The Book of Tides

a resource site for sea magick

Public Service Announcements

This is a listing of any PSAs of which the sea magick community as a whole should be aware.

Documented plagiarists

These authors should not be supported or recommended in any way.

PSA #1

The Sea Witches' Handbook This is regarding The Sea Witches' Handbook by Angela McKendrick (self-published for Amazon Kindle, 2015). Ms McKendrick's ebook is a combination of articles plagiarized word for word from my web site with generic magick how-to and correspondences. This extra content is not related to sea magick, and most of it seems to be from the Internet Book of Shadows (not public domain, contrary to popular belief). I have sent a DMCA to Amazon which contains over 200 MB of documentation regarding my stolen intellectual property, and they have removed the ebook's listing from their site as of March 2019.

PSA #2

The Book of Tides: Old Sea Witchcraft This is regarding The Book of Tides: Old Sea Witchcraft by Amber AE McDonald (self-published, 2019). Ms McDonald's book is a combination of articles plagiarized word for word from my web site, content from an article I had written in 2003 for use by TheMystica.Com, and a word for word content match to Paul Holman's Sea Witch in addition to quite a bit of content from Sandra Kynes' Sea Magic and Scott Cunningham's Earth Power. I have sent a DMCA to Amazon which contains over 200 MB of documentation regarding my stolen intellectual property, and am awaiting a response.

Books with questionable affiliations

These are other sea magick related books which I do not recommend. The information below is provided so readers can make their own decisions about these books and their authors.

PSA #3

Traditional Witchcraft for the Seashore This is regarding Traditional Witchcraft for the Seashore by Melusine Draco (Moon Books, 2012). I frequently see this book on the same reading lists as Paul Holman's Sea Witch. As an FYI, readers should be aware that a page by page comparison indicates that over 90% of Ms Draco's book is a duplicate copy of Sea Witch including all bibliographical sources listed in Sea Witch. There are occasional paragraphs of other content of unknown origin, and Ms Draco's book lists some additional sources including Mr Holman's book.

I have located one small reference dated 2017 here (opens in new window, screencap below) that indicates Sea Witch's publishing house (Ignotus Press) being under the new management of "The Coven of the Scales". The plan under new management is to get its out of print titles back into publication. In addition Ms Draco is serving as "magical consultant" during this time of transition. Ms Draco also seems to be the Grand High Whatever of the Coven of the Scales.

coven of the scales

The copyright on Ms Draco's book includes her name only with no reference to Mr Holman. The book's copyright is dated 2010. This means that Ms Draco had possession of the content of Sea Witch over seven years prior to this publishing transition. Is this supposed to be the re-publication of Sea Witch? If so, publishing it under the name and copyright of another author is perhaps not the best way to handle it, particularly since Sea Witch is not (at time of writing in 2019) in the public domain. It also begs the question as to how much content in her other books is her original work.

PSA #4

Water Witches This is regarding Water Witches by Tony Steele (Capall Bann Publishing, 1998). This book allegedly details the magi-religious traditions of the Fryske people originally from the Netherlands. This covers the time from the fall of Atlantis (termed "Atland") to the late 1980s. No bibliography is included. According to my research online (this which opens into a new window, among other posts across several forums), the author's stated source material (the Oera Linda) seems to have been debunked as a hoax in the nineteenth century. It is also has questionable political and cultural origins in the context of the time of its creation.

Oera Linda

The author himself seems to habitually form groups ("Daughters of Frya" and similar) with intent to recruit young women for unspecified purposes. Website photos depict a photo that has been sourced as a girls' tennis team from the 1936 Berlin Olympics rather the actual "Daughters of Frya". Officially the training for the Daughters of Frya is a seven-year course priced at upwards of £2,556,699 -- this reads "scam" to many individuals. There are more than a few online references to this cult-like group, including references indicating that the group was recruiting members on the Pan Aryan Alliance forum.

He is also associated with the Coven of Cythrawl, a group based in Singapore whose website indicates that they are part of the OAM (Ordo Anno Mundi -- Mr Steele's Traditional Witchcraft group). This group is documented as scam artists since at least 2005.

Coven of Cythrawl Coven of Cythrawl Coven of Cythrawl

His work has appeared on the coven's website since at least 2002.

Coven of Cythrawl Coven of Cythrawl

I cannot in good conscience recommend a book that seems to be authored by a pedophile with Neo-Nazi inclinations. I have not read the other book from this same author (The Rites and Rituals of Traditional Witchcraft, published by Capall Bann in 2001), but summaries indicate it to be more of same. It is likewise not recommended.

PSA #5

Water Witchcraft This is regarding Water Witchcraft: Magic and Lore from the Celtic Tradition by Annwyn Avalon (Weiser Books, 2019). Let me begin by saying that this isn't necessarily a bad book. Most of it seems to be regurgitated Celtic folklore. If this is relevant to your interests, you would probably be better served with actual books of Celtic folklore. The book's bibliography may or may not be a good starting point; there are only a couple of books on here that I have read. I have no idea if the rest are good resources since Celtic folklore is not relevant to my interests.

My concern is this: while the book only briefly touches on the subject of the so-called "water witches" of the UK canals, she has gone into more detail in one of her older blog posts.

Water witches of the UK canals

The link which she is excited to recommend points to an article on the web site of the Coven of Cythrawl (see above). She has also included Mr Steele's book on her recommended reading list.

Water witchcraft reading list

If she is recommending this article in addition to Mr Steele's book, has she done any research into their affiliations and practices? If not, shame on her for recommending any group prior to research. If she has researched, does this means she endorses or otherwise recommends the group? Either way, I cannot recommend this author's work under the circumstances.

Books that are otherwise not recommended

PSA #6

Lamp of the Goddess: Lives and Teachings of a Priestess This is regarding Lamp of the Goddess: Lives and Teachings of a Priestess by Rae Beth (Weiser Books, 1995). This book is allegedly the author's spiritual autobiography of her past lives as an Atlantean priestess of the Sea Goddess (alternately called Mari or Meri). This might have been better if it were intended as a fictional work rather than the author trying to justify her spiritual practices with past life recollections. As it stands, it is too far "out there" for me to take it seriously. This is not a useful book in my opinion, and I do not recommend it.

PSA #7

The Way of the Sea Priestess This is regarding The Way of the Sea Priestess by Louise Tarrier (Matador, 2012). The book's author is fixating on Dion Fortune's The Sea Priestess as a basis for this book's structure. It reads as though it came from a New Age catch phrase generator: we have a set of guided meditations in conjunction to the Wheel of the Year (with bonus non-Celtic Goddesses somehow along for the ride), navel-gazing about the meaning of sacrifice, and Atlantean grandmothers. I am not entirely certain if the author realizes that Ms Fortune's book is a work of fiction, but it wouldn't be the first spiritual practice founded on fiction. Beyond an emphasis to always keep one's chalice nearby for use, there is no practical information in this text. If you are looking for information on the practice of sea magick, this is not the book to read. I don't find this useful at all, and I don't recommend it.

PSA #8

Untraining of a Sea Priestess This is regarding Untraining of a Sea Priestess: A Practical Journey to Connect with Cosmic Water Wisdom by Stephanie Leon Neal (Turning Stone Press, 2017). Much like The Way of the Sea Priestess, this book reads like something from a New Age catchphrase generator. It's not quite the same text, but similar with its affirmations about one's purpose in life, guided meditations to form a cosmic connection to the World Ocean, and of course Atlantean grandmothers. There is no practical "anything" in this book; it's just pure navel-gazing. I don't find this useful at all, and I don't recommend it.

PSA #9

The Sea Priestess's Book of Spells This is regarding The Sea Priestess's Book of Spells by Katie McBrien (Self-published, 2018). The title implies that this is a book of sea spells. However, almost every spell in the book requires at least one candle, including the spells in the "Sea Witchery" section. In that specific section, those spells which do not require a candle are just chants with no tools or other equipment to make it "sea-themed". If this is supposed to be a candle magick book, it might be workable. I wouldn't consider it a sea spell book though, and I don't recommend it for that purpose.

PSA #10

Water Magic Spa Magic This is regarding Water Magic (Atria Books, 1995) and Spa Magic (Perigee Trade, 2002) by Mary Muryn. Let me preface this by saying that I am disabled. I know I can't get in and out of the tub safely. I had acquired these two books in hopes of finding recipes that could be adapted to a wash or salve in lieu of a bathtub.

Instead, these books contain recipes which involve throwing loose herbs and crystals straight into the bathwater. I can't imagine the mess this would make when the herbs clog the drain and any water-soluble crystals such as selenite dissolve. Shouldn't the herbs be placed in a little sachet to dunk? Shouldn't there be a list of which crystals are and are not water soluble?

One recipe lists lily of the valley oil as an ingredient. Does the author mean actual oil from the lily of the valley plant (in which all parts of the plant possess lethal toxicity)? Or does the author mean lily of the valley fragrance oil (a synthetic blend which does not match the "all natural" healing upon which these books are based)? It isn't clear from the context of the book, and it is irresponsible to recommend the use of either.

Quite a few of the recipes include Bach Flower Remedies, which are made of sugar in an alcohol base. While there are a lot of herbs with documented healing properties, these Flower Essences don't work for their intended purpose in my experience since they do not contain any of the actual herbs. If you want to pour alcohol in the bath, skip the pricey and non-working Flower Essences.

Finally, I am disappointed that a book that targets the healing properties of a bath would not suggest a patch test of anything that is to be added to a bath. Personally, I am allergic to almost every oil on these lists of bath mix-ins. I am not even touching the herb list.

These books are not useful to me, and I cannot recommend either of these books.

PSA #11

Sea Magic This is regarding Sea Magic by Sandra Kynes (Llewellyn Publications, 2008). I see this on a lot of recommended reading lists, and I am not certain why. Most of this book consists of meditations and exercises about how you feel about the sea, the moon, this particular shell, your "sea fetch", etc. There is not a whole lot in this book in the way of the practice of sea magick -- you have done all the meditations, now what? The section on the creation of a sea altar has a Wiccan feel to it in its use of quarters and circle casting. The book doesn't go anywhere with it to suggest any rituals however, so it isn't even sea-themed Wicca.

Just for the record, I have never seen "fetch" used outside of the context of a spiritual double of a dying person appearing before a loved one. No idea how this got applied to an animal "totem spirit" ala Ted Andrews.

The book seems to be a lot of New Age fluff. I don't recommend this book.

PSA #12

Sea Witch Magick This is regarding Sea Witch Magick: A Book of Shadows and Tides for Everyone by Theresa Helton (Self-published, 2010). I see this on a lot of recommended reading lists, and thus wanted to investigate further. The author identifies as Wiccan, and it shows in the early chapters on magickal laws, the Wiccan Rede, and what to include on the altar.

The book's contents are overall naggingly familiar. Most of this, particularly the correspondence charts, seems to be "heavily inspired by" Scott Cunningham's books on natural magick (Earth Power and Earth, Air, Fire, and Water). I suspect the intro chapters with their Wicca-centric focus are "heavily inspired by" his Wiccan books, but I do not have the books available for comparison.

This book is not an outright plagiarism, but it's a bit disingenuous that the author has not included a bibliography, works cited, or similar list of source material at the end of the book. Even if this comes from the practices of her Wiccan tradition, sources should be cited. The lack of such a list implies that this book is entirely her own work (which it does not seem to be), nor would this book be considered a compilation of common knowledge. At a mere 84 pages, if most of the book is "heavily inspired by" unnamed works, why is this book necessary? Without further information about the source material for this book, I cannot at this time recommend this book.

PSA #13

A Witches' Bible: The Complete Witches' Handbook This is regarding A Witches' Bible: The Complete Witches' Handbook by Janet and Stewart Farrar (Phoenix Publishing, 1996). This is a combined edition of the authors' Eight Sabbats for Witches and The Witches' Way. It is specific to the practices of Alexandrian Wicca. It does however include a sea ritual based on the Fire of Azrael from Dion Fortune's The Sea Priestess. I would not recommend acquiring the book for that one ritual alone as anyone with any ceremonial magick experience should be able to work out the details of the ritual.

PSA #14

The Witch's Circle This is regarding The Witch's Circle: Rituals and Craft of the Cosmic Muse by Maria Kay Simms (Llewellyn Publications, 1996). The author is an astrologer by trade, which explains this book's focus on the use of astrology in Wicca. The book does however include suggestions about setting up a sea altar in accordance with Wiccan practices. Neither Wicca nor astrology are relevant to my interests, and I would not recommend acquiring this book solely for the altar suggestions.

Merry Kitschmas