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Book Review – The Shaman’s Guide to Power Animals by Lori Morrison

May, 2019

Book Review
The Shaman’s Guide to Power Animals
by Lori Morrison

Lori Morrison’s The Shaman’s Guide to Power Animals is an encyclopedic guide to the lore and symbolism of nearly 200 animals, birds, reptiles, with a few mythological beings included. It is a visually lovely book – gorgeously illustrated with black and white drawings in an oversized format – a “coffee table” volume that also works quite well as a reference book. I found myself dipping into the book at random to read the well-researched descriptions of animals in their natural environments as well the information and messages channeled by Ms. Morrison in her discussions with these animals.

Ms. Morrison’s perspectives on working with power animals have been filtered by her own experiences living in El Salvador and traveling in wild places all over the world. She describes a life-changing initiation in 2010 which opened her awareness and ability to work with power animals for herself and for others. Her belief in the value of this work is well-evidenced in the research she did for the book. The lore and traditions provided in the discussion of each animal come from many cultures and traditions; the bibliography, organized by animal, is extensive and allows the reader to dig further.

The book is organized into three sections. In the first, Ms. Morrison gives brief overviews of principles traditionally associated with shamanic practice: cosmology, which she sources in the Tree of Life and three worlds of “core” shamanism; shamanic journeying; and working with the elements and power animals, including shapeshifting, dreaming and tuning the resonance between yourself and a power animal by using a crystal or stone. Ms. Morrison, who has a practice dedicated to healing with vibrational medicine, states, “Each Power Animal embodies energy that is congruent with one of the seven primary energy centers in the human body. The characteristics of the animal mirror those of the center.” She then describes the ways in which a stone resonant with a Power Animal’s energy can be used. Ms. Morrison also describes several types of power animals, including the Shadow Power Animal. This being may represent an aspect of ourselves that we are ignoring, so it is certainly one to pay attention to.

The second section, the largest and most informative, contains illustrated discussions of each power animal. The lore and history provided is extensive and again, from many cultures. The channeled messages and symbolism are helpful for working with Power Animals in non-ordinary reality. In addition, Ms. Morrison places each animal in “ordinary reality,” providing descriptions of real-world behavior, habitat, prey and predators. We are better able to understand an animal sighting in our daily lives as a message noteworthy of our attention if we understand its routine behaviors.

The final section consists several great resources: a list of endangered animals; the research references and bibliography mentioned above; a source for each of the illustrations in the book and a useful table of correspondences for animals, their qualities and related minerals.

The Shaman’s Guide to Power Animals is a resource for animal symbolism and lore. I consider it a great addition to my library.

The Shaman’s Guide to Power Animals on Amazon

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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

Book Review – The Fire Rose: The Elemental Masters Series by Mercedes Lackey

May, 2019

Book Review
The Fire Rose
The Elemental Masters Series
by Mercedes Lackey

This is the classic story of a young woman, a man and the trials of living with magic. The concept might be a norm with fantasy fiction, but with this addition from Mercedes Lackey, we find magic in the rawest form. Elemental magic.

I have personally read this book over a 100 times, no joke. It is one of my earliest exposures to the actual ‘possibility’ of magic existing in our world.

When I stepped into the world of Jason and Rose, two totally different personalities and walks of life, I felt a kinship with Rose. She is a learned scholar and in the time period of the book that is practically unheard of.

Now, picture this:

A university-taught young woman, raised in Chicago, after losing her father, has found out the full depth of his debt. He made some rather shady monetary choices and lost it to a charlatan who had managed to do the same with all of his other backers.

After watching all of her worldly possessions being carted off by the bank, she was taken under the wing of a fellow professor of her father’s.

Enter Jason. Besides being a very well known rail baron and millionaire, living on Nob Hill in California-he is also a Fire Master.

He made a very foolish choice, after thinking that he had enough magical power, to attempt a werewolf-loupe Garou (1) spell that would allow him to change between werewolf form and human form at will; while still retaining his human mind. This failed in a way he never expected. It left him unable to read, write or practice magic fully due to the changes he created.

Enter Paul du Mond, a selfish and perverse man who is also Jason’s protegee – working to become a Fire Master himself. He is quite prolific in his various diversions to acquire power. He feels like the elemental powers should be his without the regular work and patience involved to rise in power to a Master of Fire as well. He is also Jason’s secretary who handles the business that Jason cannot due to his hubris (2).

There is another Fire Master, Simon Beltaire, who believes as Paul does that magical power can be derived from sex magic and pain. He lives in San Francisco. After enticing Paul with offers of teaching his way of magic, he turns Paul against Jason, while turning Paul into a spy.

After Rose’s father passed away, a letter was sent to her “knight of shining armor” from Jason outlining his need a scholar to help read for him, under the pretext of needing a governess for children he didn’t have. Feeling like all she was able to do was to teach, this offer felt too good to be true, she accepted the offer with some concern.

Off to California, she goes!

I could simply say that I love this book, however it’s more than that. This book fueled my teenage years with joy and happiness. A world that I could travel to and escape my reality.

In addition to this, I was also just beginning to learn about magic and things of the occult. This also happened to be the only way I could “learn” about the Craft in a way that wouldn’t upset my parents.(I’m not advocating hiding anything from parents at all!)

All in all, this is a good read and a lovely way to spend an afternoon curled up with a cuppa, and a snack! Read with an open mind and you’ll find magic everywhere!

(1)https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/loup-garou

(2) https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hubris

The Fire Rose (Elemental Masters Book) on Amazon

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About the Author:

My name is Krys, I’ve been living the Pagan life for 19 years. I am a wife and stay at home mom to one teen. I am an ordained minister/ Priestess, and head of the Cyber Moon Coven of Changes. After many years as a practicing Christian, I found paganism to be a more suitable path, personally. A few years and covens later, I found that being open to the online community was becoming more important to me.

After struggling to find a coven that was not just “rules” and “roles”. A few attempts later, I began the Cyber Moon Coven. An online and real life coven, with a ‘no strings attached policy’. You can find my group on Facebook. (Cyber Moon Coven of Changes)

Book Review – Feng Shui Plain and Simple: The Only Book You’ll Ever Need by Sarah Bartlett

April, 2019

Book Review
Feng Shui Plain and Simple
The Only Book You’ll Ever Need
by Sarah Bartlett

I love little books that present the subject matter in clear and concise form and engage the reader in a practical way so that you can use the information immediately. Feng Shui, pronounced “foong shway”, is one of those topics that has hoards of books available that often contain either too much or too little information. As the title of this little treasure suggests, this book holds the basics of Feng Shui and provides the “just right” amount of information to get you excited to start the transformation.

In these discordant times, we all are seeking ways to improve our lives and create sanctuary. The practice of Feng Shui has long been the panacea to stress, disharmonious environments and general chaotic energies in our surroundings. Ms. Bartlett provides in her Introduction a clear definition of what Feng Shui is and how it can be used depending on what your goal may be to bring healing and peace to any space…

….There are several different schools of Feng Shui thought. One, is based on a scientific and classical approach that uses astronomy, astrology and a powerful Chinese compass called a “Lo Pan”. Another concentrates solely on cures and enhancements, and a third is a blend of intuition and spiritual awareness. This book shows you how to try out some of the simpler principles of this highly organized system…..

Each chapter takes the reader through the why’s behind selecting to use Feng Shui in your space and the how’s to get started without needing to move doors, walls, sell or totally rearrange all of your belongs. The intention of Feng Shui is to tap into the flow of energy in a positive and supportive way in a proactive way that requires awareness of yourself, and your impact energetically on your surroundings. The additional component is that everything is created from energy, so those things we have as possessions also contribute to how we engage and interact with our surroundings.

The First Chapter takes you through the processes of Decluttering, Space-Clearing techniques and the principles of Yin Yang. Chi (energy) flows in accord with what contains and expresses its qualities and we are reminded that at its origins the Chi of the natural world was more important than that of the home. Of course, at the origins of this ancient practice, what was defined as “home” was organically more integrated into the natural world than what we live in today.

Chapter Two speaks to the origins and use of the Baqua, a prominent tool used in Feng Shui for assessing and mapping your space. The next chapters expand on the information you obtain in using the Baqua to assess and incorporate the Five elements. The Five Elements of Chinese use are slightly different than the traditional alchemical elements used in magickal workings. These are Fire-Earth-Metal-Water and Wood; each having their own particular attributes. There are quick lists and suggested cures and supports for each of the elements.

Chapter Seven brings it all together with information relating to each area of the home and simple fixes to bring a more harmonious flow of Chi into these areas. I particularly liked Chapter Eight and the charts to establish your elemental energy type based on your birthday. This may seem like a tangential piece, but the synthesis of all of the energies that permeate the home, inclusive of those who reside in that space is demonstrated to be an important piece of a (w)holistic puzzle.

I’ve long had an interest in Feng Shui and tried several applications based on books, online and more. But, this book truly lives up to its tile of being plain and simple, which is the perfect recipe for someone who doesn’t have a lot of extra time to spend in learning an Ancient discipline that is complex, nor the money to hire a professional. Kudos to Ms. Bartlett!

Feng Shui Plain & Simple: The Only Book You’ll Ever Need (Plain & Simple Series) 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 – The Moving Universe: A Spiritual and Mundane Perspective on the Transits by Joseph Polansky

April, 2019

Book Review
The Moving Universe
A Spiritual and Mundane Perspective on the Transits
by Joseph Polansky

Joseph Polansky has written annual horoscope books for each zodiac sign for a number of years. You know the ones I mean – they are the 365 day version of your daily newspaper horoscope. These are “mundane” forecasts that we scan each morning; they tell us of impending success, romance, or to be careful out there!

A Moving Universe: A Spiritual and Mundane Perspective on the Transits is a different breed of astrology book from the year in prediction books. Mr. Polansky addresses the impact of planetary energies as they move through, or “transit,” an individual’s birth chart or solar return chart – where the current planets are on your birthday. The chart of the planets’ positions at the moment of your birth is a permanent picture memorialized in your birth chart. But, the planets keep moving! And depending on the timing of their movement around the Sun, they will form angles to their position in your birth chart as they move and to the position of the other celestial bodies in the chart as well. You may be familiar with a “Saturn return,” for example. When you are approximately 28 years old, Saturn has moved through the entire wheel of the horoscope and returns to its place at the moment you were born. That position presages a coming of age and a maturation process, possibly a series of challenges that initiate a person into adulthood. As Saturn moves through the entire wheel of the natal horoscope chart over the course of 28 years, it forms angles to every other planet’s natal position, including its own! And every other planet does the same thing, moving at its own speed, from fast Mercury to SLOOOOW Pluto, who takes 245 years to orbit the sun. You will not have a Pluto return!

As they pass over or across from the other planets in the natal chart, transiting planets impart a tone or influence to the affairs of life and energies of the planets contacted. The specific degree of separation of one planet from another, or angle of contact, carries a particular energy. Trines (120°) and sextiles (60°) are considered “easier” than squares (90°) for example. As we can have multiple transits happening at the same time, it is like peeling an onion to get through the layers to interpret what’s happening!

Mr. Polansky has provided a great resource for the student of astrology in this volume. He explores what he calls the major angular aspects: conjunctions (planets at the same place); oppositions (planets 180° apart, opposite each other); squares, trines and sextiles. I would have liked to read his assessments of quincunxes and septiles as well; in my astrological training, I learned that these aspects can point us in the direction of the karmas and patterns we most need to address. Nonetheless, Mr. Polansky has explored each of the angles listed for every planetary combination – over 300 pages of reference materials that is pure gold for both the neophyte and the experienced astrologer.

What makes this book so valuable as a resource are Mr. Polansky’s discussions of both the mundane and the spiritual meanings of each transit. He examines what is likely to be happening in the outer life of the person undergoing the transit, and then he addresses what that transit may be bringing on the level of interior lessons and challenges. He is quick to remind us that we must factor in the many elements present in a birth chart to truly understand the impact of a transiting planet!

This book is a great addition to your bookshelf if you are interested in exploring the multi-dimensional meanings of transits in depth. I have added it to my reference library and will be using it many times!

The Moving Universe 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

Book Review – Hand Lettering A to Z Workbook

April, 2019

Book Review
Hand Lettering A to Z Workbook
by Abbey Sy
191 pp. Rockport

“Hand Lettering A to Z Workbook” is a very accessible workbook aimed at beginners in hand-lettering who want to start with a good foundation and traditional letter form styles. The first few pages are spent on exploring the basics of typography, hand-lettering, and layout; there is not a lot of detail on any one topic here, but there’s no fat, either. The prose is very direct and to-the-point, and Abbey Sy includes recommendations for specific tools and methods. 

Sy offers a good variety of styles for the beginner, from simple handwriting and serif letter forms to cursive scripts and bounce-lettering. She walks through the basics of layout, especially for a single quote or short phrase, as well as process — from a rough penciled template to a fully inked and colored end-product. Along the way, she includes many examples of different sketches, scripts, and fully-rendered quotes, to fuel the artist’s imagination. She also offers different character types and variants, special characters, and embellishments.

The introductory material is fairly short, and the rest of the book is made up of practice pages, first for the different letter forms and styles, and then for full quotes. It’s important to note that this book does not delve into traditional calligraphy at all, but focuses on more accessible brush scripts and drawn letter forms. The book is also peppered with handy tips to help you avoid rookie mistakes — always check your spelling before you ink, for example! — and to help you accomplish a finished product. 

While this book may not be of much interest to an experienced hand-lettering artist, it’s a great place to start, especially for anyone who may want to hand-letter their own cards and gifts, or add a bit of pizzazz to their journaling and scrap-booking. Accessible and thorough, “Hand Lettering A to Z Workbook” is a great place to start your hand-lettering journey and build a solid foundation for an ongoing practice. By the time you’ve worked your way through, you should have a thorough understanding of the hand-lettering process, and the ability to create polished, professional-looking typography art and gifts.

Hand Lettering A to Z: A World of Creative Ideas for Drawing and Designing Alphabets on Amazon

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About the Author:

Sarah McMenomy is an artist and witch. Her craft incorporates herbalism, spellwork, trance, divination, auras, and more. Her work can be found at https://sarahmcmenomy.tumblr.com

Book Review – Mindful Tarot by Lisa Frienkel Tishman, Ph.D

April, 2019

Book Review
Mindful Tarot
Bring a Peace-Filled Compassionate Practice to the 78 Cards
by Lisa Frienkel Tishman, Ph.D

The preface gives the reader a very specific view into the interpretative style and way in which Dr. Tishman is going to incorporate a Mindful approach to using the 78 Keys as tools of integration and awareness. This is a different ideology than is the norm in treating the cards of the Tarot as tools for accessing predictive information or having a specific spiritual practice in mind that these interpretations may be fused into. Dr. Tishman is, after all, a Zen Buddhist minister, so the underpinnings of this book’s methodology are grounded in a more eastern, vs. Western Hermetic dialogue.

Mindful Tarot is separated into two Parts, the first giving a very thorough set-up for the reader who is more acclimated to the traditional hermetic approach in using the Tarot. Part One: From Mantic to Mindful Tarot begins with the author’s experience as she sat on the meditation cushion during a break in the seven-day silent retreat. The author tells us of the epiphany she had surrounding the simple phrase, ”This is ALL there is”…and the clarity of meaning she derived from that phrase when looking through a different perspective.

Chapter Two: Cartomancy and Mindfulness-gives even more insight to the interweaving of the tried and true Tarot expectations and how these may be used in a more mindful way. She sites the words of Tarot icon, Mary Greer as having been instrumental is pushing her to seek deeper meaning for the individual…

Many people come to tarot in hopes of “fixing” their lives-obtaining information and guidance that will help them make the “right” decisions and no mistakes-guaranteeing perfection. I ask you, as a Tarot reader, how can we help the querent “embrace brokenness”? 1. Tarot for Your Self, 2nd Edition: A Workbook for Personal Transformation by Mary Greer

I especially liked Chapter 7: The Daily Pull– Dr. Tishman using the acronym of PULL for Pausing, Unknowing, Looking, and Leaning In. Many of us are familiar with the concept of pulling a card daily, not only as a way of learning the deck but also as guidance for the day’s energies. The author encourages us to cultivate the (zen) “beginner’s mind” of absolute aliveness and openness to “what’s that”. We then move on to the practice of patience, an excellent reminder that things unfold as they unfold, regardless of the amount of coercion we attempt to place on the desired (immediate) outcome. Each of the steps of PULL have an experiential exercise following the descriptive of how to, which is very helpful In training the individual towards being present and fully engaged in the action.

Part Two: Reading the Cards is separated into the usual format beginning with the Trumps (Major Arcana), the Pips (Minor Arcana), the Court Cards. Each of the cards is given a key word of focus and much like the books contained with a Tarot deck, information is provided regarding that key word and its application to a mindful Tarot practice.

Mindful Tarot is filled with references and quotes that those who have a solid background in Buddhist or mystic practices will easily recognize and be able to make use of, which may leave those who are coming from a hermetic mantic approach may not readily embrace. I think this is an excellent book directed towards an audience that is both versed in the nuances of a “real” Mindfulness practice-not the buzz word version so popular nowadays and has a firm grasp of understanding of the Tarot Keys using the more traditional predictive interpretations. The Works Cited section completing the book, gives validation to Dr. Tishman’s research and exploration used in penning Mindful Tarot. Many of these, again, are not your staple tomes for Tarot studies, which makes it all the more fascinating to read.

Having such a background to draw from, I found Mindful Tarot to be a very interesting read that gave me enough thought-provoking information to easily direct my focus for the Keys use in the way most revealing for what I was hoping to receive.

About Lisa:

Lisa Freinkel Tishman, PhD, began studying the Tarot as a grad student at Berkeley in the late 1980s. She has published extensively on Petrarch, the Renaissance poet sometimes thought to have influenced the tarot trumps. An award-winning teacher, Zen Buddhist minister, and certified mindfulness educator, she is a former humanities professor and dean at the University of Oregon (UO) and founding director of UO’s Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program. Lisa is now an interfaith chaplain at Sacred Heart Medical Center in Springfield, Oregon, and continues to offer mindfulness classes, trainings, and Tarot readings through her business, Calyx Contemplative Care. She can be found on YouTube and Instagram as “Mindful Tarot.”

Mindful Tarot: Bring a Peace-Filled, Compassionate Practice to the 78 Cards 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 – Choosing To Be A Medium by Sharon Farber

April, 2019

Book Review
Choosing To Be A Medium
by Sharon Farber

Ms. Farber received her BA in sociology at Univ. of Mass. before pursuing a path in healing arts. This is evident and supportive in the manner in which Choosing To Be A Medium is written and the subject in general is presented. This very pragmatic approach is reflected in the Disclaimer at the beginning of the book…

Not everybody has the ideal emotional strength and stability to be a medium. Good mental health, including a strong connection to reality is vital. People with certain types of mental illness, including clinical depression or psychosis, are advised to consult with a healthcare provider or spiritual mentor before pursuing mediumship development.”…

Even if you read no further, this recommendation brings a practical attitude and also dispels the glamour that is often associated with mediumship. This is further supported by the fact that Ms. Farber shows that becoming a medium and interacting with the Spirit world is actually a gift than can be developed, having had no experience prior to her own seeking it out. This dispels the thought that you have to be born into this practice or have some specifically endowed capabilities that set you apart as different from others. In fact, the emphasis here is that everyone and anyone can do this…

… I agreed to write this book because I have a different perspective than many other mediumship authors. Most of them connected spontaneously with spirit people and didn’t have to learn how. I became fascinated with mediumship without seeing spirit people. This book shares how I learned to become a medium and how you can too…

Choosing To Be A Medium is divided into three parts and eleven chapters. Each builds upon the other, with the final-Part Three: Chapters 10 and 11-dedicated to “Advanced Mediumship and refining the skills you have been practicing for use as a professional medium.

We begin the journey in Part One-Groundwork. The three chapters contained in this section provide a personal accounting of the author’s journey into work as a medium. The author fills these pages with anecdotal information and practical exercises while giving the reader the definitions of terminology used and a deeper clarity of what mediumship is and is not. There are plenty of exercises to develop your skills and Chapter Three concludes this section in discussion of Spirits, how they communicate, what they are and more.

Part Two, entitled Diving In, aptly contains the meat of the study towards becoming a medium.

All the tools needed to begin honing your skills are provided, both with theoretical study and plenty of experiential exercises – 65 total to be precise – that build both confidence and develop deeper awareness of the natural gifts of psychism, sensing energy and interaction with the spirit world that we inherently have. I particularly enjoyed Ms. Farber’s approach to the fears that we may have around allowing ourselves to be open to the Spirit realms and what that entails.

There is an abundance of useful information that may also be applied in general to a variety of spiritual practices and skills sets. The information contained in Finding A Teacher (as it relates to a mentor or other experienced medium to guide you) is useful for many of the disciplines that we wish to learn more about. Grounding, breathwork and meditations to cleanse and clear away negativity are other topics covered and again, are useful tools in establishing a good routine practice regardless of whether you will be using it as support for mediumship, ritual work or any other spiritual endeavors.

Part Three takes your journey to another level giving suggestions about establishing yourself professionally as a medium. Everything you need to get started, should you choose to work in this field is discussed as well as the pros and cons to putting yourself out there. Ethics is brought into the equation as well, something that greatly appreciate particularly given the vulnerability of those you would be reading for. An additional feature that supports diving right into finding your own style of mediumship is the author’s companion journal with ample of space to record and revisit the exercises suggested in the Choosing To Be A Medium book.

Choosing To Be A Medium is packed with opportunity to test out your abilities and try out what you believe being a medium is and what the reality of its work entails. This is one of the few books I’ve come across that is so effectively organized that it naturally encourages growth in your own abilities, at all levels. It speaks to all levels of inquiry and many of the exercises are great reminders for those already involved in the practice of mediumship as refreshers and self-care tools. Kudos to Ms. Farber for making this mysterious skill so accessible!

Visit Dragonfly Healing s:

www.dragonflyhealingarts.net

The Choosing to be a Medium Companion Journal is available on Amazon:

Choosing to Be a Medium: Experience & Share the Healing Wonder of Spirit Communication 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 – Pagan Portals: Animal Magic – Working with Animal Spirit Guides by Rachel Patterson

April, 2019

Book Review
Pagan Portals: Animal Magic
Working with Animal Spirit Guides
by Rachel Patterson

Rachel Patterson is a witch, wife, mother, and author. She is high
priestess of the Kitchen Witch Coven and an elder at the Kitchen Witch
School of Natural Witchcraft. She combines hedge witchery, religious
witchcraft, kitchen witchery, and folk magick into her own version of the
Craft.

Her main animal guide is the boar. Other animals have chosen to be her
guides as well; magpie, pigeon, seagull, frog, and others that pop up on
occasion. Each has it’s own reason and brings it’s own strengths and
wisdom.

She encourages us to trust our intuition in all aspects of life, including
our magick, that there is no ‘right’ way of doing things. She flat out
states that what works for her might not work for you or me.

There seems to be interchangeability between the many words used; totem,
power animal, medicine, and ally to just name a few. Their use depends on
the tradition, pathway or personal preference. Personally, I use either
spirit or guide.

Our ancestors had a deeper stronger connection to nature in all it’s forms.
They understood the animal world in ways that we are just starting to
relearn. That understanding included being able to learn from the other
creatures around them. With that understanding came understanding on a
spiritual level besides the physical.

Each creature has things that they can teach us, qualities that we can
adapt and adopt ourselves. Many of our sayings are animal related; busy as
a bee, quiet as a mouse, loose as a goose, what’s good for the goose is
good for the gander. Animal guides can teach us wisdom, guide us away from
danger, and act as power sources for our magickal endeavors.

We often have dreams or visions of animals. For instance, I used to dream
about lions protecting the wheelchair ramps of a school that I used to go
to. They were there to help me until I was ready to face whatever it was
that I was afraid of, deeply, at that time. So lions represent strength,
courage, and loyalty to me.

This book has lots of great information. The author describes her own
version of a medicine wheel meditation that is designed to help you meet
some of your various animal guides. There’s information about the
elemental, various astrological, deity, etc. connections. This book is
great for learning about spirit guides, animals and otherwise. It gave me
lots of good information and confirmed many things that I had already
learned previously on my own. I do highly recommend this book for those
interested in spirit animal guides and how to contact and work with them.

Pagan Portals – Animal Magic: Working With Spirit Animal Guides on Amazon

Book Review – The Good Witch’s Guide: A Modern-Day Wiccapedia of Magical Ingredients and Spells by Shawn Robbins and Charity Befell

March, 2019

Review
The Good Witch’s Guide
A Modern-Day Wiccapedia of Magical Ingredients and Spells
by Shawn Robbins and Charity Befell
Published by Sterling Ethos
Pages: 305

Rituals, History, aromatherapy, crystals, candle magic, spiritual alchemy, potions, tinctures, herbs and recipes are just some of the topics covered in this hardcover book that’s approximately six inches by six and a half inches. It’s an inch thick and just feels good to hold.

As a “wiccapedia,” it covers all the topics you need to know, and then offers lists for additional reading and reference materials.

The herbal folklore includes information about botanicals for health and healing, and passes along an old but potent charm. The chapter on aromatherapy explains how to use essential oils both for health and in magick, offering dozens of recipes. In presenting crystals, their properties are explained, along with instructions for using them to make waters for to balancing chakras, and for relief from everything from asthma to stress.

Practical magick covers spells for mind, body and spirit. There’s a housecleaning incense spell, a healing poppet spell, money spells, and spells for protection and for love. Twenty-three pages focus on candle magic while forty-seven pages are dedicated to teas, tinctures and tonics for health and magick. A chapter offers ways to cook up some magick – literally – with recipes for soup, bread, Yule shortbread cookies, Imbolc cake and more.

The book introduces readers to a variety of tools and topics, helping them make their own magick, and it makes a reliable reference source as well.

Shane Robins is a psychic and a paranormal researcher whose grandparents immigrated from Russia and Hungary with bottles of botanicals and the knowledge of herbal healing. Her grandmother’s tea cured the polio she contracted from one of Salk’s first vaccines. That changed her life, and set her on a course to teach holistic medicine and healing. Robins put her research and extensive knowledge into this book.

Charity Befell has been practicing witchcraft for seventeen years – a journey that began when she was given a copy of Silver Ravenwolf’s “Teen Witch” on her thirteenth birthday. Her witchcraft now is wild and free, incorporating shamanic techniques, prayer, meditation, trance work and offerings to connect to the spirits of the land. Befell is committed to the Temple of Witchcraft traditions. A lifetime of herbalism and alternative healing practices also stretch back to her youth.

Each woman has written other books before this. Coming together, their aim was to inspire and empower readers, giving them a vast collection of information. The new as well as the seasoned witch will find knowledge of value. My copy has the corners of several pages turned down.

The Good Witch’s Guide: A Modern-Day Wiccapedia of Magickal Ingredients and Spells (The Modern-Day Witch) on Amazon

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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.

Interview with Arin Murphy- Hiscock, Author of The Witch’s Book of Self-Care: Magical Ways to Pamper, Soothe, and Care for Your Body and Spirit

March, 2019

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this timely book and was thrilled to be able to interview Ms. Murphy-Hiscock….

The Interview

Robin Fennelly (RF): What brought you to the Craft? and Can you tell us a little about the Black Forest Clan and your work as High Priestess. 

Arin Murphy-Hiscock (AMH): I discovered the Craft in my twenties when I did research for a collaborative storytelling project. I was invited to join BFC in 2000, and have been working with them ever since. We have a small coven here in Montreal that takes self-care very seriously. I don’t teach workshops as much as I used to; writing books has taken the place of in-person teaching. I reach a lot more people this way!

RF: You’ve crafted a very comprehensive book, chock-full of information and ideas. Were there any specific events that inspired you to write this book? 

AMH: Not specific so much as a general theme that kept surfacing in my life. I have a tendency to work very hard and I am bad at taking time for myself or seeing that I’m headed for a collapse. That has a lot of repercussions. My publisher suggested I write something along the spiritual self-care line, and I was struck by how timely it was in my own life. I got to examine my coping mechanisms and isolate the ways in which I handled stress, and explain them in a way that helped me as well as could help others. It also had the associated consequence of a divine two-by-four, the effects of which I’m still handling.

RF: …..” The practice of magic seeks to establish or balance connection between an individual and the environment. If a spiritual aspect is added, then magic also seeks to balance or maintain the connection between the individual and the Divine.”.. You speak of magical practice and spiritual practice. Do you see these as two separate streams? How do you see these as part of healing the disconnect we have to self-care?

AMH: I do see them as separate streams. You can practice magic without involving deity at any point, and of course you can have a spiritual practice without magic. We bundle them together a lot, but they can absolutely be practiced independently of each other. As witches, we can and should address both aspects in our self-care. Nourishing only one part of your connection—to the world around you or to the Divine—limits you. And being able to access both aspects enhances the effects of each.

RF: You introduced us to the Danish concept of Hygge and its benefits for self-care. Could you tell us a little more about this?

AMH: Hygge has been a buzzword for a couple of years now. When I started reading about it in media back then, a lot of it was kind of a “well, duh” moment for me. The concept of hygge resonated with me and reflected so much of my existing outlook. I’m very home and hearth-based; my personal practice is rooted in comfort, simplicity, security, and caring for others. In self-care, those concepts are underlined, but with the primary subject being yourself. In North American culture we tend to perpetuate a martyr-like ideal, sacrificing the self for the good of others. That’s very noble on paper, but it’s terrible from the point of view of self-care. And it’s absolutely not sustainable. Hygge self-care suggests that caring for yourself has benefits beyond just making yourself feel better; it suggests that if you are feeling better, stronger, rested, more content, that spills over into the rest of your life, too, affecting those around you and your spaces in a positive way.

RF: Being a mother, HPs, wife and author and the stresses that come with all of those roles can you speak more about how to find the balance between self-care and maintaining the pressing responsibilities that require more of you?

AMH: It’s a constant juggling act. It’s important to step back and take stock regularly, probably more often than you already do, to catch problems before they become severe issues. And when you take stock, you have to be as objective as possible. I’m… not very good at that part, to be honest. I’m a work in progress. It’s one of the reasons why I try to fill my cup when I can, and look for the serenity and small pleasures of self-care in daily life. Ongoing maintenance is easier than a full-scale repair.

It’s wonderful to have a support network that keeps an eye on you, too. You can think, “No, I’ve got this, I can totally do this,” but good friends will haul you into their kitchens and say, “Look, you’re working yourself into a dangerous place, and we are going to intervene so you have a bit of time in which you can disengage and clear your head.” Sometimes that intervention is coffee, sometimes it’s supper at their place so you don’t have to think about what to make, sometimes it’s an impromptu playdate at their house so you don’t have to think about the kids for a couple of hours. I wouldn’t be as sane as I am without my in-person network, or my online network. Or my family, come to that. My husband will up and take the kids to a friends’ house and leave me alone for the morning, or my kids will randomly bring me cups of tea or chocolate because they know I enjoy them.

My coveners are amazing. They are all about the low-impact practice, bless them, and a lot of our spiritual work happens through food or arts and crafts. Weather or illness or overtime means we don’t get together as often as we all wish we could, but the bond is there regardless. I’m so grateful for them being the people they are.

RF: I loved the idea that we often fear having “more agency and control over (your) life than you may be comfortable accepting.” What have you done to break through and push back when confronted with this?

AMH: It’s really scary to accept responsibility for what happens in your life. It’s so much easier to believe that you’re a victim. But there is strength that comes from recognizing that you made a mistake somewhere, and acknowledging that hey, that wasn’t the right choice to make at the time. The moment you take responsibility, you open up the possibility that you can change, and you can effect change. That’s a powerful move. People can be uncomfortable with power. It’s easier to let someone else make the decisions.

RF: What is your favorite part of the book and/or exercises?

AMH: The arts and crafts, I think! I love uniting creativity and spirituality, and I’m a big supporter of using art to express or explore your relationship with the Divine. It encompasses keeping your hands busy and disengaging the overactive mind, has the benefit of producing something tangible, and works to stimulate different areas of your brain.

RF: Having completed your book, what other piece of wisdom would you offer about self-care that wasn’t included?

AMH: I really want to hammer home the idea that you are worth taking care of. I know how hard it can be when you’re in a crappy situation and you feel like there’s no way out. Even if you can’t throw it all out and start again, you can make small changes to remind yourself that you are worth it, and work on it incrementally; it can be a long road, and it’s an ongoing pursuit. Mistreatment by others (casual or otherwise) doesn’t mean that’s the kind of life you merit. Everyone deserves respect, health, and happiness!

This is a book I will return to frequently to savor the experiences and remind myself that self-care begins with the self. Thank you, Arin, for so seamlessly integrating practical advice and magic that is healing and restorative.

The Witch’s Book of Self-Care: Magical Ways to Pamper, Soothe, and Care for Your Body and Spirit 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 Robinon Instagram & Facebook.

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