Tag: Wicca

The Witch’s Oracle

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The Witch's Oracle, by Marla BrooksThe Witch's Oracle, by Marla BrooksThe Witch’s Oracle, by Marla Brooks, illustrated by Aunia Kahn
Schiffer Publishing Ltd., 978-0-7643-4931-7, 45 cards, 112 pp., 2015

Divination tools, be they card decks, runes, or pendulums, carry a certain resonance that an astute reader will feel as soon as they look at them, or hold them in their hand. This is largely how they decide to work with a particular tool. And so it was when I received The Witch’s Oracle.

As I opened the postal carton and looked at the box, it felt to me like Samhain. The box and the cards themselves are dark, velvety and deep, and reminded me of the richness of the traditional regalia witches wear on that sabbat. The red and black brocade card back becomes iridescent as the angle of light hitting it changes: quite stunning.

Card illustrations by Aunia Kahn are simple but not simplistic, depicting witch’s tools, symbols, and real and mythical beasts. Even if the cards were not labelled, you would not have to guess what they represent. The brocade used on the card back, in different colours, is used as background for some of the cards and works beautifully.

The box has a pull tab so there’s no struggling to open it, and the cards are small enough for easy shuffling. The booklet, with text by Marla Brooks, is small as well, as is the type size, which should have been bigger. Most of the pages have abundant white space, enough that some of it could have been used for easier reading.

The booklet contains sections on clearing, consecrating and charging the deck; how to work with the deck, including a couple of simple spreads; and card meanings. The latter is broken up into some background about the card’s symbol, the meaning of the card and a rhyming incantation to activate its energy. All sections were short, but enough to get some insight into the significance of each card drawn in a reading.

To test the deck I drew a single card, Skull, with the meaning of “carpe diem” and a reminder to not overlook the simple things in life. True enough for me right now, and a reminder I’ve received through other divination methods.

I also used the Witch’s Broom spread — a modified past, present, future spread — to explore the cards further. I drew Dreamcatcher to represent me; Spider to represent challenges I face; Owl to represent opportunities; and Triple Goddess, Ankh, and Chinese Dragon to represent the past, present, and future, respectively. The meanings of the individual cards relative to their positions — especially the Ankh card, representing the present — and the reading as a whole made sense to me.

The Witch’s Oracle is a good solid deck for beginners, either to the Craft or to working with cards. The cards are a fun way to learn about some classic witch symbolism and tools, just enough to whet one’s appetite to learn more from other sources. They’re straightforward enough and the spreads basic enough that someone just learning how to piece together a reading can receive useful information. And they’re pleasing to look at, with a real feeling of magick.

For someone serious about both the Wiccan path and card divination, I’d suggest starting with The Witch’s Oracle and then moving on to The Wicca Deck, which I previously reviewed. Between these two decks, one can gain a great grounding for further work with more intricate divination.


The Witch’s Eight Paths of Power, by Lady Sable Aradia

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The Witch’s Eight Paths of Power, by Lady Sable AradiaThe Witch's Eight Paths of Power, by Lady Sable AradiaThe Witch’s Eight Paths of Power: A Complete Course in Magick and Witchcraft, by Lady Sable Aradia Weiser Books, 978-1-57863-551-1, 275 pp., 2014Lady Sable Aradia has been a practicing witch for a quarter of a century. Being a third degree initiate in the Star Sapphire and Pagans for Peace traditions, she has a depth of experience and knowledge of Wiccan practices that are of value for initiates and veterans alike. Her aim in this book is to explore the concept of the Eightfold Way. This term refers to a Wiccan practice that was introduced by Gerald Gardner in the 1960s. It involves eight steps on the path to developing magical abilities. Lady Sable Arcadia provides a compelling and contemporary view of this Wiccan tradition.The Witch’s Eight Paths of Power is written in clear and concise language that is both informative while holding the readers’ attention. The book begins with an explanation of the very foundation of magick: intent. Aradia details the importance of forming an exact and precise intent in order for a practitioner to will it to happen. For beginners who are struggling with the concept or the practice, the chapter outlines several exercises that can help improve creative visualization, facilitate meditation, and raise conscious awareness. The next two paths deal with the trance -- developing a state of consciousness in which to gain insight, heal, seek knowledge, and the Craft -- the practice of ritual magick. Read More

Did Freemasonry invent modern Paganism?

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Masonic temple, photo by Andy Chase“The Yggdrasil-Tree is a beautiful symbolical representation of Freemasonry,” says Daniel Sickels in his General Ahiman Rezon. The book, which was intended to be read by Freemasons who wanted insight into their fraternity and its rituals, was published in 1868. Yggdrasil, says Sickels, “illustrates the character of Masonic secrecy.” Yet this was, of course, the world tree of pre-Christian, Norse mythology, and Sickels, who also speaks of the norns (the female figures who predetermine the fates of men), is certainly well aware of its character.Sickels’ work appeared more than 85 years prior to the publication of Gerald Gardner’s Witchcraft Today -- which initiated the birth (or, as some would maintain, revival) of the Pagan religion of Wicca -- and just over a century prior to the “revival” of Asatru, the Germanic-inspired, and rune-based Pagan religion which emerged during the 1970s. Yet, some other Freemasons of the 19th century were inspired by northern European, pre-Christian mythology, and absorbed some elements into Masonic, or “fringe Masonic,” ritualism. Read More

The Book of Lies, edited by Richard Metzger

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DisinformationBook of Lies, edited by Richard Metzger The Book of Lies: The Disinformation Guide to Magick and the Occult, edited by Richard Metzger Disinformation, 9781938875106, 352 pp., 2004, 2014I don't know about you, but when I hear the word "grimoire," I think of dusty old tomes full of alchemical esoterica and glyphs in some cobwebbed book shoppe that smells of sandalwood, possibly helmed by a bearded man in a fez. The Book of Lies, from the legendary Disinformation imprint, is a grimoire for the 21st century. It breaks the carbonite stasis of this kind of outmoded thinking, and zooms into the present. It's a wonderful primer on postmodern magick, broken up into sections, from Magick in Theory and Practice, to Occult Icons to Scarlet Women, Secret Societies, as well as a section dedicated solely to the 20th century's most infamous mage, Aleister Crowley. The Book of Lies is comprised of 40 essays from some of the occult underground's leading lights, including Invisibles' author Grant Morrison; tryptamine consciousness from Terence McKenna; Throbbing Gristle and Psychic TV alien Genesis P-Orridge; to leading chaote Phil Hine; biblical apocrypha from Boyd Rice; and anarchist activist Hakim Bey (Peter Lamborn Wilson). Read More

A chat with Yvonne Aburrow about diversity

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Yvonne AburrowYvonne Aburrow is one of my sister writers at the Patheos Pagan channel and she’s also the author of the newly published book All Acts of Love and Pleasure: Inclusive Wicca from Avalonia Press. I had the opportunity to catch up with her recently and I asked her about her practice and her new book: what inspired it, what drove it, and how it connects to issues that are currently hot topics in the Pagan community.Yvonne Aburrow holding All Acts of Love and PleasureSable Aradia: So tell those who might not be familiar a little about you. What is your background in the Craft?Yvonne Aburrow: I was initiated into Gardnerian Wicca in 1991. The thing that made me realise that I am a Pagan was reading Puck of Pook's Hill, by Rudyard Kipling. I was lucky enough to find a coven that was also interested in our connection to the land and local deities and spirits. I am also interested in Hinduism, Taoism, and Norse, Anglo-Saxon, Celtic, Sumerian, and Roman Paganism, and my personal or household deities include deities from several different pantheons. I enjoy the earthy and sensual aspects of the Craft, and I believe that Wicca is a partnership with the deities, rather than them serving us, or us serving them. Read More

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., 2014Voices 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. Read More

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