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Book Review – The Vision of the Pylons by J. Daniel Gunther

April, 2019

Book Review
The Visions of the Pylons
A Magical Record of Exploration in the Starry Abode
By: J. Daniel Gunther
Ibis Press

The author, Mr. Gunther follows Aleister Crowley’s method of enlightenment as put forth by Mr. Crowley in his publication: “The Equinox.” Mr. Gunther used the method labeled “Scientific Illuminism” to explore the Egyptian funerary text called “The Book of Pylons” (or Gates). It is the nocturnal journey of the deceased on the Solar Bark in the Starry Abode. What Mr. Gunther has written is a book that is a record of the meditations the author went through and his exploration of the Starry Abode. These meditations happened between 1975 in 1977.

The subject matter is interesting to read. (I think this is another rabbit hole I am getting ready to jump into.) While the subject matter is interesting the meditations are a little difficult to read.

Mr. Gunther seems to be a fan of footnotes; there are footnotes on almost every page. Sometimes the footnotes take up half the page. A lot of the footnotes contain Hebrew lettering, zodiac Glyph, and notes on Sephiroth. (I admit I am not familiar with Hebrew lettering or anything on the Sephiroth. So, I would read the book, and then look stuff up online.)

I
did find this to be an exciting book to read. I found myself reading
the passage, then going to the footnote, and then rereading the
passage in several places of this book, after looking stuff up.

I am not well versed in the Kabbalah, so this book piqued my interest in learning more about that matter. And at the same time, his book confused me with the combination of Biblical references, Egyptian references, and Jewish references. I can see how they all work together. Sometimes the way the footnotes read it made my head spin for a second or two.

There
are six different appendices in this book. The first is the name of
the Pylons; these are color pages that have a different path of the
Pylons. The second is the Sigils of the Guardians of the Pylons.
The Sigil of the Guardians can be a bit confusing, because it is a
grid of the phonetic sounds for the letters of the ancient Egyptian
alphabet, and there are 13 of those. There is a section on engraving
images into a wax disc. The last two appendices are a full ritual
complete with a recipe for saffron cakes, honey, and milk. The
appendix on the Signs of Invoking and Banishing is extensive and has
more than 30 signs.

The
researcher and student in me found this book fascinating. The student
in me also realized this is something else I need to explore more
deeply..

The Visions of the Pylons: A Magical Record of Exploration in the Starry Abode 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 on
Facebook @eagleandunicorn.

Book of Shadows: As the Wheel Turns

February, 2019

Imbolc
Planned and Explored

February is the month of Brigid, the hearth fires are tended, the seeds are readied for planting, and spell work done in February focuses on purification, growth, and healing. Loving the self is the theme throughout the month of February; after all, how you love your self will teach everyone in your sphere of influence how to love you. This is a time for kindness to be extended inward. In addition, the energies in February are peek for accepting responsibility for past mistakes and forgiving yourself while you make plans for the future.

This month, I focus on spell crafting and making sigils. A sigil is a combination of symbols that are placed together with intent and are fashioned to become the embodiment of your intention. For instance, I may use the Theban Alphabet (aka the Witch’s Runes) to fashion a Sigil for a spell. If you’re not acquainted with the Theban Alphabet, a quick Google® search will lead you to the alphabet easily enough. Here is an example of a Sigil, the word is “Love” and I used the Theban Alphabet and then placed the letters together to represent how the “love” could represent itself in my spell crafting. Sigils have many uses in magical workings and it is my belief that when I make a sigil, all of my intent and purpose in the spell is crafted into the sigil and it facilitates my workings by manifesting a physical thing that I can see and use as a reminder or a representation of the working. The entire process of me devising my own sigil puts my intention into the sigil and the meaning is carried through the work. Some people use Runes, Theban Alphabet, Zodiac Signs, Sacred Symbols, and a myriad of other representations of their intention. Even a “doodle” can be a sigil; I have used “doodles” in sigil work as well. The beauty of the craft is that it is your own and you must walk the path, therefore, I am neither right nor wrong, I simply am being the best person I know how to be, and I use the craft to facilitate that idea until it becomes my practice.

The
month of February is also the month when I plant my seed for the
coming harvests which are Lammas (aka Lughnasadh), Mabon, and
Samhain. I rarely plant more than one seed per harvest because I do
not like to set myself up for failure by taking on too much when I am
working on my own personal evolution. Every year, my seed work
manifests during the dark times, between Samhain and Yule and,
ordinarily, by Yule I would have begun the ascent from the dark days
of self-contemplation with a seed virtually budding and ready for
planting. This year was a bit different for me. I have reduced my
seed work to a short mantra that has volition and purpose and the
intention of the seed work is to write it down on a piece of paper,
plant it in a pot with a bulb of some sort – usually Amaryllis
because they remind me of my mother – and I nurture that seed
daily. Nurturing your seed includes lighting a candle every day,
watering, and speaking the mantra out loud every day in front of the
seed. This not only reinforces your working, but it sets the tone
for the rest of your year. Seed work is always internal work, always
something for my highest and best good, and sometimes it is painful.
The pain is sometimes like that of my youth, when my long bones
ached, and my mother would tell me that someday I would be big and
strong and able to do things that I cannot do as a child. I remind
myself of that in the midst of any pain that seed work can deliver.
I plant the seed on Imbolc (aka Candlemas), February 2, and I tend it
daily.

The Goddess Brigid is a focal Deity for me during the month of February, She tends the hearth fires, and Her aspects encompass healing, poetry, and smith crafting. I usually start to play with making chain mail pieces during the month of February, an homage to Brigid’s forge, this year is a pentacle keychain made from chain mail. Of course, February also celebrates the Chinese New Year, with 2019 being “The Year of the Pig” and there may be messages meant for us to receive from Pig this month. They are extremely intelligent animals and have quirky qualities about them, it’s worth a look into them if you’re one of the people who looks for messages from the animal world

February also celebrates Valentine’s Day, and Brigid shares aspects of healing, childbirth, and unity with this celebration. Perhaps you have experienced a broken heart, Brigid can help to soothe that pain and ease the immediate shock of loss, while other aspects of this Goddess also serve to help is with new relationships and the flames of love that most tend to fan during this celebration. For pregnant Pagans, Brigid is often sought to lend Her energies to mother’s during birth. There is no union more sacred than that of a mother and newborn child

As the light begins to return, the darkness begins to wane and we have planted our seeds and February marks the time of year when tending to seed work is important not only in terms of personal growth, but also in how deeply we plant our seed so that the roots take hold and we experience positive, permanent change for the greater good; not only for ourselves, but for the world in which we interact. On the 19th of February we experience a Full Moon in Virgo and with this super full moon comes energies that are prime for completing tasks, putting order into your world, settling chaos, and maybe even trying to grasp a deeper understanding that we live in an imperfect world and must strive for balance during this time.

As Brigid’s month comes to a close, we must be mindful of tending the seeds that we have planted so that our harvest is well tended, our fields well-watered, and that we take the time, on a daily basis, to check in with our spiritual wellness, physical presence, and emotional stability. February is not just a month of exchanging cards and chocolates with our lovers. February is a month of self-awareness and love of the self. Be kind to yourself. Treat yourself well. Remember, how you love and treat yourself teaches those around you how to love and treat you. So be kind to yourself.

As
a Pagan and a Witch who works in a professional setting, I carry my
working Book of Shadows with me to work and everywhere else that I
go. I am often referring to it throughout the busy work day or it
may even be open on my desk for quick reference. Sometimes, people
carry with them a certain vibe or they become negative or speak in a
negative manner. When this happens in front of me, I like to dispel
the negative energy as quickly as I am able. Because I am out and
about and not in my home, I cannot smudge in my office, I cannot use
my bell to dispense the negativity, nor would it be professional to
cleanse the area with dance and fire. However, I have found an
answer to all of the negativity that could potentially linger and
that is by placing themed shaker cards in my working Book of Shadows.
They are beautiful, easy to keep accessible, and they work like a
dream! All I do is remove the shaker card from my working Book of
Shadows, take a long look at the beauty in my hands, center myself,
and give that shaker card a few shakes and before the last bit of
glitter settles…calm and peace is restored. My shaker cards are
commissioned by my friend, Suzy Meza, and she makes these fantastic
cards to order. As I will do with each and every month, the
resources, shop and group links can be found at the end of the
article.

RESOURCES:

MAMBI®
CHP Extension Packs:

https://www.meandmybigideas.com

CHP
Custom Cover & Foiled Pentacle Stickers by Claire McNamee:

https://www.etsy.com/shop/BubsLovesBubba

Custom
Shaker Cards by Suzy Meza:

https://www.etsy.com/shop/gichiscraftcorner

February
Monthly and Weekly Stickers by Shirley Lenhard are free at the Pagan
Plannertarium:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/217392179039705/

February
Cover Page – Shoot for the Stars – Recollections®
“Constellations” paper pad & Miscellaneous Washi tapes:

Available
at Michael’s and other craft retailers

***

About
the Author:

Shirley
Lenhard has been a practicing Witch and a Pagan since 1983 and lives
in New England with her husband. She is employed full time in the
legal field and has her Masters Degree in Psychology from the
University of South Florida. Shirley looks forward to living her
best possible life by giving back to the Pagan Community and has
created the Facebook group “Pagan
Plannertarium
” where she provides a safe home for fellow pagans
to have discussions about their path and to get free planner stickers
and layouts. Shirley is a past writer for Llewellyn Publishing and
The Peace Paper.

WitchCrafting: Crafts for Witches

January, 2019

Magic for Material

Merry
meet.

When
my body weight was fluctuating, I found myself buying most all my
ritual wear at thrift stores and consignment shops. One way I used to
make some of the velvet pieces more special to me was to emboss them
with magickal symbols.

While
many different types of velvet work, those with the most nap give the
most striking results. Some velour fabrics
work as well.

Rubber
stamps are very easy to use. Cork and the large, thin erasers are two
other materials you can use. You might experiment with others.

Place the front side of the fabric face down on the shape you wish to imprint on the material. Mist a couple of times with water and, using an iron set to the silk setting, press directly down on top of the shape. Hold it fairly still for about fifteen to twenty seconds. (If possible, use a test strip first.)

Wait
a couple of moments and pull back the fabric to see the impression.
Areas will still be damp, so let the fabric sit until it dries.

Goddesses,
symbols, sigils and words offer abundant options, and embossing them
with intention will add magic to
your ritual garb, tarot bags and altar cloths.

Merry
part. And merry meet again.

***

About
the Author:

Lynn
Woike
 was
50 – divorced and living on her own for the first time – before
she consciously began practicing as a self taught solitary witch. She
draws on an eclectic mix of old ways she has studied – from her
Sicilian and Germanic heritage to Zen and astrology, the fae,
Buddhism, Celtic, the Kabbalah, Norse and Native American – pulling
from each as she is guided. She practices yoga, reads Tarot and uses
Reiki. From the time she was little, she has loved stories, making
her job as the editor of two monthly newspapers seem less than the
work it is because of the stories she gets to tell. She lives with
her large white cat, Pyewacket, in central Connecticut. You can
follow her boards on Pinterest,
and write to her at woikelynn at gmail dot com.

Book Review – Sigils, Ciphers and Scripts: History and Graphic Function of Magick Symbols by M. B. Jackson

March, 2018

Sigils, Ciphers and Scripts: 

History and Graphic Function of Magick Symbols

by M. B. Jackson

Published by Green Magic, Somerset, 2013

 

Big thanks to Green Magic for sending me a copy of ‘Sigils, Ciphers and Scripts’ by M. B. Jackson to review. First of all, it’s a really beautiful book. Glossy black, A4, coffee table style; it’s certainly a conversation starter. The subtitle is History and Graphic Function of Magick Symbols, and I think it’s important to bear this in mind when reading the book. This volume is not a comprehensive break down and explanation of every single magical alphabet and symbolic system, as this would require a much thicker, denser volume. What this book does is introduce you to each set of symbols, give you a bit of the history, and provide you with some beautiful graphics.

My favourite aspect of this book is that it is not path specific. Symbolism from many different cultures, studies and religions appears here; Judaism, Paganism and alchemy, to name but a few. Each section is spread over two pages. The first page being a two-column history and description of the symbols; the second page being the symbols themselves. The illustrations are really beautiful and highly detailed where necessary.

Now if you are thinking you can pick this book up and learn the inner secrets of Enochian and how to communicate with angels, I’m really sorry but you’re going to be disappointed. But what you will learn is where Enochian was ‘discovered’, who made it famous, and the symbols themselves. What you do with this information is, I guess, up to you! Further reading is definitely required if you want to go more in depth or fully understand how to use the scripts. But again, this is in the title; this book gives the history and describes the symbols; it isn’t a ‘how to’ guide.

This is one of those volumes I’m likely to keep to hand, for those times when you see a symbol but aren’t sure of its origins, or simply for reference information. I particularly enjoyed learning how the ‘flower of life’ leads into the development of platonic solids, a connection I had not previously considered.

One minor criticism: in the further reading section, the first website listed is Wikipedia. I would never, ever cite Wikipedia as either a source or as recommended further reading on a specialist subject, as it is too easy to edit and place misinformation in there. As a first step towards finding other sources, it’s fine, but it was off-putting to see it listed as recommended reading in such a niche volume.

Other than that, I was truly delighted with this volume. The presentation is outstanding, and it really does give a good outline of each set of symbols or ciphers, giving you a good starting point and a great foundation to work from.

For Amazon Information Click Image

 

***

About the Author:

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

She is the author of A Modern Celt: Seeking the Ancestors and Pagan Portals: Celtic Witchcraft.

Follow Mabh on TwitterFacebook and her blog.

For Amazon Information Click Images

Worth the Witch

September, 2017

 

Review of WitchBox

 

 

(WitchBox Logo)

 

 

What is a WitchBox exactly? According to WitchBox it is:

 

A subscription service for pagan witches based on the Wheel of the Year. A box ships every 6 weeks, 10-12 days before the sabbat.”

 

What this means is that every 6 weeks you will pay a recurring fee of $85 + $10 shipping and you will receive a new Sabbat Box to help you celebrate the upcoming holiday.

 

There are two versions of these boxes. The $85 WitchBox is called the Major Arcana and is filled with all the Bells & Whistles. They do, however, have a lesser priced Sabbat Box subscription, called the Minor Arcana, and this subscription is only $40 + $7 shipping. This box contains, it seems, a little more than half of what the Major Arcana has.

 

PaganPagesOrg has received the Major Arcana Box to celebrate the Sabbat of Lughnasadh/Lammas and we will be reviewing this box for our readers.

 

 

(Sealed Package)

 

The package arrives in a nondescript, plain, brown box. The only writing visible on the box are the addresses. The box does not come addressed from WitchBox but from the owner of the company’s name Jessica White. Their is no logo or pagan symbolism on the outside of the packaging. This is perfect for those who are still in the broomcloset.

 

(Freshly Opened)

 

 

Upon opening the box my first thoughts were It looks tidy, neat, and organized. The first item you notice is a beautiful card. It definitely brings to mind the sabbat we are celebrating, Lughnasadh/Lammas. When you turn over the card there is a handwritten note. A very personal touch.

 

(Personal Note)

 

The second item you notice is a piece of paper. This is the Items List and explains what you will find contained within the box.

 

(WitchBox Logo Sticker and Packaging)

 

After you lift the Items List off the top of the box you see the true package begin. The W., WitchBox logo sticker holding together the deep blue tissue paper is an elegant touch to what I am about to find to be a beautifully layered package.

 

(Scrolls)

 

Layer one contains a majority of the items. It begins with the 2 Scrolls. There is information on both sides of each sheet. They have a nice antiqued feel to them. There is a pleasant aroma coming from the paper. The paper has been antiqued but it has not weakened the feeling of the paper it still feels substantial. They’d be a nice addition to any Book of Shadows. Their Topics include:

 

Page 1:

Information about the Holiday.

Correspondences to the Holiday…Gods/Goddesses, Crystals, Herbs,etc..

 

Page2:

Late Summer Sigil & Poppet Spell

Lughnasadh/Lammas Blessed Bread Charm

 

(Wrapped Items in Layer One)

 

Removing the scrolls reveals the rest of layer one which is filled with individually wrapped items, like little gifts. Each beautifully wrapped in blue paper with the W. logo stickers.

 

(Contents of Layer 1)

 

The first item I unwrap is a Candle. It is calming & nicely scented. Very smooth to the touch. All items are handmade in WitchBox and the candle looks well handcrafted. The Chamomile is clearly visible in the candle. It is a nice full size not a tiny votive like some would expect.

 

Next I opened the necklace. It is very pretty but not very precious. However, the value lies inside. It opens up to reveal a good amount of Flying Ointment. It is their recipe. It has the consistency of Vaseline and a soothing scent.

 

(Contents of Layer 1 Opened)

 

The last two little packages to open is a Bottle of Incense based on Scott Cunningham’s recipe for Lughnasadh and a Self-Igniting Charcoal Disc. Jessica White clearly states on the Item’s List that it is Scott’s recipe and NOT her own.

 

The incense is placed in a nice corked, glass bottle that allows you to save and reuse the generous amount they send you. The bottle is even labeled on top with the holiday so you will always know what it is for. The self-igniting charcoal disc is a well thought out accompaniment.

 

I

(Three Panel Sigil Chain)

 

Layer two opens to reveal one item, the Three Panel Sigil Chain made with kiln-fired birch rounds seems a bit…well birch is birch, and being birch it is delicate. I thought maybe the panels should be thicker so the chains don’t split through the wood. Even though it seems a bit fragile, I believe if I am careful some paint and some free flowing ideas, a beautiful sigil it will make.

 

(Dried Corn Husk & Blueberry Sprig)

 

Layer three is the last layer and contains a Dried Corn Husk Bundle for Making Corn dolly with a Wild Blueberry Sprig. It came in such a neatly, tied bundle packaged in the bottom of the box. I like the idea of including a craft in the collection. Something you can, yourself make. It can be a great altar or house decoration. You could also use it to connect with your children and teach them about the sabbat by creating the Corn Dolly with your child. The only thing I might do different is include instructions on how to create a corn dolly, but those could easily be found on Pinterest, doing a Google Search, or other sites.

 

(Entirety of Box)

 

Our Overall Thoughts on WitchBox… It’s a great box, with a very professional, put together look. The layers were tidy and added excitement to opening the package.

 

It is definitely filled with items to help you celebrate the Sabbat of the month in the correct fashion. For us it was Lughnasadh/Lammas and I felt every item pertained to the celebration. From information about the sabbat, to spells and rituals you can perform. It gives you materials to correspond with the holiday to use in any of your own workings, a lovely item to make into an altar decoration, and a fun craft to do.

 

The box does not come with instructions on what to do with the items it contains, that is up to you, what you would like to use them for. For example, you may use the incense in a ritual for the sabbat. It does come with a full comprehensive list of what is in the box, though, and the ingredients are listed for items which is very helpful to know.

 

The quality of the items is very good, like the large, beautiful smelling candle or the handmade incense. The only thing I mentioned is the birch circles could have been thicker. But overall everything is of very high quality.

 

Though the box may seem a bit pricey, I do understand why this box would cost as it does. In this business you must spend on packaging and supplies to be able to make your goods. Then there is the crafting/labor side that you do not get paid fairly for. Plus as Jessica White mentions (in the short interview to come), she is out daily foraging for her supplies. That adds even more labor you barely see compensation for. There are a lot of natural pieces in this box, the herbs in the incense, the wild blueberries, the herbs in the candle, the herbs in the flying ointment. The box is almost 100% handcrafted, and as we know handcrafters are never paid fairly.

 

If you are a witch with the financial means, a monthly subscription to WitchBox for $85 will not hurt your finances. It does come with items for the sabbat you would have to buy or could buy to celebrate the holiday, anyway. Their is a $40 version of WitchBox. It gives you a bit less, of what the $85 box contains. It contains some of the same items, so I am confident in saying they will be of great quality, as well. I would suggest going with the $85 box, however. You really do get more bang for your buck. You can check out both boxes here on WitchBox and decide for yourself.

 

WitchBox, I feel, is a reputable company PaganPagesOrg can stand behind.

 

So who is behind WitchBox and all the creative goodies inside?

 

Jessica White is the Founder & Sole Proprietor of WitchBox.co and an etsy store front, WhiteWitchhh, selling witchcraft supplies.

 

We recently had the opportunity to ask Jessica White a few questions about herself and her businesses.

 

PaganPagesOrg(PPO): Can you tell us a little about yourself. Where you are from? What path do you follow?

 

Jessica White(JW): I’m a Pagan witch and Massachusetts native. My family has been in Massachusetts since 1715, so I feel a strong connection to the early colonists of the new world who lived off the land, but there’s an old world element to my practice as well.

 

PPO: How do you choose what goes into each Sabbat Box?

 

JW: The contents of each WitchBox depend on what the earth provides in the weeks before each sabbat. The contents are also based on research I do in various compendia of Celtic and Anglo Saxon writings, Ronald Hutton’s research (and combing through his sources as well), and the needs of a modern witch.

In many ways, New England serves as a cultural bridge between the old world and new. In the Americas, many of us in the new world have lost touch with our agrarian roots through the generations, so we crave the folklore, traditions, and mysticism of our ancestors. The goal of WitchBox is to get subscribers closer to the land and the seasons, and to walk in our ancestors’ footsteps in the modern day. I serve as your mediator with the land: I forage in the wild on an almost daily basis, respectfully harvest what Mother Earth provides in that season, and I use the wild materials in every WitchBox. 

 

PPO: How did the idea for WitchBox come about?

 

JW: I had the idea for WitchBox when someone on tumblr posted about wanting a witch subscription service. It was totally a “Eureka!” moment. Having seasonal affective disorder, I’ve always been very connected to the seasons, so I took the idea a step further and based WitchBox on the Wheel of the Year.

 

If you would like to contact Jessica White with any questions about WitchBox you can email her at:  [email protected]

 

To learn more about WitchBox visit: http://www.witchbox.co/
To see her shop WhiteWitchhh visit: https://www.etsy.com/shop/WhiteWitchhh

 

***

 

About the Author:

 

 

Jennifer Sacasa-Wright is an Eclectic Witch who runs PaganPagesOrg eMagazine. She has many opinions, thoughts, & suggestions, and, at times, has problems holding her tongue. She loves hearing your opinions and thoughts on the magazine and welcomes comments.