Reviewed by Joanne Lakomski

12 Magic Wands is not going to teach you the magic of Hogwarts and Harry Potter. I was a bit disappointed. I found the idea of meeting life’s challenges with a white-ash wand and rhymes very appealing. The wands that G. G. Bolich offers are wands that cultivate a deeper awareness of self in order to better meet life’s challenges.

Gregory G. Bolich is a professor and psychologist, and writes in the fields of psychology, religion, and spirituality. 12 Magic Wands falls into the self-help genre, and brings to bear the author’s experiences as a professor and therapist supporting people by tapping into magic. “Magic is just one path,” Bolich writes, “that offers aid along the challenging journey of life.”

After opening the book with a discussion to differentiate magic, science, and religion, Bolich proposes that we engage in some ‘as if’ thinking. That means that we read the book ‘as if’ magic is real even while suspecting it is just a metaphor for an imaginative psychological perspective. That worked for me.

Bolich divides the realm of magic into four arenas: Physical, Instrumental, Imaginative, and Sympathetic. Within each arena are three ‘Wands’. Within each Wand’s chapter, Bolich provides vignettes from his experience where waving the Wand worked magic for the situation, and then he offers practical suggestions for enabling yourself to the use the Wand.

For example, in Physical Magic is the Wand of Breath. The author relates the story of a student hyper-ventilating from stress. The shallow breathing led to feelings of panic. The magic of breath brought attention to the breathing patterns of the student allowing her to slow her breathing. Cupping her hands over her mouth and nose then allowed the blood chemistry to return to normal. The exercises offered by the author under the Wand of Breath included activities around posture, body awareness, and breathing patterns; and help solidify the magic of Breath into the practitioner’s life.

This book worked for me and I am applying the concepts here and there. I have been playing with the Wand of Sanctuary; valuing quiet places that offer a sense of being set apart to help me quiet my very busy mind. This morning I walked to Lake Erie and out to the end of a stone jetty. It was just me and the lake. My brain rested. I slowed. I left feeling more centered, at peace yet energized, and ready to face the day. It felt like magic.

I found the concepts of 12 Magic Wands to be a unique and creative frame to shift behaviors and increase awareness. And, though familiar with some of the concepts, Bolich’s use of them as magic freed me to ‘play’ instead of ‘try’. I say, go for it and wave some magic wands!

Rating: 3/5

Joanne is an organization development and human resources professional with a business background living in Ohio. She has lived in Europe, Africa (including her Peace Corps service in South Africa), and arround the United States. She loves to plays volleyball, read, write, and has a cat named Ender.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Square One Publishers. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.