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Author Archives: Alanna Kali

Your Book of Shadows, by Cerridwen Green leaf

Your Book of Shadows: Make Your Own Magical Habit Tracker, by Cerridwen Greenleaf
CICO Books, 1800652968, 144 pages, April 2024

Mastering your magic takes time, focus, and dedication. Especially when just starting a magical journey, navigating the vast and intricate world of spells, rituals, and energies can quickly feel like uncharted territory. Getting to know what works best for you is a practice of trial and error, a journey where each misstep is as crucial as every success. In Your Book of Shadows: Make Your Own Magical Habit Tracker, Cerridwen Greenleaf teaches readers all they need to know about tracking their own magical practice, refining it by figuring out what did and did not work well, in order to chronicle a repertoire of the wisdom gained from magical experimentation.

Right off the bat, I was drawn to this book for the bright colors and many images throughout the pages. Each section is short and sweet, covering the necessities while creating the space to engage with the book by performing the suggested spells and rituals along the way. The layout of the content makes it easy to engage with the text as you move through the book–there’s a lot of places for your eyes to roam, helping your mind to take in Greenleaf’s wisdom through the sensory appeal of color, font style, and text organization. The design of the book makes me feel inspired, playful, and crafty!

Greenleaf begins by covering the history of Books of Shadows and their importance to a coven or solo practitioner. She then moves into how to choose and design your Book of Shadows, consecrating and protecting your Book of Shadows (as well as creating a shrine), and creating organization through a Table of Contents. She offers advice on how to select a book, decorate it, and keep it magically protected.

As one moves through the process of creating their own Book of Shadows, Greenleaf provides easy-to-follow rituals and spells  to assist with the process: a ritual of thanks, inscription rite,  pendulum spell for choosing the right book, self-assurance charm for creativity when decorating, and safeguarding spell to clear away unwanted energy from your Book of Shadows. There’s also parts on color magic (one focusing on the associations of each color and the other a correspondence chart of each zodiac sign with colors), along with crafting tips for adding pages and creating a book lock.

“… making a Book of Shadows is a very personal endeavor–let go of that fear of making mistakes. Always remember that perfection can be boring–something that is real and unique is much more appealing and special. Keep an open heart and mind, and your Book of Shadows can become a stunningly beautiful work of art.”1

Greenleaf’s emphasis on personalization is particularly noteworthy, encouraging readers to see their Book of Shadows as a living document that evolves with their spiritual journey. This approach not only helps one to build confidence in one’s practice but also makes the process of creating and maintaining a Book of Shadows a deeply personal and fulfilling endeavor.

The following chapters cover cyclical energies of nature that can influence one’s magical practice. Greenleaf first writes about moon spells, specifically focusing on the phases of the moon. For each phase, she gives an overview of the best type of spellwork to do at that time, a table of magical correspondences for the energy of the phase (days, colors, herbs, incense, essential oils, crystals, and metals), and a spell, ritual, or magical craft one can do for that phase.

For instance, Greenleaf describes how new moons are best for new beginnings and offers an incantation for new ideas, while noting waning moons are a “time to conserve our power, to turn our attention towards home and inner peace and wisdom”2 and sharing a recipe for spiritual scrub to cleanse energies from one’s home or ritual space.

Next, Greenleaf covers The Wheel of the Year. Beginning with the Celtic New Year, the high holiday Samhain, she details the eight sabbats, sharing recipes, rituals, divination spells, prayers to the god and goddess, and more. The descriptions of each sabbat aren’t too long, just an introduction, but each one contains enough information for readers to familiarize themselves with the energy of The Wheel of the Year to then further their own practice.

Now that readers have an understanding of the quick-paced moon cycle and the overarching Wheel of the Year, Greenleaf delves deeper into astrological energies. She describes the twelve zodiac signs, along with the correspondence stone for each time period. Later in the chapter, she also provides herbal correspondence for every sign too.

There’s also a very helpful table of the magical planetary hours, which shows the ruling planet for every hour throughout the week. This table is extremely useful for those who are at the level of fine-tuning their spell work to correspond with specific planetary energies, such as doing a love spell during Venus hours or an abundance spell during Jupiter hours. Greenleaf also delves into the elemental power of signs, highlighting which each element is best suited to perform certain magic.

There’s an entire chapter to tracking your magic as a solo practitioner too. Greenleaf recognizes that it can be hard to find community at times or that one might want to keep some matters private, but she still assures readers they can grow their magical practice through their personal Book of Shadows. She advises “keeping a list of personal intentions”3 as these are the key to success in magic. She shares a visualization to create an inner temple, how to make your own DIY wand, meditations for centering yourself, and a candle ceremony to invoke a deity

Then the final chapter is a real gem because it is filled with different correspondences to help readers discover more about subtle energies. There’s a list of trees and what else one can assist with spiritually; flower, herb, essential oil, and color correspondences; correspondences and enhancement abilities for gems, stones, and crystals; totem animal correspondences; significance of numerology; planet correspondences and colors; metal magical correspondences; and a list of magical domains and deities one can work with.

Overall, Your Book of Shadows is a compelling guide for those embarking on or furthering their journey into the realm of witchcraft, Wicca, or other pagan paths. This book serves not just as an introduction to aspects of these spiritual paths, but as an interactive tool, encouraging readers to actively engage with their practice by creating their own Book of Shadows. Greenleaf skillfully demystifies the process of starting a Book of Shadows, presenting it in a way that is both inviting and profound, providing all the essential guidance and spellwork readers need to take this step of connecting with their magical practice on a deeper level.

Wyrd Sisters, by Casey Zabala

Wyrd Sisters: A Deck of Spells and Rituals, by Casey Zabala
Weiser Books, 1578638291, 60 cards, 80 pages, April 2024

Ah, destiny! For those who enjoy contemplating fate, or the inevitable outcome of events, perhaps even tempting it here and there, Wyrd Sisters: A Deck of Spells and Rituals by Casey Zabala is a true delight. The concept of “wyrd”, originating from Old English and Norse mythology related to the predetermined outcome of events, has been explored as a way to understand the interconnectedness of all things and the idea that individuals are part of a larger cosmic pattern. While wyrd implies a sense of inevitability, it also carries the idea that individuals have some agency in shaping their own destinies through their choices and actions. Calling upon the duality of fate and free will, this deck helps readers to explore the mysteries of existence and the human experience.

Zabala is a devotee of the Wyrd Sisters, describing how they “are the ancient Deities who dwelt at the roots of the world tree and set the order of the cosmos through their spinning, weaving, and cutting the cords of fate. Their threefold process affirms the cyclical nature of our being.”1 Just as they weave fate, we too are weaving our own lives:

“We weave specific patterns and shapes for protection and success, with the awareness that our spells and wishes are delivered through the web of wyrd.”2

Believing that spellwork is deeply personal, Zabala has created a very creative and open-ended deck for readers to ascribe their own meanings to the imagery and messages and then use their own magical repertoire to integrate the energy. While there is some guidance provided through the guidebook, this deck really shines as a work of art that assists readers with strengthening their own intuition, crafting their own rituals, and creating magic that feel uniquely meaningful and relevant to them.

“Magic is the fifth element–also known as spirit, ether, or quintessence. It is the ethereal nature that keeps all beings connected and psychically tethered to each other.”3

There are five types of cards in this deck: spell cards, candle magic cards, sigil cards, magical tool cards, and Wyrd Sister cards. The guidebook entry differs depending on the type of card, as the type of magic coming through is aligned to the energy of your draw.

For the spell cards, there is an intuitive message along with a list of spell ingredients that one can use for inspiration. There’s something about being given three to five things and then being told, “Now go figure out what you can do with this” that makes my creativity soar. For instance, the spell ingredients for the card Spell for Surrender are “physical inversions, amethyst, strong winds, sharing secrets with strangers, salt”6. You can absolutely use none, one, some, or all of the spell ingredients, and I feel like the process of coming up with one that feels do-able and relevant for you is magic in itself.

For the candle magic cards, Zabala offers suggestions for the color candle and what to do during your candle magic ceremony. The Candle for Vitality card reads “Call all of your energy back to yourself.. Light a yellow candle and imagine a sunlight shield protecting your auric field from outside disturbance.”7

The guidance for the sigil card includes what to use the sigil, where to place it, and the ruling planet. As an example, the Sigil for Unbinding can be used to “untangle webs of entrapment or psychic manipulation”[/efn_note]page 55[/efn_note]. Zabala notes it should be placed in a ring of salt and the ruling planet is Pluto.

With the magical tool cards, Zabala reminds us, “Each tool represents the essence of our intentions, our spiritual connections, and the art of our will.”8 The guidebook describes the tool and then offers a suggestion of how one can best use their magical energy at this time. There is suggested magic for each one, ranging from speaking one’s truth to establish a boundary (athame) to gathering with friends to celebrate transformation through “ritual, feasting, and revelry”9 (bonfire).

Last but most important are the Wyrd Sister cards. I have yet to pull one myself! I honestly didn’t even want to read the guidebook description because I feel like it’s an initiation to pull one. However, from a quick glance at Zabala’s introduction, I can see they’re related to past, present, and future.

While you can pull a card for quick insight from this deck, as you can tell from reading the various descriptions, some of the cards require some more magical effort. Whether it’s planning out your spellwork, gathering the right color candle, or making preparations to perform the suggested magic related to a tool, it can take days, perhaps even weeks, to put the energy out into the world. It seems as though only the sigil cards can be used for immediate action. But I personally enjoy how the deck calls for you to savor its message and take the time to align with one’s intention and then put forth their magical working. You can always simply see what card comes through and then reflect on it before making any energetic investments.

As for the artwork, this deck is bright, abstract, and filled with symbolism. It definitely speaks to the non-verbal part of the psyche, activating inner knowledge through images, colors, and dimension. One thing I have been doing with this deck is noticing where my eyes go first, as there’s often many places to look, for insight into what is most relevant for me. For those who enjoy divination through creative decks, you could absolutely toss the guidebook aside and find plenty of messages and meaning within the cards themselves.

My favorite card that I’ve pulled so far is Spell for Grounding. Suitably, I pulled this on a night when my lower back was completely out of whack, indicating to me that I was ungrounded and needed to focus on my root chakra, as I rested with a heating pad. The image on the card was so fascinating to look at, and I spent a good five minutes letting my eyes explore. It shows a person with their arms in the air and an infinity symbol witch hat on their head, but the torso of their body is a tree trunk. It is growing from a patch of grass, and one can see the roots below the ground, pushing downward into spirals of energy below.

The guidebook calls for connecting with the earth, listening to plants, being barefoot, and speaking the name of the native land I live on, giving thanks. All of which my body and soul gave a resounding “yes, yes, yes, yes” as I read the entry and continued to meditate on the card. In this case, I didn’t feel a whole spell was needed; simply going outside and laying on the ground seemed to be enough, which I guess could be considered a simple spell in itself, but as Zabala intended, to each their own with this deck!

All in all, Zabala has created a really cool deck for those who love to explore their own magic and discover new possibilities. Wyrd Sisters is the perfect blend of intuitive guidance and freedom to roam with one’s own interpretation. Within the liminal magical space, we have the opportunity to discover our destiny, while also actively changing our fate. It all comes down to the willingness to ride the waves of mystery and magic, learning when to surrender and when to pursue. The Wyrd Sisters may be the universal weavers, but we are the active co-creators shaping the web too. As Zabala encourages:

“May your connection with the Wyrd ones inspire you to embrace the mystery and weave your own magical webs of belonging.”10

The Royal Path of Shakti, by Daniel Odier

The Royal Path of Shakti: The Erotic and Magical Techniques of Kaula Tantra, by Daniel Odier
Inner Traditions, 9781644117163, 187 pages, July 2023

Daniel Odier has detailed and explained each technique of the Kaula Tantra in his book The Royal Path of Shakti: The Erotic and Magical Techniques of Kaula Tantra.

Odier was born in Geneva and studied fine arts in both Rome and Paris. After working as a music critic for a newspaper, he traveled to India and studied with Kalu Rinpoche for seven years. Almost ten years later, he met the yogini Lalita Devi and received a transmission of Mahamudra and other mystical teachings in the Kaula Tantra Tradition. He presents the teachings in this book with the full permission of Lalita Devi. Odier has shared these teachings all over the world, as well as publishing poetry, critical works, and numerous books on tantra and Eastern mysticism. When not traveling, he resides in Switzerland.

“The problem with seeking enlightenment is that you always come to the point where you think you have it.”1

In his preface, Odier gives a thorough history of tantra and the great masters. With this background as his base teaching, he shares 43 Practices then followed by 24 Patala of the Kaulajnananirnaya Tantra. In addition to a Table of Contents that spells out each practice and patala, each page is earmarked with either the name of the practice or the number of the patala. This makes it very easy to navigate the teachings. He also adds this note about the teachings from his yogini Lalita Devi:

“Each time that I asked her where something was in the Kaula Tantra, she would smile and reply “I am placing it in your heart and that will be your library. Knowledge is not practice and the Matsyendranath took care to conceal the practice so that only he who received the direct transmission could penetrate the mysteries of the twilight language.”2

In reading about the practices, I learned that the chakra system was a little different from the chakras I had been taught in my yoga practice and Reiki training. This system utilized eight chakras, including one on the forehead AND one between the eyebrows. The other difference was the addition of a chakra of the mouth and palate. Throughout the information on the practices, Odier weaves stories of his own initiation into this magical system for life.

One of my favorite practices is “Practice 23: Dietary Practices”. In this chapter, I learned about the interconnectedness of everything and how everything is alive. He speaks of the importance of asking your body what it wants to eat. I also enjoyed “Practice 40: The Yoga of Looking with Your Skin”. I recorded the meditation in that chapter and enjoyed this exploration with the ruby goddess.

After reviewing the practices, I was interested to know what “patala” meant. It translates as “feet,” and refers to the lower regions of the universe: underworld or netherworld. These transmissions bestow sacred knowledge to the student and each one builds on the patala that comes before it. As I was reading the warehouse of knowledge in the second part of the book, I was reminded of A Course in Miracles and how the text starts with simple ideas and builds the knowledge base of the student.

My favorite patala is Patala 7, which relates to “old age and decline.”3 Through a series of meditations over a period of six months, one can transcend age and dying:

“By uniting with Kamakala, one can put an end to old age. Thus, we have explained to you the secret and the characteristics of the being who has changed inwardly.”4

At the end of the book, Odier shares a brilliant conclusion, a glossary of spiritual and mystical terms and a complete index. Each of these helps the reader process the information that he relates. This last sentence summarizes the teachings of Odier. The life of the yogi truly relates to changing oneself from the inside out. In his conclusion, he says this about the Kaula Tantra tradition:

“The yoginis saw the master-disciple relationship as an intense heart-to-heart experience-no wasting of time, no prerequisite purification, no milestones to get beyond. . . This is what this text reveals to us, imbued with the magic of a time freed of all religious conformism.”5

Odier’s writing style is very conversational and easy to read. The patala section is written as a letter or a journal entry that chronicles questions from the student and the teacher’s reply. I really enjoyed this style of writing and found it to be very personal and authentic.

The Royal Path of Shakti would be good for any yoga student, yoga teacher, or anyone who wants to strengthen his relationship with spirit or adopt a spiritual practice. I can see myself starting the new year or a new month by rereading the book, in a “practice a day” systematic approach.

Magdalene Manifestation Cards, by Danielle Rama Hoffman

Magdalene Manifestation Cards: Create Abundance through Love, by Danielle Rama Hoffman and illustrated by Christine Lucas
Bear & Company, 9781591434801, 44 cards, 202 pages, May 2023

In creating the Magdalene Manifestation Cards: Create Abundance through Love deck, Danielle Rama Hoffman has brought keys and holograms for manifestation into the hands of everyone who chooses to work with these codes of light.

Hoffman is an author, channel, and coach, who has been on the leading edge of the evolution of consciousness for almost 30 years. Her clients are healers, coaches, and lightworkers. She has trained massage therapists, reiki masters, and Quantum Light practitioners, as well as led tours to Egypt and France.

Christine Lucas is the illustrator of the beautiful keys, holograms, and light codes. She assigns her lineage to the Ascended Masters Lineage of Thoth. Lucas worked closely with Thoth, the Magdalenes, the Codes of Love, and Danielle to bring these cards to life. Lucas is an intuitive artist, illustrator, and graphic designer, who also has a background in meditation. She loves nature, travel, photography, and music.

Initially attracted to these cards because of the Magdalenes. Then once I began to play with the energy of the cards, I really resonated with the light codes and glyphs that Lucas and Hoffman have created. The deck is divided into two sections: 1) Four Resource Codes and 2) Twenty Codes of Love. Within the Twenty Codes of Love, you’ll find a pair of cards for each concept. The total number of cards in the deck is 44.

Hoffman presents an extensive introduction to the cards, how they came to be created, and her almost 30-year journey with Thoth. She includes some of her journey entries from several different meetings with Thoth, both in France and Egypt. She also defines the Magdalenes:

“A group of love beings including Anna, Isis, Mary Magdalene, the black Madonna, and many galactic beings.”1

When she returned from Egypt in 2020 and the pandemic lockdown began, she started to transcribe more of the Magdalene Codes and work on creating this deck. In the introduction, she shares stories from clients and friends who worked with the codes to manifest incredible results in health, wealth, and business success.

Hoffman shares several ways to work with this deck, from simple one card readings to a tableau of 16 cards. I chose to work with a one-card reading for 3 days in a row. As Hoffman suggests, I pulled a card from the deck and then found its “pair” for a complete reading and activation of the love codes.

My first card was the key card: Ecstatic Bliss – Joyful Simplicity.

“It is a joy to be me. Bliss exists in every moment. Home in on what matters most to you. Simplify to amplify your results.”2

This card really hit home for me, in that we are in the midst of a Venus retrograde, which asks us to really look at what we value and what we really want, focusing on that and letting go of the rest.

Then, I looked through the deck for the second card, the pair to that key, and I found the hologram: Ecstatic Bliss – Signature Essence.

“The difference of you is what matters. Boldly shine your uniqueness for consistent, predictable manifestation.”3

This concept is also something I’ve really been focusing on over the past year as I’ve worked with a designer to revise my website and fine-tune my offerings to be more true to who I am. I am also learning to put myself out there more with my blog and other posts on social media.

The guidebook has even more guidance from the Magdalenes and Thoth for each card, such as this from the passage on Ecstatic Bliss – Signature Essence:

“Simple, elegant, streamlined. Steep in this hologram to reabsorb that which is no longer aligned with you so that it organically falls away, like leaves on a tree that know when it’s time to fall with grace, ease, and an exhale. What remains is Ecstatic Bliss.”4

Hoffman also includes what she calls an application for each of the hologram cards. This consists of some suggestions for integrating the message of the card. It may include a ritual, an exercise, or something to do in nature, among other things.

Next, I did readings for three friends with this deck. I pulled the cards and then sent them photos of the cards and brief messages from the guidebook. For one friend who was struggling with a recent move for her business, I drew Birthright of Love. The key card is Authentic Expression, and the hologram card is Openhearted Connection.

The guidance for the key card recommended that she bring in the energy of the four Resource Codes, so I sent her photos of those four cards, as well. The other guidance that she really took to heart:

“Take one loving action today, not because you have to, but because it is natural for Love to move through you.”5

From the hologram card, I read that it was time to call upon the Birthright of Love Code. This guidance was recommended for the start of a new project, which was relevant to my friend’s new location for her business. The guidance went on to suggest focusing on the following affirmation:

“I am loved. All my creations are loved. Love is a given in this situation.6

My friend loved the guidance from these cards and was planning to print out all six cards and use them in her workspace. She called me later to say she printed a second set of cards for her home!

The artwork on these cards and the colors selected are very beautiful. Jewel tones are used with bright colored accents, some of which are almost neon. Each of the pairs of cards share the same color scheme, which makes it easy to find the matching card within the deck.
For another friend, I drew two of the resource code cards: Yummy Money and Divine Relationships.

Her message was a combination of allowing money “do things for you and watch your mission thrive”7 and remembering that “you may require primary relationships with light beings, animals, nature and crystals.”8 The guidebook encouraged my friend to use the word “Yummy” or say “mmmmm” each time she said or thought about money. Doing so raises your vibration. My friend loved the guidance and loved the Yummy Money challenge!

In order to find the guidance, one must use the table of contents and search for the name of each of the Codes of Love. These are not listed in alphabetical order, which takes a little longer to find the correct code. Once you find the code, you’ll see that there is a number assigned to each pair. It would have been very helpful for the designer to incorporate this number on the cards.

Due to the complex nature of the cards, the guidance, and the system to use these cards, I feel that this deck is best suited to someone with several years’ experience working with either tarot or oracle cards. Or, someone who is learning light language or learning to work with Thoth or any ascended masters for manifestation or personal healing would also benefit from this deck.

Hoffman includes extensive information on how to best work with the cards, including the use of a 16-card tableau for what she calls “Multi-D Abundance.”9 She also includes directions for using the cards for both personal and professional relationships, changing your money story and enhancing your energy. I’ll look forward to utilizing Magdalene Manifestation Cards in some of my groups and with clients who want to change the energy around relationships, abundance or vitality.