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

July, 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

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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

Book Review – 10-Minute Crystal Ball: Easy Tips for Developing Your Inner Wisdom and Psychic Powers by Skye Alexander

July, 2019

Book Review
10-Minute Crystal Ball
Easy Tips for Developing Your Inner Wisdom and Psychic Powers
by Skye Alexander

In one of the previous issues I had the opportunity to review Skye Alexander’s book, Magickal Astrology: Use the Power of the Planets to Create an Enchanted Life and thoroughly enjoyed the simplicity, yet complexity provided in a compact book. This month I am reviewing another of Skye’s books entitled, 10-Minute Crystal Ball: Easy Tips for Developing Your Inner Wisdom and Psychic Powers. Skye is a practitioner of magick and knows the value of honing your intuitive self as a support to the work of the magick and the mundane.

….”(actually) you do have a “sixth sense”. Everybody does. Most of us just don’t use it.
This untapped resource-your psychic power- is a natural readily available ability
that can increase your appreciation of the world around you,
enrich your interactions with other people and
help you create the life you want.”….1.

Ms. Alexander makes this statement as part of the Introduction and it is one that is filled with empowerment and the opportunity for greater self-awareness. I appreciated the way in which she reminded us that we have many gifts that have largely been ignored or put aside and that one of the greatest intentions for honing your psychic senses is anchored in the practicality of the mundane experience as corporeal beings and less about being the “all powerful Oz”.

Recognizing that we live busy lives and the demands of modern life leave little, if any time, for practice of psychic abilities, Ms. Alexander offers a compendium of exercises and experiences that fill the space of a 10-minute coffee break. This makes the material contained all the more accessible and, more importantly doable in breaking the work into bite-size pieces that can slowly be folded into the 24/7-365 that we, practitioners speak of.

As a side note, the visual component of this hardback book was very appealing, and the compact size nestled easily into my hand and fit discreetly in a tote bag. It is illustrated and section separated by pages inscribed in Gold and Black inks on glossy paper and the feel is one of a tactile-visual experience that is rich and luxurious in offering.

10-Minute Crystal Ball is organized into Two Parts introducing seven (7) chapters. Now before we go any further let me clarify that this book is not (only) about Crystal Ball gazing. I suspect that this was a title used as both a nod to the traditional fortune teller using the crystal ball, the depth of insight and visioning one thinks of when crystal gazing; and I found it to be an excellent gateway, so to speak for exploring many of the modalities used in developing the psychic gifts.

Part One dives right into the specific of mental processes, psychic opening, meditation, telepathy, dreams and realms to be entered as the consciousness shifts into a larger expression of interaction with the subtle energies that surround as a means of inquiry and inspiration.

Chapter 3: The Psychic’s Toolbox presents a sampling and basic “how to” of the Tarot, Runes, I Ching, Pendulums, Crystal Balls and more. This approach provides the reader with opportunities to “play” and “try out” the various tools of oracular work before settling into one that resonates and piques the interest for deeper study.

The Intuitive arts and divination are broken down to include Astrology, Numerology, Hand Analysis and Graphology. These arts fuse scientific principles with the organic energetic information and require less of an overt visual cue, as in the case of Tarot cards, and more of analysis and processing of information gathered.

Part Two, which comprises more than 2/3rds of the book allows the reader to begin the work of practice and experience. Chapter 4: Intuition, takes us back to some of the staple exercises that many will easily recognize. Sensing objects concealed in hidden boxes, guessing who is on the phone before you answer to name a few. The exercises, and there are tons, are meant to use and stimulate the physical senses as the more etheric and psychic of these opens to another layer of processing beyond simply seeing, hearing, feeling, etc. And, as promised each can be done in a space of limited time and some can even be done discreetly in more public settings. Remember that 10-minute coffee break, I mentioned? How about…

… Look at a cloud formation. As they drift through the sky, clouds constantly
change shape….. gaze up at the sky. Relax your mind and watch the
cloud formations-what images do you see in them?
What impressions do they inspire in you?…2.

Chapter 5: divination is devoted to the art of prediction. These exercises are designed to create a pattern of paying attention and allowing the information to flow in a recognizable way as you tap into the realms of probability and synchronicity. Tools such as runes, pendulums and Tarot cards are folded into some of the exercises, ad others require nothing but your full attention and conscious intention to see beyond the veils of illusion. “Gazing” or being able to attune your visual imagery to be receptive, exercises make use of a flame, a blank TV (no Poltergeist jokes here), a crystal ball and staring at the Moon.

Chapter 6: Other People prompts engagement and observation of those around you. This is also a way for us to remember that we are part of something more than ourselves and that although there may be the solitary work of the psychic practitioner, we are continually impacted by all of the variables that are part of our environment and physical (as well as etheric) space. These exercises are designed for developing Mental Telepathy and learning to Read Other People. The very first of these being a routine occurrence that we engage in and rarely would include as part of our psychic development practice. “Pay attention to your first impression of a person” takes us to the headspace of sensing more than the obvious when meeting someone….

… Your first impressions tell you a lot about someone-this response
is how your intuition communicates information to you…3.

The final Chapter 7: Problem Solving is meant to pull all of the pieces together and actually make use of what you have experienced and learned along the way. Developing these gifts is of no value if they are not put to use and one of the most obvious uses is to seek the answers needed, sense the information received and than apply its wisdom towards making something better. The starting point for this shift in perception is to….

…Ask for Help: Unless you ask for help, you may not receive it. Think of
your inner wisdom as a good friend who is always
willing to lend a hand if you request it…4.

10-Minute Crystal Ball: Easy Tips for Developing Your Inner Wisdom and Psychic Powers is a wonderful addition to the plethora of books on psychic development. Ms. Alexander has once again provided the inquisitive reader with the tools to begin their own course of study and exploration in a compact, concise and interesting book…….. I bet you knew I was going to say that!

Visit the author’s web page:

https://www.skyealexander.com

Footnotes:

1. Introduction
2. p. 72
3. p. 129
4. p. 167

10-Minute Crystal Ball: Easy Tips for Developing Your Inner Wisdom and Psychic Powers on Amazon

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About the Author:

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

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

The Inner Chamber Volume One on Amazon

It’s Written in the Stars

Astrology

The Inner Chamber, Vol. Two

poetry of the Spheres (Volume 2) on Amazon

Qabalah

The Inner Chamber, Vol. Three

Awakening the Paths on Amazon

Qabalah

A Year With Gaia on Amazon

The Eternal Cord

Temple of the Sun and Moon on Amazon

Luminous Devotions

The Magickal Pen Volume One (Volume 1) on Amazon

A Collection of Esoteric Writings

The Elemental Year on Amazon

Aligning the Parts of SELF

The Enchanted Gate on Amazon

Musings on the Magick of the Natural World

Sleeping with the Goddess on Amazon

Nights of Devotion

A Weekly Reflection on Amazon

Musings for the Year

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

Follow Robin on Instagram & Facebook.

Book Review – The Darkening Age: The Christian Deconstruction of the Classical World by Catherine Nixey

July, 2019

Book Review
The Darkening Age
The Christian Deconstruction of the Classical World
by Catherine Nixey

I can’t remember where I once read that we humans are creatures who are amnesiacs. But we are, lucky for us; someone will come along and write a book that helps us remember what we should have never forgotten. The Darkening Age is such a book written by Catherine Nixey.

When I was growing up, I was told the myth that Christians in the early part of their Spirituality were prosecuted for their beliefs. That the religion slowly won over the world with love and peace. I was raised being fed a Christian myth that was a bald-faced lie.

Ms. Nixey has written a book that opens the vault of time and looks back to a time that has been written over (literally) and buried beneath the dirt of both time and graves. The Darkening Age is not an attack on any belief system, but it will make you wonder what else has been covered up or deleted from the past of the world.

I have always known that the winners wrote history. I can honestly say that I had never really thought about the world before Christianity. (I have my beliefs that I hold to be true, but I never thought about the destruction of the Pagan world.) And yes, upon reading this book, I have had my eyes opened to the atrocities that the so-called early Christians visited upon those, that in the words of Emperor Justinian and his Code 1.11.10.2 called, labored under the insanity of paganism.

When I read Chapter 9 The Reckless Ones, I was reminded of the movie “Agora” starring Rachel Weisz. In the film Agora, Ms. Weisz plays Hypatia. The Reckless Ones tells the story of the group of people and their leader that killed Hypatia. (Agora tells the story of Hypatia’s from her teaching days to her death. With both, there is a complete tale.)

Most people believe that Christian persecution began with Nero. But there was no government-led persecution for the first 250 of Christianity. The greatest heroes in the early church were those that died most horribly. And if you could get yourself killed, all your previous sins would be washed away.

The early Christian belief was that they were saving Pagans from an afterlife in Hell. And that if they had to be killed to do that, it was fine. In the fifth century there lived an Egyptian monk who is now St. Shenoute, who declared, “There is no crime for those who have Christ.” And he killed those who he saw as idol worshipers and pagans under that belief.

Many manuscripts written by world-renowned philosophers were scrubbed using pumice stones, and the parchments then had the Bible written on them. So, we lost all the wisdom of the ancient world in the coming to power of the Christian belief.

Ms. Nixey closes the book with Damascius chosing the Academy in Athens. The Academy was at the time a world renowned school of philosophy. When Damascius and his teacher Isidore first arrived in Athens the Academy was “on the brink of extreme old age” as observed by Isidore. At the age of seventy, Damascius was now fleeing again, as an exiled philosopher and at the age of seventy.

One of the saddest sentences in this book is “The idea that philosophers might have fought fiercely, with all they had, against Christianity was-is-passed over.”

I recommend this book for anyone who studies history, religious history and wants to know more about the Pagan World that is part of our collective history.

The Darkening Age: The Christian Destruction of the Classical World on Amazon

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About the Author:

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

Book Review – The Little Book of Dream Symbols by Jacqueline Towers

July, 2019

Book Review
The Little Book of Dream Symbols
The Essential Guide to Over 700 of the Most Common Dreams
by Jacqueline Towers

Brightest Blessings

This book contains a wealth of knowledge in its easy to use format. It makes you want to take your time referencing and reading up on what your dreams mean the next morning. Each entry is well thought out. Ms. Towers gives a bit of intro into dreams, a little bit on nightmares, also.

I especially loved her advice here where she says:

” As you begin interpreting your dreams, consider images that the dreams are giving you, if a certain image means something to you, check the interpretation in this book, but also go with your own feeling about the image” -Jacqueline Towers

I feel the most interesting information came from her entry about colors and how each has it’s own meaning.

Mixed: you will have increased security and success.

Blue: you will be free of worry, and you can expect help from others. Red: you should control your temper.

Green: Expect news from afar or plan for a journey.

Gray: you will experience a stagnant period.

Mauve: you will have some small disappointments.

Orange: Delays will occur
Pink: surprising success is coming your way.

Yellow: Achievement will be gained only after a series of setbacks and struggle.

White: the color of promise succession all areas of your life.

Black: this color is unhappy omen, unless connected with funeral, in which case it predicts that you will have difficulties to overcome.

You can learn a lot and gain new insight on many topics of dreaming from this book. Some of the entries are short, but they give you a lot to ponder on dream interpretation. This book is a good tool for understanding dreams and small enough to tuck into your purse or pocket to enjoy somewhere in the sun. This is a good book to start with.

My thoughts:

Like with any thing when learning about dreams, write down about the dream, emotions, colors, images, even numbers, esp anything that repeats. You can find a lot of help in Ms Towers book, but don’t be afraid to look beyond as well.

The Little Book of Dream Symbols: The Essential Guide to Over 700 of the Most Common Dreams on Amazon

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About the Author:

Norma Clark I’m Wiccan, My style follows my spiritual path and what comes to mind.. I live in a small rural town, Paris, Idaho. I share my life With my Wiccan husband, 2 hyper Children & gang of critters. I love to create new designs by looking at nature & cultural ideas for my Jewelry and create unique Metaphysical items. Shop, sit a spell or two & Come see the Magick of Forevrgoddessboutique Link to my shop: forevrgoddessboutique

Book Review – Travelling the Fairy Path by Morgan Daimler

July, 2019

Book Review
Travelling the Fairy Path
by Morgan Daimler

Travelling the Fairy Path is a fun and educational resource to guide you on the Fairy Witchcraft Path. If you are just curious about the “Good People”, or have been working with them all along, you will find insight from Morgan Daimler, although, I would not consider this a “Beginners” book. It is not a long text, coming in at 288 pages, however there is a multitude of information waiting for you. This includes a chapter length autobiography on Daimler, in which she introduces herself as well as some of her qualifications. This, in my opinion, is to demonstrate her expertise in the subject and ensure the reader/student, that they are in more than capable hands. It was quite impressive.

There are a lot of references to the Fairies by different terms. She refers to them as “The Good People”, “Themselves”, and “The Other Crowd,”. In my opinion, it would be a bit confusing to a newbie, at first. Whenever I am reading a book pertaining to the metaphysical, there are usually many references to other types of entities. It could be Gods/Goddesses, Angels, Creatures, and the Craft. So, for me to have them referenced so quickly by different names took a minute for me to adjust to. Especially since alongside this was the author’s trip to Ireland. If the reader is not familiar with Ireland and it’s landmarks this piece will be lost on them. I wish there was a touch of historic explanation to arriving in Ireland, and the sights they saw, places they went to make it a little more important, and impressive to those readers who don’t know the magick that Ireland holds.

Daimler personalizes the experience for the reader, by taking us along side her in her real time experiences on this trip, which is great. However, if you are not already versed in fairylore, you will not know what some of the things she talks about are. For example, she talks about a “fairy ring”, a “aos sí” and “si” by itself. Now, if this was the first book you picked up on Fairylore, you would have no idea what these refer to. I do wish she would’ve added some small educational definitions in to teach the reader just a bit, in case it was needed. However, that being said, her storytelling kept you going regardless. It was exciting and down to earth, while making you feel like you were right there with her.

The bulk of the text takes you through The Fairy Path. It follows a perfect sequence, starting with working with spirit, explaining what makes this path different, and how to educate yourself, and grow within this area of your path. It touches on what is important, and dangerous when working with the “Good People”. I especially like her focus on following your intuition, and the example of how doing so led Daimler to the most profound experience of her life:

“My intuition immediately told me that I needed to go down a different way even though I knew our guide was spot on with why everyone had to go down the way they’d come up. I could certainly have gone against my instinct– gone against that little inner voice – and it would have been much easier to do so quite frankly. But if I had done what I was told and not followed my intuition I would have missed out on the most profound initiatory experience of my life which began with that single choice to go down the mound the other way.”

Daimler goes through to briefly describe the different types of Fae, and what they are said to look like, while clearly stating that the subject is too broad and diverse for a simple, black and white answer. It is a very comprehensive list that gives great information. She touches on mythology and translations of it, so the reader can understand the fairy stories. For example, she goes back to a 19th century rhyme, calling the Fae by different names and Their reaction to it. She then goes on to explain their reasoning.

There is a great amount of information on the dangerous Fae including The Wild Hunt, which in my opinion is important. Many people seem to think that fairies are pretty and pink, sparkle and shine, and can be completely ignorant. Daimler takes the time to introduce and identify where and when to take caution.

There is a lengthy chapter on Ballads and Poems, and the information found within them, she does a great job of explaining each one and their importance. This chapter could haven been a small book by itself, in my opinion.

She covers interacting with the Fae through dreams, meditation, and trances, gives important advice, such as never accepting drink or food while in Elfland. “And what you’ve not to do is this: bite no bit, and drink no drop, however hungry or thirsty you be; drink a drop, or bite a bit while in Elfland you be and never will you see Middle Earth again.”

My favorite reference in this text is the use of the quote ‘There’s a difference between knowing the path and walking the path.’ Daimler takes this from the movie the Matrix, and uses it perfectly. She uses this as the opening to her chapter “In Practice”. From offerings to oaths, this chapter takes you through the actual practice of “Walking The Fairy Path.” She is very specific and thorough; she even includes one of her own recipes for cakes she learned in a dream.

All in all, I found this book instructive and educational. This is not a text you skip the end notes in-they are fantastic. I think the story in the beginning establishes a relationship with the author, and leaves you wanting to understand the world the way Daimler does. If the reader finishes this text and truly wants to keep moving forward on this path, they are given a great background. I would definitely start with her other works.

Travelling the Fairy Path on Amazon

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About the Author:

Jade Perri is the owner and founder of Embrace Your Path. Jade is an eclectic Witch, who has been practicing for more than 10 years and offers guidance on an array of topics. She specializes in the art of divination. She is an enthusiastic teacher and offers classes and certification in many different areas. She also holds a special interest in animal communication and handmade custom poppets. She is an avid reader and her passion is the fantasy and British historical fiction genres. She is also the mother of two children, and likes to spend time with her husband.

Book Review – Paganism in Depth: A Polytheistic Approach by John Beckett

June, 2019

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

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About the Author:

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

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

The Inner Chamber Volume One on Amazon

It’s Written in the Stars

Astrology

The Inner Chamber, Vol. Two

poetry of the Spheres (Volume 2) on Amazon

Qabalah

The Inner Chamber, Vol. Three

Awakening the Paths on Amazon

Qabalah

A Year With Gaia on Amazon

The Eternal Cord

Temple of the Sun and Moon on Amazon

Luminous Devotions

The Magickal Pen Volume One (Volume 1) on Amazon

A Collection of Esoteric Writings

The Elemental Year on Amazon

Aligning the Parts of SELF

The Enchanted Gate on Amazon

Musings on the Magick of the Natural World

Sleeping with the Goddess on Amazon

Nights of Devotion

A Weekly Reflection on Amazon

Musings for the Year

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

Follow Robin on Instagram & Facebook.

Interview with Annwyn Avalon: Water Witch

June, 2019

Dancer, artist, author, witch, priestess; with this many titles and roles, it’s clear that Annwyn Avalon is kept busy. Fresh from a workshop at Pantheacon, Annwyn was kind enough to talk to Mabh here at PaganPagesOrg about her new book, Water Witchcraft, and other aspects of her work.

Mabh Savage: How would you describe the concept of water witchcraft to a complete novice?

Annwyn Avalon: Water Witchcraft, simply put, is Witchcraft that uses water as the main modality for their magic and/or they may use water related items, work with water spirits and deities and perform many of their spells or rituals with, on, or near water. A Sea Witch is a very popular example, but it goes beyond just the ocean. It is a draw to the natural watery world, the subaqueous realms and all the water on the surface of the planet. Many of us have our own favourite body of water and they range from small springs and creeks to lakes, rivers and oceans. A Water Witch will often choose to cleanse with water rather than smoke, and may choose a cauldron, cup or bowl over a candle or ritual knife. They may work with gem elixirs, teas, sacred baths and many, many other types of watery magic!

MS: What first inspired you to write the book, Water Witchcraft?

AA: This is a long and complicated answer so I will try to keep it short. It was a combination of being drawn to the water, loving water, an obsession with folklore surrounding water and the major lack of information there is out there. There are so very few books that focus on Water Magic and some of them are very well done while others feel very rushed, but there remains only a small number of books on the subject. They also seemed to only focus on one body of water, the ocean or sacred wells. Water is so diverse and there are so many types that I wanted to put something together that would not only cover all types of water, but that was full of information that would be useful to everyone. This actually ended up starting as a 9-month course on water magic and by the time the book was in full swing it was being narrowed down to focus specifically on Brythonic magic.

MS: And what initially drew you to the magic of water and watery beings?

AA: I have always been a very watery person. I was born under Cancer with a Pisces moon, I grew up in Florida and spent many days in the fresh water springs, swamps and along the sea shore. Water has always been a strong presence in my life. Later, I was intensely drawn to Pre-Raphaelite paintings and literature many of which feature watery women and faery women. I realized later that it was the strong draw to the water, the water nymphs, mermaids and other watery creatures that was part of the draw. The other was the feminine form, a call to remember the Goddess.

MS: Is there a water spirit, being or deity you feel closest to?

AA: Yes, I think the most prominent spirit in my life at the moment is Sulis, the Thermal Springs Solar Goddess whose temple is found in Bath, UK. However, I work with other Goddesses and Watery Faery Women such as the Gwragedd Annwn, Morganna, Melsine, and Aphrodite. I also honor the masculine in the forms often found near sacred springs such as Belenos, and Gwyn ap Nudd, who is honoured at the White Spring in Glastonbury. Sulis and the Gwragedd Annwn have been with me since I was a child. I have always been deeply connected with Springs and the spirits that dwell within.

MS: What are the benefits of deepening our connection to water?

AA: Right now, our waters are in so much danger. Each day it is polluted and contaminated, and more atrocities are done by oil companies, over-farming, and the dolphin slaughter. When we deepen our connection, we wake up to these horrible things that are happening, and we are called to take action; to help form a better, cleaner, more awake world that understands how precious these natural wonders are. We are 70% water, which means that we must protect the water of this planet or we ourselves will become endangered and poisoned, much of which we are already beginning to see. Beyond that, water is the element of emotion and it urges us to connect deeply with our emotions and often works as a mirror showing us how to refine and conquer our shadow. It also lends wisdom, and the power of immense change.

MS: Who is the book aimed at? Who will get the most out of it?

AA: There are many people that are watery natured, drawn to the water or are called by water spirits, mer-folk and deity to connect with the water. This book is for them, but also any witch or magical practitioner that may wish to connect with water, wish to use water in their practice or has a mission to protect and get closer to the natural world. If your practice involves activism, and a deep connection to the Genius Loci, then there will be much value in this book for you!

MS: You do several courses as well as mentoring. What’s your favourite course that you teach and why?

AA: I offer several classes on my Water Witchcraft website, as well as through my tradition Triskele Rose and I am currently working on 2 more that will release in 2019-2020 on the Water Witchcraft website. However, if I had to choose a favourite it would be the 9-month Water Magic course. I think this course offers a good introduction to my own personal practice and really offers so much to the student that everyone regardless of path, location or ability gets a really good heaping handful of information. Everyone walks away from the course with so much knowledge and experience; it really bursts my heart open to see people work so hard and become so passionate about water and the magical practices that surround it.

MS: When did you discover that you had a passion for teaching? How did this come about?

AA: I think I have always been a natural teacher. As a teen, I was always teaching younger children. I spent several years in my late teens and early twenties learning to belly dance, and after I became proficient I had an opportunity to start teaching it to others. This is where I truly began to blossom as being able to provide a space for my students to explore and learn was so fulfilling for me. In my own experience I have learned that when I teach something, I become so familiar with it that while I significantly deepen my own connection with the material. I have also discovered that working with students one on one provides me with options and experiences from other perspectives that I learn to deepen my own knowledge, experience and mental reach on the subject. Not only that, not everything works for everyone and so I am able to work with students to adapt things to help make it work for them and future students. There is so much joy in this for me, making these practices accessible to those that may have never had the experiences before, watching the insecure witchling blossom into a powerful, confident witch; there is nothing better than that!

MS: You’re also an oracle- tell us a little bit about what this means.

AA: I was given my first tarot deck when I was 19, it didn’t take me long to learn how to read them and to find out I was quite good at it. Over the years I practiced and read for friends, then I began to branch out and read for everyone I could. While living in Arizona, I worked for a party planner and was able to do large gigs for corporate events. They were quite fun actually and I read for many, many people in one night. I don’t do this anymore, but I still love to read. Currently I run a monthly special, and have several types of readings available on my website. I also do Live Stream Water Witch Wednesday which happens every Wednesday 11:00 am PST on Instagram Live (@annwynavalon). I am on for about an hour, we talk about Water Magic, have Q and A time and then I take small prayer/spell requests as well as pull oracle or tarot cards to deliver messages from the water spirits to those that tune in and ask. I really enjoy this because I get to interact with many people and offer free readings for those that usually couldn’t afford to have a private appointment or take classes. While my time is important to me, I really value getting the messages that the water spirits want out into the world for those that need it regardless of transaction.

MS: Where is your most sacred place, or the place that means the most to you in terms of your magic?

AA: This is hard. If I am speaking locally then it would be the little space in my yard that I have set aside for a water temple. I am lucky enough to have a creek that runs through my property and there is a little waterfall, hawthorn and hazel trees, and a little secluded place where I have my outdoor altar. However, if you are asking about worldwide then it would be Scotland or England especially around Glastonbury, Cornwall, and Sulis’s temple at Bath as they have all had profound impacts on me and where I feel most connected to the land, spirits and the cultural practices. England has always held a piece of my heart and soul and I try to make it back as much as I can to visit.

MS: You’re also an accomplished artist. What is your favourite piece that you’ve created to date?

AA: Oh, this is hard because I really like all the art I release to the world! However, there are two paintings, one of my best friends and one of Sulis that I made for her, she owns both the original pieces, but they are my favourite because they were done with love and passion. Of the paintings I still have in my inventory I recently did a painting of Thalassa that I really like as well as a painting of a Water Priestess that I believe was channelled from an ancient past life. While it is not the most technically correct piece, there is something about it that makes my heart sing.

MS: And what’s your favourite piece of art by another artist, and why?

AA: The Lady of Shalott by J.W. Waterhouse remains by far my favourite painting of all time. Though there are many more by him and other Pre-Raphaelites that also capture my heart. The Lady of Shalott has been a source of inspiration for me since I was a very young girl, through the various paintings by Waterhouse and others to the poem by Tennyson as well as sung by Loreena McKennitt. La Bell de Sans Merci is a close second as well, in both painting by Waterhouse and poem by Keats.

MS: Do you have a favourite season or festival?

AA: Yes! The fall by far is my favourite, especially that period right between Samhain and Yule when it’s getting darker and colder. Don’t get me wrong, I love the spring as well, but if I had to pick between the two, the cooler darker days, the fall leaves and all the festivals and celebrations really make me happy, especially after all the heat of the summer. This dark mysterious time is most welcome. I am obsessed with flowers though and so spring time comes in so very, very close; it is hard to choose!

MS: How was Pantheacon this year? What did you enjoy most about it?

AA: Pantheacon this year was great! I love this event and look forward to it each year. I think my favourite part was reading in the Weiser Suite. It was a bit surreal to be there next to people whose work I have admired for such a long time. I was also blessed to have presented several times this year and was able to share information I am very passionate about as well as promote the call to action to pay attention and to sacredly attend our waters. I am looking forward to next year!

MS: And finally, what are you looking forward to most in 2019?

AA: There are several things I am looking forward to in 2019. I will be lecturing at Mystic South followed by a trip back to North Carolina to dance, teach and make magic! I am also working on a few secret watery projects that I am really looking forward to spending in creation mode getting them ready for release. I also find myself in a place of having more time on my hands and so I am looking forward to having time to spend painting and playing in my garden.

You can find out more about Annwyn and her work on her YouTube channel, her website, and via FaceBook. Her book, Water Witchcraft, is available now.

Water Witchcraft: Magic and Lore from the Celtic Tradition on Amazon

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About the Author:

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

She is the author of A Modern Celt: Seeking the Ancestors & 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

Book Review – Primal Awareness: Reconnecting with the Spirits of Nature By Rob Wildwood

June, 2019

Book Review
Primal Awareness
Reconnecting with the Spirits of Nature
By Rob Wildwood

Rob Wildwood gives us a perspective on the evolution of First World cultures in this thought-provoking book. The “primal awareness” of the title is humankind’s awareness of the immanence of spirit, consciousness and generative life force alive in every aspect of creation on Earth. Wildwood gives us an overview of how humanity in First World cultures has lost its sense of connection to the natural world and as a result, is now destroying it. The book takes us through the impact of cultural development from the evolution of language into cultural belief and identity, then maturation of religious structures which separate individuals from their own connection to divinity. Wildwood delineates shifts in civilizations as people moved into permanent settlements and homes, began to value possessions over social connection and started wars over territories and resources with colonization of all that was “primitive” as the end result. He describes the effects of mechanistic thinking – only humans have souls – with the rest of the universe broken into component parts for analysis, categorization and ultimately, domination for economic profit. Each incremental step took humans farther away from an understanding that they are part of the natural world. Now we think of “Nature” as something we go somewhere to “be in;” it is something separate from who we are. Wildwood would like us to understand how this happened and help us find our way to a different perception of humanity’s role on Earth.

I found the Wildwood’s selection of the milestones of cultural evolution interesting and thoughtful. Each milestone is a chapter heading; the ensuing discussions are brief but enlightening and certainly timely. The very recent Global Assessment from The Intergovernmental Panel on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, prepared by scientists from 130 countries, confirmed Wildwood’s assertions that humankind’s activities, especially large scale “industrial” farming and fishing will result in the extinction of over one million plant and animal species unless radical changes in humanity’s approach to use of natural resources are made now.

The thread of redemption that runs through the book is the narrative voice of the “shaman.” Wildwood asks the shaman to provide a remedy to help reverse the loss of connection to the natural world that individuals experience as a result of each of the culture changes described. The practices provided are simple and effective; they can be used anywhere to return us to mindful awareness that we are a part of the web of life.

I agree with Wildwood that we humans have to find a post-growth economics that is loyal to life instead of to profits. However, I take issue with his premise that all cultural development is necessarily problematic. Primal Awareness idealizes humanity in its “natural” state, and tends to demonize all social institutions and development. Certainly, we must find a way to stop being the human “cancer” on the natural world that Wildwood describes, and we must do it by finding our place in the order of the cosmos, rather than dominating it at the expense of all other life forms. But humanity has a genius and beauty of its own and a part in that cosmic order that Wildwood does not acknowledge.

I recommended Primal Awareness: Reconnecting with the Spirits of Nature for the overview of the steps of First World cultural evolution; although quite general, it is, again, a thought-provoking analysis. And the shaman’s remedies are excellent prescriptions for returning us to awareness and appreciation of the beauty and life force in all of the beings with whom we share Earth.

Primal Awareness: Reconnecting With The Spirits Of Nature on Amazon

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About the Author:

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

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

Flying to the Heart www.flyingtotheheart.com

Open Channel Astrology: openchannelastrology.com

Book Review – The Shaman’s Guide to Power Animals by Lori Morrison

May, 2019

Book Review
The Shaman’s Guide to Power Animals
by Lori Morrison

Lori Morrison’s The Shaman’s Guide to Power Animals is an encyclopedic guide to the lore and symbolism of nearly 200 animals, birds, reptiles, with a few mythological beings included. It is a visually lovely book – gorgeously illustrated with black and white drawings in an oversized format – a “coffee table” volume that also works quite well as a reference book. I found myself dipping into the book at random to read the well-researched descriptions of animals in their natural environments as well the information and messages channeled by Ms. Morrison in her discussions with these animals.

Ms. Morrison’s perspectives on working with power animals have been filtered by her own experiences living in El Salvador and traveling in wild places all over the world. She describes a life-changing initiation in 2010 which opened her awareness and ability to work with power animals for herself and for others. Her belief in the value of this work is well-evidenced in the research she did for the book. The lore and traditions provided in the discussion of each animal come from many cultures and traditions; the bibliography, organized by animal, is extensive and allows the reader to dig further.

The book is organized into three sections. In the first, Ms. Morrison gives brief overviews of principles traditionally associated with shamanic practice: cosmology, which she sources in the Tree of Life and three worlds of “core” shamanism; shamanic journeying; and working with the elements and power animals, including shapeshifting, dreaming and tuning the resonance between yourself and a power animal by using a crystal or stone. Ms. Morrison, who has a practice dedicated to healing with vibrational medicine, states, “Each Power Animal embodies energy that is congruent with one of the seven primary energy centers in the human body. The characteristics of the animal mirror those of the center.” She then describes the ways in which a stone resonant with a Power Animal’s energy can be used. Ms. Morrison also describes several types of power animals, including the Shadow Power Animal. This being may represent an aspect of ourselves that we are ignoring, so it is certainly one to pay attention to.

The second section, the largest and most informative, contains illustrated discussions of each power animal. The lore and history provided is extensive and again, from many cultures. The channeled messages and symbolism are helpful for working with Power Animals in non-ordinary reality. In addition, Ms. Morrison places each animal in “ordinary reality,” providing descriptions of real-world behavior, habitat, prey and predators. We are better able to understand an animal sighting in our daily lives as a message noteworthy of our attention if we understand its routine behaviors.

The final section consists several great resources: a list of endangered animals; the research references and bibliography mentioned above; a source for each of the illustrations in the book and a useful table of correspondences for animals, their qualities and related minerals.

The Shaman’s Guide to Power Animals is a resource for animal symbolism and lore. I consider it a great addition to my library.

The Shaman’s Guide to Power Animals on Amazon

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About the Author:

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

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

Flying to the Heart www.flyingtotheheart.com

Open Channel Astrology: openchannelastrology.com

Book Review – The Fire Rose: The Elemental Masters Series by Mercedes Lackey

May, 2019

Book Review
The Fire Rose
The Elemental Masters Series
by Mercedes Lackey

This is the classic story of a young woman, a man and the trials of living with magic. The concept might be a norm with fantasy fiction, but with this addition from Mercedes Lackey, we find magic in the rawest form. Elemental magic.

I have personally read this book over a 100 times, no joke. It is one of my earliest exposures to the actual ‘possibility’ of magic existing in our world.

When I stepped into the world of Jason and Rose, two totally different personalities and walks of life, I felt a kinship with Rose. She is a learned scholar and in the time period of the book that is practically unheard of.

Now, picture this:

A university-taught young woman, raised in Chicago, after losing her father, has found out the full depth of his debt. He made some rather shady monetary choices and lost it to a charlatan who had managed to do the same with all of his other backers.

After watching all of her worldly possessions being carted off by the bank, she was taken under the wing of a fellow professor of her father’s.

Enter Jason. Besides being a very well known rail baron and millionaire, living on Nob Hill in California-he is also a Fire Master.

He made a very foolish choice, after thinking that he had enough magical power, to attempt a werewolf-loupe Garou (1) spell that would allow him to change between werewolf form and human form at will; while still retaining his human mind. This failed in a way he never expected. It left him unable to read, write or practice magic fully due to the changes he created.

Enter Paul du Mond, a selfish and perverse man who is also Jason’s protegee – working to become a Fire Master himself. He is quite prolific in his various diversions to acquire power. He feels like the elemental powers should be his without the regular work and patience involved to rise in power to a Master of Fire as well. He is also Jason’s secretary who handles the business that Jason cannot due to his hubris (2).

There is another Fire Master, Simon Beltaire, who believes as Paul does that magical power can be derived from sex magic and pain. He lives in San Francisco. After enticing Paul with offers of teaching his way of magic, he turns Paul against Jason, while turning Paul into a spy.

After Rose’s father passed away, a letter was sent to her “knight of shining armor” from Jason outlining his need a scholar to help read for him, under the pretext of needing a governess for children he didn’t have. Feeling like all she was able to do was to teach, this offer felt too good to be true, she accepted the offer with some concern.

Off to California, she goes!

I could simply say that I love this book, however it’s more than that. This book fueled my teenage years with joy and happiness. A world that I could travel to and escape my reality.

In addition to this, I was also just beginning to learn about magic and things of the occult. This also happened to be the only way I could “learn” about the Craft in a way that wouldn’t upset my parents.(I’m not advocating hiding anything from parents at all!)

All in all, this is a good read and a lovely way to spend an afternoon curled up with a cuppa, and a snack! Read with an open mind and you’ll find magic everywhere!

(1)https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/loup-garou

(2) https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hubris

The Fire Rose (Elemental Masters Book) on Amazon

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About the Author:

My name is Krys, I’ve been living the Pagan life for 19 years. I am a wife and stay at home mom to one teen. I am an ordained minister/ Priestess, and head of the Cyber Moon Coven of Changes. After many years as a practicing Christian, I found paganism to be a more suitable path, personally. A few years and covens later, I found that being open to the online community was becoming more important to me.

After struggling to find a coven that was not just “rules” and “roles”. A few attempts later, I began the Cyber Moon Coven. An online and real life coven, with a ‘no strings attached policy’. You can find my group on Facebook. (Cyber Moon Coven of Changes)

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