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

December 1st, 2018

Book Review

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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About the Author:

Susan Rossi is a Practitioner and Teacher of Shamanism. She is a long-time explorer of The Mysteries – the connections between mind, body, spirit and how to live in right relationship to all of the energies streaming through the cosmos. She works with clients as an astrologer, coach, ceremonialist and guide to the wisdom that each of us has the capacity to access. Her focus is on guiding clients to unblock and rediscover their inner wisdom. , exploration of the birth chart, ceremony, legacy writing, hypnotherapy, energetic healing practice and creation of sacred tools are integral pieces of her practice.

Susan trained in Soul Level Astrology with master astrologer Mark Borax. She delights in exploring with individuals the planetary pattern under which their soul choose to incarnate.

Flying to the Heart www.flyingtotheheart.com

Open Channel Astrology: openchannelastrology.com

Book Review

The Lunar Gospel – The Complete Guide to Your Astrological Moon

by Cal Garrison

Another astrology cookbook, sigh, I thought as I opened this book. How wrong I can be! Cal Garrison is an astrologer of maturity and subtlety and brings her experience and discernment to this very useful, well written guide. As Garrison herself points out in the introduction,

To answer the question of whether we need another astrology book, I am here to say, ‘Yes, we do.’ We need a book that takes the basic information to a place that actually shows the aspiring astrologer how to translate the sings and symbols into a language that helps people identify their soul’s purpose clearly enough to open the pathway to the higher self…that lifts the Veil on…a subject that has been hidden in darkness for over 500 years and that was originally given to humanity as a gift from the gods to help us make sense of ourselves and of our connection to the greater whole.”

And Garrison does exactly that. As she tells it, she used to rely on Pluto to get to the heart of the soul-based and life-purpose horoscope, then the lunar nodes. Now she uses the Moon’s sign and house position as the direct route to the core of the chart because: “The Moon is the timekeeper here on Earth. Like the second-hand on a clock, her movements define our relationship to the past, the present and the future. The Moon’s sign…gives us insight into what an individual has learned during the ‘Time’ that they have already spent on this Earth. The Moon’s house…tells us where and in what ‘Space’ or department of Earthly experience a person will apply those gifts in life.” Garrison uses Saturn to point to big changes and the Moon to point to the smaller shifts. I really appreciated this insight!

Her discussion of the Moon and its role in the natal horoscope walks us through her process of chart reading. She has studied astrology since 1964, so this is deep trove of treasure she dispenses to us. In the first chapter we learn that the Moon is about growth, (waxing and waning!), our past lives, the areas we’ve mastered and how we tend to repeat these patterns in the first half of our lives. I have approached the Moon in the natal chart from a somewhat different perspective, but find Garrison’s direction to be useful and practical. For example, she makes an excellent observation when she tells us that the Moon, not Mercury, rules memory. She parses this beautifully – Mercury rules the mind and neural functioning, but the moon governs memory because it governs the past. And –“[s]he is responsible for the mechanism in us that knows how to remember, because she is the master of repetition.” Of course! Her discussion of all of the Moon’s rulerships and correspondence is so well-done: thoughtful, well-explained and very well written, in simple, easy to understand language that is not astro-speak. It works beautifully for the beginner and for a more seasoned astrologer as well, providing us with her insight gained from reading many charts.

For the true newbie, there is a quick and easy to understand explanation of how the astrological wheel is laid out. There are also chapters on the moon in the signs and the houses, replete with insight and practical ways to apply it to both natal and horary charts (these are charts cast to answer specific questions, like, “Where will I find my keys?”). Garrison provides chapters on North and South lunar node house and sign placements to demonstrate how the Moon’s orbit is anchored to the soul’s purpose in this lifetime. There is helpful diagram to illustrate how the nodes interact with the orbits of the Sun and the Earth. She ends with a chapter on synthesizing and blending these various layers. For the astrology initiate, she provides short, well-written descriptions of the flavor, tone and influence of each inner and outer planet in the chart and how each operates.

I truly appreciate Cal Garrison’s insights and advice on chart reading in this book, especially this: “The ability to read a chart is something that grows over time and develops, not through books alone, but rather through the direct experience of talking to one person after another about their lives.” Yes! If you are interested in dipping into the vast body of available astrological writing or like me, adding to your library of astrology books, get this one. You, too, will appreciate Garrison’s experience, her insight and her ability to convey her craft so well.

The Lunar Gospel: The Complete Guide to Your Astrological Moon 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

Naked Tarot: Sassy, Stripped-Down advice

by Janet Boyer

 

 

I am so excited to share Naked Tarot: Sassy, Stripped-Down advice by Janet Boyer with you all. Naked Tarot is published by Dodona Books, Winchester, UK and Washington, USA, an imprint of John Hunt Publishing LTD., NO 3 East Street, Alresford, Hampshire S024 9EE, UK. It is available in paperback and digitally, and since I am reviewing a digital version, I can’t describe the physical book. But no worries, Naked Tarot has 451 pages chock-full of valuable insights into the Tarot cards, all presented in an easy-on-the-eye typeface in a style that is irreverent and fun!

I read the Forward, written by Craig Conley, author and creator of the Tarot Of Portmeirion, and instantly smiled. Eight Implications of Nakedness lets us know what we are in for, and it’s all good, even if you are squeamish about getting nekkid. The Introduction, written by Boyer, gives the framework of the book and some biographical information. Boyer, who also has an incredible amount of Tarot knowledge and experience, holds true to the title of this book and presents herself and her life experiences without shields, and with naked honesty. The book continues with an overview of the Tarot and of divination. Boyer also talks about ways to use the Tarot, methods for reading the Tarot, reversals, correspondences, Tarot suits/elements, and even things to consider when choosing a deck. I love her description of the Tarot as offering Who (the Court Cards), What/How (the Minor Arcana), and Why (the Major Arcana) with regard to our readings and the messages of the cards. All of this information without a single image, just lots of easy-to-read and understand text.

The section devoted to each card contains a Stripped Down Overview (describing the personality of the card), a whole paragraph of Keywords, several Personifications and Embodiments (OMG, one suggested personification for the Page of Wands is Tigger; how perfect is that?!), as well as a Quote, a Challenge, a Gift, suggested Occupations/Vocations, a list of correspondences, a Writing Prompt, and on and on. Then there is the Naked Advice section, which contains Career, Romance, Parenting and Spirituality interpretations, as well as a list of Recommended Resources, and a suggested spread. In her card descriptions and extensive correspondence lists, Boyer uses current and up-to-date movie and book references and people, both real-life and imagined, who we all know well.

I particularly like Boyer’s treatment of the Court Cards. She treats each of the 16 Court Cards like individual persons, and even offers Nicknames for each, and the way to His/Her Hearts and MBTI/Keirsey personality descriptions.

At the end of over 400 pages of useful and fun information about each of the 78 cards of the Tarot, Boyer offers six sample spreads with interpretations, as well input and comments from some of the seekers. The book ends with an extensive bibliography, and a list of recent bestsellers from Donona Books.

Naked Tarot is a must-have, whether you are a new reader just dipping your toe into the Tarot ocean, or an experienced reader with a lot of esoteric information and reading experience in your tool box, or if you fall somewhere in between those extremes. This is not a dry list of correspondences and brief descriptions of interpretations that don’t seem to relate to current life. There is nothing stuffy or intimidating about this book; it is accessible to all and full of lots and lots and lots of useful information offered in a manner that is easy to connect with and remember, even though there are no card images.

I never expected to recommend a digital book on the Tarot, but this is one that you absolutely must have on your e-reader. Get the paperback too if you need to work with paper; you won’t be sorry. You will use this book, again and again, and the thoughtful insights and reader-friendly card descriptions and information will bring a new spark to your work with the Tarot, whether professionally or personally.

Naked Tarot: Sassy, Stripped-Down advice 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

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

by Mya Spalter

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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About the Author:

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

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

 

The Inner Chamber Volume One on Amazon

It’s Written in the Stars

Astrology

 

The Inner Chamber, Vol. Two

poetry of the Spheres (Volume 2) on Amazon

Qabalah

 

The Inner Chamber, Vol. Three

Awakening the Paths on Amazon

Qabalah

 

A Year With Gaia on Amazon

The Eternal Cord

 

Temple of the Sun and Moon on Amazon

Luminous Devotions

 

The Magickal Pen Volume One (Volume 1) on Amazon

A Collection of Esoteric Writings

 

The Elemental Year on Amazon

Aligning the Parts of SELF

 

The Enchanted Gate on Amazon

Musings on the Magick of the Natural World

 

Sleeping with the Goddess on Amazon

Nights of Devotion

 

A Weekly Reflection on Amazon

Musings for the Year

 

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

 

Follow Robin on Instagram & Facebook.

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

by Cherry Gilchrist

 

 

publisher: Weiser books

© 2018

length: 252 pages

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

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

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

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

Street image.

Mythic image

Personal Image

Evolution of each archetype.

Youth

Maturity

Old Age.

Manifestations of that archetype.

Gifts

Trials

Rituals and Cults.

Visions of that archetype

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

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

 

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About the Author:

Dawn Borries loves reading and was thrilled to become a Reviewer for PaganPages.Org. Dawn, also, has been doing Tarot and Numerology readings for the past 25 years. Dawn does readings on her Facebook page.  If you are interested in a reading you can reach her at: Readings by Dawn on Facebook at

https://www.facebook.com/Readings-by-Dawn-1608860142735781/

Musings on Ordinary Magic and Daily Conjurings

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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About the Author:

Mabh Savage is a Pagan author, poet and musician, as well as a freelance journalist.

She is the author of A Modern Celt: Seeking the Ancestors and Pagan Portals – Celtic Witchcraft: Modern Witchcraft Meets Celtic Ways.

 

A Modern Celt: Seeking the Ancestors on Amazon

 

Pagan Portals – Celtic Witchcraft: Modern Witchcraft Meets Celtic Ways on Amazon

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