Everyday Witchcraft: Making Time for Spirit in a Too-Busy World, by Deborah Blake Llewellyn Worldwide, 9780738742182, 240 pp., 2015Deborah Blake is a witch of many hats; she's an artist who runs an art co-op, High Priestess of Blue Moon Coven since 2004, and author of six works of fiction and nine books on witchcraft. She knows her way around a busy life and in Everyday Witchcraft: Making Time for Spirit in a Too-Busy World Blake has compiled many short and sweet acts to encourage the everyday witch into taking a few minutes beyond the ordinary to tap into the world of the elements, deities, ancestors, and spirits.In this book, "witch" refers to a self-identified person, though one need not be a witch to learn from Blake's book. Though she uses the terms Pagan, witch and Wiccan interchangeably, it is clear that her approach is Wiccan. Her magical correspondences, prayer formats, and use of one goddess and one god, reflect Blake's training in Wicca. Regardless, she shows the reader of any path how to build small and meaningful cycles in their own lives in the small moments and spaces that can make a life magical. Read More
Awakening Higher Consciousness: Guidance from Ancient Egypt and Sumer, by Lloyd M. Dickie and Paul R. Boudreau Inner Traditions, 978-1-62055-394-7, 246 pp. (incl. appendices, notes, bibliography, and index), 2015The ideas expressed in Awakening Higher Consciousness: Guidance from Ancient Egypt and Sumer are paradoxically both simple and multi-layered. It may sound strange, but when I started reading the book, my experience was of peeling back the layers of the proverbial onion, but without the tears!Lloyd M. Dickie and Paul R. Boudreau -- both of whom have backgrounds in ecology, biology and a deep interest in Egyptology -- have produced a highly readable book for those seeking to unlock their highest potential through myth and its symbolism. To that end, they explore the myths of several ancient cultures, with Akkad, Egypt, and Sumer being the main focus of their studies. The authors express quite complex and esoteric ideas in language that is accessible to the non-specialist. Dickie and Boudreau’s passion for their subject matter comes through quite plainly. They are academics, but I also suspect they are sincere seekers after illumination and truth. As the subject matter has been a lifelong interest of mine, I approached Awakening Higher Consciousness with a sense of excitement and curiosity. This is a book that needs to be read through once and then again to assimilate the symbols within your psyche. What the conscious mind appears not to take in, the subconscious mind will readily embrace. Read More
Every morning I wake up and stretch limbs that aren’t physically there. I decide whether to classify last night’s dream as a past life memory or a precognition, and muse a little over being reborn into a new day. My tentacles writhe around me as I go about my morning routine: coffee, shower, breakfast, so on. I dress myself to emulate these sensations; scarves, flowing skirts, dangling jewelry, things that move when I move. Looking at me, you can probably tell I’m a Pagan and an artist, but I’m an alien too.Otherkin are people who, for whatever reason, consider themselves to be "not of this world" or non-human in some way. For some, it’s a spiritual belief. For others, it’s about metaphor and personal narrative. Read More
God, Goddess, and Other: Fertility faiths and queer identities," but I quickly realized it would take much, much more space than that to do the topic justice.And the topic definitely deserves a lot of education and research. (In fact, the more I’ve done, the more I feel I need to do!) Humans, I think, have a tendency to assume that other creatures are like themselves unless they prove otherwise. The study of many of the animals I will discuss has been filled with misunderstanding and inaccurate information, partly from a lack of technology for many years (the ability to study DNA has exponentially increased our understanding in just the past few years, which I am very grateful for) and partly due to restrictive ideas of what “male” and “female” entail, and a lack of recognition for sexes outside that binary. This article seeks to remedy that, honour these life forms for their differences instead of glossing them over and help others find ways to incorporate them into their practice.The need for a form of nature-worship I could relate to. A strong interest in social justice and inclusivity. My best friend’s gay cat. All of these things played a heavy part my interest in queer, gender non-conforming, and non-binary forms of nature. I had originally intended to include this as a small section of my article "
Before I go on...I’d like to give a small disclaimer: This article is by no means exhaustive, and though I've tried to include as many perspectives as I could, I’m almost certain that there’s something I’ve missed. Also, keep in mind that some parts of this article are written from the perspective of lesbian sexuality and non-binary gender, because that is where my personal experience lies. If you think I’ve missed something important, or if your gender and sexuality give you a completely different perspective, I would love to hear about it! Read More
The Path to the Guru: The Science of Self-Realisation According to the Bhagavad Gita, by Scott Teitsworth Inner Traditions, 978-1-62055-321-3, 342 pp. (incl. prologue, introduction, epilogue, notes, bibliography, and index), 2014In The Bhagavad Gita, guru Krishna employs a “secret dialectic” with his pupil Arjuna. “Teacher and taught begin as polar opposites in whom a kind of osmotic interchange takes place, each stimulating and edifying the other, until they become as one in realization.” The oppositional stance Teitsworth takes in The Path to the Guru seems intended to provoke the same kind of response in the reader.It strikes me that this review is a commentary on a commentary on other commentaries about a story of a guru guiding a guru guiding a guru. I feel like the Hindu deity on the cover, waving a thousand arms in front of a mirror, my image refracting into reflection upon reflection -- one of the more pleasant effects of reading Teitsworth’s dense and thought-provoking book. Read More
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. Read More