RSS

Category Archives: Esoteric Book Reviews

Review: Tarot Plain & Simple: The Only Book You’ll Ever Need

Tarot Plain & Simple: The Only Book You'll Ever NeedTarot Plain & Simple: The Only Book You’ll Ever Need by Leanna Greenaway

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I guess at this point I have read about 4 of Greenaway’s books. For the most part, I have enjoyed them and I’ve scored them in the 3 to 4 star range. As you can guess from the title, the book introduces the reader to the basics of Tarot.
I think that Greenaway covered the subject very well but I would like to have seen more. It was as if all of the tools were there but Greenaway came up just short of turning the key. For my money, I’d suggest Sasha Fenton’s “Fortune Telling by Tarot Cards” also published by Hampton Roads. I think Fenton gives you a little more bang for the buck.
That being said, “Tarot Plain & Simple” is a fine introduction to Tarot.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Hampton Roads Publishing. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

View all my reviews
Picture 15

Advertisements
 
1 Comment

Posted by on September 15, 2017 in Esoteric Book Reviews

 

Tags: ,

Review: Odin: Ecstasy, Runes, & Norse Magic

Odin: Ecstasy, Runes, & Norse MagicOdin: Ecstasy, Runes, & Norse Magic by Diana L. Paxson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“A turkey-and-cheese sandwich completed the process of linking spirit and body again.” Read as I was eating a turkey and cheese sandwich. Okay Diana, you got my attention.
Sometimes a book falls into your hands at just the right moment — so it was for me with this one. I was ready to explore someone’s Norse-based spiritual system. I enjoyed reading about Odin, there is just so much more to Odin than I knew. While I enjoyed reading Bullfinch’s Mythology, I want and need more. I plan to try some of the books in Paxson’s “suggested reading”.
I also enjoyed reading about Odin’s myths and Paxson’s rituals. On the downside, the music didn’t really do anything for me. I also didn’t care for the interior artwork.
That being said, the book is excellent. While Paxson shared her Odin with us, she shared a lot more of herself and that is the real magic of any book.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Red Wheel/Weiser. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

View all my reviews

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on September 5, 2017 in Esoteric Book Reviews

 

Tags: ,

Review: Witches and Wizards

Witches and Wizards: Astonishing Real Life Stories Behind the Occult's Greatest Legends, Myths and Mysteries (The Supernatural Series, #1)Witches and Wizards: Astonishing Real Life Stories Behind the Occult’s Greatest Legends, Myths and Mysteries by Lucy Cavendish

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“Witches and Wizards” by Lucy Cavendish is a quick, enjoyable read targeted at an audience who would like a quick, down and dirty, introduction to the legendary characters and events in the esoteric community. As you might imagine at 146 pages, the book does not go into any depth.
I loved the artwork and little extras like the bookmarker. The book itself is beautiful and I intend to keep it on display on an end table.
It’s certainly a keeper. I want to thank Rockpool Publishing and Red Wheel/Weiser for the free review copy.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Red Wheel/Weiser. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

View all my reviews

Full of astonishing real life stories behind the occult’s greatest legends, myths, and mysteries, Witches and Wizards reveals the real-life stories of the most notorious and powerful occult personalities of all time. Within its pages you’ll discover the amazing stories behind the legends: from King Arthur’s Merlin to the infamous Aleister Crowley, right through to the modern icons of Witchcraft. Shining light on the Salem witch trials, the Burning Times, the Magickal Battle of Britain, and beyond, Witches and Wizards is a thrilling read for anyone who loves the mysterious, the true, and the strange. Written by renowned Witch and author Lucy Cavendish, Witches and Wizards is an unforgettable read brimming with Magick, myth, and mystery.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on August 26, 2017 in Esoteric Book Reviews

 

Tags:

Review: Fairies, Pookas, and Changelings

61ddqw1iahl-_sx355_bo1204203200_Fairies, Pookas, and Changelings: A Complete Guide to the Wild and Wicked Enchanted Realm
by Varla Ventura
Paperback: 264 pages
Publisher: Weiser Books
ISBN-10: 1578636116
ISBN-13: 978-1578636112

Product description:

While it’s true that fairy folk love a good garden and take great pleasure in a tulip, there are dozens of beasties who fall under the fairy domain that are not quite as delightful as the quintessential flower fairy. This book is an exploration of the many things that go bump in the night near the fairy mound. Along with an exploration of folklore and historical literature, readers will delight in fairy tales that demonstrate everything from striking a bargain with a fairy to staving off changelings to laughing with the dwarves.

Included are fairy tales and myths from Wales, Scotland, Ireland, and Scandinavia plus classic stories by Thomas Crofton Croker, Joseph Jacobs, Clara Stroebe, the Brothers Grimm, Hans Christian Andersen, Yei Theodora Ozaki, and others on goblins, trolls, gnomes, pookas, changelings, banshees, and more!

Chapters include:

  • A Fear of Little Men: Elves, Trolls, Leprechauns, Tree Spirits, Brownies, Coblyns, Dwarves, Goblins, Bonga, Trolls and Other Fairy Folk of Glen, Forests and Hearth
  • The Hand That Rocks the Cradle: Changelings and Other Greedy Kidnappers of the Fairy Kingdom
  • I’m Not Drunk, It’s Just My Pooka: Tales of the Trickster Fairy and Its Wild Counterpart
  • Is That All There Is? Faries Who Give, or The Barter System
  • Whoops, There It Is: How to Enter the Fairy Kingdom (or How Not To)

If you think fairies are merely delicate beings who follow you about on gossamer wings, you are in for quite a shock: the kingdom of the fairy is one of vengeance, thievery, trickery, and wild creatures. Consider yourself warned!

SAM_0028My Thoughts:

I loved it. Fairies, Pookas, and Changelings is packed with folklore of the Fairyfolk. You might be reading about a pooka one minute or a troll statue under a bridge the next. Everything Varla covered was interesting and my only complaint was that I wanted more.

I won this book in a contest that Varla held and she has added a fan for life to her list. Along with Among the Mermaids and Banshees, Werewolves, Vampires and Other Creatures of the Night, Varla has added another must-have title for your esoteric home library.

5 out of 5 stars!

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on August 18, 2017 in Esoteric Book Reviews

 

Tags: ,

Review: Among the Mermaids

6109movm9vl-_sx355_bo1204203200_Among the Mermaids Facts, Myths, and Enchantments from the Sirens of the Sea
http://amzn.to/2v0HHjy
by Varla Ventura
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Weiser Books
ISBN-10: 1578635454
ISBN-13: 978-1578635450
Barry’s score 5 out of 5 stars.

Product description:
From Homer’s Odyssey to Pirates of the Caribbean, Mermaids have fascinated popular culture for centuries.

Among the Mermaids is an enchanting collection of classic stories, facts, and tales of mermaids from around the world that will thrill every lover of this romanticized mythological creature.

Compiled by Book of the Bizarre author and Magical Creature devotee Varla Ventura, Among the Mermaids includes turn of the century tales of merfolk from Bret Harte, T. Crofton Croker, and W.B. Yeats, along with tantalizing trivia, facts, first-hand accounts, and speculations about mermaids in popular culture.

Some facts about the fluid and the fair from the book:

  • Many people believe today that early explorer sightings of mermaids were manatees. (Scurvy + many days away from your lady = a blubbery creature looking supple and bodacious.)
  • Blackbeard, the fierce and terrible pirate, was afraid of his crew being lured into a watery grave by mermaids, so he ordered his ships to avoid certain areas reputed to have a high number of mermaid sightings.
  • Since 2009, the town of Kiryat Yam, Israel has offered a prize of $1 million dollars to anyone who can prove the mermaid off their coast is real. The prize remains unclaimed.

My thoughts:
I was lucky enough to win a set of Varla Ventura’s work and I consider myself to be one of the luckiest men in the world. Ventura’s book Among the Mermaids is superb! I loved every minute of it.

As many of you know, I am a guy that looks at the back of the book first. Among the Mermaids has a nice recommended reading, Bibliography section, and other things for the mer-minded. This can come in handy for those who want to do their own mer-research.

The stories are quick and short, the clipart is delightful, and the book is a real pageturner. I went through the entire book pretty quickly only to return to reread some of my favorite parts.

All in all, I give Varla Ventura’s Among the Mermaids 5 stars out of 5 and I believe that it is a must-have for your home library.

Tell me, lady of the lake, do you sit bere in this unconventional fashion with gentlemen callers? The Mermaid of Druid Lake by Charles Weathers Bump

 

Tags: , ,

Review: Fortune Telling by Tarot Cards

51-ffb9mrul-_sx322_bo1204203200_Fortune Telling by Tarot Cards: A Beginner’s Guide to Understanding the Tarot
by Sasha Fenton
http://amzn.to/2sqf8dy

Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Hampton Roads Publishing; Reissue edition (June 1, 2017)
ISBN-10: 1571747672
ISBN-13: 978-1571747679

Product description:
Lay your future out before you with tarot cards. Once you know how to interpret them, you can understand yourself and others better and be able to accurately predict what’s going to happen in the future.
This is an accessible and easy guide that teaches you how to use the tarot. Fenton’s guidelines combined with the reader’s intuition makes using the cards easy and fun. She provides the meaning of each card and suggestions for spreads that can be used for a variety of purposes―from focusing on the consequences of a particular situation to resolving a particular question to providing clarity on personal relationships. She also shows us how to link the cards together in a life narrative.

WIN_20170508_11_46_05_ProMy thoughts:
Really an excellent book. Fortune Telling by Tarot Cards covers the basics of Tarot in a simple and easy to understand way. When you are ready to set aside that little pamphlet that came with your set of Tarot cards, Fenton’s book is an excellent starting place. I really can’t put it any better than that — it’s a “must-have” for your Esoteric home library.

I give Fortune Telling by Tarot Cards: A Beginner’s Guide to Understanding the Tarot by Sasha Fenton 5 stars out 5.


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Hampton Roads Publishing. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

 
 

Tags: , ,

Review: Wicca, Plain & Simple

51q1zh2bshrl-_sy346_Wicca, Plain & Simple: The Only Book You’ll Ever Need
by Leanna Greenaway
Series: Plain & Simple
Paperback: 144 pages
Publisher: Hampton Roads Publishing
ISBN-10: 1571747710
ISBN-13: 978-1571747716

Product description:
Greenaway takes a contemporary approach to Wicca, also known as witchcraft, and shows you how to use it as a healing and positive force. Practice magic with tarot cards, agents, and pendulums; cast love, health, wealth, family happiness, and career spells; and discover which herbs are beneficial when conducting spells and rituals. Greenaway makes these life-affirming, ancient Wiccan traditions meaningful and accessible to us today by providing a basic understanding of the key elements of Wiccan practice, including:

  • Lunar magic
  • Initiation
  • Herbs and gardens
  • Pendulum power
  • Animal magic

Eminently practical, Wicca, Plain & Simple also includes over 25 spells for beginning practitioners that range from fertility spells and money spells, to love spells and much more.

My thoughts:
In all honesty, I liked Greenaway’s book “Practical Spellcraft: A First Course in Magic” (link) much better. While the two books do complement each other to a certain degree, I think that most readers will enjoy, and benefit from, Practical Magic.

On the plus side, I liked the artwork in Wicca, Plain & Simple. The book is easy to read and understand, it has a nice flow, and the Foreword by Judika Illes was excellent. On the downside, I didn’t like the lack of detail on the tools.

Picture 13A paragraph on tools like the Athame, Cauldron, and wand, was “plain and simple” not enough — not nearly enough. Believe it or not but there is more on Aloe Vera in the “Teas, Tonics, and Superstitions” section ( page 48 ) than there is on any of the above mentioned tools? Really?

I also didn’t agree with several opinions expressed in the book. One of which was, “It was only in the 16th century, when the witch hunts began, that these people and their knowledge were forced underground.” Try 15 century and earlier in some cases, the Malleus Maleficarum (The Witches’ Hammer) was written about 1486-1487’ish with the major Witch hunts starting about 1450. While the Inquisition targeted Gnostics, in 1326 the church authorized the investigation of witches. “Plain and simple”, the witch hunts began long before the 16th century.

That brings me to a problem that I have had with both of Greenaway’s books, a lack of documentation to support her opinions. I want to see some footnotes. That being said, I thought Wicca, Plain & Simple was okay and I give it a score of 3 stars out of 5.


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Hampton Roads Publishing. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

 
 

Tags:

Review: I Ching

41hcwrkxrwlI Ching, Plain & Simple: The Only Book You’ll Ever Need
by Kim Farnell
Series: Plain & Simple
Paperback: 192 pages
Publisher: Hampton Roads Publishing
ISBN-10: 1571747796

Product description:

The I Ching, or Book of Changes, is a mix of Taoist and Confucianist philosophies that has evolved over many centuries and may be the oldest book in existence. Its main philosophy is that nothing is static and everything changes over time, so our task is to adjust to the ebb and flow of changing circumstances. The I Ching can help us:

  • Make decisions
  • Manage sensitive relationships
  • Tap into our creative insight and intuitive power

The I Ching can be extremely complex, filled with poetry and philosophy. In I Ching, Plain & Simple, Kim Farnell has made the divination system as modern, straightforward, and user-friendly as possible―pick it up and put it to use quickly and easily, without any fuss or confusion. It is the ultimate guide to the I Ching.

My thoughts:

Farnell’s I Ching, Plain & Simple is a part of the plain and simple series, which is an excellent introductory series, but I have to say that I hate the subtitle “The Only Book You’ll Ever Need.” That subtitle makes my soul cry.

Having said that, the book does an excellent job describing I Ching and walking you through some quick interpretations. I liked the clipart and the Fu Hsi illustration and found the illustrations of the hexagrams easy to understand. I guess you’d say — plain and simple.

Picture 13While the book lays out the basics, I don’t think that Farnell captured ( perhaps intentionally? ) the mystical vibe that I think the subject deserves. Where is the mystery, majesty, poetry?

While my question was to personal to share, I gave three pennies a quick casting and got Tui Joy “Express yourself and join others in a variety of  enterprises. Family will soon be good. You will have peace of mind.” It teared me up a little; I hope everyone has peace of mind.

I give I Ching, Plain & Simple: The Only Book You’ll Ever Need 4 stars out of 5. I do recommend it.


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Hampton Roads Publishing. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

 

Tags: , , , , ,

Review: A Little Book of Mystical Secrets

5154r2btkt2bl-_sy346_A Little Book of Mystical Secrets: Rumi, Shams of Tabriz, and the Path of Ecstasy
Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: Hampton Roads Publishing (April 1, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1571747451
ISBN-13: 978-1571747457

Product description:
At long last, an accessible little book that focuses on the teachings of Rumi’s teacher and inspiration, Shams of Tabriz. Included in this slim, charming volume is a biographical sketch of the great Sufi teacher and mystic and a new translation of 500 of his core teachings that bring into fresh focus the meaning and mysteries of life and love.

There are many books on Rumi and many translations of his works and yet most readers are unaware of how Rumi became a mystic. Shams, an Arabic word that means the sun, was the catalyst that converted the rather resolute and ascetic Rumi, the cleric and teacher, into Rumi, the passionate disciple of the religion of love. He was the agent of the propulsive mystical energy that transformed Rumi the reticent into Rumi the ecstatic poet.

Rumi lovers, spiritual seekers, and devotees of the mystical path will meet this little book of wisdom and mystical secrets with enthusiasm.

I shall not place you in my heart
For you may get hurt by its wounds.
I won’t keep you in my eyes
For I may belittle you and
expose you to the ridicule of common men.
I will hide you inside my soul, not in my heart or in my eyes,
so that you may become one with my breath.

My thoughts:

I have to admit, after reading the first line in the Introduction, I set this book aside for several days. I really felt that the line “[…] probably the world’s most read poet, even in the United States” came of as condescending. Believe it or not Narguess Farzad, we are not the Islamophobes you believe us to be!

1490720195810At any rate, I returned to the book and I am glad that I did — it is excellent.  A Little Book of Mystical Secrets has an excellent Bibliography and glossary, something I always look for in a Nonfiction book.

As a person who majored in History, Religion, and Philosophy in college, this book managed to hit all of my interests.  Having said that, some people may not be interested in the History and want to jump straight into the sayings of Shams.

When you embrace the gardener, the garden becomes yours, and you may pick from every tree.

I give 5 stars out of 5 and recommend this one for your esoteric home library. It is a book that you will reread and that makes it a great bang for the buck .



Disclosure of Material Connection
: I received this book free from Hampton Roads Publishing. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

 
 

Thumb through: Tarot by Design

51bohwqhyal-_sx383_bo1204203200_Tarot by Design Workbook  by Diana Heyne, I give it a thumbs-up.

Featuring original color-in images of the 22 major arcana and the 56 images of the minor arcana, Tarot by Design Workbook is a coloring book for students of the tarot and all those who find tarot symbolism intriguing.

The book contains original coloring-ready images illustrated by the author, Diana Heyne, and an additional 78 unique learning page designs, one to accompany each card. Geared toward an enjoyable and intuitive understanding of the basic meanings of the tarot through coloring, brief word prompts and short rhythmic phrases, Tarot by Design Workbook aims to make the foundational learning of tarot a pleasurable task for beginners and others who would like to deepen their connection with the symbolic images. Included in the book is room for journal-like interaction with each image as well as fresh interpretations of time-honored imagery approached through coloring.

Unlock the mystery and magic, secrets and symbolism of the tarot through this serious, yet fun, teaching tool that engages both intuition and intellect.


Thumbing through Tarot by Design by Diana Heyne.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Weiser Books. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on February 13, 2017 in Esoteric Book Reviews

 

Tags:

 
%d bloggers like this: