Rooted in the Body, Seeking the Soul: Magic Practitioners Living with Disabilities, Addictions, and Illness, edited by Tara Miller
Immanion Press, 978-1-905713-91-2, 222 pp. (incl. introduction and bibliography), 2013
Tara Miller has compiled stories and interviews about Pagan spiritual practices and how these practices help practitioners cope with disability, chronic pain, illness, addiction and compulsive behaviour. The compilation begins with an interview with Dr. Kimberly Hendrick about her ground-breaking Pagan Health Survey that highlights the main issues within the health system and its intersection with a Pagan lifestyle. The survey sheds light on to the immense overlapping of the LBGTQ community (40%), the idea of Pagans viewing their health care more holistically (mind, body, spirit) and systematically rather than symptom by symptom, and the stigma of seeking out mental health services and having spiritual practices considered a mental health diagnosis. From the findings of the Health Survey, it seems Pagans have a model of self-empowerment in religious practices as well as health care. Continue reading
Witchcraft Medicine: Healing Arts, Shamanic Practices, and Forbidden Plantsby, Claudia Muller-Ebeling, Christian Ratsch and Wolf-Dieter Storl
Inner Traditions, 0892819715, 240 pp. (incl. appendix, bibliography and index), 1998, 2003
What image comes to mind when you read the phrase “Witchcraft Medicine”? Do you see a crone bent over a cauldron, muttering under her breath? Do you imagine a dark peasant hovel in the Middle Ages? Me, too! The subtitle of this volume, translated from a German edition of 1998, helps to clear away some of the misconceptions before the cover is even opened however. “Healing Arts, Shamanic Practices, and Forbidden Plants” lets the reader know that the topic will range far beyond narrow preconceptions.
The book is profusely illustrated with old woodcuts, drawings and full-colour photographs. Quotations from numerous sources, ancient , medieval, and modern appear frequently in sidebars. There are charts listing various plants and their associations with planets, deities, and symbolism. Continue reading
Beyond Happiness: Deepening the Dialogue Between Buddhism, Psychotherapy and the Mind Sciences, by Gay Watson
Karnac Books, 9781855754041, 193 pp. (incl. appendices), 2008
Psychology, psychotherapy and the mind sciences have shown a growing interest in their links with the Buddhist models of the mind and the Buddhist psychology, this book is another effort to put forth some of what has been coming out of this interaction.
While it may seem odd, I was glad in the intro when Watson admitted her limitations for this writing she is “not a scientist and freely admit that my understanding of these fields come from secondary sources which report back to the interest layperson from the fields of research.” Several books I’ve read on this topic have the authors presenting themselves as more of an authority than perhaps they have the right to.
Beyond Happiness also goes beyond similar books, for it not only discusses Buddhism in light of psychology but includes neuroscience and neurobiology as part of the exploration. The book follows the pattern of View, Meditation, and Action, a familiar pattern of thought to many Buddhists. Continue reading
Traditional Thai Medicine: Buddhism, Animism, Ayurveda, by C. Pierce Salguero
Hohm Press, 9781890772673, 134 pp. (incl. index and appendices), 2007
Thai Medicine is a tradition that began to form in the 13th Century in Thailand, a combination of beliefs and theories taken from the animistic indigenous religion, Buddhism, and medical theories from ayurveda and yoga. It remains a popular practice, existing alongside western medicine in 83% of hospitals in Thailand, but Salguero fears that it is a dying practice, mainly supported by the elderly and tourists, and practiced by the older generations.
As the older generations Continue reading
Sacred Land: Intuitive Gardening for Personal, Political and Environmental Change, by Clea Danaan
Llewellyn Worldwide, 9780738711461, 266 pp. (incl. end notes appendix, sources and index), 2004
Last year was the first I attempted to grow anything in our vegetable garden. I knew I wanted to grow organic, but I went in more or less blind. It wasn’t a raging success, but we did get a few peppers and tomatoes. This is the book I wish I had read prior to starting my garden, unfortunately it wasn’t published then, but, lucky you, it’s out now. Continue reading