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Margaret A. Foster (Quakertown, PA)

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Village Witch
Village Witch
by Cassandra Latham-Jones
Edition: Paperback

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Village Witch, 15 Feb 2012
This review is from: Village Witch (Paperback)
This book was gifted to me, and what a special gift it was.

The book opens with her personal history, to enable the reader to understand where she came from. Ms. Latham-Jones gives us a look at a woman who has overcome many obstacles to get to where she is today. But, in the end, she is doing what she loves to do, and is respected and admired for the work she does. She is the Village Witch.

We are taken on a journey back in time to a life that is filled with sadness. She is adopted into a home that lacks in personal interrelationships, and sent to institutions because she did not fit into the cookie cutter world she was expected to live in. As she tried to fit in, she becomes involved in abusive relationships.

What is wondrous is she finally does break free from this cycle. Not many people find the inner strength to do so. And she has gone to school for nursing and finds herself on the path of the healer.

She makes her way to Cornwall, and after an introduction to the Craft, she realizes she is finally home, spiritually and physically. She settles down to a life by the sea as the Village Witch; a healer, a council and a guide.

Ms. Latham-Jones gives a very personal and interesting look at life in Cornwall. We are introduced to the places, the people and the culture, which is all conducive to her life style. She fits right in with the history as well as the needs of the people. We see how she works with these people, as she gives small incidents and histories that make this book enchanting.

We are given case histories, we look into the growing pagan community in England and Cornwall, and we see how it all is blending together in a patchwork that is pleasing to all.

Know that Ms. Latham-Jones writes in a pragmatic manner. She is honest and up front with her readers, and explains everything simply and clearly. Her writing style is entertaining as well as informative. The words flow nicely. She tells a good story!

And finally, Ms. Latham-Jones provides some spells and workings that she has used. It is interesting to see how another witch works using folk culture and the supplies at hand.

I found this book to be a wonderful work all the way around. It is personal, it is a story of one woman's journey and how she found inner strength to break away from social patterns and find herself a place in the world. It is about culture and how it blends in with what we do. And it is about acceptance.

I highly recommend this book. It is as inspiring as it is informative and entertaining. This is a delightful book to add to your library.

Reiki Shaman [European Import]
Reiki Shaman [European Import]
Price: 12.77

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Stronger Reiki Music, 12 Sep 2008
This German import features the work of Ronald Hoth also known as Ashron. Published by BSC music Germany, this is the third CD by this artist, previous works being "Inner Peace" and "Reiki Mantras". He also has two CD's with his group "Aschera".

The artist is a Reiki Master whose works focus on building an atmosphere for working Reiki. This work also focuses on working on a Shamanic level. The addition of more forceful drumming than your usual Reiki CD's appears to be his addition of the Shaman flavor to the Reiki music. This CD also has a very definite Japanese flavor in all the tracks. To quote his website: "The new Ashron album "Reiki Shaman" is once more based on an underlying topic: suggesting the listener to focus his inner powers and his will and to use both for the creation of a positive "Here and Now"."

There are eleven tracks on this disk, ranging from a little over four and a half minutes to almost six and a half minutes.

The first and second tracks "World of Harmony" and "Sundance of Love" feature Japanese style drumming, flute and female vocals overlaid on an electronic background. The pieces are very prominent, energetic and are not your usual soft and mellow type of Reiki background music. A soft chant of "Sundance of Love" is repeated throughout the second piece. The piece "Crystal Mountain" again features electronics with vocals and again, the strong drumming. This piece is a bit softer that the previous pieces.

"Shamanic Drive" is a more powerful piece, with a lot more intense drumming, male vocals, and more percussion with light electronic fill in. "Father's Son" is a spoken prayer put to music, featuring guitar and electronic background with female vocals. The prayer is in English, so you can understand and meditate on the piece. The sixth track "Golden Eye" is a more electronic piece, with more drumming but softer than some of the other drumming tracks and again features flute and vocals. "Saya" returns to the power drumming and lots of chanting. Electronic flute accents the piece, again with electronic backfill.

The track "Ngorongor" brings us jungle animals and drumming. Probably the most off piece of this CD, the elephant trumpeting and monkey calls mixed with the chanting did not sit well with me. It just seemed out of place here. While it had a Shamanic feel, it did not say Reiki to me. We return to something more subtle with "So Many Souls", a prayer again set to music and drumming. "Courtship Flight" is again very Shamanic, chanting, drumming and bird sounds filling in the background over the electronic fill. The closing track "Heavenly Fire" starts with a struck match and a crackling fire over an electronic fill that turns into a prayer about the Reiki Shaman. Drumming is slower than previous pieces and chanting fills in over the music. The piece closes as it began, with the crackling of the fire.

While most of us are accustomed to a softer, non-intrusive style of Reiki music, this CD tends to be a bit more overpowering than many will prefer. This is, as I said, because the artist appears to be working a Shamanic angle to the Reiki practice and the use of more forceful drumming and chanting in Shamanic practices is common. While this CD may be good for personal Reiki practice if you like this sort of thing, I found it too pronounced to use as a backdrop for working Reiki on clients. There were also a couple of tracks I thought would not work well for Shamanic practices either. But I believe this would be a personal preference.

However, do not let this deter you from listening to this CD. It is a very different look at music for Reiki, and if you also have a Shamanic lean in your practice this may be a CD to look at for your own use. Ashron presents us with a different look at Reiki from the aspect of a Shaman in this CD. This is a stronger than usual Reiki CD and should be explored for it's uniqueness of style and the quality of the compositions. maf

The Hidden Path
The Hidden Path
by Raven Grimassi
Edition: Cards
Price: 21.99

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Wiccan Deck: Nice Follow up to the Well Worn Path, 1 Mar 2008
This review is from: The Hidden Path (Cards)
One of the reasons I liked the "Well Worn Path" deck was that no matter what path of Wicca/witchcraft you followed, the deck was generic enough to be used by any path. However, looking at this new deck, there are some elements that have been incorporated into this deck that speak to specific beliefs within Wicca and may not reflect everyone's choices in spiritual path.

The deck is actually interesting, nicely designed and has some elements that offer the Wiccan practitioner a deck that speaks directly to them. While the introduction to the book specifically mentions those on the Pagan path, the deck is very much Wiccan in flavor. Generic it is not.

It is a divinatory deck. Its purpose is to lead the user deeper into the mysteries of their Spiritual Path. It is intended to "speak" to the user, allowing the user to uncover hidden elements in their spiritual practices. It focuses on the three realms of Spirituality - overworld, middleworld and underworld. And the imagery works well with the intention of the deck.

The book does convey to the user the idea that the authors were looking to communicate through the imagery of the deck. It is worth reading through the book to find the focus of the authors, and then study the deck in relation to this purpose. However, my own experience with this deck leads me to believe that the user can interpret the cards pretty much as is needed and are not fixed in what the authors intended.

Some of the cards, however, seemed path specific, or did not mesh well with all paths, in my opinion. Specifically: Karma; Perfect Love and Perfect Trust; Holly King and Oak King; Priest and Priestess (very elven looking, not very human). I had a few other questions regarding how some concepts were presented. Spirit Guides become The Kindred. Theban Script is used on some of the cards rather than using a language that would be easily recognized and understood. Looks pretty, but is not very useful in making the meaning immediately clear.

I supposed if the concept is not in line with your own personal beliefs, or if you find a card not very clear in its relationship with your own path, you could leave it in the box. What was interesting and what works well here is that this deck can be added to the "Well Worn Path" deck to expand the ideas and concepts that were approached in the first deck and enhance the reading experience. I like this concept. Much like the eclectic witch that I am, toss out the bits that don't fit and include the ones that do. A rather unique approach and one that I like.

Overall, the concepts and ideas that were started in the "Well Worn Path" deck are expanded and gone into a bit deeper here. The idea of the deck and its purpose is very clearly laid out, though it does not seem to be as generic as the authors may have thought it could be. But I like the idea of something very Wiccan specific, going into the concepts and ideas that are basic to Wiccan practices. The user, however, should look at the material and see how much of it is usable in their path. While I found leaving a few cards in the box was acceptable, the amount of material that meshes with their own personal path should be assessed by the user. Leaving most of the deck in the box defeats the purpose.

I like the deck, I like the concepts and the use of the deck is in line with these concepts. I found it works well in Wiccan practice and is a nice addition to your working tools. Boudica

Tarot Art Nouveau: Tarot del Art Nouveau [With Embroidered Velvet Bag]
Tarot Art Nouveau: Tarot del Art Nouveau [With Embroidered Velvet Bag]

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Pretty but lacking real symbolism, 1 Mar 2008
As with all Lo Scarabeo decks, the box contains the usual: the deck, a bag (a nice one here) and the Iddy Biddy Book written in 5 languages. The Iddy Biddy Book contains a minimum of information on the deck.

There is a small introduction to the deck itself, and the name is mostly explored here. Art Nouveau has been a popular topic in fashion, architecture and art. It is characterized by highly stylized flowing lines of plants and floral designs. And this deck has plenty of that. It was most popularized in the 20s.

So, this deck seems to be an interpretation of the tarot based on an artistic design. Looking at the figures, they have a Greek or Roman appearance, and it is appealing in the motif expressed. They are in various stages of dress or not, and this is also in character with the design of Art Nouveau. The colors are rich, unusual for a Lo Scarabeo Deck.

The deck is based on the Rider Waite deck, with 22 Trump cards, 4 suits of chalices, wands, swords and pentacles, which look more like coins in this deck. The symbolism is superficial, with focus on the style, not the content. The Trump cards seem to be a bit more symbolic than the suits.

While I love the look of the deck, reading it was not very insightful. The lack of symbolism on most cards left you with a lovely layout with no substance. While the experienced reader can call upon their working knowledge to read the deck, it does not say much to the novice or the client who is looking at the cards for insights as well.

The bag, however, is a great improvement over the thin nylon bags that have accompanied many other decks I have. It is a heavy duty lined bag, will stand up to wear and tear, and it is embroidered with a lovely one color design. I would like to see more bags like this included in with decks.

While it is an unusual deck because of its retro design, it will look pretty on the shelf. The deck otherwise is much like any other deck, with nothing to differentiate it and its lack of Tarot symbolism leaves the deck flat. But the bag is where I would like to see more companies improve to this standard of quality. Boudica

Mystic Faerie Tarot
Mystic Faerie Tarot
by Barbara Moore
Edition: Paperback
Price: 25.25

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice Faerie Deck, 1 Mar 2008
This review is from: Mystic Faerie Tarot (Paperback)
This is a lovely deck. Really, it has some beautiful faerie images, well laid out and as it is based on the Rider Waite deck, you can see the images transition into the faerie realm. The colors are soft, pastel and it is a very feminine deck, in more ways than one. While the artist specifically says that the images are not supposed to carry the imagery in any one specific gender and can be interpreted as either male or female, I got a very decisively female imagery from many of the cards.

While there are male images throughout the deck, the female images are stronger. Female warriors, female figureheads. The Sun which most associate with male energies, is very much female and strong in appearance. In the Lovers card, the woman stands above the male image. The male images almost stand as consort to the female images.

This imagery will determine who purchases this deck. I do not see many men using this deck. However, if you have some very feminine clients, this deck may be one that speaks to them. I noticed that my very feminine clients liked this deck, but most noticed the absence of very decisive male imagery.

The deck could speak to some teenage girls who are looking for their first deck and are very into faerie imagery. The images are soft, non - threatening. Even the devil card seemed almost friendly.

The imagery does relate to the Rider Waite deck, as I mentioned, and using this deck should be no problem for those familiar with this layout. There are 22 Trump cards and the suits are wands, cups, swords and pentacles. The court cards are (in order in the book) Queen, King, Knave and Knight. And going back to a teenage girl's first deck, the images will work as basics for reading the tarot.

The deck does lack in the deeper symbolism of the Tarot. While a good place to start, a more in depth deck would be recommended as the reader graduates into the deeper meanings.

This deck is lovely to look at. The faerie images are beautifully executed and it will hold great appeal to someone who associates with the beautiful faerie imagery. But as a working deck, I would pull this out only for the younger faerie loving teenager or the occasional client who does not like the "darker" imagery that is in most tarot decks. Boudica

Necronomicon Tarot
Necronomicon Tarot
by Donald Tyson
Edition: Cards
Price: 20.80

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hauntingly Beautiful Esoteric Deck, 1 Mar 2008
This review is from: Necronomicon Tarot (Cards)
I want to start off by saying two things. First, this deck is hauntingly beautiful. And second, this deck is not for everyone. The subject material and design will intrigue and delight some folks or repulse and disgust some others. You will love it or hate it.

Having said that, my own opinion is that I really do like this deck, and did some back research on this before even writing this review. Reading through the book with the deck, I saw in the Introduction that the deck is based on Mr. Tysons own work "Necronomicon - The Wanderings of Alhazred". So after glancing through the included book, I acquired a copy of Tyson's Necronomicon and read through that, wandering back and forth between the book and the deck.

The deck is based on the Ryder Waite deck. It contains 22 Trump cards and 4 full suites with court cards of king, queen, knight and knave. The suits are broken into disks, swords, cups and wands. Each suit has its own theme color to make them easily distinguishable from the other suits. The reverse of the cards is a very clever design of Cthulhu, intriguingly done.

The correspondence "is designed to be in harmony with the set of esoteric correspondences used by the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn." And reading through the accompanying book confirms this. The suits are Wands - fire, Cups - water, Swords - air and Disks - earth. This desk also relies heavily on reversal reading of the cards, so that has to be taken into consideration when working with this deck. The deck is meant to work mostly with ritual magics and meditation, and is not considered a "fortune telling" deck.

Looking at the images will tell you this as well. Ms. Stokes has presented us with some images that will really give you pause to consider. While I think they are stunning, other people I have shown this deck could not deal with it. And still others quoted H. P. Lovecraft's work as fiction and didn't take the deck seriously.

The concept of necormancy is not new, and to eventually write a book on Necromancy and call it the Necronomicon would not have been so far fetched if it had not been that the book first appeared in a fantasy novel.

This deck is a natural progression of this process, working into using a deck designed for use in necromancy and the magical arts , calling upon real and imagined images to create a world within the deck that draws you towards the ideas and concepts that Mr. Tyson explains in both of these books.

The images work well with the usual meanings of the decks, but the designs are dark, raw and not for the weak of stomach. While the card for the Two of Cups shows a priestess of Bast pouring wine for a youth and having a statue of Bast in the background and implies what we usually associate with this card as a minor card of love, we contrast this with the Four of Wands, which shows a noble woman sitting staring amorously into the eyes of "The Deep One", very reptilian looking, having a tryst. A very different view of the meaning of enjoyment, harmony and satisfaction.

Ms. Stokes designs are very powerful. The Magician card is one of the most powerful Magician cards I've seen in a while, with the Magician raising a spirit from a grave. Now that's magic!. The Fool card is Azathoth - fat, naked, dirty and alone playing happily on his pipes. Such innocence, such blindness to the world around him.

The deck continues along in this fashion, and should really been seen and felt and contemplated to understand how this deck can work for your own path. I have found it to be compelling to use, but as I said, it is not for everyone.

However, I do recommend that you take a look at this deck and decide for yourself. I do think it is a remarkable deck, and if you have read Tyson's Necronomicon, you will find this deck as fascinating a work as
the book. boudica

Not in Kansas Anymore: Dark Arts, Sex Spells, Money Magic, and Other Things Your Neighbors Aren't Telling You (Plus)
Not in Kansas Anymore: Dark Arts, Sex Spells, Money Magic, and Other Things Your Neighbors Aren't Telling You (Plus)
by Christine Wicker
Edition: Paperback
Price: 8.63

2.0 out of 5 stars Ricky Lake in Paperback, 1 Mar 2008
I had read Ms. Wicker's book on Lilly Dale and couldn't wait to read this book. Her insights into Lilly Dale gave me the idea that she might delve a little further into the world of magic than a surface scratch and some mumbo jumbo.

While I found some of the material in this book interesting, I found that much of this book explored the "Ricky Lake" kind of characters that daytime TV would go for. And I was disappointed by these explorations into drama and sensationalism that made this read more like a supermarket tabloid expose than a book that seriously looks at today's modern magical community and practices.

The book opens with "Vampire and Victims Ball" where the attendees discuss their need to be blood suckers or the victims of blood suckers. There was no tie to magic here; there is no reason to include this in the book, other than to point out that some of your neighbors may have social and psychological issues.

There are some discussions with Cat Yronwode that are interesting, touching on the magical community and it's diversities, yet Ms. Wicker seems sometimes to not take Cat's practices seriously or her husband's. As a matter of fact, when confronted by some of the more obscure practices she explores, Ms. Wicker seems to be very tongue in cheek in how she writes about them.

I found her experience with the rootworker Kioni to be the closest she may have come to a real practitioner of magics. And it does seem that of all the experiences she has in this book, this is one that makes the biggest impression on her. She seems to come away from that experience with the most confusion about what it is that magic and spirits and the magical community are all about. But she does not explore it much further than to find that she is confused but still steadfast in her own personal beliefs.

I do give her credit for being open minded enough to want to examine the magical community and to delve into the folk magic and hoodoo that is out there. While my own impression of the side trips she took into some fringe groups are not my choice to explore, she does come away with some ideas as to how and why these fringe groups exist.

I do notice that witches and Wiccans are briefly mentioned but not explored to their fullest. I also noted that she used fluffy terms when she mentioned Wicca. It seems that there are some ideas and misconceptions that she could have explored but found the fringe groups much more interesting.

Overall, I was disappointed with this book, not because Ms. Wicker isn't a good writer with an open mind, but because it comes across like journalistic sensationalism out to sell a book. It read more like a National Enquirer story than a story for the New York Times. I had hoped for better.

If you ever decide you want to explore witchcraft and Wicca, Ms. Wicker, drop me a line and we can leave the sensational journalism at the door and have a nice chat over some coffee and some chocolate bat's wing cookies. We are not exactly who you think we are. Boudica

Isles of the Many Gods : An A-Z of the Pagan Gods & Goddesses worshipped in Ancient Britain during the first millenium through to the Middle Ages: A ... Britain During the First Millennium CE
Isles of the Many Gods : An A-Z of the Pagan Gods & Goddesses worshipped in Ancient Britain during the first millenium through to the Middle Ages: A ... Britain During the First Millennium CE
by David Rankine
Edition: Paperback
Price: 17.99

24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Good Research and Material, 1 Mar 2008
David Rankine and Sorita D'Este did a great researching job for this A to Z index of the many Gods and Goddesses that have been part of the culture and spirituality of the British Isles.

I have to give them big kudos for the quality of research and documentation that is included in this book. The bibliography is probably the largest I've ever seen in association with a pagan book, and it is not mostly referencing other pagan authors. Rather, this is a scholarly work, and if you have ever done any historical research on the British Isles, you will recognize some of these names.

Secondly, the explanation of the work is one of the best introductions I've ever read. Not only do we find out what the book is about, but Rankine and D'Este explain what they did, why they chose the Gods/Goddesses they chose, historical reference for their choices and a some background material that is a must have for the use of this book.

I like the layout of the book, from the front Table of Contents, to the well thought out Index, to the layout of the information on each of the Gods and Goddesses. This makes this a great reference book for anyone looking at the God and Goddesses of the British Isles.

I keep using the "British Isles" reference, because the book does not confine itself to any particular culture or island in that area. The Gods and Goddesses were introduced and evolved based on the cross cultures in that area over a period of time. The book covers all the Deities of the area, and while I did notice some obscure Deities that I did not expect, there were some I didn't recognize and reading through all the material was an education.

If your pantheon includes any of the Gods or Goddesses associated with the geographic area, this book will shed light on origins, lines of progression and some basic information on some of the lesser known Deities. The bibliography alone is worth the price of the book for further reference. Serious followers of the Ancient British traditions will find this book priceless and beginners will find the information will cover just about anything they want to know or research further.

And excellent reference book, a solid scholarly text and a marvelous research job by two people who took the time and effort to make a book worth having. Boudica

Utterly Wicked: Curses, Hexes & Other Unsavory Notions
Utterly Wicked: Curses, Hexes & Other Unsavory Notions
by Dorothy Morrison
Edition: Paperback
Price: 13.45

15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Curses, Hexes and other Good Stuff!!!, 29 Feb 2008
I read through this book rather quickly, as it is not all that difficult to read or understand. That is one of the signatures of works by Dorothy Morrison, easy to read and understand.

I also found myself nodding my head as I went through her basics for what she offers in this book. Yes, there is an ethics discussion.

And if you are under the impression that Ms. Morrison should have gone further into ethics, this book is not for you. Personally, I feel if you need a dose of ethics with a witch's book on hexes and curses, then you should do as she suggests in the opening of the book: Close this book now and put it back on the shelf.

Ms. Morrison does an excellent job covering the basics of our practices involving curses and hexes. And while she does explain that we should use this as last resort, she also points out that many times we have good reason and we should not ignore it.

So, moving on, the book is typical Morrison material. We are presented with the hows, the whys, and all the recipes to do. I love the "11" doll" material. Damn, I never thought of that! I also notice that much of the material is adapted from hoodoo basics and this is good. Hoodoo is a working tradition; working because it is effective. To adapt this material from a working practice is smarter than trying to make up your own. Why waste the efforts to create something that is already in place. I also think this is a great education in the workings of our native magical traditions.

This book contains the now famous "Swifting of Energy" working that everyone wants. It's a great spellworking! Just right for the beginner or the experienced witch.

There is a section on reversing hexes and curses as well. You never know when you may change your mind, or if someone else will whap you with some of this wonderful stuff.

If you've got the guts, if you know that it's now time for you to drop the fluffy ball and move into the real realm of witchcraft, this is an excellent primer. The recipes are wonderful and I recognized many of them. Others are great Morrison improvisations utilizing time honored traditions and sure fire workings. This is another one of Dorothy Morrison's instructional manuals that adapts tried and true magic and brings it up to date and into the real world. boudica

Ann Moura's New History of Witchcraft
Ann Moura's New History of Witchcraft
by Ann Moura
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nicely revised version, 29 Feb 2008
I received this book from 7th House Publishing to review and opening the book, I recognized the material right away. A closer look at the book cover clearly states that this book includes two previously published books by Ann Moura - "Dancing Shadows" and "Origins of Modern Witchcraft".

I know the book "Origins of Modern Witchcraft" as I had received that book from another publisher and had read through it but could not bring myself at that time to review it. The history had been loaded down with so much "other" material that it was difficult to wade through all the "other" stuff to get at the meat and potatoes.

This version, however, has eliminated all the "other" stuff, presents a history as per Ms. Moura and includes additional material from the book "Dancing Shadows".

The two books appear to be woven together to tell a story about witchcraft and it's origins as presented by the research by Ms. Moura. Much of this focuses on the Indus area and how her research suggests that the practices of modern witchcraft stem from this area.

I like the elimination of all the "other" material that distracted from the original concept of the work. I like the inclusion of better graphics, some nicely printed on glossy paper, I like the time line, the index and the larger typeface. Overall, the presentation of this material is much better, focusing on history.

I will say that Ms. Moura has done a remarkable research job, and states her claims clearly with lots of material to suggest her research is accurate. She calls upon experts in the field, rather than other pagan author references, and lays out her research well.

Ms. Moura presents another view of the origins of witchcraft, and her work warrants a closer look. If you overlooked these books before because of all the "other" trappings included in the original works, this new volume may appeal to you. It is well worth it just to look through the history that Ms. Moura presents. Interesting reading and nicely presented. boudica

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