Interviews & Reviews

Book Review – Daily Spellbook for the Good Witch: Quick, Simple and Practical Magic for Every Day of the Year by Patti Wigington

January, 2018

Daily Spellbook for the Good Witch: Quick, Simple and Practical Magic for Every Day of the Year”

 

 

by Patti Wigington

Published by Sterling Ethos

Published: 2017

Pages: 385

Begin a year and a day of witching with the help of the “Daily Spellbook for the Good Witch.” Starting with January’s themes of new beginnings and going though December’s focus on winter’s darkness, High Priestess, Wicca expert and author Patti Wigington presents 366 spells for seasons, moons and astrological signs. Included are spells for protection, abundance, gratitude, blessings and divination.

While she notes at the beginning of the book that people often think you need a lot of supplies to do spell work – you don’t. Knowing others may think differently, I like that she points out you can do a lot of magic with things you find around you. Many of the spells I read required very little. For instance, the King Frost Snow Spell for Neighborhood Harmony required you to make snowmen while chanting, and adorn each with sticks for arms, a carrot for the nose, and whatever hats or scarves were handy. A spell to find new friends calls for nine seashells and an orange candle.

Wigington’s spells use batteries and a piece of red fabric to jump start your love life; and silver paper, a pen and mugwort for dreams to answer a question; and crayons and a new coloring book for creative thinking. She’ll tell you how to make a nine-piece divination set from painted rocks and prosperity poppets out of gingerbread dough.

None of the spells are long and involved, so it would be possible to set aside 5 to maybe 20 minutes and do a spell a day. Some may not resonate for you – not everyone needs a spell to gain professional respect, male potency or to pass a test. I wouldn’t personally recommend the love spells, including one to bring back a lover who has strayed or the Stay With Me Spell because they interfere with someone else’s freewill, and I don’t know that I’d bring a firefly into the house to help me find a lost object.

There were many, however, I did like. One is the Spell to Bless a Freshly Planted Garden presented on May 29 in conjunction with the old agricultural festival of Ambarvalia, Wigington instructs you to mix equal parts milk, honey and wine in a bowl and walk around your garden clockwise, using your fingers to sprinkle the mixture on the soil while saying, “Honey for the bees, wine for the Divine and milk for growth in this garden of mine.”

This book will easily help you bring more magic into your life, and there’s no reason it can’t be used a second or third time, or serve as a reference for the spells you found most successful. It could also be gifted to a new witch every year, made more personal if you jotted notes in the margins.

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About the Author:

Lynn Woike was 50 – divorced and living on her own for the first time – before she consciously began practicing as a self taught solitary witch. She draws on an eclectic mix of old ways she has studied – from her Sicilian and Germanic heritage to Zen and astrology, the fae, Buddhism, Celtic, the Kabbalah, Norse and Native American – pulling from each as she is guided. She practices yoga, reads Tarot and uses Reiki. From the time she was little, she has loved stories, making her job as the editor of two monthly newspapers seem less than the work it is because of the stories she gets to tell. She lives with her large white cat, Pyewacket, in central Connecticut. You can follow her boards on Pinterest, and write to her at woikelynn at gmail dot com.

Book Review: Trance Journeys of the Hunter-Gatherers Ecstatic Practices to Reconnect with the Great Mother and Heal the Earth by Nicholas Brink

January, 2018

This author works with a technique called sacred (or ecstatic) trance postures. He draws on the work of Felicitas Goodman, Thomas Berry, Ervin Laszlo and others. The idea is that one uses specific meditation postures to access information from the resulting altered state of consciousness. Many of his postures are taken from resources all over the world such as statues, rock art etc.

I reviewed another book by him in this same magazine a few months ago: Baldr’s Magic, The Power of Norse Shamanism and Ecstatic Trance. From my point of view that book had a number of serious (structural) flaws and I sincerely hoped to write a more positive review for this one (because no one enjoys writing very critical reviews but writing reviews is a pointless process if you are not going to honest).

The good news is that this book makes many valid points, for readers who relatively new to shamanic work. He invites people to derive inspiration from old earth-based religions. He does not attempt to fill in the blanks in the Poetic Edda or another sacred text – that is a relief. Neither does he overdose on lengthy descriptions of his own personal trance experience – which is a blessing and makes the book a far more engaging and interesting read than Baldr’s Magic.

On the less impressive side there is a lot of general information on repeat (including the pictures of various trance postures which appear all over again – that is a quick way of filling a book! And in all fairness I can see why the author would do that, for reasons of producing a complete text. Then again, perhaps he could have left that segment out and simply referred readers to his other publications (or a webpage perhaps) allowing space for more fresh material, making the book a more rewarding purchase for people who follow his work?

This is a basic book for beginners. Just as many teachers of shamanism write a basic book inviting people to use shamanic journeys to connect with Earth and land spirits, the animals and winds etc., this book offers the same material through the lens of trance postures.

If trance posture work speaks to you and you are new to shamanism, you may get good results from working through this book!

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Imelda Almqvist, 25 November 2017, London UK

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About the author:

Imelda Almqvist is an international teacher of shamanism and sacred art. Her book Natural Born Shamans: A Spiritual Toolkit For Life (Using shamanism creatively with young people of all ages) was published by Moon in 2016.  She is a presenter on the Shamanism Global Summit  2017 as well as on Year of Ceremony with Sounds True. She divides her time between the UK, Sweden and the US. She is currently working on her second book Sacred .

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www.shaman-healer-painter.co.uk  (website)

https://imeldaalmqvist.wordpress.com/  (blog)

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=imelda+almqvist  (Youtube channel: interviews, presentations and art videos)

Book Review: Mudras – Yoga in your Hands by Gertrud Hirschi

January, 2018

MUDRAS – YOGA IN YOUR HANDS

BY GERTRUD HIRSCHI

Personally, I love mudras; they are such a simple way to heal, both physically and emotionally. The mudra book that I currently own is in pieces, and so this one coming to me is doubly welcome.

Part I explores the “concept” of mudra, which, simply put, is yoga for your hands. Ms. Herschi introduces the mudra, its’ possible origins and how and when to practice them. This includes how the hands themselves correspond to the chakras (energy centers in the body), Ayurveda (the Indian art of healing through food, acupressure, reflexology using the hands instead of the feet and meridians (energy paths).

Part II, which is the bulk of the book, introduces the mudras themselves. The author describes how to hold the hands for each mudra, the issue for which the mudra is being used, how to use the mudra in combination with pranayama (breathwork), asana (posture), plus movement. Each mudra also lists an herbal remedy that can be used for the specific issue being worked on, as well as an affirmation. There are 52 different mudras presented within the book.

There is a short section toward the back of the book which describes different mudras that can be specifically used in easy pose (cross-legged seating) and some that can be used with specific movements.

(Note: My own training would posit that there are many more of these seated and moving mudras than are listed in the book.)

The book closes with several appendices, as follows: Nutrition, Herbs, Chinese Five Element Theory (wood, fire, earth, mental, water), and very basic Chakra information.

If you are looking for an easy way to begin healing or to add meditation to your daily life, this book would be a great way to go about doing so. I can easily see myself reaching for this book when looking for something specific.

Recommended.

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About the Author

Susan Morgaine is a Daughter of the Goddess, Witch, Writer, Teacher, Healer, and Yogini. She is a monthly columnist with PaganPages.org Her writings can be found in The Girl God Anthologies, Whatever Works: Feminists of Faith Speak” and Jesus, Mohammed and the Goddess, as well as Mago Publications She Rises, Volume 2, and “Celebrating Seasons of the Goddess”. She has also been published in Jareeda and SageWoman magazines. She is a Certified Womens Empowerment Coach/Facilitator through She is the author of “My Name is Isis, the Egyptian Goddess”, one in the series of the “My Name Is………” children’s books published by The Girl God Publications. A Woman International, founded by Patricia Lynn Reilly. She has long been involved in Goddess Spirituality and Feminism, teaching classes and workshops, including Priestessing Red Tents within MA and RI. She is entering her 20th year teaching Kundalini Yoga and Meditation, being a Certified instructor through the Kundalini Research Institute, as well as being a Reiki Master. She is a member of the Sisterhood of Avalon. She can be found at https://mysticalshores.wordpress.com/ and her email is MysticalShores@gmail.com

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Book Review: Old Style Conjure- Hoodoo, Rootwork and Folk Magic by Starr Casas

January, 2018

 

I was quite excited to have the opportunity to review this book. It’s a subject that I’ve been curious about, but haven’t read about as much as I would have liked. There was a great Foreward by Orion Foxwood who is an author and conjure worker as well, then we get into the Introduction, which Casas writes “I am going to try and write in a way even the novice worker will understand, and the information will also maybe help the seasoned worker as well. I feel that it is important for this work to be passed on, as many of the elders are passing and with them the knowledge they hold. I don’t want this work to die out; it is too important to my culture”. She then goes on to talk about how over the last ten years the work has been watered down and whitewashed. She writes about how respect for the work and the ancestors is critical, as is the fact that the work must always be justified. In this Introduction Casas gets into something called hotfoot work, which is “something done to move someone out quickly where they will not come back…that when you work with hotfoot products on someone, you could be sending their spirit to wander and be restless. The hotfoot work could cause them to never have peace and to just move from place to place” Reading about this I knew that this book would be talking about a type of magic that I have never practiced. Once I kept reading she does talk about why it is this way; that you need to think about how this work got to the place that it did- the horrors of slavery. She ends the Introduction with some common questions and answers, it is here too that I discovered the importance of the bible in old-style conjure.

The next chapter is full of basic Q and A’s. It was a great idea to put this right at the beginning of the book. It touches on a lot of topics, and it’s a great idea to get it all out of the way. She did get to a question that I already had at this point in reading; and that was if you needed to be Christian for this work, and I think that a lot of people who are reading this are probably Pagan. Her answer to that is “No, you do not have to be a Christian. But if you remove the bible, then you are no longer doing conjure work; you are doing something else. The bible is an integral part of conjure. There are a lot of folks who would love to take the bible out of conjure, but if you do, then it is no longer conjure.” This answer seemed kind of silly to me. Clearly you need to have a bible to do this work, and you need to believe in what you are doing. So all in all, you do need to be a Christian in my opinion. After reading the whole book, there are for sure things that I took away from it, and I feel like I could take many aspects of conjure and wicca and put them together, but for the sake of this review I just need to say that it seems contradictory to say that you don’t need to be Christian, but then immediately after say that if you take away the bible, it’s not true conjure. The rest of the Q and A really does touch on a lot of subjects and it was a great chapter. It really did answer a lot before even getting into the meat of the book.

Chapter two is about ole time religion. This chapter was overwhelming me with talk about Christianity and the bible. She also mentions numerous times how tricky conjure workers are. I did find this chapter repetitive and a lot of the same information that I just read in the introduction were stated again in this chapter. The following chapter is about the foundation of conjure, and it was full of a lot of interesting tidbits. A great way to sum up the chapter is to quote the author herself. “The blood, suffering, and deaths of the ancestors ensure that this work belongs to them. They should be honored and remembered for their great gift. They are truly the foundation of Conjure, and we must all remember without them there would be no conjure, Hoodoo, or rootwork, or whatever name you wish to call the work.” She then answers more common questions and gets into an altar. It reminds me a lot of a pagan altar and she also talks about giving small offerings, just like a lot of Wiccans do. It was good to see some similarities and some things that I personally could connect to.

The next chapter she covers the topic of an altar to more extent. She also touches on the importance of colour, like when deciding what colour cloth to use. The 5th chapter expands on offerings. Again, I found some similarities between Paganism and Conjure; especially in relation to honoring Spirit (even if we are talking about two totally different definitions). I did find aspects of this chapter a bit confusing as on one page she talks about leaving an offering on your altar for a few days, but no longer than a week, but on the following page she talks about leaving offerings on the altar permanently- so I wasn’t too sure what way would be the best in that aspect.

The chapter on divination was one of my favorites. Bone reading and card reading are the main focus and style of divination when looking at conjure. I’ve always been curious about old style divination and have only really heard stories about bone reading so I really enjoyed that section, and it was cool to hear about chicken feet being used in real life. She says that “Each bone tells its own unique story. The thing to remember is to relax and let Spirit guide you in the reading.” And that resonated with me. A lot of the time in life you need to just relax and listen to Spirit and see what it makes you feel. Another cool thing in this chapter was the topic of protection when doing divination, which to me was just a Christian way of casting a circle. There was also a lot on trinity, which as a pagan the power of three resonates with me as well. So I liked the similarities to my own religion. The card reading part was different than what I expected, as usually when I read or look into card divination it’s usually involving the Tarot, whereas in conjure you use just a regular deck of cards. I want to give it a try for sure.

Following that, there is an excellent chapter about the spirits of Conjure that focuses on the ancestors, elders and spirits. I think this was my favorite chapter of the book actually. She gets into the historical ancestors “those who fought against the unjustness of slavery, of the wrongness of one man owning another man, or someone who fought against the odds and achieved something that was almost unachievable for a nonwhite”. And she tells the stories of many of those people. After educating the reader about that she delves into spiritual ancestors of conjure, with the first being Big Mama. I loved hearing all the tales of these spirits, as I hadn’t really heard of them and it really was a great read and would be informative to new and old conjure workers.

Chapter 8 was all about places of power. Which, I am aware of the importance of location when working with magick. The first place she touched on what the graveyard, which makes total sense to me. I’ve always been cautious and have avoided working in a graveyard except for a few times out of respect for the dead. Casas is a very blunt author and I appreciated that for this chapter. “Use your common sense when you are dealing with the graveyard and the dead that live there”. One thing that did get a bit repetitive was the use of “use your common sense”. It showed up many times in just this chapter, but also throughout the book. But, I understand where she is coming from. Something I took from this chapter especially was when she talks about a “wash”; which is a cleansing. I’ve done and heard of a lot of methods, but she does talk a lot about Christian prayer and I am used to casting a circle, or something similar and it’s always interesting to me to learn about different methods of spiritual protection. She gets into many other places of power including the police station, the banks and hospitals, which honestly I haven’t thought about ever doing magick in any of those three locations.

Following that was a chapter all about light. “Fire has always been a part of spiritual work from the time the first people discovered it. Whether through candle lights, lamps or an actual fire, folks and spiritual workers alike recognized the power of fire and what you can do with it”. That quote sets up this chapter well, as the first things she talks about is candles, which is what most people work with on a day-to-day basis. She also gets into talking about oil lamps, and a nice little feature is the basic spells she gives for both types of light-work.

She moves from light to conjure waters. This is a very neat chapter with a lot of information that is new to me. I never thought of using things like dishwater and toilet water. There is also something called Tar water and War water. It’s a short chapter but she touches on some neat information. After that she writes about dirts and dust. The dirts are used to make conjure powders. She tells the reader here that she is sharing information that she’s never written about before. She reminds the reader as well that not all conjure work is “sugary and sweet” and gets back into the topic of slavery. She lists the different types of dirts and dusts used, but there is a pretty noticeable error in this chapter and she has the exact same post about termite dust twice.

After all that, chapter 12 moves on to roots, herbs and trees. A lot of this hits home with my inner Pagan as this is something I’ve read a lot about. She lists all the different plants used and why you work with those specific ones. It’s a pretty decent list that I think is quite informative; especially if you are new to that topic. Chapter 13 moves onto the tools of conjure- and it opens with writing a petition- something new to me yet again. “Your petition tells Spirit exactly what you are asking for”. She gives a couple examples of how to plan said petition and works through it so if you’ve never done it before it makes you feel like you’re in good hands. Once she finishes up that she gets into household tools. There is another nice list for the reader. Some items are pretty common (coffee, brooms, eggs, etc.) and some would be items most would need to go out to buy specifically. (chicken feet, gunpowder, railroad spikes, etc.)

The last three chapters sum up a lot in the book. Casas delves into various things that are hidden within the culture, things she did automatically as a child because that’s what she was taught, without even realizing why. I like the personal touch here. The 2nd to last chapter is all about “Drawin’ and Removin’” Where she gets into attraction and reversal work and how you need to have an understanding on both sides of the fence. There is also a really great section in this chapter where she gives the reader a “Love yourself power work”, which I think is just fantastic. Then there is a final Q and A and a few more examples of work you can do. The last chapter is titled Africanized and she gives a bit more information on the history, the bible, and the culture itself.

All-in-all I really enjoyed this book. I learned a lot about a topic I’ve always been interested in and so I felt like I was being educated by someone who actually knew what they were talking about and I love the fact that she grew up learning conjure and didn’t just decide to pick it up as a hobby or anything. She has a lot of stories to tell, which makes the book that much more of a better read. The only negatives I have to say is that as a Pagan, I did find some things conflicting with my belief, and that there really should be a better index. She gives so many great examples of “spells”, but if you wanted to learn how to do something, there is no quick reference guide to find the page you would need. If you wanted to learn how to make a conjure bag for example, you would need to flip though the book and just hope to find it. I had to use a bunch of post-it notes to keep track of some things in this book. But- it’s great read and I think a lot of people could take something away from it.

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Book Review: Sacred Plant Initiations – Communicating with Plants for Healing and Higher Consciousness by Carole Guyett

January, 2018

This is a very sincere and beautiful book, about ceremonial work in a magical place. It is based on decades of personal experience working closely with plants and their spirits.

The author uses her own unique method, (that is to say: I had not heard of it before!), called plant dieting. Essentially this involves making an elixir from parts or extracts of the physical plant and then drinking this ceremonially as well as (intentionally and intensely!) connecting with the spirit of the plant for a certain amount of time. Generally speaking this is done ceremonially as a group while people are fasting during that time. That fact alone will bring up memories and life-long issues, of course.

You can also do it on your own and make adaptations to suit your health or medical needs. – the author offers guidelines for this and does not impose her way as the only way. The most important thing is a sincere willingness to embrace the plant as a teacher on your life’s journey. Once you have that and honour your own boundaries, the rest falls into place.

The book includes many first had accounts from participants in courses run by the author and what becomes clear is that many people gain an ally for life – meaning an ally they will return to and continue to work with, even once the “diet” is over.

I work with plant spirits as much as I can during the summers I spend in Sweden. I find it harder to keep this up when I am working more than full time in London during term time. What I can say is that this book brought a beautiful expansion of certain plant spirits I had already connected with on my own. It was a pleasure to meet these “old friends” and here how the author (and her students/participants) perceive those plants and trees. Examples of those are Primrose, Elder, St John’s Wort and Dandelion.

The author also links the plants to folklore and identifies especially good days on the “hedgerow calendar” for connecting with certain plant spirits. She works blends the Celtic tradition with the teachings of The Beauty Way. A lot of the word is done at Derrynagittah in Ireland, where her family was guided to move and settle.

I have read many books about plants and about plant spirit medicine but this book still adds something new: a personal take and unique way of working, information I not come across in other sources. So even if you are “fluent in the language of plant spirits” you may still find something fresh in this book.

It would make a beautiful present for gardeners, herbalists who work in different traditions and people keen to step beyond our everyday perception of plants!

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Imelda Almqvist, 14 December 2017, London UK

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About the Author:

Imelda Almqvist is an international teacher of shamanism and sacred art. Her book Natural Born Shamans: A Spiritual Toolkit For Life (Using shamanism creatively with young people of all ages) was published by Moon in 2016.  She is a presenter on the Shamanism Global Summit  2017 as well as on Year of Ceremony with Sounds True. She divides her time between the UK, Sweden and the US. She is currently working on her second book Sacred .

For Amazon Information Click Image

www.shaman-healer-painter.co.uk  (website)

https://imeldaalmqvist.wordpress.com/  (blog)

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=imelda+almqvist  (Youtube channel: interviews, presentations and art videos)

Book Review – The Awakened Dreamer: How to Remember & Interpret Your Dreams by Kala Ambrose

January, 2018

The Awakened Dreamer: How to Remember & Interpret Your Dreams

Author: Kala Ambrose

Publisher: Llewellyn Publications

Copyright: 2017

241 Pages

“The Awakened Dreamer” is the second book by Ms. Ambrose that I have read. “Spirits of New Orleans: Voodoo Curses, Vampire Legends, and Cities of the Dead,” was the first book by Ms. Ambrose that I read. (I got that book before returning to New Orleans for my husband and my 5th anniversary. We used her book as a tour guide.) Her writing style is very personal. She loves to share her stories with you, the reader. I like that about her.

Ms. Ambrose is an excellent writer; she is a vibrant storyteller. In some of her stories, there are some heartwarming lessons she shares about the different kinds of dreams that you may have. She shares personal stories of her own and those of clients that she has helped work through dream meanings.

In this book Ms. Ambrose has nine chapters that will help you to work on remembering your dreams, journaling them, becoming comfortable with changing what happens and interpreting your dreams. Each chapter of the book is about a different kind of dream, from Prophetic dreams to Nightmares.

Some chapters have exercises that help you learn more about how your mind and the dreams you have work. A month is all the longer I have had this book, I have read it. But, at this point, I am still working on the exercises in Teaching Dreams. I am looking forward to learning more about myself and my life (current and past.)

I love the exercises and the meditations that Ms. Ambrose includes in the book. The practices she provides help to make this a workbook that you can use to interpret your sleeping visions.

Chapter Nine is a great one for parents of younger children to read but is great for us adults too. It speaks about the use and the magic of daydreams. Ms. Ambrose give exercises to help you learn to use your visions to manifest your dreams in the real world. To me, this is an exciting concept and one that I look forward to putting to use.

In the back of the book, Ms. Ambrose includes a small dream symbolism dictionary. I love what she writes there too. Ms. Ambrose believes (as I do) that you should learn to interpret your dreams for yourself, after all only, you know your symbols mean. Throughout this book, she gives you the tools you need to be your own guide in your dream world.

 

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About the Author:

Dawn Borries loves reading and was thrilled to become an E-Book reviewer for PaganPages.Org. Dawn, also, has been doing Tarot and Numerology readings for the past 25 years. Dawn does readings on her Facebook page.  If you are interested in a reading you can reach her at:  https://www.facebook.com/NumerologistDawnBorries/.

Book Review: Tree Medicine, Tree Magic by Ellen Evert Hopman

January, 2018

Tree Medicine, Tree Magic”

by Ellen Evert Hopman

Published by Pendraig Publishing Inc.

Published: 2017

Pages: 245

This second edition is updated and revised from the original published in 1992 by Ellen Evert Hopman, a master herbalist, lay homeopath and founding member of The Order of the White Oak. She is currently archdruid of the Tribe of the Oak, a teaching grove for Druids. She holds an M.Ed. in mental health counseling.

For each of the 19 trees, she includes an illustration; describes their physical characteristics; gives their practical, herbal and magical uses; and provides Druid insights and recipes. Information for each tree takes up about 10 pages; quotes and poems about trees are sprinkled throughout.

Some of the common trees of North America and Europe that get a chapter in the book are ash, apple, birch, elm, holly, maple, oak, pine, poplar and willow.

Hopman treats each sacred tree reverently, sharing its powerful magic and how its legends are woven into various cultures. The traditions she shares are those of “our ancestors, the celebrants of the trees.”

 

 

At the beginning of the book, she explains the many forms which use flowers, leaves, bark, roots and seeds to treat conditions. She tells you what parts of the tree to use, and how to collect and use them. The back of the book contains such useful information as the Celtic tree alphabet and a tree meditation, along with indexes of herbal uses, magical uses, practical uses and illustrations.

Tree Medicine, Tree Magic” is a useful guidebook to work with trees on multiple levels.

 

Susun Weed, author of the Wise Woman Series, praised it, saying, “Trees are the Ancient Ones. They hold a vast wisdom that can heal all ills of body, mind, and spirit. Open this book and open a door to the details of that wisdom, brought to you by one of my favorite herbal authors, Ellen Evert Hopman. Ellen is actually a tree, ‘disguised’ as a person, so she speaks to us directly from the heart of the Ancient Mysteries. There is something for everyone here, whether you seek food for your psyche or physic for your woes.”

 

 

As I read about tree after tree and learned about the old ways, I was inspired to make more connections with them. I harvested white pine needles to make tea; I became aware that a branch of apple with both flowers and fruits is an indication the otherworld is paying a visit, and will now be on the lookout; and I now know to thank maple trees for being among those most tolerant of people.

I cross-referenced it with the Celtic tree moons – nine of the thirteen are in the book – and will be drawing information from the book when planning rituals.

 

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Hopman’s other 10 non-fiction books include “A Druid’s for the Sacred Earth Year,” “Walking the World in Wonder: A Children’s ,” “Scottish Herbs and Fairy Lore” and “The Secret Medicines of Your Kitchen: A Practical Guide.” She also wrote three novels including “The Druid Isle” and “Priestess of the Fire Temple: A Druid’s Tale.”

Visit Ellen Evert Hopman online at www.elleneverthopman.com.

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About the Author:

Lynn Woike was 50 – divorced and living on her own for the first time – before she consciously began practicing as a self taught solitary witch. She draws on an eclectic mix of old ways she has studied – from her Sicilian and Germanic heritage to Zen and astrology, the fae, Buddhism, Celtic, the Kabbalah, Norse and Native American – pulling from each as she is guided. She practices yoga, reads Tarot and uses Reiki. From the time she was little, she has loved stories, making her job as the editor of two monthly newspapers seem less than the work it is because of the stories she gets to tell. She lives with her large white cat, Pyewacket, in central Connecticut. You can follow her boards on Pinterest, and write to her at woikelynn at gmail dot com.

Book Review – Crystals for Beginners by Karen Frazier

December, 2017

Book Review – Crystals for Beginners by Karen Frazier

I love books and I adore crystals. If you know someone who feels the same way, then this book would be the perfect choice for them.

While Ms. Frazier states that this book is for beginners, there is plenty of information here, as well as, for the more advanced among us.

The author starts with the basics – what a crystal is and what it is not, how to shop for a crystal, feeling its’ energy, how to pair one crystal with another that it will work with particularly well.

Of course, it is mandatory to talk about how to clear, cleanse and store your crystals and that, too, is covered in Part 1.

As a yoga teacher and healer, I am always drawn to how crystals can be used with the chakras (energy centers within one’s body) and their color correspondences. The basics are definitely covered here.

I was also interested in using crystal grids. This is something I am just starting to study and Ms. Frazier gave a very good basic introduction in how to set one up.

Part 2 begins with what Ms. Frazier calls the “workhorse” crystals. Looking at the list, I tend to agree that these are among the most used crystals, among them amethyst, black tourmaline and rose quartz. I would assume that most who love and own many crystals counts these among their favorites.

These are followed by 40 more crystals, giving a more general description of each one.

Part 3 gives a very good overview of using crystals to improve your life, and for healing. There are pages devoted to specific things, such as anger, forgiveness, courage, etc., and how best to start using crystals in this manner.

The book ends with a crystal guide by color. I can see myself reaching for this book for a quick reference in lieu of pulling out one of my larger books.

So, whether you are a crystal novice or more advanced, this book is definitely one you want to pick up, whether to begin your study, or as a quick reference.

For Amazon information, click image below.

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About the Author:

Susan Morgaine is a Daughter of the Goddess, Witch, Writer, Teacher, Healer, and Yogini. She is a monthly columnist with PaganPages.org Her writings can be found in The Girl God Anthologies, Whatever Works: Feminists of Faith Speak” and Jesus, Mohammed and the Goddess, as well as Mago Publications She Rises, Volume 2, and “Celebrating Seasons of the Goddess”. She has also been published in Jareeda and SageWoman magazines. She is a Certified Womens Empowerment Coach/Facilitator through She is the author of “My Name is Isis, the Egyptian Goddess”, one in the series of the “My Name Is………” children’s books published by The Girl God Publications. A Woman International, founded by Patricia Lynn Reilly. She has long been involved in Goddess Spirituality and Feminism, teaching classes and workshops, including Priestessing Red Tents within MA and RI. She is entering her 20th year teaching Kundalini Yoga and Meditation, being a Certified instructor through the Kundalini Research Institute, as well as being a Reiki Master. She is a member of the Sisterhood of Avalon. She can be found at https://mysticalshores.wordpress.com/ and her email is MysticalShores@gmail.com

For Amazon information, click image below.

Celebrating the Old Ways in New Times

December, 2017

Celebrating the Old Ways in New Times December 2017

Bright Blessings!

With Yule just around the corner, you are likely planning festivities, gatherings, and family nights!

Growing up, of course, my family celebrated Christmas, and large scale was the rule. Everybody sent cards, bought gifts, planned dinners and lunches, and I can say Christmas for many of my family members was one of the biggest events of the year.

After I moved out, and started my own traditions, I scaled back the complicated Christmas festivities, and after converting to Paganism, reduced it further to just a single day for Sabbat. The Winter Solstice is a big deal for me, because I am so happy about the fact the sun will grow stronger, and “be reborn”.

I typically do a firepit fire, and libations alone, although I’ve attended public Sabbat and officiated for friends before.

Many different topics can be explored in Pagan Yule or Winter Solstice observances, but this year, instead if exploring things related to the Wiccan or Heathen male gods rebirth, the topic will be mothers.

Yule and Mothers Night

Anglo Saxon Pagans, according Bede, writing in the 8th century:

… began the year on the 8th calends of January [25 December], when we celebrate the birth of the Lord. That very night, which we hold so sacred, they used to call by the heathen word Modranecht, that is, “mother’s night”, because (we suspect) of the ceremonies they enacted all that night.”

They supposedly venerated the Disir, or the mothers, mother goddesses, protective mother ancestors, and held sacrifices in their honor. They gathered, feasted,

Yule lasted three days in Pre Christian days, but a lot of modern people observe it for twelve days, beginning December 20 or 21, with Mother’s Night being the first thing observed. Many do a ritual honoring the protective female mother ancestors and goddesses. Some give food or other gifts to them, light candles for them, and ask them to protect, watch over, bless, and ensure good coming harvest.

Some sources state Mother’s Night was the final festivity in Yule, and it was observed then in honor of the goddess Frigg. She wove people’s fate for the new year on that day, which was counted as New Years, and Frigg was honored. It was said she had knowledge of the future, but would not tell anybody what it was! She also was unable to alter the future, as evidenced by the fact she foresaw her son Balder’s death, and try as she could, she was unable to avert it.

I have attended candle lighting ceremonies Norse friends observe for some of the twelve days. They do candlelight vigils all night, with a prayer on the hour every hour, and network with one another from household to household if they can’t do it all under the same roof.

Of course, it is the women/ Matrons of our community who do this.

Some of these women have moved out of state, and some are no longer in contact with one another, but those marathon candlelight vigils are one of many things that are still maintained by almost all of the women to this day.

This is an appropriate introduction, I think for this month’s topic.

Mothers, and most specifically, mothers who have lost children.

Somebody’s Mother

I had the privilege of reviewing the beautiful film Somebody’s Mother, which was created by The Tollman Sisters, Gabriela and Evelyne. It’s been very successful in the US, and is headed to China!

I watched the film, myself and I recommend it. It’s a film that will make you think, and gets right to the difficult to face, let alone discuss issues that come when you lose a child.

As somebody who has been trying to have children for twenty years, and have been unable to, this film really hit home. The Tollman sisters explored so many of the things you deal with after such loss.

In the film, one sister’s baby died, and the other loses custody of her son after inability to take care of him that was not in any way her fault, and that she never meant to happen.

In the instance of losing custody due to inability to care for a child, the number one thing I see happening in the lives of my loved ones who have children is they become so focused on making their kids their all, they become completely unaware of their own needs at times. This is due to the great love they have for their children that compares to nothing else in their lives, and to a loving parent, no sacrifice for their children is too great. It can mean that sometimes, they don’t know how to ask for help, and they forget that even parents need support too. The topic specifically explored is postpartum depression, which I have seen more than one mother I love deal with it.

In the instance of the death of a child, I have been told by more than one parent that the death of a child is something you never fully recover from, and one that literally takes a part of your heart away that you never get back.

The stages of grief are explored intimately from the viewpoint of both sisters, and done in such a way that viewers can relate.

The film takes a very compassionate view of suffering many films exploring pain lack. At one point, in the film , it was said “I don’t know why I needed to go through it…I don’t know why I needed such pain.”

The film shows how loss of a child impacts the relationships of the parents of the children with one another. I don’t have the statistics of how many people’s marriages or engagements are called off when a child dies, but I’ve seen it happen quite a lot. The film presented a relationship surviving, and another not surviving.

The film portrays the inability to function normally in your own life after such a loss, and the great lengths people go to in order to keep up appearances, so people leave you alone about what happened. Sometimes, not talking about something that is tearing you apart emotionally is part of coping with it. It also shows how sometimes, that is absolutely impossible, however, and many of us have endured well meaning questions after losing a child we are not ready for like “ When will you have another baby?”

The love of sisters and how they are one another’s number one supporter, and closest friend in good times, and bad is intimately portrayed. It is a beautiful testament of the Tollman sisters devotion and love for one another as well.

Finally, the film shows how to pick up the pieces after unspeakable tragedy, and find hope for the future.

The link to the film’s pages follow, as well as a trailer.

http://www.somebodysmotherfilm.com/

https://www.facebook.com/SomebodysMotherfilm/

 

Trailer-

https://www.facebook.com/SomebodysMotherfilm/videos/504423143047518/

 

This film is now available on Amazon. Click Image below for more information:

 

Interviewing Gabriela Tollman

I had the opportunity to ask Gabriela Tollman some intimate questions she lovingly answered. Her words are as heartfelt and nurturing as the film.

 

Saoirse- Some of the women I interviewed about loss of their children are deeply suffering, even decades later. Some wanted to share, but could not bring themselves to talk about it. What words of advice, healing, and wisdom do you have for women dealing with loss of their children, be it through death, or loss of their living children?

 

Gabriela- It is an intensely painful experience to live through the loss of an infant, and it has been important for to let myself cry all of my tears. I spent two to three years crying. What helped me cope and carry on was the understanding that everything that happens in life has a reason. I know this idea does not comfort everyone, but it helped me. I began to see the events of my life, and the loss of my baby Charlie as a way to further advance the development of my soul. I also found many healers and teachers who helped me. Brian Weiss’ book Many Lives Many Masters was integral to helping me transform my pain into a spiritual lesson. Other books and healers that resonated with me are Anita Moorjani Dying to Be Me, and A Course in Miracles.

 

Saoirse-What do you recommend to these women to find strength when their own strength seems to vanish?

 

Gabriela- Writing down my story was an immense help for me. I wrote down anything I was feeling, thoughts and ideas in journals. These writings eventually became part of our film, Somebody’s Mother. Creativity of any kind helps transcend circumstance. It allows one to rise above and take control of grief and pain instead of it controlling you.

 

Saoirse- In what do you find comfort when it seems things are at their worst, to get you through until things are better?

 

Gabriela- As mentioned above, writing and creating helped me transform. Other practices that have helped me transform the pain are meditation. I practice transcendental meditation and this truly was the tipping point in getting me through that horrifying pain of grief. TM allowed me to find a place of peace inside myself, and release the oppressive negativity, anger, denial, fear and anxiety of grief. It is an incredible tool for all types of trauma and grief recovery. I also practice yoga, hiking, swimming, and am a certified hypnotherapist. Hypnosis is extremely effective for those who have a difficult time meditating, as it delves into the subconscious where I find peace and answers.

 

Saoirse- If you are religious, how does your personal devotion carry you in these times of grief? If you are atheist, but philosophical, how does your personal philosophy and values do the same? 

 

Gabriela- One of my favorite quotes is by David Bowie “Religion is for those who are afraid of hell, spirituality is for those who have already been there.” I am spiritual. The works of Brian Weiss, an MD, hypnotherapist, writer and teacher changed my life. He writes a lot about past lives and lessons that we need to experience in the flesh in order to grow, evolve, transcend and raise our vibrations. Another brilliant healer and teacher that I follow especially in difficult times is the work of Marianne Willamson. Her teachings of A Course In Miracles help me find understanding. A COURSE IN MIRACLES offers a lesson for each day of the year, which is an incredible practice for self-healing and transformation.

 

More on this beautiful film follows the working at the bottom of this article.

 

The Mothers Stories

I could write volumes about how my personal miscarriage and being childless breaks my heart, but instead I reached out to friends who have lost their children. Their names are changed for confidentiality, but they were good enough to share their own heartbreaking stories with me, and all of you.

First, my friend Patty lost a child to death, and custody of another.

Here is our conversation about it:

 

Patty- In 1998, I gave birth to Anthony Joeseph Oliver. He only lived 3 days. He was born on March 14th and died March 17th. He had potters syndrome.

Me- Oh gods! How does it make you feel?

Patty- Kind of bad still, but it gets easier. I also have a daughter who I don’t get to see who turned 18 in May. I wanted so badly for her to know Anthony, her big brother. He would have been 20 in March.

Me- I wish that had happened for them too. Have you ever been able to get a hold of your daughter?

Patty- No, but I’m hoping she tries to find me. I think she lives in Missouri. I miss them. It’s kind of hard to talk about it.

Our discussion ended at that point. Patty just couldn’t bear to talk anymore, and I understand. My prayer is she is able to make contact with her living daughter.

 

The next woman I interviewed is 20 year old Jade, who lost her child very recently.

This is her story;

Marceline was a very healthy baby up until the last two weeks I carried her. I was seeing Riverside doctors as well as Knox Community doctors. KCH refused to coordinate my care with Riverside, and wouldn’t believe me when I said she was ten days ahead of development.

Since I’m a Type 1 Diabetic, Marcy was already going to be bigger than a baby from a low-risk mother. I started going into labor at about 34 weeks, but KCH said I was too early, and stopped me. I went into labor again at about 36 weeks, and they didn’t really stop me since I was at the minimum week requirement, but they were going to give me a steroid shot for her lungs.

They had warned me about it last time I went into labor, and I had asked Riverside how it would affect me. They said I didn’t need it, and if they gave it to me it would possibly send me into Diabetic Ketoacidosis, which would hurt my baby. I told KCH I didn’t need it, and they told me I was getting it whether I liked it or not.

About a week after that, I went in for a non-stress test, which I did twice weekly. I was scheduled for 10:00AM. I switched rooms three times, and they took an hour trying to find her heartbeat. They brought in an ultrasound machine to see if they could find it, but the machine wasn’t functioning properly. The next two weren’t, either. It was about noon at this point, and I’m already panicking.

I was already at a higher risk for a stillborn birth, and I was afraid that’s what was happening. Mike, my fiancé, was watching the monitor since I couldn’t see it. He told me that the cord was wrapped twice around her neck, and he could see her heart and circulation stop.

The doctor that was operating the machine told me, “I’m so sorry, but your baby has passed away. We can’t find her heartbeat.” I feel like I screamed, but I was in so much shock that I can’t remember clearly. I remember crying that entire day. It took them another two hours to start me on a Pitocin drip, and another two to start the epidural. I had to lay with my dead child laying still in my belly, because they were forcing me to deliver vaginally.

They told me that I run the risk of not healing properly from a C-section. I honestly would’ve taken that risk if it meant they could revive Marceline. I had to lie and wait until late that evening before I could deliver her. It was over an hour that I was in labor. Marcelne had shoulder dystocia, and was stuck in my pelvis. My pelvis was too small for her. They were using the vacuum on her.

I remember screaming, and feeling everything, even with the epidural. Mike, Mom, and my best friend Mickey all saw the cord around her neck, and heard the doctor say, “Oh, that’s wrapped tight.” I saw her turn a little to block Mike from seeing her cut the cord. Marcy was born at 1:16AM on Sunday, July 9th, 2017. They let Mike cut the cord, then laid her on my chest.

The skin on her cheeks had started to slough off from the cord strangling her. When I let Mike take her and hold her, they wouldn’t let me up to see him. I don’t remember much after that, and I think I had fallen asleep. The next morning the nurses had brought her in so I could see her. Her poor little hands were so cold. Her lips were so dark they were nearly black. I remember sobbing as I held her and being so afraid to touch her, thinking she would disintegrate if I did. When everyone had left the room, and it was just Mom and I with her, we sang her her lullaby, Loch Lomond.

I begged her to just come back to me, to us. I told her how much we loved her and how badly she was wanted, and how I was so sorry this happened to my poor little fox. She weighed 8lbs. 12oz., was 20.5 inches long, and looked exactly like I did when I was born. I didn’t get to hold her anymore after that. I could barely hold myself together; I barely can now.

The doctor also told me it was my fault she died, saying it was complications from diabetes that killed her. They also tried talking us out of getting an autopsy done on her. The autopsy results were eight pages long, and there was only one thing that may have been linked to my diabetes, but was not the ultimate cause for her inter-uterine demise.”

It is my prayer that the blessings from the goddess be upon my beautiful friend that she may become a mother of healthy children, and that she may heal from this terrible tragedy.

 

The next woman who shared her story was Mary.

I was 16 when I found out I was pregnant. I was in and out of group homes for most of my teen years, so I was actually kind of excited that I would finally have someone who loved me who didn’t get paid to. (Teen logic). A few weeks later, I went to a party with some friends in a nearby hotel. I was the only one there not drinking. My baby’s life was too important to me.

Everyone was passed out on the beds in piles, except for me and one guy who was still drinking. I’d noticed him before, and he was cute, but I was in a relationship, so he was off limits. Besides, he was a cop’s kid, and he drank way too much, knowing he could get away with anything. I shook my head and decided to use the bathroom and find a place to go to sleep. He followed me to the bathroom. I won’t go into details, but he raped me on the bathroom floor, and no one even woke up. The next morning, I left before anyone else stirred. Once he had left the bathroom, I had spent the night curled up crying on the bathroom floor, so I was able to tiptoe out unnoticed. I called my best friend and asked her to come get me. She lived nearly two hours away, but she came, and instead of taking me home, she took me back to her house.

That night, I started spotting. Being so young, I had no idea what to do. I didn’t tell anyone, just got a pad and pretended everything was fine…until it wasn’t. By the next afternoon, I was bleeding heavily and having stomach pains so bad I couldn’t stand. I told my best friend what was going on, and she and some friends who were at the house took me to the ER. Of course, by then, it was too late to save the baby. That opportunity had passed the day before, if it ever even existed.

After the miscarriage, things are kind of a blur. However, I do remember what the doctor told me after my D&C. “You’ll never be able to get pregnant again. It was a miracle you were ever able to in the first place. And if you do manage to get pregnant, you won’t be able to carry a baby to term.” Just a few months later, I was pregnant again. This time, she was nearly a month late.

I was in the custody of DCS when I had my daughter. Less than two weeks after I had her, I turned 18. I told my case worker I wouldn’t leave the home for young mothers when I turned 18. I lied. I left on my birthday. She was livid, and actually tried to have my daughter taken from me. I fought like I had never fought before. No one was ever going to take THIS child away. I’d have died first.

Because of the miscarriage, and because I knew she would likely be my only child, I grew up and threw myself into motherhood head first. The late 80s were a time when almost all moms bottle fed their children, and preferred strollers and bouncy seats to skin on skin contact. I nursed my daughter, and improvised a way to carry her on my chest, much like today’s baby slings. She slept in a bassinet that was right beside my bed, and there were nights I would wake up and put my hand on her back, panicking a little until I could feel the rise and fall of her breathing. I never went a day without telling her I loved her, and I never went a night without reading a story and tucking her in. Perhaps I was TOO close to her, but I never wanted her to doubt my love.

The doctor was partially right. I was never able to have another child after my daughter. I tried to move on, but every year I would think about how old my first child would be if they were alive. Today, they would be 28. My daughter is 27. She is a beautiful woman with a wonderful life. I always told her growing up that she could be anything she wanted, but that all I wanted for her was happiness… I still feel that way. And she has it. That’s all a parent could ask for.”

I have thanked these beautiful women for sharing their stories, and they will be invited when I do the ritual I have written for this month’s article. It was very difficult for me to write this, as I could not stop crying the whole time. I will be blessed during this ritual as well.

I tried to think of something simple, but meaningful, and what I would want somebody to say to me for my grief over my own childlessness. I also looked to see what other liturgies I could find for women mourning loss of children, and I did not find much. I don’t ever remember hearing of such a ritual, and what little I did find was specifically for either funerals or miscarriages. I found nothing for women who are barren unless it was to pray for fertility. I found nothing for women who lost custody, as society tends to assume these women deserve that, but I’m not so quick to judge. I found a couple of Pagan prayers about miscarriage, and quite a few Catholic liturgies. I wanted to do something where the women bless and support one another, and as the women I am inviting venerate different gods and goddesses, I did not write this to be specific to honor a goddess, or to fit any one pantheon.

 

The Working

Instead of just honoring the Mother goddesses, living mothers, and mothers who have joined the ancestors, for your Winter Solstice Celebrations, I suggest a blessing for living Mothers who have lost children.

Decide if you want one officiant to act as a Priestess, or if you prefer to delegate parts and readings to multiple people, depending on the needs of your group.

You will need:

  1. One large candle for The Goddess,
  1. One candle for each child attending women have lost,
  1. A large pitcher of water, and cups to drink from.
  1. Boxes of Tissues in case anybody needs them because they are crying.

First, cast circle as you normally do, or leave the circle open as preferred.

Then light the large candle to welcome the goddess. Because of the solemnness of this rite, a silent lighting is acceptable unless you have a special way you want to welcome her.

Each woman should take the pitcher of water in her hands and bless it as she sees fit. The communal blessing is what will make this ritual powerful, as it is one another we oftentimes look to for love, and strength. Prayers, or focusing energy to bless the water as feels appropriate for each woman is acceptable.

After the water is blessed, have each woman light a single candle in honor of each child they have lost, saying the child’s name and sit all the candles in a circle around the blessed water.

The reading, as followed can be done by one person, or each person can take a part to read.

The unbreakable bond of flesh of our flesh transcends the body and mind, and unites through spirit.

Though their bodies are far from yours, their mother, your soul connection to your children is forever.

Though your life with your child ended, you are still their mother, and always will be.

Let the love of the Divine Mother who you manifest in this life fill the void the loss of your child left.

You, a vessel of life, create more than just human beings. You create life through joy, kindness, laughter healing, and love.

May the blessings that you, a reflection of the Goddess, bestow upon those around you be returned to you tenfold.

May those whose tears of sorrow you dry, dry your tears. May those who you bless with tears of joy fill you with joys beyond compare.

May the waters we have blessed heal us, wash away our sorrows, and restore things we thought our pain took from us forever.

May the Mothers mourning loss of connection with living children be reunited with them, and have a long, happy life together.

May the Mothers whose children have died be reunited with them in the place of the ancestors, if they do not reincarnate together.

May you have the love and support of other mothers around you. Know that you are never alone. You have the connection to the Divine Mother, and all Mothers on earth who embody Her.”

Next, give everybody a cup to drink of the blessed water.

Each woman will then take turns talking to their child, or children and think of something they would have done for their child. Since they can’t do that, let the Mothers take a pledge to do something for another child in honor of the child or children she has lost. It can be something as simple as babysitting for a single parent you know for free, or something as great as adopting or fostering another child who has no parents.

Next, take down circle as you normally do, and potluck.

Blessed Yule, and Blessed Be.

 

Below is more information about Somebody’s Mother.

 

From the Press Release about Somebody’s Mother-

FILMMAKER’S COMMENTS

I feel shattered, pieces of me flying everywhere. Some parts of me are back in the hospital with the ghost of Charlie. Some parts are on the other side with Charlie’s soul, floating, dancing in the light. Together the two of us, our forgotten love. The love we didn’t get to share in this lifetime because he died. My little baby died. He was born too early with a terrible infection. He became terribly septic and was suffering. We released him from his pain and took him off life support. He floated away back to the other side and he died. Some part of me is there with him. Another part is on the floor at Trader Joe’s, where I was just shopping but had to run into the bathroom, and beg God for mercy; from the pain that I was experiencing just walking through the bread aisle.

Grief showed me all its colors, textures, shapes and sizes. When I lost Charlie it felt as if I was never going to get out. One day, I had a vision in my meditation, that Charlie came and said I need to make this story, I need to talk about grief and loss and that there is a connection to the other side. He’s not lost, its just another realm. And so we began to change the script we had worked on. Making something, first by writing it down in the script, then re-enacting it out during production and finally observing it in the editing slowly allowed me to befriend the grief. The parts of my body rejoined other parts. Parts of my soul rejoined the other parts and the new fragmented me became whole again.

During a scene in our film SOMEBODY’S MOTHER I sort through a purple box, which was actually my Charlie’s baby items. These items were given to us from the hospital NICU and consisted of Charlie’s little hat, a lock of his hair, and his footprints. I hadn’t been able to go through that purple box since returning from the hospital over a year prior. I decided to go through it for the first time while we were filming. During the scene, I wept. I felt purified and cleansed. It was beyond healing, it felt shamanic. By fully embracing the pain, I somehow transcended it.

I wasn’t just doing it for me but as a way to understand others; who had or were going through this. I learnt that extreme pain forces us to leave our bodies and reconnect with something deeper than ourselves. In this process, we shatter into a million pieces destroying who we once were, our former selves; our ego identity to rebirth into a new self with new knowledge and a reconnection to “source” energy. Charlie taught me this. Making the film allowed me to fully understand it, and not become lost in the grief or hardened by it. Instead it helped me open and soften. The experience deepened my understanding that this pain is a universal experience, which ultimately made me more of who I am. — GABRIELA TOLLMAN (Director, Writer, Actor, Producer)

My sister and I were interested in exploring contrasting themes. So many women we know want to get pregnant so badly and when they do; they don’t enjoy motherhood. It’s complicated. The role of a mother; is expected of women. It is assumed that the role of a mother should come easily and feel natural, but this is not always the case. Not everyone should become a mother.

We wanted the audience to feel how lonely these two women feel. If we are disconnected from honoring loss and disconnected from pain then how do we move forward in life? If Anna had allowed herself to express the confusion as a mother, her guilt, shame and fear perhaps she could have sought help instead of walking away from her four-year old child and leaving him in a car. So many women go through postpartum depression but feel so much shame that they act out instead of seeking help. We wanted to explore these topics, these dark places that nobody really wants to see – the places that are uncomfortable for an audience to experience and yet when they do, they feel relieved that they survived and deepened their understanding along the way.– EVELYNE TOLLMAN (Writer, Actor, Producer)

 

This film is now available on Amazon. Click Image below for more information:

 

***

About the Author:

 

Saoirse is a recovered Catholic.  I was called to the Old Ways at age 11, but I thought I was just fascinated with folklore. At age 19, I was called again, but I thought I was just a history buff, and could not explain the soul yearnings I got when I saw images of the Standing Stones in the Motherland. At age 29, I crossed over into New Age studies, and finally Wicca a couple years later. My name is Saoirse, pronounced like (Sare) and (Shah) Gaelic for freedom. The gods I serve are Odin and Nerthus. I speak with Freyja , Norder, and Thunor as well. The Bawon has been with me since I was a small child, and Rangda has been with me since the days I was still Catholic. I received my 0 and 1 Degree in an Eclectic Wiccan tradition, and my Elder is Lord Shadow. We practice in Columbus, Ohio. I am currently focusing more on my personal growth, and working towards a Second and Third Degree with Shadow. I received a writing degree from Otterbein University back in 2000. I have written arts columns for the s Council in Westerville. I give private tarot readings and can be reached through my Facebook page Tarot with Saoirse. You can, also, join me on my Youtube Channel

 

Book Review – The Witches’ Almanac: The Magic of Plants

December, 2017

The Witches’ Almanac is not so much a book as a yearly almanac, much like The Old Farmer’s Almanac. Almost everyone knows The Old Farmer’s Almanac. Sold in the smallest country store as well as the largest supercenter, it is the one of the most recognizable almanacs in the United States. It was always a mainstay in my parents’ home. Another almanac that I remember being in our home was The World Almanac and Yearbook – when we went on vacations, we would play trivia games in the car during the long drive to our cabin in the mountains of Maine and the World Almanac was our reference. Looking through The Witches’ Almanac, I remembered looking through that fat book of facts and I wondered what I would find in this witchy book.

I was quite pleasantly surprised. Personally, I have always depended on The Old Farmer’s Almanac to chart the changes of the moon throughout the year – and I am still a big fan of The Old Farmer’s Almanac – being a kitchen witch and a woman raised in the country. But The Witches’ Almanac – for lack of a better term – is an Old Farmer’s Almanac designed just for us witchy folk. Which is a wonderful thing! And unlike The Old Farmer’s Almanac, it is an actual book, rather than a pamphlet sold in the aisles at grocery stores and supercenters.

Some background. According to Terence P. Ward of “The Wild Hunt”, the first Witches’ Almanac was published in 1971 by Elizabeth Pepper and yes, it was modeled on The Old Farmer’s Almanac. 1971 was thirty years before the internet, so networking for pagans and wiccans was primitive at best. The Witches’ Almanac sought to remedy that.

Forty-six years later, we have the Spring 2018-2019 Edition – Issue 37 – which focuses on “The Magic of Plants”. For a book that is half an inch wide, it is packed with information. The cover says “Ever a Keepsake” and after reading the entire volume, I can attest to that. This is the kind of reference book you keep on your desk or on the table next to your desk. The calendar – a lunar calendar, using Zodiac signs instead of the usual names of the months – has information on the moons, the changing of the planets, the Sabbats and other Pagan holidays, but advice like “bewitch a stranger” and “call an old friend” or “enjoy solitude”. There are quotes about plants and information about how to use herbs. There are poems and stories. There’s an article about office magic – for those of us who need protection at work – simple things you can do with plastic cutlery and rubber bands. There’s loads of astrological information.

One of the really cool articles was called “Diabolous in a”, about a piece of music by Niccolò Paganini. In English, it is called “Air for the Flute: Incantation Dance of Witches under the Walnut Tree”.

Not only is the piece of music discussed, but the music itself is produced and there’s a link provided so you can hear the piece played on The Witches’ Almanac’s website!

It seemed like every time I picked up the almanac and opened it up, I found something new – something interesting – something educational. The article on making powders helped me with a poem I was writing. I found pictures to add to my goddess wall. I loved this one by Albrecht Dürer:

The back of the book has all kinds of ads and they are interesting, too. Some of the products being advertised are sold by The Witches’ Voice and some are from other venues. Some of these places I have been to and I can attest that they are fabulous shops!

It’s a really great place to do your witchy shopping. There’s also an order page for books and back issues of The Witches’ Almanac. The newer ones are more expensive and the older ones, less so. But given the wealth of information in this most recent one that I have in my possession right now, I would say that any issue of The Witches’ Almanac, new or old, is a very wise investment. It would be a fine Yule present for yourself or for someone you love.

Brightest Blessings!

Resources:

Theitic, Andrew, Executive Editor. The Witches’ Almanac, Spring 2018-2019: The Magic of Plants. Providence, RI: The Witches’ Almanac, Ltd., 2017.

http://thewitchesalmanac.com/

http://wildhunt.org/2016/06/from-conjure-to-coloring-books-45-years-of-the-witches-almanac.html

For Amazon information, click image below.

 

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About the Author:

 

 

Polly MacDavid lives in Buffalo, New York at the moment but that could easily change, since she is a gypsy at heart. Like a gypsy, she is attracted to the divinatory arts, as well as camp fires and dancing barefoot. She has three cats who all help her with her magic.

Her philosophy about religion and magic is that it must be thoroughly based in science and logic. She is Dianic Wiccan and she is solitary.

She blogs at silverapplequeen.wordpress.com. She writes about general life, politics and poetry. She is writing a novel about sex, drugs and recovery.

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