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

April, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Moving Universe on Amazon

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About the Author:

Susan Rossi is a Practitioner and Teacher of Shamanism. She is a long-time explorer of The Mysteries – the connections between mind, body, spirit and how to live in right relationship to all of the energies streaming through the cosmos. She works with clients as an astrologer, coach, ceremonialist and guide to the wisdom that each of us has the capacity to access. Her focus is on guiding clients to unblock and rediscover their inner wisdom. , exploration of the birth chart, ceremony, legacy writing, hypnotherapy, energetic healing practice and creation of sacred tools are integral pieces of her practice.

Susan trained in Soul Level Astrology with master astrologer Mark Borax. She delights in exploring with individuals the planetary pattern under which their soul choose to incarnate.

Flying to the Heart www.flyingtotheheart.com

Open Channel Astrology: openchannelastrology.com

Book Review – Making Magic by Brianna Saussy

April, 2019

Book Review
Making Magic
Weaving Together the Everyday and the Extraordinary
by Brianna Saussy

With an eye made quiet by the power
Of harmony, and the deep power of joy,
we see into the life of things”
-William Wordsworth-

This quote was a beautiful entry into a book that entices the reader to look more deeply at everything that surrounds them and recognize the potential for the magick held in every moment, in every experience and every interaction. Fourteen (14) Chapters are packed jam full with info, ideas and ritual to implement the focus. The prelude sets the tone of what we can expect…

…”Somewhere in the world right now there are people from every conceivable culture, walk of life, and set of experiences who all have one thing in common: they have remembered they are making magic. Are you ready to make it too?”…” We all have a deep capacity to make magic and to do it as easily as we breathe or open our eyes”…

I appreciate the freshness and candor of this introduction and its gentle demystifying of something many consider to mysterious, unreachable and requiring everything, yet not recognizing the single and only key ingredient-us! The Introduction ends with a familiar tale infused with magic and a promise. It’s entitled “Golden Locks and the Bear People”-go figure.

Chapter One prepares the reader to begin a journey of “Remember(ing) Your Magic”, and the call to return to the place of knowing and integrated wisdom that allowed a wild and natural magic to flow. Ms. Saussy uses the analogy of a wild animal. The experiences it endures and how it finds way to survive in a world that is not always welcoming…. “Magic moves through the wilderness of the soul soil of everyday life and experience”. Emphasis is placed on looking and listening to gather evidence and reveal the clues that as the author states will bring us back to making magic. The standard encouragement of journaling is part of the work here, always being the staple resource for any seeker knowledge of the sacred arts.

Two rituals are provided in each chapter as a way to deepen your practice and there is also the thoughtful addition of “Stepping Stones” that supports a more time-friendly alternative to keep the magic going. According to Ms. Saussy….Across time and culture the seeker’s journey is understood to be a spiral path…an apt description of the experience that our souls undergo in the search for truth and beauty … the experience of a growing wisdom, in consciousness, we never lose sight of the beginning, our starting point.”…

I love that this book was organized in a way that it holds the necessary theory required for a good foundation of building a magical practice, albeit, not in the usual set of semantics that prod the reader to think in only one way about what magic is and who uses it. The author clearly has an understanding based in a diverse practice of esoteric wisdom that spans cultures and beliefs beyond the Hermetic practitioner. This makes the material that much more useful and accessible by everyone.

Titles such as: Memory and Imagination (visualization); Finding the Doors (home protection/warding); Taking Your Time (time magic); Kith and Kin (ancestor magic) and more piqued the interest in exploring the magic of these crafts more deeply. The final chapter, entitled: Weaving the Worlds Back Together was a beautiful ending to this book. The weaving together of all of the experiences had in the preceding chapters is the guiding force of the ending. Remember that spiral that was spoken of in the beginning? Now, the reader is drawn to return to the beginning and acknowledge all that has come into their memory of their magic and in that weaving, something new is created. Wild, free and finally in tune with the magic of the world….

…” We move from seeking magic to finding it, from remembering it to making it and as the worlds are woven together, living it”…

In conclusion, the “Notes” section boasts a bibliography, organized by chapter, which provides the reader with lots of additional resources to continue the exploration and support coming into our natural gifts.

Making Magic” is a wonderful introduction to what magic can be in its simplicity and beauty. Often the statement is made that living a spiritual/magical life is a 24/7-365 endeavor. This book leads the reader into that space where magic and the mundane are fueled and informed by the other.

About Brianna:

Briana Saussy is a writer, teacher, spiritual counselor, and ritualist dedicated to the restoration and remembering of the sacred arts. She combines a practical and creative approach to spirituality that includes the riches of the perennial world religions, the contributions of modern psychology to the search for meaning, and the often-overlooked bodies of wisdom contained in folk magic, divination, and storytelling practices. Briana studied Eastern and Western classics, philosophy, mathematics, and science at St. John’s College (Annapolis and Santa Fe), and is a student of ancient Greek and Sanskrit

Making Magic: Weaving Together the Everyday and the Extraordinary on Amazon

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About the Author:

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

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

The Inner Chamber Volume One on Amazon

It’s Written in the Stars

Astrology

The Inner Chamber, Vol. Two

poetry of the Spheres (Volume 2) on Amazon

Qabalah

The Inner Chamber, Vol. Three

Awakening the Paths on Amazon

Qabalah

A Year With Gaia on Amazon

The Eternal Cord

Temple of the Sun and Moon on Amazon

Luminous Devotions

The Magickal Pen Volume One (Volume 1) on Amazon

A Collection of Esoteric Writings

The Elemental Year on Amazon

Aligning the Parts of SELF

The Enchanted Gate on Amazon

Musings on the Magick of the Natural World

Sleeping with the Goddess on Amazon

Nights of Devotion

A Weekly Reflection on Amazon

Musings for the Year

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

Follow Robin on Instagram & Facebook.

Book Review – The Vision of the Pylons by J. Daniel Gunther

April, 2019

Book Review
The Visions of the Pylons
A Magical Record of Exploration in the Starry Abode
By: J. Daniel Gunther
Ibis Press

The author, Mr. Gunther follows Aleister Crowley’s method of enlightenment as put forth by Mr. Crowley in his publication: “The Equinox.” Mr. Gunther used the method labeled “Scientific Illuminism” to explore the Egyptian funerary text called “The Book of Pylons” (or Gates). It is the nocturnal journey of the deceased on the Solar Bark in the Starry Abode. What Mr. Gunther has written is a book that is a record of the meditations the author went through and his exploration of the Starry Abode. These meditations happened between 1975 in 1977.

The subject matter is interesting to read. (I think this is another rabbit hole I am getting ready to jump into.) While the subject matter is interesting the meditations are a little difficult to read.

Mr. Gunther seems to be a fan of footnotes; there are footnotes on almost every page. Sometimes the footnotes take up half the page. A lot of the footnotes contain Hebrew lettering, zodiac Glyph, and notes on Sephiroth. (I admit I am not familiar with Hebrew lettering or anything on the Sephiroth. So, I would read the book, and then look stuff up online.)

I did find this to be an exciting book to read. I found myself reading the passage, then going to the footnote, and then rereading the passage in several places of this book, after looking stuff up.

I am not well versed in the Kabbalah, so this book piqued my interest in learning more about that matter. And at the same time, his book confused me with the combination of Biblical references, Egyptian references, and Jewish references. I can see how they all work together. Sometimes the way the footnotes read it made my head spin for a second or two.

There are six different appendices in this book. The first is the name of the Pylons; these are color pages that have a different path of the Pylons. The second is the Sigils of the Guardians of the Pylons. The Sigil of the Guardians can be a bit confusing, because it is a grid of the phonetic sounds for the letters of the ancient Egyptian alphabet, and there are 13 of those. There is a section on engraving images into a wax disc. The last two appendices are a full ritual complete with a recipe for saffron cakes, honey, and milk. The appendix on the Signs of Invoking and Banishing is extensive and has more than 30 signs.

The researcher and student in me found this book fascinating. The student in me also realized this is something else I need to explore more deeply..

The Visions of the Pylons: A Magical Record of Exploration in the Starry Abode on Amazon

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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 on Facebook @eagleandunicorn.

Book Review – Hand Lettering A to Z Workbook

April, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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About the Author:

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

Book Review- Midlife Is Not a Crisis: Using Astrology to Thrive in the Second Half of Life by Virginia Bell

April, 2019

Book Review
Midlife Is Not a Crisis
Using Astrology to Thrive in the Second Half of Life
by Virginia Bell
Published by Weiser
Pages: 242

What others call a midlife crisis, Virginia Bell calls a Mid-course correction, saying, “Whatever we’ve left out of the equation, whatever we’ve ignored, begins to rise up and can no longer be disregarded. This cycle involves four planets and is spread over a decade.”

With that, she welcomes readers to understand life’s most important cycle.

As she began to study astrology in her early-50s, Bell came to realize it wasn’t about something happening in the sky, but something happening within each of us, “and could be a valuable tool for self-discovery.”

In the introduction, she explains the Chiron Return takes place between 49-51, when the comet returns to its place in the birth chart.

“In mythology, Chiron was a great healer and teacher, and this passage is one of the best times to become fully conscious of whatever has not been healed. For many of us, our lives take off in a different direction from what we had anticipated, and often there is failure or loss that serves as a catalyst for this,” she wrote.

She had had my full attention. That’s when I got divorced, moved and changed jobs.

On the next page she notes that Uranus takes 84 years to come back to its place in the natal chart, and that in our early 60s, it makes the last aspect, giving us a second wind.

“There’s a sense of freedom that comes from this edgy aspect, provided we are willing to take some risks and extend ourselves beyond our comfort zone. It’s worth doing, because the actions we take now will impact who we become at eighty-four when Uranus comes full circle,” Bell wrote.

That aspect happened as I made a commitment to find a school bus, renovate it to be an RV and make my future a life on the road, a witch on wheels. That will finally come to fruition this year.

Now I was hooked. I wished I’d had this book starting with my Saturn Rerun around age 29, because “Midlife Is Not a Crisis” serves as a guidebook to the landscape on the second half of our journey. She explained, “[I]t helps to have some knowledge of the terrain, so you can prepare and pack accordingly.”

At the beginning of the book is a concise overview of astrology that introduces beginners to astrological terms, and the concepts of planets, signs and houses.

Bell paraphrases Carl Jung, writing, “Anything born a moment in time has the characteristics of that moment. The birth chart is a picture of the sky at the moment of birth. It is a snapshot of the heavens and all the planets. It is frozen in time. In the next moment, everything moves, but that picture is yours forever; it is eternal, a piece of cosmic DNA.”

Equating power places on the planet to power years in our lives, Bell lays out the lifecycle we all share at the same age.

29 First Saturn Return (Growing up and getting real.)
37-45 Midlife Journey (Breakdowns and breakthroughs.)
49-51 Chiron Return (The youth of old age.)
58 Second Saturn Return (The new elder.)
62-63 Closing Uranus Square (A second wind.)
70s The Seventies (Real problems, real possibilities.)
84 Uranus Return (The homecoming,)

She presents information in a gentle and encouraging manner, always pointing to the gifts, strengths, lessons, vulnerabilities and tools. She’s like a tour guide, helping you navigate the map of your life.

“These cycles or power years are the great turning points in life; at every juncture there will be challenges, lessons, and losses – in this we have no choice. Our freedom lies in how we respond: consciously or unconsciously, awake or asleep, with fear or with love,” Bell wrote.

She sums up the astrology chapter by saying, “It’s all good. There is no such thing as a bad chart or a bad aspect. Hopefully, we all have some great aspects in our birth chart, as well as some challenging ones. Why challenging ones? We’re here to learn. The hard aspects are the ones that push us to grow, change, and achieve. Too many ‘easy’ aspects can make us lazy. Nothing is written in stone. We all have free will. The chart represents potential. Ultimately, it is up to us what we do with it.”

I intend to keep this book until I’m 84.

Midlife Is Not a Crisis: Using Astrology to Thrive in the Second Half of Life 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 – Numerology: Dancing the Spirals of Time by Elen Sentier

April, 2019

Book Review
Numerology
Dancing the Spirals of Time
by Elen Sentier

I do quite a bit of numerology as an enhancement to my magickal disciplines and I am always looking for a fresh perspective to inform and find the bridges of connection between multiple esoteric disciplines. Numerology: Dancing the Spirals of Time does just that in decoding the patterns and vibrations that are present universally.

The author uses a very tactile approach to learning and “feeling” the numbers and the geometric patterns they create. This process engages the reader from the onset and provides Ms. Sentier as a Transpersonal Psychotherapist and British Shaman. I have had the opportunity to read two of her other books, Elen of the Ways and Following the Deer Trods (both from her Shamanic Pathways series) and much of the way in which she approaches numerology, reflects her work in the setting of the natural world, the Fibonacci patterning and the cycles that are vibrational and number based universally.

As Ms. Sentier states in her prologue…“ What I’m offering you here are the results of my sixty-odd years of work and play with numerology, what the numbers have shown me.”… So, from the start you know that the information provided has been tested and tried for some time of longevity and not just a hasty inquiry of minimum duration.

She approaches the systems of numbers as points of correlates within a framework of defining and reshaping the self. The push here is for the reader to recognize the connections that numbers have in telling the story of our role as part and parcel of a system that encompasses the Universal and Cosmic energies of which we are a part. According to Ms. Sentier…”Numbers are amazing, they make wonderful patterns and the work in pairs. Like the DNA double helix, they spiral in and spiral out showing us both evolution and involution… the patterns of life, and of time.”

Each chapter is organized in pairs of numbers, giving the characteristics and correlates for each providing the balance of theory and integration into your own style of learning and understanding the concepts. The author has you scribe the number, using that as a very tactile way of sensing the energy in the creation of that number. Very cool, idea! Ms. Sentier says to….”draw the 1 as a straight line…let the feeling flow into your body through your hand and arm. Don’t try to translate the feeling, just experience it.”

I particularly enjoyed the Working with your Numbers section. Samples and explanations of the numbers that are important in your own patterning are given enabling the reader to do the work of numerological reading for themselves. The grids are a bit complex but clear directions guide the way. In keeping with this highly experiential style, there are several exercises provided to allow you to kinesthetically connect with the numbers.

I thought Numerology: Dancing the Spirals of Time offered an opportunity to work with numbers in a very organic and universal way, but I would not consider this as an introductory book at all. That being said, I don’t believe that was the intention of Ms. Sentier in the least. Despite this, I do believe that this is a wonderful resource and exercise in being able to draw deeper conclusions beyond the superficial information we are usually privy to. Moving through the pages and information of this book requires that you look and feel with all of your being and not simply accept at face value what is being written. And, in this Ms. Sentier scores a home run!

Numerology: Dancing the Spirals of Time on Amazon

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About the Author:

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

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

The Inner Chamber Volume One on Amazon

It’s Written in the Stars

Astrology

The Inner Chamber, Vol. Two

poetry of the Spheres (Volume 2) on Amazon

Qabalah

The Inner Chamber, Vol. Three

Awakening the Paths on Amazon

Qabalah

A Year With Gaia on Amazon

The Eternal Cord

Temple of the Sun and Moon on Amazon

Luminous Devotions

The Magickal Pen Volume One (Volume 1) on Amazon

A Collection of Esoteric Writings

The Elemental Year on Amazon

Aligning the Parts of SELF

The Enchanted Gate on Amazon

Musings on the Magick of the Natural World

Sleeping with the Goddess on Amazon

Nights of Devotion

A Weekly Reflection on Amazon

Musings for the Year

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

Follow Robin on Instagram & Facebook.

Book Review – The Art of Doodle Words by Sarah Alberto

April, 2019

Book Review
The art of Doodle Words
by Sarah Alberto
144 pp.
Race Point Publishing

“The art of Doodle Words” is an inventive, amusing look into a playful art style: Sarah Alberto’s “doodle words” are hand-lettered art pieces which incorporate fun pictorial imagery into the construction of a hand-lettered word or phrase. For example, the word “tools” can be spelled out with different types of tools, or a line of cursive may be incorporated into a larger drawing.

The introduction walks the reader through the basics of creating doodle art (including some suggestions for brain-storming and laying out a specific design), while the first part of the book gives numerous examples of different letter form styles: basic handwriting, a few script examples, bubble letters, block letters, and several other styles to give lots of variety and options to the imaginative artist. Different letter styles are offered side-by-side with numerous examples of phrases rendered in that style.

Part Two of “The art of Doodle Words” contains numerous examples of fully doodled words, each example broken down in a step-by-step process so that the artist can follow along and practice creating them. Many of the examples would make good signage for parties or invitations, and fuel the imagination for more. Creative children may enjoy this book especially, as doodle words can work with any skill level and level of creativity; it could also add playfulness to any journaling or scrap-booking practice. 

This isn’t a book that teaches fancy hand-lettering or calligraphy, but if you’re drawn to learn Alberto’s playful style of typography, you’ll doubtless find many uses for this technique, and have a lot of fun learning and experimenting along the way. “The art of Doodle Words” doesn’t teach anything besides this very specific style, but the style is one that has an infinite capacity for variety and experimentation — certainly a great tool for any hand-lettering or crafting enthusiast!

The art of Doodle Words: Turn Your Everyday Doodles into Cute Hand Lettering! on Amazon

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About the Author:

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

Book Review – The Witch’s Book of Mysteries by Devin Hunter

March, 2019

Book Review
The Witch’s Book of Mysteries
by Devin Hunter

The forward of The Witch’s Book of Mysteries, written by Jason Miller, jumps right into what the reader can expect from The Witch’s Book of Mysteries by Devin Hunter.

… “What is a Witch? It’s a tricky label. For some people witchcraft is a religion. If you worship the old Gods and follow a religion like Wicca, then for those people your are a Witch. Other People focus on the craft part of witchcraft and consider use of folk magic as the defining characteristics of a Witch. If you know the magical properties of herbs, the words of spells and the use of oils and candles and stones, then you are a Witch.”….

And, as Jason aptly states, the definition of what a Witch has all of the overlays of modern society and traditional practices rolled into one.

This is the third book by Devin in a systematic approach to introducing the experienced student to the practices of witchcraft and honing their skills into becoming a Witch. The first of the books, The Witch’s Book of Power, explored all that comprises the journey of developing your power and knowing when and how to tap into it for a sustainable and effective practice.

The Second book, The Witch’s Book of Spirits furthered developed the power of the burgeoning Witch in accessing the world of spirits, mediumship and all that is of what Devin calls the Familiar Craft. And, as promised in this third book, The Witch’s Book of Mysteries coalesces all that has preceded and the reader begins the practice of working with those of the Sacred Fires, the Grigori, and the expansion of the practitioners powers to becoming one with all of the worlds.

This is not a book for the beginner and demands of the reader a working-not theoretical-knowledge of witchcraft and all that goes into claiming the title of Witch. The book is divided into two parts and each builds upon the other in knowledge and practical application. Many of the concepts presented are not your traditional craft practices. Instead, they are a refining and adaption of concepts that include some techniques and teachings that would have been designated as disciplines for other paths.

Much like Christopher Orapello and Tara Maguire’s book Besom, Stang & Sword (read the review of this book in our February Issue), these are concepts of the Modern Witch drawing on the best of the old and propelling the seeker into a new form of witchcraft that makes use more cosmic principals.

One of the best examples of what this new craft encompasses is the definition and explanation of the a familiar concept, the Witch’s Sabbat. As Devin points out, this term has come to be associate with the eight festivals of the Witch’s Wheel of the Year. These being tied to celebrations of specific times of the year, deities and experiences largely pulled together and used as such associations by those of scholarly works and not necessarily of the craft themselves. Just this idea makes so much sense if you consider that those we considered to be practicing witch’s hundreds of years ago would not necessarily have set aside valuable time and resources to celebrate in the ways we do today. Even the Deities that may have been associated with such rites would have been culturally based.

We learn in this book that the Sabbat is an experience that occurs in deep trance or while sleeping and requires the Witch have command over his/her magical form that has the power and ability to move in its pure form of power onto the plane of the Sabbat. This requires the development of lucid dreaming, psychic awareness. and as Devin states regarding the goal…”isn’t necessarily to leave the body and travel to a different dimension, but rather to travel through the inner realms of the mind and the paths of the psyche to get to a different dimension”….I found this a telling perspective that emphasizes the reality that being a Witch is really hard work that demands knowing yourself and a very mature attitude towards stepping into your power.

Part Two of “Mysteries” focuses on taking the Witch beyond their scope of power and realms of working and issues the call to reaching beyond what is believed of the limitation of form and reach out to those Spirits and guardians responsible for creation-particularly ours-itself. These entities move well beyond the archetypal and anthropomorphic energies of specific Deities, pantheons and the traditional Gods/Goddesses. The Witch must thoroughly know who they are in all of their power and rise to stand as co-creators with those lesser known (and worked with) beings who are of support.

The bibliography and recommended reading at the end of the book exemplifies the care and thought that went into this book and, more importantly supports Devin’s encouragement to learn as much as you can about as much as you can to truly be informed in your own practice.

The Witch’s Book of Mysteries is a valuable resource to the advanced practitioner regardless of the form your witchcraft may take. In fact, whether you consider yourself a witch or not, the information and way in which it has been compiled is well worth reading. This is the craft that will move into the next generation of and with that statement, you will hopefully see the durability and strength of a power that is organically a creative and universal energy.

To hear more from Devin about his practices, Tradition and more:

The Modern Witch Podcast

modernwitch.podbean.com

The Witch’s Book of Mysteries on Amazon

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About the Author:

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

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

The Inner Chamber Volume One on Amazon

It’s Written in the Stars

Astrology

The Inner Chamber, Vol. Two

poetry of the Spheres (Volume 2) on Amazon

Qabalah

The Inner Chamber, Vol. Three

Awakening the Paths on Amazon

Qabalah

A Year With Gaia on Amazon

The Eternal Cord

Temple of the Sun and Moon on Amazon

Luminous Devotions

The Magickal Pen Volume One (Volume 1) on Amazon

A Collection of Esoteric Writings

The Elemental Year on Amazon

Aligning the Parts of SELF

The Enchanted Gate on Amazon

Musings on the Magick of the Natural World

Sleeping with the Goddess on Amazon

Nights of Devotion

A Weekly Reflection on Amazon

Musings for the Year

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

Follow Robin on Instagram & Facebook.

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

March, 2019

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

The Interview

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Witch’s Book of Self-Care: Magical Ways to Pamper, Soothe, and Care for Your Body and Spirit on Amazon

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About the Author:

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

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

The Inner Chamber Volume One on Amazon

It’s Written in the Stars

Astrology

The Inner Chamber, Vol. Two

poetry of the Spheres (Volume 2) on Amazon

Qabalah

The Inner Chamber, Vol. Three

Awakening the Paths on Amazon

Qabalah

A Year With Gaia on Amazon

The Eternal Cord

Temple of the Sun and Moon on Amazon

Luminous Devotions

The Magickal Pen Volume One (Volume 1) on Amazon

A Collection of Esoteric Writings

The Elemental Year on Amazon

Aligning the Parts of SELF

The Enchanted Gate on Amazon

Musings on the Magick of the Natural World

Sleeping with the Goddess on Amazon

Nights of Devotion

A Weekly Reflection on Amazon

Musings for the Year

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

Follow Robinon Instagram & Facebook.

Book Reviews – The Only Books You Will Ever Need: 3 Titles From the Plain & Simple Series

March, 2019

There is a series of books titled, “Plain & Simple, The Only Book You will Ever Need”. I have three of these that I would like to review together, in that they are part of a growing series.

The first one I will review is “Chakras, Plain & Simple” by Sasha Fenton.

The book begins with an introduction to the chakras, what they are, and how they work. From there, there is a chapter on each chakra with description, purpose, benefits of each when healthy and each includes an exercise for the specific chakra.

How to heal your chakra is next discussed, bringing them into balance using colors, crystals, oils, altars. The last two sections go beyond the 7 major chakras to the minor ones and a very short discussion on kundalini energy.

The next book is “Flower Essences, Plain & Simple,” by Linda Perry.

It follows the same formula, starting with what they are, how to choose them, feel their energies and how to make them. It describes how to use them with the chakras and the subtle bodies.

There is a small section referencing Dr. Edward Bach, found of Bach Flower Remedies, and then moves into a discussion of different essences including, but not limited to, rose, lavender, eucalyptus, and red geranium.

It ends with a glossary of essences and their uses, including how and when to use them.

We finish with “Herbs, Plain & Simple,” by Marlene Houghton.

Ms. Houghton starts us off with a history of herbalism, how it is used in healing and the use of a “green pharmacy”.

This is followed by a section on herbs for individual body systems, including, the immune system, digestive system, nervous system and more. It discusses what you would put in an herbal first aid kit, medicinal honeys, different herbal elixirs, including herbs for anti-aging, herbal teas and the comfort of herbal baths.

While I would not quite agree that these are the only books you will ever need on these subjects, I do agree that they are “Plain & Simple”, giving you the basic information you would need to know before deciding whether or not to delve further into any particular area of interest.

Chakras, Plain & Simple: The Only Book You’ll Ever Need on Amazon

Flower Essences Plain & Simple: The Only Book You’ll Ever Need on Amazon

Herbs Plain & Simple: The Only Book You’ll Ever Need (Plain & Simple Series) on Amazon

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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

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