by Adam Sartwell
Ellen Dugan, author of Seasons of Witchery and The Garden Witch’s Herbal, has written many useful, earthy and practical instruction books on the craft. Embarking on a new path, Dugan joins the ranks of Michelle Belanger, D.J.Conway, and Silver Ravenwolf and other well-known occult writers who have ventured into fiction. Dugan’s self-published debut novel, Legacy of Magick, is written with her personal humor and conversational style. The first in a series, Legacy of Magick embraces Dugan’s innate storytelling abilities and personal knowledge of the craft.
There is always the question of how to represent magick in fiction when you are actually a practitioner of the craft. Dugan takes a grounded approach to magick in the novel. The main character Autumn, a seer, is a magickal novice because of her mother’s influence in her immediate family. Now that she has moved in with her father’s relatives, while attending graduate school, more of her magickal abilities are surfacing – although they don’t come so easily as to be unbelievable in the story. Autumn has to work at improving her magic by actually studying it as she deals with old family feuds. Though she has a family legacy, she is not instantly in control of her power or sight; her natural clairvoyance helps her through some of her challenges, but in others, she falls short. As pagans we sometimes have this belief that just because your family has magick, your path to magic is easier. Dugan shows the reality to this misguided assumption.
It is also important that the main character thinks about whether or not it is ethical to use her powers without consent, even if it is for the highest good of the person. She and her family have multiple discussions about this, and she gets to feel what it is like to have that consent taken from her, driving the lesson home.
The only power that has a little fictional embellishment is Autumn’s cousin Ivy’s telekinesis and Ivy’s brother Bran’s effect on lights. Both of these things are possible in our world (having experienced both of them personally) but it is nice to visit a world where telekinesis and electromagnetic response is a bit more consciously controlled.
The cover of the book is simple and classic, with a blood-red moon being reflected in a hand mirror. The Blood Moon is referenced many times in the story and appears clairvoyantly in a mirror much in the way that the cover art depicts.
The story unfolded at a good pace. It’s a relaxing read, recommended to keep you turning pages well beyond bed time. Legacy of Magick is available in paperback and Kindle at Amazon; it is also available in stores and in Nook e-book.
Adam Sartwell is a Founder and Virgo lead minister of the Temple of Witchcraft. Adam’s psychic and intuitive gifts led him to study Witchcraft in his teens and he is a teacher, healer, and professional Tarot reader. He spends time hand-crafting products for the Temple store (which he manages) and has written essays for The Green Lovers and Ancestors of the Craft anthologies from Copper Cauldron Publishing. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.