review

Tarot Deck Review – The Neo Tarot Written by Jerico Mandybur

May, 2019

The Neo Tarot: A Fresh Approach to Self-care, Healing & Empowerment

The Neo Tarot is written by Jerico Mandybur, the editorial director and co-founder of Girlboss, and host of the hit podcast, Self Service. Mandybur is a writer, self-care advocate and queer leader known for tarot readings and trauma-informed healing. The deck is illustrated by Daiana Ruiz, a visual artist, illustrator and designer whose illustrations and animations have been exhibited around the world and featured in both print and digital media. The Neo Tarot deck and guidebook/boxset is published by Hardie Grant , Building 1, 658 Church Street, Richmond, VIC 3121 Australia, with offices in Sydney, London, and San Francisco.

The deck itself consists of 78 cards, and it comes in an inner box that fits snugly into a pocket in the very sturdy boxset along with a beautiful color fully illustrated 144-page hardcover guide book. The boxset is designed so that the book’s back cover is actually a part of the box, which offers a sturdy receptacle for both the deck and the guidebook, but makes working with the book itself a bit challenging.

The deck is printed on sturdy cardstock with a matte finish, almost powdery to the touch. The stock is sturdy enough that my first shuffle was a bit difficult, but the cards quickly adjusted and shuffling became a breeze. The cards are 2¾ by 4¾ inches, very nicely substantial to the hand, with a narrow white border around the images; the name of the card in an easy-to-read black print is found in a white banner at the bottom of each card.

The images on the cards themselves are lush and attractive, with vibrant jewel colors and easy-to-decipher artwork. The style is RWS, but the figures and their surroundings are without ornamentation, presented in a gentle and timeless style yet with a vibrant palette and flowing curves. The clean lines, blocks of color, and animated figures invite the viewer into each image, where symbolism abounds. The artwork of Ruiz is brilliant, and I could randomly choose a card and frame a full-sized image and hang it in my home with pride and joy. The backs of the cards are dark blue with white line drawings that hint at ancient sigils found carved into standing stones or painted on cave walls, a homage to divination methods that predate the Tarot.

The guidebook is beautiful, with a dark blue matt finish, soft front cover with white lettering and a bit of the beautiful line drawings found on the backs of the cards themselves. The back cover, which is substantial as it is part of the boxset, is also dark blue with white lettering, and contains images of five of the cards along with a description of the deck. The pages of the guidebook are substantial and durable, with the paper colors alternating between white and cream. The print is black and easy to read, but a bit small. However, because of the denseness of the card information, the small type is worth the minor inconvenience.

The hardcover guidebook/boxset begins on the very first page with the words “Know Thyself,” a very appropriate beginning for the Neo Tarot. Personally, I have always seen the Tarot as a counseling and healing tool, either for self or for others, more than a tool to see and understand the future. Mandybur took this concept and created an entire deck based on not only self-understanding, but self-help and self-nurturing. In this day and age with its stresses and lack of moments to pause and reset, the Neo Tarot could be a useful tool for finding balance and contentment.

The first chapter begins with a few pages describing why Mandybur has combined the Tarot and self-care, and then continues with a “Manifesto” that affirms that Tarot is real, it never tells us what to do but rather offers self-reflection and options, and that Neo Tarot is for everyone, exactly as they are. Next is a very brief history of the Tarot, followed by a breakdown of the structure of a Tarot deck. In keeping with the theme of self-care, the next chapter connects this concept with the deck, and then offers some sample self-care spreads.

Then we get to the card descriptions. The Minor Arcana cards each get a page that contains a full color image of the card, upright, reversed, and self-care card meanings, astrological signs/planets, themes, and an affirmation. The Major Arcana card descriptions take up two pages, with one page containing a large color image of the card and the name of the card in large print, with the facing page containing upright, reversed, and self-care meanings, a number, an astrological sign/planet, themes, and an affirmation. The book finishes with an Acknowledgements page, and a bio of Mandybur and Daiana Ruiz.

The Neo Tarot is literally for everyone, and it joyously celebrates the beautiful uniqueness of each of us. The images are pleasing, fluid and easy to personalize in a deep and transformative way, and the guidebook offers options for healing and understanding the whole self, physically, emotionally and intellectually. Even a new Tarot enthusiast could enjoy working with this deck and its new interpretations of traditional symbolism. The deck and the guidebook are way more than a divination tool, and someone who is not interested in “reading Tarot” would find the Neo Tarot a useful part of daily self-care routines. The Neo Tarot is worth holding in your hands and incorporating into your daily life.

Neo Tarot: A Fresh Approach to Self-Care, Healing & Empowerment 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

Book Review – The Shaman’s Guide to Power Animals by Lori Morrison

May, 2019

Book Review
The Shaman’s Guide to Power Animals
by Lori Morrison

Lori Morrison’s The Shaman’s Guide to Power Animals is an encyclopedic guide to the lore and symbolism of nearly 200 animals, birds, reptiles, with a few mythological beings included. It is a visually lovely book – gorgeously illustrated with black and white drawings in an oversized format – a “coffee table” volume that also works quite well as a reference book. I found myself dipping into the book at random to read the well-researched descriptions of animals in their natural environments as well the information and messages channeled by Ms. Morrison in her discussions with these animals.

Ms. Morrison’s perspectives on working with power animals have been filtered by her own experiences living in El Salvador and traveling in wild places all over the world. She describes a life-changing initiation in 2010 which opened her awareness and ability to work with power animals for herself and for others. Her belief in the value of this work is well-evidenced in the research she did for the book. The lore and traditions provided in the discussion of each animal come from many cultures and traditions; the bibliography, organized by animal, is extensive and allows the reader to dig further.

The book is organized into three sections. In the first, Ms. Morrison gives brief overviews of principles traditionally associated with shamanic practice: cosmology, which she sources in the Tree of Life and three worlds of “core” shamanism; shamanic journeying; and working with the elements and power animals, including shapeshifting, dreaming and tuning the resonance between yourself and a power animal by using a crystal or stone. Ms. Morrison, who has a practice dedicated to healing with vibrational medicine, states, “Each Power Animal embodies energy that is congruent with one of the seven primary energy centers in the human body. The characteristics of the animal mirror those of the center.” She then describes the ways in which a stone resonant with a Power Animal’s energy can be used. Ms. Morrison also describes several types of power animals, including the Shadow Power Animal. This being may represent an aspect of ourselves that we are ignoring, so it is certainly one to pay attention to.

The second section, the largest and most informative, contains illustrated discussions of each power animal. The lore and history provided is extensive and again, from many cultures. The channeled messages and symbolism are helpful for working with Power Animals in non-ordinary reality. In addition, Ms. Morrison places each animal in “ordinary reality,” providing descriptions of real-world behavior, habitat, prey and predators. We are better able to understand an animal sighting in our daily lives as a message noteworthy of our attention if we understand its routine behaviors.

The final section consists several great resources: a list of endangered animals; the research references and bibliography mentioned above; a source for each of the illustrations in the book and a useful table of correspondences for animals, their qualities and related minerals.

The Shaman’s Guide to Power Animals is a resource for animal symbolism and lore. I consider it a great addition to my library.

The Shaman’s Guide to Power Animals 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

Book Review – The Fire Rose: The Elemental Masters Series by Mercedes Lackey

May, 2019

Book Review
The Fire Rose
The Elemental Masters Series
by Mercedes Lackey

This is the classic story of a young woman, a man and the trials of living with magic. The concept might be a norm with fantasy fiction, but with this addition from Mercedes Lackey, we find magic in the rawest form. Elemental magic.

I have personally read this book over a 100 times, no joke. It is one of my earliest exposures to the actual ‘possibility’ of magic existing in our world.

When I stepped into the world of Jason and Rose, two totally different personalities and walks of life, I felt a kinship with Rose. She is a learned scholar and in the time period of the book that is practically unheard of.

Now, picture this:

A university-taught young woman, raised in Chicago, after losing her father, has found out the full depth of his debt. He made some rather shady monetary choices and lost it to a charlatan who had managed to do the same with all of his other backers.

After watching all of her worldly possessions being carted off by the bank, she was taken under the wing of a fellow professor of her father’s.

Enter Jason. Besides being a very well known rail baron and millionaire, living on Nob Hill in California-he is also a Fire Master.

He made a very foolish choice, after thinking that he had enough magical power, to attempt a werewolf-loupe Garou (1) spell that would allow him to change between werewolf form and human form at will; while still retaining his human mind. This failed in a way he never expected. It left him unable to read, write or practice magic fully due to the changes he created.

Enter Paul du Mond, a selfish and perverse man who is also Jason’s protegee – working to become a Fire Master himself. He is quite prolific in his various diversions to acquire power. He feels like the elemental powers should be his without the regular work and patience involved to rise in power to a Master of Fire as well. He is also Jason’s secretary who handles the business that Jason cannot due to his hubris (2).

There is another Fire Master, Simon Beltaire, who believes as Paul does that magical power can be derived from sex magic and pain. He lives in San Francisco. After enticing Paul with offers of teaching his way of magic, he turns Paul against Jason, while turning Paul into a spy.

After Rose’s father passed away, a letter was sent to her “knight of shining armor” from Jason outlining his need a scholar to help read for him, under the pretext of needing a governess for children he didn’t have. Feeling like all she was able to do was to teach, this offer felt too good to be true, she accepted the offer with some concern.

Off to California, she goes!

I could simply say that I love this book, however it’s more than that. This book fueled my teenage years with joy and happiness. A world that I could travel to and escape my reality.

In addition to this, I was also just beginning to learn about magic and things of the occult. This also happened to be the only way I could “learn” about the Craft in a way that wouldn’t upset my parents.(I’m not advocating hiding anything from parents at all!)

All in all, this is a good read and a lovely way to spend an afternoon curled up with a cuppa, and a snack! Read with an open mind and you’ll find magic everywhere!

(1)https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/loup-garou

(2) https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hubris

The Fire Rose (Elemental Masters Book) on Amazon

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About the Author:

My name is Krys, I’ve been living the Pagan life for 19 years. I am a wife and stay at home mom to one teen. I am an ordained minister/ Priestess, and head of the Cyber Moon Coven of Changes. After many years as a practicing Christian, I found paganism to be a more suitable path, personally. A few years and covens later, I found that being open to the online community was becoming more important to me.

After struggling to find a coven that was not just “rules” and “roles”. A few attempts later, I began the Cyber Moon Coven. An online and real life coven, with a ‘no strings attached policy’. You can find my group on Facebook. (Cyber Moon Coven of Changes)

Book Review – Witchcraft and Secret Societies of Rural England: The Magic of Toadmen, Plough Witches, Mummers, and Bonesmen by Nigel Pennick

May, 2019

Book Review
Witchcraft and Secret Societies of Rural England
The Magic of Toadmen, Plough Witches, Mummers, and Bonesmen
by Nigel Pennick

Bright Blessings, Readers!

If you are like me, you nab every book you can that explores magic on a historic level, as opposed to just flipping through modern spellbooks.

Pennick doesn’t disappoint in this 216 page book that was first published in 2011, and was sent to us to review, having been printed again this year.

A bit about the author- Pennick has published extensively on topics ranging from history of the occult, folk traditions, biology, and art. A UK native, he has been teaching, writing, and lecturing for decades. He drew knowledge from research, and involvement with groups, being a Mummer, himself, when he compiled material for this book.

The chapters delve into topics from Ritual Disguise and Resistance, Tools of the Craft, and Markets and Fairs. I will share from one particular chapter, Magic, Farming, and the Land.

He begins on page 163, “Straw, the by-product of grain farming, has many uses. Straw roping, or netting was used all along the western seaboard of Europe to tie down roof thatch.” Writing of more mundane use, he continues to the sacred, “ Straw is an important material symbolically. The Cambridgeshire courting custom uses a ‘true lover’s knot’ plaited from straw. The suitor gives his potential wife a straw plait, and if she wears it later pinned to her dress on the right side, it is a sign of rejection. If to the left, by the heart, with the ears of corn pointing right, it is a sign of acceptance.” He further lists a Norfolk harvest tradition dating from at least as far back as the 1800’s where the last sheath of the harvest is taken in, decorated, and venerated. He then goes into detail about various uses of corn dollies, shows photos, lists dates and accounts he drew from, and further writes about what he calls “Men of Straw”. This practice goes back to at least the 1500’s, as evidenced by a painting The Battle of Carnival and Lent by Breughel. Some straw men were made to be burned, and some were costumes men wore for celebrations.

I love learning about what folk traditions influenced modern neo Paganism. This book reminds us that one need look no further than modern day secular cultural celebrations that survived because they are so sacred, they transcend religion. Pennick lists example after example of these traditions, where they came from, and shows some modern folk who continue those traditions today.

It is a reminder that magic and witchcraft need not be fraternal, hidden, or done in circle, although it certainly can be. It does not necessarily entail candles, incense, or even religion at all. Sometimes, it’s just the living communing with the dead by doing what they did, and remembering events past, as the Wheel of the Year turns. It’s not necessarily mysterious at all, and can be as simple as what celebrates earth, people, and nature. It can be just for fun, and fellowship, as there are times when bonding with community and family, celebrating who we are, where we have come from, and teaching the children, is the most magical practice of them all.

Pennick has written not only this fascinating masterpiece, but various others (Nigel Pennick ) you can use to learn of the true Old Ways, and how modern people keep them alive. Highly recommended reading!

Happy Reading, and Blessed Be!

Witchcraft and Secret Societies of Rural England: The Magic of Toadmen, Plough Witches, Mummers, and Bonesmen on Amazon

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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.

Witch & Popcorn

May, 2019

I’d heard a filmmaker named Penny Lane was releasing a documentary about The Satanic Temple, and I was stoked. Then, I heard it did well! Imagine how thrilled I then was when our beloved editor told me we had been offered the opportunity to review it!

Here is the Trailer:

I know. I know.

Some of you are balking at the nerve- Satanists! Some, not just Xtians, believe what the media and mainstream Evangelicals tell us the Church of Satan and The Satanic Temple is all about- devil worship. Nothing could be farther from the truth, as this intimate portrait of some of the chapters of The Satanic Temple reveals.

The film follows the idea to place a Satanic monument in the State Capital of Arkansas- not to proselytize or convert people to Satanism- but to promote religious equality. They have a lawsuit going to remove a Ten Commandments monument from the State government grounds, and stated if the Xtain monument goes up- ALL religious monuments ought to go up. And those of us who watch the news know that was turned down. The lawsuit continues.

The process of creating the statue was shown, and the way the Satanic Temple (TST) raised funds to pay for it. Namingly, through donations, and what they earn at a shop.

Not only co-founder and spokesperson of TST, Lucien Greaves, but many members, some of whom opted to remain anonymous, grant interviews for this film, but they gave a unified message. TST is looking for government to be secular, and for the government not to preach religion, or give religious preference, as it currently does. TST members embrace personal liberty, justice, and rebellion against oppressive practices and arbitrary authority. Satanism is about embracing independence, and not being controlled by other people.

In the documentary, many news stories about what various TST chapters are doing for their greater communities is shown, including not only lawsuits, but after school Satan clubs, highway adoption, beach cleanup, menstrual product gathering and donation, sock gathering and donation to the homeless, as well as blood drives.

This is a stark contrast from the “Satanic Panic’s” claims of the 1980’s and 1990’s! Remember when Dungeons and Dragons games supposedly opened a portal to suck kids souls to hell? One thing you might not know is this era saw innocent people jailed for things they did not do, and multiple lives ruined in the process. TST members who spoke of it compared the 20th Century’s “Satanic Panic” to the witch hunts of Medieval times.

So, it’s well-established you won’t see a Satanist do the things spooky movies and uninformed “god hates fags” sign- wielding Evangelicals claim. Aside from doing the above-mentioned community service work, you will see them embracing seven tenets outlined in the film, which are:

  1. One should strive to act with compassion and empathy towards all creatures in accordance with reason.
  2. The struggle for justice is an ongoing and necessary pursuit that should prevail over laws and institutions.
  3. One’s body is inviolable, subject to one’s own will alone.
  4. The freedoms of others should be respected, including the freedom to offend. To willfully and unjustly encroach upon the freedoms of another is to forego your own.
  5. Beliefs should conform to our best scientific understanding of the world. We should take care never to distort scientific facts to fit our beliefs.
  6. People are fallible. If we make a mistake, we should do our best to rectify it, and resolve any harm that may have been caused.
  7. Every tenet is a guiding principle designed to inspire nobility in action and thought. The spirit of compassion, wisdom, and justice should always prevail over the written or spoken word.

This organization, of course stemmed out of Anton LaVey’s Church of Satan, founded on April 30, 1966. He may be the most famous, if not the most notorious leader the organization has had, and most certainly the most colorful. In his Satanic Bible, which, no doubt ruffled more than a few feathers, he stated he saw men go to drink, see strippers, and whatnot- all the things Xtianity forbade in those days- and then sit up in church Sunday with wives and kids as if they were model Xtians. It left quite an impression on LaVey, who chose Satan as the archetype for his new religion- not to WORSHIP the devil- but he said Satan kept the church in business, and most honestly embodied the true nature of humanity. Thus instead of deprivation, as the churches taught, LaVey sought to embrace our passions, desires, intellect, and animal side, as we were born to do.

Perhaps The original Church of Satan was an occult response of sorts to the “Free Love” movement, but it’s one that speaks to people still, today. TST and The Church of Satan are two completely different entities, but they have some similarities, and I respect them both.

In Hail Satan?, you will see various legal battles multiple TST chapters have waged in the name of justice, and you will hear personal stories from devoted members. You will also witness a very impassioned chapter administrator violate policies of TST, and be fired.

Despite some beliefs TST is a small cult, it has a National Council, and dozens of chapters nationwide, as well as international chapters, and a well-organized system.

The big question many ask- if TST is not evil and all about destruction, WHY call it by the name Satan, who many believe is the greatest evil ever?

Remember what Anton LaVey said about Satan being a fitting archetype for man’s true nature for one thing. For another thing, members are deliberately trying to jolt people’s awareness, and they do not mind offending people. They have been called the Antichrist, and one member says that IS half true. They protest the atrocities the church has imposed upon humanity for so long. Beyond that, they protest, and reject the mind control and oppression the church has enforced. Catholic groups seem especially fond of protesting TST chapters, and one member says they have a lot of gall calling Satanics sinful after all the abuse and rapes of children. Satan was known as the adversary- so the church and the oppression she enforces HAS an adversary in The Satanic Temple- which is quite pro-human.

TST is among many things, pro-individual, against blind faith, pro-gay, pro-choice, anti-rape, pro-trans, and all for questioning that which is forbidden.

Some ask why TST does not just call themselves atheists if they do not worship the devil? One member states atheism just states what you are NOT. There is no ritual or definition. TST defines everything and gives ritual and structure.

Some don’t know this, but I have read more than one Satanic publication over the years, and while I’m not a member, I am in agreement with their beliefs and practices. I have friends who are also, one of whom agreed to a short interview.

Interview with Jodi @ Satanism

SaoirseWhat first drew you to The Church of Satan, or The Satanic Temple’s teachings?

Jodi- Curiosity as a child in contrast to what I was being brainwashed with by fundamentalists. I first picked up LaVey in middle school or so. A mixture of curiosity and rebellion. I met other kids who were interested in high school. That’s what those thumpers get.

Saoirse- Did the adults raising you find out perchance?

Jodi- Yes. My mother was absolutely mortified when she discovered my copy of The Satanic Bible, hidden with my cigarettes in my dresser. Naturally, she ordered me to stop and go to church but…fail. Only made my quest that much more enticing. Mother had many books that warned against Satanic & occult teachings. In the beginning, I used these as cross-references to find the knowledge I was seeking. Those books of hers were so funny to me….the titles and all.

Saoirse- People who were ignorant raised me also. I did not wake up until I was in my 20’s. Late!

Jodi- I think that’s pretty normal.

No matter what path you choose…to not start to really branch out of the family illusion

Until the mid-twenties or so.

I was teaching Catholicism to school kids during my twenties even though I was a practicing witch. It was sort of a marital obligation thing, I though and the director or religion was DESPERATE.

He called me an Angel… lmao. He regretted that…especially when he learned I was encouraging children to wait til adulthood to get confirmed.

Saoirse- Catholicism and witchcraft go very well together.

Jodi- I agree.

Saoirse- I agree. You cannot GIVE anybody to a god or goddess. All baptisms and confirmations belong in adulthood.

Jodi- Amen. The church puts too much pressure on kids. Not to mention, indoctrination is bullshit.

Saoirse- Exactly.

Jodi- The way is to choose for the self. One of many reasons I embrace the teachings.

Saoirse- What is a favorite Satanic teaching of yours?

Jodi- I like the contrast of putting those who move to harm you in their place over the xtian turning the other cheek. There is much to be said for compassion and forgiveness, yes but also standing up for one’s self, remorselessly.

Our culture has been conditioned to take too much shit…which is part of the reason we are all suffering in this age. We are used to being walked on and told what to do.

Living in fear isn’t living

Saoirse- Exactly.

Jodi- Satanism encourages a healthy lifestyle and self-esteem.

Some of this depends on what variety of Satanism we’re talking about, but you understand.

Saoirse- What has embracing these tenets and teachings done for your life?

Jodi- They have made a way for me to learn of and about myself and others in a respectful manner. They’ve crushed the early indoctrination I was force-fed as a child and allowed me to rebuild my own opinions and Will. It made a way for what I want for my life versus what others expect or condone.

The verdict on this is it is one of the best documentaries I have ever seen, and it did my heart good to see the beautiful people of TST, and all the wonderfulness they are spreading within their organization, and in their communities in general.

This film is a must see.

Here is the link to the films page, and how you can see this for yourself!

Happy viewing, and Blessed Be!

***

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.

Book Review – Feng Shui Plain and Simple: The Only Book You’ll Ever Need by Sarah Bartlett

April, 2019

Book Review
Feng Shui Plain and Simple
The Only Book You’ll Ever Need
by Sarah Bartlett

I love little books that present the subject matter in clear and concise form and engage the reader in a practical way so that you can use the information immediately. Feng Shui, pronounced “foong shway”, is one of those topics that has hoards of books available that often contain either too much or too little information. As the title of this little treasure suggests, this book holds the basics of Feng Shui and provides the “just right” amount of information to get you excited to start the transformation.

In these discordant times, we all are seeking ways to improve our lives and create sanctuary. The practice of Feng Shui has long been the panacea to stress, disharmonious environments and general chaotic energies in our surroundings. Ms. Bartlett provides in her Introduction a clear definition of what Feng Shui is and how it can be used depending on what your goal may be to bring healing and peace to any space…

….There are several different schools of Feng Shui thought. One, is based on a scientific and classical approach that uses astronomy, astrology and a powerful Chinese compass called a “Lo Pan”. Another concentrates solely on cures and enhancements, and a third is a blend of intuition and spiritual awareness. This book shows you how to try out some of the simpler principles of this highly organized system…..

Each chapter takes the reader through the why’s behind selecting to use Feng Shui in your space and the how’s to get started without needing to move doors, walls, sell or totally rearrange all of your belongs. The intention of Feng Shui is to tap into the flow of energy in a positive and supportive way in a proactive way that requires awareness of yourself, and your impact energetically on your surroundings. The additional component is that everything is created from energy, so those things we have as possessions also contribute to how we engage and interact with our surroundings.

The First Chapter takes you through the processes of Decluttering, Space-Clearing techniques and the principles of Yin Yang. Chi (energy) flows in accord with what contains and expresses its qualities and we are reminded that at its origins the Chi of the natural world was more important than that of the home. Of course, at the origins of this ancient practice, what was defined as “home” was organically more integrated into the natural world than what we live in today.

Chapter Two speaks to the origins and use of the Baqua, a prominent tool used in Feng Shui for assessing and mapping your space. The next chapters expand on the information you obtain in using the Baqua to assess and incorporate the Five elements. The Five Elements of Chinese use are slightly different than the traditional alchemical elements used in magickal workings. These are Fire-Earth-Metal-Water and Wood; each having their own particular attributes. There are quick lists and suggested cures and supports for each of the elements.

Chapter Seven brings it all together with information relating to each area of the home and simple fixes to bring a more harmonious flow of Chi into these areas. I particularly liked Chapter Eight and the charts to establish your elemental energy type based on your birthday. This may seem like a tangential piece, but the synthesis of all of the energies that permeate the home, inclusive of those who reside in that space is demonstrated to be an important piece of a (w)holistic puzzle.

I’ve long had an interest in Feng Shui and tried several applications based on books, online and more. But, this book truly lives up to its tile of being plain and simple, which is the perfect recipe for someone who doesn’t have a lot of extra time to spend in learning an Ancient discipline that is complex, nor the money to hire a professional. Kudos to Ms. Bartlett!

Feng Shui Plain & Simple: The Only Book You’ll Ever Need (Plain & Simple Series) 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 – The Moving Universe: A Spiritual and Mundane Perspective on the Transits by Joseph Polansky

April, 2019

Book Review
The Moving Universe
A Spiritual and Mundane Perspective on the Transits
by Joseph Polansky

Joseph Polansky has written annual horoscope books for each zodiac sign for a number of years. You know the ones I mean – they are the 365 day version of your daily newspaper horoscope. These are “mundane” forecasts that we scan each morning; they tell us of impending success, romance, or to be careful out there!

A Moving Universe: A Spiritual and Mundane Perspective on the Transits is a different breed of astrology book from the year in prediction books. Mr. Polansky addresses the impact of planetary energies as they move through, or “transit,” an individual’s birth chart or solar return chart – where the current planets are on your birthday. The chart of the planets’ positions at the moment of your birth is a permanent picture memorialized in your birth chart. But, the planets keep moving! And depending on the timing of their movement around the Sun, they will form angles to their position in your birth chart as they move and to the position of the other celestial bodies in the chart as well. You may be familiar with a “Saturn return,” for example. When you are approximately 28 years old, Saturn has moved through the entire wheel of the horoscope and returns to its place at the moment you were born. That position presages a coming of age and a maturation process, possibly a series of challenges that initiate a person into adulthood. As Saturn moves through the entire wheel of the natal horoscope chart over the course of 28 years, it forms angles to every other planet’s natal position, including its own! And every other planet does the same thing, moving at its own speed, from fast Mercury to SLOOOOW Pluto, who takes 245 years to orbit the sun. You will not have a Pluto return!

As they pass over or across from the other planets in the natal chart, transiting planets impart a tone or influence to the affairs of life and energies of the planets contacted. The specific degree of separation of one planet from another, or angle of contact, carries a particular energy. Trines (120°) and sextiles (60°) are considered “easier” than squares (90°) for example. As we can have multiple transits happening at the same time, it is like peeling an onion to get through the layers to interpret what’s happening!

Mr. Polansky has provided a great resource for the student of astrology in this volume. He explores what he calls the major angular aspects: conjunctions (planets at the same place); oppositions (planets 180° apart, opposite each other); squares, trines and sextiles. I would have liked to read his assessments of quincunxes and septiles as well; in my astrological training, I learned that these aspects can point us in the direction of the karmas and patterns we most need to address. Nonetheless, Mr. Polansky has explored each of the angles listed for every planetary combination – over 300 pages of reference materials that is pure gold for both the neophyte and the experienced astrologer.

What makes this book so valuable as a resource are Mr. Polansky’s discussions of both the mundane and the spiritual meanings of each transit. He examines what is likely to be happening in the outer life of the person undergoing the transit, and then he addresses what that transit may be bringing on the level of interior lessons and challenges. He is quick to remind us that we must factor in the many elements present in a birth chart to truly understand the impact of a transiting planet!

This book is a great addition to your bookshelf if you are interested in exploring the multi-dimensional meanings of transits in depth. I have added it to my reference library and will be using it many times!

The Moving Universe 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

April, 2019

Bright Blessings, viewers!!!!

I am addicted to film, but I am also crazy for documentaries, and travel videos.

My husband and I are addicted to Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown, and I think you should be as well.

Here is a sample of how great this show is!

Anthony was an eccentric chef who could not be still, and was always on the go. He was also an intellectual, a writer, an incredible host, a bit of a cynic, and a bleeding-heart Liberal. Thank goodness!

His career as a writer, journalist, film presence, and traveler took him all over the world. Not only did he go to sample the ethnocentric foods of all Nations, but he went to meet the people.

He sat, visited, ate, and enjoyed life with people from diverse backgrounds. He sat with the rich and the poor, the young and old, the famous, and the untouchables. He never refused hospitality, and never criticized a meal. He was always respectful of local customs, and always willing to learn, and adapt. He could talk to anybody, and people fell instantly in love with him.

He was always able to, through translators, bridge the gap between peoples, and connect with whoever he met.

Why he was not an ambassador for government, I will never know.

His show taught the lesson that all people are the same no matter what cultural things separate us, and that everybody deserves to be valued and heard.

This reveals the magic of how interconnected we all are, and how we are all citizens of the same earth no matter what.

This show speaks for itself, and the fact it was cut short by Anthony’s tragic death is beyond a travesty.

It’s currently streaming on Netflix.

Watch this show, and learn about other people. See how much we share in common, no matter what our differences.

Blessed Be.

***

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.

Book Review- Midlife Is Not a Crisis: Using Astrology to Thrive in the Second Half of Life by Virginia Bell

April, 2019

Book Review
Midlife Is Not a Crisis
Using Astrology to Thrive in the Second Half of Life
by Virginia Bell
Published by Weiser
Pages: 242

What others call a midlife crisis, Virginia Bell calls a Mid-course correction, saying, “Whatever we’ve left out of the equation, whatever we’ve ignored, begins to rise up and can no longer be disregarded. This cycle involves four planets and is spread over a decade.”

With that, she welcomes readers to understand life’s most important cycle.

As she began to study astrology in her early-50s, Bell came to realize it wasn’t about something happening in the sky, but something happening within each of us, “and could be a valuable tool for self-discovery.”

In the introduction, she explains the Chiron Return takes place between 49-51, when the comet returns to its place in the birth chart.

“In mythology, Chiron was a great healer and teacher, and this passage is one of the best times to become fully conscious of whatever has not been healed. For many of us, our lives take off in a different direction from what we had anticipated, and often there is failure or loss that serves as a catalyst for this,” she wrote.

She had had my full attention. That’s when I got divorced, moved and changed jobs.

On the next page she notes that Uranus takes 84 years to come back to its place in the natal chart, and that in our early 60s, it makes the last aspect, giving us a second wind.

“There’s a sense of freedom that comes from this edgy aspect, provided we are willing to take some risks and extend ourselves beyond our comfort zone. It’s worth doing, because the actions we take now will impact who we become at eighty-four when Uranus comes full circle,” Bell wrote.

That aspect happened as I made a commitment to find a school bus, renovate it to be an RV and make my future a life on the road, a witch on wheels. That will finally come to fruition this year.

Now I was hooked. I wished I’d had this book starting with my Saturn Rerun around age 29, because “Midlife Is Not a Crisis” serves as a guidebook to the landscape on the second half of our journey. She explained, “[I]t helps to have some knowledge of the terrain, so you can prepare and pack accordingly.”

At the beginning of the book is a concise overview of astrology that introduces beginners to astrological terms, and the concepts of planets, signs and houses.

Bell paraphrases Carl Jung, writing, “Anything born a moment in time has the characteristics of that moment. The birth chart is a picture of the sky at the moment of birth. It is a snapshot of the heavens and all the planets. It is frozen in time. In the next moment, everything moves, but that picture is yours forever; it is eternal, a piece of cosmic DNA.”

Equating power places on the planet to power years in our lives, Bell lays out the lifecycle we all share at the same age.

29 First Saturn Return (Growing up and getting real.)
37-45 Midlife Journey (Breakdowns and breakthroughs.)
49-51 Chiron Return (The youth of old age.)
58 Second Saturn Return (The new elder.)
62-63 Closing Uranus Square (A second wind.)
70s The Seventies (Real problems, real possibilities.)
84 Uranus Return (The homecoming,)

She presents information in a gentle and encouraging manner, always pointing to the gifts, strengths, lessons, vulnerabilities and tools. She’s like a tour guide, helping you navigate the map of your life.

“These cycles or power years are the great turning points in life; at every juncture there will be challenges, lessons, and losses – in this we have no choice. Our freedom lies in how we respond: consciously or unconsciously, awake or asleep, with fear or with love,” Bell wrote.

She sums up the astrology chapter by saying, “It’s all good. There is no such thing as a bad chart or a bad aspect. Hopefully, we all have some great aspects in our birth chart, as well as some challenging ones. Why challenging ones? We’re here to learn. The hard aspects are the ones that push us to grow, change, and achieve. Too many ‘easy’ aspects can make us lazy. Nothing is written in stone. We all have free will. The chart represents potential. Ultimately, it is up to us what we do with it.”

I intend to keep this book until I’m 84.

Midlife Is Not a Crisis: Using Astrology to Thrive in the Second Half of Life on Amazon

***

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.

Book Review – Numerology: Dancing the Spirals of Time by Elen Sentier

April, 2019

Book Review
Numerology
Dancing the Spirals of Time
by Elen Sentier

I do quite a bit of numerology as an enhancement to my magickal disciplines and I am always looking for a fresh perspective to inform and find the bridges of connection between multiple esoteric disciplines. Numerology: Dancing the Spirals of Time does just that in decoding the patterns and vibrations that are present universally.

The author uses a very tactile approach to learning and “feeling” the numbers and the geometric patterns they create. This process engages the reader from the onset and provides Ms. Sentier as a Transpersonal Psychotherapist and British Shaman. I have had the opportunity to read two of her other books, Elen of the Ways and Following the Deer Trods (both from her Shamanic Pathways series) and much of the way in which she approaches numerology, reflects her work in the setting of the natural world, the Fibonacci patterning and the cycles that are vibrational and number based universally.

As Ms. Sentier states in her prologue…“ What I’m offering you here are the results of my sixty-odd years of work and play with numerology, what the numbers have shown me.”… So, from the start you know that the information provided has been tested and tried for some time of longevity and not just a hasty inquiry of minimum duration.

She approaches the systems of numbers as points of correlates within a framework of defining and reshaping the self. The push here is for the reader to recognize the connections that numbers have in telling the story of our role as part and parcel of a system that encompasses the Universal and Cosmic energies of which we are a part. According to Ms. Sentier…”Numbers are amazing, they make wonderful patterns and the work in pairs. Like the DNA double helix, they spiral in and spiral out showing us both evolution and involution… the patterns of life, and of time.”

Each chapter is organized in pairs of numbers, giving the characteristics and correlates for each providing the balance of theory and integration into your own style of learning and understanding the concepts. The author has you scribe the number, using that as a very tactile way of sensing the energy in the creation of that number. Very cool, idea! Ms. Sentier says to….”draw the 1 as a straight line…let the feeling flow into your body through your hand and arm. Don’t try to translate the feeling, just experience it.”

I particularly enjoyed the Working with your Numbers section. Samples and explanations of the numbers that are important in your own patterning are given enabling the reader to do the work of numerological reading for themselves. The grids are a bit complex but clear directions guide the way. In keeping with this highly experiential style, there are several exercises provided to allow you to kinesthetically connect with the numbers.

I thought Numerology: Dancing the Spirals of Time offered an opportunity to work with numbers in a very organic and universal way, but I would not consider this as an introductory book at all. That being said, I don’t believe that was the intention of Ms. Sentier in the least. Despite this, I do believe that this is a wonderful resource and exercise in being able to draw deeper conclusions beyond the superficial information we are usually privy to. Moving through the pages and information of this book requires that you look and feel with all of your being and not simply accept at face value what is being written. And, in this Ms. Sentier scores a home run!

Numerology: Dancing the Spirals of Time 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.

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