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Author Archives: Anne Greco

About Anne Greco

Anne Greco is a non-fiction writer who writes about her life experiences and travels with humor, keen observations, and the hope that her words will remind us that “we’re all just walking each other home.” Her book, Serendipity: Chance Pilgrimages, tells the story of Anne encountering her places of power. As she reconnects with herself at each site, Anne also develops a deeper understanding and appreciation of her connection to both the seen and unseen worlds. Learn more about her work here: http://annegrecowriter.com.

Mindful Homes Interview with Anjie Cho

Anne: Hello, Anjie! Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with me about your newly released book Mindful Homes: Create Healing Living Spaces with Mindfulness and Feng Shui  (CICO Books 2023). I really enjoyed it and have already used many of the concepts to rearrange space in my own home. For those who might not know much about feng shui though, would you share a bit about it?

Anjie: Hi Anne, so nice to meet you. And thank you so very much for including me on your blog Musing Mystical!

In a nutshell, what is feng shui? Feng shui is a healing modality that comes from China that looks at the flow of qi (life force energy) in you and your spaces. My personal definition is slightly different. Feng shui is a mindfulness practice that invites you to explore the world around you. It’s about paying attention to the details of your environment, without judgment, and seeing that we are interconnected and interdependent with our spaces.

Anne: Feng shui has been an interest of mine for quite some time, though I admit I get overwhelmed by the details sometimes. Your book really helped me to get out of my mind though and feel into the energy. How were you first introduced to feng shui? What do you believe attracted you to it? I’m curious as to what was going on in your life at the time. Were you instinctively incorporating feng shui into your life without realizing it? 

Anjie: In my late twenties, during my Saturn return, I found myself looking at what was no longer working in my life. I was depressed, and felt resigned to the agonizing belief that all there was to life was getting up and going to a job that depleted me. I had an epiphany during my first reiki session while I was visiting Thailand. I realized that I needed to make a big shift, to make a big turn. I started studying meditation and yoga, which led me to have curiosity about how I could bring more depth and meaning in what I spent most of my waking hours doing– work! 

I was working in architecture, so I looked at feng shui. I took some classes and then for years started eyeing the three-year certification program that I ended up graduating from. It was only when I had another opportunity to make another turn in my life, during the last big recession, where I took that plunge. This was one of the first times in my life that I invested in something with no expectations and no desired outcome. I just knew my heart leapt with joy when I learned more and more about the profound practice of feng shui. Then my whole world started opening up. I never had any aspirations to write a book (let alone two!), teach, be any sort of public figure, etc. I just thought I’d be working for an architecture firm my whole life. So yes, I just followed the path laid out for me and it led me to feng shui.

Anne: You write that one should approach creating more aligned spaces beginning with intuition. I totally get that and use it for myself. But, when I get to the more technical aspects of feng shui, like using the bagua, my eyes glaze over and I throw my hands up and throw in the towel. These technicalities turn me off. Is there hope if I don’t follow most of the “typical” tenets of feng shui?

Anjie: Everyone has intuition, but that doesn’t mean everyone has cultivated skills and wisdom of any practice (like feng shui, or meditation, or creating a loaf of bread, or playing piano). It requires a bit of elbow grease 🙂 If the technicalities throw you off, then feng shui is probably not your thing. Just like I have no interest in making my own bread, it’s not my thing. One would not just say, well intuitively I know how to play piano…. It’s important to have some respect and cultural appreciation of practices and ancient wisdoms. At the same time, I wrote my new book Mindful Homes with newbies in mind who do throw in the towel when they get confused. It’s part of my life path, and I feel it’s also part of my responsibility to share feng shui teachings in a way that is digestible. But that said, it’s totally ok to throw in the towel! I think the important thing is to be respectful and not say that you know feng shui when you have not practiced. 

Anne: That makes a lot of sense! I loved the themes of interconnectedness and interdependence that ran through the book. I also found it refreshing and liberating to read that I was released from fixing a space or even myself. Can you describe your unique “turnaround approach” when most view as feng shui being a “fix” to imperfection? Do you feel that most feng shui teachings focus on fixing versus unfolding of one’s true nature in one’s physical and non-physical spaces?

Anjie: I think most of the western world as a whole is geared to a fix it approach. It’s not unique to feng shui. We think a pill, money, or a lot of “Likes” will make us happy, when really there’s much to look at underneath the surface. I don’t follow feng shui practitioners except my students and teachers. This teaching of interconnectedness, interdependence, becoming friendly with yourself, are within Buddhist and Taoist dharma teachings that are the underlying foundation of feng shui. Most things on a superficial level are about fixing. And that’s ok. My new book Mindful Homes is an invitation to take it a step deeper and offer what I have found helpful in my life. So, others can teach or practice feng shui as they wish. They can live life as they wish. And it’s all included.

Anne: How do you work with a living space that seems to be completely at odds with feng shui such as weird floor plans, stairways that can’t be moved for optimal feng shui benefit, etc.

Anjie: I teach that even if something has challenging feng shui, it might be helpful for that person. Sometimes we are attracted to homes that may open us up to or even exacerbate a situation because we are at the place to work with it. It’s workable. So with any floor plan or client, it’s all workable. When I work with a client and their space, it’s a 1-1 connection so it’s hard to say what I would do, because each situation, each space, each moment, each request is different. Just like we are all different.

Anne: It seems that creating healing spaces begins with noticing – noticing your feelings to something, your reactions, your “gut” response. I liked how you mentioned simple things like noticing your plants – have they outgrown a pot, are their leaves dusty. Is intentional noticing or honoring what your body is noticing through intuition, at the basis of feng shui?  

Anjie: Sometimes this can be a part of feng shui as I’ve suggested in my book. I don’t know if others practice this way or would necessarily agree. It’s just one of the many tools in the toolbox. There’s an invitation to see the world as non-binary. It doesn’t have to be yes/no good/bad black/white or this is feng shui, this isn’t.

Anne: What do you feel is the difference between feng shui and decluttering? Can you have an optimal dwelling space, whether internally or externally, with a lot of “things” in that space be it furniture or thoughts? 

Anjie: When feng shui was developed, there was no such thing as clutter. Clutter is a modern-day dilemma. And a feng shui practitioner does not have the same skills as a Professional organizer. I have zero experience in helping someone declutter their space. 

And yes, of course, one can have a lot of things in a space and it can be perfect for them. 

Anne: The book stretched the concept of feng shui for me in a way that created a great expanse. The section on space that also touched on manipulating and stretching time was a bit mind blowing. As was the focus not only on external spaces but also our internal spaces as well. You recommend a daily meditation practice. Can you briefly describe how such a practice creates a mindful inner space?  Do you feel that feng shui, along with meditation, are an ongoing practice instead of a one-and-done effort?

Anjie: I don’t know how to describe the indescribable. And I think it would be a disservice to do so. When I teach my students, and when you read my book, you’ll see there’s a large focus on your own experience. This is why meditation practice is so helpful. No one can tell you what your experience is in meditation, no matter how many words you put to it. And no one will ever understand you. But I’ve found, as a meditation practitioner, my most meaningful and helpful moments have been a direct result of sitting in silence with myself. For instance, I can do a whole meditation retreat with a stranger, never say a single word, and yet we have created a space and walked a journey together. And afterwards we don’t need to talk about the details, yet we know we have experienced a meaningful inner space together.

So, I would say, I can’t tell you or describe it. I would just recommend you practice it.

And for my students and myself, we see feng shui as a lifelong practice, study, and lifestyle. It’s a philosophy that trickles into every part of life, just like we are always present IN physical spaces. Feng shui is the space around us. At the same time, it’s totally ok for someone to just try things, meditation or feng shui or scuba diving :), and decide it’s not for them! 

Anne: One of my favorite aspects of Mindful Homes is how it includes ways to use crystals to enhance the space. How did you come to learn about crystals and the effects they have on one’s space?

Anjie: We all live on this planet earth. We walk on the earth. Crystals or even ordinary stones, come from the earth. It’s something we all understand. Most of us learn at a very young age that a diamond is of great value, it sparkles, comes from the earth, it offers clarity. I learned about crystals from just having them around me, from what others taught me, books, and I especially love crystals in jewelry. I make malas, and love to wear gems and semi-precious stones and metals. But even an ordinary stone that you meet on a hike can be a teacher. Stones, rocks, gemstones have been on this earth much longer than humans. There’s much stillness and wisdom there. In my book I review how crystals can be connected to feng shui principles through color, meaning, or by listening to the stone itself. 

Anne: You write that in feng shui, everything is alive, even our dwelling spaces as it’s filled with qi, the life force energy. You recommend that we name our dwelling spaces to reflect that qi. This reminded me of when I traveled to visit my husband’s family in England and I was struck that people named their homes. When they referenced going to someone’s house, they didn’t say “Let’s go to Marion’s house,” they said, “Let’s go to Sunnybrook,” the name of the house. How does one pick a good name?

Anjie: Oh yes, we do that in New York City, too. I didn’t think of that connection. There’s no good/bad name. And the name can always change. I think the key is to offer a name that arises from sincerity. Then it’s not necessary to judge it as good or bad. That said, if the word already has a lot of personal negative connotations for you, that might be something to pay attention to. I don’t think I’d want to be called “ugly” or “stupid”. 

Anne: A few years ago, I was home for a few days and so spent a lot of uninterrupted time in my living space. I noticed new things like how beautiful the late afternoon light was in one room where I had been reading. I experienced a quiet early morning having coffee outside when I’d normally been hurrying to work. Your book’s section on an unscheduled day resonated. Can you talk about the benefits of having an unscheduled day at home?

Anjie: One benefit is receiving messages from the home. There may be something the home can tell you that you’ve been neglecting. It’s very easy to take our homes for granted, and sleepwalking through life. But the world has so many gifts to share if we can just open our eyes and heart.

Anne: How does one incorporate the ideas in this book into one’s life if we share a space with others who are not so attuned or supportive of the changes we want to make? And you have recommendations for what to do if you don’t have disposable income to spruce up an outdoor space? For example, a house that lacks shutters or a space that is just dirt instead of lawn. What can you do if you are a renter and the space is not yours to decorate as you’d like?

Anjie: I recommend you only work on the spaces you are permitted to adjust. There should be some sort of consent from the other(s) that you share your spaces with. Or just make the shifts in the spaces that are yours. Same with renters, you can make the changes that are possible within the guidelines provided by your landlord. If you are staying in someone’s home, it’s not your home to change, but you can ask for permission if it’s something that you feel is important.

It’s a misconception that feng shui requires “disposable income.” For instance, if you want to bring a crystal into your home you can go out in nature and see if you find an ordinary stone that wants to come home with you. You can ask for permission and consent. If you get a yes, then you may take it home. 

Always, I say you can only do the best you can with what you have. It’s not helping you to say “yes, but……” you’re only creating the blocks for yourself.

Anne: Wow, thank you so much for all this insight Anjie! You’ve given me so much food for thought as I continue to become more aware of my connection to the space around me in my home. 

Anjie: You’re welcome! Thank you so much Anne!

For those whose interest is sparked by this interview, you can glean much more of Anjie’s wisdom in Mindful Homes: Create Healing Living Spaces with Mindfulness and Feng Shui (CICO Books 2023). I highly recommend it for those looking to spruce up their space and naturally shift the energy both within and around their home.

Mindful Homes, by Anjie Cho

Mindful Homes: Create Healing Living Spaces with Mindfulness and Feng Shui, by Anjie Cho
CICO Books, 1800652119, 144 pages, April 2023

Mindful Homes: Create Healing Living Spaces with Mindfulness and Feng Shui by Anjie Cho is an amazing resource for those seeking a change in how they live and the spaces they inhabit. Those spaces include living spaces, work spaces, outdoor spaces, and even one’s internal space.

Quiet and powerful; reflection and movement; slow and steady, these are all the ways I started to see the environment around me when reading this book. By unfolding awareness and remaining present-focused and forward facing, I tapped into the subtle energy surrounding me. And through contemplation coupled with action, as taught by Cho, I was able to create space both within myself and my home.

Cho, a registered architect and feng shui educator, naturally melds feng shui with mindfulness. She writes of her understanding that “each client, teacher, student, each and every person, being, and space is complete and perfect as they are.”1 This is the part where I exhaled in relief and gratitude coupled with a tinge of incredulity. This is the first (and only) book that I’ve picked up that touches on feng shui and isn’t filled with “to do” lists to correct problems.

Instead, Cho invites the reader to become aware of their own intuition and instead of working to fix something, instead work on shifts, subtle and bold, small and large because “if something shifts in your home it can not only be a reflection but a catalyst for change in your inner spaces.”2

Cho approaches feng shui was a “mindfulness-based practice, because our environments are connected to and resonate with us. Feng shui is a meditation in action, a dharma art so to speak.”3 II very much appreciated that Cho does not view feng shui as a quick fix or a superficial decorative style because as she continually reminds the reader, “you are truly perfect as you are.”4

A mindful approach to feng shui aligns the shifts made in one’s external environment with one’s internal landscape. We develop an increased aware of the spaces that we inhabit come to realize that “everything around us…are alive.”5

The book, illustrated with photographs of living spaces that elicit feelings of calm, is divided into nine sections that delve into tenets of feng shui like the use of the feng shui “map” or bagua and the connection between mindfulness and feng shui and creating a mindful space. In writing about the bagua she spends time focusing on certain crystals and their particular use in each gua. There is also a short description on how to use the feng shui crystal mandala and guidance for working with the crystals.

The section, The Seed Reveals and Eight Petal Lotus Blossom, is the one that she recommends referring to as one progresses through the book as it provides an overview of feng shui and its principles. Working with one’s insight and intuition, Cho offers a way to explore the five elements (earth, metal, water, wood, and fire) to learn more about them, “beyond what can be described by language.”6 She writes a meditation that one can follow but also provides an audio and video version of this guided meditation at mindfulhomesbooks.com

Also described in depth is the unseen flow of qi, or the “unseen life force energy that flows in, through and around all living things.”7 She provides guidance on how to make space for ne qi, whether for new beginnings, abundance, health, travel, children, self-cultivation, visibility, one’s path in life, and relationships including self-love. 

Cho also describes how to meet one’s heart in the bedroom, nourishing one’s self in the kitchen, and aligning one’s path in life with one’s workspace. The concluding section deals with interconnecting one’s home with the community.

As a practitioner of rituals, I loved the sections on space blessing rituals, awakening the deity of your bed, mindful eating, and blessing of objects. The book touches on such a wide range of topics such as creating an unscheduled day at home, and practicing letting go of objects. She offers practices such as doing one good deed a day for 27 days and if you have clutter, moving nine things a day for 27 days. 

Overall, I highly Mindful Homes: Create Healing Living Spaces and Feng Shui as well as visiting the website to avail one’s self of the meditations. Compared to other feng shui books, this book makes it easy for beginners to use the techniques to enhance their living space. It is sure to provide inspiration for how you can subtly change the energy of your environment to feel more at ease and filled with peace. I am continuing to move though the book’s practices, letting my intuition guide to me the sections of the book that are calling the most for my attention.

Soul Helper Oracle, by Christine Arana Fader

Soul Helper Oracle: Messages from Your Higher Self, by Christine Arana Fader and illustrated by Elena Dudina
Earthdancer, 978-1-64411-468-1, 43 cards, 128 pages, April 2022

When I first opened the Soul Helper Oracle: Messages from Your Higher Self by Christine Arana Fader, I was eager to start working with the deck. I shuffled for a bit, said my usual blessing for a new deck, asked a question, and selected a card. I pulled the “Success and Happiness Are Coming” card, which, ironically, is the card whose illustration by Elena Dudina adorns the box cover and the front of all of the cards.

I placed the card in front of me, spending time looking at the glorious illustration of a woman, her under-eye area ringed with small purple jewels, a crystal located over her third eye, and her flaming red hair crowned with peacock feathers. She tells me to enjoy and celebrate life – a message I definitely needed to hear.

Before looking up the card’s meaning in the accompanying small book, I read the introduction that explained how to use the cards, interpretation methods, and consulting an oracle. In hindsight, I would have been better served to have read the introduction that Christine offers first. She describes how the deck guides a person to notice when our souls are speaking to us (which is really all of the time) and to heed its advice, meaning to go deeper into the storm of life facing us to find peace, to search for the truth within, and recognize our potential.

The deck is meant to be used to discover the core issue facing us when a card is pulled, to find the essence of the matter at hand, and to work with the recommended soul helpers. To do so, she recommends pulling only one card and working with the issue at hand for 21 days.

This is not the deck to use for a fast answer, but rather to work with the four soul helpers associated with each card: power animals, herbal essential oils, healing crystals, and numbers. Through a deep 21-day dive on what is being communicated, your soul’s messages will reveal themselves. It is through this extended focus and soul support that the vibrations offered by the soul helpers can help bring “clarity, divine light, and wisdom and will immediately bring about a change for the better, opening doors and guiding you toward happiness.”1

The accompanying booklet describes the characteristics and associated vibrations of the four soul helpers and how to work with them over the 21 days. For example, with the herbal essential oils you can put the recommended oil in a diffusers, or onto your crown chakra, or spritz it in a spray bottle filled with spring water and the oil to mix with your aura.

I’ve lived with this deck for a few months, and just before sitting down to write this review, I pulled another card: “Nature is Calling You”. The card states Nature wants to touch, fulfill, and protect me with its healing powers. With a wink and a nod from my soul, this was the same card that I pulled three weeks ago. And, its message is one that I not only need to hear, but to believe and then live willing to accept the help that is given so freely to me by my soul.

The predominant color of this card is green. A girl clothed in what looks to be a bikini of green leaves, holds some moss to her ear, much like we sometimes hold seashells to our ear when at the ocean. Her head is cocked to one side as she listens, surrounded by ferns, a small waterfall in the background. The power animal of the card is a puma; the herbal essential oil is tea tree; the healing crystal is emerald; and the number is 2.

The wisdom of the card’s offering is spot on for me and it reminds me that the issue raised by the card is not necessarily an easy one but an urgent one. It resonates with me tremendously. I will willingly work with the four soul helpers, heed the message, and work on the prodding that tells me to let go of lower, negative energies and forgo the dark paths of victimhood and begin to shine in my true light instead.

Christine Arana Fader and Elena Dudin have birthed an amazing beautifully illustrated and written deck. I loved Christine’s statement that “your soul is telling you to enjoy life, even its storms and silences, to treat everything as if it were a game in which you are the winner. It tells you to have faith in yourself and your strengths, and to trust your own magic.”2 The challenge for me has been to actually live my belief in this. Working with this deck has given me guidance on how to trust my soul to guide me on this path and to not resist or overthink, or to allow myself to override the divine light of the soul.

I highly recommend Soul Helper Oracle but remind the reader that to fully access the help offered within that you really do need to sit with your chosen card and work with the associated four soul helpers for the 21 days. Invest the time in yourself, your soul is waiting for you to listen and work in concert. As Christine reminds us, “those things that you heal and liberate within yourself will heal and liberate the whole world.”3

Witches, Druids, and Sin Eaters, by Jon C. Hughes with Sophie Gallagher

Witches, Druids, and Sin Eaters: The Common Magic of the Cunning Fold of the Welsh Marches, by Jon C. Hughes with Sophie Gallagher
Destiny Books, 9781644114285, 296 pages, September 2022

Witches, Druids, and Sin Eaters beckons one to the Welsh Marches – the ancient borderland of Wales and England. It is a brilliant collaboration between Jon Hughes, a fifth-generation Druid living in a remote part of Wales and Sophie Gallagher, a Welsh-born witchcraft researcher with a deep knowledge of the ancient witches of the Welsh Marches. 

Seeking to explore and bring to light the “treasure trove of untapped information relating to the ancient Druids and arcane witchcraft that evolved in the Welsh Marches”1 while incorporating the current practices in this area, Hughes and Gallagher looked at artifacts, texts, museum archives, and even the natural landscape. They soon discovered that there were more similarities than differences in the practices of the Druids and the witches. The book delves into regional practices such as sin eaters and eye biters and even includes the area’s influence on the writing of J. R. R. Tolkein.

Accompanying photographs of artifacts, sites, and buildings bring to life the artifacts and markings of these people. The most widespread witch marks found in the area’s buildings are of taper burns, intentional in their making and not by the random flicker of a flame too close to a wall. Photographs of items such as a curse doll, a wooden witch’s coffin curse, and protective amulets and devices found in walls and floorboards, illustrate the influence of the witches and Druids in this region.

“People have secretly hidden objects in their houses for centuries (things like bottles, shoes, and bodies of cats) to protect themselves and their families from various forms of supernatural menace (evil spirits, witches, hostile magic, malign influences) to influence events or to take revenge on people that have wronged them.”2 

The work is comprehensive in its exploration of the significance of the earth-based practices of the Druids and witches in the Welsh Marches. The Druids have lived in this area for over 6,000 years, from around 3,800 B.C. The region, of course, experienced tumult since the first ancient people arrived there. The book also details encounters of these people with the Romans in their first invasion, with reminders that the Romans were also pagan until 313 A.D.

Historical references put things into context. I was particularly struck by the reading about the Walton Basin, on the Welsh side of the border, which archeologists believe was a national ceremonial center. A timber henge, approximately 328 feet in diameter, was discovered that is felt to be a prototype for a stone henge that was not built. There were similarities between the deposits found at this site and Stonehenge.

Tolkein enters the picture in Lydney Park, Gloucestershire, England, where he joined British archeologist, Sir Mortimer Wheeler, at Dwarf’s Hill in the late 1920s. Dwarf’s Hill contained a labyrinth of tunnels and was thought to be the home of little people. A tablet bearing a curse was also found. Silvianus, a Roman, had lost a ring and cursed all who bore the name of Senicianus, the supposed thief.

Wheeler invited Tolkein to examine the site of Noden’s Temple at Dwarf’s Hill after which Tolkein contributed to a report on the origin of the name, Noden. When Tolkein later wrote The Hobbit “it became impossible not to speculate upon the connection between his experiences at Lydney and his epic tales of Middle Earth,“3 including Hobbits and a ring.

The book provides simply fascinating information and insight. Sin eaters and eye biters….oh, my. Sin eaters were unique to the Welsh culture and the region of the Welsh Marches. The sin eater (always male) took upon himself the sins of the newly deceased so that the departed could find his/her place in the hereafter. A sin eater was retained by the family of the deceased and would consume a cake called a dead cake which had been placed on the breast of the corpse at sunset. It would remain there until sunrise the following morning where it was thought to absorb the sins of the departed. The sin eater would then consume the cake along with ale.

Eye biters were found among the powerful witches of the Welsh Marches who were thought to have the ability to cast evil curses simply by looking at their victims. Their gaze was as effective as if they were to “bite the jugular vein (of the victim) and watch them bleed to death.”4 Beware the brathwyr llygaid, or eye biters!

As a reference, the book provides a comprehensive list of five prominent occultists (alchemists, astrologers, and occult philosophers) who “influenced the kings and emperors of much of Europe and beyond.”5 These men, while famous, reflect the many unknown practitioners, who live/lived in the Welsh Marches:

“There is little doubt that the unique and extraordinary culture of the Welsh Marches has had a lasting influence upon the history of the occult within the Marches itself and further afield around the globe.”6

Hughes and Gallagher remind the reader that the lore of the Druids and witches was an oral tradition. They bring the reader into the modern era of witches and Druids. “A Druid is a learned pagan, well versed in the oral tradition of paganism and the role of the Druid as a teacher and spiritual leader within it.”7 Like the Druids, witches maintain an ancient understanding of natural magic. The authors write extensively about Neo-Paganism in its many forms.

The book is divided into two sections. The first section, “Witchcraft and Druidic Lore of the Welsh Marches” focuses on all that was written about above. The second section, “Grimore of the Welsh Marches (Yr Llyfr Swynion Gororau Cymru)” opens the reader to the book of spells of the Welsh Borderland. It is a valuable companion to the first part of the book and allows the reader to investigate this natural magic. “While this grimoire is the result of a detailed comparison of witchcraft practices and Druidic lore, it must not be considered an erroneous conflation of the two traditions.”8

The reader is reminded that there are fundamental differences between the two and also varying beliefs and practices within each tradition. “…It is a subtle blending of selective beliefs and practices that have an underlying unity that resonates within both traditions, allowing the merging of both without compromising the fundamental principles of either.”9

There is information on preparing the work space and crafting components, casting a circle, use of botanicals, invocations, protection against malevolent energies, amulets, talismans, and charms. 

Also introduced are witch marks (burn marks), various types of spells, the casting and lifting of spells and curses, the use of wands and the crafting of wands, working with waters and oils, creating poppers (a small doll representing the recipient of a curse). I particularly liked (and was relieved) that the second section of the book ended with elixirs of love. As the authors remind, “in the case of inanimate objects they of course have a material manifestation and are also imbued with a communal spirit; however, they do not have a personal spirit that all living things receive at conception.”10

Overall, Witches, Druids, and Sin Eaters is a very comprehensive look at this unique area of the world, one with a long and deep history of Druids and witches. I highly recommend it if you are looking for a deep dive into this all-important region, particularly if you feel drawn to the aforementioned spiritual paths of Druidry or Witchcraft. There’s so much valuable history revealed in this book that is sure to expand your background knowledge, particularly the impact these lands have had on writers such as Tolkien and those dedicated to exploring the mysteries, such as alchemists, astrologers, and occult philosophers.

Hearth & Home Witchcraft, by Jennie Blonde

Hearth & Home Witchcraft: Rituals and Recipes to Nourish Home and Spirit, by Jennie Blonde
Weiser Books, 1578637737, 211 pages, September 2022

A balm. A comfortable chair that offers you the ability to relax in order to dream, to conjure, to recharge. A friend, a companion, a motivator. This is what Hearth & Home Witchcraft: Rituals and Recipes to Nourish Home and Spirit by Jennie Blonde, the self-proclaimed “Comfy Cozy Witch”, was to me. I’m sure it will be the same for you.

Blonde succeeds in combining witchcraft for the hearth and home with hygge, the Danish and Norwegian lifestyle concept that translates loosely into “hug.” I’ve often written on the topic of hygge, so it was a quite “coincidence” to begin the book by reading how Jennie incorporated hygge into her practice to create something “comfy, cozy, and witchy.”1

This wonderful, informative book guides the reader into finding and practicing comforting and nourishing hearth and home magic for every season. As with hygge in general, one is asked to keep in mind that what is comforting and cozy to you may not be the same to another person. You are called to create a home and hearth that reflects you, that nourishes you, and comforts you. Jennie also reminds the reader that “everyone’s idea of comfort within witchcraft differs.”2

Blonde has been practicing witchcraft for over two decades. In addition to this book, she has a podcast called… you guessed it: Comfy Cozy Witch. She writes in a way that is both informative and casual; she writes as if we are sitting in her kitchen talking over a cup of tea. The book is “a blend of story-telling, witchcraft, and warmth…accessible to any witch, at any point of their journey. A book filled with information, personal anecdotes, rituals, spell work, and recipes to nourish yourself, nourish your home, nourish your spirit.”3

Hearth & Home Witchcraft is divided into seven sections, each focusing on places (hearth and home, kitchen, garden and nature), one’s self, and everyday rituals. Also included is a reference to the book’s rituals and recipes as well as a glossary of terms and references for future reading. The Wheel of the Year is detailed with corresponding delicious, easy to make recipes including mini bread loaves (Lughnasadh), honey butter (Imbolc), and sangria (Litha). The recipes ensure this is a book to keep out year-round.

Readers are introduced to the concept of choosing a household deity (if one feels so inclined) to work with. Blonde offers a few suggestions for household deities, such as Hestia, Vesta, and Brigid but leaves open to choice what resonates with the reader, noting it could also be a spirit of local lands of an animistic deity. There is a corresponding house goddess ritual too. 

There are also suggestions on ways to make one’s home both magical and homey, inviting and nourishing. There are magical cleaning tips, everyday magical items with which to “work,” and suggestions for making areas of your home both reflect and sustain you. Here Blonde focuses on the basic tenants of the home of a hearth witch:

“Hearth craft begins and ends in the home, there is a focus on cleanliness, there is positive nurturing energy with subtle touches of magic, and there is a respect for all of nature.”4

In turning one’s attention to the hearth, or kitchen, Jennie writes about the kitchen altar, herb and tea magic, as well as kitchen rituals for meditation and balance. There is a large focus on food and recipes, for as she writes, “the kitchen of a home is a place of gathering. Food, in and of itself, is magic.”5 Some of the ones I’ve tried so far are the pumpkin chocolate muffins and herby biscuits, which were both delicious.

Imagine tales in which the witches toil over a cauldron to create magic – Blonde helps the reader create similar magic in a modern kitchen with tried and true items such as tea, cinnamon, honey, and mint. There are sprays and rituals for things such as energy cleansing and lessening anxiety, which I made for one of my daughters. It was simple to make, yet I felt the potency of the mixture as I blended it together. So far, she’s loved the calming effects.

Blonde encourages the reader to set up one’s own sacred space – be it in the home itself or on the property surrounding the home. “A sacred space is personal in nature and the location varies depending on who you talk to.”6 One can engage in “witchy self-care” in these sacred spaces – ways to ground, relax, recharge, and reconnect. For extending the interior space to the natural world, there are tips for setting up a witch’s garden, and working with Fairies. I am especially looking forward to trying out the Ancestor Honoring Ritual for Samhain.

Overall, Blonde helps the reader identify ways to find “magic in the everyday things, no matter how big or small.”7 The biggest suggestion is to find time – no matter how small – to participate in one’s rituals. She reminds us to find the magic that surrounds us, and that “It isn’t the length of a ritual that matters, it’s the quality.”8  To settle into the magic so that it supports us, comforts us, grounds us and activates us, Hearth & Home Witchcraft is the book to read. It’s the small things we do with meaning that matter. I highly recommend this book to settle into the comfy, cozy routines of your life that make it magic.

The Big Book of Candle Magic, by Jacki Smith

The Big Book of Candle Magic, by Jacki Smith
Weiser Books, 9781578637638, 309 pages, July 2022

Jacki Smith, founder of Coventry Creations, the largest magical candle company in North America, has written the most enlightening (!) book on candle magic, aptly titled The Big Book of Candle Magic. Described as a “comprehensive, in-depth guide including instructions for casting your own spells”1, this book opens with the most important question to consider before delving into the material: Do I really need a spell?

I loved being challenged by this question at the opening, as it made me sit up and take notice. I was no longer a passive reader, I was a participant. “Aunt Jacki”, as she refers to herself throughout the book, creates a conversational atmosphere in which she engages the reader and guides them through candle magic. How can you be intimidated into delving into this topic when Aunt Jacki is right there beside you?

She provides guidance on defining what a spell is – a “shifting of energy toward an intended goal.”2 She continues by writing that “the impact of that spell depends on your prep work, your intention, and your commitment to a shift in energy”3, while reminds the reader that “magic at its core is healing.”4 To help you answer her original question as to whether you need a spell, she writes that “if you are ready to manifest a change and heal a need both in yourself and in the wider world, then yes!”5

The book is divided into four sections, all providing guidance, tools, suggestions, and exercises including, most importantly, getting clear on whether you need a spell or a reality check. Again, your Aunt Jacki is going to lovingly help set you straight.

“Law of Attraction and magic. Is there a difference? If so, what is it? When you add the ritual of magic to your intent…your intent will manifest faster and cleaner. And that is where candle magic comes in. Candles provide an easy, powerful ritual within themselves.”6

Section One, The Magic Hour is Now”, provides exercises such as the “Why is That?” exercise. She encourages the reader to start and maintain a Candle Magic Journal, again with instructions provided. She details the difference between basic candle magic of lighting a candle versus advanced candle magic that includes casting a spell. Other topics included in the section include setting intent and casting for guidance.

Section Two, “Joy of Spellcrafting”, provides guidance on choosing a candle, prepping your candle for magic, and accessorizing your spell. Jacki delves into different types of candles (such as pillars, votive, and tea lights), blessed and dressed candles, sigils, color, and casting. I tend to not speak my spells out loud, but Jacki writes that a candle spell needs words to activate it and these words must be spoken out loud. She provides different phrasings of a spell, showing how one way is more valuable than another. Jacki prompts the reader to include boundaries of a time frame in the spell with an attainable due date, or else the spell is just a wish. 

Section Three, “Art of Cocreation”, focuses on inviting in the divine energies in the Universe. She encourages the reader to co-create with the spiritual realm. There is focus on setting up an altar and the types of altars such as an ancestor altar (my favorite), a purpose altar, nature altars, garden altars, divinity altars, and big magic altars – whatever you’re drawn to. She provides information on lighting the candle and ceromancy, the spiritual language of candles. Wondering how to “read” a candle? It’s in the book! And again, in this section she prompts the reader to return to their Candle Magic Journal with a list of questions on which to focus. 

Section Four, “Index of Inspiration”, is the reference section of the book. It provides a sample candle spell index (prosperity, love and relationships, protection, and clearing) that includes candle colors, candle types, dressing oils, and accessories such as stones or photographs.  There is a moon sign index as well as a color index, a magic herb index, a crystal and stone index, a tarot index, and a Magic 5 index of ingredients. While the first three sections are more conversational and action-oriented, this section is more informational and one that you’ll turn for reference as you delve into candle magic. 

Plus this book contains guidance, exercises, prompts, and recommendations on things such as creating a spell (the best spells rhyme!), different types of spells, use of color, stones, and tarot. Encyclopedic in the best way to describe some of the chapters.

In addition to its wealth of information, what is also unique about the book is its conversational tone, with craft projects, confessions, clarification, musing, and tips from our Aunt Jacki. What I most valued about Jacki’s writing was that it challenged me through prompts, journaling, and exercises to commune with the candles.

I was invited to set intentions, get clear about what I was calling into my life and why. Aunt Jackie helped me to define what I want and what I’m willing to do to get clear, as well as helping me to tune into if I was truly ready to act when I cast a spell. All of this was new terrain for me. To be honest, I never gave these questions much thought. But as Aunt Jackie reminds the reader, spells are actualized by my action. “Build your spell with clear intent and then pay attention to the outcomes. And there is always an outcome.”7 

“The goal of candle magic – or any magic of that matter – is to move your own limitations, fears, blocks, and beliefs out of the way so your intention can become real. “8

After reading The Big Book of Candle Magic, I continue to carry with me Aunt Jackie’s words that magic demands change. She reminds us if there is no need for change, there is no need for magic. I highly recommend this book if you are ready and willing to change. It will light the way for a new way of living with the magic of candles for years to come!

Pagan Portals – Aos Sidhe, Meeting the Irish Fairy Folk of Ireland, by Morgan Daimler

Pagan Portals – Aos Sidhe: Meeting the Irish Fairy Folk of Ireland, by Morgan Daimler
Moon Books, 9781789049374, 85 pages, August 2022

Journeys have not been easy to come by for me this summer. However, although the pandemic kept my physical travel plans on hold, I was able to journey to the Emerald Isle with Morgan Daimler to visit the land of the Fair Folk through the pages of Pagan Portals – Aos Sidhe: Meeting the Irish Fairy Folk of Ireland.

Ireland is one of my favorite places to visit but I do remember being warned not to disturb the places where the fair folk dwelled. I was surprised by this warning as we are living in the 21st century. Did people still believe in the fair folk? This book answered my question with a resounding “Yes!”

In the Author’s Note, Daimler indicates that she is “writing this book because of an aisling, a vision, I had and because I feel like this book is a necessary thing to help people sort out Irish folk belief from pop culture and fiction.”1

Aos Sidhe (pronounced Ace Shee) means “people of the fairy hills” or people of the Otherworld. According to Daimler, “They are the beings who interact with our world but exist in and come from a place that is foreign to our world, and that is the realm of the sidhe, beneath the earth, also called an Saol Eile, the Otherworld.”2 The English term for Aos Sidhe is fairy. 

Although short in length, the book is packed with various sources of information on what Morgan refers to throughout as the Good Folk or Fairy Folk which “do not exist within one cohesive grouping.”3

The book is divided into six chapters. Chapter One investigates just who the Aos Sidhe are by looking at folklore and myth. Chapter Two, “Across Belief”, provides sources of accounts with the Fairy Folk, including anecdotes of people who have had experiences with the Aos Sidhe over the last hundred years or so that they have chosen to share.

There are certain times and places, liminal points, where one could have a greater chance of encountering these beings or as Morgan writes “running afoul of the Fair Folk.”4 Samhain, the month of November, and Beltane are the strongest times. Various traditions grew around these times to appease or avoid bothering the Fairy Folk through offerings or ways to protect one’s self from the Fairy Folk. To make matters worse for us humans, the Fairy Folk cannot be seen except by choice, only manifesting in physical form if they so desire. 

Chapter Three focuses on Changelings, “a fairy surreptitiously put in the place of a human being.”5 Typically, those taken are infants, young children, newly married adults, and new mothers. They are taken to increase the number of the Fairy Folk, or for entertainment, or on a whim. She recounts four cases from 1826 – 1895 of people who were accused of being changelings and the treatments they suffered at the hands of friends and family, all of which ended in death. To aid in protecting against being taken, iron and Christian holy items were used, such as pinning a safety pin to a baby’s clothing or by the sacrament of Baptism. 

Descriptions of the types of Fair Folk are covered in Chapter 4. A few favorites stand out in this chapter for me. Having grown up watching the movie Darby O’Gill and the Little People. I was scared at a young age by the screams of the Bean Sidhe (banshee) in the movie.  This “woman of the fairy hills” is probably one of the best-known of the Fair Folk, as being one who predicts death. I was surprised to learn that there are Cat Sidhe and Dobharchu or water dogs. Other Fairy Folk include Maighdeana Mhara, or “sea maidens” or mermaids, Puce or goblins and sprites, and Ronata, seal folks who the Scottish refer to as Selkies.  The Ronata use seal skins to transform themselves. 

Of course, everyone has heard of Leprechauns whose name is thought to come from the Old Irish word, luchorpan which means a very small body6. According to Daimler, there remains debate as to whether Leprechauns are part of the ranking order of Aos Sidhe or are separate, distinct beings.

Chapter 5 is titled “Safe Dealings with the Fairy Folk or Good People” to ensure people responsibly interact with these folks. As Morgan warns:

“Throughout recorded accounts of the Aos Sidhe there have always been humans who have encountered or interacted with these beings, sometimes with good results and sometimes with bad results.”7

She cautions that there are rules to interacting with the Good People in order to promote safety but that there are “real risks of encountering or dealing with these beings.”8 The chapter covers etiquette, offerings, and protections that include things to carry on one’s person in those liminal times (such as salt or a red thread) or hanging an iron horseshoe above one’s door. 

Chapter 6 and the Conclusion deal with common misconceptions of the Good Folk. Morgan reminds us that “stories of these beings have been woven into Ireland’s very earth for well over a thousand years.”9 Daimler notes that the book is meant to be an introduction not a tome. 

Also included at the end of the book is a much-appreciated Terms and Pronunciation Guide. Though, I would have liked to see this at the beginning of the book, as I spent the entire book mispronouncing the Irish terms. 

I highly recommend this book by Daimler, an author with many books on subjects such as Fairies, Brigid, and Irish Paganism to her credit. I learned a lot in reading Pagan Portals – Aos Sidhe: Meeting the Irish Fairy Folk of Ireland, but I have to admit that it left me with an uneasy feeling. I do not want to cross these beings, or inadvertently encounter them. I avoid conjuring them up. I recently resisted the temptation of staring too long at a fairy garden because as Morgan reminds the reader,  the Aos Sidhe are “always leaving but never gone.”10

Living a Hygge Lifestyle This Summer

Hygge is a Danish and Norwegian lifestyle concept that translates loosely into “hug.” Hygge has become very popular in the last few years with books and magazines dedicated to helping us bring this way of living into our daily lives. Most associated with the cold, dark winter months, Hygge promotes coziness, wellness, contentment, the warmth of friendship, and simplicity in food and decorative surroundings. Think candlelight, blankets, and steaming mugs of coffee and cinnamon pastries shared with friends around a table.

Winter hygge can be practiced alone – imagine sitting in an oversized chair, curled up in a chenille blanket with your favorite book in hand, seeing the snow fall gently outside your window as you light a candle on the end table. But most often than not, the hygge encourages interacting with friends; think sitting around a fireplace, drinking hot mulled cider, while playing board games with your friends. It’s this human interaction that helps get one through the cold, lonely winter months. 

I love to hygge in the winter but I also want to bring it into my life in the summer. Can it be done? Absolutely! Here’s how you incorporate hygge into the warm and light-filled days of summer:

Switch your fire source
Move from gathering with friends and family around the fireplace inside your home to an outdoor fire pit. Even on the hottest of days, the evenings are cool enough to comfortably enjoy sitting around a fire pit. Laugh, talk, tell stories, make s’mores. Even consider buying some “magical” powders to change the color of the flame: potassium chloride for purple flames, copper chloride for blue flames, and lithium chloride for pink flames.

✿ Turn off the oven
Going in the complete opposite direction of winter hygge, try not to use your oven for cooking and baking. Look up no-bake dessert recipes to serve your visitors – from icebox cake, to key lime cream pie, strawberry pie, and crunchy candy clusters. 

Host casual, outdoor gatherings
Continue to invite the company friends and family but move the gathering outdoors and make it casual. Think dinner under the stars either at an outdoor table or on a blanket. Create an outdoor movie theater with a projector and a white sheet – and bring the popcorn. 

Relax outside
Move your alone time from your indoor cozy chair to a macramé hammock or under a tree, on the beach, or sitting in a garden (yours or a public one).

Bring in the light
Change out your décor and use lighter colors.  This can be done inexpensively with just a few strategically placed objects that you find at a thrift shop or discount home decorating store. Develop a system of seasonally recycling what you already own – go “shopping” in the storage in your own home. Bring in the whites, creams, beiges, with touches of pastels. Look to nature for inspiration. And don’t forget the walls! Replace pictures of snowy woods, fallen leaves, and winterscapes with images of the lake, sea, or summer birds. 

Spruce up your home decor
Change out your linens, fabrics, pillows, and rugs. Replace your flannel sheets with cotton ones. Remove your heavy down comforter for a cotton bedspread. Use lighter throw blankets. Change out your dark-colored throw pillows for lighter ones. Replace the velvets with cotton. Consider rolling up that heavy wool rug and replacing it with rugs that are made of natural fibers. Again, this can be done inexpensively by shopping at discount stores both online and at brick and mortar stores. 

Eat lighter foods
Replace stews, roasts, and hot soups with quiches, salads, and cold soups. And eat your veggies and fruit – lots of them as this is the time that they are in abundance.

Change your light source
Replace your candles with fairy lights – or better still, go outside in the evening and watch the fireflies dance around the garden. 

Spend more time outside
Live outdoors as much as possible. And let the outdoors in by opening your windows as much as possible.

I hope you fill your world with summer days with hygge. Continue to enjoy its benefits of simplicity, friendship, and nourishing company and food in the dog days of summer. Blessed be!

Brigid’s Light, edited by Cairelle Crow and Laura Louella

Brigid’s Light: Tending the Ancestral Flame of the Beloved Celtic Goddess, edited by Cairelle Crow and Laura Louella
Weiser Books, 1578637694, 256 pages, March 2022

Ancient Pagan goddess or Catholic saint? Brigid brings her power and wisdom in many guises for the benefit of all. In her guise as the Goddess of the Flame, her head surrounded in a halo of fire, “she stands with us at the in-between parts of our lives, calling us to her so we can learn how to face the moment.”1  As the Lady of the Well, Brigid is also very much associated with the waters, often known for bringing inspiration and creating a flow of ideas. Brigid is most associated with Ireland where one finds the earliest documentations of her. Her wells in Kildare (one known to the public and one a bit more hidden and off the tourist path) are visited by those seeking aid. The Saint Brigid’s monastery is also in Kildare, not too far from Dublin. 

Brigid’s Light: Tending the Ancestral Flame of the Beloved Celtic Goddess, edited by Cairelle Crow and Laura Louella, is an anthology with writings from a diverse pool of authors, each opening up to their encounters with Brigid, whether through prose, poetry, art, and even recipes. In their selection of contributors, Crow and Louella sought to “reflect Brigid’s diversity in a wide variety of experiences of her power, a number of unique portrayals of her divinity, and even in different writing styles and spellings of her name.”2 Because Brigid’s influence is far-reaching, many of the contributors come from places other than Ireland.

The authors provide insight into the various ways that Brigid is celebrated and called on for assistance and sustenance, both physical and non-physical. Each writer encourages the reader to allow the “light of her flame always to guide you to your highest purpose.”3 There is a short bio of each of the contributors at the end of the book that allows the reader to further connect with those whose writings resonated with them.  

The book is divided into six parts, each dealing with a specific theme: “The Many Faces of Brigid”, “Goddess in Nature”, “Rituals Practices and Prayers”, “Goddess of Hearth and Home”, “Mothers and Daughters”, and “Circle of Life and Death”. 

The poetry found in each section was inspiring and melodious, each an offering to Brigid. The words flowed like the water surrounding her. They write of “finding” Brigid whether she met them in Canada or on a shoreline at sunrise. One poem leaves offerings to Brigid in the form of tears. A couple poems speak to Brigid the shapeshifter – as Maiden, Mother, and Crone. One connects with her as a midwife. 

The works resonated with me on so many levels, in their diversity, some personal and some more “educational,” but through all of the words and images, one cannot deny the honor and love dedicated to Brigid. 

In the “Goddess in Nature” section, I especially liked the piece on Brighid as Water Goddess (spellings of her name vary), detailing the Irish folk practices dedicated to her at the site of sacred springs and wells that continue to this day. Clooties, or strips of fabric are dipped in these waters and hung nearby in a tree with the belief that through the process of magical healing the illness would transfer from the person to the cloth which would eventually disintegrate. The author, Annwyn Avalon also writes on how one can create their own sacred well to place on an altar to Brigid. 

In the section “Rituals Practices and Prayers”, I was drawn to the “Honey and Beeswax Healing Spell” by Cairelle Crow. I look forward to doing the spell for myself and also for a few loved ones, with their consent, of course. “The Bed Blessing Before Sleep” by H. Byron Ballard (adapted from Carmichael) is a beautiful and soothing blessing that I have begun saying at bedtime. 

I loved “Cooking for Brigid” by Dawn Autora Hunt, which is in the “Goddess of Hearth and Home” section. I related to her telling of first encountering Brigid as a saint, growing up in and Italian Catholic family. As Dawn found a “pagan path” she writes of her honoring Brigid at Imbolc, lighting candles and cooking hearty foods. I will try her accompanying recipe of Shepherd’s Pie when the Wheel turns to Imbolc in February. 

In the “Mothers and Daughters” section, I particularly loved the story of the “Granddaughter of the Well” by Yeshe Matthews which recounted her serendipitous trip to Ireland when she was in graduate school. Her “knowingness” of how to arrive at places that she had never before visited brought her to Kildare, to Brigid’s well and the monastery. 

The book concludes with a prayer “written over shared cups of tea and tales of ancestors, and is infused with our deep love of the goddess.”4 The editors, Cairelle Crow and Laura Louella, leave the reader with the hope that the concluding prayer and the words within the book, “bring you bright blessings.”5

I highly recommend Brigid’s Light, both as a way to get to know the multi-faceted Brigid and also for the many ways that you can invite her to walk life’s path with you. Blessed Be.

A Spellbook for the Seasons, by Tudorbeth

A Spellbook for the Seasons: Welcome Natural Change with Magical Blessings, by Tudorbeth
Red Wheel Weiser, 9781590035375, 224 pages, March 2022

It’s always wonderful to step into a new season. How inspiring to embrace the changes in the natural world – differences in the light, the weather, the plants, the holidays. A Spellbook for the Seasons: Welcome Natural Change with Magical Blessing by Tudrobeth is a companion to the seasons that will greatly enhance your experiences and show you in so many ways how we are connected to the natural world.

Tudorbeth invites the reader to embrace the seasons and to “investigate these festivals (that are celebrated), the practical magic that flows through our seasons, and the gods that rule over the different times of the year.”1 I particularly liked that the book opens with two blessings: one for sisters and brothers around the world and one for the seasons and the turning of the wheel of the year.

The book is divided into the four seasons, with focus on each season’s garden, crystals, goddesses and gods, and spells, blessings and rituals. As I read the book in the spring, I focused most of my attention on that season. The spring months are associated with the Celtic deities such as Ostara, Belenus (Beltaine), and Brigid. The spring’s spells, blessings, and rituals include those for encouraging flowering in the garden, a daisy love ritual, and Ostara fresh air spell.

I performed the Ostara ritual on Ostara Eve, as the ritual is meant to embody hope, and then I made Ostara magic salt on the night of the full moon in March. When sprinkled around the home or office, it ensures bright ideas and business success. I now have my jar of pink salt sitting in a glass jar, ready for use! I enjoyed following Tudorbeth’s guidance and felt these small magical acts really attuned me to the energies of the season of spring.

For spring cleaning, there’s a small section on decluttering. I loved the Charm of Manannan. As Tudorbeth explains, the Celtic god, Manannan is a “foster father to the many children he takes under his care, and as a protector god he cares deeply for his children.”2 The Charm of Manannan is meant to bring about a loving and caring family home environment.

Additionally, there are rain blessings and rain energy spells that are meant to be done in a spring rainfall. The section on Beltane traditions provided an overview of Beltane, a cleansing detox ritual, and a spring sage clearing ritual. The Charm of Belenus is meant to be done toward the end of spring. The Charm is meant to invoke a happy, fun, and prosperous environment.

My recommendation for using this book to full advantage is to read the section on the upcoming season prior to the season’s arrival so that you have time to gather the items needed for the spells. While some might need to be collected at the last minute, such as flower-specific items, you can be prepared with other items such as salts, colored candles, essential oils, and shells. And then take your time in the season, experimenting with what you’re drawn to.

The sections on the season-specific garden offered suggestions on bringing wonder and magic into your outdoor space and inviting in the fairies. For spring, they include bluebells, hyacinth, and lily of the valley. As spring is associated with rain and showers, Tudorbeth focused on the power of the rainbow, and the suggested crystals include the colors of spring that form a pentagram of rainbows. The five spring crystals are rainbow opal, rainbow moonstone, rainbow obsidian, rainbow pyrite, and rainbow quartz.

The one downside for me was that some of the items were not readily available where I live such as periwinkle flowers or hawthorn twigs but again, with advance notice (e.g. reading the season in advance) I probably could have searched them out.

The other seasons are also given justice. Summer focuses on love, featuring Aphrodite and Apollo, a spell to welcome nymphs into the garden, Midsummer salt, a Lammas gratitude ritual, and a ritual for Midsummer enchantment. For Autumn, among other things, there is a clarity spell, an equinox healing ritual, a Mabon success spell, a Charm of Minerva (one of the three Roman deities who rule over the Autumn months), and a Samhain remembrance potion. Winter offers a first snow spell, an ice wand consecration ritual (if you are able to get an icicle), a Charm of Odin, midwinter tea, and an Imbolc ritual.

The most amazing part of A Spellbook for the Seasons is all the colorful, informative pictures. This is a gorgeous book to have on a table in your home because of the aesthetics that make it soothing to read through. The beauty of this book naturally entices one to want to perform with all the potent magic within. I really enjoyed the many hand-drawn illustrations, along with how the text on each page was simple and elegant. There is no clutter in the book, making it easy to focus on the spellwork or ritual you’re performing.

Tudorbeth is a hereditary practitioner of the Craft. The rules and gifts of herb lore, scrying, healing, tasseomancy, numerology, and candle magic have been passed down to her through several generations. I especially loved her reminder that we are meant to “use the gift that nature brings with these spells, but in return give something back … We are all connected to one another and everything around us. We are nature.”3 I highly recommend A Spellbook for the Seasons with encouragement to plan ahead to be able to use the knowledge imparted within its pages to full advantage.