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Book Review – Psychedlic Mysteries of the Feminine Edited by Maria Papaspyrou, Chiara Baldini & David Luke

August 1st, 2019

Book Review
Psychedelic Mysteries of the Feminine
Edited by Maria Papaspyrou, Chiara Baldini & David Luke
Foreword by Allyson Grey
332 pp.
Park Street Press

In
“Psychedelic Mysteries of the Feminine,” a diverse group of
authors, artists, historians, scientists, ecologists, herbalists,
shamans, poets, doctors, lawyers, and therapists deliver an
interdisciplinary message of hope and healing for our traumatized and
increasingly poisoned world. This book is a well-balanced collection
of essays which draw on a large number of original sources and
academia to explore the history of feminine themes in the tradition
and usage of psychedelic pharmaka, from beer and cannabis to
ayahuasca and LSD.

“Psychedelic
Mysteries of the Feminine” is the product of several speakers and
organizers for the Women’s Visionary Congress, an organization
which disseminates harm reduction information and gathers women
together from all over the world to discuss the role of psychedelics
in their lives and our changing world. While the Women’s Visionary
Congress (WVC) is mentioned several times, and the book includes one
essay that is primarily about the WVC, the whole book is much more
than just an advertisement for them or their core message.

The
psychological narrative of the book includes discussion of Jungian
archetypes of women as earth mother, goddess, medicine woman, and
more, as well as exploration into what psychedelics can teach us
about ourselves and our relationship to femininity (regardless of our
gender identity, or assigned gender at birth). The historical context
explains in short order how age-old expressions of patriarchal
control of women intertwined with the attitudes of colonizers
hell-bent on portraying indigenous peoples as savages, and how these
factors (and others) also led to the vilification and feminization of
psychedelics in the modern era in Western civilization.

Ritual
work such as breath work, dancing, drumming, and meditation, along
with newer types of therapies, are discussed in brief; these weave
together the psychospiritual space of the shaman and the psychonaut,
both today and historically, and assist in opening the gateways for
energetic transformation, psychological breakthrough, healing, and
vision. There is also some discussion of the threat presented by the
psychedelic community to the very notion of gender: the psychonaut
who peers behind the curtain of performative gender may find its
value has depreciated upon return from the trip.

The
problem of Western appropriation of indigenous cultures is of special
note in the history of psychedelics, and several authors take time to
explore these painful themes while exploring where we can go from
here. Sadly, the Western tendency towards commodification and
consumption, especially without a holistic template for healthy and
balanced usage, also causes these drugs to be misused as a result of
their lack of appropriate cultural context. As an example, most
American citizens don’t have a cultural or social place where these
types of pharmaka are accepted — let alone legal — so even though
many Americans and American society as a whole would likely benefit
from consciousness-expanding medicine and the spiritual messages that
these pharmaka can bring, this will continue to be beyond our reach
until we recognize and appreciate mystery, chaos, intuition, and
femininity.

A
few authors, discussing human rights, legal precedence, and the
successes of other movements for radical social transformation,
explore possible routes to affecting global legal and social change
in tandem, while others talk about the growing cultural movement of
psychedelic feminists and ecologists, and how these forces are coming
together to affect new change and healing.

It’s
difficult to summarize the main narrative themes of this book in a
short article because throughout the twenty-three essays, there are
hundreds of themes to choose from. There is the botanical and the
herbal; the folkloric and the mythic; the emotional and the mental;
the magic and the mystic; the political and the social; the
historical and the traditional; the progressive and the contemporary.
There is something for everyone and anyone who is interested in
psychedelics here, and if there’s one thing this book makes clear,
it’s that interested parties should pick a path and start walking,
because there is a lot of work to be done on the path to a world
which accepts and understands psychedelic experience as a healthy and
illuminating.

Psychedelic Mysteries of the Feminine: Creativity, Ecstasy, and Healing on Amazon

***

About
the Author:

Sarah
McMenomy
is
an artist and witch. Her craft incorporates herbalism, spellwork,
trance, divination, auras, and more. Her work can be found at
https://sarahmcmenomy.tumblr.com

Steampunk Magic~ Working Magic Aboard the Airship

Author: Gypsey Elaine Teague

steam

 

 

If you’re into to the Steampunk subculture you’ll love this book written by the Gypsey Elaine Teague, Captain of her Crew. Gypsey starts this book with a brief history of Steampunk and how it has emerged as one of the most fascinating subcultures of today. In Gypsey’s words, “Steampunk is the juxtaposition of nineteenth-century Victorian science fiction, a futuristic Victoriana, where anything is possible as long as you don’t use too much electricity, gas, diesel, or atomic power.”

Each chapter begins with a quote from the likes of Aleister Crowley, Nikola Tesla, and H.P. Lovecraft before divulging in the tools of the trade. In Chapter Two we are introduced to the “Gods” of Steampunk Magic. We start with Queen Victoria herself, then go on to H.G. Wells, Jules Verne, Edgar Allan Poe, Nikola Tesla (whom I consider the God of Steampunk), and Mary Shelley. I appreciate how Gypsey incudes people of literature and history as Gods of Steampunk. It was a breath of fresh air to learn a different way of getting in touch with “deity”.

In Chapter Three we move on to the crew of the airship. This is like the modern day coven but set within a Steampunk world. The elders of the crew are the Captain and the Commander, they are the leaders of the group. Following the Captain and Commander are the Artificer, the Shipwright, the Purser, the Mess Officer, the Adjutant, and the Navigator. Gypsey explains the roles each of these play aboard the airship and the parts of ritual they are responsible for.

Chapter Four explains the tools the Steampunk Magician will need to practice her craft. Instructions are given for the construction of some of these tools, a much welcome addition to this book. Directional gear, the wand, and goggles are covered, along with recipes for the cakes and wine ritual. By favorite part of this chapter (possibly of this entire book) is the Absinthe Ritual. As a fan of this Green-Fairy drink of the Gods, I appreciated this much-loved ritual.

In the following chapters of Steampunk Magic, Gypsey Elaine Teague explains the rituals of this craft and includes a few bits of magic. Everything from the construction of the Steampunk Altar to circle casting and divination are covered.

Steampunk Magic is a must read for any lover of this subculture. Gypsey Elaine Teague has done a magnificent job of introducing us to this most intriguing of magical systems. Though it is geared towards covens, I feel a solitary practitioner can gain a lot of useful information from this book. Like Amelia Earhart, we can fly solo in this Victorian Steampunk wonder-world. So don your goggles, board the airship, and take flight into the Aether.

Paperback: 224 pages

Publisher: Weiser Books (March 1, 2013)

 

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

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

Shamanic Qabalah

A Mystical Path to Uniting The Tree of Life and the Great Work

by Daniel Moler

 

 

Author, Daniel Moler’s book brings together two subjects that have long held my interest; a shamanic perspective and Qabalistic studies. The latter is an area of study that has been my passion and work for many years now, the former one that I have long been acquainted with and know many well-respected practitioners.

With that being said, I was intrigued as to how the author would approach the Tree of Life and its application to shamanic work. The sheer weight and history of Qabalah, in this book used in its Hermetic form, has been a daunting study for many. This, largely because of the more traditional approaches used in its exploration. I am happy to see that there are now a variety of spiritual paths and practices that are using the overlay of the Tree’s knowledge and thus engaging more students and seekers of its mystery teachings.

Mr. Moler makes use of an impressive bibliography of trusted and reputable sources of Qabalistic studies and then weaves the Shamanic approach of delving more deeply in the work of the Soul and roots of transformative processes aligned with those practices.

Part One is aptly entitled “The Great Work”. This semantic evocative of something out of the ordinary and initiatory in experience. Daniel dives right into the work of the world enticing us towards materialism and chaos that is moving us further away from the path of the mystic and the explorations of what that actually means for modern seekers. This section covers “everything that is wrong with society today”, what the truth of initiation can reveal and heal and how illumination can awake even the deepest sleeper.

Part Two offers the basics of what Qabalah is, how its symbology as the Tree of Life affects all planes of existence and spiritual practice and how the components of the Tree are defined and work together to provide a universal Whole. Chapter Five within this section focuses on Malkuth, the sephira of the Earth and Greater Earth Plane and becomes the natural starting point of alignment with a very earth based Shamanic perspective.

Chapter Six diverges back into a more traditional Judaic approach to Qabalistic study in looking at the “Topography of the Inner Worlds” and the journey of Adam Kadmon, the Perfected Man that embodies all of the wisdom of the Tree. A reference to the Hebrew letters assigned to the paths and the descent of man via the emanation of Yahweh and the sacred Hebrew names of creation gives the reader another vision of the Tree.

Part Three ties everything together with plenty of practical experiential and a further breaking down of the Tree incorporating the Triangles, Four Worlds and specific paths. Having read the Qabalistic referenced based books of the bibliography and having first hand teachings from some of the authors, I would say this book made good use of the author’s expertise in Shamanic work and the information presented regarding the Tree of Life.

My only criticism would be in the amount of diverse ways of presenting the Tree that were incorporated-Judaic- Hermetic and a more modern approach of fusion. I would have appreciated a more consistent approach throughout and more of the overlays of the Shamanic application that I believe would have provided more focus. Overall, a very well written book and kudos to Mr. Moler for making more bite-size an enduring and often challenging course of study.

Shamanic Qabalah: A Mystical Path to Uniting the Tree of Life & the Great Work 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
Paganism in Depth
A Polytheistic Approach
by John Beckett

Let me begin this review by saying that John Beckett is a down-to-earth and genuinely unassuming and likable man. And, he also is committed to his path of Druidry, but not at the expense of also being very thoughtful and receptive to many of the other paths that fall under the umbrella of polytheism. These statements alone, in my opinion, make his writing all that more interesting because you can distinguish the underpinnings of a sound personal practice that allows for exploration of “what could be”.

Paganism
in Depth
is separated into three
Parts: Part 1-Foundations; Part
2-Practice; and Part 3-Challenges.

Each offers a very thorough and as the title suggests comprehensive
discourse on the nature of paganism in its multitude of expressions.
The Introduction contained as a section of Part 1 provides the reader
with John’s experiences as he moved through the hunger that many
new pagans feel upon finding out that there is a different type of
spirituality that asks much of its seekers and integrates the
natural, mundane and spiritual worlds. We are reminded from the
beginning that going deeper into the path we are exploring or have
committed to requires much from us, but that the rewards are well
worth the efforts.

Reading through Paganism In Depth is much like having a conversation with an old friend. You may think you know lots about the individual and then they surprise you with something new and unexpected. This alone changes the dynamics between you and the dialogue opens, your mind begins to process and questions arise that set you on a path of wanting to know more. And, all the while this interaction is being done in a very gentle way that feels neither threatening nor invasive of what you already believe to be true.

By
and far my reading was Chapter 5:
I like It Here-Why Do I Have to Leave?

This chapter spoke to the nature of settling in and at times simply
“just settling” when the experience could be so much more had we
just reached a little further beyond our comfort zone. John asks the
reader to learn to trust their experiences, and use this as an
opening for deeper connection to Deity, the magick and all that
comprises your chosen path…

….
Learning to trust your senses is an act of will. And like so many
other parts of ourselves, the will is strengthened by exercise.”….

Supporting
this concept of will as needing exercise, Chapter
6: Devotional Practice
is the
first statement of devotional practice beginning with a choice
(will): a Deity to worship. How we proceed from that choice is
integral to how deeply we will ultimately connect with deity at all
levels. Choice of which deity (ies) we select to offer our practice
to is another step that although it may feel or seem very simple, the
angst that surrounds this often holds us back from simply making the
choice to “experience”.

Meditation,
magick, leadership and all of those pieces that construct a whole in
what we choose to call our spiritual practice are given the care of
first hand experience and suggestion of how to improve upon and make
it your own. This style is prominent throughout the book with each
topic being made that much more relevant through the sharing of
John’s personal experiences. This creates a space of community
through common ground and even if the reader disagrees with or has
never had any similar experience, it makes the book readable and
engaging.

This
closing statement in the Epilogue:
An Invitation to a Journey
,
beautifully sums up the entirety of the book and in this case,
perfectly aligns with what John Beckett has accomplished in its
writing…

….
the mission of Paganism in Depth. It’s a guidebook to going deeper
into the forest, higher up the mountain, and further out to sea. It’s
an invitation to join this sacred work, to go where there are no maps
and find your way through careful practice and intuition,,, and then
draw a map for those who come after you.”

Visit the author’s blog: Under the Ancient Oaks

Paganism In Depth: A Polytheist Approach 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.

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