Wednesday, February 22, 2017

The Psalm Cards by Rabbi Robert dos Santos Teixeira review

The Psalm Cards 
by Rabbi Robert dos Santos Teixeira
Schiffer Pubishing December 28, 2016
ISBN: 978-0764351914

The box the cards come in.
This box is really big! We are talking 9 inches by 6 inches!  It is a really pretty antique gold color.
I am a bit color blind, but I am sure that is the color it is!

The inside cover of the box tells about the author of the deck. For 8 years he worked as an intuitive in New Orleans.  He went on to become a psychotherapist and social worder - he specialized in the treatment of addictions.  He moved to New York because of Hurricane Katrina and became a rabbi.
He is the founder and spiritual director of Uri! Uri! Awaken! Awaken!

Here is a picture of the 'whole enchilada' after I opened the box.  See my little Gnome helper?

There is not a Contents page, nor is there an Index.

On page 5 you will find a note on how the psalms are numbered, and a note on the
Transliteration and Pronunciation of Hebrew.
On page 6 is the Preface
Page 7 'The World of Tarot'
Page 8 the World of Psalms
On Page 9 is the Collision of Two Worlds: Tarot and Psalms with examples of symbols merging.
Page 14 gives us How to Use the Psalm Cards and Messages from the Psalms
Page 16 holds information on the Seal of Solomon Spread and the Song of Ascents Spread.
page 17 has Endnotes, which holds 7 resources.

Page 18 begins the descriptions and meanings of the individual cards.
Page 168 has Appendix of Power Words

There are 150 hand painted cards, one for each Psalm in the Book of Psalms. There is a prayer of protection given and recommended before working with any cards.Some really good advice-- divide these cards into stacks, shuffle them then put them all back again and draw one. 

The Appendix of Power Words.  Whenever you resonate with a card you draw, the corresponding Power Word can become an affirmation or mantra to be chanted or sung to bring the transformative power into your life.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Botanical Inspirations by Lynn Araujo review

Botanical Inspirations
Lynn Araujo
Published by U S Games

When you get the package in the mail, this is the pretty little box the cards come in.

This is a picture of the goodies within!  The box opens long ways- see the little blue tab at the bottom of the first picture? Well, you lift up on that and you see the book, the foldout 'cheat' list, the pretty blue nylon bag, then the cards themselves.  The cards are sturdy, a good size, and easy to shuffle.

Here is a picture of the little 'cheat sheet' in the box.
It is a little guide to the secret  meaning of flowers.

Back in the day- Victorian days- Knowing what flower meant what was very important. Men would court a woman by sending her flowers, and the girls knew exactly what the bouquet meant!
Nothing worse than getting a tulip from a guy you were head over heels in love with!

I love yellow roses, so I headed right to the card- Each card tells the common name of the flower, the latin name of the flower and a vintage looking picture.  At the bottom is the meaning or symbolism of the flower.
Yellow Rose- Enthusiasm and Friendship.  "A single rose can be my garden,..  a single friend can be my world"  Leo Buscaglia
The book tells some of the history of the yellow rose.  I didn't know they were discovered in the Middle East!  Each flower has an inspirational message, the one for the yellow rose:
The garden of friendship is like any garden, the more you tend to it, the healthier it is and the more beautiful it becomes.....

In the back of the book is a 3 card Fleur De Lis Reading, with a 'how to' for the layout and a sample of a reading done for you.  

For fun, I did the above reading, asking if I will be well and able to perform my usual chores by the end of this week-

1. situation as it is-  Amaryllis - determination and creative achievement
2. course of action to take - Sacred Lotus - Enlightenment - honor all you have been through, let go of the things that no longer serve
3. improved outcome- Lily- Majesty and virtue - let your actions come from virtue.

For me, this means to use creative visualization to 'see' what I want, let go of all negativity, know that I can create my life when I come from a balanced place.

The Wonderland Tarot in a Tin review

The Wonderland Tarot in a Tin
 U.S. Games Systems Inc. (January 20, 2017)
Chris Abbey & Morgana Abbey
  • ISBN-13: 978-1572818798

The cards are a small size, almost 4 inches tall and almost 2 and half inches wide. They feel very nice- silky smooth.  I love the little tin, so happy they put the rabbit on the front of the tin!
The only thing I had a little trouble with was in getting the cards out, the rim of the box protrudes inwardly a tad, so I had to do some finangling.  After you unwrap them there is no more problem.

The two cards you see bottom left are a nice little surprise. One card explains about the deck, the other card is a mirror image of the first card!  The cards all have the regular playing card symbols in the opposing corners, just as a standard playing deck would have, so they can be used for regular games such as Rummy, Spades, etc.

There are different names for the suits-
Spades/Swords ----   Flamingos
Clubs/Wands -----   Peppermills
Hearts/Cups -----   Hats
Diamonds/Coins or Pentacles ----   Oysters

Pages are Jacks
Knights are Cavaliers

The only spread in the book is the Celtic Cross. The LWB is little in size, but it is 55 pages, and every card is given attention, with the upright and reversed meanings.

When you open the LWB, You are immediately given the suggestion to read (or re-read) Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass - and make sure you get the copy that is illustrated by Tenniel because this deck is based on those drawings.

An example: 
 The Fool (in the 3rd picture down) -  Unnumbered - The Mad Hatter stands on the edge of a cliff.  He wears a hat he made himself ad holds a slice of bread.  His shoes are untied, A hedgehog watches him.
Divinatory meaning:  Everything foolish, in all its forms.  Lack of careful thinking.  Disregard of consequences.  Mania or excess.
Reverse meaning:  No decision at al.  Faltering in a quest.  Not caring if a decision is reached.

Friday, February 17, 2017

The Christian Witch's Handbook by H. Fuller Hutchison review

The Christian Witch's Handbook
by H. Fuller Hutchison
  • Publisher: PublishAmerica (March 1, 2010)
  • ISBN-13: 978-1448951017

This book claims to be a book, pretty much a how-to book, for a Christian Witch.  She pretty much hits the ground running on page 9 of the preface-
"The Christian religion has often hi-jacked magic for its own use... they have take the living eternal magic of Jesus, which is the magic of God, and hidden it in liturgy, theology, prayer cloths, anointing oils, power of positive thinking, name it/claim it theology and Christian ritual" ... and called it church.
Funnily enough, that list includes a lot of things that Hoodoo, Voodoo, and both white and 'dark' witches use. but that's ok.

If you can handle the anti-church slant of the book, then you can glean some things that are helpful. From reading the book, I do believe she is meaning Catholic Church whenever she says church.  That happens a lot.

This book was annoying, aggravating, confusing and got me 'all riled up' a few times, which is a good thing- it does make you think. On page 11 there is a sort of quiz given to determine if you are a witch. 

Introduction to Christian Witchery
Bubble, Bubble, Toil and Trouble
Charts - Elemental, Herbal, Color, Crystal, Casting Template
More Witchy ways
More Prayer/Spells
Working with Others

This bibliography is very interesting. A lot of "witchcraft 101" type titles, and some really engaging and interesting ones such as Many Hall's The Secret Teachings of All Ages - I just love Manly Hall.  
Here is a very interesting one - Grimoire for the Apprentice Wizard.

Bubble, Bubble, Toil and Trouble contains information on casting a circle, cleansing and charging.  
Potions has recipes for  teas, tinctures and oils.

One of the gems in this little book is the Casting Template-
It will be great to help you get in the habit of writing your workings down, and it is very well thought out,
great to put in your Magickal Journal, BOS, BOL or whatever you want to call it.

More Witchy Ways gives information on Candle Magic, Knot Magic and Cauldron Magic, Stitching Magic and Touch Magic along with Drawing Down the Moon and Drinking in the Sun.  OK.

Working with others is basically a list of rules of how to act, such as don't touch another witch's tools.  It also has a complete outline for setting up your own Christian Witch Coven.

Purchase at Amazon

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Magical Destinations of the Northeast: Sacred Sites, Occult Oddities & Magical Monuments by Natalie Zaman review

Magical Destinations of the Northeast: Sacred Sites, Occult Oddities & Magical Monuments

by Natalie Zaman

  •  Llewellyn Publications (October 8, 2016)
  • ISBN-13: 978-0738747903

  • I have to be honest, as always.  This book totally blew me away.  I didn't expect as much information packed into only 432 pages.  The author is Natalie Zaman, and she really does take you on a Magical Mystery Tour LOL.   She covers Washington, DC, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.

There is a nice resources section in the back of the book, and a really nice Index.  You all know me, I love the resources section of a book, and I firmly believe every book should have an Index. This Resource section is one humdinger! Be prepared to lengthen your 'must have' booklist!  There are plenty of urls also!

This is the kind of book that not only makes you want to travel to these places, but it also is entertaining and absorbing just to read it! I got to looking through it, looked up and 2 hours had gone by.  The first thing I saw was on page  201 The New York City Tarot Tour.  Did you know there is a clock on the Schwarzbock Building (between 31st and 32nd Streets) that has Merlin the Magician who hourly waves his wand, causing a black smith to forge Excalibur, and the Lady of the Lake to rise up and bless those who are watching? I didn't know that either! And how cool!

There is a place in Connecticut called Gillette Castle that has a gallery dedicated to Pamela Colman Smith!
 The actor William Gillette   bought the castle, Pamela was his cousin on his mother's side. This is the only display of her art in the country.

I grew up in Kentucky, I am now living in Pennsylvania.  I was so surprised to find out all the cool stuff here!  There is a place where you can strike rocks that will chime! There is a Megalith Park with standing stones! I didn't know that eastern PA is said to be the most haunted region of the country!
There are all kinds of seasonal activities from Faerie Festivals, to a Burning BIRD (not man) festival to an Albatwitch (apple witch) festival in early Sept.

There are hex signs all over, showing evidence that Pow Wow magic is still running deep through the land. There is a war dog memorial and a wolf preserve.  There are places that are strongly connected to the old German and Norse spiritual belief systems. And to top it all off, there is:
The Mazar of Sheikh M. R. Bawa Muhaiyaddeen -  This is a grave, with whitewashed walls and a domed top, the first of its kind in the United States, dedicated to the lifestyle of the Sufi teacher who lies there- the mystical branch of the Muslim faith.

I found out that Glinda the Good Witch was from Washington DC.  I didn't know that one can view the complete collection of the Library of Congress's magical material at their url! AND she provides the url! ( I checked and it works!)

This book is everything you expect from the title, and much, much more!
Highly recommended.

Monday, February 6, 2017

The Magic of Trees by Tess Whitehurst review

The Magic of Trees
A Guide to Their Sacred Wisdom and Metaphysical Properties
by Tess Whitehurst
Llewellyn Publications (January 8, 2017)

Part One: Orientation
Methods of Tree Magic
A Note on Gathering
A Note on Correspondences
Part Two: The Trees
Appendix A: Magical Uses Overview
Appendix B: Elemental Correspondences
Appendix C: Planetary Correspondences

There are 103 trees listed in the book, including coffee and sassafras. One thing I can see myself doing is coloring the beautiful black and white etchings of the trees.

I love coffee, so I am going to share some of the information regarding it.
Coffee was actually discovered by a goatherd who noticed his goats were all wired after eating the leaves!  He told his priest, who roasted the seeds and gave to monks who found themselves able to meditate and study way up into the night!  LOL
For Magic- Abundance, Goddess Energy and Productivity.
She gives a potion for wealth and the Magical Correspondences which are:
Element: Fire
Gender:  Feminine
Planet:  Mars

You will find the Magical Correspondences at the end of each Tree Definition.

Some of the things you will find in this book are beauty and fertility spells, uses for the wood for the various trees- which are good for dowsing and wands for example.  Which trees are good to use for making a broom or an instrument.  An Otherworld connection ritual, using cedar oil to clear space, which tree to use to attract animals and transform karma.  These are just touching the tip of the iceberg!

The Magical Uses Overview in Appendix A has a topic followed by which tree corresponds.

Appendix B holds the Elemental Correspondences information:
The first topic is Earth, followed by Apple, Banana, Buckthorn, etc.

The last Appendix is the Planetary Correspondences.
The first of these is Ceres, followed by the trees that relate- Alder, Chaste, Cinchona, etc.

The Bibliography is 10 pages long! I love it!

This book is well researched, well laid out and organized and easy to read.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Sharman-Caselli Tarot Deck Review

I usually show a few cards, but I had a hard time picking when to stop!  I wanted to show them ALL!

The artwork is by Giovanni Caselli.
The cards are by Juliet Sharman-Burke.

The cards are sturdy but flexible, easy to shuffle, and super easy to trim if you do that. They are normal sized for Tarot.
They are categorized in the normal 4 suites just as the Rider-Waite cards, with a color associated with each.  For example Wands are yellow and represent creativity and life.

The LWB is 64 pages, so not so little!

purchase at amazon

Saturday, February 4, 2017

The Path of a Christian Witch by Adelina St. Clair review

The Path of a Christian Witch
Adelina St. Clair
 Llewellyn Publications; 1 edition (July 8, 2010)

Chapter 1 Foundations
Chapter 2 The Search
Chapter 3 The Merging
Chapter 4 Living in the World: To Worship, to Seek, to Love
Chapter 5 Spirit in Action: Ten Rituals for Everyday Life
In Closing
Appendix – Comparative Chart

        Starting with the author's journey with a feeling of belonging within the Catholic church to her winding up in a Wiccan group, this book covers the 'in between'. She was raised Catholic and went to a Catholic school I myself can't relate to that, as I grew up in a Protestant Christian environment. There were no statues, etc. So reading this book made me wonder about the Catholic church. There seem to be a lot of similarities between Catholicism and Wiccan ways.
        Why does the author call herself a Christian Witch? Why not just be a witch? Or a Wiccan?
“I am keeping the Christian aspect because I have no reason to give it up. All my life I have been blessed in the most amazing way. Every time I have been in need of anything, I have been answered. For as long as I can remember, I have been talking to Jesus and Mary. I can not turn my back on such a friendship”
      She tells of her feelings toward the Catholic Church throughout the book, and gives her reason for not 'following blindly'. One thing most people who have turned from Christianity to the earth based religions and beliefs such as Witch Craft, Wicca, Hedge witchery, Kitchen witchery, etc. all have in common is a disgust of the hypocrisy of the leaders of the Church system (Catholic or otherwise) and an inner pain from the degradation of women within that system.
         She tells of finding the Wiccan School she joined, and how she could telepathically send and receive messages with those in the school, and how the school had people who acted as 'guardians' standing between the students and the street to protect the students from any psychic attacks.
        She speaks of how the church started and grew out of revelation knowledge of the disciples.
She tells of the Ten Commandments and how God says you must have no other god besides Me (Exodus chapter 20) Then she explains how one branch of Judeo-Christianity has what is called
'monotheism by inclusion' which says there are many gods who have merged into one entity – many names, One God. From what I know that is just plainly dictated by the doctrine or dogma of the branch of Christianity you follow.
       In one place she says “ Ever since I was a child, Jesus has been my confidant, my solace, and my counsel. He would come to me in my dreams and answer the most profound of existential questions, and without effort I would understand”

   It is like this throughout the book, I am giving a bit of a warning here. According to the writer, everything came easy to her, she has talked with Jesus and Mary all her life, instantly able to achieve any spiritual-energetic goal she has set for herself. All of her prayers have been answered in tangible ways, and she has never been in need of anything. Evidently she has not had to face any trials in her life, just hurt feelings sometimes. I can not relate. It is interesting reading. So if you have had a hard life, you might have some trouble reading this book.
      There are a few things in the book that are stated as facts and they are not. For example the tale of St. Brigid of Kildare. One example is where she says Brigid was raised as a Druid. That is said in various places, but a thorough search reveals that it is believed in Ireland (where she was from) that she was given to a Druid to work as a child and later returned home. A common enough practice which makes me tend to believe it.

       If you look at the last third of the book, there are some ideas for rituals, and a comparison chart between Christianity and Paganism. Please keep in mind that throughout the book when she says Christian or Church she is referring to the Catholic Church. She gives a Wheel of the Year also, an explanation of the various holidays the Pagans hold throughout the year. She tells you how to cleanse your space to get rid of negativity, how to do a ritual, how to meditate, how to make a sacred space.
       Also, throughout the book you must remember that she is following a Wiccan path. So the Law of Three is valid for her, but if you are just a witch not a wiccan, you do not have to follow that in your personal creed. I do think that continually stressing that she is following a Wiccan path would have helped tremendously in understanding the book better.
She touches on the meanings of some 'witchy' things, this book is not a 'how to' it is a story of how she got to where she is now.
        The Bibliography is very eclectic, I enjoyed looking at it, and found one book I need to get!
   Overall, I think it is a good book if you are looking to read a person's journey. If you want to learn how to BE a Christian Witch, it is ok, but not a step by step how to.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

DreamCatching by Kaya Walker review

Dream Catching by Kaya Walker
2016 Lo Scarabeo

Here is a picture of the dream catcher that comes with the book. My beautiful grand daughter is showing it off for you.

The book arrived in a sleeve with the dream catcher.

The contents:
Part One : Introduction to Dreamcatchers
Part Two: Purpose and Design
Part Three: Dreams
Part Four: Environment

The purpose of the book is summarized. I can not find any information on the authoress Kaya Walker, except that she collaberated on a Native American Oracle deck with by Laura Tuan  and Massimo Rotundo 

Part One:
The popularity and purpose of dream catchers is discussed. The dram catcher is explained as catching bad dreams in its threads while letting good dreams create a connection to spirit through the threads in the dream catcher. She also gives pros and cons of appropriating various cultural beliefs into your own personal system. A bit political for my taste.

Part Two:
Here she explains how the dream catchers work, and why they are made the way they are. This holds some interesting and helpful information. One example: if you are wanting a dream catcher that will bar really bad nightmares, you should use rough threads to make it. She speaks about the colors of the feathers, strings and beads used and how they effect the dream work.

Part Three:
A little bit about dreams, some information on how to use the dream catcher.

Part Four:
Here is how to clear up the environment in a room, a bit of Feng shui, and the idea that cleaning and organizing a room is magic. Then we are told that a clean environment is a healthy environment.
There is also an explanation of how to use two different types of dream catchers to do energy healing.

The entire booklet is just that – a booklet. It actually has enough imnportant information to fill about 15 pages. If you are a complete novice at magic, if you don't know anything at all about energy flow, then there are quite a few tidbits you will enjoy.

I do recommend this book for the dream catcher itself which is well made. I smudged it, and hung it over my bed last night. I didn't have nightmares or unsettling dreams. I did have a very beautiful dream that I was standing looking out at the night, everything was a beautiful midnight blue color, and there was rain falling like a curtain, I saw it begin to fall. Everything was drawn with silver, the moonlight was bright and silvery. Very beautiful.