Religion and Spirituality

Opiate of the masses, marijuana of the lunatic fringe.

Guru-Free Guide to Nada Yoga, by Bennett Z. Kobb

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Sattelite dish, photo by Michael Josh VillanuevaThe Guru-Free Guide to Nada Yoga, by Bennett Z. KobbThe Guru-Free Guide to Nada Yoga: Sound Current Meditation for the Rest of Us, by Bennett Z. Kobb
Bennett Z. Kobb, B00SSSZ49I, 36 pp., 2015

If you already have an active meditative practice in place and are looking to branch out, The Guru-Free Guide to Nada Yoga: Sound Current Meditation for the Rest of Us is a great resource.

What is nada yoga, or in common language, sound current meditation? Bennett Z. Kobb says, “The Sound Current has been called a signal from the Cosmos, the sound of silence, the Word, and the Audible Life Stream. It certainly seems to come from a distant power source, linked in some mysterious way to the energetic core of being.” In short, nada yoga is the act of learning to listen to those inner sounds. It’s just as simple as it sounds, but it has profound implications.

Nada yoga divides sounds into two categories: ahata, or external music, and anahata, or internal music. Anahata is also the name for the heart chakra, which is said to receive the inner music. The perception of anahata, which is frequently heard as a ringing in the ears, similar to tinnitus, is a common side effect of rising kundalini, or the onset of enlightenment. Continue reading


The Case for Polytheism, by Steven Dillon

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The Case for Polytheism, by Steven DillonThe Case for Polytheism, by Steven DillonThe Case for Polytheism, by Steven Dillon
Iff Books, 978 1 78279 735 7, 96 pp. (incl. endnotes and bibliography), 2015

My first impression of Steven Dillon’s The Case for Polytheism was of scattered musings on the concept of divinity. It was through a second reading that I found Dillon’s intention, and what a wonderful surprise.

The Case for Polytheism “seeks to prove…the existence of God or gods, and to acquire knowledge about them,” so non-polytheists may entertain the idea, at least as an exercise in cognitive dissonance. This is real discussion on the nut and bolts of what polytheists believe, and some of the why. Continue reading


The Gift of Shamanism, by Itzhak Beery

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The Gift of Shamanism, by Itzhak BeeryThe Gift of Shamanism, by Itzhak BeeryThe 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.

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Liber Nox, by Michael Howard

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Liber Nox, by Michael HowardLiber Nox, by Michael HowardLiber Nox: A Traditional Witch’s Gramarye, by Michael Howard
Skylight Press, 9781908011855, 217 pp., 2014

Liber Nox is subtitled “A Traditional Witch’s Gramarye” in order to distinguish it from various forms of Wicca and contemporary Paganism, and to emphasize that it’s not in those traditions, but dealing with something older.

The book covers what one might expect from a basic text of witchcraft: the deities, the tools, initiation, circle casting, and the Wheel of the Year. In this regard it’s a good book, and if you need another guide to the Wheel of the Year and the mythology and rituals behind it, or the tools of the craft, then Liber Nox can get you started. Continue reading


Voices of the Sacred Feminine, ed. Karen Tate

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Voices of the Sacred Feminine, edited by Karen TateVoices of the Sacred Feminine, edited by Karen TateVoices of the Sacred Feminine: Conversations to Re-Shape Our World, edited by Rev. Dr. Karen Tate
Changemakers Books, 978-1-78279-510-0, 394 pp., 2014

Voices of the Sacred Feminine is a collection of 40 interviews and guest essays on Rev. Dr. Karen Tate’s Internet radio show of the same name. I’ve never listened to it, never heard of it until I reviewed this book, and wow, was I missing out! The book is a sampling of her shows over the past nine years, covering everything from sacred art to politics to archaeomythology. The book is divided into five sections: Deity, Archetype and Ideal; Ritual and Healing; Alternatives to Patriarchy; Sacred Activism; and a tribute to the late drummer Layne Redmond.

Each section is rich in its own right, and worthy of its own book review. Here, I’ll choose one conversation from each section to give a sense of what you might find in it. Continue reading


Tantric Thelema, by Sam Webster

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Lotus detail, photo by smilla4Tantric Thelema, by Sam WebsterTantric Thelema: The Invocation of Ra-Hoor-Khuit in the Manner of the Buddhist Mahayoga Tantras, by Sam Webster
Concrescent Press, 9780984372904, 115 pp. (incl. appendices, and select bibliography), 2010

Sam Webster co-founded Chthonic-Ouranian Templars of Thelema in 1985, and is an initiate in the Golden Dawn, Wicca, and Buddhism, among other things, though he is probably best known for founding the Open Source Order of the Golden Dawn in 2002. The OSOGD is based on the principles of open-source software, which allows users to modify and adapt programs as needed, and so it is in the Order.

It’s no surprise, then, that Tantric Thelema is an eclectic text. Webster acknowledges that he’s not a lama, that the practices described are based his own work and teachings, and these are provided to the student as tested material, but can be repurposed as needed. He describes his practices, notes their origins, and where the material deviates from ancient Egyptian, Golden Dawn or Thelemic custom, and it is very obviously a lived practice. Continue reading


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