Wild Magic by Danu Forest

Book Review: Wild Magic by Danu Forest

About Wild Magic

Those who have heard the call to explore the captivating world of Celtic folk traditions will find themselves immediately entranced by Wild Magic. Densely packed from cover to cover with invaluable wisdom and insight, it is a book that implores you to take your time as you carefully study each delightfully descriptive page. As I’ve embarked on my own journey to discover and connect with the magickal history and traditions of Celtic spirituality, Wild Magic was one of the first books to catch my eye – and while the simple, seven-word subtitle of the book was what initially ignited my interest, I was absolutely astonished by the sheer breadth (and depth) of information that Forest was able to share in just over 200 pages.

As the name suggests, the vast majority of the book is dedicated to exploration and discussion of the elements. Following Chapter One (An Creideamh Sí: The Celtic Faery Faith), Forest delves directly into the sacred triplicity of Earth, Sea, and Sky, with a full chapter dedicated to each. Fire Witches, don’t fret! The element of Fire also receives its own chapter, along with the concepts of forging relationships with magickal plant allies (Our Green Kin) and connecting with your local land and land spirits (Honouring the Sacred Land).

“We are still, under our layers of modernity, as we were meant to be – wild souls, sparks of the divine, powerful living spirits, each a part of the sacred living earth, inseparable and whole.”

Wild Magic

Now, if you’re familiar with Celtic spirituality, you may know that the concept of animism is central to these traditions. However, if this supposition represents new, uncharted territory for you, know that the material is not rendered inaccessible as a result. On the contrary, the author’s personal anecdotes, coupled with the experiential practices she shares, offer ample avenues to bring the more conceptual material to life.

Wild Magic truly does have a little something for everyone. If you simply love learning about the history, legend, and lore of a particular tradition, you’ll find plenty of it here – along with poems, songs, and story excerpts in some cases. Are you perhaps more interested in how these beliefs can serve as a lens through which to view the modern world? This very notion is interwoven throughout all seven chapters, and includes regular, gentle reminders that this work is inextricably tied to environmental stewardship. Maybe you’re a magickal practitioner who prefers that your books contain easily-navigable reference sections; in this case, you’ll probably relish the opportunity to peruse the detailed lists of spirits, deities, tools, animals, plants, and more. While some of these lists consist of straightforward and simple bullet points, others go more in-depth, providing a paragraph or two of detail on each subject listed. What really makes Wild Magic shine, though, is the massive number of hands-on and practical activities offered, which I’ll discuss a bit more below.

Illustration of Triple Spiral Rock Carving from Wild Magic by Danu Forest

New Witches will Love…

…the multi-layered, yet accessible, structure of the material. While Forest’s extensive knowledge and wisdom are on full display from the first page to the last, each chapter starts from a metaphorical “square one,” with the first exercises being the most attainable, and each subsequent activity building upon the last. Because of this approach, even if this is the first book you’ve ever picked up on Celtic spirituality, the foundational information needed to engage meaningfully with the more complex material is there. Also helpful is the fact that completing each and every exercise is not a requirement. Rather, you might think of them as part of a menu of magickal offerings – select what serves you, perhaps revisit the other options later, and leave the rest.

Experienced Witches will Love…

…the absolutely astounding number of comprehensive practical applications to take the material off the pages and into the natural world. From visualizations and meditations to hands-on workings designed to be performed in nature, there are plenty of options suitable for magickal folks who live anywhere from high-rise downtown apartments to remote homesteads. Bear in mind that some of the specific suggestions may not directly align with your own practice; as an example, Forest periodically mentions the option of leaving flowers as an offering to the earth and / or water. While this is certainly a common type of offering, a recent blog post by Water Witchcraft and The Way of the Water Priestess author Annwyn Avalon led me to critically examine how I personally view such practices, and ultimately make a shift to other types of offerings. That said, the exercises are quite adaptable, and Forest is clear in emphasizing that a book’s contents should never supersede your best judgement. In other words – trust your intuition! Those who are more experienced likely do so already, but it’s always lovely to see the inclusion of this important reminder.

The Major Magick…

I finished the last pages of Wild Magic feeling profoundly inspired. To me, this book is a beautifully-written invitation – an invitation to explore the world around us, to see and experience its sacredness and magick for ourselves, and to resolve (or re-affirm our existing commitment) to be excellent stewards and caretakers of this land that sustains us. Above all, it is an invitation to remember and come home to our true selves – our wild selves: “Every act of wild magic is an act of communion and empowerment that restores our connection with something greater than ourselves. You are wild, you are magic, you are one of many.”

About the Author

Danu Forest is a traditional Celtic wisewoman who has studied on the Celtic path for over thirty years. She holds an MA in Celtic Studies and is noted for her gifts as a natural hereditary seer. Danu lives in the wild marshes surrounding the legendary Glastonbury Tor and is the author of several books, including Celtic Tree Magic: Ogham Lore and Druid Mysteries. For information on consultations, course readings, and more, visit www.danuforest.co.uk.

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