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Book Review – Medicine Wheel Plain & Simple: An Introduction to Native American Astrology by Deborah Durbin

December, 2018

Book Review

Medicine Wheel Plain & Simple: An Introduction to Native American Astrology
by Deborah Durbin

 

I had a flashback to the 1980’s when I opened this book. I saw the system familiarized in Sun Bear and Wabun’s The Medicine Wheel: Earth Astrology, complete with correspondences to animal totems, plants, crystal and moon correspondences for each astrological sign. So, this book is “New Age;” don’t pick it up thinking that you will learn find a new (or rather, ancient) system of working with cosmic forces here. And you won’t gain any insight into the cultural astronomy or archeoastronomy of the indigenous people of the Americas – the mythic tales of the stars brought down to Earth and how those energies affect human affairs.

That said, you will have a fun tool for broad astrological divination by the equivalent of your sun sign to play with. Medicine Wheel Plain & Simple offers a different lens for examining personality types, strengths and weaknesses, than the zodiac wheel we are used to. Like Sun Bear and Wabun’s book before it, this book uses a Northern American perspective on a seasonal calendar: winter is cold, summer is hot. The calendar wheel is divided into seasonal quadrants with a “ruling” animal totem for each. The wheel is further divided into 12 signs, like the familiar astrological signs, but ruled by animal totems instead of constellations. So, if like me, you are born between April 20th and May 20th, I am a Beaver, member of the Turtle Clan, born under the Frogs Return moon in the Spring Season rule d by spirit-keeper Wabun – Eagle on the East of the Medicine Wheel. My sign is also associated with blue camas plant, the color blue and the mineral chrysocolla. There are many correspondences to investigate here! Interestingly, the description of a Beaver personality was reminiscent of my Taurus self: “slow, methodical, practical, reserved…easygoing and slow to anger, but once roused, they can have a fierce temper…” My compatibility with other signs is similar to my astrological compatibility – I am married to a Snake (Scorpio)!

Durbin has included a section on finding your personal animal totem. She discusses a shadow totem, one that terrifies you, that tests you and teaches you what you need to overcome. Interestingly, mine is Snake, the opposite of my Beaver totem, containing the qualities that Beaver most lacks. And being married to a Snake, I have learned a lot from our differences. She also includes a short section on working with predictive Medicine Wheel astrology by throwing pebbles or shells, noting where they land, and interpreting the energies and qualities of the quadrant and sign in that section of the wheel.

It’s unfortunate that the book purports to be “An Introduction to Native American Astrology.” There are so many beautiful star myths, tales and creation stories in the traditions of the indigenous peoples of the Americas. And the ancient Mayans had a complex astrological and seasonal calendar. And to imply that all Native American cultures used a homogenous system is stereotyping of the worst sort. Medicine Wheel: Earth Astrology, the book on which this one appears to be based, sourced itself in earth-based cycles rather than representing a specific “Native American” system. Medicine Wheel Plain and Simple is a New Age overlay of North American animal, plant and seasonal symbolism on the common horoscope wheel. But it is fun to play with! If you didn’t come across Sun Bear and Wabun’s book in the 1980’s, this one’s worth a look!

Medicine Wheel Plain & Simple: The Only Book You’ll Ever Need 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

Review of The Queen of the Moon Oracle Deck Created by Stacey Demarco

December, 2018

Review of The Queen of the Moon Oracle Deck

Created by Stacey Demarco

 

 

The Queen of the Moon Oracle is an Oracle deck created by Stacey Demarco, an author and animal activist known as The Modern Witch and the creator of Natureluster, a group which educates people about and connects people to the powers of nature. The Oracle comes in a nice sturdy 4” x 5½” cardboard box with color images on the front and a bit of information about the Oracle on the back. Inside the box are the 44 6” x 9” cards of the deck and the companion guidebook. This hauntingly beautiful Oracle and guidebook were published by Rockpool Publishing, PO Box 252, Summer Hill NSW 2130.

The companion guidebook is the same size as the cards (so everything fits neatly into the beautiful box) and contains 108 pages printed on white paper with an easy-to-read black font, bound in a sturdy glossy softcover with a beautiful card image of the Queen of the Moon on the front cover and a continuation of the starry skies behind the Queen on the back. The companion book begins with a preface written by Demarco, an introduction that offers brief information about the Moon and its phases and a description of some of the correspondences we associate with lunar energy. Next are instructions for using the Oracle including spreads and a simple dedication, and a description of the setup of the deck itself.

There are three categories of cards in the Queen of the Moon Oracle: 28 cards representing a full cycle from the Dark Moon and back to it; 12 cards, called Seasonal Lunar cards, based on the Lakota terms passed down through Native American generations; and 4 other lunar-related cards including 2 astronomical cards. The cards begin with Dark Moon (card 1) and New Moon (card 2), then move on through 6 Waxing Crescent cards, a First Quarter card, 6 Waxing Gibbous cards, a Full Moon card, 6 Waning Gibbous cards, a Last Quarter card, and 6 Waning Crescent cards. The Seasonal Lunar cards follow, offering descriptions of the energies of the Wolf Moon, the Snow Moon, the Flower Moon, and the Harvest Moon to name a few, followed by the Queen of the Moon, the Lunar God, the Blue Moon and the Super Moon. Each card section offers a color image of the card, a keyword, a description of the keyword meaning, an affirmation, a discussion of the individual card meaning and/or the theme of the Moon phase that encourages and supports a useful interpretation, and a suggested companion crystal or metal.

The images on the cards and in the guidebook are created by Kinga Britschgi, a Hungarian-born artist, digital artist, published author, and language teacher who lives in the US with her family. The cards themselves are 3½” x 5”; each card is printed on sturdy cardstock in vibrant glossy color on both the front and the back. The face of each card contains a number at the top, the name of the moon phase, and the keyword also found in the guidebook, along with the sumptuous images. The card art is gorgeous, with jewel-toned colors and images filled with powerful symbolism that instantly attracts me into each card and draws me to learn more about its energies. The art on the back of the cards shows the phases of the moon in a circle on a beautiful blue background. Because of the combination of the glossy finish that allows the cards to slide easily and the sturdy cardstock, even though they are a tiny bit wide for my hands these cards absolutely invite interaction. Shuffling the deck was easy and once the deck was spread before me, the images resonated deeply and powerfully.

The Queen of the Moon Oracle is a useful tool for tapping into the energies of the moon and the lunar cycle and determining how to integrate them into our lives and our goals. Shuffling the cards and drawing a card or a few cards each day, or throwing one of the spreads suggested in the guidebook, would create a spread that offers emotional, spiritual, and energetic messages that would be useful to any seeker. But there is another purpose for this beautiful Oracle: learning about the cycles of the moon and how they affect us. The deck contains a full lunar cycle of 28 days with suggested energies available on each day. Going through the first 28 cards of the Oracle in order and meditating daily on the corresponding card would bring a hugely useful understanding of our planet’s satellite, and would offer suggested focuses for the day, week, and lunar month going forward.

If you are drawn to the Moon, its meanings, its changing appearance in the sky, and the symbolism and effects on our lives that have been passed down through the generations from our ancestors, you will enjoy the Queen of the Moon Oracle.

Queen of the Moon Oracle: Guidance through Lunar and Seasonal Energies (Rockpool Oracle Cards) on Amazon

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About the Author:

Raushanna is a lifetime resident of New Jersey. As well as a professional Tarot Reader and Teacher, she is a practicing Wiccan (Third Degree, Sacred Mists Coven), a Usui Reiki Master/Teacher, a certified Vedic Thai-Yoga Massage Bodyworker, a 500-hr RYT Yoga Teacher specializing in chair assisted Yoga for movement disorders, and a Middle Eastern dance performer, choreographer and teacher.  Raushanna bought her first Tarot deck in 2005, and was instantly captivated by the images on the cards and the vast, deep and textured messages to be gleaned from their symbols. She loves reading about, writing about, and talking about the Tarot, and anything occult, mystical, or spiritual, as well as anything connected to the human subtle body. She has published a book, “The Emerald Tablet: My 24-Day Journal to Understanding,” and is currently working on a book about the Tarot, pathworking and the Tree of Life. Raushanna documents her experiences and her daily card throws in her blog, DancingSparkles.blogspot.com, which has been in existence since 2009. She and her husband, her son and step son, and her numerous friends and large extended family can often be found on the beaches, bike paths and hiking trails of the Cape May, NJ area.

The Emerald Tablet: My 24-Day Journal to Understanding on Amazon

Self-Sufficiency is Earth Friendly

April, 2009

With the rise in prices all over the place, from groceries to gas to clothing, we should all be seriously considering how to be more self-sufficient. I am not talking about refining your own bio-diesel, although that is becoming increasingly more common. I am talking about making a space in your life for bringing back a little of what our ancestors did on a daily basis.

Even if you live in suburbia-type dwelling, in a rural town or in a downtown high-rise, a little of Nature can be brought into your life and home, cutting a little from your food budget and reducing greenhouse emissions.

Consider a patio garden, where you could grown fresh herbs and maybe a few vegetables that you use on a regular basis. Compost kitchen waste, (do not include, meats, dairy, animal waste, or eggs), newspaper, stale coffee, coffee grounds and filters, tea bags with used tea, eggshells, leaves and spent flowers off of other plants; make your own organic garden compost to help provide nutrients to the soil. If you live where you have a lawn, be wary of using cut lawn clippings if they have been treated with fertilizers or other chemicals.

Composting helps to reduce garbage in landfills, which also helps reduce the number of animals that can be killed each year due to eating and being in landfills. This reduction in landfill waste will help reduce greenhouse gases. Growing your own foods can also help reduce the number of trips to the grocery to purchase produce, thereby reducing more emissions from your car. You can find many different styles and instructions for making your own compost container. The one we currently use is a 25 gallon Rubbermaid garbage can that has about 20 holes drilled into the bottom and about 1/4 of the way up the sides. I put in all my kitchen waste, except for the forbidden items, and leave it out in the sun to “cook”. The heat helps it break down quicker, along with liquid added, like water or coffee, and an occasional stirring.

If you’re lucky enough to have space, and the law allows, you could also look into raising chickens for eggs. All you need is some ground space, a chicken coop, and a couple of hens. Chickens make great bug eaters and the fresh eggs taste different than those you get from conventional, industrial raised chickens. Check with a local feed store to see what kinds of chickens they have available and to get tips on raising them.

Many of today’s meats contain potentially harmful antibiotics and steroid-type “additives”; many of us eat these on a daily basis, like chicken, pork and beef.(2) One common trick is to put carbon monoxide in with red meats when packaged to help them retain their red color longer, making them more appealing on the store shelves.(1)

If you have children, getting them involved in helping you with your garden, and maybe your chickens, will help them learn where their foods come from, and can teach them responsibility. It is good to get them out in Nature once in a while, and helping outside for 30 minutes each day is great exercise.

So look around you, where can you set up a garden patch and start planting? It can be as simple as a windowsill garden, or as complex as a full production garden of a variety of vegetables and fruits. Would it be a benefit to your family? Of course it would, and you would be helping Mother Earth as well!

MotherEarthNews.com is a great place to find all the information you need to start your own home garden or homestead project. Check them out today at http://www.motherearthnews.com. Sign up for free newsletters and get wonderful information at the tips of your fingers!

I urge everyone to take a few minutes out of their day and think about what you can do to make your world, and the world you live in, a little bit healthier.

(1) Mother Earth News, Shocking News About Meat, June/July 2007

http://www.motherearthnews.com/Real-Food/2007-06-01/Shocking-News-About-Meat.aspx

(2) Mother Earth News, What You Need to Know About the Beef You Eat February/March 2008

http://www.motherearthnews.com/Sustainable-Farming/2008-02-01/What-You-Need-to-Know-About-the-Beef-You-Eat.aspx

Mother Earth News, The Hidden Link Between Factory Farms and Human Illness, February/March 2009

http://www.motherearthnews.com/Natural-Health/Meat-Poultry-Health-Risk.aspx