Magic for Change: Spells and Rituals for Social Transformation, by Cerridwen Greenleaf
CICO Books, 1800652623, 144 pages, October 2023

When I first started reading Cerridwen Greenleaf’s Magic for Change: Spells and Rituals for Social Transformation, I wasn’t fully sure what to expect. I had read other books with similar themes in the past, so I wasn’t completely unfamiliar with the concepts that were going to be introduced; however, I know that there are some methods of discussing social justice and social change from a (very) narrow perspective, so I didn’t necessarily have high hopes that this book would be different.

I was pleasantly surprised. Greenleaf discussed several different manners and topics for activism, including chapters on climate change; peace, which featured not only country-level conflicts but also gun violence as a whole; ending hunger, not only in the world, but also in your local community; witchcraft for feminists; and ways to manifest money and other material gains for the benefit of all. According to Greenleaf:

“This book stems from my years of activism and is based on the magical intention to provide practitioners with the tools, ideas, and inspiration to make this a better world.”1

Out of everything in their book, I was particularly interested in some of the concepts and practices that Greenleaf discusses in their chapter about feminist witchcraft. Their section on Solidarity Shrines was especially interesting to me because I can’t always have an obvious shrine set up in my space; their suggestions for small things to use in place of a full altar that will still attract like minded people motivated me to set up a small Solidarity Shrine of my own! (And if you’re curious, I think it has worked so far; I’ve met several more writer friends both in-person and online, and have even found a local group to go play trivia at bars, which is something I’ve never been able to do before!)

Greenleaf’s discussions about tea were also some of my favorite parts of Magic for Change. I’m a huge tea drinker, so it seemed natural that I would gravitate toward these recipes, especially since I could very easily translate them into my morning or nighttime rituals. Most of the herbal teas that they discussed were equal parts magical and delicious, with their herbal money brew being one of my favorite new recipes that I tried. As to whether I’ve been able to manifest more money, that remains to be seen… but I have found money in unexpected places that I must’ve stored away and forgotten about, so if that counts, then the herbal money brew works quite well!

Throughout the book, Greenleaf’s writing style was very approachable and accessible for all levels of practitioner, from beginners to those who are more advanced in their craft; the content seems to be more geared toward beginners and early-intermediate practitioners, though. If you’ve been practicing witchcraft for years, you most likely will know a lot of the information that they discuss already, though you may not know exactly how to apply it in the context of creating social change, which could make this book an interesting addition to any witch’s bookshelf.

Another aspect of Magic for Change that made the book very accessible to read was the fact that it wasn’t all simply blocks of text; rather, there were a lot of illustrations included, many in what would be considered the borders or margins of the page, but that served to break the text into easily digestible pages.

It seems that they have a very strong understanding of kitchen and home/hearth styles of witchcraft, which is what a majority of this book focuses on; I would have appreciated if they included some material on more diverse forms of magic that could also be used for change, protest, and resistance, but it did not impact my enjoyment of the book in any way. It’s probably just a personal preference, but if you’re like me and something like divination or ancestor worship are at the forefront of your practice, you might find it a little difficult to fully immerse yourself .

I also would not recommend this book for anyone who is unable to practice openly or who doesn’t have any safe spaces to practice, also known as being “in the broom closet.” A lot of the rituals Greenleaf suggests will leave physical evidence or will require the practitioner to acquire supplies that may raise some red flags for nosy individuals in their life.

However, if you’re looking to expand your knowledge of magical practices that can very easily be adapted to activism, Magic for Change would be a good choice. There were a lot of examples of rituals that I had never thought to apply to the context of activism; if you have a coven, this book will give you ideas of how you can all work together to manifest change, but there are also plenty of rituals and ideas for a solo practitioner to develop their craft.


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