messages

Book Review – Divining With Animal Guides: Answers from the World at Hand by Hearth Moon Rising

March, 2019

Book Review
Divining With Animal Guides
Answers from the World at Hand
by Hearth Moon Rising

I was delighted to discover that Divining with Animal Guides is not a cookbook dictionary, concretizing the “meanings” of animal encounters. Author Hearth Moon Rising has created a manual for learning to observe and discern and ultimately, to shift our strictly human viewpoint. Only when we look at the context in which the animals offer us their messages are we able to fully understand their invitations and gifts.

Rising weaves science, mythology, mathematics and storytelling into each of the chapters. There are 9 in total, covering the cat family big and small, alligators and crocodiles, horses, bees, scorpions, ravens, woodpeckers, deer and the antlered ones, and cranes. This is not a purely “magical” discussion of these beings, although she provides a short review for each animal guide, briefly listing magical qualities and applications and other associations. She focuses instead on laying the groundwork for an understanding of the animal’s place and workings in nature through its evolution and biology, and then delves into its mythology and historical associations. So, in the chapter on Cat, Rising brings the cat forward from its origins in Egypt to its association with witches in Europe right up to its appearance in quantum physics as Schrodinger’s Cat. She also provides a story or poem to place the animal in a particular cultural context so we can begin to sense how its powers interact with its world. I was fascinated at how well Rising created this weaving of science and mythology and found it difficult to put the book down at points. She evokes the energetic field of the animal’s entire biological and historical existence so we can connect to it and make our own associations.

Rising’s instructions for using math and geometry in observing and interpreting signs and messages are wonderful. For example, she asks us to consider that bees construct hexagonal honeycombs and launches into an analysis of the hexagon and the significance of the number 8 that is guaranteed to deepen your understanding of any messages you have ever received from Bee. And if you find a lone animal that usually travels in pairs or groups, reflect on why only one appears now.

Rising emphasizes scientific observation of the animal and an appreciation of the context – environmental, biological and metaphoric – in which it appears or communicates with you. Observing it closely where and how it appears rather than jumping to a conclusion about what it “means” makes the difference between a superficial understanding of its message and truly receiving it and allowing it to unfold over time. Rising uses each animal to demonstrate a different aspect of observation – ravens for sight and seeing, woodpeckers for hearing and listening, deer (rarely seen nor heard) – tracking through confusing signals until you find your way. In other words, discerning the root what is meant and which clues in the message to follow. As she points out, “A paradigm shift cannot occur with the disintegration of beliefs and the subsequent disorientation…The most profound animal signs are not the ones that tell you where to go next or what to expect in the year ahead. They are the signs that open the world, allowing you to see something new, even to realize a deeper lever of truth.” She pushes us to cultivate observation skills beyond our “usual” boundaries so we can feel the energy of the deer we hadn’t seen standing next to us in the bushes. She asks us to lose our limited human viewpoint and remove our ego-centric blinders so we can receive the fresh information that the natural world continually offers to us – “divination in nature is not for those who have no room for questioning their beliefs.” In order to help us loosen the grip of our firm convictions, Rising offers provocative questions for reflection in each chapter, too. I found them to be koan-like; I had to stop and really consider what those questions were asking of me.

This book is a jewel. It is much more than a book about the animal powers. It is a guide for how to open our perception to the world around us and broaden our ability to communicate with our co-inhabitants. It is so much more than a dictionary of totem animals. It will challenge you, make you laugh and invite you to step into “the moment of power, the instant when a door opens and one thing changes into another…” as Rising says in her Final Words to us. Divining with Animal Guides: Answers from the World at Hand is well-worth adding to your library.

Divining with Animal Guides: Answers from the World at Hand 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

The Sober Pagan

February, 2019

The Universe Has Your Back … and More!

One of the gifts I received at Yule was a set of meditation cards entitled “The Universe Has Your Back”. Beautifully designed by Gabrielle Bernstein, with artwork by Micaela Ezra, these are some of the loveliest cards I have ever seen. I was first going to review them for “Seeing the Signs” but after looking through them thoroughly, I realized that they weren’t divinatory in the classic sense but rather meant just for mediation. Not that Tarot cards, Lenormard cards and Oracle cards can’t be used for meditation – we all know that all these cards can be used very effectively as meditative tools! But “The Universe Has Your Back” belongs to a class of cards that are only for meditation. For this reason, I thought they were perfect for reviewing in The Sober Pagan.

First off, these cards are beautiful. Everything about them – the box, the back of the cards, the card stock itself, the feel of the cards. They are top-quality all the way.

The inside of the box has this little message.

This is the back of the cards. I really like this. Even before you get to any of the meditative messages, there’s this lovely image that begs for its own contemplative consideration. It’s as simple as haiku but every bit as effective.

For the past few weeks, I have used these cards in my everyday mediation session. Instead of using a Daily Mediation book, such as Twenty-Four Hours A Day by Richmond Walker or Each Day a New Beginning by Karen Casey or one of the many other AA-approved books, I decided to simply pull one card from the pack and meditate on it. I’m not shuffling the pack or doing anything like that – I’m just taking the cards as they come – one card at a time – one day at a time. Each card is beautiful. I find myself looking forward to seeing what the card is going to be each day!

So far, these are my favorite cards:

One thing I’ve noticed is that any one of these cards could make an awesome poster. Maybe I’m an elderly hippie but that’s what I think.

So who is Gabrielle Bernstein, the creator of “The Universe Has Your Back” cards? She is the author of The Universe Has Your Back: Transform Fear to Faith, published by Hay House. I have not read this book and the reviews were all over the place in terms of good versus bad.

To find out more, I Googled her and found her website. Here is the link to it: https://gabbybernstein.com/ There are links to lessons on how to “Detox” yourself from being judgmental and how to pray for surrender. There’s another one for a “cord-cutting meditation”. There’s a link to her blog and a link to a place where you can “shop” for all kinds of stuff, including “The Universe Has Your Back” cards.

But of course, Gabrielle Bernstein is only one-half of “The Universe Has Your Back” card team – the artwork is by Micaela Ezra. Here is her website: http://www.micaelaezra.com/ Do yourself a favor and check it out. Although her artwork is based in Jewish philosophical thought, it is universal in its beauty and truth. I read a few of her blog posts and I look forward to taking the time to read them more closely when my surroundings are properly quiet enough for study. And as a craftswoman, I especially love her work with textiles.

So I am quite pleased with this particular Yule gift! Not only did I receive the gift of the cards themselves – and their meditative messages – but I learned about the creator of the cards and the wonderful artist of the cards. And every day – one day at a time – I have a very valuable sober tool with which to work!

I very highly recommend “The Universe Has Your Back” cards.

Until next month, Brightest Blessings!

References:

Gabrielle Bernstein and Micaela Ezra. “The Universe Has Your Back”: A 52-Card Deck. Carlsbad, CA: Hay House, 2017.

Gabrielle Bernstein. https://gabbybernstein.com/

Micaela Ezra. http://www.micaelaezra.com/

The Universe Has Your Back: A 52-card Deck on Amazon

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About the Author:

Polly MacDavid lives in Buffalo, New York at the moment but that could easily change, since she is a gypsy at heart. Like a gypsy, she is attracted to the divinatory arts, as well as camp fires and dancing barefoot. She has three cats who all help her with her magic.

Her philosophy about religion and magic is that it must be thoroughly based in science and logic. She is Dianic Wiccan and she is solitary.

She blogs at silverapplequeen.wordpress.com. She writes about general life, politics and poetry. She is writing a novel about sex, drugs and recovery.

The Road to Runes

December, 2018

The Road to Runes: The Right Headspace

 

 

Reading runes is a form of divination. All forms of divination require an open mind ready to receive messages and interpret symbols. A stressed and worried mindset will lead to false interpretations, or prevent messages coming through at all. Even the strongest connection between diviner and tools can be blocked by a worried mind or troubled soul.

Of course, we often look for answers from the runes because we are troubled and worried. So how can we stop these worries affecting our divination?

Relax

As an anxious person, believe me, I know this is easier said than done. Relaxation becomes even trickier when you have lots of questions on your mind. However there are several techniques you can use to relax your body, which will normally also help relax your mind.

Listening to music is an old standard for me. Very familiar songs allow me to blank out everything else in my mind, and I often find that belting out a good tune can release a lot of pent-up tension. Classical music can also be very relaxing, but if you’re someone who finds classical music boring, don’t go down this route! Spend some time figuring out which music relaxes you. Are you more relaxed after shouting along to something upbeat? Or by closing your eyes and letting some panpipes wash over you? Services like Spotify are great as they allow you to search for relaxation music and sounds, if you can’t think of anything from your own collection.

The pendulum method, or progressive muscular relaxation (PMR) is also a method I use to help me relax. It also works for sleeplessness. It consists of deliberately tensing groups of muscles, then allowing them to relax. The idea is that for the pendulum to swing the most one way, you first have to pull it all the way in the other direction. So muscles will relax better, or feel more relaxed, after being tense. You may start with your hands, work up to the shoulders, then down to the feet, all the way back up the body leaving neck and face until last. I tend to start with the feet and really take my time. I will talk to myself mentally as I do this: “I’m tensing my toes; I’m relaxing my toes. I’m tensing my feet; I’m relaxing my feet,” and so forth. The combination of muscular relaxation with focusing on the task will leave body and mind loose and ready for anything.

Meditate

Rune meditation is a specific type of meditation designed for understanding the runes better. However, any form of meditation before divination can help make the mind more receptive to messages and more skilled at interpretation. Meditation helps move our mind onto a different level of operating, and allows us to let go of thoughts and feelings which may be bothering us unduly.

Breathing is the key to meditation. A very skilled meditation master advised me that breath is the only tool we ever need. Philosophical, but also accurate. Find yourself a comfortable position. There’s no rule that says you have to sit cross legged, or sit at all. Laying down is perfectly acceptable, although there is the risk of falling asleep! I have joint issues which means it’s very painful for me to sit cross-legged, so I normally sit on a chair or on my sofa, supported by cushions in order to have a straight back whilst remaining relaxed. Once you are comfortable, start to focus on your breath. Breathe naturally, but make a note of it flowing in and out of your body. Notice the breath coming in, then feel it leaving you. In, then out. Imagine yourself breathing in fresh, cooling air, and imagine any stress or tension leaving you with every out breath. Inhale refreshment, exhale stress and worry. Inhale light, expel confusion. Inhale relaxation, exhale aggravation.

If you struggle to breathe normally whilst focusing on your breath, try counting as you breathe. Breathe in through your nose for a slow count of four, then breathe out for a slow count of five. There are lots of different breathing techniques to allow you to enter a meditative state. Once you find your mind starting to relax, you can start to let go of troublesome thoughts. Notice them appear, then just let them drift away. Don’t try to quiet your mind; this is impossible and can make you feel more stressed when you fail. Let the thoughts rumble through your mind but treat them as though you are watching traffic, or the birds flying by. You don’t need to be involved with them right now. Observe them, then let them pass. Stay in this state for as long as is comfortable or until you feel relaxed and comfortable. Always come back to yourself slowly, and gently. Drink some water. Thank yourself for the gift of relaxation. Now you are ready to read your runes.

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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

Interview with Astrid Brown: A Psychic Affair

July, 2018

Astrid Brown: A Psychic Affair

Astrid Brown is a medium, a psychic, and an incredibly prolific author. Her most recent offering, A Psychic Affair, blends the mysteries of psychic development with the romance genre, exploring how long-distance relationships can develop not only through the words and messages we send, but through a true, psychic connection. The story is interwoven with poetry and descriptions of how certain aspects of psychic development work, creating something Astrid describes as a ‘hybrid’; a cross-genre concept that will appeal to romance fans and students of the psychic world alike.

Astrid was kind enough to give us some of her time, and here’s what she had to say to PaganPagesOrg.

Mabh Savage: What was the inspiration for the book, A Psychic Affair?

Astrid Brown: I was writing a psychic development book at the time, and I created a website to explain psychic phenomena as I found myself having to explain how we work, and how clients can help themselves. I still add to this site/blog: http://www.astridestella.info . So I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be an idea to write a novel about a medium, and explain psychic phenomena at the same time?’

I had endless problems with publishers as they don’t like hybrids, but want one genre, and not a cross genre as this one is.

MS: What led this decision to craft the book as a hybrid between an educational volume on psychic development, and a romance?

AB: I wanted to write a novel but felt I had to explain how mediums work, and explain the phenomena; after all, ‘Maryann’ and ‘Annie’ are mediums

MS: Was the book based on events in your own life at all?

AB: I have used my life experiences to write the book. I was a lecturer (I no longer do this) focusing on writing and doing readings. Of course I am a medium, so I made ‘Maryann’ one. Some of the characters are based on people I’ve met in my life.

MS: Who would you say the book is aimed at?

AB: I would say its aimed at people who are interested in the paranormal and psychics, and readers who are open minded.

MS: You’ve written thirty books or so in the last ten years. How do you find the time, and how do you balance writing with your day to day life?

AB: I make the time for I love writing. Often the best time for me to write is the early hours of the morning. I get tremendous links with spirit at this time, and they encourage and influence my work. It’s not a job to me; it’s a pleasure. for there is no point in writing if you don’t enjoy it. Lastly, I want to let people know how amazing the Universe and spirit are.

MS: What advice would you give to other aspiring writers?

AB: Don’t give up. You will get many rejections; JK Rowling had 20 rejections from publishers before she had Harry Potter accepted. Your first books may not be that good but keep at it and you will improve. What is important though is spelling and grammar and don’t rely on Spell Check it makes mistakes. Everything happens at the right time and no experience is ever wasted.

MS: How long have you worked with developing your psychic abilities?

AB: All of my life.

MS: When did you first discover your psychic abilities, or your ability to work with spirit?

AB: From birth. I think my earliest memories of psychic phenomena were when I was a baby, and as I was growing up, I played with spirit children, so it developed from then. I was giving readings when I was school age. I might also say my grandmother who lived with us was a medium in the Spiritualist Church.

MS: What’s the most beneficial thing you find about your psychic talents and awareness?

AB: Helping others and bringing them comfort and reassurance, especially if they are bereaved.

MS: And what’s the most challenging?

AB: Explaining to people I am not a fortune teller but a Medium. I cannot conjure up specific loved ones from the other side. If they have a message they will come forward. I am also restricted by divine timing in that there is no concept of time in the spirit realms, so I don’t always get specific dates. Sometimes it’s not possible to do a reading on someone; they maybe inadvertently blocking me and they need to be relaxed. Sometimes spirit will come forward and they will not recognise who it is and for to continue the reading I need them to accept, or be open minded so I can continue the link.

MS: Was it a natural development to move from nursing into holistic therapies?

AB: I began moving to holistic therapies when I had my own children. They were my guinea pigs, but it was actually a very small homeopathic book I came across in the supermarket one day. I bought it, I don’t know why, I guess I was directed by spirit and I was fascinated by it, I wanted to know more and more. This led onto other energy systems of healing such as Bach Flower Remedies and Aromatherapy, so I studied and trained in aromatherapy and reflexology, therapeutic massage, Indian head massage, and crystal therapy. When I attended parapsychology college to improve my mediumship I studied spiritual healing. Then I decided to train as a beauty therapist to gain more clients, eventually becoming a college lecturer, teaching anatomy and physiology, and beauty therapy. I also introduced holistic therapies to the college and trained many students who now work in spas around the world.

MS: Without spoiling the story for prospective readers, the way it ends suggests there may be more to come. Will there be another book for Maryann and John?

AB: This was my intention, to write another, as I left an opening at the end of the book. If the book sells, well I will write another about Maryann and John.

MS: And are you working on any other novels at the moment?

AB: I’m always writing something, I am currently writing something completely different from my normal genre at the moment and a collection of short stories. I write poetry all the time, much of which is channelled from spirit, so it comes in very fast to me, often writing a poem in 2 minutes. Whilst I am writing I am not aware of what my fingers are typing. I do my best psychic readings this way either on messenger or emails.

Thanks for talking to us! Astrid can be found at her website: http://www.astridestella.info where there is a wealth of information about holistic wellbeing and mediumship.

She is also on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Author.Astrid.Brown/ and Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/author/astrid_brown (U.S.A.)

https://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B00AIOQR2I (UK)

 

A Psychic Affair

 

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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.