Today is our darling dog’s seventh birthday. In honour of Annie’s special day, and for my first book review post on this blog, I’ve selected The Book of Dog Magic: Spells, Charms and Tales by Sophia and Denny Sargent.
If you’ve been following me on Instagram for a while now, you may know that I love to share, review and discuss books pertaining to areas such as Paganism, witchcraft, magick, folklore, traditional knowledge, herbology, and many other similar topics.
While Instagram is a wonderful platform to do just that (as the thriving community of “bookstagrammers” there clearly demonstrates), I’ve long yearned to have more than just 2,300 characters for some of my book reviews. I’m elated that Witchcrafted Life now provides me with that ability.
Authors: Sophia and Denny Sargent
Page count: 264
Finally, a book about dog magic!
While numerous books, many charming and worth reading if the subject interests you, have been penned over the years about cat magic (magick), cats as familiars, and the historical connections between cats and magickal folks, far fewer have yet to emerge about dog magick.
As a lifelong dog lover and current dog mama, I was elated to see The Book of Dog Magic: Spells, Charms and Tales by Sophia and Denny Sargent hit bookstore shelves back in June of 2016.
I purchased my copy a little over a year later and just had the chance to dive into it at the start of this winter.
It’s high time we have a book about dog magic, but is this the title many magickally inclined canine lovers the world over have been waiting for?
What is Dog Magic about?
This book aims to cover elements of the longstanding history between dogs and magickal practices, connections to various deities from around the world, and their meaningful presence in the lives and spiritual workings of those in the 21st century.
Woven through the myriad topics covered in Dog Magic, one finds dozens of different spells pertaining to dogs and dog magick. Most are fairly straightforward to carry out, generally requiring relatively commonplace ingredients.
The book is divided into the following ten chapters:
Chapter 1: The Magickal Dog & Dog Spells – An Introduction
Chapter 2: Your Spirit Dog – Invoking and Finding Your Dog Familiar
Chapter 3: Dog Love – Bonding With & Loving Your Dog
Chapter 4: Dog Healing – Healing & Being Healed Through Your Dog
Chapter 5: Dog Protection – Protecting & Being Protected By Your Dog
Chapter 6: Dog Guide Magic – Tracking & Finding Valuables, People & Your Dog
Chapter 7: Dog Fidelity – Invoking Devotion, Loyalty & Obedience
Chapter 8: Dog Omens & Totems – Your Spirit Dog Totems & Dog Fortune Telling
Chapter 9: Dogs & The Afterlife – Letting Go of a Beloved Dog & Dog Spirit as Psychopomp, or Guide of the Dead
Chapter 10: Dog Stars: Dog Star Magic & Astrology for You & Your Dog
Throughout Dog Magic, the authors – who clearly adore and respect dogs immensely – discuss their own cherished dog (who sadly passed away at the age of 17, before the writing of this book was complete) on many occasions. I found this deeply heartwarming.
Just as I did the fact that the authors (both of whom have published other magickal and spiritual related books prior to this title) make a point of mentioning that dog ownership is something that must be given serious consideration before one takes on the long-term commitment of bringing a dog into their lives.
Dog magick is a sweet book written in a friendly, approachable tone. The historical and spiritually centered information it houses are fascinating, the plentiful spells are sure to appeal to many, and the general premise of the book is apt to speak to a lot of dog lovers.
I appreciate that this book, when looking at historical, cultural, religious and spiritual topics did a fairhanded job of including information and legends/myths from a wide range of cultures around the world.
It is not uncommon for magickal books that are intended to cover a broad topic to focus exclusively, or nearly so, on European history and lore (perhaps with a wee bit of Asian thrown into the mix), so it was refreshing to see references to cultures the world over, from Africa to Australia, India to America.
However, the fact that the authors also suggest working with and/or invoking deities from many different cultures and their respective pantheons may not sit entirely well with all readers, especially those who prefer to work with a specific pantheon or group of deities from one particular part of the world.
I feel that Sophia and Denny put thought and research into the choice of deities that they partnered with their spells. While such is not explicated stated in the book, it’s fair to say that you can opt to invoke the deity of your choosing or to preform non-deity related magick altogether, if you prefer.
How feasible are the magickal workings in Dog Magic?
The spells and workings in this book are a combination of those that ask the practitioner to involve their own dog (if they have one) and others that are done without direct involvement from a living animal.
While there are certainly some calm, easygoing, very well behaved dogs out there that may happily take part in their owner’s magickal workings, at the end of the day, there are plenty of dogs that will try to chew your candles, want to play tug-o-war with your altar cloth, and try to run off with your crystals to bury them in the backyard.
In other words, as endearing and appealing a thought as involving your dog directly in your magickal workings may be, the reality is that this isn’t possible for everyone – at least not in regard to every spell laid out in this book.
I do feel though, that some of the spells which involve common acts such as petting, talking to, and feeding your dog may be possible for quite a few dog owners and their canine companions.
It is worth noting that some people make take issue, as well, with the wording of some of the spells, calling into question if the free will of the animal at the heart of the spell is being maintained at all times.
If the wording of a given spell does not sit well with you, but you’re drawn to its general concept, consider rephrasing and/or reworking the spell so that it better aligns with your personal beliefs and practices.
As to the effectiveness of the spells themselves, that will, of course, vary from person to person, dog to dog, and circumstance to circumstance.
For example, as much as the thought of using a spell to help find a lost dog is appealing and while employing one may help, there is, of course, no guarantee that magick alone will return a pup that has run off.
As in many situations in life, it is important to balance magick with pragmatic actions specific to what it is you want to accomplish or have happen.
That said, I think that the approachable nature of most of the spells in Dog Magic will help with their success for those readers who opt to follow these workings either to the letter or who adapt them to their own needs and lives.
Is Dog Magick a good book for beginner witches?
This is not, let’s make no bones about it (dog pun intended) what some might dub an “advanced magickal book”.
It is extremely beginner friendly, in my opinion, guiding the reader through each of the spells, often explaining various relevant points, and providing general witchy knowledge amongst the doggy related info.
By the same token though, it is not so entry level per se, so as to automatically put off all veteran witches, Wiccans, and other magickally guided folks.
Yes, some people will be quick to decry Dog Magic as cutesy, silly, or “fluffy bunny” (a term that I personally dislike and generally avoid using, but that is a topic for another post).
In doing so, however, I feel that one may be missing the bigger picture of this book.
Even if you were to remove all of the spells and “feel good” elements from it, the historical and cultural information relating to dogs and ancient peoples, dogs and the gods, and the importance of dogs in the lives of countless millions of people the world over today, all combine to make this an endearing and informative read.
How Dog Magick rates with me
I have a soft spot in my heart for books pertaining to animal magick, animal familiars, and animal spirit guides/allies. I’m a born animal lover and animal empath who has been working with animal magick since childhood, so I’m quite partial to books like this one.
Aside from the authors’ love and respect for their own dog and pups in general, my favourite part of this book was the fact that the subject of pet loss was discussed and treated with reverence, understanding, and compassion.
As anyone who has lost a beloved dog (or pet of any type) will tell you, having to say goodbye to an animal you cherish is one of the most excruciatingly painful and difficult things many of us will ever endure.
I wholeheartedly appreciate that the authors made a point of covering this aspect of life with a dog, devoting chapter nine to the topic.
Overall, I enjoyed Sophia and Denny’s Dog Magic. It was a quick, enjoyable read that I dove into during the Yule season. I can easily see myself returning to this book in the future – including adapting some of the spells to align with my own magickal practices.
Working on a scale of 1 – 5, with five being the highest possible rating, I would give this book 4 stars out of 5.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
It is a lovely read, a welcome addition to the field of books about pet and animal magick, and a great gift for yourself or a witchy dog fan in your life.
And, of course, it gets two paws up from today’s birthday girl, Miss Annie – who is curious to know, have you worked puppy magick before?
And if you’re read Dog Magic, what are your thoughts on this book?