A more appropriate title would be "Before You Cast a Spell: Understanding ethics." He doesn't get into writing spells at all. Read more
Published on December 30, 2006 by Angel
3.0 out of 5 stars Good For Beginners?
As much as I loathe the author, he actually makes some good points for beginners in magick. The one setback is having to read through why this guy thinks he's freakin' Superman... Read more
Published on September 4, 2006 by Virginia Blake
1.0 out of 5 stars Complete waste of time and money!
Quite simplistic, Carl McColman seems to be suffering from a superiority complex! You can tell by his style that he is also the author of idiot books.
Published on August 9, 2005 by L. Chesley
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More About the Author

Carl McColman writes about the spiritual life. He explored many paths before taking refuge in the Catholic Church, which he joined in 2005. His newer books all reflect his love for contemplative, monastic and mystical Christianity. His older books covered a variety of topics including Celtic, Nature and Goddess spirituality.

Carl's work is characterized by an optimistic, expansive understanding of spirituality, rooted in Christianity while embracing the wisdom of the world's contemplative traditions. In his own words, "I am passionate about helping people to embody creative, joyful lives of love and service, formed by prayer, silence, and the wisdom of the saints and mystics."

Carl McColman learned the practice of contemplative prayer at the Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation. He is a professed Lay Cistercian -- a layperson under the guidance of Trappist monks. He regularly speaks, teaches and conducts retreats on contemplative Christian practice, and blogs at


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