Zine Review: Brainscan 33 DIY Witchery: An Exploration of Secular Witchcraft

Brainscan 33 DIY Witchery: An Exploration of Secular Witchcraft
Alex Wrekk

There are infinite ways to witch…

Brainscan 33 is a black (sometimes brown) and white zine that combines info zine and perzine in explorations of secular witchcraft.

I usually mention the aesthetics of zines further into a review, but I really have to start with it this time. Brainscan 33 is the only zine that I have spent just as much time petting and flipping through as I did reading it. From the acorns charm held on by lavender string used to sew the binding to the few different kinds of papers inside, you may find yourself facing the longest commentary on look and feel that you’ve ever written…

I am new to witchcraft but have a keen interest in learning more about it. It’s with that feeling that I approached reading this zine – and I wasn’t disappointed.

Alex starts with a fantastic introduction that states in no uncertain terms that this zine does no exist to convince you, sway you, or otherwise establish a ‘right’ way to witch. While such a strong ‘take it or leave it’ kind of opening can be a little chancy with readers, I think it’s fantastic. It establishes Alex’s desire to share a viewpoint and a story. It’s an invitation rather than a command.

From the introduction, we go into definitions – something I loved and something I’m glad Alex went into first. They served the double purpose of not only making it clear the viewpoint Alex is writing from but also giving you (if you want) a place to start figuring out your own definitions for where you stand.

Brainscan 33 is packed with information – perhaps even more than its 64 pages implies. Alex writes about history, about definitions, and about both the good as well as the not so great. There are clarifications of similarities and differences in witchcraft, religion, Wiccan, and more.

There’s even a ‘Witching Tips’ in the centre of the zine. Very well placed, if you ask me, because one point directly answered a question that had literally just come to my mind moments before I started reading the answer. If that’s not good pacing, I don’t know what is.

Where the information found in this zine certainly drew me in and kept me reading, it’s Alex’s personal ‘witch-jectory’ story that really made me feel a lot of things. I found it easy to identify with life stages like the moment you realise that you can “just do the thing” without permission or a mentor or anyone else. Or how there are times when you need to reclaim a physical space.

I think it’s pretty clear at this point that I have really enjoyed this zine and will be coming back to it in the future. I could keep going on about it, but I think it’s important to leave at least something to be discovered. Haha.

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