magick

Book Review – The Bardic Book of Becoming: An Introduction to Modern Druidry by Ivan McBeth with Fern Lickfield

February, 2019

Book Review

The Bardic Book of Becoming

An Introduction to Modern Druidry

by Ivan McBeth with Fern Lickfield

Ivan McBeth died peacefully at home on September 23.2016, and his name and work remains as that one of the penultimate Druids. Reading the introduction and the words of his partner, Fern Lickfield drew me into this book well before the actual meat of the book. And, the closing words of Orion Foxwood, completed a beautiful book of hope, teaching and wisdom in the way of the bard.

This is a book of beginnings that offers those new to the path of Druidry solid foundation in a style of mystery and magick that has survived and evolved into a modern practice that honors the earth that was, is and can be. This book is chockfull of visualizations, rituals and stories filled with the keys of understanding that will open the doors of personal experience.

A most endearing approach is that of Ivan offering his own stories of how he came to a path of Druidry, what it meant to him and how he wished to enchant the world with these teachings that emanate from a history that systemically wove the natural world and man into a dance of collaborative embrace and mutual support.

Ivan begins the teachings in Chapter One, entitled We Are One. A simple, yet profound statement that he continues to peel back the layers of in reminding us that we began inseparable from the Earth’s Mother and although we have recently lost our way, the choice is ours to return to that place of symbiotic union and relationship with everything.

We learn that there are three levels/grades of training that form the Druid Path, the Bard-the Ovate and finally the becoming of a Druid. This study and path is one of commitment, the early Druids training for at least twenty years and all of that training oral in its passing on. Nothing was recorded. That was the way of the ancient Druids. There have been revisions to this in keeping with the demands of modern society and the inability n most cases to devote all of one’s life and time to this training.

Part One moves smoothly and clearly through al that is required to begin the foundations of a Drudic practice. It is rich with visualizations, exercises, and opportunities to create your own experiences that will form the scaffolding of who and what you become as you evolve and grow in a natural and wholistic world. The mere telling of Ivan’s experiences is a mystical gateway filled with passkeys and inspired ways of practice. This style adds a personal approach and engages the reader into a palpable experience in the re-telling. This also exemplifies the ways of the Druids in past years and the power of their teachings handed down through storytelling and oral rendition. We are one and our stories all lead to the mysteries of who and what we are on this planet and in this time.

Part Two dedicates its chapters to the Elements and the role they play in the practice of Druidry. These are the cornerstones of the natural world and as such are held in the utmost sacredness to those on a Druid’s path. I particularly liked the way in which Ivan drew you in with experience and a very simple, yet rich in layers of meaning accounting of the energies.

In keeping with the tradition of experience that is so richly laden within a Druid’s path, I am purposefully keeping this review brief. The greater worth of its information is to be found by your diving into its pages and immersing yourself in an ancient practice of cultivating awareness of all that is of this natural world; most importantly ourselves. This book is a treasure of wisdom for anyone on a spiritual path that integrates our responsibility as stewards of our planet and our inter-connectedness. It is a read I would highly recommend, not as encouragement of taking this path as your own, although you may find that resonance, but simply as a book dedicated to living in accord with the mysteries and magic of the Cosmos and how we may empower that work within ourselves.

The Bardic Book of Becoming: An Introduction to Modern Druidry 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.

Gael Song

February, 2019

Contemplative Druidry

During these dark winter days, when the pull inward is strongest, I want to bring up the topic of a contemplative branch of druidry. On my own path, I’ve been led into a silent lifestyle with two half-hour meditations a day, one focused on healing the planet and the other on whatever has arisen in my life that day. This practice has led me through a steady spirit ascension process, planes of light moving down into my aura for 2-3 weeks, then moving out as another color took its place from above. There have been 363 of these planes over 23 years of this continuing spirit practice, always an upward process, coming closer to a bright diamond light at the center of the cosmos that I can see in my mind’s eye.

The silence of my days brings me into very close connection with the spirit world, and I’ve learned to sense and hear the voices of my guides and family of light in the Otherworld over the years. These Otherworldy beings have taught me amazing things: the Celtic regents of those planes of light, the many cosmic cycles these regents overlight and regulate, the meaning of the druid moons and Ogham letters, a vast cornucopia of information I was unable to find in my fifteen years of research into Celtic times before I started my meditation practice. And my guides and family of light are always full of love and courtesy, an abiding, gentle, and profound love that I’ve never experienced in this earthly world. This Otherworld connection I maintain in the silence of my home links me to inner teachers from the far reaches of the cosmos, wisdom beyond imagining, plus that love and respect that I find so very nourishing, love I can no longer live without. I know a silent lifestyle isn’t for everyone, and I’m not suggesting this. But I am saying that taking an hour or so a day in silence to connect with the Otherworld brings benefits that are nearly miraculous. It would benefit everyone greatly, I’m certain of that.

At druid gatherings I’ve been to, there’s often a lot of noise, a rowdy, not always kind, atmosphere. And it brings me out of my inner connection to the Otherworld and sometimes feels like a large drop in the peacefulness and inner love I am used to feeling. Celebration, exuberance, and fun at druid gatherings are good overall; I’m not arguing against them. But I want the magic of my silent times and my interface with the spirit world, too, especially when with others of my own spirit tradition, for it potentiates everything that occurs. I’ve felt spirit magic during musical performances at gatherings sometimes, but the general noisiness interferes with my spirit connection to the Otherworld. The rituals are often lovely, but they, too, do not include moments of silence and are usually so formalized and scripted that I can’t stop for a moment to just listen, to feel the spirits of the trees or lakes nearby. It’s in the silence that spirit messages slip between the small spaces into our hearts and minds, that’s what I think.

And I long for a soul group that I can meet with once a month perhaps, to share a bit of silence and some spirit stories, perhaps, a quiet group, similar to the English Order of the Sacred Nemeton. So far, I’ve not met anyone who has much interest in such a thing, not in druidry, at least. I’d love to hear from anyone who does!

So, here’s to silence, to calling forth the nature spirits and ancestors of light, druid guides from the Tuathe de Danaan, perhaps. Let’s open our own practices, our gatherings and rituals up to the universe, the spirit interconnectedness of all that is. Let’s listen in the stillness for a change, for that’s where the true power is.

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About the Author:

Jill Rose Frew, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist, energy healer, workshop leader, and author. She will be opening a school teaching light healing and the Celtic path of enlightenment in 2019. For information, please see www.CelticHeaven.com

She is author of Guardians of the Celtic Way: The Path to arthurian Fulfillment (her name was Jill Kelly then), and Alba Reborn, Alba Reborn, Book One, RevisedAlba Reborn, Book Two, and Alba Reborn, Book Three.

Guardians of the Celtic Way: The Path to hurian Fulfillment on Amazon

Going Shamanic Radio

February, 2019

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

This Month’s Topic: Exploring Plant Medicine with Janis Young

Today Jen welcomes Silverowl (Janis Young) whose unique approach to healing encompasses work as a Shamanic Practitioner (crystals, drumming, pipe medicine), Holistic Nutritionist (diet, lifestyle), Reconnective Healing Practitioner (energy work), and Charter herbalist (remedies & potions) to assist in the ongoing quest for health.

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

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

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About the Author:

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

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

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

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

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

For more information go to: www.spiraldanceshamanics.com

Imbolc Correspondences

February, 2019

( Bringer of Light for Imbolc Limited Edition Print by Amanda Clark of Earth Angels s on etsy. )

February 1, 2

Other Names: Imbolg (im-molc)(em-bowl’g) (Celtic), Candlemas (Christian), Brigantia (Caledonii), Oimelc, Festival of Light, Brigid’s (Brid, Bride) Day, La Fheill, An Fheille Bride, Candelaria (Mexico), Chinese New Year, Disting-tid (Feb 14th, Teutonic), DisaBlot, Anagantios, Lupercalia/Lupercus (Strega), Groundhog Day, Valentines Day.

Animals & Mythical Beings: Firebird, dragon, groundhog, deer, burrowing animals, ewes, robin, sheep, lamb, other creatures waking from hibernation.

Gemstones: Amethyst, garnet, onyx, turquoise.

Incense/Oil: Jasmine, rosemary, frankincense, cinnamon, neroli, musk, olive, sweet pea, basil, myrrh, and wisteria, apricot, carnation.

Colors/Candles: Brown, pink, red, orange, white, lavender, pale yellow, silver.

Tools,Symbols, & Decorations: White flowers, marigolds, plum blossoms, daffodils, Brigid wheel, Brigid’s cross, candles, grain/seed for blessing, red candle in a cauldron full of earth, doll, Bride’s Bed; the Bride, broom, milk, birchwood, snowflakes, snow in a crystal container, evergreens, homemade besom of dried broom, orange candle anointed in oil (see above)can be used to symbolize the renewing energy of the Sun’s rebirth.

Goddesses: Virgin Goddess, Venus, Diana, Februa, Maiden, Child Goddess, Aradia, Athena, Inanna, Vesta, Gaia, Brigid, Selene(Greek), Branwen(Manx-Welsh).

Gods: Young Sun Gods, Pan, Cupid/Eros (Greco-Roman), Dumuzi(Sumerian).

Essence: Conception, initiation, insight, inspiration, creativity, mirth, renewal, dedication, breath of life, life-path, wise counsel, plan, prepare.

Meaning: First stirring of Mother Earth, lambing, growth of the Sun God, the middle of winter.

Purpose: Honoring the Virgin Goddess, festival of the Maiden/Light.

Rituals & Magicks: Cleansing; purification, renewal, creative inspiration, purification, initiation, candle work, house & temple blessings, welcoming Brigid, feast of milk & bread.

Customs: Lighting candles, seeking omens of Spring, storytelling, cleaning house, bonfires, indoor planting, stone collecting, candle kept burning dusk till dawn; hearth re-lighting.

Foods: Dairy, spicy foods, raisins, pumpkin, sesame & sunflower seeds, poppyseed bread/cake, honey cake, pancakes, waffles, herbal tea.

Herbs: Angelica, basil, bay, benzoin, celandine, clover, heather, myrrh, all yellow flowers, willow.

Element: Earth

Gender: Female

Threshold: Midnight

Review of Sacred Mists Shoppe Blessed Gemstone Kit & Interview with Lady Lorien Of Sacred Mists

February, 2019

We received a lovely Gemstone Offering Kit to review at PaganPagesOrg from Sacred Mists Shoppe and I thought it looked like so much fun I would invite someone new to the Craft to enjoy it with my old Crone self. Get another opinion, from young eyes, as well.

The Gemstone Offering Kit from Sacred Mists Shoppe includes one pound of a mixed lot of offering gemstones (that is a lot!), a hand-rolled mini power candle made of beeswax, a mini sage smudging wand, two elemental matchsticks, instructions on what to do, and a free gift of an incense stick.

The instructions are easy to follow. They show you how to cleanse, bless & charge your stones in easy to comply language. Then the Gemstone Offering Kit suggests ways to use your stones as offerings: You can use them to give thanks to the Earth, as ways to invite Faeries, as ways to use them as gifts of gratitude & more.

When our candle burned out (please do not copy what we did and burn your candle on the plastic lid) we placed some of the charged stones in the garden to thank the Earth and attract Fae to the yard. We each kept a nice portion of the blessed stones as there are plenty of them. I still have a ton to gift. Also, when I run out, Sacred Mists Shoppe includes a coupon on the instruction sheet for more stones! Very thoughtful.

The Crone and the Maiden both thoroughly enjoyed this ritual. We had so much fun together. Even if we did it alone, and not together, it would be a fun ritual to perform. There are so many gemstones in all varieties. The portion size is very generous for the price. The instructions are clear & concise. The coupon is a wonderful bonus. You can keep the sturdy jar to store your stones or any supplies in.

I was right to invite my friend! We had a blast doing this kit, and we know you will, too!

If you would like to purchase the Gemstone Offering Kit from Sacred Mists Shoppe it is $24.95 + shipping and can be bought here on their site or you can purchase it here on their etsy.

I was lucky to have a chance to speak with Lady Lorien of Sacred Mists about their wonderful product, shop, & other interesting topics. Here is what Lady Lorien had to say!

Jennifer Wright (JW): Hello Lady Lorien,
It is a pleasure to speak with you! My friend and I just completed your Blessed Gemstone Kit and we had the best time! We found it to be a creative and fun idea to do. Not only alone, but as a group. How did you come up with such an idea?

Lady Lorien (LL): Offerings are an important part of our practice and we’ve had our Blessed Offering Stones available in our store for years. While in the warehouse one day I came up with the idea to create a kit that provided all of the pieces needed to work with the offering stones, including cleansing, empowering, and storing them. We love sifting through the stones to find just the right offering to make at a particular time as well as simply putting our hands into them and letting the stones roll through our fingers. Our Blessed Offering Stones have long been a customer favorite and we love them, too!

JW: We see you created the product yourself at your Covenstead?

LL:As with all of our Covenstead Creations offerings, the kit was made right here in our beautiful Napa Valley location.

JW: Can you tell us more about your Covenstead?

LL: Our Covenstead is home of our circle and coven, Sacred Mists. Here, our training programs in areas such as complete Wiccan degrees, herbalism, tarot, historical paganism, and Reiki are offered. It is also the location of our shop cottage where all of our creations are made and from where our orders are shipped. All of our training offerings are available online at www.workingwitches.com and our products are available at www.sacredmists.com.

JW: Do you make all of your products?

LL: We offer our own creations as well as many products from other craftspersons and suppliers that have been hand selected by us for quality and intention.

JW: Your shop and Coven has been around for decades, has it not?

LL: Sacred Mists has been in existence for over 25 years and our teachings and products have been available online for 17 years now. Time flies!

JW: You even have a brick & Mortar shop. Sacred Mists has a school?

LL:We used to have a brick and mortar shop, however, we have since closed it due to the enormous expenses involved with having one in our area. All of our offerings, including both products and our training programs, are available online. Our school reaches thousands of students from around the world, all of whom are able to join together in online discussions, online rituals, and collaborative study. We are definitely a coven and circle family and each student who joins us is warmly welcomed.

JW: Do you, yourself, teach?

LL:I do! I’m actively involved with all of the classes and programs offered. We also have other highly qualified teachers and mentors within our program, ensuring that each student is provided with individual attention and training. Our programs are very unique in that way.

JW: All of your products look truly wonderful and your prices are fair. Thank you for sending us your Blessed Gemstone Kit. Your products are amazing and PaganPagesOrg definitely recommends your shop!

I would like to thank Lady Lorien for taking the time to chat with us! From our talk and from the quality of their products and looking around their site, I will definitely be delving into their classes, I can recommend you do, as well!

Contacts & Social Media Sites:

Main Site: Sacred Mists

Kit: Gemstone Offering Kit

Their Facebook

Their Twitter

Their Pinterest

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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.

Interview & Review – Laura Tempest Zakroff: Sigil Witchery

February, 2019

A Book Review

Sigil Witchery

(An interview with Tempest follows this review.)

It was very serendipitous that as this book was coming up for review, I had just registered to take a workshop with Tempest based on this very book.

The word “sigil” means “seal” or an action/word of a spiritual nature. I would hazard a guess that most of us have seen sigils that mean specific things, written and drawn by others.

Tempest brings sigils to us in a more personal way, with the sigils drawn by us, to have meaning to us, specifically. She simplifies it for us, while never detracting from their power.

Before doing this, she gives us a brief history of what she calls “making marks”, discussing the paintings, symbolism and markings of previous civilizations, which are still so important to us today. Tempest does on to explain the differences between sigils and signs, seals, designs, etc.

There are sections on the basic shapes used in sigils and their meanings, adding directions, letters and numbers, how to use the elements in our sigils and how they work.

There is space for us to create our own symbols for specific words that Ms. Zakroff has listed for us, thus building our own library to make our own custom sigils. She gives guidance on designing our own, what tools we can use, why we should craft our own sigils. She offers us suggestion sigils and a gallery of her own custom sigils.

We don’t have to be “high magicians” to utilize the power of sigils and the how-to’s are all right here, in an informative, friendly, easy-to-read-and-relate-to manner.

As one who has never given much thought to sigils, on their own, this book has tempted me to not only think about it, but do it.

Interview With Laura Tempest Zakroff

Susan Morgaine (SM): Hi Tempest – it was so nice to see you while you were on tour.

So, belly dancer/performer, event producer, artist, witch, author and teacher. That is quite impressive. I knew you primarily as a dancer and performer when we met many years ago, and it wasn’t until I saw the logo for Waking Persephone that I realized you were an artist, as well

SM: How did you start and what did you start with, realizing it was most probably a circuitous journey? Please only respond with what you are comfortable with sharing.

Tempest: I definitely started with art, going back as early as age 3. By first grade I was taking formal art classes on a regular basis – all the way through high school. Then for college, I graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design. I discovered modern Witchcraft and Paganism in my teens, and got into dance in my college years. When I moved to California in 2001, dance and Pagan stuff pretty much took over my life. I didn’t have much room or resources to make the kind of art I had been doing in school, so art took a bit of a backseat. It manifested through my costume designs and creations, graphic design, and some small drawings and paintings. When I moved back to the East Coast in 2007, I started working as a fashion jewelry designer. I did that until mid-2012, when it was time for drastic life shift. In that process I moved to Seattle and began working for myself full-time in all the things I do (dance, design, art). Sometimes I feel frustrated that I didn’t just keep going with the fine art out of school, but I realize I wouldn’t be where I am now, on this path – if I had.

SM: What was the impetus behind the idea of Waking Persephone. I know there were several years here on the East Coast; are you continuing it on the West Coast?

Tempest: I co-produced Gothla US from 2008-2010 – which took place in California. It was supposed to switch coasts, but that didn’t happen. Which was frustrating because most of my east coast, home-base students couldn’t afford to attend it. So much work and the people I worked the closest with couldn’t participate. I also had a vision for something that encompassed more, without stylistic labels – to bring in more ritual/sacred dance, more artistry, more diversity. That became a reality first in Tapestry Dance Retreat (2011) and then Waking Persephone the following Spring. We did 2 years in Providence, and 3 more years in Seattle. At this time, I’m not producing any events, because I needed to focus on my art and writing, but when the time comes, something will probably emerge again. Producing events takes up so much time and energy. I transformed that time and focus into something else. Since the last WP in 2016, I’ve written 4 books, published an anthology, and pushed my art deeper.

SM: When did you realize your were a Witch? It’s so interesting to hear about other’s spiritual journeys.

Tempest: I was at odds with the Catholic Church since my youngest days. I got sent to the principal’s office at age 6 because during a field trip to the church, I insisted on sitting where the priests and altar boys did (like my brothers!), and couldn’t understand while girls weren’t allowed. So much doctrine that made no sense – I felt that God was more present in nature and everywhere around us. I discovered that there were other options to the Abrahamic religions in my mid-teens – that Witchcraft and Paganism was a thing. The realization that there were names for what I believed and felt, and that other people saw the world similarly was a huge revelation.

SM: What made you decide to start to write, and then to follow that with teaching?

Tempest: I’ve been writing for a long time – in high school I was the editor of the literary magazine. At RISD in 1997, I got involved with Crescent Magazine – where I became an associate editor and had regular columns. I started up a website on Modern Traditional Witchcraft around then as well. Around 2000, I started offering Witchcraft classes – and kept that up until around 2005 or so. Then I burned out on being a public Witch, and retreated to a solitary path for almost a decade. After getting my life reset in 2012, I ventured out of my cave a bit with renewed focus and purpose. I started up a blog (which moved to Patheos in early 2016 I think), began teaching again and toyed with the idea of finally writing a book. In the Fall of 2015, I was offered the contract to write “The Witch’s Cauldron” for Llewellyn. It was a wonderful way to just dive right in, and was really well received. So from there, I wrote “Sigil Witchery” – after folks taking my workshops asked why I hadn’t written a book yet on it. And well, it’s just kept going from then.

SM: I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to take your Sigil Witchery workshop (which is reviewed somewhere else this month in Pagan Pages). What did you learn from your travels and sitting with/teaching so many Witches and Pagans around the country? I found it fascinating to see, on Instagram, the sigils you created with each workshop.

Tempest: No matter where folks are located or what path/label they use – Witches/Paganfolks have so much more in common than not. The community (or whatever we wish to call it) is incredibly diverse, but we share many beliefs and loves, as well as fears and concerns. There is so much potential in recognizing our collective power and connections.

SM: So what is next on the agenda for you, Tempest? Any sneak peeks?

Tempest: A. I’m finally working on an oracle deck! The tentative title is “The Liminal Spirits Oracle” and it will be out via Llewellyn I believe some point next year 🙂

You can reach/follow Tempest at the following:

Owlkeyme arts – Design & Fine art by Laura Tempest Zakroff | Seattle, WA

www.owlkeyme.com

Mago Djinn – Modern Folk Wear

www.magodjinn.com

Author Site – www.lauratempestzakroff.com

Sigil Witchery: A Witch’s Guide to Crafting Magick Symbols 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 (Volume 4) on Amazon

Notes from the Apothecary

February, 2019

Notes from the Apothecary: Cumin

Cumin is a fragrant spice in the apiaceae family, meaning it’s related to carrots, parsley, and the similar looking caraway. We use the seed of the plant in both cooking and magic.

Cumin has been used for thousands of years, and most likely originated near Syria, based on evidence from nearby excavation sites. Cumin was a table spice in Ancient Greece, a tradition which continues today in Morocco. The Romans adopted the use of cumin, and Spanish and Portuguese colonists eventually brought the spice to the Americas, where it is enjoyed in a range of cuisines.

The Kitchen Garden

Cumin is one of those mesmerising flavours that simply doesn’t taste like anything else. When I was first learning about cooking Indian food, I had not realised that cumin was such a commonly used ingredient. Adding it to my store cupboard changed my life. Most curries I cook now have whole cumin seeds fried until they pop and release their smoky, earthy goodness into the hot oil. Every chilli con carne is blessed with my kitchen’s holy triumvirate of cumin, coriander and turmeric, making the house smell simply divine.

Whole seeds and ground cumin are both readily available in grocery stores and supermarkets. I’ve found that the best value way to buy cumin is to visit an Indian or Mexican store or wholesaler, as shops that don’t specialise tend to bump the price up.

The Apothecary

Cumin seeds are used as a natural medicine all over the world. Alleged cumin medical properties include being an anti-inflammatory, diuretic, antispasmodic, carminative, aromatic, digestive, and an emmenagogue. In their book about healthy seeds, Danny Sarmiento writes that cumin helps prevent the harmful effects of stress on the body. That must be why I love a cumin heavy curry on a weekend after a hard week!

Sarmiento also states that cumin can offer relief for asthma sufferers as it may dilate the airways. There’s also some indication that the seeds may be effective for treating diabetes.

The seeds are filled with nutritious vitamins and minerals including iron and manganese, so they’re a great addition to just about anyone’s diet.

The Witch’s Kitchen

Cunningham lists cumin in his encyclopaedia of magical herbs. He states the spice is masculine, associated with Mars and fire, which makes sense when you think of how this spice is often used in hot curries and Mexican food! Heat is definitely linked to cumin. But I also find it earthy, and grounding.

According to Cunningham, the spice is used for protection magic, to ensure fidelity, for exorcism and to prevent theft. Bread baked with cumin seeds won’t be stolen by spirits, so if you follow this superstition, don’t leave cumin-spiced bread out for the fair folk! Cumin can be burnt with frankincense to create a powerful protective incense. Scatter cumin and salt to create a protective boundary. Carry in a pouch at handfastings to drive negative thoughts or energies away from the happy couple. Or add some to the wine later on, for an exciting wedding night!

Home and Hearth

Mix cumin seeds with fine salt. Walk the boundary of your home at Imbolc or the Spring Equinox. Sprinkle the protective mix while you visualise your home as a safe and special place. Imagine the sun’s returning light suffusing your home with a warm, comforting glow. The salt and spice mix will keep negativity at bay, whilst allowing love entry, and encouraging loyalty.

I Never Knew…

There’s an old superstition that you should curse and shout as you sow cumin seeds, to ensure a good crop.

All images via Wikipedia or Wikimedia commons.

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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 Ancestorsand 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

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

February, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Italian Folk Magic: Rue’s Kitchen Witchery on Amazon

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About the Author:

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

Welcome

January, 2019

Happy New Year!!!

In This Issue, We’d Like to Help You Plan Out Your New Year With Helpful Features. Check Out Our Review of Coloring Book of Shadows Planner for A Magickal 2019 by Ami Cesari.

Wreathing the Wheel Teaches Tarot Journaling for the New Year.

We Review Two New Beautiful Calendars.

And Why Not Start the Year Off Right With a New Column – Book of Shadows: As the Wheel Turns. To Help on Planning Your BOS!

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It takes as much energy to wish as to plan. -Eleanor Roosevelt

Book Review – The Witchcraft Handbook by Midia Star

January, 2019

Book Review

The Witchcraft Handbook:

Unleash Your Magical Powers to Create the Life You Want

By Midia Star

This is a beginner’s book, someone who has some experience may use the spells in this book just as a jumping off point to create some new spells. At the very beginning of the book, the first thing the author writes is “Witchcraft is the practical side of the Wiccan religion.” I have to say that I disagree with that statement because not all witches are Wiccan.

I had a hard time on telling what demographic the writer was going after with this book. There are spells for home, sex, work, and love. While at the back of the book there is a section on Dreamboards. In this section, the writer states that the Dreamboard should be for your dreams and not those of your friends or parents.

While the author’s writing is well done, I do have to wonder about the information this book contains. As far as information on herbs, crystals, oils, and Moon phases the author is spot on. But there are other little small things that I feel are misinformation.

Page 79 of the book the author writes in the Did You Know? box: “Christians once used the pentagram as a religious symbol. Each point represented the five wounds of Christ. To pagans and to witches it represents Morrigan, the war goddess who fights for peace in good fortune for others. If you see the pentagram drawn with the top point of the star pointing to the bottom of the circle, this represents dark and sinister magic, so always draw your pentagram with the top point of the star pointing upwards.” The part about the Christian’s is correct. I honestly don’t know about the Morrigan part. But the inverted Pentacle I do know something about. This is misinformation because on specific paths the pentacle with the star pointing down is a sign of protection or even a sign of attaining another degree within that path.

On page 97 the author writes when talking about A Garden Space: that in the William Shakespeare’s witches’ famous incantation’ eye of newt and toe of frog’ actually refers to mustard seeds and a type of buttercup plant. I had never heard that myself, I would like to know what research the author used to arrive at that conclusion.

On page 123 Midia Star writes in the Did You Know? box: “The Druids where the first to believe and the power of the four-leaf clover.” Now whether this is true or not I don’t know, again I would like to know other resources the author used to arrive at that conclusion.

The book contains no bibliography, or other sources were the author may have gotten their information. The author does state that they have tried the spells and they have worked for them. Again, as I said at the beginning, the information on herbs, oils, candles, and the Moon phase are all spot on. But, I do take exception to the things I have listed, due to the lack of the bibliography.

The Witchcraft Handbook: Unleash Your Magical Powers to Create the Life You Want 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 at: Readings by Dawn on Facebook at

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

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