BINGO – SELF-CARE
Arin Murphy-Hiscock endeavors to instruct in practical self-care through a witch’s lens. She begins with an introduction to what self-care is and isn’t and how the idea of self-care has been co-opted by some many people and industries to make a buck. She then breaks down modes of self-care into Mental and Emotional Self-Care, Physical Self-Care, Spiritual Self-Care, and Household Self-Care. She sprinkles spells, rituals, and recipes throughout as well as practical tips on how to incorporate self-care into one’s daily life.
I will be frank: I did not like this book. The majority of the self-care tips are extraordinarily mundane. Murphy-Hiscock includes tips such as journaling, eating well, and drinking tea. The majority of her self-care tips are just fine. Good, some of them. However, I don’t see much of a practice of witchcraft (either backed with belief or for the placebo effect) beyond including a few crystals here and there. Nearly the entire book feels disingenuous to its title. I mean, there’s a section with just literal recipes for soups. Soup.
And when Murphy-Hiscock does hit on the more witchy aspects of self-care, everything feels surface level yet also dogmatic. She presents her rituals and spells as the way to achieve goals. There’s no indication of or invitation to try other words, phrases, or ingredients in the more ritualistic parts. And there’s little explanation given as to why the ingredients she does choose to include were included. At one point, she also encourages people to try and engage with Durga, a deity within the Hindu faith; while Hinduism as a religious practice is not a closed one, engagement with deities of Hinduism is a closed practice. This recommendation from Murphy-Hiscock called into question all of the other research that she may have conducted to write this book.
The only thing that saves this book from a 1 star review is the section on shower and bath bars and scrubs. The recipes are easy to follow and seems easy enough to make. Murphy-Hiscock even includes small adjustments one could make for the seasons or to achieve a certain scent. Those recipes I’ve copied down.