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Book Review – Shamanic Plant Medicine-San Pedro: The Gateway to Wisdom by Ross Heaven

August, 2019

Book Review
Shamanic Plant Medicine-San Pedro
The Gateway to Wisdom
by Ross Heaven

San
Pedro: The Gateway to Wisdom is one in The Shamanic Plant Medicine
series authored by Ross Heaven. Each book introduces a plant
medicine teacher and medicine ally. This well-written, accessible
book introduces us to the Cactus of Mystery, San Pedro, native to the
Andes and used by Andean shamans in healing ceremonies.

Mr.
Heaven, who died in 2018, has left us with a practical and nuanced
introduction to San Pedro. The book gives us an overview of the
plant’s history and the lore relating to its sense of mystery,
which certainly drew me in to wanting to know more about it. Here
are some of the fascinating bits of lore that Heaven provided: Legend
has it that St. Cyprian was instructed by Jesus to hide the keys to
Paradise from the Spanish invaders and Inquisition in a cactus under
the watchful eye of St. Peter, keeper of the keys to Heaven– hence
this entheogen’s name. It also has many nicknames, one of which is
punku – doorway or gateway – for its ability to open a doorway
beyond the world of illusion, as author Heaven wrote. Its active
ingredient is mescaline and its healing and nurturing action has
earned it another nickname: Grandfather. As Heaven wrote in a
different book: “There is a sort of mystery surrounding San Pedro
and a sense that knowledge of the plant must remain secret or at
least be earned through preparation, participation and worthiness of
those who drink it.”

Heaven
provided a detailed chapter on why San Pedro’s medicine is sought
after and descriptions of various ceremonies and methods of use by
San Pedro shamans. Heaven also discussed various modes of
preparation, while urging respect, safety and caution working with
this teacher plant. While it is not a how-to, step-by-step manual,
the book provides excellent guidance on what to look for when seeking
someone to conduct and support a ceremony. The personal accounts of
people who experienced San Pedro’s healing effects in ceremony with
Heaven and other shamans are engaging, encouraging and worth reading.

The
most fascinating and instructive section examines the effects of San
Pedro on creativity. There is an overview of the early research with
psychedelics in the 1960s, specifically with their effect on artists.
Heaven equated the ability of the creative process – to “shift”
the brain into perceiving and functioning differently – with the
nature of the entheogenic experience. Both processes are
“nonrational and nonverbal, the insights coming at an almost
cellular level through the remodeling of the self. Trying to capture
this experience in words is too limiting for those who have undergone
it.” Heaven’s description of these processes is reason alone to
read this book! A discussion of shamans as artists as they engage
with the creative flow of energy in the healing process is also worth
the read. There are also deeply engaging personal accounts of visual
and musical artists who described the effects of San Pedro on their
work and their search for self-knowledge.

Heaven
ended the book with a chapter on working responsibly with San Pedro.
There are in-depth recommendations regarding environment, introducing
yourself to the plant with respect, what to expect during the work
itself and legalities of possession and use of San Pedro.

If
you are interested in working with San Pedro, or simply in learning
more about entheogenic plant medicine in general, this book is a
great place to start. It is an easy to read, well-researched and
information beginning. I will keep it on my bookshelf as a good
reference and already plan to read the other books in this excellent
series from Moon Books.

Shamanic Plant Medicine – San Pedro: The Gateway to Wisdom on Amazon

***

About
the Author:

Susan
Rossi

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

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

Flying
to the Heart www.flyingtotheheart.com

Open
Channel Astrology: openchannelastrology.com

Book Review – Divining With Animal Guides: Answers from the World at Hand by Hearth Moon Rising

March, 2019

Book Review
Divining With Animal Guides
Answers from the World at Hand
by Hearth Moon Rising

I
was delighted to discover that Divining with Animal Guides is not a
cookbook dictionary, concretizing the “meanings” of animal
encounters. Author Hearth Moon Rising has created a manual for
learning to observe and discern and ultimately, to shift our
strictly human viewpoint. Only when we look at the context in which
the animals offer us their messages are we able to fully understand
their invitations and gifts.

Rising
weaves science, mythology, mathematics and storytelling into each of
the chapters. There are 9 in total, covering the cat family big and
small, alligators and crocodiles, horses, bees, scorpions, ravens,
woodpeckers, deer and the antlered ones, and cranes. This is not a
purely “magical” discussion of these beings, although she
provides a short review for each animal guide, briefly listing
magical qualities and applications and other associations. She
focuses instead on laying the groundwork for an understanding of the
animal’s place and workings in nature through its evolution and
biology, and then delves into its mythology and historical
associations. So, in the chapter on Cat, Rising brings the cat
forward from its origins in Egypt to its association with witches in
Europe right up to its appearance in quantum physics as Schrodinger’s
Cat. She also provides a story or poem to place the animal in a
particular cultural context so we can begin to sense how its powers
interact with its world. I was fascinated at how well Rising created
this weaving of science and mythology and found it difficult to put
the book down at points. She evokes the energetic field of the
animal’s entire biological and historical existence so we can
connect to it and make our own associations.

Rising’s
instructions for using math and geometry in observing and
interpreting signs and messages are wonderful. For example, she asks
us to consider that bees construct hexagonal honeycombs and launches
into an analysis of the hexagon and the significance of the number 8
that is guaranteed to deepen your understanding of any messages you
have ever received from Bee. And if you find a lone animal that
usually travels in pairs or groups, reflect on why only one appears
now.

Rising
emphasizes scientific observation of the animal and an appreciation
of the context – environmental, biological and metaphoric – in
which it appears or communicates with you. Observing it closely
where and how it appears rather than jumping to a conclusion about
what it “means” makes the difference between a superficial
understanding of its message and truly receiving it and allowing it
to unfold over time. Rising uses each animal to demonstrate a
different aspect of observation – ravens for sight and seeing,
woodpeckers for hearing and listening, deer (rarely seen nor heard) –
tracking through confusing signals until you find your way. In other
words, discerning the root what is meant and which clues in the
message to follow. As she points out, “A paradigm shift cannot
occur with the disintegration of beliefs and the subsequent
disorientation…The most profound animal signs are not the ones that
tell you where to go next or what to expect in the year ahead. They
are the signs that open the world, allowing you to see something new,
even to realize a deeper lever of truth.” She pushes us to
cultivate observation skills beyond our “usual” boundaries so we
can feel the energy of the deer we hadn’t seen standing next to us
in the bushes. She asks us to lose our limited human viewpoint and
remove our ego-centric blinders so we can receive the fresh
information that the natural world continually offers to us –
“divination in nature is not for those who have no room for
questioning their beliefs.” In order to help us loosen the grip of
our firm convictions, Rising offers provocative questions for
reflection in each chapter, too. I found them to be koan-like; I had
to stop and really consider what those questions were asking of me.

This book is a jewel. It is
much more than a book about the animal powers. It is a guide for how
to open our perception to the world around us and broaden our ability
to communicate with our co-inhabitants. It is so much more than a
dictionary of totem animals. It will challenge you, make you laugh
and invite you to step into “the moment of power, the instant when
a door opens and one thing changes into another…” as Rising says
in her Final Words to us. Divining with Animal Guides: Answers from
the World at Hand is well-worth adding to your library.

Divining with Animal Guides: Answers from the World at Hand on Amazon

***

About
the Author:

Susan
Rossi

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

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

Flying to the Heart www.flyingtotheheart.com

Open
Channel Astrology: openchannelastrology.com

Book Review – The Little Book of Saturn by Aliza Einhorn

January, 2019

Book
Review

The Little Book of Saturn

Astrological Gifts, Challenges, and Returns

by Aliza Einhorn

Even
those who don’t know a lot about astrology cringe when Saturn is
mentioned. Often thought of as bringing bad luck, challenges, loss
and constriction, it has been called the Greater Malefic. What Aliza
Einhorn does for us in her wonderful book is to show us Saturn as an
ally and a teacher, the cosmic alarm clock that tells you to “wake
up! Get up…don’t be late.” Don’t miss this opportunity to
find out what you need to do to become true to yourself! Saturn will
point out where we have strayed from the cosmic blueprint in our
natal charts and point us back toward our prenatal vows of who we are
striving to become in this lifetime.

This
book is a handy manual for those unfamiliar with astrology. In the
first two chapters, Einhorn discusses astrology in general, the inner
and outer planets and even introduces the ideas of generational
planets and timing in the chart. She gives an overview of the houses
and explains how the planets “dress” depending on their sign and
house placement. So a Taurus Sun in the 12th house is
quite different than a Taurus Sun in the 5th. As she
says, “you are more than your sun sign.”

Einhorn
then takes an in-depth look at Saturn, useful for astrology
neophytes as well as those who are more experienced. She kicks off
with the comment, “Saturn is your fear.” I had not thought of
Saturn that way – but had blamed all my fear on my spooky 12th
house Pluto! Where we freeze, where we are blocked, where we are
afraid is described by our Saturn sign. As Einhorn says, if we get
to know our fear inside and out, Saturn will push us to get through
it, to get over it, but creating situations where we can confront it
and put it behind us. Thank you, Saturn! Rather than being our
worst enemy, Saturn can be our greatest friend if we accept that it
will prompt us to keep evolving. And as she says, we can then
dismantle that wall of fear brick by brick. Einhorn goes through
several other Saturn facets: responsibility, showing up, work and
career, mastery, obligation and duty, patience, our teachers,
leadership, fathers, growing up. Her examples are well explained and
excellent for the astrological lay person who is looking for deeper
insight into how to understand a natal chart.

The
next sections showcase Saturn in each house and sign with gifts,
challenges, ambitions and advice for each. I got good insight into
my Libran Saturn from Einhorn’s discussion and found much truth in
an interpretation I had not considered before.

The
book finishes with a section on the Saturn Return. Einhorn covers
the first, second and third returns at ages 28, 56 and 84 (give or
take) with real poignance. She shows us how we die to the self we
have been, at the losses we have sustained, at choices we must make
to move forward. There may be grief and morning thrown in. The
Saturn Return is inescapable whether we are aware that the transit is
happening – we will feel the pressure as we shift into adulthood,
midlife and our elder years. We look forward and backward and assess
where we are now and we move into the next phase of our lives –
whether we want to or not! Einhorn describes this point as a rite of
passage and a crossroads, and suggests working with an actual
crossroads at these initiatory times. Her recommendation is to slow
down, pause in the center, and then take a stand, make a decision,
make a choice about which way to go.

This
Little Book of Saturn is of big import and well worth having in your
astrological library!

The Little Book of Saturn: Astrological Gifts, Challenges, and Returns on Amazon

***

About
the Author:

Susan
Rossi

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

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

Flying to the Heart www.flyingtotheheart.com

Open
Channel Astrology: openchannelastrology.com

Book Review: Protection and Reversal Magick – A Witch’s Defense Manual by Jason Miller

November, 2018

Protection and Reversal Magick

A Witch’s Defense Manual

by Jason Miller

224 pages

In the last chapter Mr. Miller writes something interesting about magickal, psychic and spiritual attacks: he states that attacks are happening every day to everyone. They are being launched not only by offended spirits and malicious magicians, but major corporations and political parties. He asks: “Where does a magical seal, a binding, end and a corporate logo start? Where does the use of neuro-linguistics programming in sales and in the use of sorceress bindings begin?” Mr. Miller says that if you haven’t thought about this as magic, then think again.

Mr. Miller dedicates this book more to Hecate than he does any other deity. He wrote this book as an attempt to step beyond the “101’s” that seem to fill the shelves these days. This book is on defensive witchcraft, not Wicca.

There are chapters in this book on daily practices, personal protection and protection of the home. Chapter 6 of this book covers spirit guardians and servitors, this is an interesting chapter. I’m going to quote the author here, because I happen to agree with what he says about spirit guardians and servitors. Mr. Miller wrote: “It follows that if you treat the spirit as a separate entity that you are summoning, you will be able to get more worked up over the process delete than if you go into it as some psychological trick, and thus achieve greater success, no matter what the spirits true nature.”

I would recommend this book for someone who is wondering if they are under spiritual attack, wanting to delve deeper into reversal encounter magic, or who is looking for protection for their home. The rituals that Mr. Miller includes in this book are complete and easy to follow along with. It is also easy to come by a lot of the ingredients that are included in the rituals and the spells. I do feel that this is a book above the beginner level that are on the shelves today. But, even if this is your first book into Protective and Reversal Magick, Mr. Miller has made it easy to understand.

Protection and Reversal Magick on Amazon

 

***

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 at: Readings by Dawn on Facebook at

https://www.facebook.com/Readings-by-Dawn-1608860142735781/

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

April, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

For Amazon information Click Image

***

About the Author:

Susan Morgaine is a Daughter of the Goddess, Witch, Writer, Teacher, Healer, and Yogini. She is a monthly columnist with PaganPages.org Her writings can be found in The Girl God Anthologies, “Whatever Works: Feminists of Faith Speak” and “Jesus, Mohammed and the Goddess”, as well as Mago Publications “She Rises, Volume 2, and “Celebrating Seasons of the Goddess”. She has also been published in Jareeda and SageWoman magazines. She is a Certified Women’s Empowerment Coach/Facilitator through She is the author of “My Name is Isis, the Egyptian Goddess”, one in the series of the “My Name Is………” children’s books published by The Girl God Publications. A Woman International, founded by Patricia Lynn Reilly. She has long been involved in Goddess Spirituality and Feminism, teaching classes and workshops, including Priestessing Red Tents within MA and RI. She is entering her 20th year teaching Kundalini Yoga and Meditation, being a Certified instructor through the Kundalini Research Institute, as well as being a Reiki Master. She is a member of the Sisterhood of Avalon. She can be found at https://mysticalshores.wordpress.com/ and her email is [email protected]

For Amazon information Click Image