Or, in the case of the first two, started it.
- The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett. This is one of his YA novels, but don’t let that put you off. The best children’s novels have a power beyond that of the best adult ones. This book not only changed my practice, but my life. Tiffany Aching is a normal girl, with normal hair and normal eyes, who is allowed to be a normal girl. She makes catastrophic mistakes, and has flaws, flights of fancy, friends, fights and falls. Tiffany is that heroine that is denied so many little (and big) girls, someone real, someone flawed, someone good who isn’t always nice. That has a power all of it’s own, but it’s the way magic works in Discworld that has always grabbed me, or rather the way witchcraft works. Tiffany’s main flaw is her selfishness, and she realises that it’s also her strength, and it’s where her magic comes from. For too long women have been discouraged from being self-centered, yet here is a book that applauds it, and gives it the power it deserves.
2. Carpe Jugulum by Terry Pratchett. Yes, another Discworld novel, but this time one of the adult ones. I picked this one out of all of the witches book he wrote, because of one scene in particular, but all of his witches books influenced my practice beyond measure. From the non-reliance on special tools because of the scene where they raise a demon in a washtub with a scrubbing board and a stick in (I think) Lords and Ladies, or the distinct difference between herbal witchcraft and doctoring, headology and psychology, witchcraft and actual magic. Pratchett taught me that the measure of a witch is knowing when to use magic, and when to use cunning. I chose Carpe Jugulum in particular, because of a scene between Granny Weatherwax, who is a witch, and a priest. Granny remarks that there are no shades of grey, only black and white ‘that’s got a bit grubby’. She also says that all the sins of the world start with the worst sin, and that is thinking of people as things. In later books, he gives a railway train a soul, and reminds us that we should treat everything as a person first, and a thing second.
3.Harry Potter Box Set: The Complete Collection (Children’s Paperback) Harry Potter taught me many things, but it influenced my practice by teaching me that the greatest magic is love. That doing the right thing isn’t easy, but you can find it on the edge between selfishness and selflessness.
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