book review

Book Review – The Modern Witchcraft Book of Love Spells Your Complete Guide to Attracting Passion, Love and Romance by Skye Alexander

April, 2019

Book Review
The Modern Witchcraft Book of Love Spells
Your Complete Guide to Attracting Passion, Love and Romance
by Skye Alexander
Published by Adams Media
207 pages

Without realizing it, love spells are all around us. The hanging of mistletoe? A pagan love spell. A toast to a life of happiness between a bride and groom? Rooted in magic. According to the author, Skye Alexander “witches cast more love spells than any other kind”. It is in this pursuit that we are provided with this book of 150 spells focused on passion, love and romance.

This book is well organized. Different types of spells are divided into chapters. Each spell is clear and individually listed. This is an advantage for readers who love organization. The table of contents lists the names of spells for fast reference. Types of spells in this book are candle spells, crystal and gemstone spells, pendulum magic, plant spells, and visual spells.

One surprise this book features is recipes. There are recipes for teas and other drinks as well as salads, seafood dishes and desserts. By combining spices and other ingredients with some of the favorite foods of Venus, Fruit of the Goddess pie could be served at your next gathering. As you create this delectable dessert, be sure to recite the following “Sweeten our love, With blessings from above”. Nothing shares the love quite like a homemade pie.

With Ostara upon us, the new beginnings are in our thoughts. If you are a gardener or plant lover, be sure to look to the section on planting a romantic garden for inspiration. A few pages away you will learn how to make a garden charm to protect your love. Once you have created your charm, be sure to hang it outside near your beautiful garden. If you have a sacred tree to hang the charm on, all the better.

With so many various love spells, recipes and activities The Modern Witchcraft Book of Love Spells is likely to spark ideas for you to spice up your current romance, keep a partner true to you or attract a new lover. It is a well written book that is easy to read and easy to refer to whenever love is the subject of your magic.

The Modern Witchcraft Book of Love Spells: Your Complete Guide to Attracting Passion, Love, and Romance on Amazon

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About the Author:

Tammy Andrews is a beginner in the area of all matters related to Wicca and witchcraft. She is interested in many areas of natural spiritual practice including the use of incense and oils, pendulum divination, oracle cards, and crystals. She is Reiki I certifieded with plans to obtain further Reiki levels. With her love of learning and reading, she is excited to join PaganPagesOrg as a book reviewer. Tammy is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker employed in a community agency that provides counseling and case management services to clients who live with serious mental illnesses and addiction issues. The power of human survival and resilience never ceases to amaze her. She views social work as her passion and life calling.Tammy resides in CT with her husband, who is her greatest supporter, her cat and her dogs. She has enjoyed the opportunity to assist in the nurturing of her step-son to become a prospering young adult.

Tammy and her husband spend many Summer weekends at their cabin in VT where she loves the opportunity to renew her spirit in the peace and solitude of the trees. You can contact Tammy via email at tandrews192@comcast.net

Book Review – Protection Spells: Clear Negative Energy, Banish Unhealthy Influences and Embrace Your Power by Arin Murphy-Hiscock

March, 2019

Book Review
Protection Spells
Clear Negative Energy, Banish Unhealthy Influences and Embrace Your Power
by Arin Murphy-Hiscock
Published by Adams Media
224 Pages

The first thing that catches your eye about this book is the strikingly beautiful cover, but as the saying goes “never judge a book by its cover.” In this case, I can say that the content is as impressive as the cover and you will not be disappointed in reading and owning this book.

As a newcomer to the world of spellcrafting, I was pleased about the breakdown and content of the information in this book. The book is divided into three parts: Spellcrafting; Spells and Rituals; and Protective Objects. Part One explains what a spell is, how spells work and the basics regarding spellcraft; which is very useful to a newbie like me. Part Two consists of spells focusing on defense and protection and are divided into four categories. Lastly, Part Three provides the reader with three protection rituals. One for protecting a home, one for protecting an object and one for protecting a person. Protective objects are also discussed in Part Three.

In the first chapter of the book, which also serves as the Part One, types of spells are explained. This is particularly helpful to someone who has little to no knowledge of spellwork. Chapter One reinforces that the most important part of a spell is the practitioner’s will and intention to be the agent of change.

Part Two consists of four chapters each covering the following categories of spells: Body and Spirit, House and Home, Family and Friends, and Out and About. Each chapter begins with information regarding the spell category. Spell names are highlighted and written in a consistent format which is easy to read and follow. Under each individual spell is information on how or what the spell will help with followed by materials needed to execute the spell. Each highlighted area concludes with “What to Do” which is a step-by-step explanation of how to complete the spell. Tips regarding the spell may also be included in a separate highlighted information box.

Part Three consists of two chapters. Protection rituals are provided in Chapter Six. They, like the spells in the earlier chapters, follow the same familiar, easy-to-read format that the reader has come to rely on. Chapter Seven, the ?nal chapter, discusses protection objects. Protective colors, crystals, gods, saints, angels, animals, herbs and symbols are explored. This chapter is an introduction protection objects, and it gives the reader some basic information regarding these objects. It is intended for this chapter to spark the reader’s interest in wanting to learn more about protection objects.

In conclusion, Protection Spells is a well written and highly organized book that I would recommend to others. Upon completing the final chapter, I was left wanting more information. I was saddened that the book had come to an abrupt end; which is my only disappointment in reading this book. After having the opportunity to learn so much about protection spells from Ms. Murphy-Hiscock, I was left wanting a conclusion or parting words. Given the inclusive outline and impressive organization of the book, it was the one lacking piece. Overall, the lack of a parting chapter is a minor oversight given the wealth of information gained in reading this book.

Protection Spells: Clear Negative Energy, Banish Unhealthy Influences, and Embrace Your Power on Amazon

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About the Author:

Tammy Andrews is a beginner in the area of all matters related to Wicca and witchcraft. She is interested in many areas of natural spiritual practice including the use of incense and oils, pendulum divination, oracle cards, and crystals. She is Reiki I certified with plans to obtain further Reiki levels. With her love of learning and reading, she is excited to join PaganPagesOrg as a book reviewer. Tammy is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker employed in a community agency that provides counseling and case management services to clients who live with serious mental illnesses and addiction issues. The power of human survival and resilience never ceases to amaze her. She views social work as her passion and life calling. Tammy resides in CT with her husband, who is her greatest supporter, her cat and her dogs. She has enjoyed the opportunity to assist in the nurturing of her step-son to become a prospering young adult. Tammy and her husband spend many Summer weekends at their cabin in VT where she loves the opportunity to renew her spirit in the peace and solitude of the trees. You can contact Tammy via email at tandrews192@comcast.net

Book Review – Moon Power: lunar rituals for connecting with your inner goddess by Simone Butler

March, 2019

Book Review
Moon Power
lunar rituals for connecting with your inner goddess
by Simone Butler
Published by Quarto Publishing Group
Pages: 208

Where the Moon appears in your birth chart* determines your emotional nature. Your moon sign indicates what makes you feel secure and what wisdom you’ve accumulated during past lives.

In “Moon Power: lunar rituals for connecting with your inner goddess,” Simone Butler provides information about the moon in each astrological sign.

“Identifying and honoring your lunar nature helps you feel comfortable in your skin,” she states in the book where she helps women connect with their primal, feminine, moon power.

My moon is in Scorpio and I devoured the 14 pages allotted to it. While there were some characteristics I do not believe I have (possessive and wealth-driven, but some who know me might disagree), the majority of the information was exactly right. I am intense, being in control makes me feel secure, I have undying passion and letting go is difficult for me.

For each moon sign are 14 pages providing such information as your lunar superpower, lunar shadow, sexual and karmic path. There is a page about Scorpio moon woman with a list of qualities, and roughly half a page dedicated to a “Modern Scorpio Moon Goddess” – in my case, Lady Gaga – and pages about an Ancient Scorpio Moon Goddess – for me, Lilith. Included in the information about her are ways to connect with her, her sacred animal and a suggestion for an altar to Lilith and when to visit it.

Each section also contains a new and a full moon ritual, things to do while the moon is in that sign, and questions for reflection and journaling.

Butler is an astrologer who follows the Wiccan path of her Celtic ancestors, but the activities, stories and rituals she presents are drawn from many cultures and are guided by her inner knowing. Butler’s intention is to help readers find more magic with the help of the moon.

Chapter 1 talks about the power of the moon, whom she calls “our cosmic mother,” and how to use it “to open our hearts and trust our intuition” so that we shift our consciousness from our head to our heart. It covers Luna as the soul mate for women, women’s link to the moon through her menstruation cycle. The influences of eight phases of the moon are explained: new moon, waxing crescent, first quarter, waxing gibbous, full moon, waning gibbous, last quarter and waning crescent.

“Your feelings are the most reliable conduit to the intuitive right-brain realm. To coax out your inner Goddess, start letting your true feelings rise up and find expression,” Butler writes in Chapter 2, then goes on to write about connecting to that inner Goddess.

Your friends will want to borrow this book to learn more about themselves by reading about their moon signs, but you might consider not letting it go, because you may want to perform the rituals and try an activity or two when the moon is in of the signs.

* At astroalchemy.com, readers can find their moon sign along with a multitude of other “ancient secrets for modern living” and astrological information by Simone Butler.

Moon Power: Lunar Rituals for Connecting with Your Inner Goddess on Amazon

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About the Author:

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

Celebrating The Old Ways in New Times Review & Interview with Gabiann Marin

March, 2019

March 2019 for Celebrating The Old Ways in New Times

March 2019 for Celebrating The Old Ways in New Times

Bright Blessings!

I cannot tell you how excited I am that it is almost the Spring Equinox! To prepare, I assembled a precut garden box today, and have been diligently bagging up the dead leaves from last fall I spread over the garden beds I already have. I never buy mulch that way! Once the thaw starts, I dig out the leaves, and just throw them away.

While I joyously begin celebrating Spring at Imbolc, the fact I can see the green fingers of garden bulbs pushing up out of the earth reminds me the growing season is set to begin very soon. I am buying seeds left and right, and soon, we will start stockpiling the pea gravel and soil for the new garden bed!

The undesirable parts of things like cleanup, spending money on supplies, and lifting and carrying heavy things must be performed to benefit from the beauty of the victory garden we covet. I, for one, hate the sight of worms, and have ever since I was a child. I, however know that without those blind wrigglers, my garden will not grow, and if I don’t see them, I know something is very wrong.

Like the garden, our lives are made up of all sorts of things. Things we like, and things we dislike. More than that, we also like and dislike things about specifically our own selves.

Turn on the television, and you can almost always find a makeover show, or some type of advertisement for a service or product that will completely transform you, supposedly getting rid of some aspect of yourself you loathe. Our culture supports that self-loathing, as they use it as excuse to earn money from us.

Now, I am not saying we ought to forego improving ourselves. What I am saying is that all of us have something we CANNOT change about ourselves that we imagine to be some monstrosity. Some hate the shape of their feet, the sound of their voice, the fact their hair is naturally curly or straight. Some hate having an adams apple, and some think their neck is too long or short. Some want to get rid of freckles, or bleach their skin which they imagine is too dark. Almost all of us have demonized some aspect of ourselves we simply cannot help.

But we are not monstrosities in any way. We simply misunderstand these parts of ourselves, and radical self-acceptance is the only solution. What better time for that than the Spring Equinox, which is often used to get rid of the old and bring in the new? Instead of throwing out some part of ourselves, why not change our way of thinking instead?

This Month’s Review

To fit with this theme. I lucked into an interview with Gabiann Marin, author of the awesome book, Monsters and Creatures. I found the book to be well written, well researched, and an easy read. Of course, she could not include ALL monsters and creatures from all of time in the book, but she packed in quite a lot into the neat 196 pages.

From the Basilisk to Zombies, Marin draws readers into the fascinating world of creatures, and provides more than just lore. She includes historical anecdotes, and education about real phenomenon.

I highly recommend the book, and it can be had through this link.

Not only was I fortunate enough to review this good book, but I got to interview the amazing Gabiann Marin!

Read on!

The Interview

Saoirse – First, let me say, I was impressed with your book Monsters and Creatures. I never know what to expect from a reference book on creatures- and I was thrilled because I found your book very well researched.

You packed so very much good information into it. How long did it take you to gather all of that in formation, and what was the process for research you used? What background in research do you have, and what is your philosophy about educating your readers as an author? 

Gabiann – Thank you.  The research part was quite interesting.  I have grown up with many of the creatures in the book in so far as I have loved and read mythology and fantasy and history since I was a small child.  In fact the very first book I bought for myself (at the age of seven)  was The natural history of the vampire by Anthony Masters and I still have that book. So I guess it took a lifetime to gather all the information. 

The greater challenge was how to get all the information I wanted to talk about into such a small book.  I didn’t want it to just be a dictionary of fantastic beasts.  I’m a writer and the power of all these creatures are in their stories and I wanted to be able to share that… Give a context of these creatures in history and psychology and society.  

I have been a professional writer for a long time as well as an academic, so I read widely and have a pretty varied interest and abundant curiosity in just about everything – so I find researching information pretty easy. 

The process for this book was really to decide what monsters and creatures I wanted to include.  The publisher was pretty adamant the popular ones were included… Which I agreed with… But I was also intent on introducing readers to more unusual and lesser known creatures and tell their stories too. 

Saoirse – What made you decide to write about this topic, specifically? This appears more like a long-term interest in these beings turned into a good book to share what you have learned with others. Am I right? 

Gabiann – Yes.  I love animals and the natural world and am fascinated in how we, as humans, connect to and understand nature.  I have always believed the stories of monsters and creatures are some of the most potent and informative ways that we express our love and fear of the world around us. 

Saoirse – As I am Pagan, I know a lot of people who embrace belief in human connection with supernatural beings. One friend said these “creatures” may be nothing more than manifestation of spirit people perceive so well, they mistake them for flesh! While we know about logical explanations like- manatees can be mistaken for mermaids, etc- what is your take on the theory my friend presented? 

Gabiann – I have a rather unique perspective on people’s belief systems and how they engage with the mystical, the natural and the supernatural… And that is that however someone perceives these creatures – as real or imagined, as pyschological manifestations or as historical creatures… They are probably right. 

We manifest our understanding of the world and ourselves through the stories we tell and that shapes how we treat each other and the world around us.  Spirit reaches us through story, symbol and myth.  

If your friend perceives spirit as a unicorn or a dragon.. Then that is how spirit presents itself to her.  She is using these stories exactly how they were meant to be used – for her to step beyond the human condition and understand the world beyond herself. 

Saoirse – I want to know all about you! Tell me about your writing in general, and beyond that, YOU in general? What made you decide to write? What else are you good at? What projects are you working on, and what else is in the workings? 

Gabiann – That’s a big topic… Where do I start? 

I suppose I have always been a writer, I wrote my first short story at the age of eight and won my first literary prize when I was fourteen.  I became a professional writer when I started University.  I was originally going to be a vet but ended up at the last minute studying writing instead. My mum was surprisingly OK with this!  

I started my professional writing life writing film and theatre reviews and then actual plays.  I worked as a corporate copywriter for a few years but realised it was a bit soul destroying so shifted over and became a writer for charities and causes I believed in… Like Amnesty International, The Wilderness Society and Greenpeace.  

I also wrote for Australian television for a few years but it was a hard road back then with very little Australian content being made. So in 2000 I began writing children’s books.  In 2003 I wrote a book for young readers about a child in Australian Immigration detention called A True Person, which won a few international awards but most importantly was the first book in Australia to tackle that issue.

I still write social justice material in fiction form but moved into editing and writing non fiction after leaving an academic job in 2016.

Currently I am dividing my time between teaching writing and film at University, while editing and writing non-fiction, original and adapted film scripts and completing a fantasy fiction book about Medusa.

Saoirse – Tell me about your personal spiritual path, and if it influenced your work on this topic.

Gabiann – I am Wicca and have been since I was quite young, however I am more a pagan in the classic sense, in that I believe there is a natural force which guides the world and creates and determines life. I believe we need to understand and respect this force… Which currently as a global entity we are not doing.

All of my work has, in some way, reflected my belief that people are part of – not in conflict with – the natural world.  And the natural world is actually supernatural, in that it contains spirit as well as material things.  This is hardly controversial, as literally everyone in the known history of humankind has believed a version of this – yet for some reason mankind have been intent on focusing on the differences in this belief and killing each other over how we individually choose to understand and express that spiritual essence .  To me spirit is nature herself… Everything in it is amazing.  It contains things which we are only just beginning to understand. 

I don’t follow any organized religion because I believe that most of them limit us into hatred and division with both ourselves and the other beings we share this planet with.  But I have a huge respect for most religious people who are just trying to find ways to connect with the bigger sense of power around them.  I believe that when we are in contact with the natural world… Go beyond the realms of mankind’s selfishness, greed and violence, we can connect to that spirit. But honestly I do not think we as humans are the most important things on this planet.  Not the single or indeed the main focus of any spiritual force which may exist.  The trees and the rocks and the mountains have watched us rise and they will watch us fall.  Creatures we can barely imagine have roamed this earth thousands of years before we were even conceived of.. And other creatures will no doubt walk across our fossilized bones.  And that is a good thing.  Nature is immortal. So the smallness and pettiness of humanity and our need to find meaning and place has always underpinned my work.  As well as a commitment to kindness, justice and understanding … Towards each other and all beings. 

Saoirse – Have you had any personal encounters with creatures or spirits you would like to share?

Gabiann – I think there is magic in the world, and spirit… particularly animal spirits, can help you find your way to that magic.

When I was in my twenties I had a very hard time. As I believe most young women in their twenties do in a world that is constantly telling us that as females we are simply not good enough, pretty enough, smart enough. Then one night I had this amazing dream of two tigers who embraced me when I thought they were going to rip me apart. 

I woke up realizing that I was worthy and strong and loved.  I still believe today they were manifestations of spirit telling me to stop worrying about all the silliness around me and understand that my purpose… the purpose for all of us,  was simply to be a good person. Once I realized that, life became much clearer for me and I was able to follow a path that wasn’t so concerned about whether I fitted in with the very narrow ideology of being a compliant, acceptable, quiet woman. Which I certainly am not!  And rather tell stories and be part of the world in a way that expanded, not limited my and other creatures existence.

I am still very spiritual and have engaged with spirit in many ways since then.  But I remember that dream so clearly even now.  It’s why I became a pagan and a feminist. 

Monsters and Creatures, as well as its companion book – Gods and Goddesses, was written as an introduction into the history of humankind’s need to use story and myth to understand the world.  They are small books but I hope they pack a punch and give people a bit of an insight into what unites us – which is story… and what defines us – which is how we understand the world around us.  

They are both written to be fun, informative and easy to read and I really hope people engage with them.  Our continuing fascination with supernatural creatures is one of the many things that unite us as people.  And sharing these stories is the best way to create connections between us across time and cultures.  

I am happy to engage with readers but have a limited social media profile as I find the online world to be somewhat mean-spirited and focused on conflict.  I have a facebook authors page and an Amazon Author’s page through which I am happy to engage with those wanting more information about me. 

If you are interested in getting a copy of any of my books they are widely available through Amazon as well as most good book stores.  

Saoirse – What is your FAVORITE Monster/Creature you included in your book, and why? Any encounters, dreams, or visions of/with it/them?

Gabiann – This is a bit like asking me to choose a favourite child! 

All of them are my favourite in different ways. I love the more unusual ones like the Japanese Yokai because they are just so quirky and, although they can be a bit nasty, they are essentially just really cool, interesting little creatures who don’t bother anyone and just hang about doing their own thing. 

Researching the book I found the bird-like creatures the most fascinating as they were probably the ones I knew the least about. Again they are usually positive, kind creatures who help rather than harm us. 

But I guess if I had to pick a favourite it would have to be Medusa. She resonates about the power of women and her story is one of injustice. She was never a monster, just someone who was trying to live her life. She only harmed those who attacked her and she was a victim of one of the most heinous and cowardly acts in all of mythology. It is impossible, I think, to see the story of Medusa as anything but a parable about male violence against women and the hatred of the established patriarchy of strong independent females. For that reason she probably resonates the strongest. 

I am actually writing a fiction book about her – its a crime caper comedy believe it or not!  

For more information on Gabiann Marin Visit:

Gabiann’s Linkedin Profile
Her Author Page on Facebook you can follow.
Her Amazon Author Page.

The Sabbat

The Sabbat this month is Spring Equinox, known by many Pagans as Ostara. Many take Bede and the Grimm’s word for it that Ostara was a Germanic goddess who had a hare as companion and eggs were auspicious to her.

Unfortunately, no evidence that this was a goddess exists in imagery or writings prior to Bede.

But since writings can be lost, and many passed traditions on orally, there is a chance this is true. It may also be true that Xtianity absorbed the Pagan rites to Ostara in their Easter practices.

One thing that is NOT true is the ridiculous meme claiming Ishtar was the goddess Ostara because the name is similar to Easter. Ishtar was never venerated in the British Isles, and ancient British pagans had no knowledge of her whatsoever. Xtians converting British Pagans did not adapt Middle Eastern Pagan practice either.

If Ostara was a goddess, she was, as Grimm, and Bede say, Germanic.

Both Ostara and Easter are celebrated with the new life of the Earth, and new spiritual life for worshippers in mind.

But while Xtians think of it as their god rising from the grave, and Pagans think of it in earth based terms, another way to look at it is rebirth of way of thinking.

New Life

Earlier in the article, I spoke of the things we loathe about ourselves that are things we cannot control.

Examples I shared were of physical things we might not like, but have no ability to change. Other examples include things such as the presence of depression that is being treated as well as possible, but is a lifelong condition, memory problems after stroke, inability to digest a favorite food anymore, inability due to medical reasons to have kids, or even being divorced when you did not choose to be.

My challenge this time is to think of that thing which you cannot change- and forgive yourself for it.

Believe me, I do not say this lightly, as I have things I am upset with myself for. I say things like “I am sorry for the way I am” and “I wish you did not have to deal with the fact I have X problem.”

This is perhaps the least productive thing we do as human beings. In essence, we punish ourselves for something we have no control over.

We make ourselves out to be guilty, when in fact, if we could change whatever it is we hate about ourselves, we absolutely would.

So, the self-loathing stops. Now.

It’s going to take a conscious effort to undo your counter productive way of thinking about yourself, and replacing that with forgiveness, and amping up the self-love, and it’s one a one time, “fling a spell and forget it” thing. It will take a different amount of time for each person, and you may have to tweak the working to suit yourself.

I want you to know that you are a perfect reflection of the creator, and what WE think of as flaws are sometimes just things our culture spits at. We have to train our minds to resist this cultural poisoning, which is basically abuse, and VERY toxic. We have to sometimes be the goddess or the father god for ourselves, and know better than the crap we are told.

This working entails giving a gift to yourself. You are worth it! This is done in parts. How far apart you space the parts is up to you.

The Working

To start, get a plain white candle and a small receptacle to burn paper in.

Get paper, and writing materials.

Part 1– You are going to sit down and write a letter to yourself.

You are going to make it as long as you like. Go into great detail about the thing you loathe about yourself and go ahead and cry out how much you wish you could change things. It is okay to type and print out the letter if you’d prefer not to hand write it. Include in the letter why you understand you can’t change this. Say all you want to about it and how you feel about it. Just get it all out. You don’t even have to have one sitting be the whole letter. It can be as long or as short of a letter as you want. It can even be just a paragraph or less long.

Part 2– Then you are going to write your goal for changing thinking. You are going to have to really think about what thinking you need to discard, but also what thinking you need to replace it with. Then, you need to decide what action after the change of thinking you are going to take. Be as detailed or as vague as asking your goddess or god for guidance.

Part 3– Have your initial letter, and then your other papers which list your goals and planned changes, have your receptacle to burn in , and light the candle. You can do this at your altar if you want to, but you can even do this outdoors, or over the kitchen sink, or stove if you prefer. Do this at the place where you are most comfortable burning papers.

Read your letter aloud to yourself. Let it all sink in, and as you are reading, feel how crucial it is you let this self-loathing go. Then read the second papers, and truly tell yourself that you are going to lay aside the old way of thinking, and start the new way of thinking.

When you have read it all, take one more sheet of paper, and write out a very short summary of everything on the papers.

Burn the papers, keeping the summary.

As the papers burn say, “Out with the old, in with the new, I am the goddess/god, and I am whole and perfect. So Mote It Be.”

Once the papers have burned, release the ashes to the wind, and let your candle burn all the way down. Clean your area up, and place your summary somewhere you can look at it to remind yourself of all the things you wrote. Because, remember, this is a long-term change, not something you are going to release and forget. We have to make conscious efforts to transform, most especially our way of thinking. There is no “putting it out there to the Universe to manifest”. We are going to do this ourselves, for a permanent change.

Part 4- Gift yourself something representing the change you are making. If you hate your feet, get regular pedicures or start wearing shoes you really love but thought you could not wear on “those” feet. If you are upset you did not reach a goal, and the opportunity is gone, celebrate a goal you DID make. If you are upset you have a chronic condition that is never going to go away, pamper yourself somehow and reassure yourself you are not to blame.

Blessed Spring, and New Beginnings!

Blessed Be!

Monsters and Creatures: Discover Beasts from Lore and Legends (The Supernatural Series) on Amazon

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About the Author:

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

Book Review – Italian Folk Magic: Rue’s Kitchen Witchery by Mary- Grace Fahrun

February, 2019

Book Review
Italian Folk Magic: Rue’s Kitchen Witchery”
by Mary-Grace Fahrun
Publisher: Weiser
Published: Paperback, 2018
Pages: 122
Published: Paperback, 2018

I am of Sicilian descent, as well as German, so I was drawn to this book to learn more about the practices of the country from which my mother’s parents came.

By recording oral history, Mary-Grace Fahrun shares what she learned about customs and traditions from the matriarchs of her family. It started by collecting recipes and folk remedies. They came with stories, superstitions, incantations and prayers. She began Rue’s Kitchen to preserve these customs and practices as well as those of Italians of all faiths all over the world.

Religious rituals, magical spells, blessings, folk medicine and cooking are all “inextricably woven into the fabric of Italian culture – no matter where Italians are geographically located,” and Fahrun, who presents them woven together like a tapestry and a way of living.

“I was taught everything in Italian,” wrote Fahrun, who is fluent in Italian and about a half dozen of its dialects. The book is her guided tour through her magical life, presenting the principles so the reader can create their own magical life. Italian witchcraft “is not a religion. It is a practice anyone can incorporate into their spirituality regardless of religious belief,” she states, but adds, “There will be strong themes of devotions to saints and earth-based spirituality because they are both important to the fabric.”

The first chapter focuses on the kitchen, the most important and sacred room of the house. Here, every element is present. Herbs are magical, and magical tools are the same utensils, dishes and cookware used to prepare meals. You’ll learn how to clean, set up and treat your kitchen like the temple it is.

Other chapters deal with sacred spaces and home altars, and the magic in food. When addressing magic or medicine, there are a variety approaches for conditions that range from mental and spiritual intervention to the red ribbon and incantation used to relieve headaches and the ointment made of garlic paste and olive oil to apply to skin infections.

A page explains what she calls the most powerful incantation: “non è niente” or “it is nothing.” I remember my grandmother telling me that and thinking, “Well of course it’s something. I’m hurt.” But Fahrun, who is a nurse, found those three magic words healed even chronic wounds when said with “a detached, almost dismissive, attitude.”

There are recipes for days of the week and months of the year, explanations of proverbs and superstitions, and chapters that delve into amulets, divination, spells and charms, rituals and curses.

I came to better understand the meaning of things my grandmother and “the Italian aunts from Hartford” did. It’s inspired me to learn more about my grandparents’ hometowns – legends, patron saints, customs, history, etc. – from research and from two relatives who have visited.

The book’s cover design by Jim Warner also deserves a mention. It honors the book’s contents with the hand from the cimaruta, the cornicello (the red horn amulet or talisman worn to protect against the evil eye) and the hand gesture to ward off evil on ribbons wound through a garlic braid studded with blooming rue.

If you are Italian, or drawn to the culture, this book makes a wonderful entry point.

Italian Folk Magic: Rue’s Kitchen Witchery on Amazon

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About the Author:

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

Book Review – Stones of the Goddess: Crystals for the Divine Feminine by Nicholas Pearson

January, 2019

Book Review

Stones of the Goddess

Crystals for the Divine Feminine

by Nicholas Pearson

Author, Nicholas Pearson’s book offers a jam-packed volume of wisdom about crystal lore and usage through the lens of Goddess study and devotion. Looking at the Notes (Bibliography) section at the back of the book confirms the extensive research and credible resources used in compiling this book and providing relevant and cohesive information.

Mr. Pearson states in the Introduction…

“ The inspiration behind Stones of the Goddess began with my desire to deepen my connection to the tides of life, magick, and mystery that keep the cosmos in order.”

I would echo that by saying that this book will most definitely achieve that and inform about the crystal kingdom as well. The interweaving of the sacred Feminine and the Sacred Earth domain are beautifully represented in a way that is both user friendly and clear in its intention.

Part One begins with the basics of crystals, their use and the more commonly selected ones. Everything is covered from soup to nuts; cleansing, storing, selecting and attuning and programming to name a few. This serves as an excellent primer for anyone who wishes to use crystals in a more specific way. This section is filled with photos, which is a great way of use for identification of crystals and building your own visual crystal encyclopedia.

Part Two, entitled Meeting the Goddess, moves into the stories and energies of the Goddess and application of Goddess energy. The myths and worship within a matriarchal society are brought to life and the resurgence of the Divine Feminine in all of Her forms completes the first stirrings of connection to what is ancient and organic in nature.

Part Three, Crystals for the Divine Feminine, brings the information of crystal use and the Herstory of the Goddess together seamlessly as a variety of stones are presented. From the start, the Compendium of Crystals takes a look at crystals bringing multiple correspondences into play; magickal uses, the astrological signature, element, Goddess archetype and formation process. The description of each crystal is complete and diverse in its presentation.

Completing the book, the Table of provides even more info for a quick selection list broken down into Goddess-Elemental-Planetary and Zodiacal.All of your favorites are there, as well as some less common crystals that deserve a closer look.

My only negative note about this title is that it won’t be released until February 19.2019. Have mine on pre-order and can’t wait!

Click HERE or Book Cover for Amazon Info

***

About the Author:

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

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

The Inner Chamber Volume One on Amazon

It’s Written in the Stars

Astrology

The Inner Chamber, Vol. Two

poetry of the Spheres (Volume 2) on Amazon

Qabalah

The Inner Chamber, Vol. Three

Awakening the Paths on Amazon

Qabalah

A Year With Gaia on Amazon

The Eternal Cord

Temple of the Sun and Moon on Amazon

Luminous Devotions

The Magickal Pen Volume One (Volume 1) on Amazon

A Collection of Esoteric Writings

The Elemental Year on Amazon

Aligning the Parts of SELF

The Enchanted Gate on Amazon

Musings on the Magick of the Natural World

Sleeping with the Goddess on Amazon

Nights of Devotion

A Weekly Reflection on Amazon

Musings for the Year

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

Follow Robin on Instagram & Facebook.

Book Review – Working Conjure: A Guide to Hoodoo Folk Magic by Hoodoo Sen Moise

January, 2019

Book Review

Working Conjure

A Guide to Hoodoo Folk Magic

By Hoodoo Sen Moise

Due to the fact that, in all honesty, I say I know absolutely nothing about Hoodoo, I was pleased to see that the first chapter was entitled, “What is Conjure/Hoodoo?”

The author explains the when, where, how and proceeds to tell us of Hoodoo’s principles in chapter 2.

I love the explanation of how

“Conjure was birthed out of a need to overcome the

oppression of slavery. It was a way for the slaves

to turn the tide against the slave masters and take back,

at least in some way, what had been taken from them.”

He speaks lovingly about the ancestors, those who came before and laid the foundation for all that has followed.

There are a few chapters that discuss roots, plants and animals and how each have their own spirit. He discusses the “spirit of a place”, with a whole chapter on conjuring in graveyards.

“Conjure is not a religion, but a tradition of work that

holds strong ties with the Spirits, of the Root, God

and the Ancestors.”

There, too, were many quotes from the Bible that fit with this work.

Included are many recipes for oils, powders, workings, and mojo hands.

Hoodoo Sen Moise has written an informative, warm, loving book. His respect and devotion comes through in every word. If Conjure is something you have always wanted to learn about, this is the book to get you started.

Working Conjure: A Guide to Hoodoo Folk Magic on Amazon

***

About the Author:

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

My Name is Isis on Amazon

The Sober Pagan Book Review of Hopeful Healing: Essays on Managing Recovery and Surviving Addiction by Mackenzie Phillips

October, 2018

Book Review of Hopeful Healing: Essays on Managing Recovery and Surviving Addiction by Mackenzie Phillips

The last column I wrote was titled “What’s in your toolbox?”, which was posted August, 2018. I missed posting an article last month due to my father’s illness and subsequent death. Believe me, during the stress of the past several months, I have had more than one occasion to open up my toolbox and review all the tools I have in there. In some cases, I polished them off and updated them. Others I just cherished like the old friends that they are. And I added a few new ones because it seems like there’s always another tool to be tried. I once heard that AA meetings are like recovery hardware stores when it comes to finding healing tools to help you become healthy and whole.

Of course, there are other place to find tools and books are one of those places. I have a large collection of recovery books – AA-approved and otherwise. Recently, the editor of PaganPagesOrg, Jennifer Sacasa-Wright, sent me Mackenzie Phillip’s latest book, Hopeful Healing: Essays on Managing Recovery and Surviving Addiction, published by Atria Paperbacks, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, Inc.

This is a wonderful little book. I don’t know if you know who Mackenzie Phillips is – she’s five months older than me so we are contemporaries – but knowing who she is really doesn’t matter as far as the contents of this book is concerned. You’ll find out enough about her so that you know that she knows what she’s talking about when it comes to using drugs and trying to get sober and eventually achieving that serenity. If you want to know more about her life, there’s an autobiography with all the titillating tidbits that everyone tweets about called High On Arrival: A Memoir

. And of course, there’s always Google. But Hopeful Healing: Essays on Managing Recovery and Surviving Addiction is just that – eleven short missives on how to get through the worst part of recovery – which, really is all of it.

Each chapter is set up the same way. There is the title of the chapter and a quote from an outside source that defines the chapter. Then she has a story about her own use or maybe someone she knows – someone in her past life or someone she has counseled in her practice. She is very discrete in her disclosures but you always get the message – the strength, the hope, the experience. At the end of each chapter there is a section called “It Works If You Work It”. It’s the “workbook” section of the book – where you get your paper and pen and answer questions about what you just read and apply it to your own recovery. In this way, she makes this slender book into a living act of hope and healing.

Some of the things she wrote about really hit home in a large way. When she wrote about “re-creating history” (page 5) that rang so true, even though I didn’t have a family history of shooting heroin – but I have a family history of alcohol use and abuse – so the idea of “it being so normal” (page 5) definitely rang true. I grew up with the martinis that my parents always drank when Daddy came home from work and the beers that were consumed at every family picnic. The hangovers that were explained as Grampa’s morning “grumpiness”. You had to stay out of his way, ya know? This was normal. And I thought that all mommies drank red wine when they made dinner! So naturally, I re-created this reality when I grew up. Not with red wine but with beer and marijuana. I remember my little son handing me a rolling paper so I could roll a joint first thing in the morning! For my doobie with my coffee! That helpful little guy! That was a wake-up call right there.

Another thing that I could really identify with when she wrote that getting high felt great (page 17). It does feel great – that’s why we do it. There’s no other reason any addict or alcoholic uses – and that’s whatever your drug of choice may be – and I’m including food and gambling and sex and working out with this – getting high feels like a million bucks when you do it. It’s the other part of using that sucks – the hangover, especially – but also the empty bank account and the broken promises and whatever problems are caused by your actions. And even a so-called good addiction – like working out – can have adverse outcomes. There is use – there is abuse – and there is dependence. The question is – where does your relationship with your substance of choice lead you?

A lot of what she writes about is the same stuff you will hear about at any AA/NA meeting or rehab group or therapy session. Mindfulness – trusting yourself and others – acceptance – surrender – forgiveness of others and of yourself – taking responsibility and consequences. On pages 83 and 84, she has a 5-point plan, which I read to be a pre-Twelve-Step plan of action – points 1 and 2 are about thinking about changing your addictive ways and point 3 is preparation for change. Point 4 is action – when you go to AA/NA, check in at rehab, see a therapist, tell all your friends that you’re getting sober. Point 5 is maintenance. She writes, “This is when the real work begins.” (page 84) She doesn’t say that this is when you go through the Twelve Steps of whatever group with which you have chosen to affiliate yourself. But this is what she means: “The possibility of relapse is always real, but this is also the stage in which you arm yourself with a set of skills that will make you less likely to slide back into places that you’re determined to leave behind.” (page 84)

One of the best chapters in the entire book is near the end. It’s about abuse and denial. She writes:

Here’s the hardcore truth: you can smash the pipe, put the plug in the jug, break the tip off the needle, but if you

don’t address the deeper issues, you’re not going to be able to get whole or become a healthy part of the world

around you. Trauma, maltreatment, or abuse, whatever you choose to call it, is a huge, deeper issue that comes

up a lot when we look at addiction. Not talking about trauma and its relationship to substance use would be like

avoiding the larger-than-normal elephant in the room. Childhood trauma and its aftermath is something that

needs to be spoken of and brought out in the open. This is also true of adult trauma, which is often not spoken of

or reported.

(page 123)

I totally agree with this – not only is it true in my own life, I can attest to this, having sat and listened to many other people – at AA and NA meetings, in rehab sessions, and in domestic violence groups.

She talks about trauma in scientific and compassionate ways. How we carry trauma with us for “the rest of our lives”. (page 129) The “before-trauma you” and the “after-trauma you”. (page 129) For those of us who have experienced multiple traumas and different kinds of traumas, this kind of demarcation makes sense – like looking at pictures in a photo album.

Phillips also writes that trauma “takes up residence not only in your mind but also in your body.” (page 129) Trauma victims experience “headaches; pain in your joints; stomach issues; weight issues; feelings of exhaustion, anxiety, and depression.” (page 129-30) How many of us have had these symptoms? I know that I took opiates for years for some of these!

The one thing she doesn’t talk about in this book is spirituality. The closest she comes to it is talking about hope. And she writes that “humor and laughter are just other faces of hope” (page 143) and to remember that “hope is the thing with wings”. (page 145) Other than that, she never mentions a word about anything spiritual whatsoever. This, honestly, is one of the book’s strengths. This book has the ability to appeal to anyone struggling with substance abuse regardless of religion or spiritual beliefs or lack thereof. For wiccans and pagans looking to read a book on sobriety that doesn’t cram God-talk down their throats, Mackenzie Phillips offers a really nice alternative to so many of the recovery books that are currently on the shelves of our libraries and bookstores.

All in all, I have to say that this is an outstanding little book and I would recommend it to anyone interested in recovery. In fact, I have a good friend to whom I plan to give it to the next time I see her! I know she will read it and pass it on to another woman in recovery. I hope it goes far!

Until next month – it works if you work it! Brightest Blessings!

References

Phillips, Mackenzie. Hopeful Healing: Essays on Managing Recovery and Surviving Addiction. NY: Atria Paperbacks, 2017.

Hopeful Healing: Essays on Managing Recovery and Surviving Addiction

***

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.

Seeing the Signs – Book Review of Cartomancy with the Lenormand and the Tarot by Patrick Dunn

October, 2018

Book Review of Cartomancy with the Lenormand and the Tarot by Patrick Dunn

I found Cartomancy with the Lenormand and the Tarot: Create Meaning & Gain Insight from the Cards, by Patrick Dunn, at my local public library. As usual, I discovered it while looking for something else which naturally wasn’t on the shelf. (This happens so often that I expect it). I got it out and read it quickly and returned it within the borrowing period. A few weeks ago, I borrowed it again. This is the kind of library book that you don’t want to return. I plan on purchasing it for my own sometime in the future. It’s a mass-market paperback, put out by Llewellyn Publications.

As regular readers of my column, “Learning the Lenormand” already know, I have been using The Complete Lenormand Oracle Handbook: Reading the Language and Symbols of the Cards by Caitlín Matthews as my “basic text” for learning the Lenormand. This is a wonderful book and I can’t recommend it enough. But as fabulous as this book is, I want to read other books about the Lenormand. Let’s face it – the more you study, the better you’re going to be able to read the cards. have always been an important part of my spiritual quest. Reading, taking notes and working with the concepts that I learn through the printed medium – or online, nowadays – is how someone like me learns.

My original intent was to review this book for “Learning the Lenormand” but the scope of this book is way beyond simply either the Lenormand or the Tarot. After reading this book several times and taking notes, my take is that Dunn’s main reason for writing this book is to show the relationship between the Lenormand and the Tarot. He has a bunch of very interesting ideas. This is much more than a “how-to” book on reading the cards.

In the introduction, Dunn writes that he wanted to write about “divination through the use of cards” (Dunn, xv) and that he is focusing on the Lenormand and Tarot cards – the Lenormand because it is relatively “little-known” in the United States while the Tarot is familiar to most people, even with folks who have never sought its wisdom and knowledge. He also writes that he wanted “to provide some ways to use the two systems together” (Dunn, xv). But he goes on to say that “this is a book about types of knowledge and ways of listening” and that “this book serves as a meditation” on that particular worldview (Dunn, xv-xvi). He also says that while you can use the book as a how-to book, it is really about “how to develop a relationship” with the cards (Dunn, xvi). I think anyone who has spent time with any divination method will agree with this – you need to have a good working relationship with your cards – whether they are Tarot, Lenormand or some other oracle deck.

He starts off talking about the Lenormand. He covers its history and association with playing cards and fortune-telling. I find it interesting that he does not mention “The Game of Hope” or “Coffee Cards”, both mentioned in The Complete Lenormand Oracle. (Matthews, 4-6) He asserts that Mademoiselle Marie-Anne Lenormand’s method of using cards to foretell the future changed the popular idea of the card-reader from its association with Gypsies and the “Roma people”. (Dunn, 2) Instead, reading cards for divinatory results became “thoroughly genteel”. (Dunn, 3) Instead, he focuses on the readers of the cards and their somewhat unsavory reputations. He fully credits the various schools of Lenormand reading that sprung up after Mademoiselle Lenormand’s death with this evolution of attitude. (Dunn, 3)

He writes that there are various methods of reading the cards – a French method, a German method and South American method. (Dunn, 4) He says that an “American” method – meaning the United States – has “yet to arise” but there are “hints” of a “developing system”. (Dunn, 4-5) He laments the lack of resources for American readers of the Lenormand but admits that this is actually “good news”. Instead of reading dozens of books on the subject – like you can with the Tarot – a practitioner is forced to “begin with the cards themselves.” (Dunn, 5)

His descriptions of the meanings of the cards are simple and to the point. I made scans of these pages to add to my own Lenormand notebook.

 

I put these pages and the others I scanned into my notebook. I like how there’s a blank area below the description of each card so you can write in your own notes. If this book was my very own – instead of a library book – I would have already had this book all marked up!

The very next chapter is about the Major Arcana of the Tarot. He doesn’t cover the Minor Arcana at all. He writes that his focus on the Major Arcana is due to the “fruitful” relationship between the images of the Major Arcana and the Lenormand, focusing only on the “esoteric or inner meanings of these symbols” (Dunn, 29)

Here are some of the scanned pages from his chapter on the Major Arcana:

So then Dunn veers away from both the Lenormard and the Tarot to devote a chapter on Occult Symbolism. He writes, “All human are geniuses at one thing: interpreting symbols.” (Dunn, 40) Perhaps this is true – at any rate, humans do try to make sense of the material world and how it mirrors the esoteric. I personally feel that this chapter is a bit long-winded – the reader can be forgiven for skipping over it for more interesting parts of the book. However, this chapter does – however circular his reasoning might be – lay out important concepts for reading both the Tarot and the Lenormand. Using the Anima Mundi as a guide, he discusses the elements, patterns of numbers and cards, and how astrology fits into all of this. Yes – you might be forgiven for skipping over this chapter, but I will guarantee that you will return to it before you are done with this book. There is a lot to digest here. But it is a necessary step in understanding.

Near the end of the chapter, he asserts, “Once you start looking, you begin to see these symbolic patterns everywhere” (Dunn, 55) – which is certainly true. He writes that the Tarot was no more than a “popular card game with evocatively decorated cards” (Dunn, 55) until the “magicians of the eighteenth-century occult revival” happened to notice the patterns of symbols embedded within the cards and rightly suspected that these cards were “something more” than a card game. (Dunn, 55)

Dunn writes that he doesn’t quite believe that the Tarot was designed to be anything more than a popular card game – but the Anima Mundi is “always whispering” to us. But he admits that it “doesn’t matter” (Dunn, 55) – what matters is how we view the symbols on the cards and how we use them for divination.

Therefore, the next chapter is all about the symbolic structure of the Major Arcana. He writes about how most of us “use the book” when we are doing any kind of divination – especially the “Little White Book” that comes with every set of Tarot, Oracle and Lenormand cards – but he says to look at the symbolism of the card and read it accordingly. (Dunn, 59) This, of course, is what many other Tarot scholars say – most notably Mary K. Greer, Angeles Arrien and Rachel Pollack. He points to the relationships between the cards and prompts us to read them in terms of their energy – Cardinal, Mutable or Fixed – and their Element – Air, Fire, Water and Earth. These designations also belong to the world of Astrology, so he connects the Tarot to that divinatory system. Again – none of this is new when it comes to reading the Tarot. But I really like the way he arranges his thoughts – putting together the cardinal cards, for instance – The Emperor, The Chariot, Justice and The Devil – and looking at the relationships between these cards. (Dunn, 63) He repeats this with the mutable cards and the fixed cards. I had never thought of this before and I am still meditating on this concept.

The next two chapters are about getting ready to read the cards and preparing “to tell a story”. I personally think that these two chapters could be one.

After that, he presents a chapter entitled “Some Tarot Spreads”. I have to say that this must be the first time I have ever read anything about the Tarot that does not mention The Celtic Cross. Perhaps he thought that the reader of this book would already be acquainted with The Celtic Cross, so there was no need to talk about it. Or perhaps the way a person reads The Celtic Cross – a card on each position and read as such – didn’t fit into Dunn’s theory of card “relationships”. Of course you can read the Celtic Cross in both ways and as far as I’m concerned, that’s the way to do it – that’s how you get the most of the reading.

He writes about a method of reading that he terms a “reading procedure”. (Dunn, 100) He says that the difference between a procedure and a spread is that with procedures, there is no “layout or set meaning to card positions”. (Dunn, 100) He says that after focusing on your question and shuffling well, you pull the top card from the deck and set it to one side. This card is the “answer to your question, or the overall theme card”. (Dunn, 101) After you pull the “answer card”, you lay out the rest of the cards in three rows of seven cards each. The top row can be the past, the middle the present and the bottom row the future – or you could have the first row be the plot, the second row the characters and the third row the setting. Or you could read the rows in terms of mind, heart and body. It’s up to you.

The first card in every row is that row’s theme card. He writes, “Combine the theme card’s meaning with the overall theme card to get an overview.” (Dunn, 101) And then he writes, “Now it gets tricky” – because apparently you don’t read every card that has been laid out – just the ones pointed to by the theme cards and by using the chart he provides – you count from card to card – depending on what theme cards you have. This is the chart:

Ok, I thought. Sounds interesting. So I laid out my Major Arcana cards as he instructs, after shuffling and cutting and thinking about what was most pressing in my life right now – which is, as always, recovery. This is what I laid out:

As you can see, XIV Temperance is the overall theme card. I didn’t really have a question but that seemed to be a decent enough answer. I need a better sense of sobriety and balance in my life. However, combined with XII The Hanged Man, XI The Hermit and IV The Emperor, I would say that my sense of sobriety and balance is marked by a sense of waiting – for what? – and loneliness and rigidity. I definitely need to work on all these issues. And figure out what the hell I am waiting for.

Ok, so now I started counting from card to card using the chart in the book. I turned over the cards I wasn’t going to be reading.

Reading this as “Past, Present, Future”, I can see my early recovery in my past in both XII The Hanged Man and III The Empress – giving birth to my son and that long stretch of sobriety when he was a little guy. The present is how I am still reeling from the aftereffects of XVI The Tower – the divorces, the abusive relationships, the DWI’s, the descent back into active addiction and the struggle to get sober again. The future is XVII The Star – how lovely is that? For someone who is chronically depressed, that certainly gives me something to look forward to. All I have to do is keep working my program of recovery.

He writes about reading the cards that you “don’t read” – he says that they are not “irrelevant” – they offer information about the cards next to them. (Dunn, 102) So there is a lot more to this reading but I am not going to get into it now – there’s so much more to this book!

After discussing Tarot spreads, he moves onto spreads using Lenormand cards. The first thing he talks about are Signifiers. Usually the only Signifiers the beginner hears about is 28 Gentleman and 29 Lady for a man and a woman respectively. However, he lists quite a few signifiers, based on concepts. Given that every card has a keyword, each card could be a signifier for a question or an issue.

The first spread he discusses is the Grand Tableau, which he calls The Book of Life, a term never used in the Matthews book. I have to say that his explanation of reading the Grand Tableau is very straight-forward and easy to follow. But it’s much too involved of a spread to get into in an article like this one. Believe me when I say that it’s well worth the read.

He talks about other spreads – the Petit Tableau and one called the No Layout spread, which I found very interesting. You choose one or more signifiers and then you draw cards until the signifier appears. I tried this and found that it works better if you have more than one signifier. I thought about it as I was shuffling the cards and decided upon 29 Lady – for myself – and 5 Tree for my overall health – but specifically my mental health and recovery – and 22 Paths (Crossroads) for advice on where to go and what to do next. I ended up laying out the entire deck, since the 5 Tree card was the very last card to show! Since I was laying the cards out on my bed, I almost ran out of space!

I lined the cards up so that they “read” a little more easily. Although the diagonal pattern is real interesting, isn’t it?

Here is the 22 Paths card, which I had as a signifier for “advice” to help me achieve my dreams. I think its advice is clear – looking above the 22 Paths card, there is the 14 Fox card, which calls for hard work. Next to the 22 Paths card is the 18 Dog card, which tells me that nothing is achieved without the help of at least one good friend. On the other side is the 2 Clover card indicating that a good dose of luck is also necessary. And to the bottom are 12 Birds – as a writer, I can write all day long but if I don’t publish, all that writing is for naught. The birds are telling me to sing my song and feather my nest.

I read the 29 Lady card and the 5 Tree Card similarly – looking at the cards all around them to get an idea of what they were telling me. I also considered the diagonal cards. There’s a lot going on with this spread. Too much to write about here – but I am glad that I was introduced to it!

The following chapters are about the language and grammar of symbols, intuitive reading, the symbolic interaction between the Lenormand and the Tarot and something he calls “Synergy”, in which you use both decks of cards in one reading. The chapter entitled “Symbolic Interaction Between the Lenormand and the Tarot” is most informative. He points out where the images of the Lenormand show up on Tarot cards – for instance, O The Fool contains 18 The Dog, 21 Mountain and 31 Sun. III The Empress contains 29 The Lady, 24 The Heart, 5 The Tree and 9 The Flowers. He gives many more examples. He calls this concept of finding Lenormand images in the Tarot “Synergy”. (Dunn, 170-71)

The rest of the book deals with discussions about fortune-telling versus divination and DIY magic – how to scry a card and revising a reading – and two superlative appendixes. The appendixes alone are worth picking up and opening this book. In all – I would recommend this book to anyone interested in either the Lenormand or the Tarot or in divination in general. I plan on purchasing it myself – it’s probably going to be under my Yule tree this very year!

As for now – I have to get to the library – Cartomancy with the Lenormand and the Tarot is two weeks overdue!

*All photographs © polly macdavid

References

Dunn, Patrick. Cartomancy with the Lenormand and the Tarot: Create Meaning & Gain Insight from the Cards. Woodbury, MN: Llewellyn Publications, 2013.

Cartomancy with the Lenormand and the Tarot: Create Meaning & Gain Insight from the Cards

Mathews, Caitlín. The Complete Lenormand Oracle Handbook: Reading the Language and Symbols of the Cards. Rochester, VT: Destiny , 2014.

The Complete Lenormand Oracle Handbook: Reading the Language and Symbols of the Cards

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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.

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

 

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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/

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