series

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

***

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 Reviews – The Only Books You Will Ever Need: 3 Titles From the Plain & Simple Series

March, 2019

There is a series of books titled, “Plain & Simple, The Only Book You will Ever Need”. I have three of these that I would like to review together, in that they are part of a growing series.

The first one I will review is “Chakras, Plain & Simple” by Sasha Fenton.

The book begins with an introduction to the chakras, what they are, and how they work. From there, there is a chapter on each chakra with description, purpose, benefits of each when healthy and each includes an exercise for the specific chakra.

How to heal your chakra is next discussed, bringing them into balance using colors, crystals, oils, altars. The last two sections go beyond the 7 major chakras to the minor ones and a very short discussion on kundalini energy.

The next book is “Flower Essences, Plain & Simple,” by Linda Perry.

It follows the same formula, starting with what they are, how to choose them, feel their energies and how to make them. It describes how to use them with the chakras and the subtle bodies.

There is a small section referencing Dr. Edward Bach, found of Bach Flower Remedies, and then moves into a discussion of different essences including, but not limited to, rose, lavender, eucalyptus, and red geranium.

It ends with a glossary of essences and their uses, including how and when to use them.

We finish with “Herbs, Plain & Simple,” by Marlene Houghton.

Ms. Houghton starts us off with a history of herbalism, how it is used in healing and the use of a “green pharmacy”.

This is followed by a section on herbs for individual body systems, including, the immune system, digestive system, nervous system and more. It discusses what you would put in an herbal first aid kit, medicinal honeys, different herbal elixirs, including herbs for anti-aging, herbal teas and the comfort of herbal baths.

While I would not quite agree that these are the only books you will ever need on these subjects, I do agree that they are “Plain & Simple”, giving you the basic information you would need to know before deciding whether or not to delve further into any particular area of interest.

Chakras, Plain & Simple: The Only Book You’ll Ever Need on Amazon

Flower Essences Plain & Simple: The Only Book You’ll Ever Need on Amazon

Herbs Plain & Simple: The Only Book You’ll Ever Need (Plain & Simple Series) on Amazon

***

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 – Son of Chicken Qabalah: Rabbi Lamed Ben Clifford’s (Mostly Painless) Practical Qabalah Course by Lon Milo DuQuette

February, 2019

Book Review
Son of Chicken Qabalah: Rabbi Lamed Ben Clifford’s (Mostly Painless) Practical Qabalah Course
by Lon Milo DuQuette
Published by Weiser
Copyright November 2018
Pages: 235

This book is a sequel to “Chicken Qabalah” published in 1997. The prologue states this book can stand alone, but it was written assuming the reader has read the first book or is at least “generally familiar with the elementary Qabalistic principles included in that work.”

It is a work of fiction about the teachings of the controversial Rabbi Lamed Ben Clifford from the first book, who is finally determined to be dead 21 years after his unexplained disappearance. His unorthodox teachings continue because his previously unknown notebooks, ritual scripts and an assortment of documents were discovered in a storage locker. Lon Milo Duquette draws from this an initiation process “not so much a matter of ‘educating the unawakened student,’ but of ‘awakening the student to be educated.’”

He adds a second subtitle: “The Secret Initiation Ceremonies, Exercises, and Meditations of a (probably completely fictitious) Qabalah Initiatory Society.”

Not having read the first book, it took me a while to appreciate this one, written as a script, complete with stage directions, notes, meditations and instruction that add up to serious teachings.

It helped to listen to a December 28, 2018 podcast with Thelma Now! in which DuQuette related the backstory. He explained “Chicken Qabalah” was a collection of the fundamentals and gags he used for the Monday night magic class he taught at a Lodge of Ordo Templi Orientis in Costa Mesa, California.

“Qabalah can be really boring,” he said in the podcast.

He realized people remembered information better when it was attached to a gag, joke or a funny illusion. So every year, he said he made his teaching techniques goofier and goofier. His was pretending to be teaching like an ancient Qabalist teaching at a prep school.

During one class, a man became angry, and sputtering, called DuQuette’s Qabalah teachings “chicken.”

Rather than taking it as the insult it was intended to be, DuQuette realized “an angel of God” had just given him “the name of the kind of Qabalah that I teach.”

DuQuette continued, “I just wanted to say to him, ‘Well you know, my rabbi says that there is no such thing as correct Hebrew pronunciation’ or ‘My rabbi said they probably didn’t even speak Hebrew the way we think.’ … I wanted to say that, but I didn’t have a rabbi to refer him to, so I thought I would make up my own rabbi and refer to myself. That way I could call my rabbi a genius.”

What the rabbi teaches in “Son of Chicken Qabalah” through the materials he left behind is a handbook that will enable readers to create their “own personal Hierarchy of Heaven.”

DuQuette said the book grew out of the course he taught to a small group of competent mystics in China over the course of a year, broken into four three-day seminars held on the solstices and the equinoxes.

Because of the language barrier, DuQuette worked to get across his message in as few words as possible. To help his translator, he scripted everything. Those materials formed this book.

The book presents detailed initiation rituals for the rabbi’s secret society whereby a Holy Teacher and a Worthy Guide lead initiates through a three-degree Qabalah Mystery School. Each degree covers a group of the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet. Each letter is a path on the Tree of Life.

The first three – Mother letters – create space with the directions up and down, right and left, and front and back. Motion in that space creates time.

Next are the seven Double letters, where light is broken into seven layers of the color spectrum and sound is broken into seven vibratory musical notes.

The third section introduces the twelve Simple letters that are the keys to unlock the Twelve Gates to the City.

At each stage, the letters’ meanings are given and explored on multiple levels to embed them into the initiate’s mind. In addition to scripted initiation rituals including music, images and tasks, there are study programs and assignments. It provides a multi-sensory approach that includes mudras, a pitch pipe, flashing colors and mandalas.

The appendix contains a reference library, end notes and a summary of each of the 32 Paths of Wisdom.

In the podcast last year, DuQuette explained, “Instead of teaching Qabalah and memorizing stuff, I thought, ‘I am just going to initiate them; I’m going to implant the Hebrew alphabet systematically step by step: three Mother letters, seven Double letters, twelve Simple letters. I’m going to implant them using the psychodrama of the initiatory process.”

Considering each chapter was presented in a long weekend with a detailed script and precise rituals, and then students had ninety days to complete the exercises, I did not get well enough into this book to get anywhere near internalizing the entire Hermetic Qabalistic universe, let alone be able to it in magical practices.

However, there are enough details and simple explanations that would bring a group or individual on a creation adventure.

DuQuette closes the book writing, “As a matter of fact, using your mastery of the Hebrew alphabet, you could (right now) set to work to create your own personal and unique names from Hebrew letters enumerating to numbers that have eight as a conspicuous factor. Your knowledge of the proper colors reveals what these angels look like; your knowledge of their elemental, planetary, or zodiacal makeup reveals their specific powers and gifts.

“Think about it – your own private hierarchy of spiritual beings – immediately and intimately linked to you, because they are your creations. That’s the kind of thing grown-up Qabalists do! That’s what Qabalah is about! … Create your own angels! Create your own personal Hierarchy of Heaven. Think of it as an exercise, or think of it as your Great Work!”

I glanced way ahead for that, but it convinced me to add this to my collection of magic books. And, should you care about ratings, the five reviews it book got on Amazon are all fives.

Son of Chicken Qabalah: Rabbi Lamed Ben Clifford’s (Mostly Painless) Practical Qabalah Course 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.

19-Days of Illuminated Darkness 2018 Free Course

December, 2018

19-Days of Illuminated Darkness 2018

Begins December 3.2018
Waning 4th Qrt. Moon in Scorpio

Join me, once again, as we count down to the Winter Solstice and 19 Days of Illuminated Darkness. What was begun as the veils of Samhain parted and the New Year turned another cycle of the Great Wheel, continues as we welcome the Winter Solstice and the burgeoning of the Solar Light!

Winter Solstice
December 21st.
5:23p.m. (EST)

This is the second of a series of posts through 2019 that will explore the many meanings of the Sabbats of the Great Wheel of the Year. Each will countdown with a specific number (relevant) of days and continue the work begun in the prior Sabbat(s).

Topics will include:

… The deeper meaning of the Sabbat, consciousness, honoring and fueling the spark of the Divine within and more. And, a few bonus posts with new writings and experiences to enjoy. 

The countdown begins on Monday, December 3rd as the Moon wanes 4th Qrtr. in mystical astrological sign of Scorpio. Mercury remains in the last 3 days of its retrograde and offers the opportunity to explore that darkened light in a collaborative style. All the while the Sun stands strong in its astrological mantle of fiery Sagittarius.

For a quick look …

19-Days of Illuminated Darkness-Index

https://awitchssacredjourney.com/19-days-of-illuminated-darknessindex

***

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 Death Show: A 14-Part Series on Healing and Understanding presented by The Outer Limits of Inner Truth Radio Show

October, 2018

The Death Show: A 14-Part Series on Healing and Understanding presented by The Outer Limits of Inner Truth Radio Show

About:

…”The World’s Only Show About Forensic Soul Analysis. If Science & Mysticism got married, the Outer Limits of Inner Truth radio show would be their child. OLIT (Outer Limits of Inner Truth) is a program about introspection, discovery, and evolution. It premiered on February 2014 and within a few short months, was picked up for national syndication on Starcom Radio Networks (44 AM Stations). In 2018, OLIT was picked up by Mental Health News Radio Network (a large media network that features programs about psychology and mental health)…”

This 14-Part series about Death is comprehensive and informative in its presentation. Each broadcast is an hour or more in content with each section parceled out to reflect all of the stages, questions and beliefs about Death. The collection of more than seventy interviews is a mix of select listeners and a heavy dose of professional clairvoyants, psychics, mediums, artists, clinical psychologists, therapists, Reiki Masters and more. Overall, I found the broadcasts to more than adequately foster a place of community, sharing and counsel that is applicable to all aspects of the grieving process and more importantly to the fear of the unknown and our own mortality.

Although time intensive, I enjoyed listening to the different perspectives presented and broadening my own philosophies regarding the Death Process. My Mother passed two years ago on September 22nd., so the information presented was both timely and comforting.

These are the topics explored:

The Healing Process Begins

Managing Mindset Parts 1 and 2

Exploring Mental Health and remaining centered and focused throughout the grieving process.

What You Can Do For Others

Practical advice on how to navigate grief as a support for the bereaved. It is a delicate space of knowing when and how to interject your support and sympathy when you are trying to offer comfort. Understanding what this looks like and that every individual is unique in how they process loss provides the necessary insight in reading the situation and assessing the need.

The Virtues

The Virtues are the Elite Team of experts on the Outer Limits including a Medium (Lisa McGarrity), Psychic Empath (Kerrie O’Connor), Animal Communicator (Lisa Caza) and Astrologer (Constance Stellas).

I was particularly drawn to this fifth installment and discussion of the Soul’s Journey and past life experience. All of us want more information on what to expect of our own death and how to reach out to those who have passed. Questions such as – How long before you should wait to attempt contact with your loved one? What forms do the Spirits take when they present themselves to the psychic/medium? How are they able to communicate?

How soon after the passing would you wait to connect? – general rule of thumb about 1 year for clear connection.

I especially liked the simplicity of this suggestion by Lisa McGarity:

What to do if you would like to communicate with someone passed over…..

Sending the intention of being able to clearly communicate with your loved one. Write a letter as though you were going to interact on a physical level. Often the response will come in the form of a dream or impression.

Teachers and Mystics Parts 1 and 2

There are many beliefs and cultural bias around death. Hearing some of these teachings and the ways we process the spiritual nature of death. Precepts such as non-judgment and the dispelling of the illusion of corporeal and manifest life. The Soul and the human form are reflections of consciousness and the levels of understanding and development that has occurred within manifest form, aligning the transition from life to death into the point of resonant energy.

Near death Experiences 3-Parts

A series of interviews with individuals who have had NDEs and their unique stories that carry some of the common threads.

Nanci’s Story

An depth sharing of a NDE and the blueprint of our cosmology that she was given.

Communication With the Departed

How communication occurs and the various modalities and types of communion that can be used to seek counsel from those passed.

Animal Afterlife

This section offered some much needed comfort and information to those who have lost a beloved animal companion.

Science and Skeptism

The conclusion of the series attempts to bring science and the inherent skeptic nature into cohesion. It concludes with a 4-way debate between the host, Ryan McCormick, David Silverman President of the American Atheists, David I. Orentein, Ph.D., Humanist Clery and Atheist author and speaker

NDE Researcher Dr. Jeffrey Long. The opening question posited by the host, Ryan is:

What if all of the previous segments were “bullshit”? What if science had a logical explanation for everything stated and there was nothing mystical about the experience of death? Ryan goes on to encourage listeners to develop their own belief systems rather than “following” the conclusions of others. This segment opens with an interview with Bob Berman, astronomer and co-author of Biocentrism: How Life and Consciousness are the Keys to Understanding the True Nature of the Universe who promotes knowledge of our place within the Universe in both the stages of life and death and time’s role in creation.

The debate opens Pandora’s box of enabling the listener to formulate their own realities between what science and mysticism repel as truth and attempt to coalesce as belief.

To access the series: The Death Show

***

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

It’s Written in the Stars

Astrology

 

The Inner Chamber, Vol. Two

poetry of the Spheres (Volume 2)

Qabalah

 

The Inner Chamber, Vol. Three

Awakening the Paths

Qabalah

 

A Year With Gaia

The Eternal Cord

 

Temple of the Sun and Moon

Luminous Devotions

 

The Magickal Pen Volume One (Volume 1)

A Collection of Esoteric Writings

 

The Elemental Year

Aligning the Parts of SELF

 

The Enchanted Gate

Musings on the Magick of the Natural World

 

Sleeping with the Goddess

Nights of Devotion

 

A Weekly Reflection

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.

Story Series: Hedge Wizard

September, 2018

Part 1


(Photo by Clint McKoy on Unsplash)

Chapter 1, Part 2

Flight through the Forest

As we flew over the treetops, with the great starry dome overhead, I seemed to be flying upside down over an ocean filled with innumerable lights. The blue child led me deep into the forest, and at one point slowed down to allow me to catch up with him. Then he locked elbows and flew with me, and suddenly all was changed. The trees glowed with light of many colors, like lamps of blue, green, red and violet, each type of tree a different hue. Some trees throbbed with light, while others gave off a steady sheen. In places I saw what looked like columns of light erupting from the trees up into the sky and eventually disappearing in distance. Elsewhere, shafts of light descended suddenly from the sky and fused with particular trees. The blue child led me to a glade in the forest filled with oaks and poplars. We flew to one particular oak and passed inside it through a hollow ‘fairy door’. I was in the trunk of a massive, giant oak tree with the blue child.

Some noise in the forest woke me up at this moment. It was early morning, just around dawn. I went back to sleep and had no dreams I recalled.

At breakfast the Hægtessa seemed pleased and rested. She said she’d had the best sleep in years, for it’s tiring at times to fly with the blue child or other dryads in the forest. At least when you get up to my age,” she smiled. “But while you’re young it’s great fun, and you gradually become acquainted with the deeper forest.”

Dawn can go home tomorrow,” she continued as an afterthought. “Try again tonight with the Blue Child. See if you can get inside the Great Oak. Tell me what happened tomorrow at breakfast. If you find you like doing this, and don’t mind learning herb-lore from me, you can be hedge wizard when I am gone. But think it over; you have plenty of time to consider it.

But the times you go home,” she added, in turning, “don’t speak of your experiences here. Just say you are learning herb-lore from me. That will provide enough reason for them to ostracize you. No point in giving them more.”

* * * * *

On the following night once again I was flying with the Blue Child through the night forest. The blue child led me to a glade in the forest filled with oaks. We flew to one particular oak and passed inside it through a hollow ‘fairy door’. I was in the trunk of a massive, giant oak tree with the blue child. Blue light was all around us.

We rested inside a recess in the oak’s trunk. Not far from us was the figure of an old man sleeping. He seemed carved from wood, or else turning into wood. On his face was an expression of contentment and rest.

Who is that?” I asked the Blue Child. “My Dad,” he answered. “He is falling asleep into the tree. Dad, Dad,” he called softly. The old man’s eyelids fluttered, scattering small splinters. He looked with love at the Blue Child. “Dad, this is Bird-brow. He is taking his first flight.”

The old man’s voice came resonantly from his lips, which hardly moved. “Welcome, Bird-brow,” he said. “The gods bless you.”

And you, Sir,” I replied. “But what is happening to you?”

Oh, I am dying. It is time to return to the Tree, our Mother. My son will serve Her in my stead.”

In the garth, where I live,” I said, “to die is an occasion for sorrow.”

Not among us,” the old man said, smiling. “For we do not die entirely so long as the Tree lives. And She has lived here in the Forest a very long time.”

You can still go upstairs if you’d rather, Dad,” said the Blue Child.

No, Son. My place is here with our Mother, the Oak. But you should go upstairs to tell the Bright Ones I will stay here and subside into wood.”

The Blue Child turned to me. “Rest here awhile. I will return soon.”

The blue light grew around us and seemed to lift the Blue Child. He rose on a column of light and rushed out of the crown of the Tree, up into the sky. He was suddenly gone. I looked at the old man inquiringly.

You must pardon me,” he said, closing his eyes once again. “I am becoming very sleepy.”

I moved outside the trunk up into the lower branches of the Oak. Around me the elms were glowing green, the larches a paler shade of the same color. Here and there in the haunted forest columns of light shot up into the sky and disappeared; once in a while a column descended from the sky and passed into a tree from above, and the tree took on its color and glowed softly.

After some time had passed, a shaft of blue light descended from the sky and the Blue Child was back. “Now we must scout out the Hægtessa’s herbs,” he said. “the old beds have dried up.”

But where were you?” I asked him, as we resumed out flight.

In our star. Every tree in the forest has a star. Ours is there.” And he pointed almost directly up, to the top of the sky. “You must return with the Haegtessa in the morning and help her pick herbs.” Once again we entered the oak.

But where are the herbs?” I asked. “The trees will find them,” he said, and then called out softly “Dad…Dad.”

The old face appeared once more in the wood. “Yes, Son, what is it? I was drifting off.”

The Haegtessa needs more herbs, Dad. The old beds have dried up. We must find the closest bed of wild herbs for her.”

Right away,” said the face, and disappeared into the wood.

Where has he gone?” I asked the Blue Child. “Down into the roots,“he said. “The roots of the great oak extend far on every side and touch the roots of trees growing around us. They in turn touch the roots of their neighbors, and so on. The search for the wild herbs is even now traveling far afield, along the roots through the Deep Forest.”

Presently the old face of the Oak Father appeared once more in the wood. Little splinters flew from his eyelids and lips as he smiled and said “Tell the Hægtessa the way to the herbs has been charted. If she comes here to the Great Oak she can follow the trail with her staff” “Thank you, Oak Father,” I said, and promptly awoke in the crystal room.

At breakfast the Hægtessa was radiant. “You’ve done well, Bird-Brow,” she said. “The Blue Child and the Oak Father both like you. That is important.”

I told her what the Oak Father said. “I know,” she said, “I have done this before, many times. What he said was for your benefit. We must go together today, since you may be doing this next time.”

After breakfast she said farewell to my mother and little Dawn. “She has recovered. Keep her quiet and well-rested for a few days. Bird-Brow is going with me today on an expedition. He will return home tonight.”

The Hægtessa put on her voluminous white robe and took her carved oaken staff from her cabinet. “Take this sack with you, Bird-Brow,” she said. “We will bring back some herbs for replanting in my field.”

I had flown with the Blue Child to the Great Oak and knew vaguely how to get there in the body, but the Hægtessa knew the way very well, and in about half an hour we mounted the hill leading to the tree. It was a quiet, blue morning, punctuated with light birdsong.

The Hægtessa grounded her staff near the base of the oak. “Grasp my staff, Bird-Brow” she said. I grasped its head and felt a tingling coming up the staff from the ground. She knew I felt it, and took it back. “Now follow along. We have a journey to make.”

She walked to the next tree, a smaller, younger oak, and then beyond it to a birch, feeling the ground with her staff with every step. In this way we went down hill and up hill for about half an hour. Coming to a shallow stream, we forded it, the Hægtessa feeling the trail along the stream bottom with her staff, and picking up the trail again among the trees on the other side. The land sloped uphill from the other bank, until we reached a plateau at the edge of a cliff. Far below I could see the field of herbs. Passing to the left along the cliff, we came to a mild grassy slope downhill, and followed it down to the herb beds.

The field of herbs was the size of two yards placed side by side. Beyond them the forest continued on a shallow rise. “The herbs have come here from many places in the forest,” said the Hægtessa. “They are our partners. It is our job to protect them, to pick the weeds from among them and ring them about with guardian plants like marigolds. Some we will gather up and replant in my garden. These will be of use, like the feverfew I gave little Dawn, but once replanted, the herbs have less potency. Here, in this field, is where they retain their full magic.” She showed me how to tell weeds from herbs, and we replanted a few marigolds along the margins.

You must come here with the Blue Child, Bird-Brow,” she said, “perhaps once a week, to see if all is well. You must also come here at times in the body to dress and protect the field, and gather a few herbs for replanting. That is, if you want to.”

She looked at me carefully. “I am old, Bird-Brow,” she said. “I cannot make the journey here often. If you wish to be hedge wizard after me, you must start now to help with the fields.”

I will, gladly,” I said. “But what of my father and the boar hunt? I have never been asked to be on it before, because I was too young. He is counting on me to be with him.”

Some problems have no easy solution, Bird-Brow,” she said.

When I visited the herb field and pitched my tent, all was quiet. In the night I saw one herb light up within, and in it I could see the Hægtessa preparing herbs. She looked very old and tired, and suddenly I knew I would disappoint my father and remain here with her. When next I slept in the crystal room, the Blue Child flew in and said I had chosen wisely. She would not live much longer. In the morning I told her of my decision to remain with her and learn her herb-lore. She smiled and took me into her garden, pointing out the herbs which had been replanted. “These can be used in healing, Bird-Brow. But they must be boosted with wild herbs from the field.” Back in her house, she showed me how to prepare the herbs, cutting them and mixing them with the wild herbs. They seemed to quicken into new life when mixed with their wild counterparts.

At night, I flew with the Blue Child to the wild herb field, but instead of returning to the Hægtessa’s house we flew together over the wheat fields to the Hall. There was a lamp lit inside the Hall, watched over by the Hall-Sun, a young, vigorous woman with straw-colored hair. I was surprised to see my father there with her. “He won’t come, Hall-Sun.” he said sadly. I had hoped to show him hunting. The Hægtessa has bewitched him to her service.”

He can still come along to the boar-hunt,” the Hall-Sun said. “He can fly with the hunters and the Blue Child.” And she nodded to my companion.

That night the boar-hunters ran through a long tunnel in the Hedge, carrying torches. My father led them. The great wild boar had been reported in these parts, and each hunter was armed with bow, arrows and spear. I hovered over my father and the Blue Child and I flew on ahead to scout out the quarry and report its whereabouts to the hunters. Once or twice I saved my father from the boar by warning him of its murderous attack. I think he was aware of my protection and thanked me. He showed me how he stalked the boar and in this way I learned about hunting. The Hall-Sun watched me closely and I was taken by her fresh beauty. She seemed sprung from the earth, like harvest wheat. Her gaze seemed to reprove me for not being with my father on the hunt. But then I thought of the Hægtessa and her difficulties, and when I did, the Hall-Sun nodded approvingly.

End of part one

Story Series: Hedge Wizard

August, 2018

Part 1

(Photo by Tj Holowaychuk on Unsplash)

Chapter 1

1. A Visit to the Hægtessa

I remember when little Dawn had a fever and had trouble sleeping, I went with Mother across the harvested fields to visit the Hægtessa. The green wall of the Hedge, tiny in the distance, grew and threw open its arms as we approached. On all sides it stretched, shutting out the Forest, except where the river ran by, downhill on the right, where the fishing lodge straddled the bank. I knew that far to the left, the hunters’ tunnel passed under the hedge.

Beyond the Hedge I could see the tops of many trees, outliers of the Forest. The Forest went on and on, they said, forever. No one went very far into it except the hunters. The Hægtessa, whose name meant ‘hedge-rider,’ went a little way in at times to gather herbs.

As we approached her house, Mother cautioned me to remain quiet unless spoken to. The Hægtessa, it was said, lived a very quiet life and disliked noise.

Her house ran right through the Hedge to the other side, and thus had two fronts, each barely extending beyond the Hedge itself. Her magic accommodated the Hedge to her house, neatly fitting it without impinging on it in the least.

I had never been in her house. I had been up to the Hedge, and down to the fishing-lodge by the river, and seen the gabled front of her house from a distance, but never herself. But now she came out.

But when the Hægtessa emerged, she was a kindly-looking middle-aged woman, getting a little stout. She was dressed in a simple farm smock and apron.

I’ve been working in the garden” she said to me, answering my thought. The morning sun peeped over the roof of the forest, and I squinted. She looked at me curiously, then turned to my mother.

Hello, Mopsy,” she said, using my mother’s little girl name.”What can I do for you?”

It’s Dawn, here,” said Mother. “She is hot and can’t sleep. I think her head hurts.”

The Hægtessa took Dawn in her arms. “She needs feverfew and a few other herbs,” she said. “Step in.”

We went up three steps and were inside her house, which seemed carved rather than built. A wide room stretched on both sides. Ahead were more steps, leading past cabinets of herbs and instruments up through the middle of the house. There were no windows to right or left.

Her magic keeps the hedge from bothering the house,” I thought. “But why the hump in the middle?”

Once again she answered my thought. “The roots of the hedge pass under the middle of my house. Else there would be two hedges.”

*

The Hægtessa ascended the inner steps and took several herbs from the shelves. She took dried leaves of feverfew and mixed them with fresh leaves. Then she prepared two or three other herbs.

When she brought the tea down, I saw a circular stairway at the back of her herb-closet. Past it steps probably started down to the forest side of her house.

We have to wait and see how she takes the herbs,” she said. “Please make yourselves comfortable. I will brew another tea.”

We sat on her cushioned carved benches and waited, while Mother applied a cool rag to Dawn’s head from time to time.

The Haegtessa kept us company. She talked about her need for an apprentice, “I’m not as young now as I once was.” She was running out of some herbs and needed help locating new gardens in the forest.

Somewhat later she felt Dawn’s head and said she felt a little cooler, but she needed to stay there for a night or two until her head was back to normal. She fixed up a bed for Mother in the room with Dawn, then turned to me.

Perhaps you’d like to sleep in the loft?” she asked, pointing to the circular stairs. “Come and see.” I followed her up the stairs. At the top, the gabled room was on the right. On the left a door opened into a circular chamber, roofed with crystal. I had heard of the dream chamber, but thought it was just a story.

In the center of the room was a wide, comfortable looking bed. Some treetops could be seen at the rim of the dome, but otherwise it was all sky.

Do you think you’d like to sleep here?” she asked.

Oh, yes,” I said. “Yes, thanks.”

That is well, Bird-brow; I give you that name in place of your boyhood name Hops. For outside, when you squinted, I saw a bird’s head, perhaps a robin’s, in the wrinkles between your brows. So I know you will profit from a night spent up here.”

The first night the dream chamber was filled with a blue light, whitened a while by the moon. I lay entranced by the starry sky and don’t know when I dropped off. Just before I woke I seemed to see a bluish figure flying around the room. It was a boy, a little smaller than I am, but I awoke before I could see more or speak to him.

At breakfast the Hægtessa was jovial. Dawn was much improved, and Mother had finally gotten some much-needed sleep. We had milk and meat and some fruit I had never seen before, juicy with a red pith. “One more night and Dawn will be well,” she said. “Did you sleep well in the chamber, Bird-brow?”

Why do you call him that?” asked Mother. “His name is Hops.”

He is growing fast, and has grown much overnight. See, already he is nearly eight years in stature. And I name him Bird-brow.”

Mother said nothing, but shifted a little uneasily in her chair. We knew that a hedge-witch has the right to assign a name to someone, and that name is not without meaning.

During the morning the Hægtessa took me out over the stair-hill and through the forest side of her house to the herb garden just outside the forest-door. Just beyond it was the blasted heath where the advancing trees of the forest had been cut down and the grass and seeds underneath them burnt brown. We picked herbs that day and she showed me how to store them in jars and prepare tinctures and other medicines.

At sunset a hunter came by with a brace of conies. “Have you heard that the great boar hunt is being prepared?” he asked me. “Your father is organizing it. Will you be with him?” I said certainly. He skinned them and stayed to supper with us, then went off again into the forest.

That night I dropped off to sleep swiftly, and before long the light of a star shone brighter, and the blue child flew or slid down the trail of light, landing at the foot of my bed.

Come, Bird-brow,” the blue child said. “You are asleep, so you can fly,” and we both flew through the crystal and out into the night of the forest.

To Be Continued…

Finding Your Own Way

July, 2018

Chapter 4

Western Meditation Techniques

There are thousands of books on eastern meditation, but I wish to concentrate on the western traditions as they are less well documented and require much less time to master. These traditions have been hidden for hundreds of years until the early nineteenth century. Some were the sole province of the religious orders and others were carried on in secret, by various groups and individuals. Although the reasoning behind the various systems may seem flawed to the modern mind, I can assure the reader that these exercises work. My own belief is that these were discovered by trial and error and whichever techniques worked were passed down to others, enmeshed in whatever ideology suited the teacher. Also, I have found, through personal experience, that there is a huge fund of knowledge within the collective unconscious mind (Carl Jung) that we can tap into during dreams and meditations.

The Treeing Exercise

This is a well-known meditation and it covers an important area of western tradition.

It helps us increase our feeling of ‘connectedness’ with the earth and gives us greater control over our altered states of mind as we journey. It is always a good idea to begin any meditations with the treeing exercise. As the name suggests, it helps us anchor ourselves emotionally before exploring our inner worlds. It also gives a great feeling of calm energy and optimism. This can be used anywhere, either sitting, standing or lying down. Sitting against a large mature tree during this meditation will certainly add to its effects.

Close your eyes and breathe as slowly, and as deeply as is comfortable.

Imagine that you are a tree.

Visualise the sun above you are pouring light and warmth onto your crown and branches.

Feel the warmth flowing through you and down into your legs and feet.

Picture your body filling with bright light.

Imagine your feet are rooted to the ground.

In your mind see the light form tendrils which push deep into the earth, like the roots of a tree.

Push the tendrils deep into the earth as the energy of the sun pours through your body.

See the tendrils spread out into tiny roots and anchor firmly into the soil.

Now, as you breathe in, draw the light of the sun down your spine and deep into the earth.

As you breathe out, draw the energies of the earth up through your roots, along your spine, and through the top of our head… sending their vibration through your body and out to the universe.

As you breathe in, feel the light flowing down into the ground and clearing and tension and pain from your body and into the earth to be transformed and healed.

When you feel totally relaxed and energised, then you may continue to another meditation, or slowly open your eyes when you feel ready to do so.

Seeking Peace in a Garden of Roses

Morning sunlight sparkling on a single drop of dew,

Light cascades like a rainbow on a rose.

Toes curling on the cool, wet grass.

The world is still asleep.

You walk in solitary silence, but you are not alone.

You share your thoughts and cares with One who truly Knows.

The One whose Spirit warms your blood and fills your heart.

The One who pours Their love into your very bones.

And you are blessed.

Memories come back to you unbidden,

Happy times that filled your heart with joy.

The chattering of your brain is stilled,

The worries and the sorrows drift away.

Then slowly, gently you become aware of now,

You face the world without the needless furrows on your brow.

And you are blessed.

Touch the rose with tenderness,

Kiss it gently as you taste the dew upon your lips.

Breathe in deeply as you fill your lungs with beauty.

Taste the fragrance of the morning garden,

Heady with the scent of earth and grass and summer flowers.

Stretch and raise your hands up to the sky,

and know that you are blessed.



 

This is an ideal meditation to follow the ‘treeing’ exercise. It can bring a feeling of relaxation, expansiveness, and connection to nature. It will increase our feelings of calm and inner peace.

Sometimes we are not ready to face our feelings head-on. Perhaps we have been under a lot of strain and feel tired and depleted. Too many demands from life may have left us feeling drained and ’empty’. Issues with friends and family that we have avoided dealing with may have exhausted our energy, – leaving us in no fit state to deal with them. Be gentle with yourself. We all hide away from things that are too painful to deal with. Simply take the time to heal and regroup your energies before tackling difficult issues.

We sometimes need to take the time to rest and nurture ourselves. Sadly, it is not always possible to take the time needed to do this. Use this meditation to take your own personal “mini-break” when you get a few spare minutes.

Breathe deeply and relax as you exhale a few times. Then take a few minutes to absorb the poem and gaze at the picture. Then use the relaxation exercise or one of the other meditations in the book and allow your mind to take you to a pleasant safe place where you will find inner healing and often, wisdom and guidance.

***

About the Author:

Patrick W Kavanagh, Featuring the inspirational art of Bill Oliver

Writer, poet, Patrick W Kavanagh was born in Dublin and now lives and works in Lincolnshire in a small rural town. Patrick became fascinated by the strange abilities of the human mind from watching his mother give psychic readings using tea-leaves and playing cards. With a lifelong interest in metaphysics and parapsychology, he has given tarot and spirit readings for over 40 years. He travels to many events with his wife Tina, exploring the power of shamanic drumming to heal, and induce therapeutic trance states. They also hold a regular drumming circle in the picturesque Lincolnshire Wolds.

By Patrick W Kavanagh available at most retailers:

Finding Your Own Way: Personal Meditations for Mastery and Self-knowledge

 

Kiara

Distant Shores

From the Muse

Going Shamanic Radio

July, 2018

 

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

This Month’s Topic: Sister & Brotherhood Circles with Lori’ and Phil Nelson

On this episode, Jen welcomes Lori’ Black Cave Dreamer and Phil Eagle Song, both certified shamanic practitioners.

There is a need in our society for women and men to gather with others of their same sex to share and to learn more about what it means to be a whole man or a whole woman. This show talks about what the differences are between women and men and why Sisterhood and Brotherhood Circles are such an important support for communities on the planet.

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

***

About the Author:

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

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

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

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

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

For more information go to: www.spiraldanceshamanics.com

Finding Your Own Way

May, 2018

Chapter 2 in Our New Series

(Featuring the inspirational art of Bill Oliver)

First steps…

What is most urgently needed, in these hectic days is peace and calm. Meditation is not the difficult task that it is often made out to be, – so, for this first exercise, we will use the relaxation technique as a stepping off point. Tense and relax a few times then read the poem and spend some time in looking at the image, before beginning the relaxation technique. After you have totally relaxed, simply allow yourself to remember the images and the moods associated with them. Let them flow through your mind without any judgment or analysis. Do not worry if you fall asleep and miss this step. You will have begun the work as you rested and healed. You can always return to this section after mastering more advanced techniques.

A Meditation for Seeking Calm and Meaning in Our Lives

A Rose in Sunlight

Rays of sunlight, glancing briefly through the trees, dazzle a solitary,

pale, blue rose.

Surrounded by her sleeping sisters, fragile petals kiss the frost before the others rose.

Scattered on a deep green bush and nestled safely in their buds,

they wait for warmer days, while she has rushed ahead.

She sheds a single dew-drop tear, for beauty all too soon to fade,

Before the summer comes to pass, her pretty petals will be shed.

Weep not, sister rose,

Your beauty has not passed unseen.

For, all too soon, we both are destined to return

to where, deep in our hearts, we’ve always been.

Back to that place, for which our spirit yearns,

where hunger never bites, nor desert burns.

 

***

About the Author:

Patrick W Kavanagh, Featuring the inspirational art of Bill Oliver

Writer, poet, Patrick W Kavanagh was born in Dublin and now lives and works in Lincolnshire in a small rural town. Patrick became fascinated by the strange abilities of the human mind from watching his mother give psychic readings using tea-leaves and playing cards. With a lifelong interest in metaphysics and parapsychology, he has given tarot and spirit readings for over 40 years. He travels to many events with his wife Tina, exploring the power of shamanic drumming to heal, and induce therapeutic trance states. They also hold a regular drumming circle in the picturesque Lincolnshire Wolds.

By Patrick W Kavanagh available at most retailers:

Click Image for Amazon Information

Kiara

Distant Shores

From the Muse

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