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Bookviews Book Reviews

 

This is a collection of orphaned book reviews from days past that as I was working on TWPT lately found that they no longer connected to the reviews pages. Some are quite old and the books may even be out of print but just to keep the content continuously available I am creating this page to house all of them. Enjoy these blasts from the past. Imajicka and Boudica.

 

 06-24-2010
 

 

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Cafe Nation:
Coffee Folklore, Magick
and Divination
by Sandra Mizumoto Posey
 

 

 

 

I am a coffee addict. I admit it. But Ms Posey has got me beat hands down.

This book covers the history of coffee. From the myths and legends surrounding coffee, to the different types of coffee, this release is similar to many other coffee books. There are even some wonderful recipes for distinctive coffee brews. Yet how many of these other books cover coffee divination? This is quite unique. There are instances in myth where coffee is used as a divination tool, but Ms. Posey introduces us to her version of scrying the beans.

I was pleasantly surprised by this book. She presents us with her own original material and gives us a new twist on the magic of coffee.

If you are a coffee fanatic, or into different typs of divination, take a look at this book. It will grab you and make you rethink tea leaves. It would make a wonderful gift for that special coffee lover.

While you're at it, take a look at the website for Cafe Nation, located at www.cafenation.net. The site offers much more there than just a cup of coffee and a book.

And have a cuppa for me!

Reviewed by Boudica

 

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Exploring Candle Magic
by Patricia Telesco

 

 

 

When one thinks of Candle Magic, most of us defer to Raymond Buckland's classic book on Candle Magic.  But very little has been written about candle magic since then.

Trish Telesco takes up the challenge, and in this book offers us an updated and modernized version of this multifaceted skill.  She covers the art of candle magic from making your own candles and the basics of oiling and scenting them all the way up  to the modern correspondences of color, herbs and carving.

Trish also takes this one step further and goes over the basics of candle magic, how to prepare the candles, how to work with the candles and what to expect from your workings.  Covering the basics of magic she reviews the process and gives us a good overview of what candle magic is and how to get the most out of it.

What impressed me was how much in depth information was provided about correspondences. From God/Goddess, color and astrological signs to incorporating Feng Shui with your candle workings.

A very nicely researched and easy to use book that belongs next to Raymond Buckland's book on your library shelf. 

Reviewed by Boudica

 

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Cat Magic
Mews, Myths and Mystery
by Patricia Telesco

Ok, I like cats, always have and always will. When I saw this book, I was thrilled.

This is the ultimate Pagan Coffee Table Book. There are some great pictures and illustrations in this book which makes it the quintessential cat volume.

It is chock full of cat information; cat history, cat mysteries, cat lore, cat superstitions, cats in the house, cats in the wild, cat spells, cat tails, cat ghosts, cat myths, black cats, white cats, cat breeds, cat statues, cats in art, cat witticisms, cat.com, catalogues and cat-a-lists.

This is a purrrrrr-fect gift for any cat lover, and makes a distinctive present for the Witch with that special familiar with whom they wish foster even more understanding. 

 Reviewed by Boudica

 


 

Celestial Wisdom for Every Year of Your Life –
Discovering the Hidden Meaning of your Age
by Z. Budapest and Diana L. Paxson

 

 

 

 

Presented in this book is a guide for the total life experience of a woman by her age.  Using decades as markers, the book explores the growth of a woman as she encounters the different rites of passage from one phase of her life into the next.

Those who are familiar with Ms. Budapest’s spiritual path know that women encounter cycles in their lives and Ms. Budapest has laid out a diagram to help us see where we are going and what to possibly expect.  Using the cycles of the planets and basic astrology, you can see what will come of your life based on when you were born and your signs.

Using “Fate Dates” or major astrological influences and the ages at which they come into play and then adding personal experiences of women who are the age being discussed, Ms. Budapest gives you an idea of  how you might want to handle different situations you will encounter in your life.

Ms. Budapest is also quick to note that each person is different, that each encounter with growth will be a choice and decision unique to the individual.   “As you read through the stories, you will be tempted to compare your experiences at different ages with those described.  While some comments will sound like echoes of your own thoughts, others may not ring a bell at all.  
Don’t worry – we all have the same destination, but there are different ways to reach it.  No two people have exactly the same life story.”

The book gives interesting life experiences, and the ‘cycles of the decades’ is a unique look at growth in a woman.  She adds a type of ‘ritual’ for each birthday, something unique to do to celebrate the passing of the year and similar to a rite of passage for that year marking a portion of growth in our lives.  The addition of the personal experiences of many different women makes this a nice collection of woman’s wisdoms as well.

Z. Budapest has spent her life promoting personal awareness in women, giving us books that are insightful explorations of woman’s ways and providing positive affirmations for those who may have lost themselves along the way.  This book is yet another woman’s empowering tool that Zee, along with her co-writer Diana L. Paxson, are providing to their community and to all women everywhere.

Boudica  Reviews Editor  The Wiccan/Pagan Times  http://www.twpt.com 

 

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Celtic Myth and Legend
by Charles Squire

Many of our roots run deep into Celtic Myth and Legend.  The Tuatha de Dannan, their cycle of the Year and many of our holiday names are derived from the Celtic.

But how much does the average pagan know about the stories from whence these things came?  How many know the story of Lugh, or the men of Ulster, or even who the Gods of the Britain's were?  We may know a fragment here or a passage there, but many of the really good stories go untold. 

Mr. Charles Squire has collected some of these stories from the old texts and put them in one place for us to read, without us having to sort through a myriad of books to get just the right ones.

I found his selection to be very deliberate in choosing the stories that epitomize Celtic Mythology.  The stories of the Tuatha de Dannan are the foundation of the Celtic Traditions, and from these sprout the Fairy Trads as well.  The story of the Kings of Tara are also a good choice for it is part of Gaelic/Irish traditions.

I have always liked the stories of King Cormac and Finn mac Coul.   

Balor and his daughter, Gwen and Gwyddneu, Manawyddan and the early stories of King Arthur all evoke pictures of heroes and heroines.

If you do not have a collection of Celtic Myths and Legends, then pick this one up. The selection of stories is excellent and gives a good overall picture of the wonderful stories from the Celts.  If you already have a book or two, as I do, then supplement your collection with this one.  Each of the books I have contain stories that are similar, but there are always the different ones that can not be found elsewhere. 

Reviewed by Boudica    

 

Chanting by Robert Gass

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Chanting: Discovering Spirit in Sound

by Robert Gass

We are seeing many artists "cross over" between the arts these days. Robert Gass is probably best known for his recordings on Chant. We might probably be most familiar with the "Merry Meet" song, which has been in .wav form for many years. Mr. Gass now approaches Chant from the literary side with this book.

Mr. Gass gives us a look at how he became personally involved in chant, and then explores the history and mystery of chant. He examines the roots of chant, the various cultures who apply chant in their everyday lives, even how we can learn to chant (Mr. Gass assures everyone they CAN chant). He also explores how chant can be applied to our own personal Spiritually.

I noticed this book can be purchased three ways. You can buy the book alone, or with the 2 CD set. You can also find a book club version with a single CD. I like the CD that accompanies the book, but I bought the book club version. I may yet go get the 2 CD set, which can also be purchased without the book. The CD gives you a very good overall accompaniment to the book and for those who are not musically inclined it gives a reference point, and an idea of the style of music we are discussing here.

I also found this book crosses over all Spiritual Paths. Wiccan, Pagan, Native American, Christian, Jewish, Hindu, so many paths utilize chant. Chant does not discriminate. I found this to be another "Celebration of our Diversity" and can be recommended to anyone on any Spiritual Path. I also found it to be a most wonderful tool to be utilized by anyone. Give it a try. I am sure you all know at least one chant from somewhere. How about:

We all come from the Goddess
And to Her we shall return
Like a drop of rain
Flowing to the ocean.
 

You know that one, don't you? See how simple? Sit for a few minutes, singing it over and over. See if you don't feel better. The book has some chants, with music, in the back Resource Guide. For those with some music skills, it would be easy to pick up the tunes. The rest of us can sing along with the CD till we have it memorized.

A wonderful exploration of a subject we are probably familiar with but never really explored. I do hope you at least pick up one of his CD's and give this a listen. I think you will be very happy with them.

 

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Charge of the Goddess
by Doreen Valiente
 

When Doreen Valiente died, a part of our roots, our history, went with her.  She shall be missed by many but part of her legacy, her poetry and her personal belongings, were passed on.  John Belham-Payne was bequeathed these personal items of Doreen's.  

Doreen wanted her poetry published.  Unfortunately, it was not to be accomplished in her life time.  While we all know the "Charge of the Goddess", many of us by heart, there was so much more that never made it into printed form. 

Mr. Belham-Payne has taken it upon himself to fulfill Doreen's wishes, and publish those materials that had been passed on to him. 

This book is well produced.  Doreen's own hand and typewritten work appears as she had done it, with the changes and notations as she had left it.  These works have been photographed and printed for us to view.

There is also accompanying text which offers comments on her work.  A little piece of history, a story, a tidbit of knowledge comes with each poem.

These notes hold an appeal as they either shed light on something we may not have known because we are not English (The Sussex Witch is a good example) or we were not privy to some aspects of Doreen's life (a good example of this is The Long Man and a notation by Patricia Crowther).

What makes this book extra special is that the pages are decorated with pieces of Doreen Valiente's personal belongings.  Garders, headpieces, some of Gerald Gardner's belongings that were passed on to Doreen, some things special that Doreen owned are added to the poetry pages.  There are also some lovely photographs that accompany some of the poems that complete the poem.  While most are in black and white, there are also eight color plates that are included, two of which highlight "The Charge of the Goddess" and her triple moon headpiece.

This is a lovely little book, a tribute to Doreen and her work.  I would have liked to have seen more color plates, but the material within is more than satisfying.  It is a piece of history, our history and is a wonderful offering of the woman and her work.

Reviewed by Boudica  

 

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A Charmed Life - Celebrating Wicca
Every Day

by Patricia Telesco

We all seek spirituality in our lives. That's why we follow the paths we do. We seek to incorporate into our mundane everyday lives a piece of the magic we have when we celebrate in our circles or perform special magic.

Some of us get lost from time to time trying to do this. We need guidance to help us see past the mundane, to guide us through the rough times. Some of us just need a place to start.

Ms. Telesco's new book gives you not only a place to start, but an everyday reference book to incorporate simple magic in our lives.

Ms. Telesco makes this book easy enough to be understood and used by anyone, not just limiting these practices to those on the Wiccan path. Starting with self positive affirmations and personal improvement techniques, she covers home, office and group encounters. She explains the magic we should be seeking, shows us how to call it into our lives and then utilizes it for maximum growth of ourselves, our home and all that we touch.

She uses meditations, basic spells, some ritual work and even recipes. She also explains some of the basics of Wicca, in case we don't know, or have forgotten. We all encounter times when we have to explain either to ourselves or to others, what we are all about, our basic belief system and what we represent. Ms. Telesco includes some very clearly explained tenets of our faith, from holidays to ritual tools to symbolism.

Some of the ideas have been updated and brought into the 21st century, which may seem strange at first, but make perfect sense.

Which brings me to Patricia Telesco. As always, she has written a book to make sense of what may sometimes be confusing or much too mystical to be practical. Ms. Telesco has always brought common sense forward to be used as the best way to improve ourselves and our way of life.

A book I will probably find myself referring to from time to time, this is a little book packed with big inspiration and practically.

 Reviewed by Boudica

 

The Circle ofIsis
Ancient Egyptian Magic for Modern Witches
by Ellen Cannon Reed

A good book on the Gods and Goddesses of a particular pantheon is a valuable tool.  Ms. Reed is well versed in the Egyptian pantheon and presents in this book her own personal perspective on the Gods and Goddesses that make up this pantheon, and how she has come to work with them.   

Included in this book are the basics when working with this pantheon.  An excellent history and overview of who the Gods and Goddesses are, correspondences to this pantheon, rituals, tools and making them yourself, songs to sing, recipes for food and for incense and oils (including a few from “Seahorse”).  There is also information about amulets, how to make a sistrum, a primer on reading Egyptian hieroglyphs and a section on choosing a name for yourself in Tameran.  All of this is included in an index in the back of the book for easy reference.

 

Ellen Cannon Reed is well versed in the subject of the Egyptian Pantheon, and she comes across in the book as being able to impart this information in a way that can be understood by anyone.  She also includes her own personal journey and experiences which help you to understand how these Gods and Goddesses can interact with each of us.  While basic knowledge is good, personal experience gives us the wisdom we seek to be able to work with the Gods and Goddesses we choose to be our own personal Deities. 

 

I highly recommend this book for those who are walking the Wiccan path and have chosen the Egyptian Pantheon as the Deities they wish to work with.  Ms. Reed is the source for Egyptian Wicca and this book does the topic justice.

Reviewed by Boudica 

 

Clan of the Goddess: Celtic Wisdom and Ritual for Women
By C. C. Brondwin

There are so many books that approach Wicca and Witchcraft as a woman's spiritual empowerment path. Ms. Brondwin is a documentary journalist and is well versed in herbalism and homeopathic medicine. She is also a senior executive at two universities, which makes for an impressive background for this author.

Her book is about her tradition. She calls the Clan of the Goddess and Clan Mothers, and her associations are Celtic in nature. She is very female oriented, matriarchal in flavor and very Goddess/female empowered.
Which makes this beginners book interesting to read. There are many who are just finding their path who need this kind of personal empowerment and are very interested in the Celtic path. And the fact that this book does not include the usual male bashing that can many times be included in this kind of book made it all that much more pleasant.

For first steps onto a path, this book is gentle in it's approach while encouraging for the reader. Ms. Brondwin does an excellent job of giving the reader material to exercise their own female spirit and encouraging personal growth.
As for the Celtic part of the path, I have seen so many different kinds of "Celtic" that one more version does not seem to be as critical as it could be made out to be.

What this book does offer is a starting point for those who want to be more Goddess oriented and who feel a calling to the Celtic pantheon. And what I found was a very well presented female oriented personal empowerment book. Well worth it if this is where you want to begin.

Reviewed by Boudica

 

Coin DivinationPocket Fortuneteller
by Raymond Buckland

When I first saw this book, I was curious about the coinage on the cover. Chinese coins have always been of interest to me.

But it is the content of this book that I found much more interesting. This little book is packed with information of value to anyone interested in divination.

There is a short introduction relating some history of coins being used as "Divination" tools. The "heads or tails" is the most obvious. But Mr. Buckland goes deeper, examining divination from its roots, its history and its use.

He then gives you some real "meat and potatoes" information, a complete "how to" use coins as tools for divination. No fancy coins needed, pocket change will do. And he goes from very basic "yes or no" types of divination for the beginner to some very thorough and complex multiple coin astrological divination, coins used as tarot cards and I Ching variations.

A small pocket book, yes, but don't let that be a judgement on this book. The tarot, astrological and I Ching material covered in this book make it well worth having for that alone.

Raymond Buckland has packed big things into a small package here and has given us yet another book of solid information and guidance well worth having in our libraries.

Reviewed by Boudica

 

CovenCraft by Amber K

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CovenCraft - Witchcraft for Three or More
by Amber K
 

There are many new Wiccans/Pagans/Witches out there forming new groups and covens. Not many are from older, established covens. Amber K has written a collective of Coven protocol and wisdom in her new book CovenCraft - Witchcraft for Three or More.

Although I am now a solitary, I was coven trained, and I found allot of this material realistic and dealing with real life coven experiences.

Covering such vaired topics as beginning a Coven, finances and personalitys, the book is easy to follow. She leaves no stone unturned and presents the information in a well organized manner.

For the beginning Coven, the book outlines understanding what a Coven is, what the basic needs are, how to decide what kind of Coven, how many members and how to deal with each individual, just to mention a few.

For the established Coven, Amber K covers the challenges of growth, possible conflicts and offers wonderful ideas for Coven activities, teaching Covens and Mission Statements for the established modern Coven.

Which brings me to another point. Though called CovenCraft, and is subtitled Witchcraft, the information in this book can be used by any group of three or more Pagans/Wiccan/Witches who are organizing for collective worship or social groupings. This book should not be overlooked because the title implies Coven or Witchcraft only.

I would include this book in any Coven library and use it on a regular basis. If you are an eclectic group considering gatherings, or Solitary's meeting for Sabbat group worship, this book offers a good foundation to work from.

No "Fluff Bunny" stuff here, Amber K may have written one of her most important contributions to Pagan reference material.

Reviewed by Boudica

 


 

The Cyber Spellbook:
Magick in the Virtual World

by Patricia Telesco and
Sirona Knight

Billed as "Magick in the Virtual World" Sirona Knight and Patricia Telesco have tried to repackage Wicca so it relates to the hard core Geeks who follow paganism. Sorry, but it didn't work. It's a book on basic Wicca, with some terms changed to seem like it is technologically spun.

While trying to take Wicca and be innovative about it's application, and by including Ethics and Integrity (which is a good move, btw), instead the attempt was thwarted by the fact that the terminology is a bit antiquated and their updated correspondences quite strange.

For instance trying to update "Charms, Amulets, Talismans, and Fetishes" they mentions AAA batteries. Well, a techno savvy environmentally concerned geek would use rechargables. Just a thought.
The "Just for Fun" insert is right off an email that has been running around the internet for a while "You might be a Cyber Witch if...".

The book has an extensive list of "Cyber Magick Deities" and their cyber-updated attributions. While I could see Zeus as the "Stock Market God", by no means is Merlin a "Deity" (IMO)but he could be the modern day Cyber Wizard as she mentions. And Juno seemed a bit "tongue in cheek" with the "Goddess of Email" attribution. I have some friends on Juno, and I think they would disagree.

There is another whole section of "Techno-Mechanical and Household Items/Tools" which boiled down to appliance correspondences. While the logic used in attributing these things may be correct, the idea that my breadmaker should be "Fire and Earth" or my dishwasher "A modern hotsprings for implements of the Goddess...." or my hot tub "The cauldron of the Goddess..." well.... see what I mean?

There is a section on stones and on herbs, which is just the same material rehashed again. Ditto with the rituals, same basic rituals, but I was a bit skeptical about using my "mouse as a modern wand". (Visual with the cordless laser mouse in my power hand held up to north as I welcome Earth to my circle, laser light comes on red... and it just doesn't seem as impressive as a Wand or an athame...).

The spell section, again, is nothing but updated old workings that are common sense spells. Anyone who has done spell work before recognizes the rehashed spells, and it is funny to see what is substituted for what to update the material.
"The Color of Money.... Then turn on the (green) flashlight, pointing it in all directions, North, East, South, and West (in that order). Say, Lamp of money, light of prosperity, Bring fortune and wealth to me, Blessed be! So shall it be!"

While it is a grand attempt to update old traditions, it lost something in the translation.
Which is what I think happened to the whole book. While it may have been attempt to update our old practices to correspond with the modern times, some of the charm of the practice is lost. While I do use a "Bic Stick" to light a candle outdoors, substituting an electric candle kind of takes away the simplicity of the practice. I have performed "on -line rituals" with others in cyberspace, but we light candles, we use cauldrons, and we try to be as updated as possible without losing the sense of the Old. We do retire to the hot tub after and our "wallpaper" does reflect some place we would like to be.
The attempt was noble, but it lost a lot in the translation. This is one that you may want to borrow from the library, but not something I want to substitute for a good solid, well grounded (three-prong kind) book on Wicca.  

Reviewed by Boudica

 

Devoted To You:
Honoring Deity in Wiccan Practice
by Judy Harrow
 

This book explores the spirituality associated with Wicca.  It is an examination of the exploration of personal experience with Deity.

 

The book is broken down into four sections.  Each section takes one of the four Sabats not associated with the seasonal change.   It explores a personal relationship between the Sabat, the person and the Deity of their choice.  Covered here are Samhain/Anubis by Geoffrey W. Miller, Imbolc/Brigit by Aexei Kondratiev, Beltaine/Aphrodite by Maureen Reddington-Wilde and Lammas/Gia by Judy Harrow.

 

The aspects of the Deity chosen are discussed and the myths and legends surrounding the particular deity are told.  The associations as seen by the person with their personal Deity and the connection between the Deity and the Sabat chosen are all covered in depth and on a personal level.   These are intimate looks at how these people celebrate Deity and how they connect with and are guided by their chosen Gods and Goddesses.

 

There are stories of the Deities, discussions on personal connections and personal experiences.  The book also includes rituals of connection to these Deities.  The spirituality of these relationships are explored in depth, making this book unique in its content.  This book carries the reader into very personal spiritual experiences almost allowing the reader to feel the connection between the writer and Deity. 

 

This is a book of sharing as no other book I’ve seen lately.  The emphasis is on what Wicca should be all about; the spirituality and the connection between individual and Deity.  The writers carry this over from personal experience into life, community and into the earth itself.

 

We don’t see many books of this nature on the market.  I wish we had more like this.  It is well written, covers many different aspects of the topic and even has an index for reference. 

 

This is an essential book to add to your library no matter what your level of practice or length of time on your path.  And if you are just starting out, it is an excellent guide for you to begin your chosen path.

Reviewed by Boudica 

 

Castings: The Creation of Sacred Space by Ivo Dominguez Jr.

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Castings: The Creation of Sacred Space

by Ivo Dominguez, Jr.

Having recently enjoyed a class by Mr. Dominguez, and finding the material he covered to be of great interest, I followed up by purchasing a copy of his book, Castings: The Creation of Sacred Space.

Let me first say I found the content to be extremely well written, in easy to understand concepts. It's rare when a teacher can take such complex material and make it so easy to get the concepts across to the average reader. The material covered in his book is not simple, but he does have a special way of making it understandable. Mr. Dominguez came across to me as a first class teacher.

Castings covers exactly that, Casting the Circle which we all know so well. Mr. Dominguez covers the basics first, of centering, grounding and building a place within yourself and without to cast your Circle. The meditative exercises are well constructed and provide a good strong basis to work from.

Mr. Dominguez then proceeds to examine what a Circle is, from the theory to the Spiritual reality. Mr. Dominguez explores with the reader the concept of time, space and realities. I found this part of the book to be one of the best explained concepts on Circle Castings I have ever read. Mr. Dominguez also provides the reader with exercises which are again well written, providing clear instruction and easy direction. There is also a section on Pentacles and their use as magical symbols. Again, well explained, with clear and concise definition.

Finally, Mr. Dominguez offers other types of Castings that do not follow the traditional Circle method. For those who have studied for a while, you may be aware there are other Casting methods, and might even have run into a teacher who may have known one or two. Mr. Dominguez presents us with 7 variations, again with the clear instruction and well written direction. He discusses their uses, limitations, interactions with other castings and recommendations for mastering their uses.

Mr. Dominguez is Wiccan and the aspects of his Circle casting are Wiccan in flavor. He does, however, show the similarities between various Spiritual Paths and how they relate to each other.

I guess you can say I am impressed with Mr. Dominguez and his ability to relate such material without being over my head and unintelligible. This book is a pleasure to read on a topic that can be difficult and dry and almost unbearable in the hands of a lesser teacher.

Reviewed by Boudica

 

 Sexual Ecstasy and the Divine 
by Yasmine Galenorn

This is a book about alternative lifestyles.  It is about BDSM.  How to start it off right, when is a relationship in this particular lifestyle is working and when is too much.

I applaud Ms. Galenorn's approach in this book to this particular alternative life style.  Not since Masters and Johnson have I read such practical advice and good information.  Ms. Galenorn has done her homework and got the facts down right.

This is not a kid's book, and it is not for those who find discussion on raw energy and sex hard to get past.  Ms. Galenorn speaks from personal experience.  This book has step by step instructions for gently exploring your limits in the world of BDSM.  While the focus is on the BD side, she does full body exploration in the sexual aspects.  It is an exploration of self as well as the person you are with in a working relationship.

Not many people have the courage to write as explicitly on the topic as Ms. Galenorn has here.  She is very exact in what to do and what or who to do it with.  She explores personal relationships as well.  After all, this is about not only self but also your partner.  She discusses how to handle the relationship, how to work out the details, and when to decide to draw the line.  Personal comfort levels are emphasized here. 

Ms. Galenorn also discusses sex and spirituality, the history and the mystery.  I found her information interesting and her approach to the idea of the Great Rite and all that implies to be intriguing from the viewpoint of "Sacred Harlot". 

All in all, for those of you who are in the alternative lifestyle of BDSM, you will find this book informative.  The discussions on spirituality and sexuality will spark many a conversation.  But I think Ms. Galenorn has tackled a difficult topic and come away as a winner.  This is probably one of the more correct and easy to understand books on the subject -  with the gentle touch of silk bindings.

Reviewed by Boudica

 

Enchantments of the Heart - 
A Magickal Guide to Finding the Love of Your Life
by Dorothy Morrison

Love Spells.  Everyone wants one, you know that.  First thing someone asks me when they find out I'm a witch -  can you give me a love spell.  Everyone is looking for love, all the time.  Never met a person who wasn't, unless they already had found the love of their life. Even then, you get -   how can I spark up our relationship.

Enchantments of the Heart is a book on love.  It is a work that has love poured into it and speaks of love as only a person who is truly in love could write.  Dorothy has put her love into this book and created a handbook on love -   how to attract it, how to nurture it and how to keep it.  But love is not blind in this book.

Dorothy discusses the many faces of love, the illusion of love, our constant search for Mr. Right in a sea of frogs.  This is a practical book of everyday love magic.  It is not fantasy land, but it does show you how to attain your perfect love.  And each search begins with you.

We do not attract unless we project and Dorothy goes into detail about how to work that special magic that makes you attractive to others.  Love of others begins with love of oneself.

She also discusses looking in all the wrong places, and finding the toads amongst the frogs.  And finding that Prince. 

While I am not hunting out there amongst the frogs myself, I found that the recipes (both food and romance) for keeping that special fire lit in a relationship to be interesting.  Because, yes, the fire can go out if you don't keep that spark there.  And if you are not working together, you are not in a relationship.  You are just shacking up together. 

So bravo for Ms. Morrison and her new book, due out soon.  Pick this honey up and find that special someone in your life, or just renew the relationship you have with that special someone.

Love is what life is all about, so live it to the fullest.

Reviewed by Boudica

 

Urban Primitive:
Paganism in the Concrete Jungle
by Raven Kaldera and
Tannin Schwartzstein

Having grown up and spent most of my life in New York City, and having wandered the “concrete jungles” as a witch and pagan, I was curious about this book and was eager to look at someone else’s views on being pagan in an urban environment.

What I was not expecting was a subculture within a subculture.  

Having urban deities is not uncommon.  There is Asphalta, the Goddess of the parking spaces.  Bringing new Gods and Goddess’s into the modern world is perfectly all right, and updating the old Gods to modern correspondences is fine too.

But I was stopped dead by the Triple Urban Goddess’ “Squat, Skor and Skram” and the Triple Urban God “Slick, Screw and Sarge”.  This was just a bit too “off the cuff” for me.  However, reading on, I began to realize that this book was not just about pagans in the city, this was about and for pagans who have preferences for cultural identities and ideals that may vary quite a bit from the average pagan.

There are discussions on rituals for body piercing, sacred art reflected in tattoos and addressing the corporate world as a “battlefield” because “there is capitalism, which involves brutal competition”.  There are also discussions on jobs, family and nature.

I then came to recognize these discussions are the kinds we had back in the 60’s, and while the language has changed, the ideas and ideals have not.  A new generation of revolutionaries has arrived; the basic complaints are still the same but the packaging is different.

Not all pagans in the urban centers are as Raven Kaldera and Tannin Schwartzstein pictures them in this book.  While we do work spells to keep our cars on the road for just a little more, the ritual of keeping a match box replica of my car on my altar with some transmission fluid to the east, gasoline to the south, antifreeze to the west and break fluid to the north is a bit extreme even for me.  Nice idea, but just a bit dangerous.

Yes, I admit that some of the lessons that are given in this book are pearls of wisdom for those who live in the cities, but the book limits its audience by the way in which these lessons are communicated.  There are some interesting rituals and spells for the urban centered pagan, but I also feel that some of them are geared to a much younger and more experimental crowd.

This was an interesting attempt at something completely different in the way of approaching paganism from a specific viewpoint, but it is focused on a small group of special individuals.  If you are one of those individuals, you will want to look into this book.

Reviewed by Boudica 

 

Encyclopedia of Modern Witchcraft
and Neo-Paganism
by Shelley Rabinovitch and James Lewis

The encyclopedic format for collecting information on Paganism has become popular as of late by authors in the genre and each one has a different flavor and reflects another segment of the Pagan population.

This encyclopedia focuses on Modern Witchcraft and Neo- Paganism and presents the information in “essay” format by some well known contributors.  When you read the names John Belham-Payne, Chas Clifton, Judy Harrow, Starhawk and M. Macha Nightmare, to mention a few, you expect a diverse and well rounded source of information.  And that is exactly what Ms. Rabinovitch and Mr. Lewis has given us.

History, both ancient and modern, is presented along with well known persons within the community and various groups and associations from both England and America.  Tools, holidays, traditions, and other topics about paganism and witchcraft are well researched, professionally presented and a pleasure to read.

My only regret was that this book is not indexed.  While there is a wonderfully detailed bibliography and contributors list, there is no way to pick just one topic and look it up other than by leafing through the book.  Maybe in reprint they will index this book and make it a better tool for reference.  Illustrations are kept to a minimum, so the value in this book is the commentaries and the knowledge base of the writers and contributors.  

The diversity of viewpoints from well known movers and shakers within our community makes this book interesting and a basis for many good conversations.   Well written, clean presentation and professional in its content while being a delight to read make this a keeper on your library shelf. 

Reviewed by Boudica 

 

Everyday Tarot Magic
by Dorothy Morrisoin

Ms. Morrison is well known at events for her tarot readings.  I’ve seen lines backed out of the store waiting to have a reading by her.  It’s about time she wrote this book.

Ms. Morrison presents us with the simple guide to working with tarot cards.  This book is written in a clear and easy to use format and uses everyday language.  The tarot is a tool, and Ms. Morrison shows us how to use it to the best of each
person’s ability.

The opening is a lovely overview of the history of the tarot.  There are so many different opinions, and she gives us a few of the possible origins of the deck.  There is also some background on the cards, the decks, how to choose a deck for yourself and preparation of the deck.  

There are chapters on using the cards that are just chock full of basic, practical guidance and common sense.  She gives a very easy to understand overview of the meanings of the cards, the suits, and the Journey of the Major Arcana.  While this may sound very complex, Ms. Morrison is well known for her ability to make what could be ugly and overdone into something that is easy to read and understand.   She also has a section on using the cards for understanding your own inner self.  

The second part of the book contains her very much sought after spells.  Tarot cards have been used in spell workings for a long time, and Ms. Morrison provides us with some wonderful workings covering addiction to wishes and everything in between.  As usual, these are the simple spells that one can use “Everyday”, applying a generous dose of common sense and the needed magical push to make it work.

There are also correspondences in the back of the book as well as suggested card layouts and a lovely bibliography.  My copy of this book is a “pre-release” and did not contain an index.  Hopefully there is one when the book is published this month.  Every good book that finds its way into “Everyday” use should have a quick reference index.

Ms. Morrison gives us yet another useful and practical guide to working with another good tool.  For those who are looking to start using a tarot deck or are just contemplating the idea, this book will help you get started on the right foot.

Reviewed by Boudica 

 

To Live With the Fairy Folk
by Marina Stern

This is a little pocket book that contains material collected from various sources about attracting the fairy folk to your living area.

The book is intended to be a gardener's guide to making the fairy folk at home in your home. We are presented with a short list of the likes and dislikes of the fairy folk when it comes to living quarters. There is a discussion on having lawn area because "The Folk love a nice patch of well-tended lawn, and will patronize a yard that displays one, in preference to one that does not.", and a lesson about trees that the folk like.

Most of this material is derived from other sources, some often quite old, like Thomas Keightley's "The Fairy Mythology" (1880) and has a very distinct Victorian flavor about it. Ms. Stern is well versed in her lore and while the book is "cute" I would have preferred a more in depth book on gardening with the fairy folk. This makes a nice appetizer but leaves you thinking there could have been more.

For a Victorian Fairy Garden book it is a good introduction. The book is nicely written, and has potential for something more. It would make a nice little gift for someone who is interested in approaching the idea.

Reviewed by Boudica 

 

Full Contact Magick
by Kerr Cuhulain

Our own “Wiccan Warrior” presents us with a book on working with energy and the elements in his own style of everyday language and well thought out examples.

The book is broken down into sections dealing with the elements and spirit.  Starting with spirit, the book explores each of these elements in relation to the warrior aspect and interaction with the Wiccan path.  

The Wiccan Rede, the Witch’s Pyramid, three-fold law and all the aspects of each are carefully explained, discussed and taken in context of being a warrior.  

Reading and living the precepts as laid out in this book will place you on the path of the warrior and enable you to work with the energies associated with this aspect of Wicca.

I found Kerr Cuhulain’s Warrior Precepts to be a wonderful basis for this book.  Adapted from various writers, philosophers and common sense, these are what constitute the ground work for being a warrior.  These are excellent words to live by.  Add to it Kerr Cuhulain’s special ability to explain them all with practical examples and you have a great beginners book that will also speak to those who have been on this path for a while.

Kerr Cuhulain discusses tools, ritual, rites, the elements, working with energy, self discipline, martial arts, the seasons and so much more.  There is a glossary of terms in the back of the book as well as an interesting bibliography and an index.  

For those who are considering the path of the warrior, for those who are struggling along their chosen path already or those curious as to how Wicca and the warriors path can be melded into a singular path, or those who are just curious about energy workings, this book can explain much of what you are looking to explore.  This is a great beginner’s book as well as a book that those who have been on their path for a while may want to read.

Reviewed by Boudica 

 

Gardening with the Goddess - Creating Gardens of Spirit and Magick

by Patricia Telesco

This time of year we are all busy with our little or big gardens.  Some of us have vegetable gardens, some of us have herb gardens.  Some of us have a sacred little patch of grass growing in our backyard in the middle of a large city somewhere, and its our only connection to the earth in a concrete world.

In her new book "Gardening with the Goddess" Patricia Telesco offers us a new way to look at our garden, a new focus for how we decorate and plant up our little spaces of serenity.

The first part of her book offers the basics in gardening and setting up or cleaning up your garden and offering the correspondences of particular plants and herbs. There are suggestions for small rituals for land blessing, planting (blessing of the seeds) and gardening by moon cycles.  She also suggests crystal companion planting.

The second part of her book, the Goddess Gardens, is most intriguing. 

Here she discusses putting together a garden that honors your Goddess by planting those herbs and flowers and trees that are associated with a particular Goddess and by decorating with articles that represent your chosen Goddess.  She starts each garden with a "Histo-Cultural Information" section about the Goddess to be honored in each particular garden, and then suggests plants, patterns, stones, colors, decorative touches, direction (north, south, east or west) associated with the Goddess and possible adaptations for indoor gardens, small spaces, allergies etc.  She also has suggestions for what to do with the items you have planted, such as drying flower heads or using the fruits or flowers in your kitchen. 

This is a lovely idea for focusing your garden if you have not yet considered this, and the book itself is a wonderful contemplation of each Goddess she mentions (41 in all) and covers many different paths within the Pagan belief system, so there is bound to be a Goddess for just about any path in this book.

Reviewed by Boudica

 

Garden Witchery: Magick from the Ground Up
by Ellen Dugan
 

Ellen Dugan is a Master Gardner received from the University of Missouri and has many years experience in nurseries and gardens.  In this book, Ms. Dugan gives us the basics of gardening and she does it well. 

Ms. Dugan is also a Witch, and her gardening techniques include the basics of craft correspondences and practices.  Discussions include seasonal plantings, using trees, herbs and plants to enhance your yard, garden and home.   Included are histories behind plants and trees and the associations with our holidays, folklore and even faerys making this a well rounded guide.  There are some nice correspondence tables for everything from tree and flower magic and meanings to suggested layouts for your beginning gardens. This book is nicely researched and includes practical material for both the beginners and seasoned gardeners alike. 

 

There are also special little “magickal” additions to be had in the book.  From charm bags, to garden supplies, to bath salts with herbal additions from your garden, Ms. Dugan has included many nice additions to make this an all around garden book.

 

There is a table of contents, an index, a glossary, a nice bibliography and even a gardening journal for you to keep notes.  The illustrations by Kerigwen are are simply icing on the cake.

 

This is a nice volume on witchy gardening, and is intelligent in its approach while being easy to use and a good overall reference book.

Reviewed by Boudica 

 

The Little Giant Encyclopedia of Runes
by Sirona Knight

Say you got a set of Rune Stones for Yule.  You are a beginner, know nothing about these stones and you want a book that covers it all, costs less than $10 and fits in your backpack.  Then Sirona Knight's Little Giant Encyclopedia of Runes  is just what you are looking for.

Each rune is examined in full.  She covers the sound, depiction, runic position, meanings, keywords, tree, herb, gemstone, color, half month, hour, other names, description, God/Goddess, power animal, element, numeric value, astrology, tarot card, mythology, magical qualities, song, and meaning in divination.  Can you get more complete than this.  

Her descriptions in each of the categories is quite detailed, yet simplistic so they are easy to follow.  There are also sections on different rune layouts, spiritual uses of runes, magical uses of runes, rune healing and so much more.   

Just chock full of Rune information, and it's as portable as your rune stones, a nice beginners book.

Reviewed by Boudica 

 

The Goddess in India : The Five Faces of the Eternal Feminine
by Devdutt Pattanaik

THE GODDESS IN INDIA is much more than a coffee table book.  It will aggravate you, titillate you, and it will make you take a look at your beliefs with a brighter, clearer eye.

The author has gathered quite a collection of Hindu Myths, and presents them in a clear, concise format.  He then gives his interpretations from his viewpoint as a man who is reviewing the context of his native beliefs through eyes which have some objectivity and exposure to the feminine perspective of Deity.

WARNING!  Reading this book may agitate your senses.  You may find yourself grinding your teeth and banishing the book to a remote corner of your closet!  BUT, it will make you think, and it will draw you back to follow the stories, and step into a world as strange, beguiling, and threatening, as the Arabian Nights.

So throw out all your preconceived notions of the Eastern philosophies, and follow the tale of the Goddess, in all her aspects as the role of woman is defined in the Hindu lifestyle.  Be prepared to be challenged.  Be prepared to be shocked, and outraged ... and finally, be prepared to understand and accept a wonderful culture which is so different in it's basic attitudes that you are forced to look closely at yourself before you can peer deeper into its mysteries.  

Reviewed by PAniteowl

 

The Triple Goddess Tarot
by Isha Lerner
Illustrated by Mara Friedman

Isha Lerner is a therapist who has integrated astrology, tarot, fairy tales, and flower-essence therapy into her practice.  She has two other decks called ‘Inner Child Cards – A Fairy-Tale Tarot’ and ‘Power of Flowers; An Archetypal Journey Through Nature’. 

 

Those of you who are familiar with her ‘Inner Child Cards’ know her healing technique, of opening the doors of childhood to the adult we have become, is unique and special.

 

‘The Triple Goddess Tarot’ presents us with 33 cards illustrated by Mara Friedman and includes a Major Arcana of 22 cards, 4 Alchemy Cards, and 7 Chakra Cards.  The deck focuses on the feminine and Goddess spirituality.  It approaches from a “What Would the Goddess Do Now” aspect. 

 

The Major Arcana cards may be familiar to tarot users, but this version is Goddess focused and feminine in it’s aspects.  Correspondences are included in the accompanying book for easy reference and transition.  The Fool becomes the Fairy Queen, The Chariot is now the Bird Woman.  Ms. Lerner explains each card in its traditional meaning and associates it with its transformation and finally her vision of ‘Awakening to the Archetype’.   She then applies the card to everyday life and how it can be interpreted when drawn in conjunction to her “What Would the Goddess Do Now” readings.

 

The graphics are lovely.  Mara Freidman’s comment in A Note from the Artist: “Color is Healing!  May we awaken to the dream of Love, Harmony, and Beauty!” is expressed throughout the deck. 

 

Both of these women have a good grasp of what they wanted to express in these cards and it comes across in both the deck and the book.  Ms. Lerner explains very well in her book what she wanted to achieve with this deck and also gives some very good background about where she is coming from in respect to her ideas and designs of this deck.

 

The actual use of this deck is what really matters.   Ms. Lerner has several layouts she suggests for use with these cards, and each of them is easy to understand and work with.  The Chakra layout is unique in its idea of associating the cards to the individual's Chakra.   I did try several of them myself and found they work well and are easy to read.  The cards themselves are easy to interpret and can be mastered by both beginners and experienced readers.

 

These cards focus on positive affirmations for your journey through life.  It is a very feminine approach to spirituality.  They are tools that can confirm life experiences on a personal level and provide possible paths in instances where advice is sought.  These are the benchmarks of any good tarot deck.

Reviewed by Boudica 

 

Green Magic:
The Sacred Connection to Nature
by Ann Moura

In this installment of the Green Tradition, Ann Moura explores energy working. While this may seem very a general topic, Ms. Moura has tied this all in with her own tradition of Green WitchCraft.

All the components of working magic are here, and tradition or no, they can be applied across the board in any tradition where the individual wants to work magic. This reads as a basic 101 to a 202 primer on working with energy, energy manipulation, components of spell working and all the ritual and tools associated with this.

I was pleased to see someone finally approach magic as the energy work it is and work through the basics without the mumbo jumbo. Her section on energy is good, and her discussion on purpose and method will spark some conversations.

This is a good companion to her previous books, and is a good working primer on spellcasting and energy working. If you found her other books on her Green WitchCraft path your path, then this is a good continuation of that work.

Reviewed by Boudica 

 

The Green Man - Spirit of Nature
by John Mathews

When I first saw this book offered in the Red Wheel/Weiser catalogue, I was so glad to see a book on the Green Man and I requested it for review immediately.  I didn't realize this was a gift set, and it came as a very delightful surprise.

The box contained a small photo book and a Green Man sculptured plaque.  The plaque was on top, a dark rich green, handsome face nestled in the sculpted leaves.  Very nicely produced, he would look great anywhere you happen to want to hang him up.  This is a very nice addition to this presentation.

But the book, which is small in appearance, is packed with Green Man trivia and photos of various depictions of the Green Man.   Mr. Matthews knows his stuff when it comes to the many myths and traditions associated with the Green Man.   I was impressed with the research done by Mr. Matthews in finding the many places where there are some impressive Green Man representations.  Pictures of carvings, building ornaments, paintings, even furniture featuring the image of the Green Man are included here.  There is also a meditation and suggestions for honoring the Green Man in various environments in your life.  The quality printing and gloss paper make this book a small treasure on its own.

For those of you who find the Green Man as special as I do, this book is a wonderful resource on the lore, history and mystery that the Green Man holds.  The plaque will also find a place in your home or garden or office, and will please you as much as the book will.  This would make a great gift for that special person who reveres the Green Man as much as you do.

Reviewed by Boudica