Compassion Conquers All: Teachings of the Eight Versus of Mind Transformation, by Tsem Rinpoche
New Page Books, 978-1-60163-354-5, 192 pp. (incl. foreword, appendix, glossary, and author bio), 2014
His Eminence Tsem Rinpoche, an unrealized monk, received the teachings of the Eight Verses of Mind Transformation at the age of 13 from His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama. The teachings are a translation of the Lord Buddha’s teaching on compassion and, when followed, develop the Bodhicitta or compassionate mind, ultimately leading to enlightenment.
The text begins with a discussion of motivation and how motivation affects an action and the outcome of any single action. The eight worldly concerns are introduced and discussed and the reader is instructed to memorize these concerns and use them as a reference point to check their motivation in day-to-day life. When working from the eight worldly concerns, suffering is guaranteed and can only lead to negative states of mind. Continue reading
Man-Made Monsters: A Field Guide to Golems, Patchwork Solders, Homunculi, and Other Created Creatures, by Dr Bob Curran, illustrated by Ian Daniels
New Page Books, 9781601631367, 184 pp. (incl. bibliography and index), 2011
Dr Bob Curran is a history teacher with several books to his name, all dealing with fantastic creatures: Vampires, Zombies, Werewolves, and Dark Fairies, among others. His latest is Man-Made Monsters, which explores possible origins for created creatures.
Curran begins with the quintessential man-made monster of modern times, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. He looks at possible sources which may have inspired Shelley’s story, such as the experiments of Giovanni Aldini, Mr Pass, George Foster, Johann Konrad Dippel, and other stories of reanimation which she may have encountered. Continue reading
Defense Against the Dark: A Field Guide to Protecting Yourself from Predatory Spirits, Energy Vampires, and Malevolent Magick, by Emily Carlin
New Page Books, 9781601631701, 223. pp, 2011
“When we lie awake, listening to the sounds of the night, we imagine all the things that could be making those strange sounds”.
Defense Against the Dark aims to introduce the reader to disruptive and occasionally dangerous entities and educate on how to avoid them, engage them, and if need forcibly remove them. The “dark” tends to be a hit-or-miss area with a lot of books in the occult arena. I find almost everything regarding the dark can be categorized into three camps: the Light, the Illusion, and the Fucked. What I mean is a lot of books say if these dark creatures exist just imagine a bubble of purple light (or whatever is in vogue) and you’re completely protected, or that these beings don’t and can’t exist because God/Universe loves us too much, or lastly they exist and are powerful and if you encounter them you’re screwed.
Carlin takes a pleasant middle ground, she admits that these beings exist, these beings can harm you, generally they are rare (especially the more dangerous ones) and you can protect yourself but it isn’t always easy. Continue reading
A Wiccan Bible: Exploring the Mysteries of the Craft from Birth to Summerland, by A. J. Drew
New Page Books, 1564146669, 312 pp., 2003
This is the third book I have read by Drew (Wicca Spellcraft for Men and Wicca for Couples being the two previous ones). Even before I opened the covers I was sure that I would be challenged by what was inside. I knew I probably wouldn’t agree with all of it (I didn’t), but I knew I would find myself doing some serious thinking.
This book was abridged, at the request of editors, and will, it is hoped, eventually be enhanced by the publication of a second book. As such, there is a great deal which has been left out of this volume. I look forward to seeing the publication of that information which as left out because of considerations about the length.
I have found that Drew is not given to worrying about what is PC, or what others will think of his writings. At the end of his introduction he states “I do not believe being Wiccan is a matter of birth or hereditary lineage, nor do I believe being Wiccan is a matter of being made or of coven initiation.” He leaves no doubt about his beliefs and feelings. Such honesty is refreshing. Continue reading
Exploring Chakras: Awaken Your Untapped Energy, by Susan G. Shumsky
New Page Books, 1564146561, 265 pages (+ notes and index), 2003
The explanation of the chakras Shumsky gives on page 15 is far more detailed than any I have encountered before. The charts and illustrations contain in this book offer a unique perspective on chakras.
The first chapter answers basic questions about the foundation of belief in, and knowledge of, chakras is simple, easy to understand ways. It contains less than dozen questions, yet succeeds in setting the groundwork for what is to follow. Continue reading