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Book Review – The Practice of Nada Yoga: Meditation on the Inner Sacred Sound by Baird Hersey

June, 2019

Book Review
The Practice of Nada Yoga
Meditation on the Inner Sacred Sound
by Baird Hersey

Mr. Hersey has written a clear, concise explanation of the yoga of *listening*. The basics are all here. He begins at the beginning – what is Nada Yoga?

There is a section on each of the four levels of sound: how to find inner sounds, how to quiet surrounding sounds, quieting the mind and adding visual focus, i.e. sights and colors.

Each section includes guidelines and simple meditations to get started.

Moving on to the *basic* nada meditation, he includes both simple, and more complex instructions.

The author then goes to a section on *additives*, other practices that can be combined with the nada meditation, such as the “bhandas” (physical locking of the body), mantra (chanting), pranayama (breath), visual focus and grounding.

The book comes to an end with chapters introducing the reader to asana (posture), complete with illustrations, pranayama, the 8 limbs of yoga and the chakras.

Each chapter is prefaced by beautiful and insightful quotes from various sources.

If anyone is looking for a beautiful meditative daily practice, this book could be your companion on that journey.

The Practice of Nada Yoga: Meditation on the Inner Sacred Sound on Amazon

***

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”, 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 MysticalShores@gmail.com

My Name is Isis: The Egyptian Goddess on Amazon

Witch & Popcorn

June, 2019

Logan’s Run

Bright Blessings, film lovers!

I don’t know about you, but I love sci fi from the 1970’s. The more simplified special effects, and the groovy take on “futuristic style” dazzles the eye! The music, and costumes, and the theatrical style acting is more dramatic, and more fun in my opinion than the modern realistic films. In sci fi, I want a new reality, not one I feel could happen today in my world.

I watched Logan’s Run for this reason, and just for enjoyment. It delivers, but I also realized, there are some magical truths in it!

Here is the trailer you can watch!

It’s an MGM film released in 1976, and stars Michael York, Peter Ustinov, and Jenny Agutter.

The movie follows Logan 5, played by Michael York. He is an enforcement officer, called a “Sandman”, who is tasked with killing people who try to escape, aka “Runners”. What they are running from is “Rejuvenation”. They are told it is rebirth at age 30 so nobody grows old. Their society has been moved underground, and to maintain balance and steady numbers, life is controlled. When a child is born, somebody has to go.

The people are lied to about this and told they will be reborn with a new body- aka a new baby. They live a life of enjoyment, comfort, and excess, never have to suffer, and this is all designed so they do not question the system. Not everybody is so eager to believe all they are told, and a small rebellion operates. Runners are caught and executed.

Unfortunately, Logan 5 is selected by his own establishment to “Run” undercover, and tasked with finding a place called “Sanctuary”. He’s supposed to come back and report everything, but as he learns the truth, he is changed forever.

He and Jessica, played by Jenny Agutter, who is part of the rebellion, decide to do this together. Jenny can see Logan 5 is different, and she believes he can do what nobody else has been able to do before. They makes it past the city gates to the outside, and meet the sole human living outside of the society, played by Peter Ustinov. Logan decides that instead of staying there and living his days happily with Jessica and his new friend, he MUST go back and tell the others!

I won’t provide spoilers, but let’s just say not everybody is eager to listen to Logan 5.

This is a great film to watch and a reminder of some great truths.

  1. Perception does not equal reality.
  2. Question EVERYTHING, and find out the truth for yourself!
  3. This is not going to be easy. Do it anyways.
  4. Know who you can trust, even if they are new people. People give their intentions away easily, and long-term friendships might have to go when you change for the better.
  5. When you learn a truth, sometimes the people closest to you turn against you.
  6. The truth might change us, but it might take a bigger wake up to help others change as well.
  7. Sometimes, just being alive in enough, but sometimes, it’s just not enough when higher good has to be accommodated.
  8. Fear of death itself can stop us from truly living.
  9. It is best to do what is natural to you than to do what other people tell you ought to be natural to you. No ifs, ands, or buts.
  10. In the end, it is sometimes best to risk everything if it is false security to achieve true freedom.

Don’t take my word for it what a great film this is. Watch it for yourself.

Happy Film Watching, and

Blessed Be!

***

About the Author:

Saoirse is a recovered Catholic.  I was called to the Old Ways at age 11, but I thought I was just fascinated with folklore. At age 19, I was called again, but I thought I was just a history buff, and could not explain the soul yearnings I got when I saw images of the Standing Stones in the Motherland. At age 29, I crossed over into New Age studies, and finally Wicca a couple years later. My name is Saoirse, pronounced like (Sare) and (Shah) Gaelic for freedom. The gods I serve are Odin and Nerthus. I speak with Freyja , Norder, and Thunor as well. The Bawon has been with me since I was a small child, and Rangda has been with me since the days I was still Catholic. I received my 0 and 1 Degree in an Eclectic Wiccan tradition, and my Elder is Lord Shadow. We practice in Columbus, Ohio. I am currently focusing more on my personal growth, and working towards a Second and Third Degree with Shadow. I received a writing degree from Otterbein University back in 2000. I have written arts columns for the s Council in Westerville. I give private tarot readings and can be reached through my Facebook page Tarot with Saoirse. You can, also, join me on my Youtube Channel.

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

June, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

Primal Awareness: Reconnecting With The Spirits Of Nature on Amazon

***

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

Crone’s Corner

May, 2019

Meditation and Divining Incense: uses & recipes

I used to shy away from sharing my personal experiences and practices with other people, but then I asked myself, “Why do you keep everything that you love all to yourself?” That’s when I decided to open a Facebook Group called “Pagan Plannertarium” and I started sharing my love of a working book of shadows and graphics that I create to make my working book everything that I want it to be. It is a work in progress and you can follow along with me in the other article under “crafts” Working Book of Shadows in PaganPagesOrg. My group eventually morphed into what it is today, which is a “Home” of likeminded, free spirited individuals who share their own personal gnosis, their own musings, and their paths with everyone for the greater good. My heart overflows in that group and I am so proud to be a part of it.

I love divination and mediation, which are passions for me. Finding the time is not impossible, but does require discipline and sacrifice at times – but so well worth it in the long run!

(Photo by truthseeker08 on Pixabay)

Settling in, creating your sacred space, and visualizing yourself going to a deeper more serene level to meditate can be facilitated by the setting and the mood around you. In order to bring yourself to that most comfortable and deepest place for complete meditation, the area around you should be as comfortable as possible and the atmosphere should resonate with peaceful and serene flowing energies. Likewise, when attempting any forms of divination, your surroundings should be as conducive to reaching outward to reign and bring in those visions and aspects that we need for effective readings.

One of the easiest ways to make your space ready for meditation and/or divination is to mix an incense blend that will bring you to a place of heightened awareness and that will effectively assist you in opening yourself up to the channels of energies that will lend themselves to your introspection or workings. The incense blends that I prefer to use are whole herbs and resins which are burned over an incense charcoal. The whole herbs and resins, once ignited, burn for the precise period of time required to enter a deep meditative state or to achieve the visions that come during divination.

(Photo by Thomas Stephan on Unsplash)

Incense Recipe: I prefer dried whole herbs and resins. For meditation and divination I use a blend of equal parts Mugwort and Wormwood. Since I use these incense blends frequently, I blend them once a month on the night of the New Moon, in quantity. I use 2 cups of Mugwort and 2 cups of Wormwood, I mix them together in a bowl and place them in an air tight container until I need them. I then mix the resins Frankincense and Myrrh (in whatever amount I purchase and equalize between the two) and place them in an air tight container until I need them.

Mugwort: A Druid Sacred Herb. Mugwort was placed in barns to protect cows from the influence of fairies. The herb’s powers are strongest when picked on a Full Moon. It can be used for good luck and rubbed on ritual tools to increase power. Mugwort can be used as an incense (mixed in equal parts with Sandalwood) to aid in strengthening Psychic Powers (or mixed with equal parts of Wormwood) to aid in divination and meditation. Try using it while scrying or during divination and meditation.

Mugwort can also be placed next to the bed to aid in achieving astral projection.

Its other magical uses include strength, protection, prophetic dreams, and healing.

Keeps one safe from dark forces and it protects children and the incense brings protection as well. Carried, it brings loved ones safely home from journeys.

A tonic for the soul, it keeps us aware of our spiritual direction. A mugwort infusion sweetened with honey will enhance divination. Carried, it also increases lust and fertility.

For use in Clairvoyance, Scrying, Protection, rub this herb on “Magic Mirrors” and “Crystal balls” to strengthen their powers. Add to scrying, clairvoyance and divination incenses. Use 3 tablespoons to 1/2 gallon spring (or rain) water to cleanse your “Magical mirrors” crystals and stones. It is used in magic as a love-divining herb. To experience interesting dreams that are said to reveal one’s future, stuff a pillow with about a pound of this herb and sleep on it.

The Indians used a decoction of the leaves for colds, bronchitis, rheumatism, and fever, and a poultice for wounds. The fresh juice is used to ease the itch of poison oak. To cure a headache, stick a leaf up your nose.

Wormwood: A sacred herb which was very magical as well as sacred to Moon deities. Burned on Samhain to aid evocation, divination, scrying and prophecy. Combine with Mugwort for added effect. Thrown onto fires on “Samhain” to gain protection from bad spirits roaming the night.

One of the major ingredients in “Absinthe”

Burn in incense to raise spirits.

Wormwood, when added to herbal incense, is an aid in opening the psychic centers. When these centers are open and receptive, we may better communicate with those who have “passed over”. It has been written that wormwood and sandlewood (an herb of purification and high spiritual energy) burned together near a grave-site will summon the spirit of the departed.

Wormwood is a banishing herb, used to rid a person or an area of anger and negativity.

Meditation: After turning the ringer off of the phone and ensuring complete solitude, I retreat to my sacred space and light the incense charcoal (not the BBQ variety, which is toxic if burned inside) and allow it to reach its red glow. I prepare the Mugwort and Wormwood combination in a small bowl and I add about a teaspoon of the resin blend into the bowl, mix it up and place about a tablespoon of the mixture onto the burning charcoal, I allow it to smolder and burn about half way out when I add the second scoop onto the charcoal.

Then, I call on the Spirits of the East and its components of air, communication, and inspiration to lend energies to meditations. I settle myself into a comfortable position conducive to meditation and I ground my spirit and center my self before beginning the meditation. If the meditation that I am planning requires music, I ensure that I have placed a CD on a loop so that the immediate end of the music does not disrupt the flow. Often I discover that the music is replaced by the sounds of the newly heightened awareness achieved through meditation in any event. And so the deepening meditative state ensues.

The divination: I follow the same routine for divination as I do for meditation; however, I tend to replenish the incense on the charcoal throughout the divining session. If I am scrying, I do not want to interrupt the flow, and I tend to follow precisely the same steps as described in the meditation portion. If I am reading Tarot, then I am continuously replenishing the supply on the charcoal, as it aids in receiving and deciphering the messages and pictures for this form of divination.

***

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.

The Bad Witch’s Guide

January, 2019

The Bad Witch’s Guide to The Older People”

Or You get Better or You Get Bitter”

There are some people who never seem to get old. Their bodies might age, but something in their eyes and heart has remained or even grown. Then there are people who seem to crave death. Sometimes it is depression. Often untreated, under supported and dealing with the loss of a great deal. I have been the supporter of an older relative dealing exactly with this. Without support and indeed medication these folks become something dark and unpleasant. As The Veil grows thin for a person you start to see what might be beyond for them, a light or a darkness. This is not about religion or faith but an almost physical psychic presence around people near the end. Those near their light glow. There is a peace and beauty.

Then there are the other ones. A presence like black sticky smoke. A smell of something rotten or burnt like old tires or something sickly sweet. It seems to pour from them. I can not tell if it’s their mood, their energy, their internal mean-spiritedness or the manifestation of something else.

Older people are just that, people. They are neither saints or devils, but dealing with someone whom is dark and difficult because they are family is hard work. It is often hard physically, emotional and spiritually.

So how do you live with or be around this polluting force? Toxic parents, and relatives become no less pleasant as they age and some just use their frailties (real or imagined) as weapons to brutalise their children and spouses and grandchildren.

As a child of a toxic parent and one who watched someone become one in their last years of life there is a complex soup of horrible feelings. Guilt, duty, blame, shame, fear and pain.

As a witch I have to change my perspective.

I must squint at the situation sideways and think magickally.

Firstly the mundane. Is this person mentally ill? Are they depressed, grieving or suffering in some other way? Is mental health support possible? Many older folks have still have a lot of shame and misconceptions about mental health. Many have some really ugly or difficult coping strategies. From alcohol and cigarettes, to shutting themselves away, generationally we are in a much better place to understand mental illness today. Some might be struggling with side effects of medications, not knowing that their could be newer better medications or combinations out there. Some might not have been to the doctors at all. Avoiding what they think will be a frightening truth.

Reach out. Find charities and professionals that listen not only to what they say but your input too. It isn’t easy. We had a lot of doctors simply refuse to believe Pop’s had depression. That many of his other issues would have been solved if they treated that first. In the end it was as much that as his vices that killed him.

Of course you can not help someone who doesn’t want to be helped. This is perhaps a hard truth of our own we must face. The other option is also mundane and really tough. Sometimes you have to walk away. For your self, your health, sanity and well being. This might be a break, this also might be an end to the relationship. It is not our job to watch someone destroy themselves.

If neither of these two are applicable (life is complicated and messy) protect and cleanse yourself and space as often as you can. You might want to physically clean it as well as smudge. Adding salt and essences to your wash water can help. Protective wards, charms and crystals help a lot too.

There are a couple of things that can help absorb some of the toxic seep but they are not permanent measures. One is sacrificial house plants. Sounds macabre I know. House plants tend to die in the presence of such people, yet these little heroes can and do take much of this and convert it as best as they can. They don’t have to be fancy, and if you get a few you can rotate them around (increasing their lives for a short time). Ferns are good. One near where they sit, one in their room, one in the loo or near where they spend a lot of time and absorb a lot of yuck. Some quartz pebbles might even make them live longer.

The other is a salt and barely mojo. You can make up a big batch and keep it in a jar and change out and throw away the used one. How often depends on the person.

Once a month or once a week depending on how bad it is. This can go under a mattress, or sofa cushion or even into a pillow.

You Will Need:

Salt, the best kind you can afford.

Barley (pearl barley is fine)

Calendula oil

Parsley (dried)

Per one cup of salt you will need a tablespoon of barley and calendula oil with a teaspoon of parsley. This is the base mixture and you can add other things, like moss or wheat straw (again to absorb the energy).

Say:

Spirit of Salt I call to thee

Draw what is harmful away from me.

Barley keep the Dark away

Bind it here until I wash it away.

No darkness shall harm

With this charm:

Tenebris et non nocebit (And the Darkness Will Not Harm)

Tenebris et non nocebit

Tenebris et non nocebit!

Place in fabric mojo bag as discreetly or not as you like. Under the sofa cushion, or mattress is useful and make sure to empty them regularly. Dispose of the used mixture down an outside drain with plenty of water. Don’t put it in a river, but you could put it in the sea.

This mixture can be used for a circle ward around your home, too.

While none of this deals with the cause of the problem sometimes all we can do is muddle through and keep ourselves safe. In an ideal would this sort of thing wouldn’t need to happen but the world is often not ideal and we need to use our magick to keep us as safe as we can. Toxic relationships are difficult and draining and it can take a long time to heal from them. If a little magick can help you feel strong enough to say “no” when you need to then it has done you a great service.