Ancient Spellcraft – a review

Laura Perry’s Ancient Spellcraft is a really interesting read, regardless of whether you’re a spellcaster. Let me start by clarifying that I do not work spells in any kind of witchy style, so I’m certainly not the person for whom the book is intended – it is written for people who want to use it to do magic. I find books about magic fascinating, however, and as a consequence have read quite a few such along the way.

Ancient Spellcraft is one of the most interesting spellbooks I’ve ever read. Author Laura Perry draws on what we know of a number of ancient Pagan cultures, to create a way of working that is likely a much better reflection of ancient practice than anything else you’ll find in modern witchcraft.

For most of our ancestors, life was not compartmentalised in the way it is today. Healing, magic, religion, luck, and so forth were all interconnected. Divination comes from the same word roots as divine – because it is the business of the Gods. Equally, all forms of magic were an appeal to divine powers for assistance. The lines between magic and prayer were not distinct. Who you might call upon, and how, and to what effect is an interesting area to explore, which this book does well.

The concerns of our ancient ancestors were not so very different from our modern concerns, in essence. Protection, security, love, sufficiency in the basics of life and a sense of what might be coming are things people have always wanted to know about. I like how this book gives us that sense of connection with our ancestors and puts our concerns into historical context.

The spells in this book draw on historical insights, but have been adapted to be suitable for the modern practitioner. I would have loved more details about the sourcing, and the adaptation process, but that would have resulted in a very different book, probably less useful for anyone who wants to work spells.

Laura Perry has put together something readable, accessible and fascinating. If you want to develop a deity-orientated magical practice, this would be the ideal place to start.


More about the book here –

About Nimue Brown

Druid, author, dreamer, folk enthusiast, parent, wife to the most amazing artist -Tom Brown. Drinker of coffee, maker of puddings. Exploring life as a Pagan, seeking good and meaningful ways to be, struggling with mental health issues and worried about many things. View all posts by Nimue Brown

5 responses to “Ancient Spellcraft – a review

  • syrbal-labrys

    I have Laura Perry’s Minoan Tarot deck. I enjoy the artwork there – happily devoid of Christian images. I didn’t care much for her book with the cards; in spite of her insistence on not assigning gender roles, assigning terms like “I emote” to female face cards and “I act” to male ones ticked me off! I think that reflexive anger would make her spellbook a hard read for me!

    • Nimue Brown

      I don’t recall anything like that in this one – given the source material some of it is inevitably gendered, but I didn’t get a sense of female as feeling and male as active in that.

      • syrbal-labrys

        That is good to hear; the art on her cards is marvelous but the wording/meanings she assigned was not merely gendered but sexist. To say a priest “leads” but a priestess only “helps lead”? One card even put it that the female subject should think about the matter at hand but neither speak nor act upon it, while the corresponding male figure of course carried out action. I was more mystified because by all relevant info, Minoan Crete was exceptionally egalitarian!

      • Nimue Brown

        that’s very odd! I haven’t seen the cards, but there’s nothing like that in the rest of her writing.

  • Nick Isabella

    Thank you for this wonderful book review, I will look into obtaining it.

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