SUBSCRIBE

weiser books

Book Review – Son of Chicken Qabalah: Rabbi Lamed Ben Clifford’s (Mostly Painless) Practical Qabalah Course by Lon Milo DuQuette

February, 2019

Book Review
Son of Chicken Qabalah: Rabbi Lamed Ben Clifford’s (Mostly Painless) Practical Qabalah Course
by Lon Milo DuQuette
Published by Weiser Books
Copyright November 2018
Pages: 235

This
book is a sequel to “Chicken Qabalah” published in 1997. The
prologue states this book can stand alone, but it was written
assuming the reader has read the first book or is at least “generally
familiar with the elementary Qabalistic principles included in that
work.”

It
is a work of fiction about the teachings of the controversial Rabbi
Lamed Ben Clifford
from the first book, who is finally determined to be dead 21 years
after his unexplained disappearance. His unorthodox teachings
continue because his previously unknown notebooks, ritual scripts and
an assortment of documents were
discovered
in a storage locker. Lon Milo Duquette draws from this an initiation
process “not so much a matter of ‘educating the unawakened
student,’ but of ‘awakening the student to be educated.’”

He
adds a second subtitle: “The Secret Initiation Ceremonies,
Exercises, and Meditations
of a (probably completely fictitious) Qabalah Initiatory Society.”

Not
having read the first book, it took me a while to appreciate this
one, written as a script, complete with stage directions, notes,
meditations and instruction that add up to
serious teachings.

It
helped to listen to a December 28, 2018 podcast with Thelma Now! in
which DuQuette related the backstory. He explained “Chicken
Qabalah” was a collection of the fundamentals and gags he used for
the Monday night magic class he taught at a Lodge of Ordo Templi
Orientis in Costa Mesa, California.

“Qabalah
can be really boring,” he said in the podcast.

He
realized people remembered information better when it was attached to
a gag, joke or a funny illusion. So
every year, he said he made his teaching techniques goofier and
goofier. His was
pretending to be teaching like an ancient Qabalist teaching at a prep
school.

During
one class, a man became angry, and sputtering, called DuQuette’s
Qabalah teachings “chicken.”

Rather
than taking it as the insult it was intended to be, DuQuette
realized “an
angel of God” had just given him “the name of the kind of Qabalah
that I teach.”

DuQuette
continued, “I just wanted to say to him, ‘Well you know, my rabbi
says that there is no such thing as correct Hebrew pronunciation’
or ‘My rabbi said they probably didn’t even speak Hebrew the way
we think.’ … I wanted to say that, but I didn’t have a rabbi to
refer him to, so I thought I would make up my own rabbi and refer to
myself. That way I could call my rabbi a genius.”

What
the rabbi teaches in “Son of
Chicken Qabalah” through the materials he left behind is a handbook
that will enable readers to create their “own personal Hierarchy of
Heaven.”

DuQuette
said the book grew out of the course he taught to a small group of
competent mystics in China over the course of a year, broken into
four three-day seminars held on the solstices and the equinoxes.

Because
of the language barrier, DuQuette worked to get across his message in
as few words as possible. To help his translator, he scripted
everything. Those materials formed this book.

The
book presents detailed initiation
rituals for the rabbi’s secret society whereby a Holy Teacher and a
Worthy Guide lead initiates through a three-degree Qabalah Mystery
School. Each degree covers a group of the 22 letters of the Hebrew
alphabet. Each letter is a path on the Tree of Life.

The
first three – Mother letters – create space with the directions
up and down, right and left, and front and back. Motion in that space
creates time.

Next
are the seven Double letters, where light is broken into seven layers
of the color spectrum and sound is broken into seven vibratory
musical notes.

The
third section introduces the twelve Simple letters that are the keys
to unlock the Twelve Gates to the City.

At
each stage, the letters’ meanings are given and explored on
multiple levels to embed
them into the initiate’s mind. In addition to scripted initiation
rituals including music, images and tasks, there are study programs
and assignments. It provides a multi-sensory approach that includes
mudras, a pitch pipe, flashing colors and mandalas.

The
appendix contains a reference library, end notes and a summary of
each of the 32 Paths of Wisdom.

In
the podcast last year, DuQuette explained, “Instead
of teaching Qabalah and memorizing stuff, I thought, ‘I am just
going to initiate them; I’m going to implant the Hebrew alphabet
systematically step by step: three Mother letters, seven Double
letters, twelve Simple letters. I’m going to implant them using the
psychodrama of the initiatory process.”

Considering
each chapter was presented in a long weekend with a detailed script
and precise rituals, and then students had ninety days to complete
the exercises, I did not get well enough into this book to get
anywhere near internalizing the entire Hermetic Qabalistic universe,
let alone be able to it in magical practices.

However,
there are enough details and simple explanations that would bring a
group or individual on a creation adventure.

DuQuette
closes the book writing, “As a matter of fact, using your mastery
of the Hebrew alphabet, you could (right now) set to work to create
your own personal and unique names from Hebrew letters enumerating to
numbers that have eight as a conspicuous factor. Your knowledge of
the proper colors reveals what these angels look like; your knowledge
of their elemental, planetary, or zodiacal makeup reveals their
specific powers and gifts.

“Think
about it – your own private hierarchy of spiritual beings –
immediately and intimately linked to you, because they are your
creations. That’s the kind of thing grown-up Qabalists do! That’s
what Qabalah is about! … Create your own angels! Create your own
personal Hierarchy of Heaven. Think of it as an exercise, or think of
it as your Great Work!”

I
glanced way ahead for that, but it convinced me to add this to my
collection of magic books. And, should you care about ratings, the
five reviews it book got on Amazon are all fives.

Son of Chicken Qabalah: Rabbi Lamed Ben Clifford’s (Mostly Painless) Practical Qabalah Course on Amazon

***

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 – Italian Folk Magic: Rue’s Kitchen Witchery by Mary- Grace Fahrun

February, 2019

Book Review
Italian Folk Magic: Rue’s Kitchen Witchery”
by Mary-Grace Fahrun
Publisher: Weiser Books
Published: Paperback, 2018
Pages: 122
Published: Paperback, 2018

I
am of Sicilian descent, as well as German, so I was drawn to this
book to learn more about the practices of the country from which my
mother’s parents came.

By
recording oral history, Mary-Grace Fahrun shares what she learned
about customs and traditions from the matriarchs of her family. It
started by collecting recipes and folk remedies. They came with
stories, superstitions, incantations and prayers. She began Rue’s
Kitchen to preserve these customs and practices as well as those of
Italians of all faiths all over the world.

Religious
rituals, magical spells, blessings, folk medicine and cooking are all
“inextricably woven into the fabric of Italian culture – no
matter where Italians are geographically located,” and Fahrun, who
presents them woven together like a tapestry and a way of living.

“I
was taught everything in Italian,” wrote Fahrun, who is fluent in
Italian and about a half dozen of its dialects. The book is her
guided tour through her magical life, presenting the principles so
the reader can create their own magical life. Italian witchcraft “is
not a religion. It is a practice anyone can incorporate into their
spirituality regardless of religious belief,” she states, but adds,
“There will be strong themes of devotions to saints and earth-based
spirituality because they are both important to the fabric.”

The
first chapter focuses on the kitchen, the most important and sacred
room of the house. Here, every element is present. Herbs are magical,
and magical tools are the same utensils, dishes and cookware used to
prepare meals. You’ll learn how to clean, set up and treat your
kitchen like the temple it is.

Other
chapters deal with sacred spaces and home altars, and the magic in
food. When addressing magic or medicine, there are a variety
approaches for conditions that range from mental and spiritual
intervention to the red ribbon and incantation used to relieve
headaches and the ointment made of garlic paste and olive oil to
apply to skin infections.

A
page explains what she calls the most powerful incantation: “non è
niente” or “it is nothing.” I remember my grandmother telling
me that and thinking, “Well of course it’s something. I’m
hurt.” But Fahrun, who is a nurse, found those three magic words
healed even chronic wounds when said with “a detached, almost
dismissive, attitude.”

There
are recipes for days of the week and months of the year, explanations
of proverbs and superstitions, and chapters that delve into amulets,
divination, spells and charms, rituals and curses.

I
came to better understand the meaning of things my
grandmother and “the Italian aunts from Hartford” did. It’s
inspired
me to learn more about my grandparents’ hometowns – legends,
patron saints, customs, history, etc. – from research and from two
relatives who have visited.

The
book’s cover design by Jim Warner also deserves a mention. It
honors the book’s contents with the hand from the cimaruta, the
cornicello (the red horn amulet or talisman worn to protect against
the evil eye) and the hand gesture to ward off evil on ribbons wound
through a garlic braid studded with blooming rue.

If
you are Italian, or drawn to the culture, this book makes a wonderful
entry point.

Italian Folk Magic: Rue’s Kitchen Witchery on Amazon

***

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.

The Circle of Nine: An Archetypal Journey to Awaken the Divine Feminine Within by Cherry Gilchrist

December, 2018

The Circle of Nine: An Archetypal Journey to Awaken the Divine Feminine Within

by Cherry Gilchrist

 

 

publisher: Weiser books

© 2018

length: 252 pages

This book is a rewrite of an earlier work the author wrote in the 1980s; the author talks about what it was like trying to write this book, the first time when the Internet was not yet available to her. When I went looking for the original text, the publication date on Amazon was 1750. I instantly had the thought of “She’s on to something. If she still here using the same name in 2018, and she wrote this book that long ago.”

She writes about nine different archetypes that comprise the circle of nine. Ms. Gilchrist does point out that it is three sets of three. There are three Queens, three Mothers, and three Lady’s, that work to comprise the circle of nine. On page 224 of the book, Ms. Gilchrest states “plan your journey around the circle of nine; there are 362,880 ways (99) of doing this.”

The examples that appear in the book regarded as devotees, healers, spirited dancers, and gifted seeresses. The first chapter is dedicated to the nature of the nine, and how the number nine figures into women’s groups and women’s spirituality.

She wraps up each chapter of each archetype with images of that archetype,

Street image.

Mythic image

Personal Image

Evolution of each archetype.

Youth

Maturity

Old Age.

Manifestations of that archetype.

Gifts

Trials

Rituals and Cults.

Visions of that archetype

The Circle of Nine is a well-written book by Ms. Gilchrest that with today’s world I see a lot of women utilizing to find their archetype energy. The archetype energy described in this book for each of the nine archetypes is present in each woman. I can honestly say though, that there were two that I didn’t feel a connection with, until after I read them thoroughly. They were the Queen of Beauty, and The Lady of Light, it was only after reading the images of the archetype energy that I was able to see both in myself. If you run a women’s group, this is one of the books I would suggest you use to help women strengthen their spirits and honestly see themselves.

The Circle of Nine: An Archetypal Journey to Awaken the Divine Feminine Within 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/

Crystal Connections

March, 2018

Book Review – Crystal Skulls: Ancient Tools for Peace, Knowledge and Enlightenment

 

 

Published by Weiser Books, and written by Judy Hall, this 194 page book explores the origin, lore and metaphysical properties of crystal skulls in two parts. In the first part of the book the author covers the controversy pertaining to the authenticity (or lack there of) of when these crystalline structures were created, carved or machined. She says it best when she states, “But, as has been said, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.” Then she continues by saying, “In talking about crystal skulls, departures from “truth” inevitably occur. But what is truth? Just because the origins of a skull are dubious does not invalidate people’s subsequent experiences.” Judy Hall goes on to talk about her own experiences with crystal skulls, as well as details of famous or rather infamous skulls, the mythology and the people who collect them, also known as Skull keepers, and the people who carve them.

Part II is all about how to work with your crystal skulls. Hall begins with a chapter on how to choose your crystal skull and even contains a “buyer beware” section. As a newbie to crystal skulls I appreciate the author including this little part in her book. The second half of the book continues on with chapters on how to cleanse, activate, communicate, heal with and care for your crystal skulls. The author rounds off the book by including a crystal directory and an invaluable resource of reputable crystal skull suppliers.

I honestly wasn’t sure how I would feel about this book, as I’ve always viewed crystal skulls as kind of macabre. Not that I thought any different of people who had them, they just weren’t for me. But I can now say my interest has been peaked. I’ve consciously put it out to the Universe that I’m interested in working with crystal skulls, so now I will wait patiently until the right one finds me. That aside, I felt this book was well written and I loved that the author included her own personal experiences. Though it’s a short 194 pages, this book packs a wealth of information in it, enough to get a newbie started and maybe some unknown lore for the experienced skull keeper to find interesting as well.

 

About Judy Hall:

 

 

An internationally known author, astrologer, psychic, healer, broadcaster and workshop leader, Judy Hall has been a karmic counselor for over thirty years.

Her books have been translated into fifteen languages. Her specialties are past life readings and regression; reincarnation, astrology, psychology and natural forms of healing.

She has clients from all walks of life: the House of Lords, the European Parliament, pop singers, university professors, scientists and mystics, and people on social security.

She has conducted workshops around the world. A trained healer and counselor, she has been psychic all her life and has a wide experience of many systems of divination and natural healing methods.

Judy has a B.Ed. in Religious Studies and an extensive knowledge of world religions and mythology. Her mentor was Christine Hartley (Dion Fortune’s metaphysical colleague and literary agent). She completed her Masters Degree in Cultural Astronomy and Astrology at Bath Spa University. 

 

For Amazon Information Click Image

 

***

About the Author:

Shiron (Shi) Eddy hails from the Pacific Northwest and shares a home with her husband, a Great Dane and a cat. Her love for crystals and minerals came from her dad who was an avid rock hound in his younger years. Shi happily shares her knowledge of crystals with anyone who is drawn to them, but especially loves to help people connect with minerals that involves their metaphysical properties. When she’s not networking with other crystal and mineral lovers, Shi can be found making jewelry, painting, crocheting Goddess dolls, selling her wares at shows or spending time with family and friends. You can find her jewelry in her shop ShiJewels or follow her on Instagram.

Book Review – Instant Tarot: Your Complete Guide to Reading the Cards by Monte Farber and Amy Zerner

November, 2017

 

Instant Tarot: Your Complete Guide to Reading the Cards by Monte Farber and Amy Zerner, published in 2017 by Weiser Books, Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC, Newburyport, MA 01950, soft cover, 259 pages. Instant Tarot is published as a paperback, with a color cover printed on typical soft-cover stock, measuring 8 ½ by 5 ½ inches. The interior pages consist of black and white card images and nicely-sized typeface printed on white paper.

Instant Tarot is different from most of the how-to-read-the-Tarot books available to students and enthusiasts of the Tarot. This book uses a system for understanding and interpreting the cards in a traditional Tarot deck that is based on the card positions of the Celtic Cross spread. This system is generally described in the Introduction and the Frequently Asked Questions About Tarot Readings sections at the beginning of this book, written by the authors, and in more detail in the Three Step Process following the Introduction. The Celtic Cross spread is also explained, and each card position of the Celtic Cross spread is given a keyword or key phrase and a description. A sample reading is offered showing actual card images in the eleven positions of the spread, along with the seeker’s question and interpretations of each card in the spread.

Like other books that focus on understanding and exploring the cards of the Tarot, the main part of this book showcases the individual Major and Minor Arcana cards, beginning with an image of the card (based on a traditional Rider Waite deck), the name and number of the card, and a keyword. But the similarities end here. Instead of upright and reversed meanings, explanations of symbolism, and lists of correspondences, the reader is given eleven interpretations of each card based on the meanings of the eleven card positions of the Celtic Cross spread as explained in the beginning of the book.

Instant Tarot provides interpretations for every card in a traditional Tarot deck in every position of a Celtic Cross spread. If you would like to become comfortable with the Celtic Cross spread, this book is for you. Each of the card positions in this spread are explained via each of the cards in the deck, offering an in-depth tutorial for what for some Tarot readers is an intimidating spread. If you feel frustrated by card descriptions that seem difficult to adjust to the focus or style of your readings, the multiple focuses offered in Instant Tarot could allow you to see each card in a fresh new way. If you understand the cards themselves but are having trouble telling the story of a spread, the multiple interpretations could help lace together the meanings of the cards. The book is easy to use, the cards in the sample spreads are all cross-referenced with their individual descriptive sections, and the instructions for use of the system are clear and easy to understand.

Also included in Instant Tarot are some suggestions for performing one-card and three-card readings using this Celtic Cross system, as well as some suggested questions for one-card and three-card readings that are easily personalized or adjusted by the reader.

This book is well-named for it does provide a system that allows a novice to provide an instant reading. Instant Tarot does not offer a detailed history of the Tarot, or detailed description of the meanings of the individual cards, and it does not make reference to the multiple disciplines, such as astrology, numerology, or suits and the elements, that are some of the foundations of those card meanings. If you are looking for that kind of background information, you will not find it here.

What the system found within the pages of Instant Tarot does provide, however, is a method for creating smoothly flowing interpretations of the multiple card positions within a classic Celtic Cross spread. For many aspiring readers, it is the combining of the cards and their meanings into a coherent story that is the true challenge of a Tarot reading. If this is your challenge, Instant Tarot could be the answer you are looking for.

 

For Amazon information, click image below.

 

 

***

About the Author:

Raushanna is a lifetime resident of New Jersey. As well as a professional Tarot reader and teacher, she is a practicing Wiccan (Third Degree, Sacred Mists Coven), a Usui Reiki Master/Teacher, a certified Vedic Thai-Yoga Massage Bodyworker, a 500-hr RYT Yoga Teacher specializing in chair assisted Yoga for movement disorders, and a Middle Eastern dance performer, choreographer and teacher.  Raushanna bought her first Tarot deck in 2005, and was instantly captivated by the images on the cards and the vast, deep and textured messages to be gleaned from their symbols. She loves reading about, writing about, and talking about the Tarot, and anything occult, mystical, or spiritual, as well as anything connected to the human subtle body. She has published a book, “The Emerald Tablet: My 24-Day Journey To Understanding,” and is currently working on a book about the Tarot, pathworking and the Tree of Life. Raushanna documents her experiences and her daily card throws in her blog, DancingSparkles.blogspot.com, which has been in existence since 2009. She and her husband, her son and step son, and her numerous friends and large extended family can often be found on the beaches, bike paths and hiking trails of the Cape May, NJ area.

For Amazon information, click image below.

 

Tarot Deck Review: The English Magic Tarot

January, 2017

englishmagictarot_setup_web

 

 

The English Magic Tarot is a Tarot deck created through the combined efforts of Rex Van Ryn, the creator of the thinking behind the deck and the original artwork, and Steve Dooley, the talented artist who provided the vibrant palate of colors found in this deck, and Andy Letcher, the author of the companion book, with plenty of cross-pollination of talents between them all. This 78 card deck and the soft-cover companion book are published by Weiser Books, and they come in a sturdy and brilliantly colored box, the cover of which pictures The Fool of the Major Arcana, a fitting first look at this exciting deck for more reasons than the obvious.

The theme of the deck is set in the 100 years or so beginning with the Reformation Period and the reign of King Henry VIII and running through the end of the reign of Elizabeth I. The Elizabethan era in particular was the golden age of English Renaissance and English Magic, and makes a wonderful setting for this deck. The images of the English Magic Tarot take us through this rich and volatile period, to the time of writer William Shakespeare, explorers Francis Drake and Walter Raleigh, and occultist John Dee, and surround us with hints of lay lines and stone circles, ogham and runes, evocations and charms, and magical objects and mirror script.

The images are compelling and alive, and occasionally seem to be in motion. They are created in a comic book style, making the deck a vibrantly illustrated graphic novel that takes the imagery of a Smith/Waite Tarot, mixes in the unexpected, and brings everything to life. The keywords for The Chariot are “flow” and “movement,” and indeed the image seems ready to explode from the surface of the card. The Star shows Sir Isaac Newton using a prism to split starlight into a rainbow. The Emperor shows King Henry VIII in his later years, sitting with some discomfort on his throne as he deals with the responsibilities of his realm, with William Somer in full fool regalia peeking out from behind a curtain. The Fool, the first card of the Major Arcana, is setting out on his magical quest accompanied not by a dog, but by a hare, traditionally both wise and mad, and wearing the face of Andy Letcher!

The cards are 3 by 4¾, easy to shuffle even if you have small hands, the stock is sturdy enough to encourage regular use of the deck, and the finish is not too shiny. The Major Arcana images cover the entire surface of each card, while the Minor Arcana cards are bordered by a solid (and perhaps too wide) frame with a different color assigned to each suit: red for Wands, yellow for Swords, blue for Cups and Green for Coins. The image on the back of the cards, in keeping with the comic book/graphic novel feel of the entire deck, shows two hands hovering over two cards from the deck as if casting a spread.

The soft cover companion book has 149 pages, and is sturdy and easy to use. The cover is in color, and shows the image from The Moon of the Majors on the front (and here again is the hare, companion of The Fool), and four cards from the deck on the back, two are face down, and two, the Knight of Wands and Three of Cups, are face up, giving us an opportunity to work with the images of the deck before we even open the book. Beside the forward by Philip Carr-Gomm, the book begins with an Introduction containing a brief description of the period in which the deck is based, a definition of English Magic, and a bit of a background of the deck itself and its creation, along with some intriguing hints of surprises that might be hidden within some of the images of the cards.

The card descriptions are broken down to several parts: an image of the card, a few keywords, a Description of the image, an Interpretation of the card, and a possible Reading presented by the card. It is the Interpretation that drew my attention. Each Interpretation is worded in such a way as to draw us into the card itself and the story the image is presenting. Here is where Andy Letcher shines; he includes personal stories and bits of legend or fact regarding people and events connected to the period represented by the deck and the individual card, all meant to open our subconscious to the symbolism to be found in the image and to the story being told by the card. Some sample spreads and interpretations are included at the end of the book, along with suggestions for becoming familiar with the cards and their meanings, and instructions for using the art of memory to create a memory “theater” to assist with interpretation. There is also a resource list of books about the Tarot and high, low, Renaissance or English magic and Druidism, when something about this deck whets your appetite for more.

The English Magic Tarot is way more than what it appears to be at first glance. The structure of the deck and the interpretations of the cards are sturdy enough to offer a good foundation to a beginner, yet soft and flowing enough to encourage improvisation when interpreting the messages of the cards. If you love graphic novels or English Magic, this is the Tarot deck for you. But you don’t need to be a history buff or a Tarot expert or a practitioner of high magic to enjoy this deck. The English Magic Tarot is a bit eccentric, a bit unpredictable, and it connects the Tarot, history and graphic novel art into a sturdy and enjoyable package.