By Rust of Nail & Prick of Thorn by Althaea Sebastiani is a straightforward, practical guide to the theory and practice of home warding. If you’re unfamiliar with warding, I’ll share the definition from the back book cover: “Warding is a practical means of magickal protection using physical objects as anchor points for energy. It’s a preventive measure that uses your skill as a witch to tap into wild and ancient forces…”
In this book, Althaea lays out everything you need to start warding your home and property. She explains what warding is, why it’s important, and what you can/should ward against. After laying the foundation, she describes many types of wards, including, but not limited to: plants, charms, and sigils. She even provides instructions on how to craft a simple-yet-effective ward with nothing more than a pen and a square of paper (you can use a napkin if that’s what you have!)
What I loved most about this book was Althaea’s frequent nudges to put the knowledge gleaned from reading it into immediate practice. I think every chapter contains at least one call to start taking action right now! Flipping through the pages, my eye caught the sentence, “Don’t be a lazy witch,” twice.
I purchased a signed copy of “By Rust of Nail & Prick of Thorn” directly from ladyalthaea.com. Her signature included a quote from the book’s prelude:
Yes, Althaea, I got to work before I even finished reading.
Many reviews of this book point out how “no-frills” and “blunt” the writing is. I love that. After reading another one of Althaea’s books, “Paganism for Beginners,” (affiliate link) I wasn’t surprised by her clear, direct, and informative style. But don’t get me wrong, this is not a dry or boring textbook. Althaea’s spark transfers through her words on the page and incites the reader to work their magick.
The book is brief (less than 100 pages, including the foreword and glossary) and easy to read in one sitting. It’s also well-organized and laid out in sections that flow nicely.
In short, I highly recommend it!
Who Is This Book Good for?
In my Amazon review, I noted this book is beginner-friendly. However, Althaea herself mentions in the prelude that, to make the most of this book, you have a solid grip on the basics of witchcraft.
I consider myself a beginner witch, though I may be selling myself short. Perhaps I’m more of an intermediate witch? I started practicing witchcraft in October 2016, right before Samhain. I suppose I’ve advanced past the beginner level. It’s just so easy to feel like a novice when it comes to witchcraft because there’s always more to learn. Either way, I feel confident working the magic described in this book.
The important thing is the ability to sense and direct energy. These skills are essential for crafting an effective ward and detecting when it needs to be recharged. All it takes is practice!
Why I Decided to Read By Rust of Nail & Prick of Thorn
As I mentioned, I’m already a fan of Althaea’s books on witchcraft. But the desire to buy this one came from an unshakable feeling that I needed to energetically protect my home. I’d heard about warding but didn’t know much about how to effectively create and lay wards.
Magically protecting my home and property is something I started doing in 2020, when I bought my first house on 10 acres of land during a global pandemic. In the past several months, I’ve felt called to go deeper with it.
Not to say too much—my husband and I are in the middle of a major dispute with all the neighbors. We’re seeking legal counsel about it. They’ve done much to try to harm us, and we’ve been pretty good at deflecting most blows. However, the disharmony in the area outside my home is wearing on me. I don’t think any of my neighbors have the skills to consciously direct negative energy at us, but they don’t need to be conscious of it to create chaos. Additionally, I’m pretty sure the wife-half of the couple we bought this house from is a witch, and she has a stake in the matter, too.
In my search for help, I asked for information about home warding on The Winding Way, Althaea’s discord forum for witches. Althaea Herself responded, joking that she literally wrote the book on the subject. I bought it right away!
Turns out, I had already laid several wards around the doors, chimney, and windows of my home. I didn’t realize I was warding at the time because I was just following my intuition. I had laid a rusty railroad spike on one windowsill and hung a small charm bag near another. There’s been a rusty horseshoe outside my front door since we first moved in, and I have more stones and crystals buried throughout the garden than I care to admit.
Anyway, reading this book helped me feel more confident in my witchy intuition and gave me many more options to work with in the future.
Where to Buy This Book
I recommend purchasing By Rust of Nail & Prick of Thorn directly from the author at ladyalthaea.com. It costs a bit more to buy direct from the author than to purchase on Amazon, but it’s a better way to support independent publishers.
Alternatively, you can support this blog (LunaPhoxx.com, in case you forgot where you are) at no extra cost to you by purchasing through my Amazon affiliate link right here.
Either way, you’re getting a great book and supporting a witchy woman entrepreneur. As my husband says, everybody kicks a goal!
Thank you for reading 🙂