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Book Review – The Bardic Book of Becoming: An Introduction to Modern Druidry by Ivan McBeth with Fern Lickfield

February 1st, 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

***

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 at
Robin
Fennelly
 

Follow
Robin
 on
Instagram & Facebook.

Book Review – QUEEN UP! Reclaim Your Crown When Life Knocks You Down: Unleash the Power of Your Inner Tarot Queen by Angela Kaufman

In our current atmosphere of #Time’sUp and #MeToo, this is the perfect book to come along. The Queens that are spoken of in this book are the Queens of the Tarot, but it also fits in with so many, adding the term “Queen” to the three-fold aspect of the Goddess.

The author uses the archetypal energies of the four Queens in the Tarot, each representing a different element, to help us to meet, and work with, our Inner Queen(s), using a tarot deck and our intuition.

Ms. Kaufman tells the “Legend of the 4 Queens”, leaving us with four divine decrees, being: “all things are energy”, “energy is changeable” energy contains elements of its opposite”, and “energy can be accessed at will through the power of intention, thus anything required to succeed can be found within”.

Each Queen has her own section with self-reflective questions, exercises, meditations, and ritual, complete with her own correspondences.

Ms. Kaufman describes how each of us can call on our own Queen(s), with a detailed ritual on how to “Queen Up!”, with tips on how to bring these energies into our daily lives.

The book concludes with a 52-week guide to Queening Up, which also comes with an Inner Queen Intuitive Log.

While the techniques mentioned may sound familiar to those who have done Goddess-oriented inner work, or intentional spellwork, they are presented here in a manner befitting a Queen.

This book is very encouraging and supportive to any woman who would follow it as an uplifting guide on their path to empowerment. I would definitely recommend this book, and I plan on returning to it as part of my own inner work!

Click Image for Amazon Information

***

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 [email protected]

Click Image for Amazon Information

Book Review

Tarot For Your Self, A Workbook for Personal Transformation (Second Edition)

by Mary K. Greer

To me, any Tarot book written by Mary K. Greer needs attention, and Tarot for Your Self, 2nd Edition: A Workbook for Personal Transformation is no exception. Tarot For Your Self is published by New Page Books, a division of The Career Press, Inc, Pompton Plains, NJ; it is a 7”by 10” paperback with a glossy color cover and contains 298 pages of nicely-sized typeface printed on white paper.

This is not a typical how-to-read-the-Tarot book. Tarot For Your Self does not only present card images, keywords and sample interpretations. Not that there are no correspondences or meanings offered at all (Appendix A has all that great Little White Book information, with upright and reversed meanings, an affirmation, and questions to be answered for each card), but rather the meat of Greer’s workbook offers great suggestions, explanations, and exercises focused on learning to integrate crystals, pendulums, visualizations, affirmations, numerology, astrology, self-exploration, rituals and meditations into our Tarot practices.

There is a chapter that offers new ways to get to know the cards of the Tarot, and new ways to use the cards for personal exploration. There is a chapter that focuses on getting to know and understand the personalities of the Court Cards. Another chapter takes familiar spreads and breaks them down so that a Tarot reader can make use of useful variations of even a simple three card spread. Greer even addresses yes-no and either-or questions in this chapter.

Throughout the book, along with the many charts and correspondence lists, meditations and visualizations, images and descriptions of a myriad of spreads to fit any circumstance imaginable, are valuable exercises that help a reader to see the cards in new ways and experience how the meanings of the cards can directly connect to and explain our own life experiences. Like any workbook, there is space within each of those exercises for us to record results and descriptions of experiences we may have while doing the exercises. At the end of each chapter is a list of suggested reading connected to the information provided in that chapter.

Besides the information about the individual cards in the Appendix, there is also a history of the Tarot and some theories regarding its origin, and a very useful correspondences chart.

What I like about Tarot For Your Self is that it offers many useful tools that allow us to use our Tarot cards for self-discovery and self-healing. There are exercises for dealing with depression, clarifying relationships, and clarifying money issues. There are meditations for relaxing and grounding. There are descriptions of rituals for purifying your cards, and descriptions of how to formulate a question and how to interpret reversed cards within a spread.

In Tarot For Your Self, Mary K. Greer has created a book that can help new readers to get a glimpse of how much information a Tarot card can offer, and that can help more seasoned readers to tap into the personalities of the cards in order to tell the story of a spread. Here is a workbook that does not require us to memorize keywords but rather encourages us to do the exercises and journal our own unique experiences in order to become personally acquainted with the cards of the Tarot. This is a classic that has stood the test of time, and has something to offer to new readers and longtime Tarot enthusiasts alike.

Tarot for Your Self, 2nd Edition: A Workbook for Personal Transformation

***

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

Book Review

Moon Magic: Your Complete Guide to Harnessing the Mystical Energy of the Moon

by Diane Ahlquist

Moon Magic by Diane Ahlquist is a small book, but as promised by the subtitle it offers a complete perspective of Moon Lore, recipes, astrological considerations, and more. The author has managed to fill 253 pages with practical applications and information that is suited to both the longtime lunar practitioner and the newest of Moon devotees.

The book is separated into four sections, each building upon the next; the fourth giving suggestions for advanced Moon work. Additionally, each section holds a wealth of exercises to foster a deeper and deepening connection to the Moon from contemplative to journaling and creation of oils and food.

Part 1-Chapters 1 through 4 give a thorough, yet readily readable, overview of the astronomical science inherent in the phases, the history of Moon workings, familiar names given historically to the monthly moons and a brief section on energy management and subtle anatomy basics. 

Part 2-Chapters 5-10 dive right into moon magic and the types of workings that are suitable for specific phases, healings and the planetary correspondences of the days of the week to be used in consideration with timing your lunar work. Worksheets to outline your intention and the steps towards bringing into manifestation what you desire all lead to Chapter 10, which gives directions for creating a Vision Board (aka. Manifestation Chart/Treasure Map). This is a technique used in a variety of ways, both mundane and spiritual for visualizing what you want, employing the tactile component in selecting pictures, symbols, etc. and strategically placing the completed project in a location where it is in sight and therefore always in mind.

Part 3-Chapters 11-16 offer suggestions and info about auspicious lunations such as eclipses, blue moons and more with loads of accompanying activities for bringing Moon Magic into your daily living as you honor the cycles in a very organic and intuitive way. The previous parts all serve as the foundation for Part 4 and advanced lunar practices.

Part 4-Chapters 17-21 provide an opportunity to apply the basics learned and branch it more broadly and inclusively aligning astrology, both Eastern and Chinese (a nice little add in). Permanence is represented in a chapter dedicated to creating your own Moon altar and the traditional correspondences used by the farmers in planting by the moon are explored in suggestions for creating a moon garden. 

The finishing touch in this informative little treasure is the final chapter dedicated to food and drink with decidedly lunar themes and correspondences. This last impression takes the reader from embarking on a quest to connect with Mother Moon and her dynamics of change and brings them right to the table, or in this case altar to eat and drink in the lunar energies.

Given the abundance of books available on this subject, and having read a great many of them, I was nicely surprised to find this small tome of reference that speaks from the author’s heart and apparent knowledge of the webbing of many disciplines being part and parcel of lunar work. 

To read more about Diane Ahlquist, visit her site at:  www.DianeAhlquist.com 

 

Moon Spells: How to Use the Phases of the Moon to Get What You Want

 

***

About the Author:

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

She is the author of:

 

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.

Book Review

The Transformative Witchcraft: The Greater Mysteries

by Jason Mankey

Repetition is a good thing, especially when the author infuses it with their own ideas and experiences. I believe that everything that we can do to make this information relatable to the broadest of audiences is a positive step towards bring greater awareness to the practice of Witchcraft and the work and dedication that is required to follow such a path. Such is the case in this new offering by author and editor of blog spot, Patheos Pagan, Jason Mankey- The Transformative Power of Witchcraft. Jason has authored several books on the craft, this one feeling more of a synthesis of the basics from start to finish.

The book is complete with history, ritual, creating sacred space, the work of self and more. There are three chapters devoted to the history of the craft and given that we are a spirituality based on the history, but crafted into a neopagan approach, having the solid foundation of what was, goes a long way into crafting what can be.

Chapters Four through Six focus on the “Cone of Power”, its creation, uses and theory behind its success. This information is presented in a thoughtful manner, offering options and adaptations, which I believe many newcomers to the path, are hesitant to interject on their own. Knowing how, when and where to direct energy is even more important now in the wake of global and domestic events and the working of witchcraft is a tool of change that, if wisely used can achieve amazing results.

I particularly enjoyed reading Chapters Seven through Ten, under Part Three’s Header of “Dedications, Initiations and Elevations”. For many, this topic alone is veiled in mystery and there are as many interpretations of what those semantics mean as paths of practice. Indeed, no one size fits all and as the author discusses, much depends on solitary, Tradition based, hereditary or other as to what these terms mean to the individual. Additionally, rituals are provided to be used as starting points or intact for the reader. I appreciate the detail that went into this section, particularly in preparing the seeker for the work required to be done, the preparation of self and the commitment that is undertaken when receiving any of these deeper connections to your path.

No book on witchcraft would be complete without attention to lunar working and Drawing Down the Moon as ritual and self-generator. Jason also covers the other types of Divine assumption, interaction and possession that may be encountered or experienced in the greater work. Chapter Thirteen provides all of the basics and information for the Ritual of Drawing Down the Moon.

The book concludes with discussion of The Great Rite and its ethical use in truth and physicality as well as metaphorical and representative approach. Each has its own specific reasons for selection, and in particular, when enacting The Great Rite as an offering of sex magick and potency, I believe it is important to know exactly why and where that option would be suitable and when it is used unethically as a means of control over the uninformed.

A glossary and bibliography is provided and the index makes it easy to zero in on specific topics.

This book is available for pre-order on Amazon with a publishing date of January 2019.

Transformative Witchcraft: The Greater Mysteries on Amazon

***

About the Author:

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

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

 

The Inner Chamber Volume One on Amazon

It’s Written in the Stars

Astrology

 

The Inner Chamber, Vol. Two

poetry of the Spheres (Volume 2) on Amazon

Qabalah

 

The Inner Chamber, Vol. Three

Awakening the Paths on Amazon

Qabalah

 

A Year With Gaia on Amazon

The Eternal Cord

 

Temple of the Sun and Moon on Amazon

Luminous Devotions

 

The Magickal Pen Volume One (Volume 1) on Amazon

A Collection of Esoteric Writings

 

The Elemental Year on Amazon

Aligning the Parts of SELF

 

The Enchanted Gate on Amazon

Musings on the Magick of the Natural World

 

Sleeping with the Goddess on Amazon

Nights of Devotion

 

A Weekly Reflection on Amazon

Musings for the Year

 

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

 

Follow Robin on Instagram & Facebook.

Review of Arin Murphy-Hiscock’s The House Witch

 

 

I received a “review copy” of The House Witch: Your Complete Guide to Creating a Magical Space With Rituals and Spells for Hearth and Home by Arin Murphy-Hiscock just before the Thanksgiving holiday. This handsome book is published by Adams Media, an imprint of Simon and Schuster, and is the twelfth book by Arin Murphy-Hiscock. On Simon and Schuster’s author website for Arin Murphy-Hiscock, you can find all the titles of her other published books. Some were known to me and some were not. Some, like Birds: A Spiritual Field Guide, I had borrowed from my local public library and had on my “to-buy” list. So naturally I was elated to get The House Witch. I immediately cracked it open and wrote my name and the date on the inside cover.

But the demands of the Thanksgiving Holiday – cooking the meal and getting together with family in town for just a few days – meant that I wasn’t able to sit down and give The House Witch a good read. And then I caught my son’s cold. Sick and miserable, I gave up. I took a box of tissues and curled up on the couch under a hand-crocheted afghan for several days in a state of semi-slumber.

When I did finally get back to The House Witch, I was delighted, as I knew I would be. One my very first impressions was, “Gee, I wish there had been books like this back when I was first getting into witchcraft and wicca!” In the 1970’s and 1980’s, there were only a few books out on the subject and most of them – like Starhawk’s The Spiral Dance – were geared toward the large group or the coven but very rarely the solitary practitioner. Not until Scott Cunningham published Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner in 1988 that you started to see more attention paid to the solitary witch. While The House Witch is not specifically written for the solitary witch, it addresses the many concerns of those of us who practice alone – whether we live alone or with other people.

I was born in May, under the sun sign of Taurus, my moon in Pisces, with Cancer rising. Issues of home and health and happiness have always been forefront in my spiritual practice, so it is natural that I would gravitate toward creating and maintaining a beautiful home, even if that home is a tiny apartment in a poverty-stricken neighborhood in a rust-belt city. Because of my wonderful grandmothers, I was always aware of the magic in everyday things but many people – especially those born after, say, 1980 – do not have the benefit of the wisdom of their elders. On page 17, Murphy-Hiscock lists four steps that anyone can learn to “recognize the magic” as she terms it, reminding us to keep things simple and always to focus on what we are doing in the house. These steps are: live in the moment, be aware of your intent, direct your energy properly and focus on an action. Anyone who has studied any kind of meditation, magical instruction or spiritual path will recognize these steps. So just what does all of this have to do with the home and the hearth? Murphy-Hoscock writes,

“Opening yourself to the simplest of tasks and allowing them to inspire you with some insight or wisdom, or even a

moment of peace, illustrates that the Divine can whisper to you in the oddest of unexpected places. Hearthcraft is

about communing with the Divine through everyday tasks, not through complicated formal ritual.” (page 19)

She talks about home as sacred space. One thing she mentions is the removal of shoes in cultures such as Japan and other parts of Southeast Asia; I don’t allow anyone to wear shoes into my apartment and I am always amazed – when I watch TV, for instance – and I see people, not only with their shoes on inside their homes but also on the furniture!

When I was growing up, I always lived in houses that had fireplaces and we usually had a fire most winter evenings, so the idea of a hearth and a hearth fire is not unknown to me – one of our houses actually had a giant hearth built into the wall surrounding the fireplace! But since I have left my parents’ house, I have never lived in a house with a fireplace, much to my great sadness. I consider my hearth to be my kitchen oven or perhaps a meditation candle. However, when I was sick a day ago, I had some split pea soup and freshly baked bread and lay down for a nap. I could feel the warmth of the soup and bread in my belly and it occurred to me that my hearth fire was inside of me.

With this in mind, the “Bank Your Inner Flame” ritual on page 45 makes perfect sense. I had a wonderful warmth inside of me and I needed to be able to hold onto that warmth. It wasn’t just the soup and bread – it was the sense of being safe and secure in my own home. I love the word “smooring” – I love anything Scottish and Gaelic – I added it to my list of cool words and then I copied the “smooring prayer” (page 46) into my personal prayer book.

This book is filled with jewels.

There is a chapter on “The Magic of the Cauldron” in which she talks about how to find and care for a cast-iron cauldron. “Hearth and Home Deities” is just what it sounds like – a chapter of gods and goddesses of the home and hearth. The next chapter is about the kitchen as a sacred space – something that not many people even think about seriously nowadays. If your idea of cooking is opening up a box of prepared food and popping it into the microwave – or even using something like Hamburger Helper – then I would give Chapters 6, 8 and 9 a very close reading. As I already stated, Chapter 6 is about the kitchen as a sacred space. Chapter 8 is “Magic at the Hearth” and Chapter 9 is “The Spirituality of Food”. Recipes included!!!!!

Other topics in this fabulous book are “Using Hearthcraft to Protect Your Home”, “Herbs, crafts, and other Hearth-Related Magic Work”, and a chapter of various spells, rituals and blessings. Quite naturally, there is an appendix and a bibliography that have quite a bit of information in them as well.

In the “Postscript”, Arin Murphy-Hiscock writes, “Several times as I was writing this book, my thoughts moved faster than my fingers, and as a result ‘hearth fire’ very often came out as ‘heart fire.’ I wonder, at times, if my subconscious was trying to tell me something.” (page 247). I do not wonder at all. This book most assuredly set my heart on fire. In this rich season of Yuletide joy, when all of us decorate our houses with festive lights and traditional ornaments that may only have meaning to our loved ones alone, The House Witch: Your Complete Guide to Creating a Magical Space With Rituals and Spells for Hearth and Home by Arin Murphy-Hiscock is a book which brings together all the spiritual and happiness that home and hearth can represent. I highly recommend it for anyone on any spiritual path.

References

Murphy-Hiscock, Arin. The House Witch: Your Complete Guide to Creating a Magical Space with Rituals and Spells for Hearth and Home. NY: Adams Media, 2018.

The House Witch: Your Complete Guide to Creating a Magical Space with Rituals and Spells for Hearth and Home on Amazon

***

About the Author:

Polly MacDavid lives in Buffalo, New York at the moment but that could easily change, since she is a gypsy at heart. Like a gypsy, she is attracted to the divinatory arts, as well as camp fires and dancing barefoot. She has three cats who all help her with her magic.

Her philosophy about religion and magic is that it must be thoroughly based in science and logic. She is Dianic Wiccan and she is solitary.

She blogs at silverapplequeen.wordpress.com. She writes about general life, politics and poetry. She is writing a novel about sex, drugs and recovery.

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