festivals

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.

Review: 2019 Lunar & Seasonal Diary (Northern Hemisphere) by Stacey DeMarco

December, 2018

Review:

2019 Lunar & Seasonal Diary (Northern Hemisphere) by Stacey DeMarco

Rockpool Publishing

ISBN: 978-1-925682-13-7

List Price: $21.95 USD / £16.99 GBP

The 2019 Lunar and Seasonal Diary is a beautiful, spiral-bound calendar, richly illustrated with pleasing sepia color pages. As one would expect, it tracks the waxing and waning of the moon and the lunar eclipses of the coming year. It also provides the astrological house of each new and full moon and features the eight annual festivals of the wheel of the year.

I reviewed the Northern Hemisphere edition of the Seasonal Diary. Both Stacey DeMarco and Rockpool Publishing are based in Australia, which is why special care is made to tie the festivals to the seasons themselves instead of calendar dates. After all, our calendars follow the reality of the Earth and her seasons, not the other way around.

Especially well fitted to the new pagan, the diary has a well written introduction the hows and whys of spellcraft and the basics of working with crystals. The moon phases are introduced, as well as the elements, directions and the wheel of the year – not enough to complicate things, but enough guidance to use the daily and monthly prompts that follow. Each month features a specific deity, as well as an appropriate ritual or spell, drawing inspiration from traditions as varied as Slavic, Celtic, Hindu, Norse, Egyptian, Greek, and Shinto. I think the selection is broad enough to be interesting for almost any pagan.

I found the Lunar & Seasonal Diary a beautiful resource to keep me connected to the monthly rhythms of the earth. Each month begins with a page questioning “What am I devoted to?” – asking us to simultaneously reflect on what we have been wrapped up in the month just past as well as what we would aspire towards in the month ahead. Prompts are given for important dates and goals to focus on and manifest in the month ahead.

This monthly return to focus seems a positively recharging reset to our frame of reference, especially during those stressful times when we’re just happy to it through one calendar page to the next. It reminds us to recall what we are working for in the first place, reminding us that the daily grind is a process and not an end in itself. This monthly taking-stock can allow you to stay open to the living world around you, to stay fast with what is truly important to you, or to shift your focus and goals each month, working on different aspects of your life just as the energy of the earth changes through different phases around you.

With the space for taking notes, prompts for both reflective and aspirational record keeping, I think this is a great notebook for any pagan who sees the value of the occasional ritual to keep one in tune with the seasons, and it especially shines for those new to the pagan path.

2019 Lunar & Seasonal Diary: Northern Hemisphere on Amazon

Notes from the Apothecary

December, 2018

Notes from the Apothecary: Christmas Cactus

 Oh no, not the C-Word! That’s right, my fellow Pagans, I said it. Christmas. Love it or loathe it, come December the 25th, possible birthday of Dionysus and Mithras (but unlikely to be the birthday of Jesus) the nation, nay, the world goes Christmas mad and we shake our heads. Don’t they know it’s just another solstice celebration? Or at the very most, an adoption of the festivities of Roman Saturnalia? Well, it might surprise you to know that I love Christmas. Yeah, it’s a touch annoying when people deny the Pagan roots, but I’m a sucker for seeing other people happy. And Christmas makes people happy! It also gives its name to some amazing things: Christmas Island, Christmas Jones and of course, the beautiful and exotic Christmas Cactus.

The botanical name is Schlumbergera, chosen by botanist Charles Lemaire (1801-1871) in honour of Frédéric Schlumberger (1823-1893) who was a renowned collector of cacti and succulents.

 

The Kitchen Garden

 Christmas Cacti are generally kept as houseplants as they are native to Brazil and used to this type of climate. In the wild they grow attached to rocks and trees, but they are happy in some well-drained, good quality compost with a bit of grit or sand.

The cacti are normally grown from cuttings and their spikes are barely there, making them resemble a succulent more than a traditional cactus. The leaves are flattish pads and they form chains which eventually erupt into bright and beautiful flowers. They are normally quite happy sharing a large pot with other succulents and cacti as long as it doesn’t become too crowded.

Don’t let them have too much direct sunlight. It can damage the leaves. But too little light, and they may never flower. Many schlumbergera flower in winter, making them a wonderful addition to natural holiday decorations, whatever you celebrate.

 

The Witch’s Kitchen

Cacti in general are associated with fire and the south. They are also associated with the zodiac sign of Aries, but Christmas cactus is specifically associated with Sagittarius. Unsurprisingly this plant is associated with the month of December and the festival of Yule or the Winter Solstice. Christmas cacti make a great altar decoration for any festive period, and ones with pink or red flowers are particularly appropriate for the south of your sacred space.

The association with the zodiac sign of Aries can be expanded to include the god Aries, and Mars, Aries’ Roman Equivalent. This lends the Christmas cactus the power of strength, courage but also of conflict and success in battles.

Sagittarius is another fire sign, but one particularly associated with November and December, the signs time in the zodiac ending around the winter solstice. Sagittarius is the archer, and associated with prophecy and divination. The Christmas cactus, therefore, could be a great tool in meditative divination or prophetic spellwork.

Sagittarius is ruled by Jupiter, so the Christmas Cacti could also be a great addition to expansion magic, and lawfully aligned magic.

 

Home and Hearth

Collect the flowers of your Christmas Cacti before they begin to fade. Let them dry; laying them on some paper in an airing cupboard or a sunny windowsill away from damp is good for this. Place the dried and hopefully colourful flowers in a small, clear jar. Either hang the jar on a thong or chain, or keep it in a pocket when you are going into situations where you need a little more courage. This could be confrontations with friends or family that you are nervous about, or perhaps raising a grievance in the workplace. The energy of Mars will walk with you, and the balance of a very hardy plant.

 

I Never Knew…

For those who enjoy growing succulents and cacti, the adorable name for baby succulents is pups!

All images from Wikipedia.

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About the Author:

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

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

A Modern Celt: Seeking the Ancestors on Amazon

 

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