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Book of Shadows: As the Wheel Turns

May, 2019

May – Blessed Beltane

Blessed Beltane! May your fields be well watered, may you never thirst, and may you never hunger. This time of year, makes me happy as I watch everything coming from the earth in full bloom while love and kindness are awakening from the long winter scowls and slowly turning into deliberate smiles. We are all warming up! Finally. And, along with the warmth returning, the Green Man emerges. The King Stag comes in search of the Maiden. The need fires burn and the flames of passion are fanned. It’s time to sow the seeds we have carefully nurtured during the dark days from Samhain to Yule and planted at Imbolc.

As Beltane approaches, I find myself drawn by the Divine Masculine. I have only one Matron who I venerate, yet the pull toward being thankful for the Divine Masculine has its place in my walk. I chant the masculine chants to pay homage to that Divine Force and I place move my athame to a focal position on my Beltane ritual altar. I seek and strive to find balance, reinforcing my connection to the Divine Masculine and the beauty and the commitment of The Great Rite.

The first week of May, I wanted to convey the spirit of the Divine Masculine and utilize this space to journal every day about the aspects of the Divine Masculine, the Horned God, the King Stag in my everyday life and workings. It was a layout that I challenged myself to complete without influence of others. I did not rely on graphics that I found on the internet. Instead, I carefully birthed the Greenman. He looks here in my first week layout as the Greenman who resides in my heart, the one who beckons me to sow the seeds that I have nurtured.

Of course, May Day/Beltane, really the entire month of May, would not be complete without a dance around the May Pole and the beauty of the fae. Spring and the planting season, to me, are a combination of fun, frivolity, and making merry. The happier I am when my hands are in the soil, the happier the energy I am putting into my crops. Seed work this year has been difficult and this layout is helping me to see that even flowers grow through dirt and “difficulty” is not “impossibility.”

As mid-May approaches, I am drawn toward the growth of the seeds that I have planted, which brings my thoughts to the Great Rite. Love blossoming, seeds being planted, new life emerging. All of these acts of love and commitment are in some form a symbolic “Great Rite.” I utilized washi on the bottom that reads “HELLO” and in my view, the inflection when reading that washi tape is everything! It varies from “HELLOOO?” to “HELLO!” and I’m practicing noticing the smaller details more and more…hoping this makes me use the latter more than the former!

This Spring is a busy one for me, spiritually, as I am doing things that I had previously only dreamed about doing. I am facing the stark reality, in my Crone years, that in this life we have one of two things…we either have results or we have reasons. I am reflecting on a lifetime of reasons and a lot of results. It is not time to put those results into action and have them far outweigh the reasons. This final layout in May is not devoid of graphics because I’m being lazy, rather, it is devoid of graphics because I plan to do that on the last week of every month to utilize this space to pull the energies from the weeks prior into the final week and keep track of my accomplishments. This is the beauty of using a planner as a working BOS, I can change it up to suit my needs.

I wish you all a bountiful harvest!

RESOURCES:

MAMBI® CHP Extension Packs

May Monthly and Weekly Stickers by Shirley Lenhard are free at the Pagan Plannertarium

May Cover Page – Repurposed Birthday Card

Miscellaneous Washi tapes: Available at Michael’s and other craft retailers

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About the Author:

Shirley Lenhard has been a practicing Witch and a Pagan since 1983 and lives in New England with her husband. She is employed full time in the legal field and has her Masters Degree in Psychology from the University of South Florida. Shirley looks forward to living her best possible life by giving back to the Pagan Community and has created the Facebook group “Pagan Plannertarium” where she provides a safe home for fellow pagans to have discussions about their path and to get free planner stickers and layouts. Shirley is a past writer for Llewellyn Publishing and The Peace Paper.

Book Review – Here, There, Everywhere: A Clarification of Reality by Just Plain Bill

May, 2019

Book Review
Here, There, Everywhere
A Clarification of Reality
by Just Plain Bill

Here, There, Everywhere is a book written by Bill Holtry a.k.a. Just Plain Bill. Just Plain Bill grew up in Central Pennsylvania on an Amish farm. His Pap mentored him throughout his life and taught Just Plain Bill the values that are passed down to us inside Here, There, and Everywhere. These values are family, love, honor, trust and peace. If you enjoy this review, make sure to check out my interview with Just Plain Bill in this issue of PaganPagesOrg. In the interview, Just Plain Bill shares his website where you can purchase Here, There, and Everywhere, and you can learn more about Just Plain Bill!

Here, There, and Everywhere is written in the form of automatic writing. Just Plain Bill touches on that subject within the first chapter or two. He also answers my questions about it in his interview. This is a neat way to write a book and I was impressed by all the lessons that he has learned over the years. It is a blessing that he took the time to compile all these lessons to share the values of family, love, honor, trust and peace with the readers of Here, There, and Everywhere.

This book is comprised of more than 50 chapters. Chapters isn’t the best way to describe it. Stories, lessons, values, lives. Those would be better ways to describe these “chapters”. Each chapter is teaching us something new. It is teaching us about someone who walked on this planet. It is about their life, their story, the lessons they learned, and the values that we should all know: family, love, honor, trust, and peace.

Each chapter/story starts the same way. Just Plain Bill steps through the “door” and into the Everywhere. From there each chapter/story is different. Sometimes the scene is two stumps in a forest, high in a tree, a stream, or a cliff. Other times there is no scene at all. Just Plain Bill is just relaying the message/story to us.

I spent time going over and over this book. Normally I can pick out a favorite part, a favorite scene, or a paragraph that I want to read over and over again. With Here, There, and Everywhere that was difficult to do. I loved this book so much.

I’ve read this book more than once and I am always learning something new or a new fact is jumping out at me. I’ve also been able to see the stories differently depending on how my mood is for that day.

One of the spirits that stick with me from the book is Pap. He only appears a few times throughout the book, but with each visit you can feel his love that he has for Just Plain Bill. Along with the love and admiration that Just Plain Bill has for Pap.

While reading this book, I could not help but wonder if I knew some of these Spirits in a past life. Was I in any of these stories that are being shared?

Here, There, and Everywhere is on my list as a must read. It’s more than just a fun read. Here, There and Everywhere challenges you to think and see the world differently. It also encourages you to use those values of family, love, honor, trust and peace.

Here, There, and Everywhere: A Clarification of Reality on Amazon

3 Pagans and a Cat Monthly Feature

May, 2019

3 Pagans and a Cat Podcast

Three Paths, One Journey, No Cat

In this highly informative & entertaining podcast, three family members embroiled in wildly divergent traditions gather in one room to discuss, debate, and flat-out argue about their magical, mythical, and mundane lives, all for our education and pleasure.

Some Great Interviews You Must Give a Listen!

Episode 18: Our Community – Bill Ehle: Car, Gwyn, and Ode discuss social justice and activism in the pagan community, culminating in an interview with Pagans In Need director Bill Ehle.

Episode 33: Our Community – Witchdoctor Utu: Car, Gwyn, and Ode sit down for a conversation at Convocation with Witchdoctor Utu, discussing his book, the Underground Railroad, North American Conjure, and a little bit of pagan drama that, honestly, wasn’t a great look on anybody.

Episode 35: Our Community – Jason Mankey: Car, Gwyn, and Ode sit down for a conversation at Convocation with Jason Mankey, discussing his recent book, future books, witchcraft history, and designing inclusive rituals.

Episode 38: Our Community – Jacki Smith: Car, Gwyn, and Ode sit down for a conversation at Convocation with Jacki Smith, discussing candles, witch scouts, and mindful magic.

This Month’s Podcast Share from their Backlog

Episode 11: Speaking with Symbols: Car, Gwyn and Ode discuss the basics of divination, their personal methods of divining, and The Ravioli Situation.

Where Else to Find 3 Pagans and a Cat…

Their Website: http://www.3pagansandacat.com

Their Twitter: https://twitter.com/3_Pagans

Their Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/3PaaC

Their YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJ0GJacu9SUzuumXJNNUZwQ

Their G+: https://plus.google.com/u/2/collection/oCWVXE

Remember …

You can always support your favorite podcasts with a donation. Every bit helps to keep them going.

***

About the Author:

Jennifer Wright is a witch on a path of change that is always winding. She founded PaganPagesOrg in the hopes of giving Pagans a platform to share and learn without judgment.

She loves to create in her spare time and you can find her Creations, Jewelry, & Magickal Witch Bottles at: www.facebook.com/TwistedWitchesShoppe/

When not creating she can be found strolling around FB, Twitter, & Instagram looking for an interesting conversation. She’s the moderator of a FB Group called Cyber Moon Coven Of Changes and enjoys spending time with it’s members.

Crone’s Corner

May, 2019

Meditation and Divining Incense: uses & recipes

I used to shy away from sharing my personal experiences and practices with other people, but then I asked myself, “Why do you keep everything that you love all to yourself?” That’s when I decided to open a Facebook Group called “Pagan Plannertarium” and I started sharing my love of a working book of shadows and graphics that I create to make my working book everything that I want it to be. It is a work in progress and you can follow along with me in the other article under “crafts” Working Book of Shadows in PaganPagesOrg. My group eventually morphed into what it is today, which is a “Home” of likeminded, free spirited individuals who share their own personal gnosis, their own musings, and their paths with everyone for the greater good. My heart overflows in that group and I am so proud to be a part of it.

I love divination and mediation, which are passions for me. Finding the time is not impossible, but does require discipline and sacrifice at times – but so well worth it in the long run!

(Photo by truthseeker08 on Pixabay)

Settling in, creating your sacred space, and visualizing yourself going to a deeper more serene level to meditate can be facilitated by the setting and the mood around you. In order to bring yourself to that most comfortable and deepest place for complete meditation, the area around you should be as comfortable as possible and the atmosphere should resonate with peaceful and serene flowing energies. Likewise, when attempting any forms of divination, your surroundings should be as conducive to reaching outward to reign and bring in those visions and aspects that we need for effective readings.

One of the easiest ways to make your space ready for meditation and/or divination is to mix an incense blend that will bring you to a place of heightened awareness and that will effectively assist you in opening yourself up to the channels of energies that will lend themselves to your introspection or workings. The incense blends that I prefer to use are whole herbs and resins which are burned over an incense charcoal. The whole herbs and resins, once ignited, burn for the precise period of time required to enter a deep meditative state or to achieve the visions that come during divination.

(Photo by Thomas Stephan on Unsplash)

Incense Recipe: I prefer dried whole herbs and resins. For meditation and divination I use a blend of equal parts Mugwort and Wormwood. Since I use these incense blends frequently, I blend them once a month on the night of the New Moon, in quantity. I use 2 cups of Mugwort and 2 cups of Wormwood, I mix them together in a bowl and place them in an air tight container until I need them. I then mix the resins Frankincense and Myrrh (in whatever amount I purchase and equalize between the two) and place them in an air tight container until I need them.

Mugwort: A Druid Sacred Herb. Mugwort was placed in barns to protect cows from the influence of fairies. The herb’s powers are strongest when picked on a Full Moon. It can be used for good luck and rubbed on ritual tools to increase power. Mugwort can be used as an incense (mixed in equal parts with Sandalwood) to aid in strengthening Psychic Powers (or mixed with equal parts of Wormwood) to aid in divination and meditation. Try using it while scrying or during divination and meditation.

Mugwort can also be placed next to the bed to aid in achieving astral projection.

Its other magical uses include strength, protection, prophetic dreams, and healing.

Keeps one safe from dark forces and it protects children and the incense brings protection as well. Carried, it brings loved ones safely home from journeys.

A tonic for the soul, it keeps us aware of our spiritual direction. A mugwort infusion sweetened with honey will enhance divination. Carried, it also increases lust and fertility.

For use in Clairvoyance, Scrying, Protection, rub this herb on “Magic Mirrors” and “Crystal balls” to strengthen their powers. Add to scrying, clairvoyance and divination incenses. Use 3 tablespoons to 1/2 gallon spring (or rain) water to cleanse your “Magical mirrors” crystals and stones. It is used in magic as a love-divining herb. To experience interesting dreams that are said to reveal one’s future, stuff a pillow with about a pound of this herb and sleep on it.

The Indians used a decoction of the leaves for colds, bronchitis, rheumatism, and fever, and a poultice for wounds. The fresh juice is used to ease the itch of poison oak. To cure a headache, stick a leaf up your nose.

Wormwood: A sacred herb which was very magical as well as sacred to Moon deities. Burned on Samhain to aid evocation, divination, scrying and prophecy. Combine with Mugwort for added effect. Thrown onto fires on “Samhain” to gain protection from bad spirits roaming the night.

One of the major ingredients in “Absinthe”

Burn in incense to raise spirits.

Wormwood, when added to herbal incense, is an aid in opening the psychic centers. When these centers are open and receptive, we may better communicate with those who have “passed over”. It has been written that wormwood and sandlewood (an herb of purification and high spiritual energy) burned together near a grave-site will summon the spirit of the departed.

Wormwood is a banishing herb, used to rid a person or an area of anger and negativity.

Meditation: After turning the ringer off of the phone and ensuring complete solitude, I retreat to my sacred space and light the incense charcoal (not the BBQ variety, which is toxic if burned inside) and allow it to reach its red glow. I prepare the Mugwort and Wormwood combination in a small bowl and I add about a teaspoon of the resin blend into the bowl, mix it up and place about a tablespoon of the mixture onto the burning charcoal, I allow it to smolder and burn about half way out when I add the second scoop onto the charcoal.

Then, I call on the Spirits of the East and its components of air, communication, and inspiration to lend energies to meditations. I settle myself into a comfortable position conducive to meditation and I ground my spirit and center my self before beginning the meditation. If the meditation that I am planning requires music, I ensure that I have placed a CD on a loop so that the immediate end of the music does not disrupt the flow. Often I discover that the music is replaced by the sounds of the newly heightened awareness achieved through meditation in any event. And so the deepening meditative state ensues.

The divination: I follow the same routine for divination as I do for meditation; however, I tend to replenish the incense on the charcoal throughout the divining session. If I am scrying, I do not want to interrupt the flow, and I tend to follow precisely the same steps as described in the meditation portion. If I am reading Tarot, then I am continuously replenishing the supply on the charcoal, as it aids in receiving and deciphering the messages and pictures for this form of divination.

***

About the Author:

Shirley Lenhard has been a practicing Witch and a Pagan since 1983 and lives in New England with her husband. She is employed full time in the legal field and has her Masters Degree in Psychology from the University of South Florida. Shirley looks forward to living her best possible life by giving back to the Pagan Community and has created the Facebook group “Pagan Plannertarium” where she provides a safe home for fellow pagans to have discussions about their path and to get free planner stickers and layouts. Shirley is a past writer for Llewellyn Publishing and The Peace Paper.

Wreathing the Wheel

May, 2019

Beltane, the Maypole, Interweaving

For May, I’d like to talk about Beltane and the processing of weaving. If you’re familiar with the Celtic holiday of Beltane, then you already know that this holiday is often celebrated with a decoration that serves as ritual, dance, entertainment, and more: the Maypole. While the exact symbolism of the Maypole is disputed, it is generally considered to be a magical appeal for fertility, power, and transformative forces coming together. In the Tarot, this process may be symbolized by the Lovers in the Major Arcana, or the Four of Wands in the Minor Arcana: different forces coming together in a celebratory act to create something entirely new.

For the monthly spread for May, I decided to use a simple Maypole theme to help me consider and incorporate this theme into my month. It’s very easy to accomplish a beautiful look with very little effort with this kind of a theme — just pick out your favorite rainbow-colored set of pens, and have fun making curls! But I also wanted to consider the theme of the Maypole and extend it in a more contemplative and spiritual way in my own life. This exercise may seem like an odd one for a bullet journal — especially since bullet journals are usually geared towards organization and lists — but I wanted to explore the idea of interweaving themes of life with the interweaving ribbons of the Maypole. If you’re looking to journal spiritually, you may enjoy doing a similar type of exercise.

While I’m only working part-time, I have a lot going on these days: I do freelance art and design, I write articles for my own blog and PaganPagesOrg, I’m designing a Tarot deck and writing a book to go with it, I’m growing an extensive garden with various types of seeds, I’m making herbal medicine, I’m learning sewing, I’m studying chemistry, I’m cooking lighter, I have a new puppy I’m training… lately it seems that I’m doing a lot of things, but they’re all going in different directions! 

For this theme, I decided to list out a bunch of the different things that I’m trying to accomplish in shorthand: train the new puppy, make sure he gets nails regularly trimmed, bathed; work on my Tarot deck, book, drawing… etc. What your list contains will certainly be unique to you, and there are lots of different ways to organize it, but I decided to use color symbolically in this theme: health concerns are blue, money matters are orange, my gardening goals are green, and so on. Many different types of color associations could be used in this way, and they are all sure to be beautiful! 

This felt like an unusual exercise for me, because it felt like anti-organization to take all the themes in my life and scatter them to the wind in this way. But it also helped me see my own activities in a new way, and I would encourage anyone who wants to see their interweaving lives to give this a try. If nothing else, you might gain a new appreciation for just how much you have on your plate!

***

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

Retha’s Crystal Reflections

May, 2019

Crystals to Bring Abundance & Prosperity for May

Hi all! If you weren’t aware, May is THE most important and magical month for prosperity work. May is the 5th month and 5 in numerology is the number representing abundance. Think of the herb Cinquefoil (aka five finger grass)…this is one of the very best herbs for prosperity because it has 5 blades or fingers. The number 5 also represents the four cardinal directions plus spirit. When working with crystals (or any tool) it is always beneficial to layer or stack correspondences.

are any material, tool, or theme you use in addition to your practice. Some examples are using numerology, colors, herbs, symbols, working with Gods or Goddesses, oils, etc. The more layers the more potent the magic! I highly suggest adding some correspondences to your prosperity or abundance work this month.

I will get you started with the stones and crystals that will help draw abundance to you, but the skies the limit to what else you want to add to bump up your May prosperity work. May 5th is the day considered the most powerful (5/5) and if you can set your intentions and say a prayer at 5:55 either AM or PM on 5/5 that’s optimal. I set up an abundance altar for the year every year on 5/5. This is a place you can keep your prosperity crystals in a grid, some items to represent the 4 directions, and maybe a statue or offering to lakshmi or Ganesha.

I encourage you to get creative and keep in mind the most important component is your intention. So please don’t feel hindered if you don’t have all the tools. You could create a drawing, write a poem, create a sigil, etc. to add to your altar and honestly the things you create yourself are the most powerful tools of all! That being said, I highly believe that working with crystals are very important and effective. Read on to see which are my go-to prosperity & abundance bringing stones. Since I have written about many of these crystals in past columns I will keep the descriptions short and to the point. I encourage you to work with as many of these crystals as you can.

Congo Citrine/Citrine:

All natural Citrine is amazing for prosperity work, but my very favorite and the most effective in my opinion is Congo Citrine. It’s also more likely to be the real deal….meaning not heat treated amethyst which most Citrine you see is. When it has that unnatural orange tone it’s usually heat treated amethyst. Nothing wrong with using heat treated stones, but keep in mind you will be working with amethyst properties rather than Citrine properties if you use it. Congo Citrine looks and feels very different than treated Citrine. Citrine is the most common & popular prosperity stone and for good reason. Citrine is revered for ensuring prosperity of all kinds and attracting wealth to you. Citrine can even release any energetic blockages to prosperity, even from past lifetimes! It is known as “the merchants stone” and “the success stone”. Working with Citrine will help you to feel worthy of prosperity and open energy streams of abundance. If you can only acquire one prosperity crystal, this would be a wise and effective choice. I recommend for you to wear Citrine daily if possible, and to place a small piece of it in your wallet.

Yellow Apatite:

This is my go-to favorite crystal for ANY type of manifesting. I pair this with other stones to amplify the manifestation of the other stones properties. If I can pair this powerhouse with all the prosperity stones I can gather that would be optimal. Yellow apatite helps you positively use your personal power to achieve your goals. It stimulates the intellect and mental clarity. It also inspires passion and hope. Yellow apatite aids in developing assertiveness and courage. It also clears away confusion and apathy to help you expand. It is great to use when starting new ventures as it increases your drive to accomplish. Pretty amazing crystal right?

Pyrite:

Pyrite is also known as “fool’s gold”, it literally looks like a gemmy hunk of gold. The color gold represents prosperity, so naturally pyrite is a perfect crystal to use in prosperity work. It’s a stone of possibilities. It is the ultimate symbol of wealth and good luck. It enhances motivation and increases your potential. It’s a stone of action and stimulates the flow of ideas. It helps you to follow things through to completion. Inspires creativity, clarity, focus and determination. When used in its natural cubic formation it also represents the four cardinal directions.

Green Jade:

Green Jade is the ultimate good luck charm. It’s been highly prized for thousands of years. This stone helps you to discover negative patterns that are holding you back from fulfilling your potential. It represents vitality, physical growth, expansion and new beginnings. Jade allows the divine to enhance circumstances of life to allow good fortune to naturally flow into your life. Amazing stone.

Green Aventurine:

This is the stone of growth. Growth of everything you wish to grow, including wealth & abundance. This is the “get it” stone. Use this to help bring about your intentions. The “stone of personal growth” will help you to grow into the best version of yourself and achieve your dreams. This is a go-to stone for any type of money magic and is commonly put in cash drawers or boxes to draw money in. This is a good luck stone. Green aventurine attracts luck, success and abundance of all kinds.

Tigers Eye:

Tigers Eye is a stone that helps you have the willpower and confidence to achieve success and therefore the abundance that you seek. Its a very multi-dimensional stone. It gives you the tools you need to shift your outlook and gain a deeper understanding of yourself. It is a stone of discernment. With a deeper awareness you will have the confidence to explore and pursue new possibilities. Tigers eye strengthens your motivation. It gives you courage. It is a stone of physical action, giving you the momentum to take the necessary steps to achieve your goals. It pushes you out of your comfort zone. In order to gain the abundance we wish for, we need to get up and ACT. This stone has your back!

Peridot:

This beautiful green crystal is also known as the cornucopia stone. It’s an increase or growth generator, helping to manifest and increase abundance in all areas of life. It increases profits in trades and is a talisman of good luck. It helps instill confidence in ones own abilities and helps establish a sense of self-worth. It also removes blockages that can hinder success or growth.

In general, if you aren’t sure which crystals to use for abundance, using crystals in the colors of green and gold is a great place to start. I would like to mention a few other very important crystals you might want to acquire at some point (these are more expensive & harder to find- but wishlist worthy!). These honorable mentions are cavansite, pentagonite, and hessonite garnet. There are many more common and accessible honorable mentions as well, such as ruby, emerald, and moss agate.

I hope you will try working with some, or all of these very useful and powerful stones, both this magic money month and throughout the year. Using your crystals as aids to manifest your dreams and desires are what your crystals are here to do. They want to be worked with and used, so if you have some sitting in a drawer somewhere, go pull it out and tap into the magic! Happy May!

Crystal Blessings

Sources:

www.energymuse.com

www.healingcrystalsforyou.com

www.sagegoddess.com

***

About the Author:

Retha N. Lent has been married for 17 years to her husband Mark & they have four cats that are their life. She lives in Norristown, Pa. Retha has her Bachelor’s of Science degree in Behavioral Counseling Sciences from Drexel University. She is the owner of “Retha’s Crystals” & sells sterling silver unique crystal jewelry & specimens on her FB business page. She has a FB group for her customers and those interested in learning more about crystals & all things magical called “Retha’s Crystal Circle“. She is also an advisor in the Sage Goddess Affiliate Program. She has her Holistic Healing Certificate and Pillars of Priestessing certificates from Sage Goddess. She is also an Ordained Pagan Minister from the Universal Life Church. Retha has a passion for crystals, nature, astrology, working with moon cycles, ritual practices, tarot and oracle cards, runes, essential oils, herbs, manifestation work, ancient cultures, magic & music. Her favorite place is New Orleans, La. Retha has an extensive personal crystal collection and loves sharing her love of crystals with the world. She has been a practicing pagan since she was 16 years old. 

You can reach her at rethalent@hotmail.com or on her business page on FB: www.facebook.com/Rethas-Crystals-197411227666484/

Or in her FB group

Her Sage Goddess affiliate link is:

www.sagegoddess.com/ref/84/

Or follow her on Instagram at @spookygirl16

Tarot Deck Review – The Neo Tarot Written by Jerico Mandybur

May, 2019

The Neo Tarot: A Fresh Approach to Self-care, Healing & Empowerment

The Neo Tarot is written by Jerico Mandybur, the editorial director and co-founder of Girlboss, and host of the hit podcast, Self Service. Mandybur is a writer, self-care advocate and queer leader known for tarot readings and trauma-informed healing. The deck is illustrated by Daiana Ruiz, a visual artist, illustrator and designer whose illustrations and animations have been exhibited around the world and featured in both print and digital media. The Neo Tarot deck and guidebook/boxset is published by Hardie Grant , Building 1, 658 Church Street, Richmond, VIC 3121 Australia, with offices in Sydney, London, and San Francisco.

The deck itself consists of 78 cards, and it comes in an inner box that fits snugly into a pocket in the very sturdy boxset along with a beautiful color fully illustrated 144-page hardcover guide book. The boxset is designed so that the book’s back cover is actually a part of the box, which offers a sturdy receptacle for both the deck and the guidebook, but makes working with the book itself a bit challenging.

The deck is printed on sturdy cardstock with a matte finish, almost powdery to the touch. The stock is sturdy enough that my first shuffle was a bit difficult, but the cards quickly adjusted and shuffling became a breeze. The cards are 2¾ by 4¾ inches, very nicely substantial to the hand, with a narrow white border around the images; the name of the card in an easy-to-read black print is found in a white banner at the bottom of each card.

The images on the cards themselves are lush and attractive, with vibrant jewel colors and easy-to-decipher artwork. The style is RWS, but the figures and their surroundings are without ornamentation, presented in a gentle and timeless style yet with a vibrant palette and flowing curves. The clean lines, blocks of color, and animated figures invite the viewer into each image, where symbolism abounds. The artwork of Ruiz is brilliant, and I could randomly choose a card and frame a full-sized image and hang it in my home with pride and joy. The backs of the cards are dark blue with white line drawings that hint at ancient sigils found carved into standing stones or painted on cave walls, a homage to divination methods that predate the Tarot.

The guidebook is beautiful, with a dark blue matt finish, soft front cover with white lettering and a bit of the beautiful line drawings found on the backs of the cards themselves. The back cover, which is substantial as it is part of the boxset, is also dark blue with white lettering, and contains images of five of the cards along with a description of the deck. The pages of the guidebook are substantial and durable, with the paper colors alternating between white and cream. The print is black and easy to read, but a bit small. However, because of the denseness of the card information, the small type is worth the minor inconvenience.

The hardcover guidebook/boxset begins on the very first page with the words “Know Thyself,” a very appropriate beginning for the Neo Tarot. Personally, I have always seen the Tarot as a counseling and healing tool, either for self or for others, more than a tool to see and understand the future. Mandybur took this concept and created an entire deck based on not only self-understanding, but self-help and self-nurturing. In this day and age with its stresses and lack of moments to pause and reset, the Neo Tarot could be a useful tool for finding balance and contentment.

The first chapter begins with a few pages describing why Mandybur has combined the Tarot and self-care, and then continues with a “Manifesto” that affirms that Tarot is real, it never tells us what to do but rather offers self-reflection and options, and that Neo Tarot is for everyone, exactly as they are. Next is a very brief history of the Tarot, followed by a breakdown of the structure of a Tarot deck. In keeping with the theme of self-care, the next chapter connects this concept with the deck, and then offers some sample self-care spreads.

Then we get to the card descriptions. The Minor Arcana cards each get a page that contains a full color image of the card, upright, reversed, and self-care card meanings, astrological signs/planets, themes, and an affirmation. The Major Arcana card descriptions take up two pages, with one page containing a large color image of the card and the name of the card in large print, with the facing page containing upright, reversed, and self-care meanings, a number, an astrological sign/planet, themes, and an affirmation. The book finishes with an Acknowledgements page, and a bio of Mandybur and Daiana Ruiz.

The Neo Tarot is literally for everyone, and it joyously celebrates the beautiful uniqueness of each of us. The images are pleasing, fluid and easy to personalize in a deep and transformative way, and the guidebook offers options for healing and understanding the whole self, physically, emotionally and intellectually. Even a new Tarot enthusiast could enjoy working with this deck and its new interpretations of traditional symbolism. The deck and the guidebook are way more than a divination tool, and someone who is not interested in “reading Tarot” would find the Neo Tarot a useful part of daily self-care routines. The Neo Tarot is worth holding in your hands and incorporating into your daily life.

Neo Tarot: A Fresh Approach to Self-Care, Healing & Empowerment on Amazon

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About the Author:

Raushanna is a lifetime resident of New Jersey. As well as a professional Tarot Reader and Teacher, she is a practicing Wiccan (Third Degree, Sacred Mists Coven), a Usui Reiki Master/Teacher, a certified Vedic Thai-Yoga Massage Bodyworker, a 500-hr RYT Yoga Teacher specializing in chair assisted Yoga for movement disorders, and a Middle Eastern dance performer, choreographer and teacher.  Raushanna bought her first Tarot deck in 2005, and was instantly captivated by the images on the cards and the vast, deep and textured messages to be gleaned from their symbols. She loves reading about, writing about, and talking about the Tarot, and anything occult, mystical, or spiritual, as well as anything connected to the human subtle body. She has published a book, “The Emerald Tablet: My 24-Day Journal to Understanding,” and is currently working on a book about the Tarot, pathworking and the Tree of Life. Raushanna documents her experiences and her daily card throws in her blog, DancingSparkles.blogspot.com, which has been in existence since 2009. She and her husband, her son and step son, and her numerous friends and large extended family can often be found on the beaches, bike paths and hiking trails of the Cape May, NJ area.

The Emerald Tablet: My 24-Day Journal to Understanding on Amazon

Going Shamanic Radio

May, 2019

Going Shamanic” is hosted by Jennifer Engracio on P.A.G.E. Media Project’s blogtalk radio each month. The show focuses on how to integrate shamanism into every day life. Instead of relegating the spiritual aspect of ourselves to Sundays at church or weekend workshops, this show will support listeners in weaving ritual, prayer, magic, alignment with the Spiritworld and the Earth into their lives to enrich their experience of living.

This Month’s Topic: Walking with Grief

Join us on “Going Shamanic” as Jennifer Engracio interviews Stephen Jenkinson on the topic of grieving.  We have all had losses in life.  Learn what grieving well has to do with deep living on the show today.

Stephen Jenkinson is a teacher, author, storyteller, spiritual activist, ceremonialist and founder of the Orphan Wisdom School, a teaching house and learning house for the skills of deep living and making human culture. It is a redemptive project that comes from where we come from. It is rooted in knowing history, being claimed by ancestry, and working for a time we may not see.  (http://orphanwisdom.com)

Here is a trailer of an incredible documentary sharing his life’s work.  “Griefwalker”, by the National Filmboard of Canada.

Instead of relegating the spiritual aspect of ourselves to Sundays at church or weekend workshops, this show will support listeners in weaving ritual, prayer, magic, alignment with the Spiritworld and the Earth into their lives to enrich their experience of living. Jen is also the founder of Spiral Dance Shamanics.

Going Shamanic is hosted by Jennifer Engrácio, about how to integrate shamanism into everyday life.

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About the Author:

Jennifer Engrácio has been a student of shamanism since 2005. Jennifer is a certified teacher who has worked with children in many different education settings since 2001. She is a certified shamanic coach, reiki master, and lomilomi practitioner; in addition, she runs Spiral Dance Shamanics. Originally from Vancouver, Canada, she now lives in Calgary, Canada with her life partner.

Engrácio participated in self-publishing three books that are now available:

The Magic Circle: Shamanic Ceremonies for the Child and the Child Within”

Women’s Power Stories: Honouring the Feminine Principle of Life”

Dreaming of Cupcakes: A Food Addict’s Shamanic Journey into Healing

For more information go to: www.spiraldanceshamanics.com

Book Review – The Numerology Handbook: Uncover your Destiny and Manifest Your Future with the Power of Numbers by Tania Gabrielle

May, 2019

Book Review
The Numerology Handbook
Uncover your Destiny and Manifest Your Future with the Power of Numbers
by Tania Gabrielle

I tend to forget about numerology. I’m not sure why – it’s a main component of such divination methods such as the Tarot and certain Oracle card systems and divining by Dominoes and playing cards – but perhaps that’s why I do forget about it. And although I have divination books that have a chapter about numerology in them and I have notes on numerology in my personal Book of Shadows, this little book, titled The Numerology Handbook: Uncover your Destiny and Manifest Your Future with the Power of Numbers, by Tanis Gabrielle, published by Fair Winds Press, an imprint of The Quarto Group, is the first book about numerology to ever grace my bookshelves. I have to say that I am quite happy to have it there!

Numerology is of course about numbers. Many people shy away from numbers because of math anxiety but all you need is the calculator on your cell phone to make these easy calculations. The most three important numbers are the day of your birth number, your life purpose number and your destiny number (10-11).

Your day of birth number is fairly simple. It corresponds to the day that you were born. If you were born on the 3rd of the month, then your day of birth number is 3. If it’s a double-digit number, then you add the two numbers. Sometimes you have to add twice; for instance, I was born on the 19th of May; therefore, 1+9=10/ 1+0=1. So my birth number is 1.

Your life purpose number is obtained by adding all the numbers in your day of birth. For instance, I was born May 19, 1960 (yeah, I know, I’m ancient). That’s 5 + (1+9) + (1+9+6+0) = 22

22 is my Compound Life Purpose Number and 4 is my Root Life Purpose Number.

The other most important number is your Destiny Number and that is figured by using the name on your birth certificate. Gabrielle is adamant about this: if your name was changed after you were six months old, you must use your original name! However, you can use your adopted or chosen name as a “secondary” influence (21).

People tend to separate letters and numbers as if they were two different ways of knowing but as Gabrielle points out, “Each letter resonates to a specific number.” (21) The system she uses is the Western system or the Pythagorean system, after Pythagoras, the Greek mathematician who is credited with the discovery of the “Pythagorean Theorem” – which if you took geometry you know that’s “a square plus b square equals c square” – I had it memorized but I could never quite explain it. I hated theorems!

Anyway, there’s the chart so you can figure out your Destiny Number. Using my the name on my own birth certificate, I added up the letters in my full given name. The result was 99, which of course “reduces” to 18 and again to 9. So 99, 18 and 9 are my Destiny Numbers.

OK – so what do all these numbers mean? The next three chapters explain everything you need to know. Gabrielle reminds us to “Make a note of intensifications – when the same number repeats.” and to “Pay attention to which numerology triad your Three Important Birth Code numbers belong to…” explaining that it makes a difference if the numbers all belong to the same triad or to a different triad (39).

Looking at my own numbers, I am reading things about myself that I already know – of course I do, I’m fifty-nine years old! – but also things that I do not particularly like to admit about myself. But that is the beauty of a book like this. And isn’t that why we read these books? To gain the knowledge to learn more about ourselves? And our loved ones?

I have the Master Number 22 within my collection of numbers – as Gabrielle writes, “Master Numbers ask more of you – they also give you the tools to accomplish more!” (77) I have always thought that the number 22 corresponded to the Number 0 but maybe that’s just in the Tarot.

I also have the Master Number 99. According to Gabrielle, “When your Destiny Number resonates to 99, your life embodies the qualities of Fulfillment through Unconditional Love. All answers and wisdom are contained within you. You are accomplished and have the answer for pretty much anything.” (87). HA! “…have the answer for pretty much anything.” I know plenty of people who would agree with that. Or that I think I have the answer for pretty much anything!

After Gabrielle covers the meaning of Root Numbers, Master Numbers, and Double-Digit Numbers, she covers Personal Years, Personal Months and Personal Days. Each year, month and day carries “a specific personal vibration” that is yours alone, based on your personal birth numbers (130).

Your personal year starts on your birthday, not January 1. My birthday (again) is May 19, so this year is 5+19+2019=2043/9, so I am having a 9 year this year.

The way you figure your personal month is quite brilliant. There’s a chart in the book which makes the whole idea quite easy to understand. I’m in a 9 year, which kind of messes up the entire system but it still works if you understand basic math.

The Personal Day number is also easy to calculate. You just take your Personal Month number and add it to the Day in question. I can see this being very handy if you are looking forward in time – if you are wondering what kind of day you might be having on a certain date in a few weeks or months. This is a new idea for me and one I plan to start using.

All these numbers comprising your Personal Year, Month and Days are important when you consider your Power Cycles. As Gabrielle explains, “There are certain Personal Years, Months and Days that activate one of the numbers in your Three important Birth numbers. When this happens you will feel an intensification of energy. You’ll experience profound growth…” (138)

Not only does she say to “make a note” of these upcoming Power Cycles but that you will have several of these Power Cycle Personal Days “each and every month” – so “you are never without this surge of energy.” (138). Isn’t that great to know? Now all we have to do is learn how to use our Numbers to harness these Power Cycles – which is what the next chapter is all about!

The last chapter in the book is about addresses – where you live. She stresses that it’s only the numbers in the address that matter, not the name of the street. The only time a letter will matter is if it’s part of your address, as in an apartment number, i.e. #3B.

I was a bit alarmed because Gabrielle writes to avoid “addresses that initially add up to 11, 29, 38, or 47” (160) and my new apartment falls into that category! Also it’s not recommended for Birth Code Number 1! Maybe that’s why I’ve locked myself out of my apartment three times already and I haven’t even been here a full two months! I love it here but I’m beginning to think that this apartment doesn’t want me here. I signed a year’s lease so I’m going to be here for a while but this is something to remember the next time I’m looking.

All in all, I think this is a fabulous little book and one that I will refer to for years to come. If you are looking for an easy-to-read book with clear charts and major concepts set out with bullet points, this is for you. I cannot recommend it enough. Go to your favorite bookseller and buy it today!

References:

Gabrielle, Tania. The Numerology Handbook: Uncover your Destiny and Manifest Your Future with the Power of Numbers. Beverly, MA: Fair Winds Press, 2019.

The Numerology Handbook: Uncover your Destiny and Manifest Your Future with the Power of Numbers on Amazon

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About the Author:

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

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

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

Notes from the Apothecary

May, 2019

Notes from the Apothecary: Ginger

The spice we call ginger is the root of Zingiber officinale. The name derives from the Sanskrit for ‘Horn Body’, referring to the knobbly, ridged shape and texture of the roots. Originating from Asia, ginger is now found all over the world and is used widely in cooking, magic, and medicine.

Ginger was brought to America by Francisco de Mendosa, and it grew so prolifically that the Spanish-Americans were able to export it in huge amounts to Europe.

The Kitchen Garden

Fresh ginger is usually bought as sections of root. It’s a testament to how hardy the plant is that with very little encouragement, it will start growing! Many times I have gone to fetch the ginger only to find there are little shoots of green ginger coming off the root. With this in mind, if you wanted to cultivate your own ginger plant, it’s not too difficult at all.

WikiHow has a step by step guide to growing ginger which is very easy to follow. Ginger is normally grown indoors. Basically, you get as the same number of pieces of ginger root (or rhizome, to give it the correct name) as the number of plants you want. Each ‘eye’ or sprouting piece will grow into a new shoot, in good quality, well-drained potting compost. Avoid frost, try not to shock the roots, and you will have little ginger plants in very little time at all!

So, what do we use ginger for in the kitchen? So many things! Ground ginger is used in baking cakes, buns, muffins, breads, and even savory bakes. The fresh root is sliced or grated and added to curries, often alongside lots of garlic. Marinating meat in a combination of garlic and ginger is delicious. Add red wine vinegar and you are part way to a vindaloo. Ginger is used in a wide variety of Asian cooking. We particularly enjoy thin but wide slices of ginger in a vegetable stir fry with fragrant rice or noodles.

The Apothecary

Mrs Grieve tells us that ginger is a stimulant- unsurprising given its ‘zingy’ flavour and aroma. She recommends it for alcoholic gastritis (an unusually specific condition) and for aiding in diarrhea and flatulent colic.

Although ginger is warming, it has anti-inflammatory properties and can settle an upset stomach. Pregnant women often take ginger biscuits to ease morning sickness. I found them useful in both my pregnancies, especially when I was finding it difficult to keep anything more substantial down. It may also aid in travel sickness and motion sickness.

Ginger is used in Ayurvedic medicine for eating disorders, cholera, and liver problems.

In Chinese medicine ginger is a respiratory aid and useful for coughs, colds and flu. It’s also used as a hangover ‘cure’, thanks to its reputation for expelling poisons from the body. As always, check with a doctor before taking any substance for medical reasons.

The Witch’s Kitchen

In Hoodoo, ginger is sometimes combined with John the Conqueror root and nutmeg to create a luck powder for gamblers. Sprinkling ginger around the garden or yard protects from trouble.

Ginger, probably due to its ‘hot’ nature, is associated with love and passion, and is often used in attraction or lust spells. Cunningham recommends using ginger in a love incense, alongside lemon balm, cardamom, cinnamon, and vanilla. A spell or mojo bag designed to attract something to you, whether that be love or wealth, can be enhanced with a bit of ginger root. Ginger can also accelerate the action of other spells, acting like a catalyst for magical action.

Cunningham’s Encyclopaedia of Magical Herbs states that ginger is a fire plant (no surprises there), masculine, and associated with Mars. This immediately gives associations with power, control, and confidence. He suggests eating ginger before performing magic to boost the power of spells.

Home and Hearth

Sometime the greatest magic is taking time for yourself and keeping yourself healthy. Modern, busy lives often make this very difficult! I know I certainly relish every spare (rare!) moment I can get to simply pause and do nothing for a while. Here’s a recipe for a ginger tea that will help you relax, while stimulating and opening your senses for a moment of mindfulness.

  • An inch of ginger root, sliced
  • An inch of turmeric root, sliced
  • A slice of fresh lime

Place all the ingredients in a teapot in boiling or just off the boil water. Let the flavours infuse for five minutes. Can be drunk warm or left to cool and served with ice. Recipe adapted from Paleo Flourish.

Turmeric is cleansing and helps with digestion. Ginger stimulates the senses, while the fresh aroma of lime can reduce fatigue and stimulate the appetite.

I Never Knew…

Dobu Islanders have been known to chew up ginger root while sailing, and spit it at an oncoming storm to halt it in its tracks. (Cunningham, 1985.)

All images public domain or via Unsplash.

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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 & Pagan Portals – Celtic Witchcraft: Modern Witchcraft Meets Celtic Ways.

A Modern Celt: Seeking the Ancestors on Amazon

Pagan Portals – Celtic Witchcraft: Modern Witchcraft Meets Celtic Ways on Amazon

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