Religion and Spirituality

Opiate of the masses, marijuana of the lunatic fringe.

Neolithic Shamanism, by Raven Kaldera and Galina Krasskova

By Brian Walsh | May 3, 2013 | 1 comment

Neolithic Shamanism, by Raven Kaldera and Galina Krasskova Neolithic Shamanism: Spirit Work in the Norse Tradition, by Raven Kaldera and Galina Krasskova
Destiny Books, 9781594774904, 342 pp. (incl. index, plus 8 pages of colour plates), 2012

The title, Neolithic Shamanism, may be a bit misleading as there is not a lot careful exploration of the stone age, but the sub-title, “Spirit Work in the Norse Tradition” seems closer to the subject of the book.  The book instead serves as an introduction to the Northern Tradition – which the authors use to refer to a specific modern tradition, not simply the hearth cultures of Northern Europe and the modern practices derived from them. However, by looking at the natural rather than cultural aspects, they seem to be trying to go back to the bare bones of the matter.  Regardless, much of the information is generalizable and the book can be read in this broader light, so long as the reader understands that this is not its primary purpose or intention. Continue reading


The Akashic Experience, edited by Ervin Laszlo

By Cole Tucker | March 27, 2013 | Leave a comment

The Akashic Experience, edited by Ervin LaszloThe Akashic Experience, edited by  Ervin Laszlo
Inner Traditions, 9781594772986, 288 pp., 2009

The Akashic Experience presents a series of accounts dealing with the intrusion of nonlocal events into everyday life. Ervin Laszlo, systems theorist, philosopher of science, concert pianist and recipient of two nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize, has gathered individual contributors from a range of fields to recount their experiences. Contributors include Alex Grey, Stanislav Grof and – most surprising to me – Raffi Cavoukian, the children’s musician.

The main thrust of the book is aimed at establishing the existence and utility of the akashic experience. Laszlo defines this as a “lived experience that conveys a thought, an image, or an intuition that was not, and very likely could not have been, transmitted by our senses at the time it happened or at anytime beforehand.”

The collected reports include predictions that came to pass, past-life memories that later had elements factually confirmed, communication with spirits of the dead, group-mind phenomena, distance healing and various types of artistic or professional inspiration. Continue reading


Pagan Christmas, by Christian Rätsch and Claudia Muller-Ebeling

By Mike Gleason | December 13, 2012 | Leave a comment

Pagan Christmas, by Christian RatschPagan Christmas: The Plants, Spirits, and Rituals at the Origins of Yuletide, by Christian Rätsch and Claudia Muller-Ebeling
Inner Traditions, 9781594770920, 213 pp, 2006

The subtitle of this book (“The Plants, Spirits, and Rituals at the Origins of Yuletide”) helps to explain why I wanted to review it. Far too often people focus of the most visible of Yuletide symbols (the tree, the presents, the mistletoe and the decorations) and ignore the myriad of other details which surround this time of year. So I felt drawn to investigate these background items.

The authors focus on the ethnobotany (the study of plants) associated with the season. I had read and reviewed an earlier book by them and knew that the research and writing of this book would be first rate as well. I was not disappointed in that respect, nor in any other respect. The book is profusely illustrated with beautiful drawings and photographs. Continue reading


A Circle of Stones, by Erynn Rowan Laurie

By Mike Gleason | October 31, 2012 | 1 comment

A Circle of Stones, by Erynn Rowan LaurieA Circle of Stones: Journeys and Meditations for Modern Celts, Second Edition, by Erynn Rowan Laurie
Megalithica Books, 9781905713776, 124 pp., 2012

It may be showing its age a bit, even the author admits that there have been advances in the archaeological underpinnings of the work, and increased knowledge of the language and culture of the Irish Celtic people. In spite of that, or perhaps because of it, this remains an easily understandable book, and a good source for those who wish to walk the Celtic Reconstructionist path of Paganism.

There haven’t been a lot of changes made since it was originally issued. There have been a few improvements in the translation of Irish words, and the illustrations have been redone, but the information is essentially unchanged.

There are numerous suggestions for several rituals, as well as guidelines for the creation and maintenance of altars – including suggestions for turning your entire living space into a sacred environment. One of the great things is that she emphasizes the need for the altar to work for you: it doesn’t have to be a certain size or shape, it doesn’t have to be kept overly neat and tidy, and it doesn’t need to be particularly artistic in its arrangement. It should, however, be a place which you visit frequently, thus alleviating the necessity for dusting it. After all, if you are interacting with the altar constantly, things will not remain static for very long.  Continue reading


Aradia, by Charles Godfrey Leland

By Psyche | October 10, 2012 | 2 comments

Aradia, by Charles LelandAradia, Gospel of the Witches, by Charles Godfrey Leland
The Witches’ Almanac, 9780982432358, 178 pp., 1899, 2010

Charles Godfrey Leland (1824-1903) was an American folklorist who published some twenty books on American and European folklore, Romani traditions, witchcraft, and other subjects. He is chiefly remembered today for his influence on the development of modern Paganism, primarily through the publication of Aradia. Continue reading


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