Book review: Fiona Horne’s positive path for teen witches

LA Family/2004

Witchin’-A Handbook for Teen Witches Element, paperback, $12.95

The first thing Australian witch Fiona Horne wants people to know is that her brand of witchcraft — or Wicca — doesn’t have anything to do with black magic, satan or any other dark arts. That will likely prove an important distinction for parents whose teenagers are reading Horne’s new book, Witchin’-A Handbook for Teen Witches.

“There’s a lot of responsible info out there and in my book about what real witchcraft is, the kind teenagers now are being drawn to – Wicca,” Horne says. “It’s not anti-Christian, it’s not satanic—it’s a spiritual path, one of the fastest growing in the Western world.”

While Horne acknowledges an increased teen interest in witchcraft due to popular TV shows like Charmed, Buffy and Sabrina, not to mention films like Harry Potter and Practical Magic, she says the fascination remains because of what Wicca represents.

“It encourages personal empowerment by living a responsible life, as well as spells and magic for good,” she says. “Our saying is that it’s for the good of all, with harm to none.”

Horne, who now lives in Los Angeles, has been a practicing witch for 16 years. A former pop band singer Down Under, she’s written several other books about witchcraft and hopes to bring her message across in a TV show here in the U.S. For Witchin’, she created a sort-of “Wicca 101” for teens looking to find out what the craft is all about. In it, they’ll learn some of the basics, such as the meaning of witchcraft and how to cast simple spells, as well as get some life-affirming advice, tips and comments from other teen witches.

Asked whether witchcraft and mainstream religions like Christianity or Judaism can co-exist, Horne replied in the affirmative.

“I think you can stay a Christian and practice Wicca,” she says. “I don’t see it as a religion so much as a mindset, and some of the principles relate to the teachings of Jesus — the importance of love, compassion for people, tolerance. Teens send me letters saying they don’t like the religious education they have to take. I tell them it’s important to educate themselves about all religions so you find what works best for you. Part of what makes humans so fascinating is the way we can define our own spirituality that way.”

Teens shouldn’t pick up Witchin’expecting to find ways to do what Horne calls “special effects” magic like they see on TV and film. The definition of magic as she defines it comes with a “k” on the end and a more down-to-earth approach.

“Magick isn’t about special effects but about creating change through will in your life,” Horne says. “Doing magick is about harnessing the power of your positive thoughts and using special things like crystals, herbs and other things of the natural world that imbue witches with power.”

The notion that positive thought is a powerful force is nothing new. Wicca, Horne says, provides a way to focus it even more — something she strongly believes can give typically self-doubting and insecure teens a powerful tool.

“I sense there’s an awakening with young people, thinking about spirituality like never before,” she says. “They’re living in a world that’s increasingly troubled, and young people have so much pressure on them. I’m really encouraged to see this wonderful awakening of the spirit, particularly in young people.”

Horne says she gets a lot of positive feedback from parents, some of whom tell her they wish they’d had a book like this when they were teenagers. For Horne, witchcraft empowers teens with some fun trappings while helping them explore deeper meanings.

“The exotic image of a witch appeals to teens, but after they look into it, they find a very positive and applicable ideology, as well as a message about the benefits of exploring a spiritual path,” she says.

Parents worried that their teenager will take witchcraft and turn into a withdrawn goth will find no such leaning in the pages of Horne’s book, which bubble with positive words and imagery and suggest a path to a sunnier outlook and a better way of looking at the world.

“Everything I see that’s magickal in the world, I see reflected in people,” Horne says. “I tell teens in this book you are extraordinary, a child of the universe. You deserve to be happy and amazing, because you are.”

For more information about Fiona Horne and witchcraft, go to http://www.fionahorne.com.

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