Book Review: 365 Tarot Spells by Sasha Graham

Book Review: 365 Tarot Spells by Sasha Graham Review by Dawn Thomas 408 Pages Publisher: Llewellyn Publications Tarot, Divination, Ritual, Magic, Spirituality Ms. Graham begins this book with a homage to Janina Renee’s Tarot Spells. She describes her first experience using Janina’s book. During her reading, the author realized the question she asked was not what she needed to know. There were more ways to connect to nature and create sacred space. This prompted her to create this book. Sasha believes magic is understood in a threefold process using desire (thoughts and ideas), feelings (align yourself and visualize) and action (the spell). She explains the importance of magic and shows readers how they can connect with it. The author realized her first book, 365 Tarot Spreads, was a great starting point for a spell book. As in her pervious book, a bit of trivia is at the beginning of each daily spell. Reader can pick any tarot deck they feel comfortable using. Ms. Graham suggests reading each spell in advance and any tools needed gathered before the reader begins a spell. It is important to follow her guidelines to create sacred space and the three steps to responsible magic. Each…

Book Review Tending Brigid’s Flame by Lunaea Weatherstone

Book Review Tending Brigid’s Flame by Lunaea Weatherstone Review by Dawn Thomas 290 Pages Publisher: Llewellyn Publications Celtic, Goddesses, Paganism & Neo-Paganism I have had this book on my list to read for a while now. This is the perfect time to read about Brigid. The author has an easy to read style. Each chapter has short stories by different contributors. At the end of the book, there is an extensive list of resources. If you honor Brigid or Celtic deities, you will enjoy this book. The first chapter details the life of the Celtic goddess as well as the Christian saint. Her research reveals a wonderful woman who helped the poor and arranged her mother’s release from slavery. In the second chapter, the author gives examples for working with thresholds. They include blessing yourself and your guests. She discusses Celtic hospitality and the connections with faeries. There are several rituals for your home and hearth. Ms. Weatherstone also discusses the differences between shrines and altars along with how to care for them. The chapter ends with recipes for the Sabbat. The third chapter explains the importance of the number three. She includes the symbols triskele, triquetra, and beautiful Celtic…

Book Review: Imbolc: Rituals, Recipes & Lore for Brigid’s Day by Carl F. Neal

Book Review: Imbolc: Rituals, Recipes & Lore for Brigid’s Day by Carl F. Neal Review by Dawn Thomas 240 Pages Publisher: Llewellyn Publications Religion and Spirituality, Sabbats This is another installment of the Llewellyn Essential Sabbats series. The chapters are similar to previous books starting with a trip through the wheel of the year. This book is well written and easy to follow. The first chapter discusses the old ways and the author provides a history of the sabbat. Before reading this book, I did not know the differences between the terms Imbolc and Candlemas with the exception that Candlemas was the Christian version. Most books use the terms interchangeably. Imbolc is a time for new beginnings. Mr. Neal discusses the importance of sheep and their reproductive cycle. The ancient people knew spring was near when the ewes began producing milk. The rest of the chapter is dedicated to different cultures including Celtic, Roman, Native American, Egyptian, and Asian. The next chapter discusses new ways to celebrate Imbolc. The author explains how some Neopagans may feel disconnected with Imbolc because of geographical locations. This chapter describes how people honor Brigid by tending flames and wells in her honor. Mr. Neal…

Book Review Yule Rituals, Recipes and Lore for the Winter Solstice by Susan Pesznecker

Book Review Yule Rituals, Recipes and Lore for the Winter Solstice by Susan Pesznecker Review by Dawn Thomas 240 Pages Publisher: Llewellyn Publications Publication Date: October 8, 2015 Religion & Spirituality, Sabbat This book is the next installment of the Llewellyn’s Sabbat Essentials. In the first chapter, Old Ways, Ms. Pesznecker discusses how the winter solstice was observed in the past. I love her analogy of Mother Earth going quiet in the winter. She also discusses the importance of hibernation. The author also explains the difference between Yule and the Winter Solstice. The mythological cycles of Yule are included in this chapter with references to gods and goddesses associated with the season. The next chapter, New Ways, describes how different cultures observe the solstice. These include Japan, Mexico, Iran, and China. The customs of Pagans, Druids, Witches, and Heathens are also discussed. Mummering, Wassailing and burning a Yule log are a few activities covered in this chapter. The author details the symbols of Midwinter. She also discusses the benefits of having a live Yule tree. The chapter on spells and divinations discusses the importance of timing. The author gives a list of questions the reader should answer before undertaking any…

Book review: To Walk A Pagan Path: Practical Spirituality for Every Day by Alaric Albertson

Book review: To Walk A Pagan Path: Practical Spirituality for Every Day by Alaric Albertson Review by Dawn Thomas 288 Pages Publisher: Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd. Religion, New Age, Spirituality, Paganism, Witchcraft Chapter one covers the steps to a new way of living. The author discusses ways to bring spirituality into your daily life. He begins with a beautiful dedication rite. Mr. Albertson is a Saxon Pagan and uses Germanic terminology but recommends each reader use the appropriate words/names to his or her tradition. The first step is to connect with spirit. The second step is to create sacred space. He explains the importance of maintaining an altar. He stresses the altar should be cleaned and changed on a regular basis in order for it to be considered sacred. The third step is to create sacred time. He recommends having a specific day and time to visit the altar but to be realistic. The minimum time he set was fifteen minutes because “life happens to all of us.” The fourth step is to make daily activities sacred. This could be as simple as taking care of a pet or playing an instrument. The fifth step is to observe regular offerings. Honoring…

Book Review – Mabon: Rituals, Recipes & Lore for the Autumn Equinox by Diana Rajchel

Book Review – Mabon: Rituals, Recipes & Lore for the Autumn Equinox by Diana Rajchel Review by Dawn Thomas 240 Pages Llewellyn Publications Publication Date: July 1, 2015 This is another book in the Llewellyn Sabbat Essentials series. Mabon is another name for the Fall Equinox or Autumnal Equinox. It is one of four solar festivals divided throughout the year. This is a celebration of the second harvest. A point of balance where the day and the night are equal. The book has the following chapters. The chapter “Old Ways” discusses the history and lore of Mabon. The theme for Mabon is to celebrate harvest, sacrifice and survival. Astrology of the Fall Equinox is also included. The author explains how the Autumn Equinox got the name Mabon. There is a section about James Frazer’s research from The Golden Bough. The chapter “New Ways” explains how modern Pagans celebrate the sabbat. The author explains why not all Pagans celebrate Mabon, however many do participate with the largest celebration in the world: Pagan Pride. Different traditions have their own ways to honor the equinox. The modern Druids celebrate the equinox as Alban Elfed and Heathens celebrate Winter Finding. There is also a…

Book Review: Lughnasadh: Rituals, Recipes & Lore for Lammas by Melanie Marquis

Book Review: Lughnasadh: Rituals, Recipes & Lore for Lammas by Melanie Marquis Review by Dawn Thomas Pages 240 Llewellyn Publications Publication date: June 8, 2015 Religion and Spirituality This is another book in the Llewellyn Sabbats Essentials series. Like the other books in the series this one also covers topics related to the Sabbat. The author describes different feasts and celebrations for this time of year. The book begins with a recap of the wheel of the year and a short description of each Sabbat. The book ends with a list of correspondences for the Sabbat. The section Old Ways describes how people celebrated the holiday in different regions. Lughnasadh gets its name from the Celtic deity Lugh. It was a time for harvests, partnerships, fairs and games. In the New Ways section, the author reminds us of the difficulty associating the first harvest to our modern lives. She states that although many of us do not plant and harvest all of our food the food doesn’t magically appear. Someone must tend to the crops in order for us to buy them. She also includes ways modern pagans celebrate the season. In the section Spells and Divination, the author provides…

Book Review: Ostara by Kerri Connor

Book Review: Ostara by Kerri Connor Review by Dawn Thomas Publisher: Llewellyn Publications Release date: January 8, 2015 208 pages Sabbats This book is a part of the Sabbat Essentials and begins with a tour through the wheel of the year. The author also explains the difference hemispheres. The book is divided into six chapters. The first chapter is called Old Ways. She describes how the equinox is calculated. She also includes a timeline for the connection of Eostre with hares and shows how a tradition was born. She continues this chapter with descriptions of sacred sites that mark the Equinox. She includes the Celts, Druids, Malta, Mayans and Angkor Wat. The author also includes the relationship between Ostara and other holidays and deities that are honored by various religions. She also describes how Ostara was thought to be the celebration of the New Year. The second chapter is New Ways. The author describes the newness of the season, the symbols of spring, and seasonal activities. She mentions kite flying is a perfect activity to honor the season. Other activities involve eggs like egg rolls, hunts and races. She continues the chapter by detailing the different ways Pagans celebrate Ostara….

Book Review: Faeries and Elementals for Beginners by Alexandra Chauran

  Book Review: Faeries and Elementals for Beginners by Alexandra ChauranReview by Dawn Thomas Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd.Nonfiction (Adult) Outdoors & NaturePrint size: 218 Pages Faeries have always been in my life. Now I realize elementals have been present as well. I enjoyed her story advising us to stay balanced with the elements. She worked and perfected her connection with fire but suffered the consequences for being out of balance. The book is divided into faeries and each elemental. The author does a wonderful job describing the different categories of faeries. I was not aware of most of them. The author provides ways to scry with all of the elementals. She also gives meditations and ritual ideas for each section which is a great way for people to get started with that elemental. The section on Sylphs and the element of air was very interesting. I now look at the air element differently. In the past I have had a hard time connecting with this element when in reality I should have embraced it. As a fire sign, I need air to fuel my fire. The author gave me ideas of working with air. About seven years ago at a ritual…

Book Review The Wisdom of Hypatia by Bruce J. MacLennan, PhD

Book Review The Wisdom of Hypatia by Bruce J. MacLennan, PhD 384 pages Publisher: Llewellyn Publications (December 8, 2013) ISBN-10: 073873599X ISBN-13: 978-0738735993 Nonfiction (adult), Religion & Spirituality In following the theme of Hypatia, I was excited to include this book. I enjoy reading books on philosophy and this book did not disappoint me. The book is divided into four parts and is designed to be used as a nine-month program. Each part includes different subjects along with exercises. The exercises are meant to be practices before moving to the next topic. The author compares training for an Ironman competition to practicing the exercises. He states you wouldn’t begin the competition without the necessary training and the exercises should be approached in the same manner. Below are the four parts. Part I Preliminaries This section of the book goes into detail about the three degrees of wisdom—The Garden, the Porch, and the Grove along with a brief history of philosophy. The author mentions several times this book is not written to be a history of philosophy. He mentions several books for more information on the subject. Part II. The First Degree of Wisdom is represented by Epicureanism which seeks tranquility…