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Handbook for Hot Witches: Dame Darcy's Illustrated Guide to Magic, Love, and Creativity

Handbook for Hot Witches: Dame Darcy's Illustrated Guide to Magic, Love, and Creativity

by Dame Darcy

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Combine a graphic novel with a dash of crafts, a sprinkle of feminist fairy tales, and a whole cauldron of spells—voilà!—Dame Darcy's Handbook for Hot Witches. This is the guide for girls who want cool things to do and great friends to do them with, who aren't afraid to be their different, awesome selves. It's a celebration of powerful,


Combine a graphic novel with a dash of crafts, a sprinkle of feminist fairy tales, and a whole cauldron of spells—voilà!—Dame Darcy's Handbook for Hot Witches. This is the guide for girls who want cool things to do and great friends to do them with, who aren't afraid to be their different, awesome selves. It's a celebration of powerful, creative girls—the sort of girls who may have been called "witches" once, but who, as this book proclaims, are "hot," because of their talent and their uniqueness. With sections on banjo playing, beauty spells, palm reading, and much more, this fully illustrated handbook will send girls on their way to independence, creativity, and magic.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Part graphic novel, part New Age primer, with dashes of astrology and crafts and pinches of beauty hints, the book packs a lot into its 200 pages.” —School Library Journal

“Darcy's comics are aesthetic manifestos. . . . Darcy is a star.” —The New York Times on Dame Darcy

“I think she's exquisite, let's put it that way. I wish I knew her in high school.” —Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth on Dame Darcy

“[Darcy] has created a childlike, otherworldly realm, a land that hovers in the twilight space between the whimsical and the macabre. Ghosts and goblins, foul-tempered stepmothers, lovesick mermaids and charmed forest are all rendered in Darcy's distinctive hand, loose and flowing lines reminiscent of the work of Edward Gorey.” —The Los Angeles Times on Meat Cake

VOYA - Courtney Huse Wika
This handbook encourages the reader to "understand and control your spirit, mind, and body; to know your talent and skills; and to identify your passion." According to the book, witches are compassionate and intuitive, and embrace what makes them unique; they strive to create good in the world and celebrate diversity. The handbook is a guide to help the reader find her uniqueness, identify her strengths, and accept herself for who she is. It includes quizzes to identify which kind of "hot witch" the reader is, and is a treasure trove of spells, beauty secrets, and instructional manual for things like gardening and knitting. The overall theme of the book is to embrace weirdness, for all witches are weird and there is power in self-love. The handbook is made to look, in part, like a witch's journal, complete with handwritten spells and illustrations, but they are at times difficult to follow and understand. The concept is a good one, though: all of the tasks, spells, and activities in the book are designed to keep the reader focused on knowing, understanding, and loving herself. It encourages strengthening ties to nature, friends, and family. While there are a few missteps—for example, "Guys like to feel they are winning a challenge. If you back off so they can pursue you a little bit, they feel like they have won a prize when you finally do decide."—overall the book is an exercise in independence and self-confidence, essential attributes for young females. Reviewer: Courtney Huse Wika
Children's Literature - Toni Jourdan
A celebration of the magical, mystical and creative—this is a recipe book that includes everything from hummus to love spells. A craft instructional with knitting to making corn husk dolls. A graphic novel, a lesson in starting a coven, a spell for popularity and the list goes on and on. It begins with the reader discovering which kind of Hot Witch they might be. Answer a few questions and then find out your magical character traits. Hot Witch #1 is an Enchantress and for this you will learn about beauty spells and how to make rag curls. If you are Hot Witch #2 then you are a Hot Witch Bard and for you there is belly dancing and a mini lesson on banjo playing. Hot Witch #3 is a Pagan Princess with a lesson in preparing seedlings and harvesting a crop. This one even includes a recipe for hummus! Hot Witch #4 is a Mystic and for a start they will learn about haunted houses, fairy rings and how to build their own magical space. Hot Witch #5 is a Seer and will learn how to read tea leaves, tarot cards and crystal balls. This barely scratches the surface. Dame Darcy has even reinterpreted fairy tales giving them a graphic look and a feminist plot line. Do not expect Prince Charming to be saving anyone anytime soon. These girls can handle themselves. On the other hand, if he is looking for a great relationship where he can share life's ups and downs, then he is in the right forest, or castle, or ocean. Be ready to feel empowered to be a female. Prepare to have your "witchy" side embraced. From love spells to how to make Mexican hot chocolate, nothing is left out of this mystical gathering of everything empowering. Reviewer: Toni Jourdan
Kirkus Reviews
An exploration of "witchcraft" shown through the mind-numbing pink fog of a teen-magazine lens. Are you like totally a hot witch? "Dame Darcy" has rendered this term down to five main types: enchantress, bard, pagan priestess, mystic and seer. For each type, she lists various activities and/or advice that may hold appeal; for example, the enchantress ("loves romance and glamour!") can learn such necessities as love spells and is offered comforting platitudes like "no one is going to lead you to true happiness except yourself," a sentiment sure to result in an angst-y eye-roll. The pagan priestess ("loves handcrafting and nature!") is given just the quickest overview of how to knit, something that Dame Darcy feels can be confidently explained in a mere four pages of illustration. Sprinkled throughout are Darcy's minicomics of her own feminist imaginings of fairy tales; one finds Sleeping Beauty roused by her long-lost twin—and when the Prince offers them a gift, they counter, "Boy, you are going to have to do more than that to get with this!" Though the female empowerment that the author attempts to promulgate is admirable, the rah-rah tone and lack of depth quickly negate any credibility. Replete with perky quizzes, tips on hair and makeup and simplistic handicrafts, this ends up feeling like a very long Seventeen article. Not so hot. (additional readings) (Nonfiction. 12 & up)
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—This "illustrated guide to magic, love, and creativity" harkens back to the New Age bookstore shelves. Part graphic novel, part New Age primer, with dashes of astrology and crafts and pinches of beauty hints, the book packs a lot into its 200 pages. Overflowing with Dame Darcy's signature black-and-white illustrations, it provides a quiz for readers to determine their hot-witch type and then details the modern-day "hot witches"-enchantress, Bard, mystic, seer, Pagan, etc. Odd comic retellings of fairy tales are interspersed throughout, adding to the cacophony. This book will not be without its niche of dedicated fans who may be tired of seeing witches morphed and mainstreamed into glamorous high schoolers helping vampiric friends, but the visually and verbally crammed text will likely have a small audience.—Elaine Baran Black, Georgia Public Library Service, Atlanta

Product Details

Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Publication date:
Edition description:
First Edition
Product dimensions:
9.30(w) x 6.20(h) x 0.80(d)
1020L (what's this?)
Age Range:
13 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt



Everything turns glamorous when the bewitching, charming, fascinating Enchantress touches it. She brings the party with her wherever she goes, and she is a delight and pleasure to all. Her beauty and charisma are unparalleled.

How to Be an Enchantress in Love

No one is going to lead you to true happiness except yourself. When you have fun and delight in being your own unique, adorable self, you will attract love naturally.

Be enthusiastic, but mysterious. Don’t show him all your cards at once, but also, don’t play games. Always tell the truth.

When a guy does something you like, acknowledge him (this is something that works with all people, no matter what their gender or how old they are).

Guys like to feel they are winning a challenge. If you back off so they can pursue you a little bit, they feel like they have won a prize when you finally do decide.

If you need advice about your boyfriends, talk to your girlfriends or your mom. Don’t tell too many people. Keep it to just your best friends.

Guys are usually a little behind girls as far as matters of the heart and being civilized go. But that’s not their fault. They’re born that way, even the poetic and artistic ones. But just like you, they want compassion, understanding, and a chance to prove themselves. When a magical lady approves of and shows appreciation to a guy, he transforms from a feral animal into a prince!

Be confident. Men love to see women enjoy themselves, and for a man to be in the presence of a lady like that is irresistible—even if you do it quietly and subtly.

A guy wants to be the icing on your cake, not the whole cake itself. That’s too much pressure, and too much cake! If he knows you have an elaborate, lovely cake of a life and he is just the manly frosting on top, then the pressure is off and he can have fun.

Maybe you think you are a weirdo and there are no guys for you, but in reality there are plenty to choose from if you are able to have fun wherever you are.

Make room in your life for a boyfriend, and one will manifest. While you wait for him to call, have fun with your life and fill it with friends. Granny always said, “A watched pot never boils.” But she also said, “There’s a lid for every pot.”

Relationships are an opportunity and a privilege, not a right. You and he have equal responsibilities to make a relationship work, so if either of you is being a spoiled brat with an attitude of entitlement, knock it off, step back, and apologize.

If you don’t like something, he’s much more likely to hear you if you say it conversationally rather than screaming.

When a guy acts ignorant about girls, it’s because he hasn’t learned the truth yet. You can be the one who teaches him. And you can do it nicely.

What If I Don’t Like Guys?

Being gay is as natural as being straight. In many cultures throughout history, it has been accepted as a viable way to be, and a ton of people today feel the same. If you question your sexuality and wonder if you may be a lesbian or bisexual, seek out friends or family that you trust to talk about it with. If you don’t feel like you have anyone to talk to, go online and find communities in your area that can offer you advice, or seek a counselor. Don’t take ignorant or hurtful comments to heart; many people say and do mean things to mask their own insecurities or avoid the questions they have about their own sexuality.

A Word About Soul Mates …

A soul mate is someone you have known and been intimately connected to in another life. You meet again in this lifetime to continue the connection you began in another time and place.

If you meet your soul mate, you will be drawn to him or her at the cost of everything else. You will recognize this person as someone it feels like you have known forever. It will be an undeniable and irreversible bond that will change your life. If you are ready for a love like this, then you are ready to meet your soul mate. If it works, you will have your ideal partner, and one of the most magical bonds known to humankind. However, relationships between soul mates can be challenging and do not always work out. A soul mate is a mirror, one that reflects many aspects of your true self—every horrid detail and every beautiful dream. If both people are not ready to really look at themselves, they may attack and abandon a soul mate because they cannot step up. I think of it like a cobra striking at its own reflection.

Love Spells

Spell to Heal a Broken Heart

When the moon is waning (decreasing in size), take a mirror and put it in the bottom of a bowl of water. Light four silver candles, place them around the bowl, and gaze into the water at your own reflection for as long as the candles are burning (or whatever is comfortable). As you do so, say, “Take this pain from me and make it fade, as shadows do at the light of day.”

Imagine the old you of the reflection being absorbed into the water. Imagine your pain being absorbed as well. Put it all there and really feel it. If tears fall into the water, that’s fine. Let it all out. When the candles have burned down, throw the water away in a river or stream. The water must be moving away from you. If there is no moving body of water nearby, throw it down the drain. Take the mirror, wrap it in white cloth, and keep it in a drawer or another dark place for a month.

Love Potion Number Nine

Combine one spoonful of each of these seven types of leaves: rosehip, hibiscus, ginger, peppermint, lemon, red raspberry, and spice.

Boil water and pour it into a teapot. Place your blended tea into a tea ball and steep in the pot. Add lavender honey and almond milk—these are the eighth and ninth ingredients in your love potion.

Invite the one you love to tea or drink it yourself and set an empty place for your loved one. Write his or her name on a heart-shaped piece of red paper and your loved one will soon join you.

Serve hot!

Love-Drawing Sachet

Cut two small pieces of red fabric into identical heart shapes, about 4 inches across. Sew the two pieces together on all sides but leave a small opening. This is called a conjure bag, which is used in many spells. Stuff rosemary into the hole and sew shut. Tuck the sachet inside your bra near your heart to draw love to you.

Acorn Youth and Beauty Spell

String three acorns together on a silk cord to keep your youth and enhance your beauty. If you have a charm of gold or silver acorns, this will work as well. Let the acorns charge under the new moon and wear them close to you.

Goddess Freya’s Potion

Freya’s favorite flowers are cowslips (sometimes called primroses). These flowers are also beloved among the fairies and are symbols of beauty.

1. Create an herbal infusion by pouring boiling water over cowslip blossoms.

2. When the water cools, strain out the blossoms.

3. Make sure your potion is completely cool and dab it on your skin with a cotton ball.

4. Use the remainder in a bath.

To Make a Pimple Go Away

Dab on lemon juice or witch hazel. It works. So does garlic juice—but, hey, the smell?

To Soothe Irritated or Sunburned Skin

Mix oatmeal with room-temperature water, make it into a paste, and put it on the skin. As it dries, it takes out the burn and leaves you with a smooth complexion.

How to Make Your Own Makeup

DIY Witch-a-riffic Lip Gloss with Tint

Makes about 35 milliliters (1.2 ounces)

1 teaspoon beeswax pellets

2 teaspoons olive oil

2 tablespoons beet juice or raspberry juice (see note)

Little jars with screw-on tops, such as small jelly jars

½ teaspoon flavoring extract used for baking, like vanilla, peppermint, or almond (optional)

1. Using a small nonaluminum pot, melt the wax and oil together over low heat. Slowly stir until smooth.

2. Remove the pot from the heat, add the juice and, if desired, extract while stirring, and pour the mixture immediately into the containers. Allow it to cool completely before capping and using it. Your new concoction has a shelf life of approximately 6 months and will keep best in a cool place.

Note: To prepare the juice, run beets or raspberries through a juicer. Do not use juice from a store; it has additives that will dilute the tint or inhibit the staining properties you want in your lip gloss.

Glitter Makeup

Mix aloe vera gel with glitter. It’s sticky at first and will be easy to apply to your eyelids, arms, cheeks, anywhere! When it dries, the glitter will adhere to your skin so you’ll be sparkling all day.

Glycerin Soap

With glycerin soap you can create exciting soap art and detailed designs. The liquid will pour easily into simple or intricate molds. Try candy molds for some fun shapes. You can also color it any way you want and add dried petals and flowers. After the molding process is complete, you can use your soap right away!

2 cups glycerin soap base


Essential oils or fragrance oils

¼ cup cocoa butter

Molds (A bread pan will make a big loaf of soap you can slice; candy molds will make fun-shaped small soaps. You can experiment!)

1. Place the glycerin into a double boiler or slow cooker. Set the heat high enough to make it melt.

2. When the soap base is melted and gooey—don’t let it get so hot that it bubbles—you are ready for the color. Add coloring, slowly so the glycerin is evenly tinted and absorbs it all.

3. Now the fun part begins: your signature touch! Stir in your selection of essential oils or fragrance oils slowly, adding only enough to make a pleasant scent, then add the cocoa butter. Make sure to keep stirring until the mixture is very creamy, even, and smooth.

4. When the mixture has blended together completely, carefully pour it into your molds. Wait for the soap to set (it should become hard and dry in a few hours), and then pop it out. You’re ready to have good, clean fun—give some soap to your friends too (they will be so impressed)!

For Long, Luxurious Mermaid Hair

A mermaid is a creature who is half woman, half fish. The beauty and elusive mystery of mermaids will always capture mortals’ imagination. They are the ultimate symbols of femininity and untamed emotion.

Rinse for Shine

Take a covered pot and boil the following ingredients for five minutes:

½ cup mint leaves

½ cup apple cider vinegar

1 cup water

After washing and towel-drying your hair, dip your hairbrush in this rinse and brush through those gorgeous locks.

Deep Conditioning

For a Mexican Fiesta Guacamole Conditioner, mix a spoonful of olive oil with just a dollop of mayonnaise, then add a mashed avocado. Apply to your hair and leave on for 15 minutes. Rinse well with cold water. Decorate your hair with tortilla chips (ha, ha).

How to Have an Enchanted Social Life

To have a true friend, be a true friend. If someone says she likes you one day and hates you the next day, don’t take it seriously. Often people who act mean are insecure themselves. Have empathy for them, but avoid them until they treat you with kindness and respect.

Remember that young people are all going through a very intense time of life. Changes are happening to their minds and bodies and making them act crazy and different day to day. When things get hard-core, keep this in mind and try to find a positive outlet for your feelings and energy.

Think of a role model for the kind of person you would like to be, maybe a famous person or someone from history. Read about your role model’s life, and when you are in a jam, ask yourself, “What would she do?”

Focus on the things you like to do and try to find something you can be passionate about. Act in a play, go to the skate park, learn how to play an instrument and start a band, take ballet or soccer, join a poetry club or an art or a philosophy class.

When you make friends with all different kinds of people, you won’t ever be stereotyped, and you will have a more interesting and well-rounded view of things.

No matter where you are in the popularity ranks, if you believe in yourself, stick up for yourself, and feel and appear confident, you can be unique; people will respect you. Don’t take anyone seriously who says or does negative things to you.

Even if you feel insecure, fake it till you make it. Act confident and sassy, and you will win the admiration of everyone around you.

Another way is to create a mystique. Don’t let just anyone know who you are.

Start your own parties. Seek out people who seem “familiar” to you. This is the way to recognize your own. Invite them to your magic party, and it won’t matter who is having another party with or without you.

Popularity Spell

Do this on a Wednesday, during the waxing moon (when the moon is growing fuller), at three o’clock in the afternoon. (Wednesday is the day ruled by Mercury, so it’s good for quickness and communication.)

Place a class photo in a dish—or a photo of anyone you want to be your friend. This spell will charm and enchant a person or a group of people so that they desire to please you. (If you don’t have a photo, write the names of the people and anything you know about them.)

Mix together licorice leaves, honey, sugar syrup (heated sugar and water), carnation petals, and olive oil.

Pour this mixture over the images or words at the bottom of your dish.

Stir your magic brew while envisioning the perfect scenario with your new friends. Think about what you want, but in a kind and unselfish way, because every loving and good thought has in it the seed of success.

Visualize these scenes, and if you have a fear or negative thought, imagine scissors are cutting around you and your new friends, keeping you together and cutting out the negative person or thought.

While stirring, say these magic words: “Thank you, Divine Spirit, for this perfect day. Miracle shall follow miracle, and wonders shall never end.”

Next time you go out, watch for and expect things to change in a positive way. Really believe it, and your world will change in the twinkling of an eye.

Stir your dish once a day for the next three days and then bury the contents under a flowering bush.

Friends Forever Spell

Cut small locks of your hair and the hair of your best friend. Braid them together and tie with pink thread. Place it inside a pink silk conjure bag and keep it in a safe place.

Many Friends Spell

Do this spell on a Wednesday during a waxing moon.

Gather together these items: one long yellow candle (yellow is the color of social gatherings, fun parties, and happy friendship), rosemary leaves, dried sage, salt, and sugar. Collect as many sewing pins of various sizes as there are people you want to befriend, plus one for you.

Mix the rosemary, sage, salt, and sugar in a blender or mortar and pestle to make friendship powder. Take the powder, the candle, and the pins outside at noon, during the brightest hour of the sun. Make a circle of friendship powder, sprinkling it clockwise around the candle. Push a sewing pin through the candle and say the name of a person you’d like to befriend as you do so. Push a second pin through the candle just beneath the first with the tip pointing up so it forms an X, saying the name of another friend-to-be.

When you have inserted pins for all the people you want to befriend, insert one for yourself at the bottom. Then light the candle. As it burns, the heat, energy, and power from the flame will first touch the pins representing your friends-to-be, then yours, bringing you together, for there is a place where you connect at the center of the X.

The Enchantress’s Witch Holidays

Spring is the season of the Enchantress! Her favorite holidays are all about life, love, and happiness.

This celebration of the spring equinox in the Northern Hemisphere occurs on March 20 (March 21 in some years). It is the time when day and night are nearly equal in length. At Ostara, we celebrate the coming of spring and the beginning of new life. Many symbols of fertility and rebirth associated with Ostara (like eggs and bunnies) are a familiar part of Easter celebrations as well. The significance of this time in the year has been noted and celebrated throughout human history.


Begin planting your garden on this day. Make sure there are plenty of flowers!


Write the names of goddesses on hard-boiled eggs with fancy crayon lettering. Fill teacups with warm water, a teaspoon of white vinegar, and a few drops of food coloring. Let your eggs bathe in the tinted water, and the names will appear in relief.

Place the eggs in a basket and have everyone pick one. The name on your egg will indicate your patron goddess for the year to come.

Beltane (May Day)

Beltane is a celebration of life and Mother Earth. As May arrives, the land is in bloom again and passions are stirred! Celebrate by throwing a Beltane party. Choose a May Queen to embody the goddess Flora and make a flower crown for her.

Play a sweet fairy trick and weave together flower wreaths or posies with ribbon to leave on the doorsteps of people you admire. Ring the doorbell and run away as fast as you can so your gifts are a mysterious surprise.

It is said that if you wash your face with dew in the early morning on May 1, you will have a glowing, beautiful complexion all year long.


The Maypole is a fertility symbol (for obvious reasons, hee-hee). Once upon a time, ladies would do a ritual dance, weaving ribbons attached to the Maypole under and over each other. You can re-create this fun dance with your friends.

Dig a post hole in the ground, about two feet deep, then put the Maypole in; any sturdy pole between six and ten feet long will do. Refill the hole with soil so the pole fits snugly and won’t fall over. Tie eight to ten multicolored ribbons securely to the top and place a flower wreath there as well (you may want to do this before setting up your pole). For a pole ten feet high, the ribbons should be four yards long. Make sure you have an even number of dancers, then have half the dancers take a ribbon in the right hand and half use the left hand. When the dance begins, each dancer holding a ribbon in the left hand passes under the ribbon held by the dancer facing her. She then allows the next person coming toward her to pass under her ribbon. She continues this way, alternately passing under a ribbon and then holding her ribbon up so someone can go under it. This way, the ribbon is woven in and out, under and over, all around the pole.

When the ribbons are woven tightly to the pole, the dancers switch hands and unweave them by going the opposite direction.

A May Day Song:

(To be sung in a round as the dancers dance)

Sweet the evening air of May,

Soft my cheek caressing,

Sweet the unseen lilac spray,

With its scented blessing.

White and ghostly in the gloom

Shine the apple trees in bloom.

White and ghostly in the gloom

Shine the apple trees in bloom.


Copyright © 2012 by Dame Darcy

Meet the Author

Dame Darcy currently resides in New York City and Savannah, Georgia. She is known worldwide as an illustrator, writer, fine artist, musician, filmmaker, animator, environmentalist, and Cabaret Mermaid. Her illustrated titles include The Illustrated Jane Eyre, and she has been publishing her comic book series, Meat Cake, for twenty years.

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