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Encyclopedia of Witchcraft: The Complete A-Z for the Entire Magical World Hardcover – October 7, 2014
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About the Author
Judika Illes is an independent scholar, educator, and author of several books of folklore, folkways, and mythology. Judika is a graduate of Rutgers University and has a certification in therapeutic aromatherapy from the Australasian College of Herbal Studies. Her books include Encyclopedia of 5,000 Spells, Encyclopedia of Spirits, The Element Encyclopedia of Witchcraft, The Weiser Field Guide to Witches, and The Weiser Field Guide to the Paranormal (published under the name Judith Joyce).
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This encyclopedia covers everything about the history and lore of witchcraft. It covers some herbs and spells, but mainly it focuses on history. For example: It covers several historic cases of witchcraft trials and "well-known witches". If you're looking for a book of spells and witchcraft instructions, this is not the book for that purpose. This same other does have several other books fitting that category however. One is "The Encyclopedia of 5000 Spells." Well I haven't read that particular encyclopedia, anything written by this author seems to be well researched, easy to follow, and entertaining. She is a good writer and there is a down-to-earth quality to her writing. Almost like she's talking to you rather then you reading a book. Highly recommend this book!
Now, I could do without Judika defaulting to calling witches females/she/her/women in the book, but she DOES state that all genders can be witches if they so choose. She's by no means a flawless author, and truth be told, no author is, but she's definitely got some major experience under her belt. Don't get this book if you're expecting a COMPLETE guide to anything, you'll need more than just this book. It covers a small selection of each topic, sometimes skipping quite a few deities in pantheons and such. This was entirely expected, because complete never actually means complete with books like this. No one knows it all, after all.
The book covers a VERY wide range of topics, hence the somewhat small selection for each one. No matter what path you're considering, you'll probably find at least a couple things about it, and learn about others while you're at it. No matter what books you get, always remember the importance of cross-referencing, but also remember that sometimes the lore on something is not the end-all-be-all for information about it. Don't be scared to experiment with what things mean to you (as long as you don't eat something poisonous or something ridiculous like that!) and figure out how it works best in your practice.
Not everything in the book is strictly about witchcraft, so even on-witches might find some use in this if they're interested in lore on deities, old holidays, and general history.
Overall I found the book really useful as both a useful reference and an interesting read, and I 100% recommend it to anyone who's still on the fence about it