understanding

Book Review – Understanding Aleister Crowley’s Thoth Tarot by Lon Milo DuQuette

March, 2019

Book Review
Understanding Aleister Crowley’s Thoth Tarot
New Edition
by Lon Milo DuQuette

I have in my hands the new edition of Lon Milo DuQuette’s Understanding Aleister Crowley’s Thoth Tarot published in 2017 by Weiser books, an imprint of Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC (65 Parker Street, Suite 7, Newburyport, MA 01950), and I am excited and intimidated. Excited because I already own the 2003 edition of this valuable book (I purchased it early on in my Tarot career, right after I bought the Thoth Tarot alet, nd Crowley’s The Book of Thoth), and intimidated because compared to DuQuette (who, by the way, was intimidated by the idea of writing this book in the first place), I am a neophyte as far as the Thoth Tarot goes. Excitement wins out, so let’s dive in.

Like many Tarot enthusiasts, I originally purchased my Thoth Tarot Deck, and then decided that I must have Crowley’s version of a LWB (“little white book,” the pamphlet included with many decks), his 287 page companion book to the deck titled The Book of Thoth. While filled with amazing knowledge and lore regarding Crowley’s deck, this book is not for beginners and I found that I could not read it without having several reference books beside me. My next purchase was DuQuette’s book and I have never regretted that purchase. DuQuette is known as a “Crowley expert,” an authority on both the man himself and the deck he fashioned. As DuQuette is also an O.T.O. (Ordo Templi Orientis) member, he is able to present in plain language the ideas and concepts that Crowley had in mind as he created his deck.

Understanding the Thoth Tarot has a soft cover with a matte finish color photo of the image for the Princess of Disks created by Lady Freida Harris, the artist of the Thoth Tarot Deck, on the front. This is the same cover image as the 2003 edition, but with more intensity added to the colors, a hint of what is to come. The book is 6 inches by 9 inches and has 330 pages printed on white paper with an easily-readable black type face that is a bit small but considering the astounding amount of information to be found in the book, understandable and worth the effort.

DuQuette offers quite a bit of information about Crowley, the Tarot in general, and the Thoth Tarot in particular, beginning with his Preface to the second edition and continuing with chapters regarding Aleister Crowley, Lady Harris, the artist who created the potent images of the Thoth Tarot, and the images she created, and background information that serves as the foundation for the Thoth Tarot, such as Thelema, the Tree of Life, the Rose Cross, the Egyptian Pantheon, the Ordo Templi Orientis, and shifts of consciousness, as well as symbols, colors, sex magick, and the Holy Guardian Angel. Part II, The Cards, does not come until page 79, and the actual information regarding the individual cards begins with The Fool on page 96. In this book DuQuette truly offers us deep and extensive background information regarding the Thoth Tarot, and he shares many rabbit holes that will lure us to learn more about the topics covered.

There are 176 pages of information regarding the cards themselves. Each Major Arcana card is described with an image of the Thoth card, a description of the traditional image of the card, the name of the card, the element, Hebrew letter, and the colors associated with the card, several quotes, and two or more pages of descriptions. The Minor Arcana cards are described with an image, a description of the traditional image, the name, element, astrological information and colors associated with the card, and at least one page of descriptive text.

After the card descriptions, DuQuette continues with chapters describing the divination process and suggested divinatory meanings for the cards. Chapter 21 contains a glossary of Thelemic terms and Tarot terms, followed by footnotes. The inside back cover contains a beautiful full-color image of the complete Hermetic Rose Cross, described and defined by DuQuette within the book.

Understanding Aleister Crowley’s Thoth Tarot is a necessary book for even the most casual Tarot enthusiast. Yes, it is like any other textbook: it is no easy read but rather reaches deep and challenges us to become familiar with terms and concepts that might not be a part of our everyday life. But since we are drawn to the Tarot because it broadens our minds and allows us to articulate ideas and visions, we should open ourselves to the opportunity to learn presented by this book, without hesitation.

There are small additions to the original 2003 edition. DuQuette has added an introduction that provides information regarding sex magick and the cards, a description of the unicursal hexagram card that is included with some Thoth decks, and DuQuette’s own Roll-With-the-Flow spread.

In my opinion, DuQuette’s Understanding Aleister Crowley’s Thoth Tarot is the quintessential book on the Tarot in general, and the Thoth Tarot in particular. This is truly a comprehensive read on the Thoth Tarot and the esoteric knowledge connected to the deck. This is a Tarot book you will return to again and again, for the more you learn about the Thoth Tarot deck, the more you will get from re-reading the chapters of this book.

Understanding Aleister Crowley’s Thoth Tarot: New Edition 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 Bardic Book of Becoming: An Introduction to Modern Druidry by Ivan McBeth with Fern Lickfield

February, 2019

Book Review

The Bardic Book of Becoming

An Introduction to Modern Druidry

by Ivan McBeth with Fern Lickfield

Ivan McBeth died peacefully at home on September 23.2016, and his name and work remains as that one of the penultimate Druids. Reading the introduction and the words of his partner, Fern Lickfield drew me into this book well before the actual meat of the book. And, the closing words of Orion Foxwood, completed a beautiful book of hope, teaching and wisdom in the way of the bard.

This is a book of beginnings that offers those new to the path of Druidry solid foundation in a style of mystery and magick that has survived and evolved into a modern practice that honors the earth that was, is and can be. This book is chockfull of visualizations, rituals and stories filled with the keys of understanding that will open the doors of personal experience.

A most endearing approach is that of Ivan offering his own stories of how he came to a path of Druidry, what it meant to him and how he wished to enchant the world with these teachings that emanate from a history that systemically wove the natural world and man into a dance of collaborative embrace and mutual support.

Ivan begins the teachings in Chapter One, entitled We Are One. A simple, yet profound statement that he continues to peel back the layers of in reminding us that we began inseparable from the Earth’s Mother and although we have recently lost our way, the choice is ours to return to that place of symbiotic union and relationship with everything.

We learn that there are three levels/grades of training that form the Druid Path, the Bard-the Ovate and finally the becoming of a Druid. This study and path is one of commitment, the early Druids training for at least twenty years and all of that training oral in its passing on. Nothing was recorded. That was the way of the ancient Druids. There have been revisions to this in keeping with the demands of modern society and the inability n most cases to devote all of one’s life and time to this training.

Part One moves smoothly and clearly through al that is required to begin the foundations of a Drudic practice. It is rich with visualizations, exercises, and opportunities to create your own experiences that will form the scaffolding of who and what you become as you evolve and grow in a natural and wholistic world. The mere telling of Ivan’s experiences is a mystical gateway filled with passkeys and inspired ways of practice. This style adds a personal approach and engages the reader into a palpable experience in the re-telling. This also exemplifies the ways of the Druids in past years and the power of their teachings handed down through storytelling and oral rendition. We are one and our stories all lead to the mysteries of who and what we are on this planet and in this time.

Part Two dedicates its chapters to the Elements and the role they play in the practice of Druidry. These are the cornerstones of the natural world and as such are held in the utmost sacredness to those on a Druid’s path. I particularly liked the way in which Ivan drew you in with experience and a very simple, yet rich in layers of meaning accounting of the energies.

In keeping with the tradition of experience that is so richly laden within a Druid’s path, I am purposefully keeping this review brief. The greater worth of its information is to be found by your diving into its pages and immersing yourself in an ancient practice of cultivating awareness of all that is of this natural world; most importantly ourselves. This book is a treasure of wisdom for anyone on a spiritual path that integrates our responsibility as stewards of our planet and our inter-connectedness. It is a read I would highly recommend, not as encouragement of taking this path as your own, although you may find that resonance, but simply as a book dedicated to living in accord with the mysteries and magic of the Cosmos and how we may empower that work within ourselves.

The Bardic Book of Becoming: An Introduction to Modern Druidry on Amazon

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About the Author:

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

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

The Inner Chamber Volume One on Amazon

It’s Written in the Stars

Astrology

The Inner Chamber, Vol. Two

poetry of the Spheres (Volume 2) on Amazon

Qabalah

The Inner Chamber, Vol. Three

Awakening the Paths on Amazon

Qabalah

A Year With Gaia on Amazon

The Eternal Cord

Temple of the Sun and Moon on Amazon

Luminous Devotions

The Magickal Pen Volume One (Volume 1) on Amazon

A Collection of Esoteric Writings

The Elemental Year on Amazon

Aligning the Parts of SELF

The Enchanted Gate on Amazon

Musings on the Magick of the Natural World

Sleeping with the Goddess on Amazon

Nights of Devotion

A Weekly Reflection on Amazon

Musings for the Year

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

Follow Robin on Instagram & Facebook.

Review of The 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

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About the Author:

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

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

 

The Inner Chamber Volume One

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.