Book Review: Arc of the Goddess by Rachel Patterson and Tracey Roberts

Book Review: Arc of the Goddess by Rachel Patterson and Tracey Roberts Review by Dawn Thomas 272 Pages Publisher: John Hunt Publishing Ltd / Moon Books Religion & Spirituality This book comes from a year-long online course they developed together. Each chapter is dedicated with a theme for the month. Within each chapter, the authors explore a different goddess as they travel the wheel of the year. What I liked about this design is they included the stages of a woman along with the elements and the seasons. There is a beautiful wheel diagram, which shows how the themes are connected. The authors include nine goddesses for each month. Since nine is a goddess number, this makes sense. There are also devotions, crafts and recipes written specifically for each month. I also like the authors’ advice that you do not have to wait until January to begin the book. You can begin at any point of the year. So many books do that and when I come across one in June or July I do not really know what to do. Sometimes I put the book aside for the new year and then forget about starting it. Since this is…

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: Samhain: Rituals, Recipes & Lore for Halloween by Diana Rajchel

Book Review: Samhain: Rituals, Recipes & Lore for Halloween by Diana Rajchel Review by Dawn Thomas 264 Pages Publisher: Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd. Religion & Spirituality, Comparative Religion, Wicca & Witchcraft, This is the next installment of the Llewellyn’s Sabbat Essentials series. It is an excellent book on the Samhain season. The author does an excellent job researching and presenting information about the Sabbat. The first chapter covers the old ways. Samhain, pronounced SOW-in, is the last spoke in the wheel of the year. To most this signals the end of summer. Ancient Celts considered Samhain a fire festival. Fire festivals are also known as cross-quarter festivals. The author describes the Christian influence, how Halloween traveled to the new world, and the reassertion of Samhain with the rise of Paganism. The second chapter discusses the new ways the holiday is celebrated. The author discusses the modern themes and elements associated with Samhain. She debunks several Halloween stories including razor blades in apples. The author covers the different traditions within Paganism. The list includes Wicca, Celtic Reconstruction, Druidry, Stregheria, Heathen, Hellenic, Feri and Reclaiming traditions. She then explains other festivals celebrated around Samhain. These include All Soul’s Day, All Saints’ Day, Dia…

Book Review America Nation of the Goddess by Alan Butler and Janet Wolter

Book Review America Nation of the Goddess by Alan Butler and Janet Wolter Review by Dawn Thomas 368 Pages Publisher: Inner Traditions / Destiny Books Religion & Spirituality When I saw this book, I knew I had to read it. I have watched the History Channel’s American Unearthed with Scott Wolter for several years. He is a forensic geologist and his wife, Janet, and Alan have been on his show. The book begins with an organization called The Grange. Towards the end of the book, I was reaching my own similar conclusions. I was amazed at the amount of research the authors conducted while writing this book. The amount of detail along with the pictures and drawings in the book provides the reader with enough information to see connections they may not have realized in the past. The authors travelled the world to show us how famous historical people and the founding fathers honored the Goddess. The name used to describe these people is the Venus families. I found I was stopping throughout the book to verify facts. The book was enjoyable and very informative. I must admit it took me a long time to finish because I would reread…

Book Review: The Practical Art of Divine Magic by Patrick Dunn Book Review by Dawn Thomas

Book Review: The Practical Art of Divine Magic by Patrick Dunn Book Review by Dawn Thomas Publisher: Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd. 360 Pages Religion & Spirituality   The book begins with an introduction that includes a historical account of theurgy. The author goes into detail the different times. He acknowledges a few great philosophers such as Socrates, Pythagoras, Plato, Aristotle and Plotinus. He also discusses the influences of Hermeticism on theurgic practices. The author shows how the scientific revolution influenced people and how it affected theurgy. It seems people thought they had to accept one or the other but not both. Mr. Dunn’s goal is for the reader to discover information and incorporate it into a working system. He believes theurgy is the engine of magic and that it adds value to a spiritual path. These are the titles of the chapters in the book. Chapter 1 A Divine Technology Chapter 2 What is a God? Chapter 3 The Addresses of the Gods Chapter 4 Rituals and Tools of Theurgy Chapter 5 Divination and Oracles Chapter 6 Daimonology Chapter 7 Thaumatrugy Chapter 8 Know Thyself The book has many exercises with step-by-step instructions. They start out small and build from that….

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: A Practical Heathen’s Guide to Asatru by Patricia M. Lafayllve

A Practical Heathen’s Guide to Asatru by Patricia M. Lafayllve Book review by Dawn Thomas Print Length: 266 pages Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0738733873 Publisher: Llewellyn Publications (November 1, 2013) Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc. Language: English Nonfiction (Adult), Religion & Spirituality The author does a very good job in explaining Asatru. She states in the beginning of the book that all heathens have their own opinions about Asatru and this book is based on her opinions. I found it to be very informative and well written. Even though it is a non-fiction book, the author’s writing is not dry but full of stories that leave the reader wanting more. The book is divided into two parts. The first part includes an introduction to Heathenry, runes, charms, creation and cosmology, and magic. I found the chapter with descriptions of the gods and goddesses very fulfilling. Some of them can be obscure but she is very resourceful going into detail. She made me aware of some I didn’t know about before. At the end of the chapter she lists some rituals and ways to honor the gods and goddesses. There is also a chapter on Wyrd and Orlog which includes…

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…

Book Review: The Song of the Shaman by Annette Vendryers Leach

Book Review by Dawn Thomas The Song of the Shaman Annette Vendryers Leach Publisher: MindPress Media Print Length: 257 Pages Published Date: August, 1, 2013 Literature/Fiction (Adult), Religion & Spirituality Sherri is a single woman whose biological clock was calling. She goes into labor in the backseat of a taxi cab in New York City. Her son, Zig, is a special child. He tells her stories about when he was an Indian. Sherri does not know what to make of him and his stories of a past life. Sherri does not know her heritage. Her adopted parents would not talk to her about it. The book flashes back to 1899 Panama where we meet Louise a young woman of 20, her younger sister Maud and her father Charles. Charles fears Maud’s illness is getting worse and seeks out a shaman when the local doctors are unable to help her. They ride to see a shaman to help with Maud’s breathing and frail condition. Once they arrive at a river and meet Benjamin, the shaman’s grandson who takes them to the shaman’s village. The shaman performs healing rituals and teas while chanting and singing day and night. Maud appears to be…