Nice Girl's Book of Naughty Spells: Get Rich, Get Lucky, Get Even

by Deborah Gray

Published by Tuttle

1999, 128 pages


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Magic for the Masses

Reviewed by Linda L. Richards

 

It's not exactly a highly refined science. Or so I think. Despite the positive blast from "Australia's good witch," Deborah Gray, Nice Girl's Book of Naughty Spells deals with a lot of stuff that some of us consider to be less than inscribed in stone. Gray's credentials, however, may well be in stone so written. According to the publisher's bio, Gray was "initiated as a teenager in the Ancient Druid Circle," (something that manages to sound fun and frightening all at once). It also says that, "after over 20 years of dedicated study, [she] inherited her knowledge of parapsychology and alchemy from one of the world's few remaining Druid Masters."

This last sounds almost a little too much like osmosis to me but, whatever. One can't really argue with one of the world's last Druid Masters, can one?

Nor is this Gray's first foray into magic for the masses. She was the co-author of an intriguingly titled book based on similar themes: How to Turn Your Ex-boyfriend into a Toad. I haven't seen that book and therefore can't vouch for its helpfulness in turning ex-significant others into amphibians. I do, however, have a hunch that Gray's magic might be similarly forged in both titles. It seems to me that it's less about magic and more about positive energies and self image. All, one can hazard, a little more LA than Oz.

Despite the apparent silliness of all of this stuff about toads and spells, there's an underlying happiness and positive energy around Naughty Spells that keeps it from being evil. As Gray herself says in her introduction:

Of course, there's no real mischief intended or harm done towards anyone. It's all about rebuilding your self-esteem, opening yourself up to love and success, and completely letting go of any resentment and bitterness. The results are absolutely amazing! You'll be back to your perky self in no time, bringing closure to old worries, glowing with positive newfound energy and ready to magically take on the world.

So, OK: it seems to me that Gray's message and her "naughty spells" are more about rebuilding torn self-esteem and organically re-energizing low spirits than they are about magic. And there's really nothing wrong with that. In fact, Gray makes it all sort of fun. The book actually consists of more not naughty spells than naughty ones. For example, the "spell" to help you get a good price for a car you have for sale goes as follows:

Mix in a teaspoon of lemon juice to a bucket of sudsy water.

Walk around the car clockwise once and splash a little of the water onto the front hood as you say the brand name of the car out loud three times, and then repeat this incantation:

'I PURIFY YOU WITH THIS WATER.'

Wash the car completely and then, with the final polishing, say:
'I POLISH YOU WITH SUCCESS.'

One could, quite easily, argue that the success of this spell -- like many of the other 47 in the book -- could rely on the fact that energy has been placed toward the result (in this case, the physical energy of washing a car) and that positive, emotional energy has been expended in a way that will possibly bring the desired end. Or it could be magic. Either way, Nice Girl's Book of Naughty Spells would make a fun little gift for the woman who doesn't yet have everything, but desires the means to gain it. | October 1999

Linda L. Richards is the editor of January Magazine and the author of several books.