Book Review: The Book of Shadows: The Unofficial Charmed Companion by NE Genge

You might be wondering why I would choose to review a book about the television show Charmed on a blog that specializes in paranormal events in the Victorian age. That is an excellent question but my answer is complex.

While I can’t prove it my sense is that Charmed is at least partly responsible for the revival in popular interest in all things Ouija. In the opening episode it was a spirit board that led the sisters to the discovery that they are the Charmed Ones. But that wasn’t just any spirit board; the board used in nearly every season of the show is one of the most breathtakingly beautiful boards I have ever seen. From the first moment I laid eyes on it, I had to have one.

I own one of the “official” replicas and I am not happy with it but the “Charmed Board” launched an entire genre of spirit boards. Like Wicca itself the board appears older than it is and made almost supernaturally from a single cut of wood.

That’s my board pictured below:

Charmed Replica 2005 front side

There are a number of makers creating Charmed or Charmed like boards for sale on EBay or Etsy. One of my favorites is MagiCraft Shop (magicraftshop). I think her board is stunning. Please check it out. She also makes a replica of the Charmed Book of Shadows if you are interested.

The show has major Ouija appeal but beyond that it is a fun and addicting show. They make some huge faux pas. For instance, I cringe every time the sisters say they are going to scry to find something or someone and then they dowse. Their world view, particularly when it comes to the dichotomy of good and evil, leans more to the Judeo/Christian tradition than the Wiccan. But hey it’s a fun television show and like all fiction it creates its own world with its own rules.

As a fan I have picked up a number of books about Charmed, some fiction, some non-fiction, even comic books but of all the books I have read The Unofficial Charmed Companion by NE Genge had the most lasting impact on me.

I have a complete library of books on Wicca and witchcraft but the techniques in what I will call “The Companion” are like nothing I have ever seen before. The book presents as a simple commentary on Charmed but along the way the author gives her readers one of the most concise and clearly explained introductions to witchcraft as any I have encountered.

In one section she gives instructions for the use of the Ouija that I have never seen anywhere else and I have some fifty odd books on Ouija and spirit boards. In my opinion, this brief two-page instructional is worth the price of the book but the author gives is so much more.

NE Genge covers all the basics of the craft in a non-sectarian way. After covering basic tools and their proper use including Ouija, she covers spell work in detail. Then in section five, “The Observant Witch,” she provides a commentary on every episode of the first two seasons. There were eight seasons of the series and I wish NE Genge would update this work to include her commentary on every episode but what she does with the first two seasons is give her readers an education. Her “magical notes” on each episode provide an indispensable insight into the real magical lessons of each episode.

It would be easy to overlook this book. Maybe you don’t like Charmed; maybe you have never watched a single episode. It doesn’t matter. This is a great book even if you are not a fan. If your inclination is magical this is a book you should not pass up.

Much love,
David

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