The Gift of Shamanism: Visionary Power, Ayahuasca Dreams, and Journeys to Other Realms, by Itzhak Beery
Destiny Books 9781620553725, 237 pp. 2015
Itzhak Beery is an internationally renowned shamanic healer and teacher. He had trained with many shaman elders throughout South and North America. Surprisingly, Beery became a shaman by “coincidence,” when he was in his late thirties and was initiated into the Circle of 24 Yachaks by a Quechua teacher in Ecuador. This book is a collection of his and his clients’ intimate experiences with the healings and initiations of shamanism.
I initially recorded them in an effort first to convince myself, and maybe others, that there are some universal phenomena whose origins we do not completely understand at this time, but nonetheless can have incredibly useful and practical value in our daily lives.
Wild Wisdom of the Faery Oracle, by Lucy Cavendish, artwork by Selina Fenech
Blue Angel Publishing, 978-1-922161-37-6, 47 cards with 176 pp. guidebook, 2015
This Faery Oracle started speaking to me the moment I opened it. Card number one was on top, of course, and it was The Three Graces: “Cooperative ventures with friends, joy, sharing, new partnerships that are fun.” Two nights before I had met with an old publisher friend of mine, who proposed being part of a new magazine she’s launching. And the week before, I had received word that my own oracle deck, Gaia’s Vision, which I worked on with another dear friend, is slated for publication in 2016. I have a ball with both of these lovely women, and I expect it will just get better. The card had answered a question I hadn’t even asked yet.
I should have known magick would be afoot as soon as I held the cards. This is a Lucy Cavendish deck. Continue reading
Marseille Tarot: Towards the Art of Reading, by Camelia Elias
EyeCorner Press, 9788792633422, 197 pp. (incl. references), 2015
It was Camelia Elias’ tarot blog, Tarotflexions, which first drew me to her work. Her observations there are smart and incisive, and her approach to tarot is quite different from mine, which means I’m always learning something new. Her essay in The Magiculum was one of the strongest in that collection, and I was excited to see a more focused effort on tarot, and this book certainly delivers.
Marseille Tarot focuses on Elias’ preferred deck, Carolus Zoya’s Tarot de Marseille, a deck created in Turin at the end of the 18th century. The book includes numerous full colour images, and the deck is based on a common Marseille pattern, so while this particular deck is unavailable for purchase, the insights provided here can easily be applied to any Marseille deck, or even other tarot patterns. Continue reading
Techniques of Graeco-Egyptian Magic, by Stephen Skinner
Golden Hoard Press, 9780738746326, 388 pp. 2014
Techniques of Graeco-Egyptian Magic exhibits a soft spot I have for magick: the academic approach. This Ph.D. paper by Stephen Skinner is the latest of the his many works on the Western esoteric tradition, in addition to many books on feng shui. His clear grasp on the historical data and his academic lens make this paper-turned-book a highly educational though sometimes mundane read. There is no fluff here — just facts, charts, and the occasional historical backtracking. Yet, Skinner’s painstaking translation, organization, and interpretation bring to light many long-standing traditions’ origins in the magick of Late Antiquity. Skinner describes a snapshot in time when magick held reverence as part of a tradition tied to the mystery cults and religions of the day. Continue reading
Toastar!: Further Adventures in Chaos Magick, by Francis H Breakspear
Hidden Publishing, 9780955523748, 122 pp., 2009
Francis H Breakspear was the pseudonym of the academic chaote Dave Evans, who passed in 2013. This was his third book in under this name, following Kaostar! and If It Was Easy, Everyone Would Be Doing It! (As Breakspear, Evans seemed inordinately fond of exclamation points.)
Both a scholar and a practitioner of the occult, Evans was a founding editor of The Journal for the Academic Study of Magic, and co-editor of Ten Years of Triumph of the Moon (with Dave Green). He was also the author of The History of British Magick After Crowley and Aleister Crowley and the 20th Century Synthesis of Magick. Finally, in the interest of full disclosure, he was also an occasional contributor to both Spiral Nature and Plutonica.net, and a good friend. Continue reading
The Gorgon’s Tarot, by Dolores Fitchie
Schiffer Publishing, 9780764345906, 79 cards, instruction booklet, 2014
The Gorgon’s Tarot is an unusual deck: the cards are round, and the images are predominantly black and white. “Gorgon” appears to be a nickname for Dolores Fitchie herself, and also serves as the patron creature presiding over this deck, in particular, Euryale, the gorgon who defied the gods, seeking knowledge and truth.
The cards began life as a graphic project, not a divinatory tool, and The Gorgon’s Tarot was more than 10 years in the making. The black and white design is deliberate and is intended to remove colour symbolism, which Fitchie finds distracting, and has no interest in. There are two cards that contain splashes of red: The Blind Gorgon and the Devil. When they appear, the bright flashes of red make these cards seem all the more startling. Continue reading