Note: This post contains some affiliate links to some products. I was not compensated in any way for writing these reviews.
I’ve got a Kindle Fire, and I might as well be umbilically attached to it. I use it to help me sleep, to set reminders to take my meds, for reading difficult-to-see texts, and as a way of aiding my incredibly dodgy short-term memory. I’ve reviewed stress-relief apps from Amazon before, and I was pretty stoked to see that their app store had a selection of resources for Pagans and witches.
Are these apps useful to the average practitioner? Like anything else, they seemed to be a pretty mixed bag. I checked out a bunch of them, and here’s how I felt they fared:
81 Magickal and Healing Herbs
I wanted to like this. I really, really did. I’m big into developing one’s personal associations with herbs and other ingredients, but I still know the value of a good list of herbs when I see one. This is not it. I could get past the annoying classification of herbs as “masculine” or “feminine” (there are other ways to phrase those concepts, guys, I swear). I could even get past the fact that the app seems like it was made just to redirect users to the maker’s Amazon shop.
Nonetheless, I had to give it a big, fat goose egg.
Why am I being so harsh? Someone relying on this app for information could die.
It should go without saying that anyone thinking of using herbs medicinally should do their homework (a lot of homework) about them first, including discussing herbal remedies with their doctor. That said, this app purports to be a healing resource by its very title, and advocates making herbs into teas for “healing illness.” So why is it also advocating the use of ingredients like comfrey and wormwood for stomach disorders without a warning about their potential toxicity? Why is mandrake tea even a suggestion?!
Paradoxically, it does include a safety warning for angelica root and holly, and a couple of generic “use with caution” disclaimers on some other herbs. The lack of consistency leads me to believe that this may have been paraphrased (or possibly even directly taken) from information that appeared elsewhere. The inconsistency is disappointing.
Do the plants listed in this app have a long history of medicinal use, both internal and external? Sure. Unfortunately, the space dedicated to each one is not nearly large enough to properly educate people on them. A little knowledge can be a very dangerous thing.
Wiccan & Witchcraft Spells PRO
So, first off, bonus points for separating “Wiccan” and “Witchcraft.” Not all Wiccans practice witchcraft, and not all witches are Wiccan. It’s a small thing, but I feel the distinction is an important one.
This app is a resource for spells, moon phases, and the like. It’s pretty good for what it is, especially for new practitioners. There are a couple of issues that made it a poor fit for me, personally.
I didn’t think it was very well organized. It didn’t seem very intuitive. It also relies heavily on outside sources, which isn’t a big deal if you only intend to use it when you have wifi. I greatly prefer apps that I can use wherever I want, so I didn’t like being limited by a lack of internet access. It also feels suspiciously like a grouping of links and widgets, and I’m not sure that’s worth $1.99 to me. Other users’ mileage may vary.
Guiding Light Oracle Cards
Price: Free (in-app purchases)
The company Indie Goes puts out a lot of oracle apps. While these aren’t strictly a Pagan or witch thing, I know a lot of practitioners use them as a meditative aid, for clarity, or to help work through challenging times. While these oracle apps are generally high-quality, don’t let the price tag (or lack thereof) tempt you too much– they can get expensive. A limited number of cards are free to use, but the rest will run you about six bucks. Much cheaper than a printed deck, but still good to know.
Some people criticize oracle cards for having generically uplifting messages, and I get that. I can definitely see how that would be frustrating to deal with in a prognostication tool. I don’t really treat these the way I would a tarot deck, so that wasn’t necessarily a negative for me– if you’re using these cards to meditate on or prompt yourself to view your situation in a different light, “generically uplifting” is by no means a bad thing.
I also really dig the artwork in a lot of Indie Goes apps. They’re easy to use, pleasant to look at, and they’re good at what I use them for.
Moon Phase Pro
This is another app that can probably be filed under “Pagan adjacent” along with the oracle cards. Even if you moongaze regularly, moon phase apps are helpful for planning things. You want a calendar? It’s got a calendar. You want more information? It’s got a tab that’ll give you orbital data. I’ve had this for awhile, use it often, and it’s never frozen, glitched, or done anything weird to my device. This app is inexpensive, easy to use, doesn’t contain adds, and shows you a nice, clear, no-messing-around picture of the current moon phase.
Like I’ve mentioned before, I’m big into developing one’s personal associations with ingredients but can still recognize the value of a good list when I see one. This app is a pretty basic overview of some common minerals, their associations, and their use. One neat feature is the ability to see herbs grouped by their use, color, tarot card, western Zodiac sign, and more. I also dug the ability to draw a crystal at random the way one might use an oracle card. All told, this is a pretty solid app for a beginner.
I do, however, have to take off some points for grouping crystals by ailment without providing any kind of qualifying statement about their use. Even though I feel that magick can have an important place in holistic healthcare, it bothers me a lot when healing resources fail to point out that stones, energy healing, and other alternative therapies are only parts of that picture. If you have a condition like asthma, broken bones, heart disease, or AIDS(!), please don’t rely on stones to save your life.
The Complete Essential Oil Encyclopedia
This is another witchcraft-adjacent app, but it’s one I’ve found to be extremely useful. You know all of the complaining I do about resources that don’t provide adequate safety information? This app does it properly. There is a section devoted to oil usage and safety, and contraindications are listed in each oil’s profile.
I was initially put off when I saw a heading that said, “Essential Oils for Cancer,” but the author qualified this by explaining that oils may help with the emotional aspects of the illness and the chart was not a substitute for an oncologist. This guide does not appear to advocate that people eschew actual medical treatment for serious conditions. Sadly, that’s really refreshing at this point.
If you’re looking for a list of oils purely by magickal association, you may want to look elsewhere. This won’t tell you what to put in your prosperity blend, but it will tell you whether it’ll give you contact dermatitis if you wear it.
Wicca Radio International
I’m not sure if this is Amazon’s mess or the app makers, but I couldn’t get this to work. It downloaded fine, didn’t freeze when I opened it, and I managed to navigate each link easily enough. Unfortunately, I kept getting “Error accessing audio file” each time I tried to play something. (The ads, however, loaded just fine.)
According to the creator, this app has been tested and all stations work without skipping. On Amazon, it’s listed as being for the Fire Tablet. I don’t know. This might work fine on a phone, but it doesn’t seem to play well with my device at all.
So, after delving through all of these apps, it looks like Pagan and witchcraft apps are pretty much like anything else– some are decent, and a lot of them kind of suck. Many seem to be fronts for shops selling herbs or occult supplies, and that’s sadly reflected in the quality of their apps. Some of them, like Wicca Radio International and Galaxy Crystals, seem like they could be rad if they received a little more TLC. Others, like 81 Magickal and Healing Herbs, leave me wondering if the creators ever cared about creating a quality product to begin with.
Do you have any Pagan or witchcraft-related apps you use regularly?