author

Book Review & Contest – In Focus Astrology: Your Personal Guide by Sasha Fenton

September, 2018

In Focus Astrology: Your Personal Guide

by Sasha Fenton

© 2018 Zambezi Publishing LTD

Publisher Wellfleet Press

an imprint of Quarto Group

**(Keep reading for a chance to win a Free copy of In Focus Astrology: Your Personal Guide by Sasha Fenton this month in PaganPagesOrg thanks to the Quarto Group)**

Ms. Fenton wrote a book that is in a straightforward way. I found it engaging and not boringly technical.

I’ve read three other books on astrology by other authors. But, Ms. Fenton’s book is one that gives you the real bare bones of what it takes for you to become an astrologer. Some of the chapters that she covers are, signs of the zodiac, the rising sign and the ascendant, the planets, predictive techniques, and easy miscellany.

In the chapter what constitutes astrology, she gives two different websites, for you to try out. I tried both of these on my phone, which is a Samsung Galaxy S9 +, on Verizon carrier. I had a problem getting both of these to work on my phone. My husband was born in a small town in Illinois that is the same as the town in England; it kept wanting to pick the city in England on both apps. I then tried them on my Kindle Fire and my Lenovo TV – X103F. On both of those, the apps worked perfectly. So, you may have a little bit of an issue every once in a while using the phone.

Ms. Fenton picked up seven different famous people to show their natal charts. Two of them are notorious British gangsters. They are in fact twins; she wanted to show the similarities and differences in astrology when it comes to twins. I have to say it was exciting to read this. The other people that she picked are like Jimi Hendrix (the musician), JFK, the President of the United States, Tom Hanks (the actor), and a couple of others. She picked these people and their natal charts for different demonstrations in how to bring the chart together.

The way Ms. Fenton has this laid out, it makes sense without being overly technical. And I have to say it made it an easy read, compared to some of the other books. So, if you’re looking for something that short, concise, and to the point, I would suggest starting with this book in learning your first steps to astrology. I found it very enjoyable.

 

**Now… For your chance to win a Free copy of In Focus Astrology: Your Personal Guide by Sasha Fenton this month through PaganPagesOrg, thanks to the Quarto Group, visit PaganPagesOrg Instagram hit follow, find the picture promoting the contest of In Focus Astrology: Your Personal Guide by Sasha Fenton posted and leave a comment! That’s all!! A winner will be randomly chosen on Monday September 17, 2018.  USA & Canada Only.

 

In Focus Astrology: Your Personal Guide

 

***

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/

Interview with Jennifer Noel Taylor: Spiritual and Broke

September, 2018

Jennifer Noel Taylor: Spiritual and Broke – How to Stop Struggling with Money and Live Your Purpose

I was really intrigued by the title of Jennifer’s latest book. I generally consider myself to be a spiritual person, and I’ve definitely been broke from time to time! Sometimes it certainly seems like a spiritual life is not one that lends itself towards wealth or riches, but maybe it can be? Is there a way to keep on the path that enriches your soul, without neglecting your bank balance? I was lucky enough to be granted a sneak peek at Jennifer’s upcoming book and discovered that she has a real insight into how to balance money, spirituality and living for your passion, not just your pocketbook. Jennifer was kind enough to answer a few questions for Pagan Pages about the book and her inspiration.

Mabh Savage: What inspired you to write about money and the connection to spirituality?

Jennifer Noel Taylor: During my 16 years of running a business in the field of energy medicine, I noticed that a lot of people in the healing arts as well other people with a genuine desire to help others, seem to be struggling with money. In my case, I was also struggling with money and had $135,000 of business and personal debt and no savings. As you can see, I was in financial trouble! Furthermore, I tried everything to get myself out of debt and nothing seemed to work. For example, when I forced myself to stick to a budget, I felt like I was on a starvation diet and hence my budget didn’t last very long! If I managed to increase my income, I would then have some unexpected expense that would match my new level of income. It seemed like no matter what I did, I couldn’t get ahead! I finally realized that I needed to shift my relationship with money –my thoughts, my emotions, the energy I was putting out into the world, and the stories I was telling myself. Once I made this deeper shift, then things started to turn around. I got out of debt, saved money and started investing in the stock market! I hope to help others do the same.

MS: Who would you say your book is primarily aimed at?

JNT: Spiritual and Broke is primarily aimed at people who are living their purpose and have a heartfelt desire to serve the world yet are having a hard time with money! Although I also feel like the issues I address in the book can be used by anyone who has an open mind and wants to turn their finances around.

MS: Do you think that generally, people are living outside their means more these days?

JNT: Yes, I read a statistic that over 75% of Americans are living pay check to pay check.

MS: Do you think it’s possible to become addicted to spending, just like a drug?

JNT: Absolutely! In my personal journey, I realized that I was doing a lot of “retail therapy.” As the old song goes, I was looking for love in all the wrong places. I was trying to buy love rather that buying things that I love.

MS: Was it difficult to open up about your own financial and spiritual difficulties before your epiphany?

JNT: Yes, I felt like a hypocrite. In Quantum-Touch, our work is based on the Law of Attraction – that we create our reality. In other worlds, our external world is a reflection of the world within. Yet I couldn’t use this same philosophy to attract money or balance my finances! I berated myself my predicament and I refer to this in my book as my “secret shame.”

MS: What was the most challenging thing about writing this book?

JNT: I share a very personal story about an Aha! moment that I had in a back of a police car. It was during this epiphany that I realized the fundamental mistake that I was making around money and how my fundamental approach to life wasn’t serving me. This story is near and dear to my heart, very vulnerable, and initially I found it difficult to write about.

MS: In contrast, what did you enjoy most about the creative process?

JNT: I love receiving feedback from people who have listened to my shows or read excerpts from my book – saying how it really helped them. I also love crafting the perfect paragraph or sentence, like creating a work of art with words.

MS: I love that you focus on avoiding deprivation and achieving emotional abundance. Do you think there’s a tendency for some people to believe you have to suffer for spirituality?

JNT: Yes! I believe that the martyr complex is alive and well in the spiritual communities! I think we have been taught that it’s somehow more pure or more generous when we suffer to help others. However, I have found the opposite to be true. When we have more money, more support, more means, we are in a much better position to truly enact change in the world. When we are happy, that energy is very healing!

MS: Tell us a bit about Quantum-Touch.

JNT: Quantum-Touch is a form of energy healing that uses life force energy to accelerate the healing process. We believe that the body has an amazing capacity to heal itself and Quantum-Touch is very effective at amplifying our own healing power.

MS: When did you first discover energy healing?

JNT: I discovered energy healing in massage school. One day, I was doing massage and I felt the life force energy coming from my hands and my client. It was pretty trippy as well as it made me realize that we are much more than just physical bodies. I understood at that moment that we are primarily energetic beings.

MS: What’s the most intense spiritual experience you’ve ever had (that you can share)?

JNT: I have to admit that my Aha! moment in the back of the police car was my most intense experience with life-changing implications. Although it wasn’t the most pleasant experience, it changed my perspective on what it means to be a spiritual being in a human body.

MS: When can people expect to see ‘Spiritual and Broke’ in bookstores?

JNT: I just signed a publishing contact and we should see Spiritual and Broke on Amazon early next year and in bookstores soon after that!

MS: And are you working on any new projects? Any more books on the horizon?

JNT: I’m working on a few projects – one is an online system like Doctors on Demand where you can see a Quantum-Touch practitioner 24/7. Another project we are working on is a Quantum-Touch workshop for kids. Finally, after I launch the book, I am intending to turn it into a workshop!

MS: Finally, how do you relax and unwind away from writing and healing?

JNT: My favourite way to unwind is to snuggle with my boyfriend and watch a movie or go to the gym and do some cardio. Occasionally I like to fly through the air on the flying trapeze! (Yes, I have actually performed on the flying trapeze! ?)

Find out more about Jennifer and Quantum-Touch at http://jennifernoeltaylor.com/ and look out for Spiritual and Broke in the coming months!

***

About the Author:

Mabh Savage is a Pagan author, poet and musician, as well as a freelance journalist.

She is the author of A Modern Celt: Seeking the Ancestors and Pagan Portals – Celtic Witchcraft: Modern Witchcraft Meets Celtic Ways.

A Modern Celt: Seeking the Ancestors

 

Pagan Portals – Celtic Witchcraft: Modern Witchcraft Meets Celtic Ways

Book Review & Contest- In Focus Crystals: Your Personal Guide by Bernice Cockram

September, 2018

In Focus Crystals: Your Personal Guide

by Bernice Cockram

published in 2018 by Wellfleet Press

An imprint of the Quarto Group

**(Keep reading for a chance to win a Free copy of In Focus Crystals: Your Personal Guide by Bernice Cockram this month in PaganPagesOrg.)**

Ms. Cockram has written a very informative book. There are 16 chapters spread out over 160 pages.

One of the first things that Ms. Cockram includes that I have not seen in a lot of other books that speak on Crystal energy is the Mohs scale. I like the fact that she added the Mohs scale because it allows you to see the hardness of specific crystals, and from there you can find out what the Mohs scale is for your crystals. Another graph Ms. Cockram includes in the first chapter is a Crystal colors and properties. You’ll find as you go through the book that this graph matches the crystals as she explains their energy.

From chapter 2 to chapter 12, there is a lot on Crystal healing, Crystal energy, Crystal grid work, and the chakras. In chapter 8, Ms. Cockram talks about the chakras systems in the crystals, I like all of the different crystal suggestion she gives for each chakra, and she even covers the minor chakras. I like the different crystal grids that she gives on pages 86, 87, 88, and 89. There are other grids that she talks about before that, but those are more well-recognized crystal grids.

In chapters 11 and 12, Ms. Cockram gives precise instructions on working on yourself with crystals and as well as others. One of the suggestions she offers that I think is neat and is excellent for larger groups, such as a yoga class. Have everyone write their name down on a piece of paper and take their place on the yoga mats. And then Ms. Cockram says to put all the names on the pile and surround the pile of names with crystals. I find this interesting because I often work in large groups doing healings, and this allows you to use crystals, without having to buy an exorbitant amount of crystals.

In chapter 13 Ms. Cockram starts covering divination with crystals. If you are beginning to study astrology or if you are looking for new ways to do divination this chapter holds some wonderful insights to help get you started. Not only does she give the astrology signs, but she also provides some crystals that would work well with the astrological signs, not just the birthstones.  Also, in chapter 13, Ms. Cockram covers using a magic square with crystals, from Feng Shui.

Ms. Cockram in later chapters covers meditating with crystals, working with intentions with crystals, correspondence of crystals, including numerology.

For only having 160 pages. Ms. Cockram packed a lot of information into this book. If you are starting on crystals, yourself, or you have a friend who’s just beginning their journey with crystals, this is a very informative book to own.

 

**Now… For your chance to win a Free copy of In Focus Crystals: Your Personal Guide by Bernice Cockram this month through PaganPagesOrg, thanks to the Quarto Group, visit PaganPagesOrg Instagram hit follow, find the picture promoting the contest of In Focus Crystals: Your Personal Guide by Bernice Cockram posted and leave a comment! That’s all!! A winner will be randomly chosen on Monday September 17, 2018. USA & Canada Only.

 

In Focus Crystals: Your Personal Guide

***

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 – The Modern Witchcraft Book of Natural Magick: Your Guide to Crafting Charms, Rituals & Spells from the Natural World by Judy Ann Nock

September, 2018

Book Review

The Modern Witchcraft Book of Natural Magick: Your Guide to Crafting Charms, Rituals & Spells from the Natural World”

by Judy Ann Nock

Published by Adams Media, an imprint of Simon & Schuster

Copyright June 2018

Pages: 240

This book is not intended to be another Wicca 101 book; rather think of it more along the lines of Witchcraft 3.0,” Wiccan High Priestess Judy Ann Nock wrote in her introduction.

Each of Its eleven chapters delves into a realm of nature magick including seed, air, sun and fire, the moon, Gaia, time and the cosmos.

The Realm of Water covers Wells of Emotion, Rivers and Oceans. Its 15 pages offer an introduction to water, a meditation, instructions for a ritual bath, a blessing spell and a spell for prosperity, along with directions for making herbal tinctures and an aromatherapy spray. All involve water in some way.

In Magic Takes Root: The Woodland Realm, Nock writes about nature being a powerful healer and the importance of staying connected to it, saying, “A simple ritual of walking in the woods, meditating outside of a building, or taking part in the currently popular trend of ‘forest bathing’ can calm the mind and bring about a state of peace.”

She offers a centering meditation done sitting at the base of a tree, and a ritual for creating a personal tree oracle – not to tell fortunes, but as a tool to “communicate with the elements of natural magic.” The ritual, the lore and the charm all work with the sacredness of trees, with reminders of our connectedness to the seasons and rhythms of the Mother, and our responsibility to be stewards of the earth.

Readers will be inspired to draw on the powers found in nature when doing magick, thanks to the variety of meditations, rituals, spells and charms. There’s a recipe for consecrated crescent cakes to have for the ritual of calling down the moon, a solar charm for strength, and instructions for preparing a candle for magick.

Some tables are scattered throughout the book with such information as healing herbs, planetary correspondences and spirit animals.

As promised, this book can help deepen a connection to natural magick and offer inspiration beyond the basics. While it wouldn’t be in my top 10 list of favorite magic books, it would make a useful addition the collection of an intermediate practitioner.

Nock is the founder of a goddess spirituality group and the author of “A Witch’s Grimoire.” She lives in New York City.

The Modern Witchcraft Book of Natural Magick: Your Guide to Crafting Charms, Rituals, and Spells from the Natural World

 

***

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 – Laura Perry: Re-enchanting the World

September, 2018

Laura Perry: Re-enchanting the World

I recently read The Bed by Laura Perry and was pretty much blown away. It was a genuine page turner and you can read my review here. Laura is the author of various books including Ariadne’s Thread, an exploration of Minoan spirituality and Ancient Spellcraft, exploring ancient magics from all over the world. As well as authoritative books on ancient and modern spirituality, Laura writes compelling fiction with a magical twist. She was kind enough to return to PaganPagesOrg for another interview about her latest literary exploits.

Mabh Savage: Thanks for talking to us again Laura! First of all, what gave you the idea for your latest novel, The Bed?

Laura Perry: All my stories start with a “What if…” kind of idea. Here’s the “What if…” for The Bed: I was poking around an antique/junk store one day and I overheard a conversation between two women who were looking at an antique bed. One of them really liked it and was trying to get the other one to buy it. But apparently it was from an estate (the owner had died) and the second woman was concerned that the owner might have died in the bed, an idea that gave her the creeps. So I thought, what if someone did buy a bed that the previous owner had died in? What might the magical repercussions be? Might the bed be haunted in some way, and what kinds of problems would that create for the new owner? By the time I got home from that shopping trip, I already had the main storyline fleshed out!

MS: Who would you say the book is aimed at?

LP: I like to think it appeals to a broad spectrum of people: Anyone with an interest in magic, the paranormal, and witch-y subjects, since that sort of thing is a big part of the book. But on another level, it’s simply a story of a woman figuring out who she is and what her life values really are, instead of what everyone has been telling her all her life, and I think that’s a basic premise that most people can connect with.

MS: The characters in the book are very believable. Are any based on real people; did you draw upon your own experiences at all?

LP: I’ve learned the hard way that I can’t put a real person in a book and expect them to behave themselves and stick to my plotline! LOL. But I am occasionally inspired by certain aspects of individual personalities. The ghost of the bed, for instance, was inspired by a professor I knew in college – I never took any of his classes but I did attend a few individual talks he gave. He was a very interesting man, but as far as I know, was never into the kind of ceremonial magic the book character gets into. And I’ve known people who had some of the annoying attributes of some of the characters in The Bed.

In a sense, the setting of a book is also a character. In this case, the Atlanta area where the main character lives is where I’ve spent most of my life, Emory University is where I did my undergraduate work, and Unicoi State Park is one of my favorite places to visit up in the mountains. So I set up the story in a place I’m intimately familiar with, at least in part because I love this area and wanted to share it with my readers.

MS: Have you ever felt a presence tied to a piece of furniture, or another household item?

LP: Not furniture, no, but I have encountered pieces of jewelry – usually in junk shops or at estate sales – that made me feel creepy, like someone was watching me while I was handling the necklace or earrings or bracelet. I took that to mean that the previous owner’s energy was still clinging to the item and they probably didn’t want anyone else wearing it. Needless to say, I always put those back and walk away from them.

MS: The books contains elements of ceremonial magic, angels, instinctive witchcraft; was it hard to tie all these elements together or was it a fun experience?

LP: It was mostly fun, though there were points in the process where it felt like an uphill climb. All the different aspects of magic and the supernatural tend to twine together in my life. I think this is probably the case for a lot of Pagans; we don’t fit neatly into any kind of pigeonholes, but follow whichever threads look interesting to us. At first I tried to restrict the magic in the book to just the ceremonial stuff, but then Liz showed me that she’s a natural magician (or witch) and I had to figure out how to work that in. Most authors will tell you that their characters run the show, and I think that’s true – they are who they are, and once we’ve created them, we have to follow their lead and not the other way around.

MS: Would you describe the book as ‘Witch Lit’?

LP: I think so. Witch Lit is writing that incorporates magic in one way or another. It’s not just “chick lit with sparkles” but a much broader and deeper genre. I like to think it’s a way of re-enchanting the world.

MS: Do you think magical fantasy is a growing genre at the moment? Why do you think this is, if so?

LP: It does seem to be growing in popularity, and I think there are two main reasons behind that increase. First, the mystical-and-magical side of life (magic, witchcraft, Paganism, the occult) is becoming more and more mainstream every day. So more people are discovering this aspect of thought and of writing and realizing how much they enjoy it. But there’s also the fact that the world is a pretty disturbing and scary place right now, and magical fantasy allows us to escape that for a little while. Not only do we get to dive into interesting stories with fascinating characters and settings; we also get to image ways of combating the dark forces in the world beyond just the simple methods we already have at hand. And that can be empowering, because if we can imagine overcoming our own imperfections as well as the nastiness that’s outside us, that gives us hope that we might be able to do it in real life.

MS: Which authors of fiction would you say have been your greatest inspiration?

LP: That’s a long list! I started out steeped in all the Victorian classics, with Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein at the top of the list along with all the creepy sadness of the Brontë sisters. In terms of modern authors, I’ve always wanted to be able to write like my favorite three: Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett, and Douglas Adams. That’s not terribly likely, but I still love their humor, their way with words, and their ability to touch on the magical parts of life with lightness but in a way that still makes the reader believe in them.

MS: Which do you prefer writing, fiction or non-fiction, and why?

LP: Honestly, I like them both. They’re different experiences, both in reading and in writing, but there are places where they overlap. For instance, they both require research as well as organization. In terms of what I’m reading, I tend to have one fiction and one non-fiction book going at the same time. And I’ve recently realized that I’m much the same with writing: I’ll typically have one of each in the works at any given time. Each genre challenges me as a writer in different ways, and I enjoy that.

MS: What’s the biggest challenge with writing a novel?

LP: For me, it’s keeping all the details straight so I don’t mess up the continuity of the story. I don’t want to end up with a situation like J.K. Rowling, where readers realized the Marauder’s Map somehow transferred ownership between the end of one Harry Potter book and the beginning of the next. I simply can’t keep a whole story in my head, so I rely on extensive notes and outlines, and sometimes even spreadsheets, to make sure I don’t screw up the details somewhere along the line and confuse my readers.

MS: And what do you enjoy most about the process?

LP: I love immersing myself in the story, getting to know the characters as if they were real people, and following them through the twists and turns of their lives. There’s a certain amount of “brain work” that goes into setting up a novel: researching the setting and any technical details, outlining the plot to make sure it makes sense, and so on. But once the preliminaries are done, I can just dive in and flow along with the story – and that’s my favorite part.

MS: Any more books on the horizon currently?

LP: In terms of fiction, I’m working on a historical novel set in ancient Crete, right at the end of Minoan civilization when there was all that turmoil and all the cities were eventually burned down. Though it’s a very different experience from writing a modern novel like The Bed, it’s still ultimately about human beings and how they deal with whatever life throws at them.

MS: As an author, how do you get yourself in ‘the zone’ to write? How do you prepare?

LP: I wrote my first two published books when my daughter was a toddler (yes, I’m slightly insane LOL). That experience taught me how to focus quickly and take advantage of short time spans whenever they’re available. I don’t usually have the luxury of spending whole hours at a time writing, since I have so many other responsibilities. But when I do get that time, I’ve learned that it’s OK to allow the rest of the world to just fall away and disappear. That way, I can focus on what I’m doing, on the words I’m writing, and nothing else. It’s almost like a meditation – that is, until the phone rings or someone knocks on my studio door!

MS: And how do you switch off and relax?

LP: Nature is my favorite medicine. I have to have my “nature time” every day, even if it’s just 15 minutes puttering around the vegetable garden or walking in our little patch of woods. After a few minutes outdoors, I can feel my shoulders relax down and my whole body reset itself to something more natural and less busy-busy-busy. When I get the chance, I head up to the north Georgia mountains for day trips to “get away from it all” – that’s some excellent sanity time, if you ask me.

MS: Any plans for the summer [ed note: interview took place a few weeks ago!]? What does the rest of 2018 hold for you?

LP: My daughter just graduated from high school so we’re spending the summer shifting gears for her to start college next month. (Eeek! Where does the time go?) We had a lovely beach vacation earlier in the summer to celebrate her graduation, so the rest of the summer will be at-home time and doing my best to keep up with all the projects I already have going. I’m in the middle of revising and updating The Wiccan Wellness Book, complete with new illustrations. The second edition is due out at the end of September. I’m chugging away on the Minoan historical novel and trying out some new challenges with the Witch Lit crew, like doing video readings of excerpts from some of my books. This October will also see the publication of the first anthology I’ve ever edited, Deathwalking: Helping Them Cross the Bridge. It’s about the shamanic practice of psychopomp (soul conductor) work, and is very much a from-the-heart project for me.

MS: Finally, if you could speak to any dead person, not necessarily tied to a bed (!), who would it be and why?

LP: Now you’ve got me thinking about what kinds of dead people might like to be tied to a bed! LOL, Besides wishing I could chat with my grandmother and ask her advice about the issues I encounter in life (she was an amazingly wise woman), I think I might like to talk with Mary Shelley. She was such an amazing person, writing far more novels and travelogues than most people are aware of, besides her famous Frankenstein. Her life was quite troubled but she had an amazing persistence and resilience, and the overriding idea that we can change society from the inside out by practicing kindness and compassion and teaching our children cooperation over competition. I’d love to hear her views about the world today as well as finding out more about her life more than a century ago.

The Bed and other Laura Perry books are available from Amazon and all good book stores. Find out more at Laura’s website.

The Bed

***

About the Author:

Mabh Savage is a Pagan author, poet and musician, as well as a freelance journalist.

She is the author of A Modern Celt: Seeking the Ancestors and Pagan Portals – Celtic Witchcraft: Modern Witchcraft Meets Celtic Ways.

A Modern Celt: Seeking the Ancestors

Pagan Portals – Celtic Witchcraft: Modern Witchcraft Meets Celtic Ways

Book Review – Dark Goddess Craft: A Journey Through the Heart of Transformation by Stephanie Woodfield

August, 2018

Dark Goddess Craft:

A Journey Through the Heart of Transformation

Author: Stephanie Woodfield

Publisher: Llewellyn Publications

Copyright:2017

I decided to do more than just a review of this book. I wanted to work through it. I read the whole book, but I picked which Dark Goddess to work with as I read each section. Ms. Woodfield explains upfront the nature of the Dark Gods or Goddesses as she has come to understand it. I feel that she is right, about how only in the modern times have we picked the labels of Light (Good) and Dark (Evil/Bad). Our ancestors didn’t classify things in such a manner, because to them the Underworld wasn’t seen as Evil or Bad. It was the same as what we see today in the world, but it did have its differences.

Ms. Woodfield breaks it down into three different parts, The Descent, the Challenge, and Rebirth. The first two parts have 4 Goddesses with which to work. The Rebirth is the only part that has 3 Goddesses only. There is a mix of Goddess with which to work. Ms. Woodfield has Devotional Work and Rituals for Greek, Hindu, Inuit, and Yoruba Orisha. There are others as well, and this is just a sample of what she gives.

There is the Descent first. Here you have four different Goddess, and you get to pick which one you want to connect to in your working. I picked Hekate, and she is already a Goddess I relate to daily. In doing the Devotional operations that Ms. Woodfield put in the book and working the Ritual, I deepened my connection with Hekate. Through this working, I also learned some more about myself, and how I see the world around me.

Next comes the Challenge. Here is where I felt the real work came in for myself. You may find that the Descent is where you face your main challenge and this part is more comfortable for you. Here I worked with Eris. For me, this happened when there was a family crisis and working with the Goddess Eris was calming for me. I can see why the old saying of “What a Deity causes, they can also take away.” I thank Eris for helping me through this time of chaos.

Rebirth has 3 Goddesses from which you can choose. They are Blodeuwedd, Scáthach, and Persephone. I had a bit of a challenge here seeing Persephone as a Dark Goddess because I have always thought of her in the role of the Maiden, but she is also Queen of the Underworld. And working with her in this way was liberating to me. I felt that I had a rebirth in two ways.

I found this book to be insightful in that it helped to change and challenge my views on Dark Goddess Craft. Ms. Woodfield has written a book that I think will help others find their way forward with Devotional workings and Rituals. I am looking forward to reading more of Ms. Woodfield’s writings.

Dark Goddess Craft: A Journey through the Heart of Transformation

***

About the Author:

Dawn Borries loves reading and was thrilled to become an E-Book reviewer for PaganPages.Org. Dawn, also, has been doing Tarot and Numerology readings for the past 25 years. Dawn does readings on her Facebook page.  If you are interested in a reading you can reach her at: https://www.facebook.com/Readings-by-Dawn-1608860142735781/

Book Review: The Bed by Laura Perry

August, 2018

Book Review

The Bed

By Laura Perry

 

Having ready and enjoyed Laura Perry’s non-fiction work, I was excited by the thought of a novel by the same accomplished writer. However, I had no idea what to expect. What took me by surprise were delightfully real characters, a magical story full of occult surrealism and a page turner that I literally couldn’t put down. I’ll try to avoid spoilers as I review this great piece of ‘witch lit’, as I really want you all to go and read it for yourselves!

Relatable

The first thing that struck me was how relatable Laura’s characters are. The dysfunctional family. The best friend who isn’t always in tune with what you need. But who ultimately comes through. The overbearing paramour. Or hopeful paramour, anyway! The flawed parents, and ethically dubious lecturers. No one is perfect in this drama, not even the protagonist, and I love that. ‘Warts and all’ is the best way to portray humans, and I find I have much more empathy with a character who makes mistakes and battles demons of self-doubt as well as other realms, than one who sails through life as a paragon of justice.

Occult

Unsurprisingly for a seasoned academic of Minoan mysteries and other occult studies, Laura weaves a great deal of occult references throughout The Bed. There are references to Crowley, ceremonial magic, angels (but not the type you’d find on top of a festive tree) and grimoires galore. The protagonist ends up with more than she bargained for when she purchases some antique furniture, and the book follows her unwitting introduction to the world of magic and the beings that it attracts, plus her mission to free a cursed soul.

I adore the fact that the temptation of higher power through magical ritual is dealt with, and the inherent dangers. Too often we see magic either demonised or romanticised. This novel is much more realistic; yes, magic is real and can help you and others, but it is dangerous! Heed the warnings or get hurt. Fantastic stuff.

Romance

I’ve heard ‘Witch Lit’ described as ‘Chick lit but with magic’, and to be honest, I think that’s a bit of a disservice. Romance is one factor in the story, but one thread among many, weaning a delicate but bright embroidery where every stitch is vital. The romance in this book veers from possibly the most high handed, arrogant wannabe to what I can only describe as (without spoilers) pretty much the exact opposite. Talk about low maintenance… that’s all I’m saying!

In summary, a fine work of fiction and sure to appeal to any who love a good mystery story, a dash of romance and a healthy dose of magic. Even though the story wraps up neatly, I’d love to read more about Liz (love her real name!) and her friends and family, as the way they interacted and dealt with the obstacles thrown up was totally compelling. Five stars, recommended.

The Bed

***

About the Author:

Mabh Savage is a Pagan author, poet and musician, as well as a freelance journalist.

She is the author of A Modern Celt: Seeking the Ancestors and Pagan Portals – Celtic Witchcraft: Modern Witchcraft Meets Celtic Ways.

Interview with the Author of We Are Magical Beings, Paola Collazos

July, 2018

Interview with Paola Collazos

Paola Collazos is a Reiki master, energy medicine practitioner and a licensed massage therapist. She is also the author of “We Are Magical Beings”. I had the chance to not only review the book, but also talk with Paola recently.

Deanna-In your book, We Are Magical Beings, you share the hardships that came with your childhood. You seem to have blossomed from that childhood once you found energy work. What would you say to your younger self?

Paola-To my younger self I would say I promise to nurture you and keep life light- hearted and fun.

D-Do you believe you would be where you are now, if you had experienced a different childhood?

P-I would for sure be somewhere else had my childhood been different. Our early experiences shape our personalities and decisions profoundly. But I wouldn’t trade my childhood, it was filled with lessons and I love myself the way I am today.

D-In today’s world, we are seeing a lot of high profile celebrities who have depression that are committing suicide.

What would you recommend to someone that is dealing with depression?

P-The thing about depression is that you have to catch yourself before you fall, and for that to happen one has to choose to be aware of the triggers way before you catch yourself falling.

BUT before wrapping your mind around that last statement, one must accept, and absolutely know within themselves that they are not alone, 44,965 Americans die by Suicide each year. The numbers show it, you are not alone. Even, I, with all the tools, experience lows sometimes.

Eliminate self-judgment and get to know your triggers, avoid them at all costs by keeping busy, work hard, volunteer, exercise, take walks, see friends, perhaps get a pet and breathe. I believe that breath is the closest thing to unconditional love. Oxygen is always there for you. Love yourself by taking deep breaths. Allowing the exhale to be longer than the inhale calms the nervous system by activating the vagus nerve which sends a signal to the brain telling it to hike up the parasympathetic nervous system and turn down the sympathetic nervous system. The parasympathetic NS controls our rest and digest. It lowers our blood pressure and heart (this is an amazing natural effect of the human body. )

If you need to take medication then do so without judgments but do the self-work. Watch your self-talk.

Eliminate self-judgment and get to know your triggers, avoid them at all costs by keeping busy, work hard, volunteer, exercise, take walks, see friends, perhaps get a pet and breathe. Repeat, every day, and in every moment, that you can remember.

D-During your first Reiki session, you describe an emotional session that seemed to be a turning point for you. Do you feel that you would have reacted the same if the woman had not started crying?

P-I do. I feel that if the woman had not started to cry I may have been more open to energy the first time around. I have learned that with energy work people tend to be skeptical or perceive it as mumbo-jumbo therefore it is vital for the practitioner to be clear, professional and as informative as possible.

D-This book is packed with information on tuning into the energy that we are. For someone who might get overwhelmed easily, where would you recommend getting started?

P-They should find a comfortable quiet space, lay down, close their eyes and notice their breath, then they should notice their heart beating. Tune in to the simple things in life. Revel in the mastery of the human anatomy.

D-During this journey you went through a natural detoxing where your body’s chemistry started changing. You had a difficult time finding a deodorant that worked and you stopped enjoying the taste of meat. In your experience, is this natural detoxing a normal part of the journey for everyone when doing energy work?

P-This varies by person. It is different for everyone. One can even experience this natural detoxing by merely starting a yoga practice. So yes, it is a normal part of the journey.

D-After getting your Level One Reiki Certification, you waited a year before getting your Level Two. Would you recommend this same wait time for someone who is interested in obtaining Reiki Certifications?

P-Yes, I believe that one should take the time after level one to heal themselves before they start trying to help others however some people get both attunements and even the third all in one weekend. I’ve also heard of Masters not passing on the second attunement until years after the first.

For me, it depends on the student but I would encourage some time to explore their own chakras after the first level. There is a lot to explore within oneself and things start to shift. So, you want to be respectful and allow yourself the time to process.

D-Also, after waiting a year, were you able to obtain the Level Two Reiki Certification with the same Reiki Master that certified you as a Level One Reiki?

P-The First Reiki Master did my second level. The level three was done by someone else years later.

D-For someone who is serious about learning all there is to know about energy work, would it be more beneficial to study one area of energy work (Reiki) before moving on to something else? Or can different areas of energy work be studied and used at the same time?

P-Yes, they can be studied at the same time but it also depends on the person and their learning style. It also depends on what they are planning to do with the information. Are they curious for their own healing or if they would like to teach/work on others?

The energy systems are the same all across the board what changes are the ways in which the individual chooses to tap into the energies to keep them settled. One can get started with learning about chakras without having to get Reiki attunements however it does not hurt. It will certainly give you a boost.

When I got my first attunement the master provided me with a lot of information that I wouldn’t have known by merely researching chakras. Like that KAVA tea has spirit unifying properties and that it would help me with lucid dreaming. Once you get started with energy work things will unfold and one thing will lead to the other.

The Meridians or (energy channels) and five element theories are a little more complicated to understand and to apply and I only delved into that in massage therapy school however I do not think it is impossible to grasp. I tried my best to simplify these concepts in my book because I do believe it is necessary to understand. Think of the chakras as the Macro and the Meridians as the micro. Chakras governs the muscles, organs, veins, and ligaments within the chakra’s vicinity. They are super busy hubs of energy that receive and give out information. They also contain information about your life’s journey while the meridians are energy pathways that pertain to one specific organ.

And yes they can be used at the same time.

D-‘We Are Magical Beings’ contains many different areas of energy work. Out of Reiki, Meridians, Chakras, Auras, Yin and Yang, Elements, Centering, Inner Child and Visualizations; do you have a favorite energy work?

P-Picking one is hard because they are so intertwined. I do love visualizations and I think that visualizing and or tapping into the imagination is crucial for all of this work. So, visualizations are my favorite.

D-One of the quotes from the book is “There is perfection in imperfection!” This is very powerful. In today’s world it seems that we are constantly chasing perfection. This quote feels as if it is giving us permission to be who we are without worrying about perfection. Did you find it freeing once you rid the notion of being perfect?

P-Yes, allow yourself to be imperfect. Try your best but be clear about your process. Be mindful that you are not using this idea of perfection to procrastinate and not proceed with what you want. Remember the mind would much rather be safe in its routines so it will always convince you that you are not there yet.

It was freeing for me because I allow myself to have fun and try new things. I’ve heard so many people say they won’t try new things because they are not “good” at it. Allowing yourself to be imperfect is very freeing.

Thank you so much Paola Collazos for taking the time to talk with us at PaganPagesOrg!

If you would like more information on Paola Collazos visit her site at: http://www.paolacollazos.com/ or you can find out more about her book We Are Magical Beings by clicking the links or the book cover below. Enjoy!!

We Are Magical Beings: A Healing Guide for Earthlings

 

Book & CD Review – In The Light of Meditation by Mike George

July, 2018

Book & CD Review – In The Light of Meditation by Mike George

In Short: Helpful meditation primer – yes; authentic vedantic teaching – no.

Meditation was first introduced to the West from the yogic traditions of India. Even before The Beatles courted the teachings of Indian gurus, vedic philosophy had been brought to the Europe and America by Theosophists in the mid-19th century and yogis such as Paramahamsa Yogananda promoted vedic meditational practices (in the form of Kriya yoga) to westerners in the 1920s. However, a look at most literature on meditation today will reveal a strong dominance of a Buddhist or indeed a secular approach. Especially Eastern Buddhist traditions, with their focus on mindfulness meditation, are appropriately secular minded for the western audience. The de-emphasis on metaphysical doctrines such as reincarnation and karma allowed chan / zen traditions especially to be readily digestible in the West, so when scientific data started coming in on the benefits of meditation, the appetite for self-improvement boosted mindfulness meditation in particular to the status of a “mental workout”. As more scientific data has accumulated, over the last thirty years it has become the physical, emotional, and psychological benefits of meditation practice that have become the reason to meditate. Even Buddhist journals such as Tricycle wax heavily on the neurological benefits of meditation and on secular Buddhism.

None of this is a bad thing, but it is what makes In The Light of Meditation stand out of the landscape. It teaches meditative practice from the yogic tradition of India. The secular is absent, spiritual development is central to the agenda and explicit in the teaching. The meditation taught by the book is from the Raja yoga tradition. The purpose of Raja yoga is to become aware of one’s spiritual nature and one’s connection with the divine (however one understands that for themselves), learning to recognize the divine flame within us.

So be warned – if you feel slightly allergic to chapters titled “Knowing and Understanding God”, “The Soul World”, and “Where do we go after death”, then this book will not be for you. While the book explains metaphysical concepts such as reincarnation and the workings of karma, it tries not to be necessarily religiously aligned and I don’t believe the exercises contained will necessarily contradict any other religious observances you might have. Rather than advocating offerings to any specific deity, the author has made an effort to couch the lessons with the Westerner in mind and direct the reader’s attention to the Divine, the language used sometimes even comes off as Christian.

In the Light of Meditation is designed to be a full 10-week meditation course in a book. I think this is well thought-out, since it is an appropriate amount of time to start noticing the benefits of a mind-body practice (it takes at least a month to make the relevant synaptic connections). Each chapter is an individual lesson designed to be read (and re-read) and digested over the course of the week. The meditation sessions start off gently at 10 minutes long, which is about the length that I started my meditation with, with instructional guides for you to read over before and while following them or preferably following on the supplied CD. Similar to many workbooks, additionally each chapter also has an FAQ, an encouraging personal experience testimonial, and various exercises such as visualization, ritual, or journaling prompts to help you integrate and reflect on your learning and to ground the meditating work in you life and psyche.

Something I found unique in the book was an email address provided for assistance for the beginner meditator. This address is staffed not by the author only, but by a number of experienced meditators at the Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University, with which the author Mike George is associated with. While I did not “test” the email contact myself, this seems like it could be an invaluable asset for the beginner who cannot get meditation teaching in person.

Overall the production value of the book is high. It is beautifully designed, every page has the detail and charm of small illustrations or patterns, while the layout is kept streamlined and readable, not too broken up like many educational or coffee table books. Some books lend themselves well for summarizing with bullet points and notes in the margins. I am a big fan of the free public library for this reason – browsing through books, writing notes down to reflect upon later. This book is not so amenable to this approach though. The narrative nature of the writing and instructions don’t lend themselves well for quick notes to be practiced later; the design of a self-study course requires you to follow along over time. That said, for a workbook – and it is assuredly a workbook – it has an eminently readable flow and even comes with a CD with 15 tracks of commentary and guided meditation.

The book is not without its problems, however. As I mentioned above, the author is affiliated with the Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University. This is not Raja yoga from a traditional lineage. The yoga practices taught are based on the teachings of Dada Lekhraj Kripalani (1876-1969), a diamond merchant turned guru who founded the Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University in the 1930s. Some of the teachings of the organization definitely contradict standard vedantic teachings. Their profound misunderstanding of the yugas (vedic ‘ages’) as only 5,000 years long and each cycle repeating the last exactly, seems to be at the root of such mistakes as making specific predictions of apocalypse, predicting that Sri Krishna will incarnate onto Earth around the year 2036, or a vague skepticism of dinosaurs. After all, if history does not just repeat itself, but repeats exactly, and it is comprised of four ages 5,000 years long, how on earth does a Jurassic Period make sense? These claims are not made in the book, but they are why the Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University is on CenSAMM’s (Centre for the Critical Study of Apocalyptic and Millenarian Movements) list of Millenarian and Apocalyptic Movements. The Brahma Kumaris also have a troubling belief in revealed truth, wherein the teachings of the founder Dada Lekhraj Kripalani were the direct words of the Divine. All of these are red flags to me. On the other hand, the organization has been a very positive influence on the position of women in India, with many women in top leadership roles. And the meditation instructions in the book seem worthwhile to me.

Nonetheless, I think the book is designed well. I think ten weeks spent on this book will generally be a good way to find a spiritual focus in life and in your meditation practice as well. However, just follow it with common sense and know that not all the teachings are traditional Raja yoga. Don’t stop questioning; find that is worthwhile and discard the rest.

In the Light of Meditation: A Guide to Meditation and Spiritual Development, with CD

Book Excerpt – Love Magic: A Handbook of Spells, Charms, and Potions by Anastasia Greywolf

July, 2018

Book Excerpt

Love Magic

A Handbook of Spells, Charms, and Potions

by Anastasia Greywolf

 

Whether you’re hoping to catch that person you’ve been secretly in love with for the past five months, or perhaps an unrequited crush is not getting your subtle hints, the one true adage is that love has no rules and sometimes needs a little help or gentle nudge. To help readers navigate through their amorous adventures, Love Magic makes love of all kinds as easy as simply knowing the right words. Inside, readers will find timeless incantations, mystical concoctions, and homemade talismans that will help them harness their inner love powers to:

Attract love

Find out you who you’ll marry

Become a better lover (or make your mate one!)

Keep your love going strong

Bring good fortune to your beloved

End and forget about a love

In addition to traditional spells, Love Magic includes spells from:

Susan Adcox, Gemma Aronson, Jennifer Boudinot, DY Edwards, Elisia G. of Ancient Nouveau, Greta Goldbart, Gabriel Grey, James Benjamin Kenyon, Suzanne Lareau, Savana Lee, Josephine Preston Peabody, Hollen Pockets, Calyx Reed, Jill Robi, Elisa Shoenberger Jeanne de la Ware, Marguerite Wilkinson, Des D. Wilson, Katriel Winter

Here are a Few Spells From the Book:

 

To Find Love in the Summer

by James Benjamin Kenyon

How beautiful the summer morn,
With billowy leagues of wheat and corn!
The shining woods and fields rejoice;
Each twinkling stream lifts up its voice
To join the chorus of the sky;
O beautiful unspeakably!
In the dry cicada’s notes,
In the thistle-down that floats
Aimless on the shimmering air,
In the perfume sweet and rare
Of the sun-steeped, dark-leaved trees,
Dwell the year’s deep prophecies.
Hark! the clangor of the mills
Echoes from the drowsy hills.
The foamy clouds, the smiling dale.
The dimpling waves, the laughing flowers,
The low, faint droning of the bees.
Mixed with sweet twitterings from the leas,
Conspire to charm the magic hours.
Under a spell the spirit lies;
Sundered is sorrow’s misty veil;
Today life is a glad surprise,
A tranquil rapture, fine and frail.
Wherein to joy-anointed eyes
The old earth seems a Paradise.

 

To Help Bond You With Someone

TRADITIONAL MAGIC

To make a romantic partner feel bonded to you, use this Gaelic charm. Keep a sprig of mint in your hand till the herb grows moist and warm, then take hold of the hand of the woman you love, and she will follow you as long as the two hands close over the herb. No invocation is necessary, but silence must be kept between the two parties for ten minutes, to give the charm time to work with due efficacy.

 

To Make Love Last

TRADITIONAL MAGIC

Love will last forever with this charm. Take a bay leaf and split it in half. Kneel with your beloved in front of a red candle. Kiss one half of the bay leaf, then press the other side to their mouth to kiss. They should repeat the same process with the other bay leaf half. Tie the two halves together with one strand of hair from each of your heads. Place it in a green sachet and bury in your yard or another place that has meaning for you.

 

If you have enjoyed these spells, you will certainly enjoy the many this collection book contains!!

Love Magic: A Handbook of Spells, Charms, and Potions

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