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Shop Review – The Makanda Trading Company

April 1st, 2019

If you’re a traveling Pagan, especially during the warmer weather, make your way to southern Illinois to a little town called Makanda. Longitude and latitude of Makanda is 37.6179° north, 89.2090° West. According to the website for this small town, is called the “Gateway to Giant City Park,” the Shawnee Hills Wine Trail, and the scenic River to River Trail passes through this village. It’s also been called the most hippie town in southern Illinois.

It was incorporated February 7, 1888, named after local Native American chief. It once was a bustling town that was closely tied to the railroad and was the major shipping hub for Chicago for fruits and vegetables. Now it’s known for its boardwalk, that houses five little stores. Next to that is Mason’s building that now houses the Makanda Trading Company.

Starting at the Trading Company, you will find crystals, minerals, and incense. He has everything from crystal singing bowls, to clear quartz crystal raven’s skulls, and even some ancient Roman coins. (Brian Beverly runs this, he travels all over the country to get the crystals, minerals, and stones himself. My checkbook always screams at me when I leave here because I spend a little bit of money.)

Visions art gallery,
sells sculptures, paintings, jewelry and other items made by local
artist owned by Nina Kovar. Unfortunately, the two times I’ve been
there I’ve not been able to make it into the shop, or it was not
open. I am looking forward to going back this summer to try to get
into the shop to see what she offers.

PB&J which sells
magnets, jewelry, clothing, and other items owned by Pam, Bob and
Jackie Baker. They have some unique things in the shop. The clothing
is hand died, and the labels will tell you what the color is the
material that it is made from and the artisans’ name.

There there is
Makanda General Store which sells ice cream, coffees, hot sauces, and
other items owned by Filbert. Now I have purchased some coffee beans
from this place, Highland Grog, and Caramel Kiss. Filbert asked if I
would like to have him grind them for me, but I brought them home and
ground them up myself. Grinding the coffee filled my apartment with
the smell and the smells so good.

And then there’s
Rainmaker, this shop is owned by David Dardis, who has created a
large garden behind his shop, and inside his shop, he has various
metal sculptures and creations. He even creates circlets and crowns,
for people to wear. Some of the circlets and crowns contain crystals
or stones. And he’s excellent about making sure if you buy one of
them that they fit your head or he will help you find the right one
or help fit you to the one you’re purchasing.

I am looking forward
to going back this summer, so I can sit and relax in the garden
behind Rainmaker. Maybe get ice cream from Filbert at the General
Store and spend a little too much money at The Makanda Trading Post.
Or I might wait until October and see what dates they have the
Vulture Fest this year. (I haven’t been to the festival yet.)

***

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 on Facebook @eagleandunicorn.

Book Review: Healing Crystals the A-Z Guide to 555 Gemstones by Michael Gienger

Healing Crystals is all about truth in advertising. It’s author, Michael Gienger, tells us that this is the A-Z guide to 555 gemstones, and that is exactly what he gives us. It measures 4 1/2″ by 6 1/2″. It is small but it is mighty for what it is.

It is 117 pages of crystals, giving their names, their mineralogical name, and the common name used, as well as a photo of each. This would be the one complaint; because the book is so small, the photos could be described as tiny.

It, also, lists the healing effects, if any, and the areas which the crystal will affect. It lists a spiritual aspect and a mental aspect, as well as a body aspect.

For each crystal, it will list if it is rare, commonly found and readily available.

This is what I would consider a “quick look” guide to crystals. It is small enough to carry with you to crystal shopping, however, for a more in-depth look at crystals, there are other books which give a more comprehensive discussion of the crystal in question.

But, it definitely delivers what it says it will; an A-Z guide to 555 gemstones.

 

For Amazon information Click Image

***

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, the Egyptian Goddess”, 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]

For Amazon information Click Image

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

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

Cloth Crystal Grid Review & Interview with Nicole Kirchner from Invocations to Gaia

Nicole Kirchner from Invocations to Gaia was so kind as to send me one of her handmade cloth grids to try out. I was sent one with the Vegvisir – the Viking Runic Compass which I just adore. (I love all things Viking.) It’s on cotton with black ink and the edges are burnt which gives it an old world aged look which I personally love. Its a nice size, 10 in. X 10 in., perfect for putting on my altar or on a side table.

If you check out the Invocations to Gaia’s etsy shop there is a huge selection of grid patterns you can choose from and Nicole will also take custom orders if u don’t find what you’re looking for. Cloth grids are very low cost, so if you are on a budget this is the way to go. The prices for these cloth grids are between $7 and $9! Its also easy to travel with as you can place it in a book to keep flat until you reach your destination. And It’s very lightweight. I have really been enjoying my cloth grid and I recommend these grids highly! It’s simply beautiful and great quality.

I was lucky enough to have the chance to interview Nicole Kirchner from Invocations to Gaia. Besides Nicole’s etsy shop, she is a Sociology Graduate Student who’s primary research focuses on marginalization and stigmatization of the Pagan Community. Both her work with her etsy shop and her graduate research allow her to support the Pagan Community in many ways.  

Here is what Nicole had to say about all things grid related.

Q: How did you get started making and using grids?

Nicole: I have been placing crystals in gridding patterns for a few decades and was gifted my first cloth for gridding about 5 yrs ago. This was in a triple moon pattern. I began making my own cloth grids about 2 yrs ago, when I wanted to use patterns for my gridding and needed an affordable option. A few of my fellow sisters asked for me to make them gridding cloths and thus my gridding cloths were born.

Q: What are the different styles and materials you make your grids?

Nicole: I currently carry the following designs, but I can do other designs as a custom request:

-Celtic Tree of Life

-Moon phases

-Zodiac grid

-Vegvisir-Viking Runic Compass

-Pagan Wheel of the Year

-Pagan Triple Moon

-Reiki Crystal Healing

-Native American Medicine Wheel

-7 Chakras with Lotus Flower

-Celtic Knot

-Sacred Geometry Germ of Life

-Sacred Geometry Seed of Life

-Sacred Geometry Flower of Life

-Kabbalistic-Hebrew Tree of Life

They are all made with 100% cotton fabric for the earth element, usually white, although I can do special orders for different fabric colors. Before I do anything with the cloth, they are misted with a saging spray that I hand make to cleanse the energy of the cloth and add the water element. I create the designs digitally and they are placed on the cloth with fabric transfers. Some of them have hand added color that i do with fabric markers. Once the design is in place I burn the edges of the cloth by hand to add an aged look. This also adds the fire element as the cloth is burned and I blow out the fire. Finally, I charge the piece with Reiki energy as I am a Okuden Level 2 healer, and the whole piece is sealed.

Q: What is your personal favorite grid you offer and why?

Nicole: I actually have 3 favorites. They are the flower of life, the moon phases and the medicine wheel. The sacred healing energies in the flower of life and medicine wheel are very powerful tools to add to a personal crystal grid and can greatly intensify the intentions. The moon phase grid can enable you to specifically tap into the energy of the various phases of the moon to further focus the intention of your grid.

Q: What do you use gridding for?

Nicole: Practically everything…LOL! But seriously, practically everything. If there is any intention, concern, sabbats or whatever that I want to focus more intensely on or bring more energy to, then I set a grid. There are certain grids that are always set up around my house and altar, such as, a healing grid on a chakra cloth in my manifestation room where i do Reiki sessions or a prosperity grid on a flower of life cloth in my home office.  

Q: What are some of your favorite crystals to grid with?

Nicole: I always have clear quartz points in my grids. But besides quartz there aren’t any favorites because they ALL are my favorites. Each stone can serve a high purpose and bring the energy you need, it just depends on the intention or purpose of that specific grid. Although, I have to say that labradorite, citrine and smoky quartz make their way into many of my grids. 

Q: Why is gridding an effective tool to add to one’s daily practice?

Nicole: First, the process of gridding can be very meditative and cathartic. It is a beautiful way to calm your mind and truly focus your intentions. Second, the added energy of the crystals and the geometric patterns of the grid layout naturally increase the focus of your intentions. If you add a gridding cloth, then you can further intensify this energy.

Q: How long have you worked with grids?

Nicole: As I said earlier, I have been placing crystals in gridding patterns for a few decades, but did not use cloths to guide my gridding or to increase the energy at all. It wasn’t till about 5 yrs ago that I was gifted my first cloth for gridding. The first cloth of purple cotton with a triple moon design, showed me the beauty and energy that a patterned cloth could add.

Q:For my readers to follow/contact you, what are your social media links?

Nicole:

Etsy:   www.etsy.com/shop/InvocationstoGaia

Instagram:  www.Instagram.com/invocations_to_Gaia

FB: www.facebook.com/invocationstogaia

Thank you to Nicole for sending me one of her beautiful gridding cloths as well as for taking the time to answer all my questions! 

Love and crystal blessings,  Xoxo Retha

***

About the Author:

Retha N. Lent has been married for 17 years to her husband Mark & they have four cats that are their life. She lives in Norristown, Pa. Retha has her Bachelor’s of Science degree in Behavioral Counseling Sciences from Drexel University. She is the owner of “Retha’s Crystals” & sells sterling silver unique crystal jewelry & specimens on her FB business page. She has a FB group for her customers and those interested in learning more about crystals & all things magical called “Retha’s Crystal Circle“. She is also an advisor in the Sage Goddess Affiliate Program. She has her Holistic Healing Certificate and Pillars of Priestessing certificates from Sage Goddess. She is also an Ordained Pagan Minister from the Universal Life Church. Retha has a passion for crystals, nature, astrology, working with moon cycles, ritual practices, tarot and oracle cards, runes, essential oils, herbs, manifestation work, ancient cultures, magic & music. Her favorite place is New Orleans, La. Retha has an extensive personal crystal collection and loves sharing her love of crystals with the world. She has been a practicing pagan since she was 16 years old. 

You can reach her at [email protected] or on her business page on FB: https://www.facebook.com/Rethas-Crystals-197411227666484/

Or in her FB group:

https://m.facebook.com/groups/1960619300929876

Her Sage Goddess affiliate link is:

www.sagegoddess.com/ref/84/

Or follow her on Instagram at @spookygirl16

 

Ceri Norman: Faeries, Stones & Hope

 

 

I was really drawn to Ceri Norman’s book on stones and their connection to magical beings, and you can read my review here. Ceri is a prolific writer on a number of fascinating subjects and makes beautiful nature inspired jewellery which she sells on Etsy. Despite being so busy, Ceri was kind enough to give up some of her time to speak to us here at PaganPagesOrg! Here’s what she had to say when I caught up with her this month.

 

Mabh Savage (MS): When did you first start writing and what drew you to it?

Ceri Norman (CN): I honestly cannot recall a time before I was writing, so I guess it started out with little articles, stories and bizarre recipes (for potions and lotions) as a small child and just carried on from there. I have always loved the magic and power of the written word, and the beauty of the many different forms of writing, that allow us communicate our ideas with each other.

MS: What inspires you most as a writer?

CN: Myths, legends and folklore, so I owe a great deal to the old stories and to those who created or recorded them.

MS: Do you prefer writing fiction or non-fiction, and why?

CN: Non-fiction. I am an obsessive writer; once I start writing I feel a strong compulsion to get the ‘section’ or ‘piece’ finished as soon as possible. With a non-fiction this can usually mean the article or chapter and I can take a breather but with a full fiction novel it means the entire book, which takes me months to write, and that can drive me (and those around me) a little nuts.

MS: What made you decide to write Faerie Stones?

CN: I have always loved stones and Faeries and there are many links between the two, yet wherever I looked there was not a coherent book or article that brought the wealth of information in so many different sources together for the readers. Once I realised that I kept feeling a strong sense from the Faeries to fill that gap for readers and to create something that would enable people to bring crystals into their work with Faerie and to bring Faerie into their work with crystals.

MS: Who would you say the book is aimed at?

CN: Anyone who is interested in crystals, Faeries, folklore, myths and legends.

MS: Do you have a favourite stone or one that resonates strongly with you?

CN: Though not technically a stone, I would have to say Amber. I love its cleansing, bright energy, which is an antidote to my sombre, serious personality. It has so much folklore, especially regarding its healing properties, attached to it and has been so beloved by so many cultures all over the planet. For resin to become Amber it has to endure, to endure being buried/submerged, to endure pressure and to endure the passage of time. I find that a valuable and inspiring lesson in life, that Amber can still be so beautiful, positive and magical even after all that it has been forced to endure.

MS: When did you begin working with stones and their energies and associated beings?

CN: Again, I cannot recall a time before I worked with stones. When I was a child my mother had a beautiful piece of Blue John from Derbyshire on display in our home and I would regularly sneak it out of the display case to work with it and learn from it. I began collecting stones and crystals very early on, from semi-precious stones right down to interesting stones from the garden, which all had their own energies and personalities.

MS: What was the most challenging thing about the writing process for this book?

CN: Some of the research proved challenging. Many modern books on crystals say ‘x is good for y’ and that has become accepted fact regurgitated over and over again, yet I wanted to go deeper and to older sources to really look at the older as well as more modern Faerielore and Folklore associated with stones. Sometimes finding those older sources and information proved a real challenge, but it was extremely rewarding.

MS: And what did you enjoy the most?

CN: It was utterly enchanting to work with the Faeries and the stones to create the book for readers. That magic will stay with me for a very long time.

MS: The book covers 26 fascinating stones plus a wide variety of quartz formations. Would you expand upon this at any point and perhaps do a second volume?

CN: If there was sufficient interest from readers, there is plenty of room to do another volume. There are many more stones out there to write about, from the very precious gems such as diamonds and rubies right down to the sandstone and slate that make up Mother Earth’s wonderful landscapes.

MS: What’s your top tip for anyone just starting to appreciate the magic of stones or crystals?

CN: Enjoy it and do what you need to in order to keep the magic alive! Celebrate that wonderful sense of awe, inspiration and enchantment that comes from working with Faeries and stones. Never let anyone else deter you or disenchant you. Remember it is a two-way relationship. Give back to the stones and Faeries to really forge a strong working relationship, so keep your stones happy by looking after them and do those little chores that the Faeries ask you to do for them.

MS: What other writing projects do you have on the horizon? Are you working on any more books?

CN: I am currently focusing more on articles for several publications, including FAE Magazine and am attempting (intermittently) to blog
(https://wysewitchuk.blogspot.com/) and to do the odd little video for YouTube.

MS: How do you relax or take a break from writing and researching?

CN: I love to get out into nature, to take walks along the beach or in the woods to remind myself that I am a part of nature and to reconnect with the energies of Mother Nature and the Faeries. I am also a big fan of films and TV shows that are based in or inspired by folklore, mythology and all things supernatural from around the world.

MS: Finally, as we move into winter, what’s your biggest hope for the year ahead?

CN: My perennial hope is that humankind (especially our political leaders) can finally please realise that all beings – human and otherwise – are equal and special inhabitants of this lovely planet and that as this is the only planet that we have we need to look after it and each other a whole lot better!

 

Well said Ceri, I think we can all agree with that final sentiment! Ceri’s books are available on Amazon and at all good book stores. Follow her channel on YouTube, visit her blog and view her beautiful jewellery on Etsy.

 

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

 

***

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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