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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.”

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Posted by on September 5, 2017 in Esoteric Book Reviews

 

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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!

 
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Posted by on August 18, 2017 in Esoteric Book Reviews

 

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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

 

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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.”

 
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Posted by on February 13, 2017 in Esoteric Book Reviews

 

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Review: Develop Your ESP

My thoughts:
Develop Your ESP comes in a small package but, like dynamite, it packs a punch. As is my usual habit, I checked the back of the book and found a nice Appendix. An Appendix is very often a good sign of a well thought out book.
I liked the illustrations and the charts ( though the one with the female body seemed a tad repetitive ) and I found the exercises easy. All in all, I thought that the book was excellent and I enjoyed every minute of it. “Call it intuition, a hunch, a feeling, or ESP,” but I like Nina Ashby.
Develop Your ESP is definitely a must-have for your home esoteric library. I recommend it and give it 4 1/2 stars out of 5.
Product description:

9781571747532Develop Your ESP
A Quick and Easy Way to Become Psychic

by Nina Ashby

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Hampton Roads Publishing
  • ISBN-10: 1571747532
  • ISBN-13: 978-1571747532

Have you ever heard the telephone ring and known who was calling before anyone spoke? Or had a gut feeling about someone or something that ultimately proved true? Most of us ignore experiences like these because we can see no physical basis for believing in our dormant psychic abilities. Call it intuition, a hunch, a feeling, or ESP, this elusive knowledge can provide information, motivation, or direction about various aspects of our lives. Nina Ashby, teaches readers:

  1. How to listen and be receptive to the inner messages received by your intuitive senses
  2. How to use techniques and exercises to develop and control your psychic abilities

This is a program that can quickly enhance anyone’s ability to go beyond the 5 senses and enter another dimension of awareness. Find out which psychic talents you possess and develop those particular gifts with a mix of theory and practical exercises. Learn to understand the body’s energy fields and auras and see why the spiritual plane is every bit as important as the physical world. Then get a complete psychic education, from cleansing rituals and focusing your inner energy charges to reading auras and using divination techniques such as tarot, I Ching, and psychometry to interpret signs and messages. Charts, tables, and graphs illustrate the theories.

Born in New York, Nina Ashby was acutely aware of her psychic gifts even as a child and could see colors around people, objects, and other living things. She has spent many years training in various forms of bodywork and energy healing, psychology, yoga, meditation, astrology, palmistry, dowsing, card reading, and psychic studies including mediumship and all levels of psychic perception and channeling. She lives in England.

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.”

 
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Posted by on February 4, 2017 in Esoteric Book Reviews

 

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Review:Numerology, Plain & Simple

9781571747594Numerology, Plain & Simple: The Only Book You’ll Ever Need
Series: Plain & Simple
Paperback: 160 pages
Publisher: Hampton Roads Publishing
ISBN-10: 1571747591
ISBN-13: 978-1571747594

Product description:

Using numerology to learn more about yourself and your future doesn’t require any psychic ability, mathematical skills, or even any special equipment. The information is based on a series of numbers and by following systems that date back to the Greek mathematician and astrologer Pythagoras and the Hebrew Kabbalah, you’ll learn the basics of how to use numbers to explain your life.

Topics include:

  • Name number
  • Personality number
  • Heart number
  • Destiny number
  • Relationships
  • Short-term forecasts

Once you master these simple principles, you’ll be able to plan your days, predict your future, and even find the most suitable mate. This is an accessible and user-friendly guide for people interested in divination systems and personality types.

“Three is the number of those who do holy work; Two is the number of those who do lover’s work; One is the number of those who do perfect evil, or perfect good.”―Clive Barker, Abarat

My thoughts:

I have to admit that I really didn’t enjoy this book as much as I thought that I would.Like many of you, I took pencil in hand an doodled my numbers. I really didn’t think that they fit so I changed the parameters by changing my name/nickname/etc.  Eventually, my paper landed in the trash bin. What’s the point?

Here is my biggest problem with books like this — says who. When you tell me that a certain number has a certain meaning I want documentation, I want footnotes, I want to see YOUR work. I don’t want something that could just as easily been an afternoon on Google. I want YOUR experience.

To be honest, I googled numerology and got more information than I found in this book’s modest 160 pages. I suggest giving this book a pass and google a few sites if you find the subject interesting. I give “Numerology, Plain and Simple” 2 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.”

 
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Posted by on January 20, 2017 in Esoteric Book Reviews

 

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Review: Practical Spellcraft: A First Course in Magic

61mhrl7tbml-_sx322_bo1204203200_Practical Spellcraft: A First Course in Magic
Paperback: 192 pages
Publisher: Hampton Roads Publishing (February 1st, 2017)
ISBN-10: 1571747540
ISBN-13: 978-1571747549

Product description:

Now anyone with an earnest desire can learn to cast spells with this intriguing introduction to the craft. Written by a practicing witch, this all-encompassing first course in Wiccan magic simplifies everything from performing spells to conducting candle rituals and using a talisman.

Also included here are:

  • A general introduction to witchcraft, sabbats, Halloween, and the key tools and concepts of spellcasting
  • Candle, garden, animal, and self-defense magic
  • Spells for love, money, fertility, and health
  • A chapter on writing your own spells

This is a practical introductory guide for everyone. Love life gone limp? Reinvigorate your relationship with a seductive spell. Boss too demanding? Use a little magic to help her reconnect with her softer side. Lost your precious pet? Bring him back home with a heartfelt incantation.

With the wealth of Wiccan wisdom in these pages, you can choose a spell to improve any aspect of your life, from career and money to health and family well-being. Upbeat and up to date, this volume brings witchcraft into the 21st century with a modern magic focused on gaining control over your life and understanding your destiny.

My thoughts:

All in all, I liked the book. It’s easy to read and understand. It is a good book for the beginner interested in Wicca. Practical Spellcraft will hit the shelves February 1st.  While I liked it, I think the book lacks quite a bit.

When covering historical characters and events, I want to see some documentation. I want to see some quotes and footnotes. When discussing spells, I want to see some personal anecdotes. Have you tried this spell? What were the results? Where did you get this spell? Did you create it? Was it passed down? Did it come from another book?

Why 20 pages on love spells and 4 on health? Love spells are 5 times more important than health? Really?

Like I say, Practical Spellcraft is an introductory book. Greenaway did a good job with a deep and complicated art. I do recommend this for the beginner’s home library. I give Practical Spellcraft 4 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.”

 
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Posted by on January 12, 2017 in Esoteric Book Reviews

 

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In my mailbox

Yes, the mailman still hates me…

bookpackage121216
You just gotta love those easy-open-packages. Maybe the NSA just wanted to see what I was reading or maybe it’s the RUSSIANS?

9781571747594 Using numerology to learn more about yourself and your future doesn’t require any psychic ability, mathematical skills, or even any special equipment. The information is based on a series of numbers and by following systems that date back to the Greek mathematician and astrologer Pythagoras and the Hebrew Kabbalah, you’ll learn the basics of how to use numbers to explain your life.

Numerology Plain & Simple
The Only Book You’ll Ever Need
Anne Christie

9781571747563 Chinese Astrology, Plain & Simple
The Only Book You’ll Ever Need
Jonathan Dee

Though perhaps less well-known here than its Western counterpart, Chinese astrology is every bit as illuminating and provides an equally valuable shortcut to self-knowledge. Jonathan Dee, the well-respected author of several books on astrology, tarot, and fortune-telling, reveals all the mysteries of the art in this informative volume.

Filled with legends, charts, and history, it contains all of the essentials for working out your Chinese horoscope including the animal signs for each birthday year, month, and hour. Each sign receives a richly detailed and enlightening explanation.


I want to thank Weiser Books for these free advanced review copies.

 
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Posted by on December 13, 2016 in book news

 

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Review: Lilith Dorsey’s Love Magic

41ecnkopozlLove Magic: Over 250 Spells and Potions for Getting it, Keeping it, and Making it Last

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Weiser Books
  • ISBN-10: 1578635926
  • ISBN-13: 978-1578635924

Product description:

This is really “the big little book of love magic.” Magical maven Lilith Dorsey has packed into this fun, informative, and practical book over 250 spells, potions, rituals, and recipes devoted to all facets of love and sex.

Based on years of magical experience and prodigious research, this book includes sections on such topics as self-love, marriage, fertility, erotic adventures, the ethics of love magic, and more. The spells are drawn from a wide diversity of magical traditions and focus on an equally diverse situations. There are spells for finding love, keeping love, and healing yourself so that you are ready for love. The book also includes rituals for invoking goddesses of love. Dorsey considers and discusses all facets of the romantic experience.

Let’s face it we are obsessed, inspired, delighted, and in love with love. And here is the go-to book for every spell you will ever need for finding and keeping romance, passion, sex, marriage, fertility, and love in your life. Rooted in serious scholarship while still exploring the weird, wild, and wonderful side of love magic, this book provides expert advice and genuine spells that work to bring you your heart’s desire.

My Thoughts:

picture-7When I first pulled this book from it’s wrapper, my first thought was, “Oh hell, I hope this isn’t some HP Mallory crap.” I immediately hated the cover and I was prepared to hate the entire book. Imagine my surprise when I found myself loving the book. In time even the cover grew on me — okay, that’s not true.

Love Magic is nicely written, paced well, organized well, and packed with clipart. Having said that, some clipart of the plants in the  Materia Magica chapter would have been a little more helpful. I think that I would like to have seen a little less Psalms and a little more in the way of an Index. As a History major, I loved the Suggested Reading, and the little touches of History and Folklore scattered throughout the book.

All in all, this is a damn fine book. I love reading about how someone explores their own spirituality. In many ways it makes me think of Mrs. B’s Guide to Household Witchery or the Hedge Witch Book of Days. I don’t know about food for passion but that fig recipe looked pretty tasty. Mmmmmmmm figs.

I’m giving Love Magic by Lilith Dorsey 5 stars out of 5 and I consider it a must-have for your esoteric home library.

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.”

 
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Posted by on December 7, 2016 in Esoteric Book Reviews

 

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In my mailbox

This week I received another cool book from the Weiser Books folks, The Key of Solomon the King.

A magical grimoire of sigils and rituals for summoning and mastering spirits, The Key of Solomon the King is the most famous, or infamous, of all magick books. It has influenced everything from the revival of magick and the Western Mystery Traditions (tarot, alchemy, astrology, etc.) to fictional works such as Lovecraft’s The Necronomicon.

Purported to have been penned by King Solomon himself, the book provides instruction for incantations, rituals, and sigils used to call upon and control spirits and demons. Those practicing magick have used it extensively through the centuries, but its true origins and purpose have been lost in the mists of time.

No library of the contemporary occult student or practicing magician is complete without this tome. It remains a standard of esoteric lore by which others are measured. This edition includes a new foreword by noted esoteric scholar Joseph Peterson.

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