book

Book of Shadows: As the Wheel Turns

February, 2019

Imbolc Planned and Explored

February is the month of Brigid, the hearth fires are tended, the seeds are readied for planting, and spell work done in February focuses on purification, growth, and healing. Loving the self is the theme throughout the month of February; after all, how you love your self will teach everyone in your sphere of influence how to love you. This is a time for kindness to be extended inward. In addition, the energies in February are peek for accepting responsibility for past mistakes and forgiving yourself while you make plans for the future.

This month, I focus on spell crafting and making sigils. A sigil is a combination of symbols that are placed together with intent and are fashioned to become the embodiment of your intention. For instance, I may use the Theban Alphabet (aka the Witch’s Runes) to fashion a Sigil for a spell. If you’re not acquainted with the Theban Alphabet, a quick Google® search will lead you to the alphabet easily enough. Here is an example of a Sigil, the word is “Love” and I used the Theban Alphabet and then placed the letters together to represent how the “love” could represent itself in my spell crafting. Sigils have many uses in magical workings and it is my belief that when I make a sigil, all of my intent and purpose in the spell is crafted into the sigil and it facilitates my workings by manifesting a physical thing that I can see and use as a reminder or a representation of the working. The entire process of me devising my own sigil puts my intention into the sigil and the meaning is carried through the work. Some people use Runes, Theban Alphabet, Zodiac Signs, Sacred Symbols, and a myriad of other representations of their intention. Even a “doodle” can be a sigil; I have used “doodles” in sigil work as well. The beauty of the craft is that it is your own and you must walk the path, therefore, I am neither right nor wrong, I simply am being the best person I know how to be, and I use the craft to facilitate that idea until it becomes my practice.

The month of February is also the month when I plant my seed for the coming harvests which are Lammas (aka Lughnasadh), Mabon, and Samhain. I rarely plant more than one seed per harvest because I do not like to set myself up for failure by taking on too much when I am working on my own personal evolution. Every year, my seed work manifests during the dark times, between Samhain and Yule and, ordinarily, by Yule I would have begun the ascent from the dark days of self-contemplation with a seed virtually budding and ready for planting. This year was a bit different for me. I have reduced my seed work to a short mantra that has volition and purpose and the intention of the seed work is to write it down on a piece of paper, plant it in a pot with a bulb of some sort – usually Amaryllis because they remind me of my mother – and I nurture that seed daily. Nurturing your seed includes lighting a candle every day, watering, and speaking the mantra out loud every day in front of the seed. This not only reinforces your working, but it sets the tone for the rest of your year. Seed work is always internal work, always something for my highest and best good, and sometimes it is painful. The pain is sometimes like that of my youth, when my long bones ached, and my mother would tell me that someday I would be big and strong and able to do things that I cannot do as a child. I remind myself of that in the midst of any pain that seed work can deliver. I plant the seed on Imbolc (aka Candlemas), February 2, and I tend it daily.

The Goddess Brigid is a focal Deity for me during the month of February, She tends the hearth fires, and Her aspects encompass healing, poetry, and smith crafting. I usually start to play with making chain mail pieces during the month of February, an homage to Brigid’s forge, this year is a pentacle keychain made from chain mail. Of course, February also celebrates the Chinese New Year, with 2019 being “The Year of the Pig” and there may be messages meant for us to receive from Pig this month. They are extremely intelligent animals and have quirky qualities about them, it’s worth a look into them if you’re one of the people who looks for messages from the animal world

February also celebrates Valentine’s Day, and Brigid shares aspects of healing, childbirth, and unity with this celebration. Perhaps you have experienced a broken heart, Brigid can help to soothe that pain and ease the immediate shock of loss, while other aspects of this Goddess also serve to help is with new relationships and the flames of love that most tend to fan during this celebration. For pregnant Pagans, Brigid is often sought to lend Her energies to mother’s during birth. There is no union more sacred than that of a mother and newborn child

As the light begins to return, the darkness begins to wane and we have planted our seeds and February marks the time of year when tending to seed work is important not only in terms of personal growth, but also in how deeply we plant our seed so that the roots take hold and we experience positive, permanent change for the greater good; not only for ourselves, but for the world in which we interact. On the 19th of February we experience a Full Moon in Virgo and with this super full moon comes energies that are prime for completing tasks, putting order into your world, settling chaos, and maybe even trying to grasp a deeper understanding that we live in an imperfect world and must strive for balance during this time.

As Brigid’s month comes to a close, we must be mindful of tending the seeds that we have planted so that our harvest is well tended, our fields well-watered, and that we take the time, on a daily basis, to check in with our spiritual wellness, physical presence, and emotional stability. February is not just a month of exchanging cards and chocolates with our lovers. February is a month of self-awareness and love of the self. Be kind to yourself. Treat yourself well. Remember, how you love and treat yourself teaches those around you how to love and treat you. So be kind to yourself.

As a Pagan and a Witch who works in a professional setting, I carry my working Book of Shadows with me to work and everywhere else that I go. I am often referring to it throughout the busy work day or it may even be open on my desk for quick reference. Sometimes, people carry with them a certain vibe or they become negative or speak in a negative manner. When this happens in front of me, I like to dispel the negative energy as quickly as I am able. Because I am out and about and not in my home, I cannot smudge in my office, I cannot use my bell to dispense the negativity, nor would it be professional to cleanse the area with dance and fire. However, I have found an answer to all of the negativity that could potentially linger and that is by placing themed shaker cards in my working Book of Shadows. They are beautiful, easy to keep accessible, and they work like a dream! All I do is remove the shaker card from my working Book of Shadows, take a long look at the beauty in my hands, center myself, and give that shaker card a few shakes and before the last bit of glitter settles…calm and peace is restored. My shaker cards are commissioned by my friend, Suzy Meza, and she makes these fantastic cards to order. As I will do with each and every month, the resources, shop and group links can be found at the end of the article.

RESOURCES:

MAMBI® CHP Extension Packs:

https://www.meandmybigideas.com

CHP Custom Cover & Foiled Pentacle Stickers by Claire McNamee:

https://www.etsy.com/shop/BubsLovesBubba

Custom Shaker Cards by Suzy Meza:

https://www.etsy.com/shop/gichiscraftcorner

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

https://www.facebook.com/groups/217392179039705/

February Cover Page – Shoot for the Stars – Recollections® “Constellations” paper pad & 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 – Santa Muerte: The History, Rituals, and Magic of Our Lady of the Holy Death by Tracey Rollin

February, 2019

Book Review
Santa Muerte: The History, Rituals, and Magic of Our Lady of the Holy Death
by Tracey Rollin

I have always had a great attraction for the image of Death. When I was eleven, I received a Dover coloring book of Medieval prints and a box of watercolor paints. Many of the pictures I painted and used in collages but the picture of “Death and the Maiden”, I put on my wall after I painted it and it has been on one of my walls of whatever house I have lived in ever since. Let this sink in – I was eleven in 1971 and I am now fifty-eight years old.

In my twenties, I followed the Grateful Dead. One of the highest points of that era was being backstage at the Barton Hall concert at Cornell University on May 16, 1981, just days before my twenty-first birthday – I met the entire band, including of course, Jerry Garcia, who had eyes that twinkled like Santa Claus. I bought this t-shirt at this concert and I wore it until it was at a rag but I still have it because – because of all the memories attached to it.

I went to Mexico in the mid-1990’s and while I saw mostly images of Our Lady of Guadalupe, I do remember seeing the garishly painted skulls of what I now know were images of Santa Muerte in the markets that surrounded the resort town in which we were staying. I thought they were interesting but I was more attracted to the images of the Lady of Guadalupe. I loved the mosaics of Her that were built into the walls of the town. I took pictures of that and one of them I cut down into a small devotional picture. Later, I attached it to a magnet so I could put it on my fridge, where it is today.

And of course I know about El Dias De Los Muertos – the Day of the Dead. When I was young girl, I used to read Trixie Belden mysteries – they were competition to the better-known and more popular Nancy Drew mystery books. Originally written by Julie Campbell, the sixth book in the series, Mystery in Arizona – which was the last mystery Campbell wrote for the series – deals with the mystery of the Mexican workers leaving without a trace to eat “the dead” and “skeletons” and “skulls”. The one problem with this story is that it takes place over the Yule holiday and not during Samhain, which is when El Dias Los Muertos actually happens. But that was my first introduction to the term “the Day of the Dead” and the customs that surround it, even though there were many mistakes in the entire story.

I also am a suicide survivor. I have tried at least six times. The last time was April 6, 2004 and I celebrate that date every year now. I joke that “Death doesn’t want me” but of course the fact is, if it’s not your time, it’s not your time. And I know better than to try to die, even though I often long for Death in a most basic way. I know I just have to wait for my time.

I realize now that I was looking for Santa Muerte. I realize that my longing for Death is not an actual wish to die but is a longing for Our Lady of the Holy Death.

When I heard about Santa Muerte: The History, Rituals, and Magic of Our Lady of the Holy Death by Tracey Rollin, published in 2017 by Weiser , I jumped on the chance to read it. Because I had so many other books to read first, it sat untouched for nearly six months before I had the time to give it the attention it deserved. But once I cracked it open, I couldn’t set it down.

Of course I Googled Tracey Rollins. Her website is here: http://traceyrollin.com/ She looks to be about twenty or maybe thirty years younger than me – at any rate, she looks young enough to be my daughter. I mention this because on her website and in Santa Muerte, she talks about her Catholic childhood, and I too, was raised as a Catholic. But being older than Rollins, my Catholic childhood would have been a bit different – I remember the Latin Mass and when the “New” Mass was introduced – and we have a different background, since she was raised in New Mexico by a German immigrant mother and I was raised in Western New York in a predominantly German-Polish community; my personal ethnic background is German-Scots-Irish-French. But as I read, I could identify on so many levels that I felt that I was conversing with someone who had been down many of the same roads I had been. A soul sister, as they say on the streets.

I think one of the things I liked best about this book is that it is so well-grounded in history. Rollins talks extensively about all the roots of Santa Muerte – the Aztec roots, the European Pagan roots, the Catholic Sainthood roots, as well as the African Orisha roots. Like her better-known counterpart, The Lady of Guadalupe, Santa Muerte is definitely a New World goddess! There is so much to love about Santa Muerte. She doesn’t care who you are or where you are from. In fact, if you are poor, addicted, homeless, abused, on the run, living on the streets or in the shadows, working in bars, or in policework or EMT work, or doing construction work or any other kind of dangerous work, Santa Muerte is your guardian saint. How many times have you been in a terrible place and that scary face turned into the most caring person you ever met? That homeless person who shared her coffee with you or helped you find your way home? That’s Santa Muerte. She’s in the subways and the streets and the shelters. She’s the nurse who seems so tough but is the softest touch on the floor. She’s the old woman you never notice until you need her. She’s the face of the ultimate mother – Death.

There are seven aspects to Santa Muerte – seven colors for seven aspects. White is purity. Blue is daily living and relationships. Green is ethics, justice and law. Gold is wealth. Red is sex and passion. Purple is magic. Black is negation and dissolution. But Rollins points out that:

“Even within the seven colors of Santa Muerte, there is some variation and substitution. One common variation is to replace the gold aspect of Santa Muerte with a yellow or amber aspect that is primarily dedicated to healing. Some practitioners use pink version of Santa Muerte instead of the red aspect for spells involving love and affection instead of lust. There exists a brown version of Sante Muerte, chosen specifically for invention in earthly matters and for the manifestation of the practitioner’s desires. Some claim she is the mistress of all practical business matters, splitting this away from the blue aspect and this isolation its knowledge and empathy-enhancing qualities.” (Rollins, 82).

Rollins tells you how to choose a color for properly resolving your problems but she also advises getting a Santa Muerte statue that displays all her seven colors, at least for your first statue, especially when you are setting up an altar to Her. Chapter Six is dedicated to the art of creating a proper Santa Muerte altar. Anyone who has set up any kind of altar will be familiar with many of the aspects of altar-building; however, there are a few details to remember when you are working with Santa Muerte. First of all, she likes Florida Water. I always thought Florida Water was a brand of cologne that you bought in Florida – my grandmother always brought back a bottle when she went to Florida every winter – but it’s the name of a scent formula that was first produced in 1808 and has always remained popular (Rollins, 99). For some reason, the spirits of the death love the scent of Florida Water. Rollins includes a recipe for making your own Florida Water on page 100. Most of the ingredients can be found in any major supermarket or pharmacy.

Of course you need candles – it is possible, nowadays, to find Santa Muerte novena candles in the Goya aisle of your supermarket with the other novena candles – I thought they were just happy skull candles for El Dias De Los Muertos, but now I know better. The next time I go to the large Tops supermarket on the West Side of Buffalo, I am going to get myself one. But if you can’t find a candle with the image of Santa Muerte on it, you should be able to find one with the seven colors. I’ve seen those for several years now and I just didn’t know what they meant. I’m going to get one of those, too – and do a seven-day novena, meditating each day on each aspect of Santa Muerte.

Other items commonly found on a Santa Muerte altar are apples, aloe, butterflies, a black mirror, a bowl of dirt, a bowl of salt, a bowl of water, and a censor for burning incense. Santa Muerte likes the scent of rosemary incense, myrrh and sweet grass. And naturally she wants candy – sugar skulls if you can get them

You will want a statue of Santa Muerte but if you can’t get one, a picture of her will do (Rollins, 104).

The next two chapters are about two rituals that are commonly associated with Catholics: praying the rosary and a novena. Within the Catholic Church, these are specific kinds of prayers that produce powerful results if done with the proper devotion and dedication; however, these kinds of devotional prayers are not exclusive to Catholics, as Rollins points out:

Meditation beads are actually a common spiritual accessory. They have been used for thousands of years by people following a variety of spiritual beliefs worldwide. For instance, many Buddhists, Hindus, and
Sikhs employ a long 108-bead strand of prayer beads referred to as mala beads. They are often used to count repetitions of short prayers called mantras, or the names of gods or saints…Muslims also use medi-
tation beads, called misba?ah. These beads are used to recite the ninety- nine names of Allah. Catholics use chaplets and are famous for their use of the rosary, but the use of meditation beads has spread to some
Protestants denominations as well. (Rollins, 137).

Like most Catholics, I can’t remember actually learning to pray the Rosary. It seems like I have always known how to do it, although when I was very little, I used to pray the “Our Father” to start it off instead of “The Apostle’s Creed”. By the time I made my First Communion at the age of seven, I was praying it properly like a good little Catholic girl. My mother instructed me to pray the Rosary whenever I was angry or upset with one of my brothers or sisters and that seemed to be most of the time. She also told me to pray the Rosary when I was unable to sleep, since I have been an insomniac since a young child. I was usually able to fall asleep within chanting a few decades of “Hail Marys” but some nights, I prayed through the entire circlet and stared into the darkness.

When I decided that I had enough of patriarchal religions and really threw myself into learning everything I could about Goddess religions, Wicca and Paganism, one of the things I really missed was praying the Rosary. I rewrote the prayers to reflect my new views. “The Apostle’s Creed” became a recitation of the names of my favorite goddesses. The “Our Father” became “Our Mother”. “Hail Mary” remained pretty much the same, although I changed “the Lord” to “the Lady” and left out the name of Jesus after “blessed be the fruit of thy womb”. The “Glory Be” uses the Maiden, Mother and the Crone, instead of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. It took a while to get used to saying these prayers like this but now I’m so used them like this that I can’t say them any other way.

Rollins has alternate prayers for the Santa Muerte Rosary as well. All the prayers have been changed – not one is in any way, form or shape like its original. They are all dedicated to Santa Muerte. Here is an example of one, meant to take the place of the “Hail Mary”:

I call upon Santa Muerte, the Holy Queen of Death,
Who commands all influence and authority.
Please grant me your power and your protection,
Blessing me and keeping me now and always.
Amen. (so mote it be, etc.) (Rollins, 149).

Rollins recommends using rosaries that are dedicated to Santa Muerte. I found them easily when I Googled “Santa Muerte Rosary”. There’s a lot of them on Etsy. The most popular colors are red, white, and black, or rosaries with all seven colors. They run anywhere from $10 to $40.

The next part of the book concerns novenas. Novenas are a set of prayers that are said over a certain amount of days – nine days, twenty-one days, forty days, even fifty-four days. Rollins writes, “The purpose may be something as simple as praying for the souls of the dead or something more specific such as asking a particular saint for help.” She continues, “Performing a novena is actually an ancient, pre-Christian habit…Although the term originally (and correctly) refers to prayers over nine days, it has also become more generalized to mean a series of prayers said every day for an extended period.” (Rollins, 151).

Novenas to Santa Muerte are said over the course of seven days, instead of nine days, focusing on each of her colored aspects each day as a gift of Death. For instance, perhaps on day one you focus your prayers on Niña Blanca, Sweet Sister Death, your prayers will help with purification, illumination, initiation, cleansing and protection (Rollins, 172). Rollins lists favorite offerings of Niña Blanca, which are incidentally all white: white candle, flowers, and candies. And then there are three whole pages of prayers for Niña Blanca. Rollins repeats this for every aspect of Santa Muerte – Niña Violeta, the Royal Queen, Niña Azul, the Gracious One, Niña Dorada, Lucky Lady Death, Niña Roja, Queen of Passion, Niña Verde, the Just Judge, and Niña Negra, the Mother of Tears.

I would think that finishing a novena to Santa Muerte – reciting all these prayers and meditating fully on the aspects of all these Queen Mothers – would bring an enlightenment to the practitioner that is quite powerful. Although I have never been a devotee of Santa Muerte, I plan to start a devotion to Her. Her promises are persuasive. There’s no “fluffy bunny” bullshit with Santa Muerte. If you want it, you can get it with Her – no matter what it is. The motive doesn’t matter. Rollins writes. “Santa Muerte is notable because she is not concerned with the underlying motivations driving the requests of the devotees.” (Rollins, 3). While we should always be concerned with our own motives, it is refreshing to discuss a deity who doesn’t care about human motivation whatsoever and does whatever She wants to do because that’s what She does. And when you think about it, when does Death care about human motivation or about anything that humans do anyway? Death laughs at humans.

In closing, I have to say that I can’t recommend this book enough. It’s wonderfully researched, beautifully written, and without a doubt, a book I will be referencing and reading again and again in the months and years to come. I am so glad that Santa Muerte: The History, Rituals, and Magic of Our Lady of the Holy Death by Tracey Rollins was sent to me and I had the chance to read it and write about it. I hope everyone reading this goes right out and finds it in their local library, bookstore, or orders it online.

Brightest Blessings!

Santa Muerte: The History, Rituals, and Magic of Our Lady of the Holy Death 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.

3 Pagans and a Cat Monthly Feature

February, 2019

3 Pagans and a Cat Podcast3 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.

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Each Month… we will share the previous month’s episodes with you from their site to help keep you up-to-date with their impressive podcast. While there, don’t forget to listen to this month’s as well, we wouldn’t want you to miss a thing!

January 2019 Podcasts

Episode 28: Fire Festival – Imbolc: You thought Car, Gwyn, and Ode had said all they had to say on the subject of holidays, but lo: they’re back for another year of talking at each other about the deeper significance of fire festivals and cross quarters, starting with Imbolc. Are there things yet to learn about Brigid, lambing season, and the start of spring? …well, listen and find out, what do I look like, a prophet?

Episode 29: Liminal 2 – Electrical Boogaloo: Car, Gwyn, and Ode are back for another round of discussion and strong opinions about the role of gender and sexuality in paganism, including a discussion of queer deities, fertility outside heteronormativity, and the deliberateness of inclusion.

This Month’s Podcast Share from their Backlog

Episode 8: Building Your Book – Dedication: Car, Gwyn, and Ode continue the Building Your Book series by talking about dedicating your book (and yourself), cleansing (or not cleansing) your book, and magical methods for protecting your book from prying eyes.

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 those a platform to share and learn without judgment. There are too many important things to her and not enough room to mention them. You are one of them.

Book Review – Psychedelic Mystery Traditions: Spirit Plants – Magical Practices – Ecstatic States by Thomas Hatsis

February, 2019


Book Review
Psychedelic Mystery Traditions
Spirit Plants – Magical Practices – Ecstatic States
By Thomas Hatsis
271 pp. Park Street Press

Although it has been the subject of great speculation and demonetization by various religious and political bodies, psychedelic mystery tradition remains one of the great buried seeds of Paganism, hidden under mythology, misinformation, and religious and political oppression — not to mention suppression of information. In “Psychedelic Mystery Traditions,” Thomas Hatsis uncovers a vast history of psychedelic spirit plants in Western tradition and ritual, focusing especially on Greco-Roman tradition and the early days of Christianity.

From the earliest prehistoric discoveries of psychedelic plants and their spiritual potential to the conflation of their use with Satanic witchcraft, Hatsis delves deeply, weaving together the political scenes in which each stage of pharmaka* use developed, while following a coherent narrative through the years. For those who were hoping for a more international subject matter, it’s useful to note that Hatsis doesn’t verge far from the focus of Europe and the Near East — you won’t find information here about the use of ayahuasca in Peru, or psilocybin mushrooms in China.

What you will find is an extensively-researched, academic approach to a controversial subject that synthesizes herbalism, ethnopharmacology, entheogenic practice, ritual, mythology, politics, religion, and linguistics. This may make the book a bit slow going for those who lack the context for the work, but anyone with a good familiarity with Western mystical traditions, herbalism, early Christianity, or mythology will probably find something to enjoy here.

The book boasts a treasure trove bibliography. Hatsis occasionally cites and refers to his other book, called “The Witches’ Ointment: The Secret History of Psychedelic Magic,” where the subject matter overlaps, but he also taps an impressive number of primary sources, as well as many modern authors. In a few cases, he points them out only to call them out, diverging at several points to argue some misconceptions, such as the popularized idea that ergotism poisoning is similar to the LSD experience (it’s actually much more dangerous, poisonous, and unpleasant), or that the origins of Santa Claus lie in the historical shamanic use of Aminata muscaria (a popular theory for which there is little evidence). It is clear that Hatsis has great love for this subject, but he also preserves respect for the academic process. In exploring the controversy surrounding the historical use of pharmaka, he has an even hand and doesn’t play favorites on the basis of his own bias, pointing fingers not only at those who dismissed or vilified these spirit plants, but also at those who misused and abused these plants for nefarious purposes, such as poisoning, manipulation, and rape.

This rare glimpse into the mechanisms and mythology of mystery traditions is also peppered with humorous observations, as Hatsis refers to bad trips as “what we would call a bummer,” relates amusing historical anecdotes, and makes the occasional pun. But where the book shines the most is in those poetic moments when Hatsis explores the narratives of mythology and ritual that weaved together the experience of pharmaka by exposing and bestowing new cosmological understanding. In these stories, the relationship between humans and spirit plants takes on a life of its own, illuminating both the dark recesses of the human psyche, and the strange roots of spirit plant practice.

Psychedelic Mystery Traditions can be found on Hatsis’ website, https://psychedelicwitch.com/, along with many other writings and YouTube videos as well.

Psychedelic Mystery Traditions: Spirit Plants, Magical Practices, and Ecstatic States on Amazon

[*An all-encompassing Greek term for the various plant-derived substances whose uses included theogenesis, medicine, recreation, aphrodisiac, poison, and more.]

For those whose interests are primarily herbological, here’s a short list of some of the spirit plants and pharmaka mentioned in this volume: 

Aconite, amanita mascara, barley, cannabis, haoma, hash, hemlock, henbane, kykeon, laurel, LSD, mandrake, mushrooms, opium, solanaceae (including but not limited to Atropa belladonna), and wine.

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About the Author:

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

Book Review – Son of Chicken Qabalah: Rabbi Lamed Ben Clifford’s (Mostly Painless) Practical Qabalah Course by Lon Milo DuQuette

February, 2019

Book Review
Son of Chicken Qabalah: Rabbi Lamed Ben Clifford’s (Mostly Painless) Practical Qabalah Course
by Lon Milo DuQuette
Published by Weiser
Copyright November 2018
Pages: 235

This book is a sequel to “Chicken Qabalah” published in 1997. The prologue states this book can stand alone, but it was written assuming the reader has read the first book or is at least “generally familiar with the elementary Qabalistic principles included in that work.”

It is a work of fiction about the teachings of the controversial Rabbi Lamed Ben Clifford from the first book, who is finally determined to be dead 21 years after his unexplained disappearance. His unorthodox teachings continue because his previously unknown notebooks, ritual scripts and an assortment of documents were discovered in a storage locker. Lon Milo Duquette draws from this an initiation process “not so much a matter of ‘educating the unawakened student,’ but of ‘awakening the student to be educated.’”

He adds a second subtitle: “The Secret Initiation Ceremonies, Exercises, and Meditations of a (probably completely fictitious) Qabalah Initiatory Society.”

Not having read the first book, it took me a while to appreciate this one, written as a script, complete with stage directions, notes, meditations and instruction that add up to serious teachings.

It helped to listen to a December 28, 2018 podcast with Thelma Now! in which DuQuette related the backstory. He explained “Chicken Qabalah” was a collection of the fundamentals and gags he used for the Monday night magic class he taught at a Lodge of Ordo Templi Orientis in Costa Mesa, California.

“Qabalah can be really boring,” he said in the podcast.

He realized people remembered information better when it was attached to a gag, joke or a funny illusion. So every year, he said he made his teaching techniques goofier and goofier. His was pretending to be teaching like an ancient Qabalist teaching at a prep school.

During one class, a man became angry, and sputtering, called DuQuette’s Qabalah teachings “chicken.”

Rather than taking it as the insult it was intended to be, DuQuette realized “an angel of God” had just given him “the name of the kind of Qabalah that I teach.”

DuQuette continued, “I just wanted to say to him, ‘Well you know, my rabbi says that there is no such thing as correct Hebrew pronunciation’ or ‘My rabbi said they probably didn’t even speak Hebrew the way we think.’ … I wanted to say that, but I didn’t have a rabbi to refer him to, so I thought I would make up my own rabbi and refer to myself. That way I could call my rabbi a genius.”

What the rabbi teaches in “Son of Chicken Qabalah” through the materials he left behind is a handbook that will enable readers to create their “own personal Hierarchy of Heaven.”

DuQuette said the book grew out of the course he taught to a small group of competent mystics in China over the course of a year, broken into four three-day seminars held on the solstices and the equinoxes.

Because of the language barrier, DuQuette worked to get across his message in as few words as possible. To help his translator, he scripted everything. Those materials formed this book.

The book presents detailed initiation rituals for the rabbi’s secret society whereby a Holy Teacher and a Worthy Guide lead initiates through a three-degree Qabalah Mystery School. Each degree covers a group of the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet. Each letter is a path on the Tree of Life.

The first three – Mother letters – create space with the directions up and down, right and left, and front and back. Motion in that space creates time.

Next are the seven Double letters, where light is broken into seven layers of the color spectrum and sound is broken into seven vibratory musical notes.

The third section introduces the twelve Simple letters that are the keys to unlock the Twelve Gates to the City.

At each stage, the letters’ meanings are given and explored on multiple levels to embed them into the initiate’s mind. In addition to scripted initiation rituals including music, images and tasks, there are study programs and assignments. It provides a multi-sensory approach that includes mudras, a pitch pipe, flashing colors and mandalas.

The appendix contains a reference library, end notes and a summary of each of the 32 Paths of Wisdom.

In the podcast last year, DuQuette explained, “Instead of teaching Qabalah and memorizing stuff, I thought, ‘I am just going to initiate them; I’m going to implant the Hebrew alphabet systematically step by step: three Mother letters, seven Double letters, twelve Simple letters. I’m going to implant them using the psychodrama of the initiatory process.”

Considering each chapter was presented in a long weekend with a detailed script and precise rituals, and then students had ninety days to complete the exercises, I did not get well enough into this book to get anywhere near internalizing the entire Hermetic Qabalistic universe, let alone be able to it in magical practices.

However, there are enough details and simple explanations that would bring a group or individual on a creation adventure.

DuQuette closes the book writing, “As a matter of fact, using your mastery of the Hebrew alphabet, you could (right now) set to work to create your own personal and unique names from Hebrew letters enumerating to numbers that have eight as a conspicuous factor. Your knowledge of the proper colors reveals what these angels look like; your knowledge of their elemental, planetary, or zodiacal makeup reveals their specific powers and gifts.

“Think about it – your own private hierarchy of spiritual beings – immediately and intimately linked to you, because they are your creations. That’s the kind of thing grown-up Qabalists do! That’s what Qabalah is about! … Create your own angels! Create your own personal Hierarchy of Heaven. Think of it as an exercise, or think of it as your Great Work!”

I glanced way ahead for that, but it convinced me to add this to my collection of magic books. And, should you care about ratings, the five reviews it book got on Amazon are all fives.

Son of Chicken Qabalah: Rabbi Lamed Ben Clifford’s (Mostly Painless) Practical Qabalah Course on Amazon

***

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 – Dictionary of Gypsy Mythology by Claude Lecouteux

February, 2019

Book Review
Dictionary of Gypsy Mythology
By Claude Lecouteux
Publisher Inner Traditions
Length 183 pages

I’ll be the first one to admit that I don’t know anything at all about the Roma, so I found the book interesting. There are several sources that Mr. Lecouteux quotes. His primary source is Heinrich Albert von Wlislocki (1856-1907).

The author states that there are 15 different gypsy languages, he has tried to remain faithful to everything as it appears in the source text. He also tells whether the words are feminine, masculine, plural, or singular. And he is very faithful in the way he listed the source text from which he gathers his information.

One of the first entries is for Adam and Eve pg. 16 (Damo and Yehwah is the way he has it listed in the book), I did not realize that in both the Rama and Jewish traditions that Adams first wife was Lilith. (But Eve’s name should not be confused with the Yahweh the name of God, spelled differently but pronounced the same way.) Each entry into this book is interesting; there are pictures, sigils, and in some entries little hand drawings.

There are four texts at the end of the book, one is on The Great Flood, the next is The White Hind, next is The Mountain of Cats, and the last one is the Bride of Phuvuš. I had never heard the stories before, so reading them for the first time was interesting.

Reading this book, I have gained a lot of insight into the mythology of the Roma. I feel that this book is written with a lot of respect for the tradition, and the people of the Roma society. I learned a lot that I didn’t know; it also sparked my interest into more of the mythology of the Roma.

I’m also inspired to start checking out more of Claude Lecouteux’s books. This being the second book of his I have read, he writes like a professor. At times a little dry, but always interested. If you want to know more about the Roma mythology, I would suggest this book, the Dictionary Of Gypsy Mythology.

Dictionary of Gypsy Mythology: Charms, Rites, and Magical Traditions of the Roma on Amazon

***

About the Author:

Dawn Borries loves reading and was thrilled to become a Reviewer for PaganPages.Org. Dawn, also, has been doing Tarot and Numerology readings for the past 25 years. Dawn does readings on her Facebook page.  If you are interested in a reading you can reach her at: Readings by Dawn on Facebook at

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

Review – Animal Totems And The Gemstone Kingdom- Spiritual Connections of Crystal Vibrations and Animal Medicine Book & The Animal Allies and Gemstone Guardians Cards by Margaret Ann Lembo

February, 2019

This is a book and oracle deck that go together. The book is titled “Animal Totems and the Gemstone Kingdom” and the cards are titled “The Animal Allies and Gemstone Oracle Cards”. Both by Margaret Ann Lembo. The book is 222 pages and the deck has 44 cards with images and written information on both sides of cards. work by Richard Crookes, crystal photos by Andy Frame Photography and Ines Blersch Fotografie. Published by Findhorn Press, 2018. The book retails for $19.99 U.S. and the cards retail for $15.99 U.S. They are available at both Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

The oracle deck has 44 animals on one side of the card, and 44 crystals on the other side. Each side has a small image of the respective animal or crystal, and a paragraph with prompts, guidance and food for thought. You could simply pick a card and receive both an animal spirit message and a crystal message. If you just got the deck this would function nicely on its own. I like the variety of animals and crystals, there are some different ones you don’t see often included.

This is a book and oracle card deck that are meant to work together, but honestly both are also great on their own. Both have a ton of information and different content.

The book is a tool in and of itself as you could just randomly flip to any page you feel called to to do your reading like that. 

Or you can use the book to gain further insight on each card. There are two full pages on each corresponding oracle card in the book. After you read the card, go to the matching card in the book (they are in alphabetical order by the animal). It has many correspondences and interesting information to make your experience richer. Another thing that’s included in this book are multiple great appendixes at the back as well as a fabulous glossary. You can use the appendix to look up other crystals that correspond to a given animal, or to look up animals that correspond to archangels and angels. It even has an appendix for wheel of life locations for animal totems. How cool is that? Whether you want this book as a resource or as a tool to receive messages, either is covered with this book. I’m very impressed by the amount of content here.

In conclusion I have really thoroughly enjoyed both this book & the oracle cards. I have used them for myself and for friends and family and everyone loved them. Crystals and animals are two of my very favorite things and this combines them both in a cohesive and unique way that I haven’t seen before. I recommend them both completely. I will use these forever and thank you so much to Findhorn Press for allowing me to review them. 

Crystal blessings

Animal Totems and the Gemstone Kingdom: Spiritual Connections of Crystal Vibrations and Animal Medicine on Amazon

The Animal Allies and Gemstone Guardians Cards on Amazon

***

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: https://www.facebook.com/Rethas-Crystals-197411227666484/

Or in her FB group:

https://m.facebook.com/groups/1960619300929876

Her Sage Goddess affiliate link is:

www.sagegoddess.com/ref/84/

Or follow her on Instagram at @spookygirl16

Book Review- Searching for the White Magician: Spiritual Psychology and Manifestation of Destiny by Stefania Magidson in dialogue with Carmen Firan

February, 2019

Book Review

Searching for the White Magician

Spiritual Psychology and Manifestation of Destiny

by Stefania Magidson in dialogue with Carmen Firan

I invite the reader to join me on a journey of exploration and rediscovery of that inner place that holds the lens of mystery through which Life filters, if we allow it. I invite (him) to find that magic wand that transforms inner worlds into realities whose potential is only temporarily dormant.”…. Stefania Magidson

I love books where there is a dialogue between two individuals that allows for dynamic discourse rather than simply a teaching or theoretical format. Searching for the White Magician is just that. Its premise is not new-that of seeking the Higher Self and its connection to the deeper understanding of our resonance with the Universe. But, it bears repeating in all venues, methodology and practices to really allow access for everyone. Stefania and Carmen exchange ideas and philosophies around this query and within the pages an unfolding of practical application and understanding is revealed.

Stefania has a Master’s Degree in Spiritual Psychology, and her level of inquiry and overlay of psychological analogy from a spiritually infused scientific perspective offers the reader something to grab on to when aspects of intuition and reaching beyond the five senses arises.

Chapter topics flow from the realization that we are a “Grain of Sand” in a much larger sandbox that is the Cosmos, to the question of how and if we “Can (we) Choose Our Destiny”, “Feminism and Femininity”, and more. My favorite was the chapter of discussion around “Religion, Dogma and Divinity.” I appreciated the author’s perspective that they are not mutually synonymous and it is our work to sort out what we believe and what we believe in.

The conversation regarding “The Cycle of Existence” provides enough meat and bones to satisfy the most cynical of inquiry with an opening quote of… “Let us learn to add life to our years, not just years to our life.” Simply heeding this statement opens you up to the possibilities inherent when you choose to be more present and engaged in the joy and pain of your life.

It is clear in reading this little book that Stefania has a good grasp of Buddhist and traditional Eastern philosophies and although not clearly overt in every reading, are the underpinnings of what becomes an exploration of what is both philosophical and inherently spiritual in nature. The questions are universal, the answers highly individual and personalized and the structure and wisdom within this book lead the reader to thinking more broadly, feeling with more awareness and being more attentive in all aspects of their lives, mundane, spiritual and subtle.

So who is the White Magician?

… The White Magician is that Higher Self inside of us which understands the subtle notions of the Universe and is in direct contact with our intuition,, that side of us which has access to what is available beyond the five senses…”

All in all, this is a surprising important read that may be small in size, but packs a deliberate awakening punch!

Searching for the White Magician: Spiritual Psychology and the Manifestation of Destiny on Amazon

***

About the Author:

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

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

The Inner Chamber Volume One on Amazon

It’s Written in the Stars

Astrology

The Inner Chamber, Vol. Two

poetry of the Spheres (Volume 2) on Amazon

Qabalah

The Inner Chamber, Vol. Three

Awakening the Paths on Amazon

Qabalah

A Year With Gaia on Amazon

The Eternal Cord

Temple of the Sun and Moon on Amazon

Luminous Devotions

The Magickal Pen Volume One (Volume 1) on Amazon

A Collection of Esoteric Writings

The Elemental Year on Amazon

Aligning the Parts of SELF

The Enchanted Gate on Amazon

Musings on the Magick of the Natural World

Sleeping with the Goddess on Amazon

Nights of Devotion

A Weekly Reflection on Amazon

Musings for the Year

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

Follow Robin on Instagram & Facebook.

Review – Witch Coloring Book: A Coloring Book for Adults Featuring Beautiful Witches, Magical Potions, and Spellbinding Ritual Scenes by Coloring Book Cafe

February, 2019

Review

Witches Coloring Book: A Colorful Book for Adults Featuring Beautiful Witches, Magical Potions, and Spellbinding Ritual Scenes

by Coloring Book Cafe, 2018

I recently received this awesome coloring book to try out & review. It is a book of 24 single sided coloring pages, and it has 2 copies of each picture (48 pics total to color). This is great because if you mess up or if you and a friend want the same picture to color you have a spare! It is 8 by 10 inches so standard size for a coloring book.

The title is Witches and appropriately so. This book is filled with all things witchy themed, cauldrons, cards, black cats, potions, candles, etc. I love it! I am an avid colorist and a witch so this is my favorite kind of coloring book! I only had time to complete 2 pages so far, but I am looking forward to finishing them all!

The paper quality is great and the images themselves are beautifully drawn and printed. I used colored pencils and a little gel pen on mine, but any markers would work with this paper.

This coloring book is available on Amazon for $7.99. I highly recommend this coloring book to anyone that is interested in coloring and also likes witch or occult themed pictures. It would also be fun for anyone around the Halloween season. I have thoroughly enjoyed this book so far! Here are my 2 completed pics I’ve been working on this month. 

I personally know many people who would love this coloring book and if you are into the witchy look or looking for gorgeous pics to add to your grimoire or book of shadows I think you will be very happy with this book. I think I’m going to frame a few and hang them on my wall, that’s how much I love these images!

Thank You to Coloring Book Cafe for sending me a copy to review!

Witch Coloring Book: A Coloring Book for Adults Featuring Beautiful Witches, Magical Potions, and Spellbinding Ritual Scenes on Amazon

***

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: https://www.facebook.com/Rethas-Crystals-197411227666484/

Or in her FB group:

https://m.facebook.com/groups/1960619300929876

Her Sage Goddess affiliate link is:

www.sagegoddess.com/ref/84/

Or follow her on Instagram at @spookygirl16

Worth the Witch

February, 2019

Infinite Realms Book Box

Brought to you by Alban Lake Publishing

Infinite Realms is an online bookstore through Alban Lake Publishing House. They are proud supporters of independent authors.
Alban Lake Publishing House covers a variety of genres from action/adventure to poetry & steampunk to mystery. Infinite Realms Book Store even have a young adult section. If you are more into digital books lately, they have you covered! Let’s not forget their incredible magazines.

Infinite Realms Book Store is currently in the midst of changing the format of their boxes but I want to share with you the one I received from their previous style. I want to show the wonderful gifts I received and their great books!

My Boxes Arrival…

I just loved the dragon logo on the box. It sparked my imagination of all the magick that may lay inside.

First Look…

Upon opening the box I am hit with a dramatic first view. The red paper promises luxury and I spy another dragon!!!

Dragon Oil Warmer…

I immediately pick out the first thing to catch my eye from the Infinite Realms Book Store Box, the Dragon Oil Warmer and open it. This is a gorgeous gift for any dragon/fantasy lover! This delicate, resin & glass, oil warmer is stunning. A great, and lovely to look at, substitute for a plain old smelly candle to give warmth and scent to your space.

Lindt Chili Dark Chocolate…

Now this is something new! A Lindt Chile Chocolate Bar! I have never had spicy chocolate before and I have to admit, I was scared to try it. At first it taste like chocolate, but in the end, POW, omg SPICY at the end!!! It gets you with a kick, right in the tasters!! Wowzers!! Was not expecting that. Nor was I expecting being called a wuss by everyone else who had some!!! HAHAHAHAHA!!! That was a fun treat! Also, the brand of chocolate they included is a well known chocolate brand. Known for making some yummy chocolates.

Black & Red Mug…

First, I have to admit, the style of this Black & Red Mug is right up my alley. Second, it is HUGE. The perfect giant cup for tea, or coffee, while snuggling up to read a good book. What a brilliant item to include in a Book Box!! Who does not love a cup of tea or coffee with a good book. This is now a fought over mug in my household. I would say it is about 16 ounces.

Castle Statue…

This is so simple and so adorable. It goes wonderful with the fantasy theme of the entire box. I enjoy this statue. It is not so big as to take up so too much room and fits nicely on my bookshelf. I do have a nephew, however, who keeps insisting on painting it…LOL.

Japanese Cherry Blossom Oil…

Very generous 1.86 oz bottle of Japanese Cherry Blossom Oil to go with your new Dragon Oil Burner. They did not cheap out on us. Beautiful, strong scent. Relaxing when burned.

From Their Collection…

Wonderous Web Worlds 7 – The very best science fiction, fantasy, & horror.

Illumen – The mission of Illumen is to publish speculative poetry that even readers who do not care for poetry will want to read.

Sounds of the Night – Short Stories & poetry.

Two of the publications, Sounds of the Night and Wondrous Web Worlds, are a mix of prose fiction and poetry, while Illumen is an anthology of poetry. All three are printed on a satisfying weight of paper with glossy color covers.

Sounds of the Night is magazine-sized in its dimensions, so there is plenty of content to it even at only 43 pages from cover to cover. It is a biannual publication, coming out in February and August. I received the February 2008 issue. I quite literally mean from cover to cover: no space is wasted in those 43 pages, though the poems are used well to create breaks between the prose. Also keeping the rhythm is a couple of pieces of artwork and a few advertisements for the publisher’s other offerings, though these are minimal and not distracting. A story by Lawrence R. Dagstine was quite good and a poem by Aurelio Rico Lopez III was excellent.

Illumen is a small biannual poetry anthology edited by Tyree Campbell, published every April and October. My edition to review was from Autumn 2015. The size of a paperback, Illumen runs around seventy pages, with only a couple of pieces of artwork in the mix. Unexpectedly, it also has almost half-a-dozen advertisement pages for fiction books from the publisher, though I didn’t find this distracting. Annay Sykora and Will H. Blackwell Jr. were featured poets in this particular issue. I was impressed by many of the works in the collection. I especially liked a piece by Anne Babson called “Brunch with Lord Tennyson”. A number of poems by Rizwan Akhtar were excellent as well.

The third book I received for review was Wondrous Web Worlds Volume 7, an anthology from 2006, edited by J Alan Erwine. It runs at 153 pages and features science fiction, fantasy and horror in both prose and poetry. I am still taking my time getting through this book, but not for lack of enjoyment. Even if I haven’t liked every piece it is certainly a fun read, with the generous mix of genres you never really know where each new story is likely to take you. Stories may range from mail brides on Mars, an apocalyptic asteroid encounter that turns out to harbor extra-terrestrial life, to comedians performing for robots – and this is not even getting to the other genres. I find this kind of mix makes a nice change of rhythm from longer prose and helps to reset the mind after a long day at work.

Hard Candies…

Scattered throughout the box are little, clear wrapped, red hard candies. After the box was reviewed, we finally had some of them. Red hot cinnamon candies. Red hot, Like the box!

Final Thoughts…

Infinite Realms Book Store brings fantasy to life and helps you enjoy your time reading by not only making the atmosphere soothing & relaxing, but by giving you enjoyable, great, quality reading material! They fill your room with warm scent, a mug for that hot cuppa, pretty things to stare at while you contemplate the wonderful passage you just read from one of the myriad of topics covered in the three books they have included. Then you can have a nice piece of some spicy chocolate to begin the next poem or chapter! This box is sooo Worth the Witch.

We got to talk to the lovely Karen Otto at Infinite Realms Book Store about their Book Boxes, company, and upcoming changes. Here is what she had to say…

PaganPagesOrg (PPO): What brought the idea of your box to you? 

Karen Otto (KO): I love subscription boxes and in looking through what was available I saw that while there were a few book boxes, they (mostly) all contained popular or classical books. My company is all about helping independent authors and I thought a book box would be a great way to introduce readers to new authors.

PPO: How did you begin them?

KO: I started the boxes at first as a giveaway to grab a little attention for them. I posted a few on eBay before moving on to Cratejoy and now to our bookstore.

PPO: How do you choose what you include inside them?

KO: The very first few boxes were just a mishmash of cool things but after getting that first bit of feedback I started curating more carefully. I gave each type of box a theme. For example, Horror boxes were themed after famous horror writers like Lovecraft. For the fantasy boxes, I themed them after mythical creatures and magic.

PPO: Is your’s a recurring monthly box?

KO: They are not anymore. We ran into a slew of problems on Cratejoy (still love the site but it doesn’t work for us). Now, they are personalizable on our bookstore.

KO: The new book boxes are fully customizable. You can chose the book(s) included or chose a genre, choose a snack type, an item type, make it a gift, send a special message along with the box, we’ve done everything we can to make it fun.

KO: The new boxes are still under construction but will be available by the end of the December.

PPO: What types of interests do you have?

KO: I absolutely love plants and have a whole bunch of them, including a 10-year-old aloe vera plant and six of its off-shoots. I’m also about to try growing black roses for the first time. I am also a writer with two books out at the moment and more to come.

PPO: Did you feel the pagan world was missing something to make you create your Box?

KO: I wasn’t entirely sure what the pagan world needed in the beginning, honestly, but I did use it as inspiration and included things like sage bundles and crystals along with information about their properties in an effort to learn more about paganism myself and to promote the quiet and relaxation the scents and books combined could bring.

PPO: Do you have a site and sell other types of products?  

KO: I run a bookstore – www.infiniterealmsbookstore.com

We’re mainly a publishing company, Alban Lake Publishing, and focus on helping new authors find their footing.

My books are available here:

Bugs in the System by Karen Otto

Shattered: The Story of Ashque by Karen Otto

Our bookstorewww.infiniterealmsbookstore.com

Our publishing website www.albanlakepublishing.com

Social Media Sites:

Twitter – @albanlake

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/albanlakepublishing/

Youtube https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCz9Fs6i4qMLcf_gozhIKzCQ

Instagramhttps://www.instagram.com/albanlakepub/

Thank you Karen Otto, for all you do for new and upcoming authors, as well as us readers! Thank you, also, for taking some time out for our readers!!!

***

About the Author:

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

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