Magick from the Mat – a book review

This extensive book, written by Casey Giovinco, is quite a treasure and is filled with so many wonderful stories, plenty of magical theory, and an excellent resource for both the Yogi and the Witch. Casey Giovinco doesn’t just write about the subjects of Witchcraft and Yoga as an interested party who has done some research; he is actually an Initiate of Witchcraft and has a RYT-200 certification from the Yoga Alliance: he actively practices and teaches both.

Links for book purchase: You can buy the book wherever books are sold. You can also buy it from Amazon or from the publisher, Llewellyn.

To get a better understanding of why this book, Casey recently wrote an article for the Llewellyn website titled, Six Reasons To Pair Yoga & Witchcraft. You can read it here.

The book is beautiful! The photos do not do this book justice!

The book starts out with a beautifully written introduction by Thorn Mooney, who is the author of Traditional Wicca, a Seeker’s Guide. Mooney talks about how the path of Yoga and Witchcraft are not out of step with each other because just a little bit of exploring the history of the magical elders of the many traditions of the occult out there, you will find they also espoused some form of Yoga practice as part of their magical pursuits, even in the writings of Aleister Crowley!

Casey’s book has also received a beautiful review and blurb by best-selling author and co-founder of the Temple of Witchcraft, Christopher Penczak as well!

The first thing that stood out to me was how much I really didn’t know about Yoga here in the West, which was quickly rectified – along with the pieces of Yoga philosophy and practice in the East… from the Rig Veda, to the most famous of the Upanishads: the Bhagavad Gita. This was woven here in sensible terms and in a language that a practitioner can understand was valuable insight to me that I was happy to learn.

The second thing that I found that was impactful for me is how this book really adds to your personal practice. While all initiated witches have a foundational learning they have received that was passed on to them by their mentors in their covens and traditions, each initiated witch has a personal practice that you must develop. It is my own personal belief, for example, that even if you are a member of a coven, at least 3/4 of your religious experiences and practices are things you do on your own outside of coven practice and 1/4 or less of your religious experiences in Witchcraft is what you do at the coven stead – where witches meet. If you are in a coven, that sets the stage to your development, but it is up to you to develop your skills further by the work you do on your own each day. This book is a good guide for that.

Also, maybe you aren’t a member or an initiate of a coven, or your feel that working in a group or a coven is not an option for you at this time (being an Initiate is a calling – not one that everyone will have the inner-fire for) One thing that that witches who aren’t initiated members of a covenstead miss out on is the psychic development that comes through group ritual work. If you are a solitary Witch working on your own either due to personal choice or preference, the instructions Casey gives you, will give you a way to develop some of these same psychic skills.

So whether an initiate, or solitary – you will find something for you here! Personally; I am an initiated witch an a member of a coven. How will I be using this book?

Preparing for the Sabbat is not just something I “go to when it’s time and run through the motions.” The first thing I am going to attempt to implement is some of the sequences for the Sabbats & Esbats ahead of time in order to mentally and physically prepare myself in mind and body for the ritual that will be done and also after the ritual is completed. I will also be trying these sequences before and after spells. I’m really looking forward to that actually!

Another way I will be using this book is in recommendation to others to supplement psychic development. Developing psychic skills of some sort is critically important for witches. Casey has done us all a huge favor by creating a guide that gives you easy to understand and follow instructions for developing some of these psychic skills. Just like we have five physical senses, Casey goes through each of the five astral senses. Yes! Your “sixth-sense” is really a misnomer: you have astral senses behind all of your physical senses. This is a book that I will also use in the process of helping to mentor folks looking to learn psychic skills as another pretty awesome tool in the toolkit! In actuality, his step by step instruction on Astral Projection is one of the cleanest and clearest I have read in a very long time.

A fascinating piece that Casey has demonstrated here is the connection to the powers of the witch in Leland’s work, known as Aradia or the Gospel of the Witches, to the powers of the Yogi in the Sutras. Wow, that was quite illuminating!

Are you interested in meditation? Casey has you covered here – including a meditation for healing and step by step directions on how you can meditate. The stories for example are entertaining in teaching meditation – I think you will have a new appreciation for the subject when reading this book.

Actually, the chapters on meditation (chapter 6) and also the chapter on visualization, imagining and astral projection (chapter 7) were some of my favorite parts of the book. Personally, I get a lot of questions about both meditation and astral projection from folks that struggle with it – especially because we talk so much about it in our practice – but the great thing here is Casey gives very relatable and understandable content that will show you how you too can learn to do this things even if you thought that it was an impossibility for you.

Also, a great understanding of the chakras are included. I have to admit, I have been very rusty on knowledge of the chakras and his descriptions are extremely beneficial to me. Also, the learning of what yoga poses are good for assisting in the relief of certain issues or challenges was very helpful and now bookmarked for future reference as Casey discusses how different ones affect us on both the physical plane and the magical level too.

The graphics and pictures that the book has for each of the Yoga postures and mudras were very helpful. If you are a beginner at some of this, those really help – and it is handy where you can see the common names for poses along with the Sanskrit names.

Overall, I’m ready to dig in some more…..

Thank you Casey & Blessed Be!

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