This review is going to be a bit short since there’s only so much i can say about this book.
This is one of those books (under the title Magic of the Norse Goddesses) that seemed to pop up everywhere on recommended reading lists but wasn’t available by the time I had the money to pay for it because the publisher closed up shop. Luckily, it’s been reprinted, so now I’m able to finally give a review of it.
As the title suggests, Norse Goddess Magic is about trancework and ritual focused on goddesses within the Norse/Germanic pantheon, particularly Frigga and her Handmaidens. The book is divided into two parts: the first part deals with mythology and how to do trancework in general, while the second part, which takes up the bulk of the book, gives each goddess her own chapter, and includes lore, the author’s UPG, and suggestions for doing a ritual to honor each goddess.
If you’re looking to connect with Frigga and the Handmaidens and you don’t know where to begin or looking for UPG regarding same, this might be a book you want to add to your wishlist. Another thing I liked about this book was that she encourages using multiple techniques to bring yourself into a trance state instead of just saying to do one particular thing, remarking that sometimes it takes multiple techniques for her to trance out and sometimes she can do it in a moment. I feel like the books I’ve read on the subject usually only have the one technique and never combine or even mention using multiple techniques to obtain a trance state if you’re having trouble. I thought some of the UPG was interesting (her gnosis regarding Eir patching up Tyr after he lost his hand was intriguing) and the discussing regarding “women’s work” back then and how essential it was to the community and our modern perception of “women’s work” today is a discussion we desperately need to have in Heathenry.
My main issues with this book is that the sources the author uses are old and probably considered outdated. For one thing, she seems to rely on Grimm a lot for her information, and the general consensus is that Grimm was great at collecting fairy tales but not so great at etymology. Although not a criticism, this is definitely not a reconstructionist book (it uses the Hammer Rite as a pre-trancework ritual, for one) although I found the author was pretty good about differentiating between what was her own experience and what was actually in the lore, although she does not use the term UPG to describe her own experiences.
This is more my personal preference but I feel as if this work could have featured more lesser known goddesses (which is the author’s stated intent), goddesses like Idunn and Sif don’t have a lot of information on them either. It would have been nice to see a book that features a variety of Norse goddesses, and I feel like the title and the back cover blurb is a bit misleading in that respect (although I understand that the new publisher probably wanted to keep the title as close to the previous edition as possible). I also didn’t agree with her assertion that Freyja is a goddess of surgeries and other “invasive” medical practices (I’ve always seen Freyja as more of a naturopath or a fan of the “whiskey and sleep cures everything” school of medicine).
I think this would be a good book for someone who is specifically looking for UPG on Frigga and the Handmaidens or as a general guide on how to make nice with the goddesses, but if you are already familiar with these goddesses and trancework, this book will be nothing you haven’t seen before, and to be completely honest, I’d recommend Trance-Portation by Diana Paxson over this for the complete newbie to trancework. It’s also important to keep in mind that this is not a scholarly or reconstructionist book and the sources it uses are quite old, so read with some salt handy.