164 of 168 people found the following review helpful
on December 14, 2007
I read through this book rather quickly, as it is not all that difficult to read or understand. That is one of the signatures of works by Dorothy Morrison, easy to read and understand.
I also found myself nodding my head as I went through her basics for what she offers in this book. Yes, there is an ethics discussion.
And if you are under the impression that Ms. Morrison should have gone further into ethics, this book is not for you. Personally, I feel if you need a dose of ethics with a witch's book on hexes and curses, then you should do as she suggests in the opening of the book: Close this book now and put it back on the shelf.
Ms. Morrison does an excellent job covering the basics of our practices involving curses and hexes. And while she does explain that we should use this as last resort, she also points out that many times we have good reason and we should not ignore it.
So, moving on, the book is typical Morrison material. We are presented with the hows, the whys, and all the recipes to do. I love the "11" doll" material. Damn, I never thought of that! I also notice that much of the material is adapted from hoodoo basics and this is good. Hoodoo is a working tradition; working because it is effective. To adapt this material from a working practice is smarter than trying to make up your own. Why waste the efforts to create something that is already in place. I also think this is a great education in the workings of our native magical traditions.
This book contains the now famous "Swifting of Energy" working that everyone wants. It's a great spellworking! Just right for the beginner or the experienced witch.
There is a section on reversing hexes and curses as well. You never know when you may change your mind, or if someone else will whap you with some of this wonderful stuff.
If you've got the guts, if you know that it's now time for you to drop the fluffy ball and move into the real realm of witchcraft, this is an excellent primer. The recipes are wonderful and I recognized many of them. Others are great Morrison improvisations utilizing time honored traditions and sure fire workings. This is another one of Dorothy Morrison's instructional manuals that adapts tried and true magic and brings it up to date and into the real world. boudica
79 of 81 people found the following review helpful
on February 25, 2008
This book is an absolute treasure! I was delighted when I saw this book. After reading it, my initial delight was justified. This book has been a long time coming for many of us. I have been a part of The Craft for over 20 years and in that time a lot has changed. Witchcraft books are now available everywhere, not just from specialty shops like they were back in the day. As a backlash to Witchcraft being perceived as "dark" and "evil" by the public at large, an entire movement began which portrayed the strongly ethical, "good" and "benevolent" side of The Craft that exists. The Problem was this caused a great lack of balance for new people coming into The Craft. Witchcraft became(to many), "airy-fairy",whitesy-litesy" and "fluffy-bunny" (among other terms). Many new, modern Witches were scared to act to protect themselves or others as a result of others interpretations of the Wiccan Rede and Three-fold law. Dorothy Morrison has blown all that away with this truly ground-breaking book for our time. She has really put herself on the line with the Wiccan community as a whole and I applaude her for it! This book is not about doing evil to others for selfish, self-serving purposes. This book (to me at least), is about arming yourself with the proper tools to fight when and if you need to. This book is about balance. There are times when it may be called for to defend yourself when attacked or provoked, or to defend others who are innocent and are not strong enough to defend themselves. We are Witches, we should hold ourselves to a higher standard as Priestesses and Priests and part of our responsibility is to help those in need and sometimes that means taking the appropriate action when neccesary. Weighing both sides of a situation and coming to a balanced, correct outcome for us to take. This book gives you the tools to help you when that outcome means for you to defend yourself or others. She fills her book with spells, curses and hexes from a variety of different occult and magickal societies. From good old fashioned Witchcraft to straight-up Voodoo and Hoodoo practices, they are all here. Her writing style is simple and easy to follow. She writes with homour and experience making this book a pleasure to read. Each chapter deals with a different type of circumstance, making it easy to find the right spell needed for the right situation. The back of the book has a list of supply houses where some of the items listed in her book can be obtained for those in need. I cannot stress enough what a valuable book this is. Everyone in my Coven is getting a copy! I encourage you to do the same if this is your path.
150 of 169 people found the following review helpful
on September 19, 2008
I ordered this book out of curiosity more than anything else as I am both a Wiccan HPS and a practitioner of Hoodoo/Conjure. During my years of practicing this tradition I've come to prefer it over witchcraft because it is rooted in long standing tradition, which helps to guide the practitioner, and was born in the US. I have found, over the years, that what is available in most books on witchcraft is rather generic as it as been cut-off from the cultures and traditions that first gave birth to it.
In this book, Morrison has taken elements of Hoodoo practice and Wiccanized them to make them more palatable to her Neo-Pagan/Wiccan audience, much along the same lines as Stephanie Rose Bird and Ray Malbrough did. Tapping Hoodoo seems to be a growing trend amongst Neo-Pagan authors when they are trying to write a book dealing with the darker aspects of magical practice. I can only surmised that this is happening because the darker aspects of witchcraft practice have been feared and ignored by Neo-Pagans/Wiccans for so long that they have become forgotten and Hoodoo is being used to fill the gap. Below I've included a few examples of what Morrison has included in her book, and how it differs from traditional, authentic Hoodoo.
* A discussion for those concerned with the Wiccan Rede and Three-fold Law, in the first chapter. While it is an intelligent discussion neither of these are of concern to those who practice this tradition as they don't exist within Hoodoo. Hoodoo doesn't come with a built-in set of ethics so they are going to vary greatly from one practitioner to the next, and a person's ethics are their own business.
*Using terminology from European witchcraft to describe Conjure practices. For instance, what she calls a poppet is more commonly called a "doll-baby" or a "dollie". She also seems to prefer the word "hexing" to "crossing" or "crossing up" someone, terms that are commonly found in Hoodoo/Conjure.
*Wiccan-style spells created with Hoodoo parts. This is all over this book, and is the main reason why it is another generic form of magic and does not reflect the tradition Morrison is pulling from. For instance, in none of the cleansing spells is the practitioner's first morning's urine included as part of the bath when doing so is almost a universal practice within the tradition. Nor does she advise the reader that a magical/spiritual bath should be taken at a certain time of the day depending on the purpose of the spell and the water disposed of ritually.
*There are no rules in Hoodoo concerning numbers; however, 3,7,9, 13 and 21 are very favored by those who count the number of ingredients, recite prayer/spell a specific number of times, tie a certain number of knots, etc. There is a belief that even numbers (2,4,6) are stable and stagnant.
* The complete removal of all traces of Christianity from the tradition, and the inclusion of things like the Norse Runes and curios related to the spirits of Regla de Ocha (Santeria), among other things. None of this has any place in Hoodoo, which is deeply rooted in Christian symbolism and belief. I will say that, Morrison is completely correct when she states that Hoodoo isn't a religion, but she fails to acknowledge that it is still a very spiritual tradition that is deeply connected with Christianity to the point they are inseparable. Spells are often closed with "In the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit" or "In Jesus Name" Likewise, in Latin-based areas of the country the Catholic saints are often worked with.
*I haven't completely analyzed all the spells given in this book, but I have seen several that have me scratching my head. For instance, her recipe for War Water contains no iron!!! Nobody would make War Water without iron because it's the inclusion of iron,along with two other important ingredients, that makes it War Water. Many of her recipes also disregard herbs/roots that are very well-known and within the tradition and commonly used for a particular spell. Also, no practitioner would include Myrrh in any of this type of work because, according to tradition, it doesn't have any uses in "bad" work. She also seems to place zero emphasis on personal concerns, especially, those of the target. For instance, her "Condom Spell" to stop sexual harassment should be reworked completely if the condom doesn't contain the sexual fluid of the target.
My last criticism is for the bibliography itself. Out of the 32 works cited there is only one book, "Hoodoo and Voodoo" by Jim Haskins, that is decent and relates directly to Hoodoo. The other books deal with Afro-Carribean religion, European witchcraft, Morrison's own works, or are other Neo-Paganized/Wiccanized Hoodoo books. Since this is not a book about Hoodoo it could be said that the more authentic books on Hoodoo/Conjure aren't really necessary, but it would have been nice to see them listed since Ms. Morrison is tapping the tradition.
In closing, I feel I have to cut Ms. Morrison some slack on this book. Clearly, she's not a practitioner of Hoodoo/Conjure and her target audience are not Conjurers either. I don't think it is possible for any Neo-Pagan author to write a book that included authentic Hoodoo practices and have any success in selling it to the Neo-Pagan community so books like this get published. It isn't a bad book, but please don't make the mistake of purchasing it thinking you will learn, or will be practicing, in the authentic Hoodoo tradition, you won't be. If you can accept it as another generic form of magic and use it as such you may have good results.
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on December 1, 2007
I could not wait for the release of this new book, and to my surprise I was not let down at all! Once again Dorothy Morrison has captured my heart in her down to the nitty gritty getting real book of being a true witch in today's world. I've been a witch nearly all my life, so books tend to let me down with repeated information, or the same information worded a new way. This book takes a real look at everyday issue's each of us face at some time or another, the wording is perfect! As if she is sitting right there talking to you, like a wonderful sister you spend time with. I love her logical approach to blending all areas of the craft. You can not take the sweets, without a few sours, and this books gives you recipes and guidelines to get you well on your way! I highly recommend this for the experienced witch as well as one who is just starting on this path, as it finally brings those taboo issues out in the open where they belong. The things you wish others would talk about, she discusses openly in a magickal manor just as they should be.!Not only did I purchase this book for myself, so far I have also purchased it for several of my closest sister. If I could only choose one book to carry with me throughout my journeys as a witch, it would be this book! I love it!
40 of 45 people found the following review helpful
on January 30, 2008
My only complaint about this book is, it should have been longer! More! More! More! 5 stars? How about 25!!!! Well written and funny! I can't tell you how long I have searched for books-for WITCHES! Not wiccans-WITCHES! A good curse or hex is many times well needed as well as well deserved! At last someone has figured out that all witches aren't wiccans (or satanists for that matter!)-and that their is a dark to the light!
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on May 14, 2008
This book is well written in a conversational style that appeals to me. She seems to know her stuff. She includes instructions on how to reverse hexes and curses, and her take on energy is more like mine than anyone I've come across so far in the arena of published books. In fact, I got a couple of good ideas from it, not so much to curse or hex, but sensible and positive use of negative energy. Her take on energy and energy use is one of the best. She makes a lot of sense, and brings up things that some people might not clue in to on their own.
Much of what is covered isn't actually nasty, though some of it is very, very nasty. one I just got shivers from reading and I wouldn't ever do it. Or let me say, I can't imagine what provocation I would need in order to make me resort to it.
She includes some cleansings, which are excellent. She provides alternatives for many things in the book from if you don't have a bathtub to if you can't find a reversing candle to if you don't have access to where you need to place or bury the packet or doll or item.
She has a common-sense approach to getting the ingredients to a spell. as an example, when you need sulfur you don't have to buy some from a metaphysical shop or the internet, simply scrape the heads off some matches. A very practical book.
Her primary requisite for the reader is focus. Will. Concentration and vividness in imagery. She seems to be spot on magickally, and her ethics and stance on the use of hexes/curses reflect my own in many ways. I like that she points out both sides, including to-be-expected repercussions and possibilities and then leaves it up to the reader without any further soapboxes or preaching.
This book uses a purely magickal approach: although she does mention particular gods and goddesses now and then, it has pretty well nothing to do with spirituality; that's out of the book's purview.
It is a book I would recommend without hesitation to an experienced, seasoned witch or magick practitioner.
She has a nice section on poppets, and from an entirely 21st century pov along with a short reference list of substances and what they will do in the spell you use it in. She brought up things about poppets that I had not thought of.
She is a proponent of using dirt in spells and hexes. Graveyard dirt, dirt from other places for other reasons, which rather startled me. I have been in the way of thinking that "dirt from a grave or graveyard" was something out of the middle ages that didn't have any real value to a modern witch or magickal practitioner. After reading this book, I have revisited that issue, and intend to try it out in workings I do, just to see. She mentions additional positive uses for it in other types of spellwork, not exclusively for cursing or hexing.
I liked the book, and feel I got good value for the price.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on April 27, 2010
This is a very likable book, written in a style that's unpretentious and easily understood. There are a few places where the editor didn't notice the author had "gotten ahead of the instructions". One example: obtaining dirt from crossroads. This is only explained in little detail further on in the book. I assume the crossroads dirt doesn't have to come specifically from a cemetery and can be taken from crossroads in a location best suited for the solving the problem at hand. The index also could use a bit of work...try to find "Goofer Dust", for example: it isn't in the index.
I disagree with the three-star reviewer that this book has anything to do with Wicca: the book isn't religious in tone. Wicca typically requires on to spend a bundle on special supplies and is a bit heavy on the ceremonial aspects of magic -- this book doesn't have that ponderous feel about it.
Instead, "Utterly Wicked" seems to be intended for those who often work alone and don't want to invest a lot of time in ritual. The author offers many excellent recipes that can be made from herbs, spices and (if you don't mind digging a bit of dirt up around headstones, police stations and courthouses) you'll find you're already in possession of many ingredients and be able to create your own special blends without extra expense. The author also offers creative work-rounds that will have you buying from thrift shops and making use of magic markers and duct tape. This is all quite encouraging. In magic(k), while the props help focus our thoughts, it really is the thought that counts.
Dorothy Morrison also deserves congratulations for having a conscience and knowing the importance of being absolutely correct before putting a Hex on another person or persons. This really is a process requiring a great deal of "soul-searching". When we are in a frenzy or very angered by a person we feel has committed an unspeakably rotten act against us, this may be a good time to channel our energies into getting back at the reprobate. However, I've learned that often it is best to invest the time in thinking the situation through, upsetting though it may be to do so -- often one finds they are not entirely without responsibility for a bad outcome, even though one's intentions may have *felt* entirely noble at the time. Thus, applying a curse or hex to someone would, for me, be the exception rather than the rule. I do appreciate the author including some recipes for healing oneself and others and, should one find things going very much awry, ways of putting a stop to the Curse or Hex.
If I would take issue with anything in this book, it would be the suppliers recommended: these people may "have every supply and be willing to create custom blends", but they are among the most expensive of online suppliers and I was less than impressed with their sites. One might want to check into suppliers of medicinal and culinary herbs who sell in bulk or visit somaluna dot com and get an education about herbs, woods, resins, berries and the extraction process while doing a bit of comparison shopping.
Overall, a well-written book with an emphasis on good old fashioned "hoodoo fusion". The attitude expressed in this book is: "it is not necessary to wait for a certain phase of the moon or require that preparation be done during certain planetary hours: again, this argues against the label of "Wicca". Just as Chaos Magick often cross-pollinates with quantum physics and Neuro-Linguistic Programming, certain philosophical and metaphysical "systems" readily overlap and blend. "Hoodoo" is based in animism and original (rather than Neo-) paganism. These are not disparate ideologies.
I consider "Utterly Wicked" a keeper, filled with useful information. Better to have a copy on your shelf, rather than wait until all hell is breaking loose, the wolves are halfway through the door and you are considering possibly breaking the law in order to cause your obnoxious neighbors to move.
One more added benefit: I am not, not have I ever been, a Domestic Goddess. Dorothy Morrison inspired me to do some needed deep cleaning on my abode. I thank her for lighting a fire under me! So, if you are as I am a bit chaotic or less than thorough in your housekeeping, her book will likely inspire you to get things in order -- much as it did me. So? Buy it. So be it. :)
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on November 25, 2007
Just finished reading my copy and I've got to say it's extremely well-done. Well-written, solidly based, and well-reasoned, this book will delight those who are looking for more information on magick as opposed to prayer or supplication. As others have noted in reviews and comments elsewhere, this book addresses a topic that has fallen out of favor in Wicca today, so it won't be unanimously praised or accepted, but it will find a place on the shelves for those wanting a more encompassing view.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on March 31, 2008
If you've been waiting for a real witchcraft book, the one that will give it to you straight between the eyes and then some......
then here you go..Dorothy delivers!
If you've ever done magickal work and felt like it didn't work...this book can help you figure out why.
If you've been wondering about those witches who would hex you and how they'd be able to do that...you'll appreciate the insight.
If you're a witch and have had floating around the notions that all the other books clammoring for your attention out there are Juuuust maybe not giving you the 411 on how witchcraft really works...This is the book for you. Enjoy.
You don't have to get this book and spend the rest of your life hexing people (unless you need to of course)
but you Can have this book and finally understand how magick really works. An excellent resource as well for explaining what items are good for using what. You decide. But dealing with being a responsible witch is a topic that has been long overdue by authors out there -
Finally, someone tackled the nitty-gritty!
All I can say to Dorothy Morrison is a simple "Thank you!"
Dealing with balance and living in balance is valuable indeed.
The Ink Witch
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on July 8, 2008
This was a great book. The material was a bit dark, but after reading so many "white witch" books, it was a welcome change from reading about good magic. While I don't foresee myself ever using this book to curse or hex, the information contained in the volume is written well, in an easy and conversational tone, as well as useful for more than just what the title suggests.
I highly recommend this book, if for no other reason than the home protection, energy transitioning, and cemetery information she provides. She also added recipe for powders, incense, etc. and has several listings in the back of the book on where to obtain supplies, something that many books sorely lack.
After reading this book, I plan on buying her backlist. It as simply that good of a book.