The Weiser Field Guide to Witches:
From Hexes to Hermione Granger, From Salem to the Land of Oz
Judika Illes, Weiser Books, 2010
This thin volume is a treasure-trove of information for almost anything witchy, from magical tools to witches in pop culture. Delightful illustrations and photographs relevant to each entry enliven the book, which will be a beautiful addition to any witches’ library or to anyone who is simply interested in learning more about witches: what they are rumored to be, do, or believe. The Field Guide encompasses not just Wicca, but many forms and traditions of Paganism, including African traditions and Voudou.
My only gripe is the lack of a subject index. How could the ordinary seeker find what they’re looking for without having to flip through the entire book? For example, which chapter would include the Wicked Witch of the West, the one listing “famous witch’s” or the one called “Entertaining Witches?” To me, it could be a toss-up. Kudos to the author, however, for including a list of books for further reading. (Editor’s note: the author clearly knows her stuﬀ and the bibliography is impressive, which makes the lack of proper citations throughout the book a mystifying and serious omission. I’ve noticed this tendency in the entire Field Guide series; what’s up with that, Weiser?)
I found this book to be utterly fascinating and even learned some new things, such as the belief in African countries that witches may ride on hyenas. The Field Guide to Witches would make a great “vacation” read; just barrel straight through it for fun while on the beach or camping out.