Interviews & Reviews

Book Review: Shamanic Qabalah – A Mystical Path to Uniting The Tree of Life and the Great Work by Daniel Moler

December, 2018

Book Review

Shamanic Qabalah

A Mystical Path to Uniting The Tree of Life and the Great Work

by Daniel Moler

 

 

Author, Daniel Moler’s book brings together two subjects that have long held my interest; a shamanic perspective and Qabalistic studies. The latter is an area of study that has been my passion and work for many years now, the former one that I have long been acquainted with and know many well-respected practitioners.

With that being said, I was intrigued as to how the author would approach the Tree of Life and its application to shamanic work. The sheer weight and history of Qabalah, in this book used in its Hermetic form, has been a daunting study for many. This, largely because of the more traditional approaches used in its exploration. I am happy to see that there are now a variety of spiritual paths and practices that are using the overlay of the Tree’s knowledge and thus engaging more students and seekers of its mystery teachings.

Mr. Moler makes use of an impressive bibliography of trusted and reputable sources of Qabalistic studies and then weaves the Shamanic approach of delving more deeply in the work of the Soul and roots of transformative processes aligned with those practices.

Part One is aptly entitled “The Great Work”. This semantic evocative of something out of the ordinary and initiatory in experience. Daniel dives right into the work of the world enticing us towards materialism and chaos that is moving us further away from the path of the mystic and the explorations of what that actually means for modern seekers. This section covers “everything that is wrong with society today”, what the truth of initiation can reveal and heal and how illumination can awake even the deepest sleeper.

Part Two offers the basics of what Qabalah is, how its symbology as the Tree of Life affects all planes of existence and spiritual practice and how the components of the Tree are defined and work together to provide a universal Whole. Chapter Five within this section focuses on Malkuth, the sephira of the Earth and Greater Earth Plane and becomes the natural starting point of alignment with a very earth based Shamanic perspective.

Chapter Six diverges back into a more traditional Judaic approach to Qabalistic study in looking at the “Topography of the Inner Worlds” and the journey of Adam Kadmon, the Perfected Man that embodies all of the wisdom of the Tree. A reference to the Hebrew letters assigned to the paths and the descent of man via the emanation of Yahweh and the sacred Hebrew names of creation gives the reader another vision of the Tree.

Part Three ties everything together with plenty of practical experiential and a further breaking down of the Tree incorporating the Triangles, Four Worlds and specific paths. Having read the Qabalistic referenced based books of the bibliography and having first hand teachings from some of the authors, I would say this book made good use of the author’s expertise in Shamanic work and the information presented regarding the Tree of Life.

My only criticism would be in the amount of diverse ways of presenting the Tree that were incorporated-Judaic- Hermetic and a more modern approach of fusion. I would have appreciated a more consistent approach throughout and more of the overlays of the Shamanic application that I believe would have provided more focus. Overall, a very well written book and kudos to Mr. Moler for making more bite-size an enduring and often challenging course of study.

Shamanic Qabalah: A Mystical Path to Uniting the Tree of Life & the Great Work on Amazon

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About the Author:

Robin Fennelly is a Wiccan High Priestess, teacher, poet and author.

She is the author of (click on book titles for more information):

 

The Inner Chamber Volume One on Amazon

It’s Written in the Stars

Astrology

 

The Inner Chamber, Vol. Two

poetry of the Spheres (Volume 2) on Amazon

Qabalah

 

The Inner Chamber, Vol. Three

Awakening the Paths on Amazon

Qabalah

 

A Year With Gaia on Amazon

The Eternal Cord

 

Temple of the Sun and Moon on Amazon

Luminous Devotions

 

The Magickal Pen Volume One (Volume 1) on Amazon

A Collection of Esoteric Writings

 

The Elemental Year on Amazon

Aligning the Parts of SELF

 

The Enchanted Gate on Amazon

Musings on the Magick of the Natural World

 

Sleeping with the Goddess on Amazon

Nights of Devotion

 

A Weekly Reflection on Amazon

Musings for the Year

 

Her books are available on Amazon or on this website and her Blogs can be found atRobin Fennelly 

 

Follow Robin on Instagram & Facebook.

Book Review – A Spiritual Look at the 12 Signs by Joseph Polansky

December, 2018

Book Review

A Spiritual Look at the 12 Signs

by Joseph Polansky

 

 

Having a large section on my bookshelf dedicated to Astrological studies and having decades of experience as an astrologer, I must admit that I had some preconceived notion of what I could expect in reading this book; also on a subject that I am very well versed.

By way of a little introduction for those whose primary experience with astrology has been in religiously purchasing those little scrolls of Sun Sign wisdom available at the retail counter here is a bit of information about the complexity and nature of this particular discipline. Astrology has both a mundane and esoteric approach. The former being what we traditionally come across by way of chart readings, daily predictions and guidelines and the basic and fundamental perspectives, and I would add psychological, attributes of the individual’s birth chart. The more mundane (not to be confused with astrological interpretation of geographic place) aspect of astrology is further sub-divided into a variety of interpretative styles, including Vedic/Sidereal astrology, Western/Tropical astrology, Babylonian Astrology and many more.

Esoteric Astrology perceives the zodiacal signs as attributes of archetypal spiritual energy; there is additionally the psycho-spiritual overlay applied. Each having a (sentient) nature that informs the spiritual bodies of the individual and by so doing, informs the spiritual progress of this and other lifetimes. Just as is the case with Western (traditional) astrology, each of the signs has a planet associated with its energy. However in esoteric astrology the assignations of those planets differs from the traditional, because what becomes the focus of this study is that of the spiritual (and sentient) nature of the planets as they act upon the more etheric nature of the signs. Either (Western or Esoteric) of these approaches requires quite a lot of study and understanding of the basic principles to make full use of their gifts.

A Spiritual Look at the 12 Signs starts off on the right foot, moving through each of the zodiacal signs and giving enough basic information on each that the dip into the more esoteric astrological approach is easily grasped. Additionally, throughout the book, Mr. Polansky has provided the reader with a copious and varietal amount of meditations and contemplative reflections that serve as another layer of experiencing the more spiritual, vs. astronomical nature of the signs.

The Table of Contents is thoughtfully organized to provide some basic information at the foreground and develop into a broader perspective inclusive of other ways of making use of astrological energies. Mr. Polansky folds in some additional uses of astrology, such as Medical astrology, aromatherapy using the construct of astrological energetics. Each of these sub-sections breaks out how that modality would present itself through each of the astrological signs, giving the reader an instant “grab on” and point of reference.

There is an interesting chapter, The Twelve Yogas, that weaves the philosophies of Yoga (not simply in its form of Hatha-or posture) into a meditative practice aligned with your astrological sign. In particular the overlay for this exploration is the alchemical element of the various signs and the particular form that will support that disposition. For example, those of Air signs are guided towards practices that incorporate mind (Jnana yoga) and breath (Pranayama yoga); Water signs align with the yogic focus of love and devotion (Bhakti); Fire with that of fire (Agni yoga) and action (Karmic yoga), and Earth signs benefit from postures and movement (Hatha yoga) and ritual work. I found this to be a nice touch in making connections and use of astrological principles beyond the traditional nature of prediction and identification.

This book is a smorgasbord of tastings and samplings for the student of astrology who wishes to stretch a little further. Theosophical, Eastern Philosophies, Western Hermetics, Ayurvedic practices, Metaphysics, Alchemy and Esotericism and more are all folded into the information of this book. Some reveal themselves only if you are aware of the disciplines from which they are derived, which is neither a comment of critique nor praise. This is often the case when pursuing any of the disciplines of esoteric knowledge.

All in all I believe A Spiritual Look at the 12 Signs to be a lovely foray into expanding your understanding of astrology and being able to access relevant and enough recognizable traits to engage the reader and inspire them to seek out more.

A Spiritual Look at the 12 Signs: An Introduction To Spiritual Astrology on Amazon

 

***

About the Author:

Robin Fennelly is a Wiccan High Priestess, teacher, poet and author.

She is the author of (click on book titles for more information):

 

The Inner Chamber Volume One on Amazon

It’s Written in the Stars

Astrology

 

The Inner Chamber, Vol. Two

poetry of the Spheres (Volume 2) on Amazon

Qabalah

 

The Inner Chamber, Vol. Three

Awakening the Paths on Amazon

Qabalah

 

A Year With Gaia on Amazon

The Eternal Cord

 

Temple of the Sun and Moon on Amazon

Luminous Devotions

 

The Magickal Pen Volume One (Volume 1) on Amazon

A Collection of Esoteric Writings

 

The Elemental Year on Amazon

Aligning the Parts of SELF

 

The Enchanted Gate on Amazon

Musings on the Magick of the Natural World

 

Sleeping with the Goddess on Amazon

Nights of Devotion

 

A Weekly Reflection on Amazon

Musings for the Year

 

Her books are available on Amazon or on this website and her Blogs can be found atRobin Fennelly 

 

Follow Robin on Instagram & Facebook.

Book Review – Medicine Wheel Plain & Simple: An Introduction to Native American Astrology by Deborah Durbin

December, 2018

Book Review

Medicine Wheel Plain & Simple: An Introduction to Native American Astrology
by Deborah Durbin

 

I had a flashback to the 1980’s when I opened this book. I saw the system familiarized in Sun Bear and Wabun’s The Medicine Wheel: Earth Astrology, complete with correspondences to animal totems, plants, crystal and moon correspondences for each astrological sign. So, this book is “New Age;” don’t pick it up thinking that you will learn find a new (or rather, ancient) system of working with cosmic forces here. And you won’t gain any insight into the cultural astronomy or archeoastronomy of the indigenous people of the Americas – the mythic tales of the stars brought down to Earth and how those energies affect human affairs.

That said, you will have a fun tool for broad astrological divination by the equivalent of your sun sign to play with. Medicine Wheel Plain & Simple offers a different lens for examining personality types, strengths and weaknesses, than the zodiac wheel we are used to. Like Sun Bear and Wabun’s book before it, this book uses a Northern American perspective on a seasonal calendar: winter is cold, summer is hot. The calendar wheel is divided into seasonal quadrants with a “ruling” animal totem for each. The wheel is further divided into 12 signs, like the familiar astrological signs, but ruled by animal totems instead of constellations. So, if like me, you are born between April 20th and May 20th, I am a Beaver, member of the Turtle Clan, born under the Frogs Return moon in the Spring Season rule d by spirit-keeper Wabun – Eagle on the East of the Medicine Wheel. My sign is also associated with blue camas plant, the color blue and the mineral chrysocolla. There are many correspondences to investigate here! Interestingly, the description of a Beaver personality was reminiscent of my Taurus self: “slow, methodical, practical, reserved…easygoing and slow to anger, but once roused, they can have a fierce temper…” My compatibility with other signs is similar to my astrological compatibility – I am married to a Snake (Scorpio)!

Durbin has included a section on finding your personal animal totem. She discusses a shadow totem, one that terrifies you, that tests you and teaches you what you need to overcome. Interestingly, mine is Snake, the opposite of my Beaver totem, containing the qualities that Beaver most lacks. And being married to a Snake, I have learned a lot from our differences. She also includes a short section on working with predictive Medicine Wheel astrology by throwing pebbles or shells, noting where they land, and interpreting the energies and qualities of the quadrant and sign in that section of the wheel.

It’s unfortunate that the book purports to be “An Introduction to Native American Astrology.” There are so many beautiful star myths, tales and creation stories in the traditions of the indigenous peoples of the Americas. And the ancient Mayans had a complex astrological and seasonal calendar. And to imply that all Native American cultures used a homogenous system is stereotyping of the worst sort. Medicine Wheel: Earth Astrology, the book on which this one appears to be based, sourced itself in earth-based cycles rather than representing a specific “Native American” system. Medicine Wheel Plain and Simple is a New Age overlay of North American animal, plant and seasonal symbolism on the common horoscope wheel. But it is fun to play with! If you didn’t come across Sun Bear and Wabun’s book in the 1980’s, this one’s worth a look!

Medicine Wheel Plain & Simple: The Only Book You’ll Ever Need on Amazon

***

About the Author:

Susan Rossi is a Practitioner and Teacher of Shamanism. She is a long-time explorer of The Mysteries – the connections between mind, body, spirit and how to live in right relationship to all of the energies streaming through the cosmos. She works with clients as an astrologer, coach, ceremonialist and guide to the wisdom that each of us has the capacity to access. Her focus is on guiding clients to unblock and rediscover their inner wisdom. , exploration of the birth chart, ceremony, legacy writing, hypnotherapy, energetic healing practice and creation of sacred tools are integral pieces of her practice.

Susan trained in Soul Level Astrology with master astrologer Mark Borax. She delights in exploring with individuals the planetary pattern under which their soul choose to incarnate.

Flying to the Heart www.flyingtotheheart.com

Open Channel Astrology: openchannelastrology.com

Review: 2019 Lunar & Seasonal Diary (Northern Hemisphere) by Stacey DeMarco

December, 2018

Review:

2019 Lunar & Seasonal Diary (Northern Hemisphere) by Stacey DeMarco

Rockpool Publishing

ISBN: 978-1-925682-13-7

List Price: $21.95 USD / £16.99 GBP

The 2019 Lunar and Seasonal Diary is a beautiful, spiral-bound calendar, richly illustrated with pleasing sepia color pages. As one would expect, it tracks the waxing and waning of the moon and the lunar eclipses of the coming year. It also provides the astrological house of each new and full moon and features the eight annual festivals of the wheel of the year.

I reviewed the Northern Hemisphere edition of the Seasonal Diary. Both Stacey DeMarco and Rockpool Publishing are based in Australia, which is why special care is made to tie the festivals to the seasons themselves instead of calendar dates. After all, our calendars follow the reality of the Earth and her seasons, not the other way around.

Especially well fitted to the new pagan, the diary has a well written introduction the hows and whys of spellcraft and the basics of working with crystals. The moon phases are introduced, as well as the elements, directions and the wheel of the year – not enough to complicate things, but enough guidance to use the daily and monthly prompts that follow. Each month features a specific deity, as well as an appropriate ritual or spell, drawing inspiration from traditions as varied as Slavic, Celtic, Hindu, Norse, Egyptian, Greek, and Shinto. I think the selection is broad enough to be interesting for almost any pagan.

I found the Lunar & Seasonal Diary a beautiful resource to keep me connected to the monthly rhythms of the earth. Each month begins with a page questioning “What am I devoted to?” – asking us to simultaneously reflect on what we have been wrapped up in the month just past as well as what we would aspire towards in the month ahead. Prompts are given for important dates and goals to focus on and manifest in the month ahead.

This monthly return to focus seems a positively recharging reset to our frame of reference, especially during those stressful times when we’re just happy to it through one calendar page to the next. It reminds us to recall what we are working for in the first place, reminding us that the daily grind is a process and not an end in itself. This monthly taking-stock can allow you to stay open to the living world around you, to stay fast with what is truly important to you, or to shift your focus and goals each month, working on different aspects of your life just as the energy of the earth changes through different phases around you.

With the space for taking notes, prompts for both reflective and aspirational record keeping, I think this is a great notebook for any pagan who sees the value of the occasional ritual to keep one in tune with the seasons, and it especially shines for those new to the pagan path.

2019 Lunar & Seasonal Diary: Northern Hemisphere on Amazon

Witch & Popcorn

December, 2018

 

May the Devil Take You

 

 

 

Bright Blessings, Movie lovers.

I had the pleasure of viewing one of the scariest horror’s I’ve seen since the original Exorcist.

This is an Indonesian film called “May the Devil Take You.”

If you scare easily, run like mad, and never watch this.

If you are interested, take a look at the trailer.

 

 

If you love a good scare, and want to sleep with all the lights on- IF you can sleep…you MUST see this.

The film begins showing what appears to be an encounter with a cunning woman, but turns out to be a man named Lesmana selling the souls of his wife and daughter so he can be successful.

Fast forward many years later, and Lesmana is laid up in the hospital. His wife has died, and he is remarried to a complete you-know-what.

As he lays in hospital, his wife and her kids have no idea whether he will survive or not, so they decide to try to coerce his daughter from his first marriage, Alfie into selling the house he had in her name. Note, Alfie is estranged from her father and feels he literally ditched her in favor of the step mom and her kids.

The tension between step mother and Alfie is immediately obvious, and within a few minutes, step mom has slapped Alfie with all her might in the face.

Maya, the step sister from hell, of course jumps to mom’s defense, and while there is a younger step sister, who is a complete angel, and kindly step brother, Alfie has her hands full dealing with the heartache of her father’s negligence, and the resentment she rightfully feels towards step mom and her brood.

Maya, who is not only every bit as big of a bitch as her mother is, is also extremely stupid. Lesmana, trying to keep the devil from coming to claim souls, has locked the spirits in the basement with religious papers, and ritual tools. Maya comes in, rips it all apart, and throws open the basement door. She simply did not believe in such “superstitions.” Everybody else had been eyeing the door suspiciously before backing away…

All hell breaks loose, literally, and the demons come for everybody.

Not only is the bloody torture fest highly entertaining, and chilling, but the film imparts a lesson.

Don’t fuck with nasty spirits. EVER.

A lot of Witches and Pagans will proudly proclaim “One man’s angel is another man’s demon.” Grimoires to summon this or that demon can be bought cheaply, and supplies to do such operations can be likewise bought, or made following explicit instructions in said grimoires. The famous stories of Crowley summoning spirits abound, and many people publicly proclaim they have demons. It is plain out stupid to assume that because you bought a book, you can command spirits. Furthermore, such emphasis is put on summoning, but very little emphasis on banishing is. When was the last time you saw exorcism classes offered?

Yes, it is easy to summon. Just because you CAN does not mean you SHOULD. Getting rid of said summoned spirit might be difficult, or impossible.

Lesmana thought he had a handle on things and could cheat the devil. His whole family paid the price right along with him. Nobody was spared although some lived to tell the tale.

Sometimes a demon is a demon, meaning evil ass spirit, not something misrepresented by the Abrahamic faiths, and it is out to harm anybody it can. While they can do nice things for you, there is always a price. It is never worth it.

This film is not only scary and entertaining, and imparts a good lesson, but it contrasts those who call beliefs in spirits “superstitions”, and those who believe. The people in the film who did not believe in the power of spirits made grave mistakes, and continued to do so even after they realized spirits were real. Those who believed were immediately able to make better decisions, and made out better in the end.

Pride was portrayed as downfall, and humility a virtue. Alfie was the heroine from start to finish, and she was a shining example of self-reliance balanced perfectly with understanding of her own smallness as a simple human being.

If you decide to watch this, plan to sleep either with somebody else or your pets. Leave a nightlight on, and double-check all your locks. The sound on this was so realistic, I was cutting it off to check everything often because it sounded like the house was falling apart around me.

I mean, this movie was GOOD.

Enjoy this film.

***

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.

The Circle of Nine: An Archetypal Journey to Awaken the Divine Feminine Within by Cherry Gilchrist

December, 2018

The Circle of Nine: An Archetypal Journey to Awaken the Divine Feminine Within

by Cherry Gilchrist

 

 

publisher: Weiser books

© 2018

length: 252 pages

This book is a rewrite of an earlier work the author wrote in the 1980s; the author talks about what it was like trying to write this book, the first time when the Internet was not yet available to her. When I went looking for the original text, the publication date on Amazon was 1750. I instantly had the thought of “She’s on to something. If she still here using the same name in 2018, and she wrote this book that long ago.”

She writes about nine different archetypes that comprise the circle of nine. Ms. Gilchrist does point out that it is three sets of three. There are three Queens, three Mothers, and three Lady’s, that work to comprise the circle of nine. On page 224 of the book, Ms. Gilchrest states “plan your journey around the circle of nine; there are 362,880 ways (99) of doing this.”

The examples that appear in the book regarded as devotees, healers, spirited dancers, and gifted seeresses. The first chapter is dedicated to the nature of the nine, and how the number nine figures into women’s groups and women’s spirituality.

She wraps up each chapter of each archetype with images of that archetype,

Street image.

Mythic image

Personal Image

Evolution of each archetype.

Youth

Maturity

Old Age.

Manifestations of that archetype.

Gifts

Trials

Rituals and Cults.

Visions of that archetype

The Circle of Nine is a well-written book by Ms. Gilchrest that with today’s world I see a lot of women utilizing to find their archetype energy. The archetype energy described in this book for each of the nine archetypes is present in each woman. I can honestly say though, that there were two that I didn’t feel a connection with, until after I read them thoroughly. They were the Queen of Beauty, and The Lady of Light, it was only after reading the images of the archetype energy that I was able to see both in myself. If you run a women’s group, this is one of the books I would suggest you use to help women strengthen their spirits and honestly see themselves.

The Circle of Nine: An Archetypal Journey to Awaken the Divine Feminine Within on Amazon

 

***

About the Author:

Dawn Borries loves reading and was thrilled to become a 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: Readings by Dawn on Facebook at

https://www.facebook.com/Readings-by-Dawn-1608860142735781/

Book Review – Enchantments: A Modern Witch’s Guide to Self-Possession by Mya Spalter

December, 2018

Book Review

Enchantments: A Modern Witch’s Guide to Self-Possession

by Mya Spalter

 

 

Inspired by a New York Occult shop of the same name, Enchantments: A Modern Witch’s Guide to Self-Possession, takes the reader on a virtual tour of the shop, its wares and the accompanying advice and conversation that might be had when looking to craft a beautiful and meaningful altar space, or create sacred space.

The author, Mya Spalter, uses a very warm approach, telling how she came to work at Enchantments store and then taking you on a journey through the highlights of her learning and experiences in working in a busy occult venue. Even the way in which the book has been arranged feels like a coffee break exchange of information of “what works, and what doesn’t?”, “how’d you do that?” and “can you teach me about that?”, that you would expect from most witchy stores and those who work there.

Part One is aptly entitled Witchy Implements and includes chapters dedicated to altars, correspondences, such as colors, plants, herbs and some of the disciplines that would be included in witchy practice such as astrology, the wheel of the year and more.

Part Two reinforces the necessity for Magical Intention(s) and begins the work of spell crafting, protection and divination, and concludes with a more in-depth approach to astrological uses and the cosmic connection found within what has traditionally been deemed an earth/nature-based practice.

The book is nicely illustrated with interspersed black and white drawings that are whimsical and informative. And, using a style near and dear to my heart, each chapter concludes with “Suggested Reading” and a list of well-respected titles relevant to that chapter’s offerings. I could go on in pointing out sections here and there, but, quite honestly, this is a book to be experienced first hand.

Enchantments: A Modern Witch’s Guide to Self-Possession is the next best thing to having a good friend who will walk you through the magic, point out the highlights anh solid and usable information, this is the one for you!

Enchantments: A Modern Witch’s Guide to Self-Possession on Amazon

***

About the Author:

Robin Fennelly is a Wiccan High Priestess, teacher, poet and author.

She is the author of (click on book titles for more information):

 

The Inner Chamber Volume One on Amazon

It’s Written in the Stars

Astrology

 

The Inner Chamber, Vol. Two

poetry of the Spheres (Volume 2) on Amazon

Qabalah

 

The Inner Chamber, Vol. Three

Awakening the Paths on Amazon

Qabalah

 

A Year With Gaia on Amazon

The Eternal Cord

 

Temple of the Sun and Moon on Amazon

Luminous Devotions

 

The Magickal Pen Volume One (Volume 1) on Amazon

A Collection of Esoteric Writings

 

The Elemental Year on Amazon

Aligning the Parts of SELF

 

The Enchanted Gate on Amazon

Musings on the Magick of the Natural World

 

Sleeping with the Goddess on Amazon

Nights of Devotion

 

A Weekly Reflection on Amazon

Musings for the Year

 

Her books are available on Amazon or on this website and her Blogs can be found atRobin Fennelly 

 

Follow Robin on Instagram & Facebook.

Review of the Shop HokumWares

December, 2018

Review of HokumWares

 

 

This past Samhain I went on a day outing with my Family Coven to an annual Witches Market in Philly called “Witches Night Out.” We had an excellent time, however we did not get much. We found a lot of the prices to be exorbitant. Also, most of the items were not necessary for us. Jewelry made from bones (human & animal), regular jewelry out of our price range, patches, clothing, candles & some kits of sorts with funny names. However, there was one booth that really caught our attention and kept it.

It was a nice sized table, whose smell lifted you by the nose and floated you over. It was filled with colorful soaps, unusual lotions mixtures, bath bombs that look like potions, beautiful handcrafted crocheted altar cloths and more. We found ourselves in front of the lovely face of Anna Maria, the owner of the amazing shop HokumWares.

Anna Maria’s infectious smile and wonderful products immediately brightens your day as you are being tossed around like a sack in the jumble of crowd. Anna Maria is funny and cheery and just great to talk to. She takes the time to explain to you what is in her products, why she makes her own products, why she chooses her ingredients and doesn’t rush you along, even though there is a throng of people surrounding us.

Right away we were drawn to the lotions. There were three scents, each unique. I chose to purchase the scent Pikake Flower & Gardenia. I love the smell of Gardenia, but this smells more than just gardenia, well obviously it smells like Pikake, too. I had no idea what a Pikake Flower was until I looked it up. It is the flower used in Hawaii to make leis! It has a wonderful fragrance. Both pikake and gardenia compliment each other well.

I purchased an 8oz pump plastic bottle for only $10. I found that to be a very fair price for handcrafted lotion. The bottle is completely filled. Professional labeling. Ingredients written on label.

Now what I love about this lotion (besides the scent)…

Let me start with the bottle it comes in. The pump twists open and shut. LOVE this idea! I have not seen this before. This means I can carry it in my bag with me at all times and not have to buy something to put it in and spend more money. You just simply turn the top left and right and it locks. I amaze easily!!!

The lotion is not thin or runny. It is not watery, or oily. If you turn over the bottle you do not see it running or moving down the sides. It is a thick lotion without being a unblendable paste.  It blends right into your skin easily without leaving that excess lotion you have no clue what to do with because it is too thick or watery.

After you put it on your hands they feel totally moisturized, not greasy. You can pick up objects without dropping them. Without leaving a mess on them. Yet your hands feel like they are moister.

I am diabetic so I have VERY dry hands. My hands can be known to drink In lotion and then feel like I have not put any on. Sometimes I can put on lotion and 2 minutes later it’s like I didn’t put any on. With HokumWares lotion I use a normal amount, a squirt, rub it into my hands and they stay lotioned for over an hour. I stopped timing it after an hour. It got rid of my chapped skin on my hands for that long, too.

I’m touchy when it comes to lotions. I don’t like to feel greasy. This lotion was very comfortable to me. Next, I want to try it on my face. Usually lotions make me break out on my face. I don’t think this one will. I think it will get rid of the flaking I have been getting in my T Zone.  Update:  I have used it on my face and no pimples or break out!!!

I almost forgot to mention, I also have psoriasis and eczema. The lotion does not make them flare at all. I get psoriasis flares on my elbows that burn because they chafe now that it is colder outside. The lotion soothed those without causing the burn some lotions cause due to over scent or whatever is in them.

For purchasing the lotion I was given a free sample of HokumWares Cold Process Soap. The samples name was Herkimer Diamond Soap. You want to smell something refreshing and clean??? Get a wiff of this bar!! Lathers nicely. Cleans well. Leaves you smelling wonderful.  I love the impression of the logo in the bar. 

As a free gift for going to the Witches Market, the first 50 to arrive received a Goody Bag with products from some of the vendors. HokumWares was one of the vendors who contributed to the Goody Bag by giving those a free Lip Balm. We are lip balm nuts, and found that we wished that it kept our lips moist a bit longer. If you are the type of person who doesn’t lick your lips or rub them together too much, you should be fine.

We had a chance to speak with Anna Maria about herself and her products.

Jennifer Wright (JW): Hello Anna Maria! Thank you so much for taking the time to answer some questions and letting us & our readers get to know you!

Is it true you try not to rely on store bought items?

Anna Maria (AM): I will use some store-bought items within reason, but I lean heavily towards products that are cruelty-free.  If I cannot find something that I enjoy, or something that I’ve enjoyed heavily, I try to replicate the positive points of the products while still making it my own recipe.

JW: You even make your own cat food?

AM: I do! Although they do also eat a high quality canned food, they enjoy all kinds of meat I can source.  They love chicken wings!

JW: Is this is why you started making your own line of soaps and lotions and so on?

AM: I have always been fascinated by soap makers for years.  My past lab director at an old job would pay me in soap for small side jobs I would do for her and they were lovely.  Soap is the perfect marriage of two things I am fond of: science and alchemy intermingled with art and design with a sprinkling of my own unorthodox offerings.

JW: How long has HokumWares been open?

AM: HokumWares has only been open to the public for about 1.5 years, although I have been making soap for about 5 years.  I wanted all my recipes to be exactly what I wanted out of them before releasing to the public.  Many, many loaves of soap have been made before they were ever for sale to hone technique and understand oil qualities and product safety.

JW: What all do you create?

AM: I have branched out from soap to offer other bath and beauty products including bath bombs, lotion bars, lip balm, sugar scrubs, whipped body butter, and more recently hand and body lotion and hair oils.

JW: You use all natural products?

AM: I try to keep my ingredients as “clean” as possible.  Since the term is not regulated, everyone’s interpretation of natural is unique.  So for me, that means using essential oils and natural colorants or none at all for products.  By that definition, some of my products are natural and some are not.  I do use Phthalate and Paraben free fragrance oils in the bulk of my products and some may consider those natural.  It’s all up for interpretation.

JW: How do you come up with your ideas?

AM: Some ideas are cultivated, meaning I need to put a little thought into product specifics.  For example, my hand and body lotion was a necessity for me to create, but I chose my 3 initial scents off of what my offerings “should” be: a healthy mix of floral, fruit, and spice.  Other ideas come to me organically and I basically have free range to do whatever I want while incorporating the things I love and feelings I want to impart onto a product.  A huge example of that would be my Felinas bars of soap: a marriage of soap and hand-cast cat bones I’ve collected.  A conscious joining of scientific alchemy and a somber yet beautiful memorial to a life that I will not let be remembered in tragedy. 

JW: I bought your Pikake Flower and Gardenia Lotion. I fell in love with the unique smell and blend. I love Gardenia. You make two other kinds of lotions that are just as unique, what are those scents?

AM: They are Black Pepper & Oud and Grapefruit & Bamboo.  The black pepper fragrance is a spicy smoked scent that pleases my dark while the grapefruit is a very cleansing, uplifting scent.  I wanted a small yet wide-spanning range of scent for my first run that would appeal to myself as well as potential customers.  I will be carefully expanding this range as time goes on, but I feel that these are a great start to a pleasing product.

JW: I agree. I have smelled your other lotions at the market, and was totally surprised, especially by the black pepper fragrance. It was beautiful. It was hard to decide which to buy. I think I have more shopping to do!

Do you do a lot of testing? Do you ever find things that are just a no go?

AM: Everything that I make is meticulously tested and retested; HokumWares has been in the making for quite some time and only when I found I had a great product to share did I start offering it to the world.  I do it for safety reasons as well as just being a somewhat perfectionist at heart.  I do have products that I’m currently working on that are still in developmental stages; an example would be my tattoo balm.  It’s been in the making for about 8 months and although I have tested the prototype on myself and 1 other person’s fresh tattoos and have had wonderful results, the consistency is not where I want it to be.  Back to the formulation rework on that, as well as lining up tattoo appointments to test a new prototype!

JW: What is your favorite product that you sell? Is it your hair serum? Is that the secret to why your hair is so gorgeous???

AM: Thank you for the compliment! They all have their places in my heart, but I would have to say the hair oil has had me smitten for the past year.  A close second would be any of my cold-process soap; I am a sucker for the tried and true.

JW: Do you magickally charge the items you make?

AM: I try to plan productions of certain things on specific dates as well as going into it with a clear, open, happy heart.  I hope my customers can feel that love come through.

JW: I feel it!

Where can our readers find you?

AM:

Website: www.hokumwares.com

Instagram: @_hokumwares

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thecleansingoracle

Business inquiries: mussoamm@gmail.com

Thank you, Anna Maria, for the wonderful conversation! It’s been such a pleasure talking with you. I highly recommend our readers check our all of your wares.

***

About the Author:

Jennifer Wright is a witch on a path of change that is always winding. She founded PaganPagesOrg in the hopes of giving those a platform to share and learn without judgment. There are too many important things to her and not enough room to mention them. You are one of them.

 

Book Review: Forbidden Mysteries of Faery Witchcraft by Storm Faerywolf

December, 2018

Book Review

Forbidden Mysteries of Faery Witchcraft

by Storm Faerywolf

 

 

Author, Storm Faerywolf’s book provides the reader with an inside look at the workings and traditions that evolved from Victor and Cora Anderson’s Feri Tradition and are known as Faery Witchcraft.

I am always skeptical of books that infer that the teachings within are those which are not freely shared. It gives a certain layer of mystery and feeling that the reader is privy to practices that are only shared with the most trusted. I am not saying this as judgment as to whether that word “forbidden” or “hidden” should be in the title of any book, just simply making a statement relevant to my experience in that what is truly only for those with the appropriate training is never shared fully in a book. I believe that by having that bit of information, the reader can then make use of the material presented to the best of their means. And, so on that note, Storm has treated his readers to “just enough” information to whet the appetite to learn more of the BlueRose lineage of Faery.

I am familiar with his work, having read Betwixt and Between: Exploring the Faery Tradition of Witchcraft and having had the privilege of attending ritual and class with him at the Temple of Witchcraft “Templefest” event year before last.

I loved that he dedicated the book to Victor and Cora Anderson and acknowledged that all great works set upon the path are the result of collaboration and the impact of many teachers, students and others who support and encourage the individual’s practice. That was also true of my impression of him in first meeting, that this was a genuinely very nice guy who was passionate and dedicated to both sharing and evolving his teachings to be inclusive.

Unlike Storm’s first book, Forbidden Mysteries is a bit darker in its magick; really getting to the heart of practice, ritual and exploring those aspects of witchcraft that require courage and boldness. The appendices provide the basics of Faery practice, some beautifully written poetry and invocations for use and the role of the Divine Twins in the lore of the Faery. Additionally, there is a glossary, which is a wonderful addition, again, making the material much more accessible to those who do not follow this path of witchcraft and would be otherwise unfamiliar in understanding some of the concepts.

This book is chock-full of exercises of preparation, Rituals, spellwork and Chapter Five’s exercises move through the alchemical elements finding common ground within all practices of witchcraft, but most decidedly with Fae influence.

So, to begin with, the spelling of Faery in this title is explained in this way…

…. While there are many different legitimate spellings for our particular tradition in use (most notable “Feri”, though Faerie, F(a)eri(e), and even rarely Fairy sometimes appear) I tend to use the archaic “Faery” as it was the spelling used at the time of my introduction to the tradition, and I also feel it better poetically evokes the relationship between the practitioner and the fae; a detail of mytho-poetic practice that some lines of our tradition do not follow but is central to my own practice and my lineage of BlueRose…. (excerpted from the Introduction).

This simple statement clears up much misconception about identification of the Fae and the Traditions that honor them.

The book is separated into four parts, taking the reader through many topics that are the staple of any practice of witchcraft and carefully aligning them with communion and understanding of the world of the Faery. We are given fair warning about the true nature of witchcraft and the dangers that lay in interactions with any who walk those realms, but as the author states, not for the reasons stereotypically associated with the practice. The danger lay in what is revealed of ourselves in the process and whether we have the courage to embrace all parts of our being and the places that those aspects inhabit and interact with those who are of the greater Earth or even more distant realms of existence. These pitfalls are exemplified in the telling of stories of the descent into madness by those who wandered into the realms of the Dark Faery and were not prepared for the price to be paid. The truth of the witch’s path is one of facing the shadow of their being as well as the light and in so doing being able to reach into the darker abyss where those greatest allies and teachers of the Fae reside.

We learn that the Faery are not the whimsical winged beings that tales have provided, but are often in folklore associated with the darker nature of things, not much different than the many layers and types of humans we encounter. Each has a dark nature and depending on the situation shows it in its ferocity or lessens the sting in resonance to the finely tuned calibration of the human encountered.

Each chapter and section following gives the information necessary for those who wish to cultivate an understanding and relationship of sorts with those beings of the Faery. I found these offerings to provide a perspective of work and a tradition that encompasses nature in her wholeness. We are reminded of the darker aspects of all of our spiritual work and that greater knowledge of what we consider to be demons and goddess of primal origins are part of the entirety of our world and all others.

I could dissect each chapter and point you in the direction of specific rites or exercises, but to a large degree that would spoil the unveiling of what should be an experiential journey of your own devising. Storm provides you with the tools and what you make of them and how you arrive at your own conclusions about the Fae is yours, and yours alone, culled from your courage and your boldness. This book is definitely one to be added to any library of a practitioner of witchcraft. Not simply in adopting its tradition as your own, which may well be the case after reading and exploring further, but in keeping with the true definition of a witch-one who seeks knowledge of the natural world-and I would add… and in so doing, gains the greatest gift of all, knowledge of themselves in all of their parts.

Forbidden Mysteries of Faery Witchcraft on Amazon

***

About the Author:

Robin Fennelly is a Wiccan High Priestess, teacher, poet and author.

She is the author of (click on book titles for more information):

 

The Inner Chamber Volume One on Amazon

It’s Written in the Stars

Astrology

 

The Inner Chamber, Vol. Two

poetry of the Spheres (Volume 2) on Amazon

Qabalah

 

The Inner Chamber, Vol. Three

Awakening the Paths on Amazon

Qabalah

 

A Year With Gaia on Amazon

The Eternal Cord

 

Temple of the Sun and Moon on Amazon

Luminous Devotions

 

The Magickal Pen Volume One (Volume 1) on Amazon

A Collection of Esoteric Writings

 

The Elemental Year on Amazon

Aligning the Parts of SELF

 

The Enchanted Gate on Amazon

Musings on the Magick of the Natural World

 

Sleeping with the Goddess on Amazon

Nights of Devotion

 

A Weekly Reflection on Amazon

Musings for the Year

 

Her books are available on Amazon or on this website and her Blogs can be found atRobin Fennelly 

 

Follow Robin on Instagram & Facebook.

Review of Arin Murphy-Hiscock’s The House Witch

December, 2018

Review of Arin Murphy-Hiscock’s The House Witch

 

 

I received a “review copy” of The House Witch: Your Complete Guide to Creating a Magical Space With Rituals and Spells for Hearth and Home by Arin Murphy-Hiscock just before the Thanksgiving holiday. This handsome book is published by Adams Media, an imprint of Simon and Schuster, and is the twelfth book by Arin Murphy-Hiscock. On Simon and Schuster’s author website for Arin Murphy-Hiscock, you can find all the titles of her other published books. Some were known to me and some were not. Some, like Birds: A Spiritual Field Guide, I had borrowed from my local public library and had on my “to-buy” list. So naturally I was elated to get The House Witch. I immediately cracked it open and wrote my name and the date on the inside cover.

But the demands of the Thanksgiving Holiday – cooking the meal and getting together with family in town for just a few days – meant that I wasn’t able to sit down and give The House Witch a good read. And then I caught my son’s cold. Sick and miserable, I gave up. I took a box of tissues and curled up on the couch under a hand-crocheted afghan for several days in a state of semi-slumber.

When I did finally get back to The House Witch, I was delighted, as I knew I would be. One my very first impressions was, “Gee, I wish there had been books like this back when I was first getting into witchcraft and wicca!” In the 1970’s and 1980’s, there were only a few books out on the subject and most of them – like Starhawk’s The Spiral Dance – were geared toward the large group or the coven but very rarely the solitary practitioner. Not until Scott Cunningham published Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner in 1988 that you started to see more attention paid to the solitary witch. While The House Witch is not specifically written for the solitary witch, it addresses the many concerns of those of us who practice alone – whether we live alone or with other people.

I was born in May, under the sun sign of Taurus, my moon in Pisces, with Cancer rising. Issues of home and health and happiness have always been forefront in my spiritual practice, so it is natural that I would gravitate toward creating and maintaining a beautiful home, even if that home is a tiny apartment in a poverty-stricken neighborhood in a rust-belt city. Because of my wonderful grandmothers, I was always aware of the magic in everyday things but many people – especially those born after, say, 1980 – do not have the benefit of the wisdom of their elders. On page 17, Murphy-Hiscock lists four steps that anyone can learn to “recognize the magic” as she terms it, reminding us to keep things simple and always to focus on what we are doing in the house. These steps are: live in the moment, be aware of your intent, direct your energy properly and focus on an action. Anyone who has studied any kind of meditation, magical instruction or spiritual path will recognize these steps. So just what does all of this have to do with the home and the hearth? Murphy-Hoscock writes,

“Opening yourself to the simplest of tasks and allowing them to inspire you with some insight or wisdom, or even a

moment of peace, illustrates that the Divine can whisper to you in the oddest of unexpected places. Hearthcraft is

about communing with the Divine through everyday tasks, not through complicated formal ritual.” (page 19)

She talks about home as sacred space. One thing she mentions is the removal of shoes in cultures such as Japan and other parts of Southeast Asia; I don’t allow anyone to wear shoes into my apartment and I am always amazed – when I watch TV, for instance – and I see people, not only with their shoes on inside their homes but also on the furniture!

When I was growing up, I always lived in houses that had fireplaces and we usually had a fire most winter evenings, so the idea of a hearth and a hearth fire is not unknown to me – one of our houses actually had a giant hearth built into the wall surrounding the fireplace! But since I have left my parents’ house, I have never lived in a house with a fireplace, much to my great sadness. I consider my hearth to be my kitchen oven or perhaps a meditation candle. However, when I was sick a day ago, I had some split pea soup and freshly baked bread and lay down for a nap. I could feel the warmth of the soup and bread in my belly and it occurred to me that my hearth fire was inside of me.

With this in mind, the “Bank Your Inner Flame” ritual on page 45 makes perfect sense. I had a wonderful warmth inside of me and I needed to be able to hold onto that warmth. It wasn’t just the soup and bread – it was the sense of being safe and secure in my own home. I love the word “smooring” – I love anything Scottish and Gaelic – I added it to my list of cool words and then I copied the “smooring prayer” (page 46) into my personal prayer book.

This book is filled with jewels.

There is a chapter on “The Magic of the Cauldron” in which she talks about how to find and care for a cast-iron cauldron. “Hearth and Home Deities” is just what it sounds like – a chapter of gods and goddesses of the home and hearth. The next chapter is about the kitchen as a sacred space – something that not many people even think about seriously nowadays. If your idea of cooking is opening up a box of prepared food and popping it into the microwave – or even using something like Hamburger Helper – then I would give Chapters 6, 8 and 9 a very close reading. As I already stated, Chapter 6 is about the kitchen as a sacred space. Chapter 8 is “Magic at the Hearth” and Chapter 9 is “The Spirituality of Food”. included!!!!!

Other topics in this fabulous book are “Using Hearthcraft to Protect Your Home”, “Herbs, crafts, and other Hearth-Related Magic Work”, and a chapter of various spells, rituals and blessings. Quite naturally, there is an appendix and a bibliography that have quite a bit of information in them as well.

In the “Postscript”, Arin Murphy-Hiscock writes, “Several times as I was writing this book, my thoughts moved faster than my fingers, and as a result ‘hearth fire’ very often came out as ‘heart fire.’ I wonder, at times, if my subconscious was trying to tell me something.” (page 247). I do not wonder at all. This book most assuredly set my heart on fire. In this rich season of Yuletide joy, when all of us decorate our houses with festive lights and traditional ornaments that may only have meaning to our loved ones alone, The House Witch: Your Complete Guide to Creating a Magical Space With Rituals and Spells for Hearth and Home by Arin Murphy-Hiscock is a book which brings together all the spiritual and happiness that home and hearth can represent. I highly recommend it for anyone on any spiritual path.

References

Murphy-Hiscock, Arin. The House Witch: Your Complete Guide to Creating a Magical Space with Rituals and Spells for Hearth and Home. NY: Adams Media, 2018.

The House Witch: Your Complete Guide to Creating a Magical Space with Rituals and Spells for Hearth and Home on Amazon

***

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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