Book Review – Medicine Wheel Plain & Simple: An Introduction to Native American Astrology by Deborah Durbin

December, 2018

Book Review

Medicine Wheel Plain & Simple: An Introduction to Native American Astrology
by Deborah Durbin


I had a flashback to the 1980’s when I opened this book. I saw the system familiarized in Sun Bear and Wabun’s The Medicine Wheel: Earth Astrology, complete with correspondences to animal totems, plants, crystal and moon correspondences for each astrological sign. So, this book is “New Age;” don’t pick it up thinking that you will learn find a new (or rather, ancient) system of working with cosmic forces here. And you won’t gain any insight into the cultural astronomy or archeoastronomy of the indigenous people of the Americas – the mythic tales of the stars brought down to Earth and how those energies affect human affairs.

That said, you will have a fun tool for broad astrological divination by the equivalent of your sun sign to play with. Medicine Wheel Plain & Simple offers a different lens for examining personality types, strengths and weaknesses, than the zodiac wheel we are used to. Like Sun Bear and Wabun’s book before it, this book uses a Northern American perspective on a seasonal calendar: winter is cold, summer is hot. The calendar wheel is divided into seasonal quadrants with a “ruling” animal totem for each. The wheel is further divided into 12 signs, like the familiar astrological signs, but ruled by animal totems instead of constellations. So, if like me, you are born between April 20th and May 20th, I am a Beaver, member of the Turtle Clan, born under the Frogs Return moon in the Spring Season rule d by spirit-keeper Wabun – Eagle on the East of the Medicine Wheel. My sign is also associated with blue camas plant, the color blue and the mineral chrysocolla. There are many correspondences to investigate here! Interestingly, the description of a Beaver personality was reminiscent of my Taurus self: “slow, methodical, practical, reserved…easygoing and slow to anger, but once roused, they can have a fierce temper…” My compatibility with other signs is similar to my astrological compatibility – I am married to a Snake (Scorpio)!

Durbin has included a section on finding your personal animal totem. She discusses a shadow totem, one that terrifies you, that tests you and teaches you what you need to overcome. Interestingly, mine is Snake, the opposite of my Beaver totem, containing the qualities that Beaver most lacks. And being married to a Snake, I have learned a lot from our differences. She also includes a short section on working with predictive Medicine Wheel astrology by throwing pebbles or shells, noting where they land, and interpreting the energies and qualities of the quadrant and sign in that section of the wheel.

It’s unfortunate that the book purports to be “An Introduction to Native American Astrology.” There are so many beautiful star myths, tales and creation stories in the traditions of the indigenous peoples of the Americas. And the ancient Mayans had a complex astrological and seasonal calendar. And to imply that all Native American cultures used a homogenous system is stereotyping of the worst sort. Medicine Wheel: Earth Astrology, the book on which this one appears to be based, sourced itself in earth-based cycles rather than representing a specific “Native American” system. Medicine Wheel Plain and Simple is a New Age overlay of North American animal, plant and seasonal symbolism on the common horoscope wheel. But it is fun to play with! If you didn’t come across Sun Bear and Wabun’s book in the 1980’s, this one’s worth a look!

Medicine Wheel Plain & Simple: The Only Book You’ll Ever Need on Amazon


About the Author:

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

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

Flying to the Heart

Open Channel Astrology:


October, 2011

One of the things that seems to go hand in hand with our spirituality is the presence of various types of Wiccan or pagan calendars, along with an astounding abundance of books, almanacs, multiple tarot card decks, you get the picture.  There have been so many times that I have just fallen in love with the artwork for a particular month in a calendar, or received a deck of tarot cards as a gift which while beautiful, just didn’t “vibe” with me.

The bottom line is over the years we come in contact with some really outstanding pagan themed artwork from a multitude of sources.  Since there are just so many spaces for framed art from a calendar, or one of those “Leanin’ Tree” (I love those) cards that we got for some occassion, or whatever, it got me to thinking about other ways to display what can be literally an endless supply of art pieces that speak to us, or about us, in so many ways.  After some serious delving into the gray matter it occured to me, why not use these items for Decoupage. I had’nt thought about that since arts and crafts class in elementary school, but I always loved doing it.  So now that I was a Witch on a mission it was off to the craft store.  I was amazed to find not just how easy it actually is, but that they sell all sizes and shapes of super heavy cardboard boxes that you can first paint with acrylics in whatever way you like, then add the items you wish to decoupage.  In order to do this you’ll need to buy a product called Mod Podge, which is a waterbase combination sealer, glue, and matte finish.  The easiest way for me to apply it was by using a sponge brush.  I was really looking forward to getting the stuff home and seeing how it went.  I was blown away at the simplicity and uniqueness of the finished product, which just hours before had been a plain octagon shaped craft box.

Then I started thinking about all the plain old wooden funiture that most of us either already have laying around, or can be found at yard sales and thrift stores for next to nothing.  What about making a super personal altar?  Pretty much the skies the limit.  I have done boxes in which to keep my herbs, covered an old wooden cabinet with a sponge faux finish and tarot cards, and have even made a totally non-wiccan victorian themed box for a family member.

The Mod podge itself is an adequate sealer for most applications, unless the possibilty of getting wet exists.  Since it’s water based you need to use some type of varnish if you’re uncertain.  In addition to using calendar prints and such, I have printed out images found online and then taken them to a copy store and had the image enlarged.  In addition to furniture, etc. you can actually do whole walls.  For example collect fairies, mushrooms, a frog or two, a smiley face moon and you can create a wall for a childs room that will really stimulate their imaginations!  Black and white illustrations in almanacs can be done with colored pencils or whatever works for you and then used, or doing all black and white can be awesome also.

All in all this is a very cool project.  It’s inexpensive, creative, challenges the mind, and it’s something you can do with or for your kids.  Just one warning, you’ll never look at the antique wooden funiture at Aunt Martha’s house in quite the same way again!!  Happy crafting and a Blessed Samhain to you all!

Forest Moon Grove Church

January, 2011

New Year’s Greetings, I started this blast as seen below a couple weeks ago complete with 2011 calendar of events and then decided to add a reflection. This is New Year’s I know and it’s the 2nd New Year I recognize as Oct 31 is the witches New Year and I clean house then as well but I reflect in a Spiritual way rather then the mundane. Now is also a time I clean the house from top to bottom and I look at my resolutions from last year to see what I’ve accomplished and I look towards the future to see where I wish to be in another year. I invite everyone in our network to come over if your local to bring in 2011 with a firework show, and I will be doing Wheel of the Year Tarot readings and will be a potluck. I encourage you all to write your resolutions whether your coming or not as it’s a good time in your paths or walks of life to see if you are where you want to be and how you plan on getting there. Forest Moon grows stronger by the year as we take on new tasks and accomplish them expanding our scope and helping more in humanity as we also help the mundane along with our Pagan brethren. I keep a positive attitude as best I can and it helps to have my soul-mate and our baby, one can’t be in a bad mood with them by my side. On that note, enjoy the coming 2011 and see some of you here to watch it come in. Will be quite a show starting at 4PM to midnight. And I expect a good year.

January is a new adventure and many projects to continue and improve upon. Some new things we are looking at is moving into a 4 bedroom house or apartment so Forest Moon HQ office will be moving sometime in January/February time frame so we have more space and a room for Cheyanne. The garden will be bigger this year and we still have the chickens laying eggs even in winter. The farm will remain here we will just be moving our living space and may move the homeless closet to the house instead of paying storage fees of course depending on our living condition. 2010 was a very successful year for Forest Moon with our legal status coming through, the main move which we build upon even now. I have our 2011 calendar set and is here in this newsletter, it will of course, change from time to time with additions and changes but they will be updated as the time comes. We will be applying for CFC (Combined Federal Campaign) in January/Feb as well and still looking at grants to apply for. Our ultimate goal this year is to purchase a building or property to build a homeless shelter here in the Skagit Valley as there is nothing here for the homeless or less fortunate. Anyone homeless is told to go to Bellingham or Everett which is 30-40 miles in either direction and generally if you’re homeless you have no transportation to get there. We are always open to suggestions, ideas, and advice so never hesitate to email with suggestions on any area we cover or any new areas we may look at. Our first FM Tribe meeting for the kids starts in January and the Tribe and coffee calendar is listed below.


Coffee.. FM Tribe

January 8 at Norse Pantry 1200 January 22 200PM

February 5 Food Co-op in Mount Vernon 1200 February 19 200PM

March 5 Norse Pantry 1200 March 20 200PM

April 2 Food Co-op 1200 April 16 200PM

May 7 Norse Pantry 1200 May 14 200PM

June 4 Food Co-op 1200 June 21 200PM

July 2 Norse Pantry 1200 July 15-18 Camp

August 6 Food Co-op 1200 August 20 200PM

September 3 Norse Pantry 1200 September 10 200PM

October 8 Food Co-op 1200 October 22 200PM

November 5 Norse Pantry 1200

December 3 Food Co-op 1200


January 29- Homeless Veterans Stand-down Day. Christ the King church Mount Vernon, WA all-day

March 19- Spring Faire—vending fund raiser all day event at Cascade Mall Burlington WA

July 4- 4th of July BBQ/Fireworks

September 18 – Seattle Pagan Pride, FM Booth..all day event

October 1-2 -Pagan Harvest 2-day event vendors, rituals, concerts, workshops, camping and fun.

December 10- Holiday Faire Cascade Mall, Burlington WA vendors, all-day event.

December 17- FM Yule party at FM HQ open house 2-8PM.

SABBATS and Special Days

February 2 Imbolc TBA June 21 Midsummer TBA

March 7 Arbor Day August 1 Lammas TBA

March 20 Ostara TBA September 23 Mabon TBA

April 22 Earth Day October 31 Samhain TBA

May 1 Beltane TBA December 22 Yule TBA

Homeless Coalition Meetings every 2nd Tuesday/Month 200PM

Homeless Connection every Thursday 1230 at Peer Connection in Mount Vernon

Pagan Chat every Sunday night in the FM website starting January 1 will be held at 4PM PST to accommodate our East Coast folks.


Forest Moon monthly coffee is open to everyone and is a business meeting of up-coming events and Pagan politics going on that need to be discussed.

Forest Moon Tribe is our kids group open to ages 5-18. It starts in January and there is a syllabus and parental consent forms are required for those under 18. July is our 4 day camp-out to focus on survival and living on the earth.

FM does rituals and honors all Sabbats, times and locations will be announced each month.

January 29 is the Veteran Stand-down day. It will be 9-3 at Christ the King church 2111 Riverside DR Mount Vernon, WA we will be there offering the homeless clothes,blankets, sleeping bags and tents. We have Kim a paralegal there to offer POA’s, notaries, wills and other services, Starbucks is donating boxed coffee for us, and Norse Pantry will be there with us offering a hot meal. We need donations of clothes, blankets, sleeping bags, tents, kitchen appliances, pots and pans, silverware and utensils, we do have receipts to give out for tax write-offs. The donations are given to the needy and homeless free of charge with no obligations. Tonja Cooper is our homeless coordinator and can be reached at 360-848-8515 which is also the FM HQ phone number for any of us.

March 19 is our Spring Faire at the Cascade Mall by JC Penney in the Community Room. It will be all day the hours of the mall from 10-6. I need vendors for this event and there will be a vending fee of 30$ to cover our insurance and it will be a fund raiser so I’m asking 20% of profit. Fees will be needed by February so we have advance time to pay all our fees. I also have DJ Conway potentially coming to this event for book signing and a belly dancing event, more will follow on this as we see her schedule but currently she is planning on being there.

July 4 will be a potluck and fireworks all day location TBA later

September 18 is the Seattle Pagan Pride at the Federal Way Community Center. We will have a FM booth there and see old friends as we do most years.

October 1-2 is Pagan Harvest our big event of the year and will be at the Skagit Valley Fairgrounds. There is a campground on site so anyone wishing to come both days and camp just let me know ahead of time so I can book you. It will be 2-days of vending, workshops, book signings, food and fun. Fees for booths is as follows:

Commercial 40$/day 60/both

Information 20$/day 30/both

Our guests are currently as follows: Oberon Zell, Phaedra Bonewits, Edain Mccoy, DJ Conway, Kisma Stepanich, Kerr Cuhulain, Celia, and Jane Hernishin. Any other ideas for guests let me know as the more the merrier. More information will follow as information comes out.

December 10 Holiday Faire at the Cascade Mall in Burlington, WA all details are the same as the Spring Faire as far as fees. The only difference is the hours which are from 8-8 due to christmas shopping hours.

December 17 FM Yule Party same details as 2010.

We do have a paypal for donations anyone wishes to send for expenditures but as a church nothing in way of dues or membership fees will ever be asked. Our paypal is . Will keep you all informed as things progress and we enjoy hearing from everyone. Hope to see everyone January 8 at Pagan Coffee.


January, 2009



Ok readers listen up, for those of you unaware there is a new guide in town and if you don’t have it you will want to get it!!!!  So for those of you who got money, gift cards I have the perfect item to use it on, a book called, “ THE SEASONS OF THE WITCH WEEKLY MAGIKAL CALENDAR 2009 “.

You will not often find this writer urging our readers to immediately go out and buy a book.  Do without that extra Starbucks or that little extra pleasure it is that you have been saving, this book is worth spending your money on.  It will be money well spent. I will right off the bat tell you that I am from the old school when it comes to my annual yearly witch calendar book.  I go to Barnes and Noble or the neighbor metaphysical shop and buy Llewellyn’s “Witch Datebook” for the year and like a creature of habit I did this year.  But, I was requested by several readers to please get a copy of the “Seasons of the Witch 2009” and tell them what I thought of it, so I did.

While I gave this book my undivided attention it so deserved, reading the Primer companion guide that you can get with the calendar annual the first time you acquire one (which I highly recommend) and going over each and every page of the book coordinating the information I was totally swept away.  This is not just a datebook my friends.  It is a carryall for your Book of Shadows, Grimore, it helps the beginner witch understand how to do magick knowing and understanding the moons, candles, esbats, extended spells, waxing and waning moons.  For us older witches no matter what path you are, it rekindles that spark you may have lost and don’t even know it.  I will be honest; I am a hereditary witch of 55 years, a High Priestess and a military spouse.  We have been dealing with hard times in the military with now our 4th deployment, death all around us and myself medical problems and I could not figure out why my magick was not working anymore.

Don’t think of this as a calendar book to just write down appointments think of it as your idea think pad, your experiment notebook, and your golden book of secrets.  It will help bring out the magick that you have not used in a while or if you are new to magick and paganism it is designed to assist you with your spells and help you learn even quicker.   The author Victoria took four (4) years to design this book and considered all that was needed to do magick the complete witch way.    There are hundreds of books out there with already written spells out there to give you that quick spell we all know it won’t work like you want it to.  We all know in order for your magick to work it has to have your energy, the right correspondence, the right moon, the right day etc.  This book will be your compass and steer you on course to the perfect spell.  You will become the magician you want to be.

After comparing both books it became very obvious to me through Seasons that I had forgotten the simplest of reasons and rules to follow the back to basics that you have known all your life, sort of like the nose on your face thing.  Here in “Seasons” they have outline on the monthly page the waxing days and waning days, the social events days, motivations days, warrior time and stretching time, as well as, eliminating obstacles to power wealth etc.  It points out when is the best time to develop your psychic abilities and many many more items.  The artwork is original and in full color and the charm work wonderful and the use of the tarot cards divine.    They have also included note pages so that when you design your spells you can note them right down in your Seasons book so you won’t have 2 or 3 books floating around.  This keeps everything right together right with you where it all should be.

Buy yourself one item this year, put your magical self first if possible and you will be patting yourself on the back, 6 months from now.  I promise.   SEASONS OF THE WITCH WEEKLY 2009 DON’T LEAVE HOME WITHOUT IT!



Seasons of the Witch Weekly- 6X9 214 pgs Full Color Hardback Cover.  Wire Bound with Ribbon Marker Month-at-a glance overview in two-pgs spread with waxing moon phases shaded yellow for easy planning.  Two-pages per week format features major and minor PowerCasting opportunities for spells, sabbats, esbats, noteworthy events, lunar astrology, moon void of course, Mercury Retrograde and “bank” holidays.  Complete with Blank lined pages at the end of every month.

Retail $19.95,  281-292-8250, Borders Book Store,

Also available in Wall Calendar, Daily book used in classic size organizer with either 3 or 7 hole drilled pages.

Brightest Blessings