opinion

Book Review – Protection Spells: Clear Negative Energy, Banish Unhealthy Influences and Embrace Your Power by Arin Murphy-Hiscock

March, 2019

Book Review
Protection Spells
Clear Negative Energy, Banish Unhealthy Influences and Embrace Your Power
by Arin Murphy-Hiscock
Published by Adams Media
224 Pages

The first thing that catches your eye about this book is the strikingly beautiful cover, but as the saying goes “never judge a book by its cover.” In this case, I can say that the content is as impressive as the cover and you will not be disappointed in reading and owning this book.

As a newcomer to the world of spellcrafting, I was pleased about the breakdown and content of the information in this book. The book is divided into three parts: Spellcrafting; Spells and Rituals; and Protective Objects. Part One explains what a spell is, how spells work and the basics regarding spellcraft; which is very useful to a newbie like me. Part Two consists of spells focusing on defense and protection and are divided into four categories. Lastly, Part Three provides the reader with three protection rituals. One for protecting a home, one for protecting an object and one for protecting a person. Protective objects are also discussed in Part Three.

In the first chapter of the book, which also serves as the Part One, types of spells are explained. This is particularly helpful to someone who has little to no knowledge of spellwork. Chapter One reinforces that the most important part of a spell is the practitioner’s will and intention to be the agent of change.

Part Two consists of four chapters each covering the following categories of spells: Body and Spirit, House and Home, Family and Friends, and Out and About. Each chapter begins with information regarding the spell category. Spell names are highlighted and written in a consistent format which is easy to read and follow. Under each individual spell is information on how or what the spell will help with followed by materials needed to execute the spell. Each highlighted area concludes with “What to Do” which is a step-by-step explanation of how to complete the spell. Tips regarding the spell may also be included in a separate highlighted information box.

Part Three consists of two chapters. Protection rituals are provided in Chapter Six. They, like the spells in the earlier chapters, follow the same familiar, easy-to-read format that the reader has come to rely on. Chapter Seven, the ?nal chapter, discusses protection objects. Protective colors, crystals, gods, saints, angels, animals, herbs and symbols are explored. This chapter is an introduction protection objects, and it gives the reader some basic information regarding these objects. It is intended for this chapter to spark the reader’s interest in wanting to learn more about protection objects.

In conclusion, Protection Spells is a well written and highly organized book that I would recommend to others. Upon completing the final chapter, I was left wanting more information. I was saddened that the book had come to an abrupt end; which is my only disappointment in reading this book. After having the opportunity to learn so much about protection spells from Ms. Murphy-Hiscock, I was left wanting a conclusion or parting words. Given the inclusive outline and impressive organization of the book, it was the one lacking piece. Overall, the lack of a parting chapter is a minor oversight given the wealth of information gained in reading this book.

Protection Spells: Clear Negative Energy, Banish Unhealthy Influences, and Embrace Your Power on Amazon

***

About the Author:

Tammy Andrews is a beginner in the area of all matters related to Wicca and witchcraft. She is interested in many areas of natural spiritual practice including the use of incense and oils, pendulum divination, oracle cards, and crystals. She is Reiki I certified with plans to obtain further Reiki levels. With her love of learning and reading, she is excited to join PaganPagesOrg as a book reviewer. Tammy is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker employed in a community agency that provides counseling and case management services to clients who live with serious mental illnesses and addiction issues. The power of human survival and resilience never ceases to amaze her. She views social work as her passion and life calling. Tammy resides in CT with her husband, who is her greatest supporter, her cat and her dogs. She has enjoyed the opportunity to assist in the nurturing of her step-son to become a prospering young adult. Tammy and her husband spend many Summer weekends at their cabin in VT where she loves the opportunity to renew her spirit in the peace and solitude of the trees. You can contact Tammy via email at tandrews192@comcast.net

Book Review – Shaman Express by Beretta Rousseau

February, 2019

Book Review
Shaman Express
by Beretta Rousseau

Short review: I hated this book.

Let me say right off the bat that I am the wrong person to be reviewing this book. I am going to be fifty-nine this year; I am a die-hard radical feminist; I have been in recovery for almost thirty years now; I read the entire canon of Carlos Castanedas over forty years ago; I grew out of this kind of “using drugs to find spiritual enlightenment” bullshit before the age of THIRTY.

To be honest, I might have liked this book – a whole lot – when I was twenty-one or so – but that was many, many years ago. In my twenties, I had a great attraction for erotic literature and any book with lots of sex in it, whether or not it was necessary to the plot. This book is one of those books.

I was ready to throw it into the garbage after I read the first sentence. “I woke up sweating, alarmed, and with a painful erection.” So fucking what? Waking up with an erection is perfectly normal. This author acts like it’s some kind of accomplishment. I’m sorry but I don’t want to read this shit. I really don’t.

On page 10: “It took me some time to realize that the twelve-step program I had entered was a spiritual program.” Gee … how fucked up were you? Because all twelve-step programs tell you that right off the bat. But of course, they also tell us that some of us are more damaged that others. This author is obviously very damaged.

The thing is, “Beretta Rousseau” is actually two people – Omar Beretta and Bénédicte Rousseau – evidently a man and a woman – and they trade off chapters in the novel like John Lennon and Yoko Ono trading off songs on “Double Fantasy”. It makes for a very uneven novel (just like “Double Fantasy”). Rousseau is the better writer, in my humble opinion. I googled them separately and Omar Beretta is a travel writer – he looks to be maybe ten years or so younger than me but of course, looks are deceiving – and Bénédicte Rousseau is a Belgium writer born in 1980 – incidentally the year I first took LSD (I was twenty). I couldn’t find very much about Omar Beretta – or the correct Omar Beretta because it’s apparently a very common name and there were lots of them to choose from, from investment bankers to Uranium entrepreneurs to Argentine tax lawyers – but with a little work, I did find an interview with Berretta which is here: https://yacarevolador.com/omar-beretta-has-been-interviewed/. According to that article, you can access Berretta’s website here: https://yacarevolador.com/. It is in Spanish but can be translated easily into English. Rousseau has a website that you can visit here: https://www.benedicterousseau.com/. Rousseau is Belgium but her site is in English.

This book is labeled “A Novel” but I am not sure that it is. It really reads more like creative nonfiction – especially with all the quotes and the footnotes – but of course, that’s the trendy cool way to write novels nowadays – check out The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz – but Diaz’s book is obviously a novel whereas Shaman Express is a novel only because it bends the barrier between fiction and non-fiction. In a way, it doesn’t matter at all if it’s a novel or not. It’s the story that counts – whether or not it’s factually true is beside the point.

I guess I just didn’t care about the story.

So what is the story? That’s a really good question.

Part One is called “Alive”. Part Two is called “Dead”. Part Three is called “Awake”.

All three parts are written as diary entries. Each chapter is an entry – one written by Berretta and the next one by Rousseau. I found myself having to read chapters over and over again, since none of it made very much sense. It seemed that both Berretta and Rousseau were interested in “shamanism” and in finding evidence of European shamanism. Why they don’t do this in a scholarly fashion is beyond me. There are all kinds of scholarship on this very subject. I myself have been studying European shamanism – not that I called it that – since the mid-1980’s. But I guess if they spent their time in libraries, we wouldn’t have a novel to read, wouldn’t we. The trouble is – if you’re looking for “action” – there really isn’t any “there” there. Or – it’s there – but it’s all busyness with no real substance.

The “action” goes from Amsterdam to Brussels to Belsedere to Ulan-Ude back to Brussels and then to Lake Baikal and then to Bangkok – but during all this movement, there is so much hallucination and “guided meditation” that you wonder if any of this travel is actually happening at all or if Berretta and Rousseau are really talking to any of the people they are talking to or even to one another. It’s almost like they were sending emails to one another and the chapters don’t quite match up. On the other hand, the whole novel made me think of those story-games we played as children – one person starts the story and another person adds to it and it gets crazier and crazier with the telling. A version of this is in Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, in the chapter “Camp Lawrence”. Since Berretta is a travel writer, this is eminently possible. He seems to be the one who is always on the move and Rousseau is always having to meet him at this or that place.

In one of the guided meditations, Rousseau meets her “spirit guide” who apparently is the god Apollo. She writes,

“…My spirit guide strokes my hair tenderly. I find comfort in this heavenly touch.

‘Your situation is simple, Benedetta. You must choose between life and death. You must hurry though…’

…This seems unreal to me. I am speechless. I am not even sure I am having this conversation.” (page 70)

So she chooses life. Well, of course she does. But that’s the end of the first part and like I said earlier, the section part is called “Death”. And believe me, it’s a small death just to get through it.

The end of the third part ends with: “Awake. Really?” and then, “One day at a time can lead to a glimpse of eternity.” (page 214) Which is probably the wisest statement in this entire book.

Again – I don’t want to diss this book entirely – some of you are going to read this and absolutely love it. I just didn’t.

One of the links on Rousseau’s website is entitled “Top Five Tips for Writing in a Literary Collaboration”. I highly recommend this for any writer, whether or not you write with other people – and let’s face it, most of us do collaborate with other writers, whether we are aware of it or not – and I liked #2, “Practice conversation”. If you read this book as a conversation between two people, it’s Rousseau’s voice that is the more engaging. I found myself rushing through Berretta’s chapters, just wanting to get them over with – they were oversexed and over-violent – so I could relax with the more soothing and reasonable voice of Rousseau. I was also wishing that there were a few more voices in this conversation. Maybe the teacher’s? Or a few other students?

The other thing I thought while reading this “novel” was that it was really a screenplay and the authors didn’t realize it. Perhaps it’s been optioned and we’ll all be watching the movie on Netflix at this time next year. I do think it will work better as a movie.

That said, I know there are plenty of people who will absolutely love this book. I am just not one of them.

References

Berretta Rousseau. Shaman Express. WA: Amazon Digital Services, LLC, 2018.

Alcott, Louisa May. Little Women. NY: Grosset & Dunlap, Publishers, 1947.

Shaman Express on Amazon

***

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.

Review of Ritual Bath Salt by Nuit Apothecary on Etsy

January, 2019

Ostara Ritual Bath Salts

by Nuit Apothecary on Etsy

I received Ostara Ritual Bath Salts by Nuit Apothecary. It came nicely packaged in a black bag, with a pretty label explaining what it was.

It’s made with Dead Sea salt, Epsom salt, prairie lily, red clover and essential oils.

As someone who adores taking hot baths, I was looking forward to trying this salt out. I ran the tub and sprinkled some in.

It had a nice scent and the salts dissolved well in the hot water. There were plenty of herbs floating around in the tub. The scent was not as strong as I would have liked and what was there, dissipated fairly quickly.

Also, as someone who owns a home with a septic tank, there was an over-abundance of herbs and I had to be very careful when letting the water out so that I could catch most of the herbs before they went down the drain.

***

I emailed Nuit with some questions about herself, her practice and her process, why she decided to start making products for the public instead of just for her own use, and if she found the birch and driftwood she uses or if it were local sourced, as well as if she grew her own herbs. Her response is as follows:

I’m Nuit, the owner of Nuit Apothecary, a solitary, eclectic witch. I consider myself a very private, solitary person and Ive been practicing witchcraft my entire life. The opening of my online Etsy store in 2017 gave me the opportunity to help people and share my knowledge. I make all my products myself by using only high quality ingredients: organic herbs, essential oils, soy and beeswax. The readers can find me on Etsy: www.nuitapothecary.etsy.com or on instagram: lunaenchantress.”

***

About the Author:

Susan Morgaine is a Daughter of the Goddess, Witch, Writer, Teacher, Healer, and Yogini. She is a monthly columnist with PaganPages.org Her writings can be found in The Girl God Anthologies, “Whatever Works: Feminists of Faith Speak” and “Jesus, Mohammed and the Goddess”, as well as Mago Publications “She Rises, Volume 2, and “Celebrating Seasons of the Goddess”. She has also been published in Jareeda and SageWoman magazines. She is a Certified Women’s Empowerment Coach/Facilitator through She is the author of “My Name is Isis”, one in the series of the “My Name Is………” children’s books published by The Girl God Publications. A Woman International, founded by Patricia Lynn Reilly. She has long been involved in Goddess Spirituality and Feminism, teaching classes and workshops, including Priestessing Red Tents within MA and RI. She is entering her 20th year teaching Kundalini Yoga and Meditation, being a Certified instructor through the Kundalini Research Institute, as well as being a Reiki Master. She is a member of the Sisterhood of Avalon. She can be found at https://mysticalshores.wordpress.com/ and her email is MysticalShores@gmail.com

My Name is Isis on Amazon

Book Review: Shamanic Qabalah – A Mystical Path to Uniting The Tree of Life and the Great Work by Daniel Moler

December, 2018

Book Review

Shamanic Qabalah

A Mystical Path to Uniting The Tree of Life and the Great Work

by Daniel Moler

 

 

Author, Daniel Moler’s book brings together two subjects that have long held my interest; a shamanic perspective and Qabalistic studies. The latter is an area of study that has been my passion and work for many years now, the former one that I have long been acquainted with and know many well-respected practitioners.

With that being said, I was intrigued as to how the author would approach the Tree of Life and its application to shamanic work. The sheer weight and history of Qabalah, in this book used in its Hermetic form, has been a daunting study for many. This, largely because of the more traditional approaches used in its exploration. I am happy to see that there are now a variety of spiritual paths and practices that are using the overlay of the Tree’s knowledge and thus engaging more students and seekers of its mystery teachings.

Mr. Moler makes use of an impressive bibliography of trusted and reputable sources of Qabalistic studies and then weaves the Shamanic approach of delving more deeply in the work of the Soul and roots of transformative processes aligned with those practices.

Part One is aptly entitled “The Great Work”. This semantic evocative of something out of the ordinary and initiatory in experience. Daniel dives right into the work of the world enticing us towards materialism and chaos that is moving us further away from the path of the mystic and the explorations of what that actually means for modern seekers. This section covers “everything that is wrong with society today”, what the truth of initiation can reveal and heal and how illumination can awake even the deepest sleeper.

Part Two offers the basics of what Qabalah is, how its symbology as the Tree of Life affects all planes of existence and spiritual practice and how the components of the Tree are defined and work together to provide a universal Whole. Chapter Five within this section focuses on Malkuth, the sephira of the Earth and Greater Earth Plane and becomes the natural starting point of alignment with a very earth based Shamanic perspective.

Chapter Six diverges back into a more traditional Judaic approach to Qabalistic study in looking at the “Topography of the Inner Worlds” and the journey of Adam Kadmon, the Perfected Man that embodies all of the wisdom of the Tree. A reference to the Hebrew letters assigned to the paths and the descent of man via the emanation of Yahweh and the sacred Hebrew names of creation gives the reader another vision of the Tree.

Part Three ties everything together with plenty of practical experiential and a further breaking down of the Tree incorporating the Triangles, Four Worlds and specific paths. Having read the Qabalistic referenced based books of the bibliography and having first hand teachings from some of the authors, I would say this book made good use of the author’s expertise in Shamanic work and the information presented regarding the Tree of Life.

My only criticism would be in the amount of diverse ways of presenting the Tree that were incorporated-Judaic- Hermetic and a more modern approach of fusion. I would have appreciated a more consistent approach throughout and more of the overlays of the Shamanic application that I believe would have provided more focus. Overall, a very well written book and kudos to Mr. Moler for making more bite-size an enduring and often challenging course of study.

Shamanic Qabalah: A Mystical Path to Uniting the Tree of Life & the Great Work on Amazon

***

About the Author:

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

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

 

The Inner Chamber Volume One on Amazon

It’s Written in the Stars

Astrology

 

The Inner Chamber, Vol. Two

poetry of the Spheres (Volume 2) on Amazon

Qabalah

 

The Inner Chamber, Vol. Three

Awakening the Paths on Amazon

Qabalah

 

A Year With Gaia on Amazon

The Eternal Cord

 

Temple of the Sun and Moon on Amazon

Luminous Devotions

 

The Magickal Pen Volume One (Volume 1) on Amazon

A Collection of Esoteric Writings

 

The Elemental Year on Amazon

Aligning the Parts of SELF

 

The Enchanted Gate on Amazon

Musings on the Magick of the Natural World

 

Sleeping with the Goddess on Amazon

Nights of Devotion

 

A Weekly Reflection on Amazon

Musings for the Year

 

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

 

Follow Robin on Instagram & Facebook.

Book Review – 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

***

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

Witch & Popcorn

December, 2018

 

May the Devil Take You

 

 

 

Bright Blessings, Movie lovers.

I had the pleasure of viewing one of the scariest horror’s I’ve seen since the original Exorcist.

This is an Indonesian film called “May the Devil Take You.”

If you scare easily, run like mad, and never watch this.

If you are interested, take a look at the trailer.

 

 

If you love a good scare, and want to sleep with all the lights on- IF you can sleep…you MUST see this.

The film begins showing what appears to be an encounter with a cunning woman, but turns out to be a man named Lesmana selling the souls of his wife and daughter so he can be successful.

Fast forward many years later, and Lesmana is laid up in the hospital. His wife has died, and he is remarried to a complete you-know-what.

As he lays in hospital, his wife and her kids have no idea whether he will survive or not, so they decide to try to coerce his daughter from his first marriage, Alfie into selling the house he had in her name. Note, Alfie is estranged from her father and feels he literally ditched her in favor of the step mom and her kids.

The tension between step mother and Alfie is immediately obvious, and within a few minutes, step mom has slapped Alfie with all her might in the face.

Maya, the step sister from hell, of course jumps to mom’s defense, and while there is a younger step sister, who is a complete angel, and kindly step brother, Alfie has her hands full dealing with the heartache of her father’s negligence, and the resentment she rightfully feels towards step mom and her brood.

Maya, who is not only every bit as big of a bitch as her mother is, is also extremely stupid. Lesmana, trying to keep the devil from coming to claim souls, has locked the spirits in the basement with religious papers, and ritual tools. Maya comes in, rips it all apart, and throws open the basement door. She simply did not believe in such “superstitions.” Everybody else had been eyeing the door suspiciously before backing away…

All hell breaks loose, literally, and the demons come for everybody.

Not only is the bloody torture fest highly entertaining, and chilling, but the film imparts a lesson.

Don’t fuck with nasty spirits. EVER.

A lot of Witches and Pagans will proudly proclaim “One man’s angel is another man’s demon.” Grimoires to summon this or that demon can be bought cheaply, and supplies to do such operations can be likewise bought, or made following explicit instructions in said grimoires. The famous stories of Crowley summoning spirits abound, and many people publicly proclaim they have demons. It is plain out stupid to assume that because you bought a book, you can command spirits. Furthermore, such emphasis is put on summoning, but very little emphasis on banishing is. When was the last time you saw exorcism classes offered?

Yes, it is easy to summon. Just because you CAN does not mean you SHOULD. Getting rid of said summoned spirit might be difficult, or impossible.

Lesmana thought he had a handle on things and could cheat the devil. His whole family paid the price right along with him. Nobody was spared although some lived to tell the tale.

Sometimes a demon is a demon, meaning evil ass spirit, not something misrepresented by the Abrahamic faiths, and it is out to harm anybody it can. While they can do nice things for you, there is always a price. It is never worth it.

This film is not only scary and entertaining, and imparts a good lesson, but it contrasts those who call beliefs in spirits “superstitions”, and those who believe. The people in the film who did not believe in the power of spirits made grave mistakes, and continued to do so even after they realized spirits were real. Those who believed were immediately able to make better decisions, and made out better in the end.

Pride was portrayed as downfall, and humility a virtue. Alfie was the heroine from start to finish, and she was a shining example of self-reliance balanced perfectly with understanding of her own smallness as a simple human being.

If you decide to watch this, plan to sleep either with somebody else or your pets. Leave a nightlight on, and double-check all your locks. The sound on this was so realistic, I was cutting it off to check everything often because it sounded like the house was falling apart around me.

I mean, this movie was GOOD.

Enjoy this film.

***

About the Author:

Saoirse is a recovered Catholic.  I was called to the Old Ways at age 11, but I thought I was just fascinated with folklore. At age 19, I was called again, but I thought I was just a history buff, and could not explain the soul yearnings I got when I saw images of the Standing Stones in the Motherland. At age 29, I crossed over into New Age studies, and finally Wicca a couple years later. My name is Saoirse, pronounced like (Sare) and (Shah) Gaelic for freedom. The gods I serve are Odin and Nerthus. I speak with Freyja , Norder, and Thunor as well. The Bawon has been with me since I was a small child, and Rangda has been with me since the days I was still Catholic. I received my 0 and 1 Degree in an Eclectic Wiccan tradition, and my Elder is Lord Shadow. We practice in Columbus, Ohio. I am currently focusing more on my personal growth, and working towards a Second and Third Degree with Shadow. I received a writing degree from Otterbein University back in 2000. I have written arts columns for the s Council in Westerville. I give private tarot readings and can be reached through my Facebook page Tarot with Saoirse. You can, also, join me on my Youtube Channel.

The Circle of Nine: An Archetypal Journey to Awaken the Divine Feminine Within by Cherry Gilchrist

December, 2018

The Circle of Nine: An Archetypal Journey to Awaken the Divine Feminine Within

by Cherry Gilchrist

 

 

publisher: Weiser books

© 2018

length: 252 pages

This book is a rewrite of an earlier work the author wrote in the 1980s; the author talks about what it was like trying to write this book, the first time when the Internet was not yet available to her. When I went looking for the original text, the publication date on Amazon was 1750. I instantly had the thought of “She’s on to something. If she still here using the same name in 2018, and she wrote this book that long ago.”

She writes about nine different archetypes that comprise the circle of nine. Ms. Gilchrist does point out that it is three sets of three. There are three Queens, three Mothers, and three Lady’s, that work to comprise the circle of nine. On page 224 of the book, Ms. Gilchrest states “plan your journey around the circle of nine; there are 362,880 ways (99) of doing this.”

The examples that appear in the book regarded as devotees, healers, spirited dancers, and gifted seeresses. The first chapter is dedicated to the nature of the nine, and how the number nine figures into women’s groups and women’s spirituality.

She wraps up each chapter of each archetype with images of that archetype,

Street image.

Mythic image

Personal Image

Evolution of each archetype.

Youth

Maturity

Old Age.

Manifestations of that archetype.

Gifts

Trials

Rituals and Cults.

Visions of that archetype

The Circle of Nine is a well-written book by Ms. Gilchrest that with today’s world I see a lot of women utilizing to find their archetype energy. The archetype energy described in this book for each of the nine archetypes is present in each woman. I can honestly say though, that there were two that I didn’t feel a connection with, until after I read them thoroughly. They were the Queen of Beauty, and The Lady of Light, it was only after reading the images of the archetype energy that I was able to see both in myself. If you run a women’s group, this is one of the books I would suggest you use to help women strengthen their spirits and honestly see themselves.

The Circle of Nine: An Archetypal Journey to Awaken the Divine Feminine Within on Amazon

 

***

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/

Book Review – Enchantments: A Modern Witch’s Guide to Self-Possession by Mya Spalter

December, 2018

Book Review

Enchantments: A Modern Witch’s Guide to Self-Possession

by Mya Spalter

 

 

Inspired by a New York Occult shop of the same name, Enchantments: A Modern Witch’s Guide to Self-Possession, takes the reader on a virtual tour of the shop, its wares and the accompanying advice and conversation that might be had when looking to craft a beautiful and meaningful altar space, or create sacred space.

The author, Mya Spalter, uses a very warm approach, telling how she came to work at Enchantments store and then taking you on a journey through the highlights of her learning and experiences in working in a busy occult venue. Even the way in which the book has been arranged feels like a coffee break exchange of information of “what works, and what doesn’t?”, “how’d you do that?” and “can you teach me about that?”, that you would expect from most witchy stores and those who work there.

Part One is aptly entitled Witchy Implements and includes chapters dedicated to altars, correspondences, such as colors, plants, herbs and some of the disciplines that would be included in witchy practice such as astrology, the wheel of the year and more.

Part Two reinforces the necessity for Magical Intention(s) and begins the work of spell crafting, protection and divination, and concludes with a more in-depth approach to astrological uses and the cosmic connection found within what has traditionally been deemed an earth/nature-based practice.

The book is nicely illustrated with interspersed black and white drawings that are whimsical and informative. And, using a style near and dear to my heart, each chapter concludes with “Suggested Reading” and a list of well-respected titles relevant to that chapter’s offerings. I could go on in pointing out sections here and there, but, quite honestly, this is a book to be experienced first hand.

Enchantments: A Modern Witch’s Guide to Self-Possession is the next best thing to having a good friend who will walk you through the magic, point out the highlights anh solid and usable information, this is the one for you!

Enchantments: A Modern Witch’s Guide to Self-Possession 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 of the Shop HokumWares

December, 2018

Review of HokumWares

 

 

This past Samhain I went on a day outing with my Family Coven to an annual Witches Market in Philly called “Witches Night Out.” We had an excellent time, however we did not get much. We found a lot of the prices to be exorbitant. Also, most of the items were not necessary for us. Jewelry made from bones (human & animal), regular jewelry out of our price range, patches, clothing, candles & some kits of sorts with funny names. However, there was one booth that really caught our attention and kept it.

It was a nice sized table, whose smell lifted you by the nose and floated you over. It was filled with colorful soaps, unusual lotions mixtures, bath bombs that look like potions, beautiful handcrafted crocheted altar cloths and more. We found ourselves in front of the lovely face of Anna Maria, the owner of the amazing shop HokumWares.

Anna Maria’s infectious smile and wonderful products immediately brightens your day as you are being tossed around like a sack in the jumble of crowd. Anna Maria is funny and cheery and just great to talk to. She takes the time to explain to you what is in her products, why she makes her own products, why she chooses her ingredients and doesn’t rush you along, even though there is a throng of people surrounding us.

Right away we were drawn to the lotions. There were three scents, each unique. I chose to purchase the scent Pikake Flower & Gardenia. I love the smell of Gardenia, but this smells more than just gardenia, well obviously it smells like Pikake, too. I had no idea what a Pikake Flower was until I looked it up. It is the flower used in Hawaii to make leis! It has a wonderful fragrance. Both pikake and gardenia compliment each other well.

I purchased an 8oz pump plastic bottle for only $10. I found that to be a very fair price for handcrafted lotion. The bottle is completely filled. Professional labeling. Ingredients written on label.

Now what I love about this lotion (besides the scent)…

Let me start with the bottle it comes in. The pump twists open and shut. LOVE this idea! I have not seen this before. This means I can carry it in my bag with me at all times and not have to buy something to put it in and spend more money. You just simply turn the top left and right and it locks. I amaze easily!!!

The lotion is not thin or runny. It is not watery, or oily. If you turn over the bottle you do not see it running or moving down the sides. It is a thick lotion without being a unblendable paste.  It blends right into your skin easily without leaving that excess lotion you have no clue what to do with because it is too thick or watery.

After you put it on your hands they feel totally moisturized, not greasy. You can pick up objects without dropping them. Without leaving a mess on them. Yet your hands feel like they are moister.

I am diabetic so I have VERY dry hands. My hands can be known to drink In lotion and then feel like I have not put any on. Sometimes I can put on lotion and 2 minutes later it’s like I didn’t put any on. With HokumWares lotion I use a normal amount, a squirt, rub it into my hands and they stay lotioned for over an hour. I stopped timing it after an hour. It got rid of my chapped skin on my hands for that long, too.

I’m touchy when it comes to lotions. I don’t like to feel greasy. This lotion was very comfortable to me. Next, I want to try it on my face. Usually lotions make me break out on my face. I don’t think this one will. I think it will get rid of the flaking I have been getting in my T Zone.  Update:  I have used it on my face and no pimples or break out!!!

I almost forgot to mention, I also have psoriasis and eczema. The lotion does not make them flare at all. I get psoriasis flares on my elbows that burn because they chafe now that it is colder outside. The lotion soothed those without causing the burn some lotions cause due to over scent or whatever is in them.

For purchasing the lotion I was given a free sample of HokumWares Cold Process Soap. The samples name was Herkimer Diamond Soap. You want to smell something refreshing and clean??? Get a wiff of this bar!! Lathers nicely. Cleans well. Leaves you smelling wonderful.  I love the impression of the logo in the bar. 

As a free gift for going to the Witches Market, the first 50 to arrive received a Goody Bag with products from some of the vendors. HokumWares was one of the vendors who contributed to the Goody Bag by giving those a free Lip Balm. We are lip balm nuts, and found that we wished that it kept our lips moist a bit longer. If you are the type of person who doesn’t lick your lips or rub them together too much, you should be fine.

We had a chance to speak with Anna Maria about herself and her products.

Jennifer Wright (JW): Hello Anna Maria! Thank you so much for taking the time to answer some questions and letting us & our readers get to know you!

Is it true you try not to rely on store bought items?

Anna Maria (AM): I will use some store-bought items within reason, but I lean heavily towards products that are cruelty-free.  If I cannot find something that I enjoy, or something that I’ve enjoyed heavily, I try to replicate the positive points of the products while still making it my own recipe.

JW: You even make your own cat food?

AM: I do! Although they do also eat a high quality canned food, they enjoy all kinds of meat I can source.  They love chicken wings!

JW: Is this is why you started making your own line of soaps and lotions and so on?

AM: I have always been fascinated by soap makers for years.  My past lab director at an old job would pay me in soap for small side jobs I would do for her and they were lovely.  Soap is the perfect marriage of two things I am fond of: science and alchemy intermingled with art and design with a sprinkling of my own unorthodox offerings.

JW: How long has HokumWares been open?

AM: HokumWares has only been open to the public for about 1.5 years, although I have been making soap for about 5 years.  I wanted all my recipes to be exactly what I wanted out of them before releasing to the public.  Many, many loaves of soap have been made before they were ever for sale to hone technique and understand oil qualities and product safety.

JW: What all do you create?

AM: I have branched out from soap to offer other bath and beauty products including bath bombs, lotion bars, lip balm, sugar scrubs, whipped body butter, and more recently hand and body lotion and hair oils.

JW: You use all natural products?

AM: I try to keep my ingredients as “clean” as possible.  Since the term is not regulated, everyone’s interpretation of natural is unique.  So for me, that means using essential oils and natural colorants or none at all for products.  By that definition, some of my products are natural and some are not.  I do use Phthalate and Paraben free fragrance oils in the bulk of my products and some may consider those natural.  It’s all up for interpretation.

JW: How do you come up with your ideas?

AM: Some ideas are cultivated, meaning I need to put a little thought into product specifics.  For example, my hand and body lotion was a necessity for me to create, but I chose my 3 initial scents off of what my offerings “should” be: a healthy mix of floral, fruit, and spice.  Other ideas come to me organically and I basically have free range to do whatever I want while incorporating the things I love and feelings I want to impart onto a product.  A huge example of that would be my Felinas bars of soap: a marriage of soap and hand-cast cat bones I’ve collected.  A conscious joining of scientific alchemy and a somber yet beautiful memorial to a life that I will not let be remembered in tragedy. 

JW: I bought your Pikake Flower and Gardenia Lotion. I fell in love with the unique smell and blend. I love Gardenia. You make two other kinds of lotions that are just as unique, what are those scents?

AM: They are Black Pepper & Oud and Grapefruit & Bamboo.  The black pepper fragrance is a spicy smoked scent that pleases my dark while the grapefruit is a very cleansing, uplifting scent.  I wanted a small yet wide-spanning range of scent for my first run that would appeal to myself as well as potential customers.  I will be carefully expanding this range as time goes on, but I feel that these are a great start to a pleasing product.

JW: I agree. I have smelled your other lotions at the market, and was totally surprised, especially by the black pepper fragrance. It was beautiful. It was hard to decide which to buy. I think I have more shopping to do!

Do you do a lot of testing? Do you ever find things that are just a no go?

AM: Everything that I make is meticulously tested and retested; HokumWares has been in the making for quite some time and only when I found I had a great product to share did I start offering it to the world.  I do it for safety reasons as well as just being a somewhat perfectionist at heart.  I do have products that I’m currently working on that are still in developmental stages; an example would be my tattoo balm.  It’s been in the making for about 8 months and although I have tested the prototype on myself and 1 other person’s fresh tattoos and have had wonderful results, the consistency is not where I want it to be.  Back to the formulation rework on that, as well as lining up tattoo appointments to test a new prototype!

JW: What is your favorite product that you sell? Is it your hair serum? Is that the secret to why your hair is so gorgeous???

AM: Thank you for the compliment! They all have their places in my heart, but I would have to say the hair oil has had me smitten for the past year.  A close second would be any of my cold-process soap; I am a sucker for the tried and true.

JW: Do you magickally charge the items you make?

AM: I try to plan productions of certain things on specific dates as well as going into it with a clear, open, happy heart.  I hope my customers can feel that love come through.

JW: I feel it!

Where can our readers find you?

AM:

Website: www.hokumwares.com

Instagram: @_hokumwares

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thecleansingoracle

Business inquiries: mussoamm@gmail.com

Thank you, Anna Maria, for the wonderful conversation! It’s been such a pleasure talking with you. I highly recommend our readers check our all of your wares.

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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.

 

Book Review – Everyday Enchantments by Maria DeBlassie

December, 2018

Musings on Ordinary Magic and Daily Conjurings

 

 

Maria’s book is described as a collection of ‘micro-meditations and celebratory reflections on living life as a wild woman’. How could I not be intrigued? Though far from a true wild woman myself thanks to my urban-slash-suburban setting, I’m always drawn to the idea of being freer, away from the hubbub and city grind. This book holds chapter after chapter of golden, glowing moments from just such a life, and is as compelling as it is calming.

Each chapter is short and sweet in the best possible meaning of that phrase. One chapter focuses on the magic of chamomile, from the point of view of taking the tiny, dried buds and bringing them to life in a soothing cup of tea. Another reflects on the divine powers of the onion. This is true ‘everyday’ magic. Rituals we may go through every day without perhaps realising the power inherent within our actions. Maria encourages us to pause, drink in what we are doing and absorb every moment’s magical potential.

I love the meditative nature of the chapters. Most are written in the second person, a style I normally find a bit jarring. In this book it works really well. This is because it is written in the same way a guided meditation is spoken to you. As you read you can almost hear a gentle voice whispering the words directly into your brain and allowing you to completely visualise and lose yourself in each moment.

I have found this book immensely useful for reminding me to stop and take stock. It helps me enjoy each moment more fully, not by trying to recapture the moments in the book but by following the example of living fully in each minute and being grateful for the enchantment that flows through every second. A thoroughly wonderful book. Recommended for all.

Everyday Enchantments: Musings on Ordinary Magic & Daily Conjurings on Amazon

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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

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