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

April 1st, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

***

About
the Author:

Lynn
Woike
 was
50 – divorced and living on her own for the first time – before
she consciously began practicing as a self taught solitary witch. She
draws on an eclectic mix of old ways she has studied – from her
Sicilian and Germanic heritage to Zen and astrology, the fae,
Buddhism, Celtic, the Kabbalah, Norse and Native American – pulling
from each as she is guided. She practices yoga, reads Tarot and uses
Reiki. From the time she was little, she has loved stories, making
her job as the editor of two monthly newspapers seem less than the
work it is because of the stories she gets to tell. She lives with
her large white cat, Pyewacket, in central Connecticut. You can
follow her boards on Pinterest,
and write to her at woikelynn at gmail dot com.

Book Review

A Spiritual Look at the 12 Signs

by Joseph Polansky

 

 

Having a large section on my bookshelf dedicated to Astrological studies and having decades of experience as an astrologer, I must admit that I had some preconceived notion of what I could expect in reading this book; also on a subject that I am very well versed.

By way of a little introduction for those whose primary experience with astrology has been in religiously purchasing those little scrolls of Sun Sign wisdom available at the retail counter here is a bit of information about the complexity and nature of this particular discipline. Astrology has both a mundane and esoteric approach. The former being what we traditionally come across by way of chart readings, daily predictions and guidelines and the basic and fundamental perspectives, and I would add psychological, attributes of the individual’s birth chart. The more mundane (not to be confused with astrological interpretation of geographic place) aspect of astrology is further sub-divided into a variety of interpretative styles, including Vedic/Sidereal astrology, Western/Tropical astrology, Babylonian Astrology and many more.

Esoteric Astrology perceives the zodiacal signs as attributes of archetypal spiritual energy; there is additionally the psycho-spiritual overlay applied. Each having a (sentient) nature that informs the spiritual bodies of the individual and by so doing, informs the spiritual progress of this and other lifetimes. Just as is the case with Western (traditional) astrology, each of the signs has a planet associated with its energy. However in esoteric astrology the assignations of those planets differs from the traditional, because what becomes the focus of this study is that of the spiritual (and sentient) nature of the planets as they act upon the more etheric nature of the signs. Either (Western or Esoteric) of these approaches requires quite a lot of study and understanding of the basic principles to make full use of their gifts.

A Spiritual Look at the 12 Signs starts off on the right foot, moving through each of the zodiacal signs and giving enough basic information on each that the dip into the more esoteric astrological approach is easily grasped. Additionally, throughout the book, Mr. Polansky has provided the reader with a copious and varietal amount of meditations and contemplative reflections that serve as another layer of experiencing the more spiritual, vs. astronomical nature of the signs.

The Table of Contents is thoughtfully organized to provide some basic information at the foreground and develop into a broader perspective inclusive of other ways of making use of astrological energies. Mr. Polansky folds in some additional uses of astrology, such as Medical astrology, aromatherapy using the construct of astrological energetics. Each of these sub-sections breaks out how that modality would present itself through each of the astrological signs, giving the reader an instant “grab on” and point of reference.

There is an interesting chapter, The Twelve Yogas, that weaves the philosophies of Yoga (not simply in its form of Hatha-or posture) into a meditative practice aligned with your astrological sign. In particular the overlay for this exploration is the alchemical element of the various signs and the particular form that will support that disposition. For example, those of Air signs are guided towards practices that incorporate mind (Jnana yoga) and breath (Pranayama yoga); Water signs align with the yogic focus of love and devotion (Bhakti); Fire with that of fire (Agni yoga) and action (Karmic yoga), and Earth signs benefit from postures and movement (Hatha yoga) and ritual work. I found this to be a nice touch in making connections and use of astrological principles beyond the traditional nature of prediction and identification.

This book is a smorgasbord of tastings and samplings for the student of astrology who wishes to stretch a little further. Theosophical, Eastern Philosophies, Western Hermetics, Ayurvedic practices, Metaphysics, Alchemy and Esotericism and more are all folded into the information of this book. Some reveal themselves only if you are aware of the disciplines from which they are derived, which is neither a comment of critique nor praise. This is often the case when pursuing any of the disciplines of esoteric knowledge.

All in all I believe A Spiritual Look at the 12 Signs to be a lovely foray into expanding your understanding of astrology and being able to access relevant and enough recognizable traits to engage the reader and inspire them to seek out more.

A Spiritual Look at the 12 Signs: An Introduction To Spiritual Astrology 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.

Astrology for Success: Make the Most of Your Sun Sign Potential

by Cass and Janie Jackson

Being an astrologer, I am always on the look out for books that are clear and concise in a format that is easily understandable by the lay person. Astrology for Success by Cass and Janie Jackson fills that niche quite nicely. In fact, their other books seem to also follow this premise that simple is best.

The authors have chosen to focus on the Sun Sign in a natal chart as the tool of use in understanding your innate potential. This decision aligns quite nicely for those who are accustomed to reading daily horoscopes that, most often, are Sun Sign based. I would venture to guess that most people know at least their astrological Sun Sign, if for no other reason that as a fact of trivia and identification. So, this book already speaks to a broader audience than many books on astrology would.

Each of the thirteen chapters is dedicated to a single astrological sign, in accord with their placement around the flat wheel. The thirteenth chapter is a charming teaser for anyone who wishes to explore another biggie in the natal chart- your Rising sign. This little tidbit at the end adds another layer of interest beyond the personality and traits of the Sun Sign.

Each chapter analyzes the Main Characteristics of the astrological sign, the Plan for Success based upon the innate potential of that sign’s characteristics, Health, Relationships, Career Paths and highlights of Chronological Patterns that potentially play out in the course of the individual’s lifetime. Although the chapters are short, there is enough to sink your teeth into and prompt a deeper look in self-analysis and awareness.

This is definitely a book I would recommend to my students and clients who are interested in having some usable information on hand in a simple format.

Astrology for Success: Make the Most of Your Sun Sign Potential

***

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.

Book Review

Ceri Norman: Faerie Stones, An Explanation of the Folklore and Faeries Associated with Stones and Crystals

Ceri is a prolific writer, with several books under her belt and numerous magazine articles. This book, Faerie Stones, was mentioned by a friend and I was intrigued by the title and the concept. Faerie Stones takes a wide variety of stones and crystals and gives a great deal of information about each one, including but not limited to the deities and beings or spirits associated with them.

It’s worth noting that in this book the term faerie is used to cover a wide variety of beings including deities and spirits. I understand why Ceri has done this, as it makes it simpler to use one term to cover all the otherworldly beings. Normally I would be quite particular about the use of the term fairy or faerie due to my Celtic heritage, in which the fairies are less than friendly much of the time! However, in this volume Ceri makes it clear who and what she is talking about each time she mentions a specific deity or spirit, so it remains very clear what type of being is being discussed.

I love how each stone is brought to life and given a very organic feel. It’s as if each stone is a living part of the world, which greatly appeals to my druidic leanings. I also loved all the references to different types of ‘little people’, a fascination for me for many years.

Ceri covers stones from the tiniest crystal to huge standing circles, and her introduction and the first part of the book really show her enthusiasm and passion for her subject. Just reading her descriptions of standing stones and other places of power made me want to go out into the world and find these places for myself. You can’t help but be pulled along by the energy within the book, joyful and full of experience and knowledge.

The encyclopaedia section covers 26 stones and their correspondences and uses, and particularly the beings that are drawn to them. There’s a separate section on the different formations of quartz which I found particularly enlightening as it had not occurred to me that the different formations of quartz could have different effects on the world. Ceri also touches on the chakras and stones associated with them, auras, meditating with stones and crystals and a chakra balancing meditation with Morgan Le Fay. I appreciated very much that Ceri notes that beings such as Morgan have both light and dark sides.

This is one of those great books that can be read from cover to cover for sheer joy, and also kept as a point of reference. It will certainly be near the top of my kindle library for the foreseeable future.

Faerie Stones: An Exploration of the Folklore and Faeries Associated with Stones & Crystals

***

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

Pagan Portals – Celtic Witchcraft: Modern Witchcraft Meets Celtic Ways

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.

Book Review
Mindful Dreaming
Harness the Power of Lucid Dreaming for Happiness, Health, and Positive Change
by Clare R. Johnson, Ph. D.

I
love dreaming! It is one of my favorite things to do! I have been
tracking and working with my dreams for years. But sadly, I have not
had much luck with lucid dreaming, even though I’ve read many books
on the topic and practiced lots of different techniques.

Author
Dr. Clare Johnson is the first person to write a doctoral thesis on
the topic of lucid dreaming as a creative tool. She’s
been a lucid dreamer since the age of 3 and is currently the
president of the International Association for the Study of Dreams.
So, she brings a real gravitas to the topic of working with your
dreams. Her book offers a different take on the practice of lucid
dreaming in Mindful Dreaming. She approaches “wakefulness” from
the vantage point of “mindfulness,” bringing your attention to
what is happening in the present moment. We bring our attention to
the present moment, not only while awake, but during the one-third of
our lives that we spend dreaming. The goal of mindful dreaming, as
she explains, is to become awake to our unconscious patterns, modify
them and heal our lives. “When we learn to be more present in our
waking life, we are more likely to discover how our thoughts can
shape our reality,” says Dr. Johnson. All this from dreaming, and
not years of therapy?? Yes.

The
key? Working with your dreams while you’re awake! For a
lucid-dreamer wannabe like me, to know that I can go beyond recording
my dreams and actually work with them and “change the movie” is
exciting. Dreams are not just random firing of brain synapses.
Rather, they are the doorway into our vast personal and collective
unconscious. Learning to understand their dense symbolic language
and decode their metaphors helps us to release powerful emotions,
fears and memories stored at the cellular level. When we unravel
unexpected associations that dreams make, we enhance our creativity.
If we pay attention to their messages, we are shown where illness
might develop. And we experience life-changing contact with the
numinous when we become aware of our “soul dreams.”

Dr.
Johnson takes us through the basics of working with our dreams: sleep
hygiene, dream incubation, dream recollection and journaling. These
are the first few of 50 dream practices and Lucid Dreamplay
suggestions present in each chapter. The beauty of the Lucid
Dreamplay practices is that many of them are done while you are
awake! You can change your “inner movie,” write, sketch or
dialogue your way into an understanding of a key dream image and tell
a dream to a friend in order to excavate its many layers. The
unconscious mind begins to build a blueprint for the possibility of
change in waking life and the direction that change can take. Your
unconscious will also begin to build new blueprints when you
consciously make changes in your dreams. The book contains many
examples of
how these practices work for different dreams and dreamers. The
techniques are valuable because working with dreams while awake can
mirror the experience of lucid dreaming and have the same powerful
results, as Dr. Johnson points out. She also outlines a nine step
program for becoming lucid in dreams.

In
addition to the useful and well-described techniques, Dr. Johnson
devotes individual chapters to understanding and working with
different types of dreams including nightmares; dreams of grief, loss
and death; sexual dreams; dreams of illness and pain; and soul dreams
or what I call “Big Dreams.” The book concludes with a chapter
on creating your own best life by working mindfully with dreams while
awake and asleep: “Dreamwork is a little like magic because it
allows us to dissolve the veil the covers our own hidden, unconscious
world. Once the veil is gone, we can clearly see the state of our
life; what it lacks and what it needs to be healthier and happier.”
Working with the Dreamplay practices will take you deep and keep you
busy, but just in case you want to go beyond Mindful Dreaming,
there is a Resource section. I am going to continue to use this book
to get to dream lucidity!

Mindful Dreaming: Harness the Power of Lucid Dreaming for Happiness, Health, and Positive Change on Amazon

***

About
the Author:

Susan
Rossi

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

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

Flying to the Heart www.flyingtotheheart.com

Open
Channel Astrology: openchannelastrology.com

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