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Author Archives: Alanna Kali

About Alanna Kali

Alanna Kali is an astrologer, numerologist, and pioneer spirit that loves to explore life through the lens of depth psychology. She has a passion for studying the humanities and social trends. Her academic work is centered upon reuniting body, mind, and spirit through eco-psychology. She loves reading, spending time in nature, and travel.

Gemstone and Crystal Magic, by Gerina Dunwich

Gemstone and Crystal Magic: A Modern Witch’s Guide to Using Stones for Spells, Amulets, Rituals, and Divination, by Gerina Dunwich
Weiser Books, 1637480075, 256 pages, August 2022

After reading a book on lithomancy recently, I thought it would do me good to brush up on my knowledge of gemstones and crystals. It seemed opportune that I had Gemstone and Crystal Magic: A Modern Witch’s Guide to Using Stones for Spells, Amulets, Rituals, and Divination by Gerina Dunwich sitting on my shelf just when I needed it! Delving into this book has give me tons of insight into the magical properties of gem and crystals, much more than I initially anticipated, to help me discover all the ways I can use the potency of them in my practice. Combining history with personal experience, Dunwich has brought to light all various forms of magical workings one can use gemstones and crystals for, presenting a full-picture of their potential.

What stood out to me the most at first was how this book went well beyond the far too common “New Age” descriptions of  crystals and gemstones. Once I started to learn more about Dunwich’s background, the way crystals and gemstones are approached made a lot of sense – she is an astrologer and occult historian! And to me this really makes this book on the topic standout from the rest because there’s so much information woven in from ancient texts and grimoires that situate the discussion in a more historical context, amplifying the timehold traditions and beliefs about different crystals and gemstones.

Dunwich is also a dedicated paranormal researcher, who is clearly very comfortable with the idea of spirits, demons, and curses, which are some topics not shied away from in the book. For instance, she goes into detail about the tragedies surrounding the allegedly cursed Hope Diamond and the paranormal phenomena of lithoboly. This valuable information contained in Gemstone and Crystal Magic that is often overlooked in other books that only superficially cover the topic. For experienced magical practitioners, this book can take your crystal and gemstone to the next level by teaching how to reverse curses, neutralize harmful energy, and use protection magic in combination with healing, spellwork, and manifestation.

Throughout the book many sources are referenced, which gives the reader plenty of avenues to explore if they are inspired. While Dunwich’s personal experience has certainly provided her with knowledge to write this book, the objectiveness in her writing is what really stands out. This isn’t a “how-to” based on Dunwich’s personal practice, but rather a compendium of knowledge she’s collected through research and study. This is a book that is filled with lore, history, anecdotes of magical practitioners, and well-sourced information about the use of crystals and gemstones.

My favorite chapter was “Stones of Zodiac” which had very interesting tables of correspondences that certainly would be useful in magical workings. There was a table of the gemstones associated with the guardian angels associated with each sign, the twelve apostles, animals of the Chinese zodiac, hour of birth, and monthly birthstones according to different traditions (Modern, Traditional, Mystical, Ayurvedic, Hebrew, Arabic, and Roman). Even if you’re not very familiar with astrology, this section could help to connect to your planetary energies through the gemstones.

I was also especially impressed by the six appendices at the end of the book, which includes tables of pagan gods and goddesses and their gemstones, gemstones for the eight sabbats, and gemstones for the parts of the Tree of Life, along with a calendar of daily stones for the entire year and different gemstone correspondences. It is arranged for the reader to easily be able to identify which gemstone they might want to work with depending on the day, time of year, or the deity they are inviting into their practice.

Aside from the resourceful tables of Gemstone and Crystal Magic, Dunwich also features guidance for making one’s own wand or talismans, tons of spells for all sorts of things from dream work to invisibility to love and money, picking a gemstone as an amulet, creating lunar tonic and other elixirs, and cleansing your stones. And this is only a small sampling of everything featured in this book!

One thing I will point out though is this book seems geared towards those with an existing foundation of magical experience. Yet while it’s not “hand-holding”,  I wouldn’t shy away from reading it either if you’re a beginner interested in learning how to deepen your magical working through the use of gemstones. Just keep in mind it focuses on the actual magical aspects of gemstones rather than how they can be used for energy enhancement or visual appeal in one’s craft, which is to say it goes deep into the heart of magic, bypassing the more superficial aspects working with gemstones many books focus on now-a-days.

Overall, Gemstone and Crystal Magic is a wonderful go-to reference book for those who are looking to incorporate gemstones into their magical practice. There are so many reasons to connect with gemstones and a variety of ways to do so, all based on what your magical work is calling for at the moment. This book is brimming with magical potency! You can feel the history and folklore is well-bound within these pages wanting to be passed forward and kept alive, which Dunwich has certainly done through her thorough compilation of gemstone knowledge!

Pagan Portals – The Art of Lithomacy, by Jessica Howard

Pagan Portals – The Art of Lithomancy: Divination with Stones, Crystals, and Charms, by Jessica Howard
Moon Books, 9781789049145, 104 pages, May 2022

A few years back, I had my first lithomancy reading without even realizing it. I sat down with a  woman at a psychic fair reading small pebbles and stones, who then accurately shared insights about my past, present, and future. Even since then I’ve wanted to learn more about this art form, but there was scarce information I could find about it. Therefore, I was absolutely thrilled to discover Pagan Portals – The Art of Lithomancy: Divination with Stones, Crystals, and Charms by Jessica Howard, which has completely sparked my interest in developing my own lithomancy practice.

Howard is an eclectic witch, blending Water, Kitchen, Celtic, and Green Witchcraft into her practice, adding to the well-rounded approach to this topic. She explains to readers how lithomancy is the art of divination done by reading stones, crystals, charms, or even seashells. A caster, who is doing the divination, tosses the stones and then interprets the reading based on where everything falls, noticing patterns, geometric designs, and even the texture of the stones.

“So, what exactly can lithomancy tell us? Like many forms of divination, lithomancy can help us understand our past and our present. It can help us divine the future, uncover ancient knowledge and wisdom, connect with our higher selves, and unlock the secrets of our subconscious.”1

Step-by-step Howard lays out all the reader needs to know to begin their practice, prepare for a reading, and then perform the reading. There are so many little details she covers, such as how to choose your stones, followed by how to cleanse them and later ascribe meaning to each stone. I learned all about how the casting can be done with either a personal stone, imbued with your own energy, or simply by observing the stones that fall closest to the querent.

What I like about Howard’s approach is that she provides the foundation to begin a practice but emphasizes how individualized one’s lithomancy practice will be. She leaves a lot of room for the budding lithomancer to develop their own style, interpretations, and intuitive guidance along the way with just the right amount of support to make one feel confident this is a divination style they can learn to use successfully.

For instance, one of the lithomacy sets described is an “Astrological Correspondence Set” based on the planets. Howard goes through all the planets and provides readers with their keywords and meaning to help discern which stone might be best to use to represent them in a set. She also covers the additional stones included in this set, which are stones for place, love, luck, magic, life, and commitment. As an astrologer, I was fascinated by this set and felt it was one that could bridge my knowledge of astrology with lithomancy. Howard even describes how the diviner could divide the casting circle into houses for further insight – pure genius!

Another section that I found very insightful was the chapter about performing a reading. Howard covers how to cast the stones, the use of casting boundaries (or not, depending on the reading style), and reading with segments, where you divide your casting space into defined areas, such as months, seasons, or past-present-future for more insight. I loved being invited to think about all these little nuances and have options to explore as I develop my practice.

Most helpful to me as a beginner was all the information about interpreting one’s reading. Howard shares a bunch of things to take note of when determining the reading’s message, such as the distance between stones, where they fall in relation to the reader/personal stone, the meaning of various patterns and shapes (ie. square vs. circle vs. straight line), and the stone’s physical characteristics (if a jagged or smooth part of the stone is facing upward, if a pointy edge of the stone is facing a certain direction, etc). Her thoughtful details make the reader feel a lithomancy practice is quite accessible, and this section serves as a great reference when casting one’s stones for the first time.

One of the final chapters, which Howard claims she just had to include due to the good results she’s had with this type of reading, is called “The Chakra Stone Set for Healing”. Just how Howard greatly expanded my perception of what was possible with lithomacy in regard to astrology, she did once more in this section where she teaches how lithomacy can be used in combination with energy work as well. This stone set is really unique in that it has one stone for each chakra, plus one for each element, and a personal stone. She teaches how to read the stones to determine where one should direct their energy or where there is an energy blockage. The mixture of the chakras with the elements yields really interesting insights about how to realign or direct one’s energy, making this a reading that can be done daily for energy attunement.

Overall, Pagan Portals – The Art of Lithomancy is the perfect start to developing one’s own practice. Howard provides the foundation needed to get started while also empowering the reader to trust their intuition to discover for themselves the stone’s messages. After reading this book, I am feeling very inspired and eager to begin creating my own stone sets. There are so many neat directions this form of divination can take that regardless of your magical style you’re bound to find a way that lithomancy can be used to enhance your current practice.

Twist Your Fate, Theresa Reed

Twist Your Fate: Manifest Success with Astrology and Tarot, by Theresa Reed
Weiser Books, 1578637686, 272 pages, August 2022

Astrology and tarot go hand-in-hand if you ask me, but prior to Twist Your Fate: Manifest Success with Astrology and Tarot by Theresa Reed, I had never seen a book that combined the two. Twist Your Fate does a wonderful job of synthesizing the intricacies of these two mystical systems into easy to practice exercises and inquiries that are sure to have a lasting impact on one’s spiritual journey. Beginners and experts alike have something to gain from this book, which is bound to call in the magic that happens when you align will with the forces at play.

Reed, also known as The Tarot Lady, has formerly published books on both tarot and astrology, including Tarot No Questions Asked: The Art of Intuitive Reading and Astrology for Real Life: A Workbook for Beginners, making her the perfect writer to introduce readers to the dual-system of using astrology and tarot in combination. Her other works include Tarot for Troubled Times, The Tarot Coloring Book, and Create Your Own Tarot Cards for those who are inclined to get creative with the tarot.

It often seems the amount of studying and dedication that goes into learning tarot and astrology make people pick one or the other to focus on. It’s common for expert astrologers to only have a basic knowledge of the tarot, and vice versa with skilled tarot readers only knowing their Sun sign. Plus, even for those who are drawn to both, there’s little information about how to use the two in combination. But with Twist Your Fate, Reed helps readers go beyond the either/or and do a deep-dive into both astrology and tarot before integrating the two together, opening a whole new world of possibilities.

Divided into four parts, Reed leads readers through lessons on astrology, tarot, listening to their intuition, and bringing it all together in the end. The longest section of the book is the first one, humorously named “Part One: Cover Your Ass-trology”. I was pleasantly surprised with the range of astrology topics Reed included: the midheaven, nodes, transits, retrogrades, influence of the moon, and even vocation and life calling. She did a wonderful job of making these astrological concepts approachable, and it’s for this reason this has become the book I would recommend to beginners to astrology above all other books on the topic.

Even if the astrological terms or process of reading the chart feels intimidating, Reed’s gently direct approach helps readers to gain their own footing. She provides her own interpretations for all the different astrological placements, feeding reader’s insight about their own chart, but also leaves plenty of room for everyone to connect with the chart in their own way and form interpretations from within. Throughout the chapters there are plenty of “astrocises” which are exercises intended to help the reader examine their chart further to facilitate integration of the chapter topic.

These astrocises are quite creative and are good for creatively engaging with one’s astrological chart. I’ve been a professional astrologer for many years, and sometimes I’m tempted to gloss over others’ interpretations of the houses, signs, or different planetary energies. But Reed caught my attention and kept it through and through. Even though the astrological topics covered are something I am quite familiar with, her approach was novel and engaging. The way she presents the material was an invitation for me to do a check in and truly deep dive into my astrological chart, which I honestly hadn’t done for quite some time. As I worked through the astrocises, certain patterns coming up for me right now were illuminated, and I felt like I gained a better perspective about the blessings and challenges emerging in my life at this time.

Then the tarot section was just pure gold because Reed has been reading cards for over 30 years! She shares her interpretation of the 22nd Major Arcana cards and the 56 Minor Arcana cards – both upright and reversed. Additionally included is the numerology and planetary correspondence of each card. The images used are the traditional Rider-Waite-Smith deck, which I think helps readers, especially beginners, to see all the subtleties of the cards since it’s a very popular deck that many other decks are based on.

My favorite chapter in the tarot section was “Taking Your Cards to Work” where Reed guides readers through asking the right questions and using spreads to get the most out of one’s reading. Some of the spreads she shares are The Astrological Wheel, The Horseshoe Spread, and The Options Spread, which I found to be great for decision-making! A real perk of the chapter is how Reed uses sample readings so the reader gains an understanding of how she puts it all together to come to an interpretation of the cards. Plus, along the way there’s plenty of “tarotcises” that once again facilitate an opportunity to connect with the lessons of the chapter.

“I have always said that astrology creates the map; Tarot shows you the detours. But there is one more crucial element – your intuition.”1

Before the culminating section, Reed binds astrology and tarot together with insight on how to discover, develop, and trust one’s intuition. This section is essential for all readers, as astrology and tarot both ask you to learn to have confidence in the answers you receive, both from your chart, cards, and most of all, from within. I appreciate that in this section Reed doesn’t sugarcoat the intuitive journey though, making it all “love and light”, rather she provides advice about what to do if your intuition is wrong or if there’s no meaningful insight coming through in a reading. This section definitely helps readers to feel better about the bumps in the road on their intuitive journey, while providing guidance and advice about how to make it a bit smoother.

The final section invites the reader to grab their chart, get their cards, and use their intuition to divine insight into a present situation. Reed aptly calls it an “astro-tarot-intui-cise”2 To be honest, I haven’t worked my way up to this fully comprehensive spread yet! I wouldn’t say I’m intimidated, as Reed has prepared me well, but I feel like this is going to be a meaningful reading, so I want to give it the time and space it deserves to truly delve into the reading. I like knowing I can pull out the “big guns” aka this thorough reading when it’s needed most, and I’m trusting the time to use it will present itself sometime down the line!

All in all, Twist Your Fate is a fantastic resource for deepening one’s connection to astrology, tarot, and intuition. Reed’s experience and wisdom shines through the text as she guides readers on the journey of learning how to manifest success, which many agree is no easy feat! Without even realizing it’s happening, readers will start to gain confidence in themselves as they reveal new facets of their astrological make-up and gain the ability to interpret what life presents through a lens of empowerment, rather than discouragement. The tools taught in this book are sure to have life-long value, especially the more you practice and trust the messages you receive.

The Creative Pendulum, by Joan Rose Staffen

The Creative Pendulum: Keys to Unlock Your Innovative Spirit, by Joan Rose Staffen
Red Wheel Weiser, 9781578637515, 288 pages, June 2022

The Creative Pendulum: Keys to Unlock Your Innovative Spirit by Joan Rose Staffen got me out of a creative rut in the most fun way. It had been a while since I’d used my pendulum, but after a quick dust-off, I remembered how much insight I used to get from this method of divination. It seems I had forgotten the myriad of possibilities that came from tuning into my higher consciousness in order to figure out what was needed in my life.

Until reading this book though, I had never thought to practically weave together my creativity and work life by dowsing with my pendulum. But Staffen provided me with a marvelous gift of ingenuity in this book that inspired a renewed interest in the pendulum as a divination tool while also relighting my spiritual spark.

I will say right off the bat what I liked most about this book is Staffen’s openness, humor, and willingness to think outside the box that pours through every page. This pendulum technique is so unique and quickly ignites new insights. And I feel this technique works because Staffen has pulled from her life experience to create a method that is practical, creative, and spiritual all in one.

Anecdote after anecdote showcases how Staffen deepned her creative practice and expanded her wisdom through trusting the process. For instance, how she once “spent a year asking God/Goddess for my right, perfect place, opportunity, and company”1 before launching her business venture. Reading her stories is not only amusing, but also reaffirms that we always have the opportunity to try new things, learn, and grow; this has helped her navigate through plenty of career changes and shifts in life circumstances. Through the ups and downs in life, Staffen reminds us that the Muse is always present – all we need to do is tune into the energy at hand.

But even though this book is wonderfully infused with Staffen’s spirit, the focus remains centered on readers expanding their life, overcoming roadblocks, and connecting with their own creativity. Staffen has created Intuitive Creativity Charts that the reader can use their pendulum to gain a deeper understanding of what is being called for in their life right now. The technique she teaches in this book involves dowsing with the pendulum over the Intuitive Creativity Charts for guidance that goes beyond simply “yes/no” answers, the more simple and commonly used method of working with a pendulum.

For those of you who might not know how pendulums work through the process of dowsing, Staffen provides a great description:

“Dowsing has both scientific and mystical elements that help us tap into both our subconscious and super-conscious minds. Using the pendulum can help us to center emotionally and spiritually, and we can more easily open to a meditative state, where we become calm, relaxed, and receptive to the suggestions presented by the pendulum and charts.”2

Chapter two, “Learn to Dowse with the Pendulum,” provides all the information needed to get started, even if you’re completely new to this method of divination. Staffen provides details such as where and when to use one’s pendulum, how to center yourself for accurate results, and what to do if your dowsing isn’t working. She also shares with readers step-by-step instructions for how to dowse, which is very easy to follow along with. As with anything, practice is important, so even if at first you’re a bit skeptical or unsure, I recommend keep going!

Now, while the main premise of the book is teaching readers how to use the Intuitive Creativity Charts, it includes a heap of creative life-coaching. Staffen goes chapter by chapter explaining the significance of each chart, illuminating how it can be used for insight, as well as explaining all of the potential chart pendulum answers to clarify the messages that might come through. But these aren’t static explanations, such as “If your pendulum lands on this then it means xyz..” Rather, it’s almost like Staffen is coaching you through understanding the answers revealed. 

Oftentimes there are exercises to do, like meditations and journal prompts, to ground the insight and find out what it means for you personally. And it’s this delivery from Staffen, focused on process more than result, that makes the book so creatively stimulating. Dowsing with the Intuitive Creative Charts is not meant to be a one-size fits all approach! And I was amazed at all the guidance available using the charts. Staffen has done a great job of charting questions you might not even have ever thought to ask.

There’s a chart for answering questions about one’s creative process (“What literary/performing/visual art should I pursue?” and “What artistic needs do I have?”), timing (“When’s the best time to take action?”), energy work (“How can I clear my chakras?” and “How can I overcome negative beliefs?”), business strategy (“How can I market my art?” and “What is the best income stream for me?”), plus so much more! I honestly have spent hours trying out different charts and am always so surprised by the accuracy of the pendulum responses.

And this guidance is tailored to recognize a multitude of paths, rather than a prescriptive “it has to be this way to work” model, that opens new doorways, especially when one starts to layer and sift through all the insight they’re getting from the perspective of each chart.

Once you’re comfortable with the technique, I’ve found it’s useful to use charts in combination. For instance, I use my pendulum to dowse for questions related to my creative identity and how to improve my income stream. (I try not to ask too many questions at once, even though I want to!) Quickly, I saw how the answers were interrelated and urging me in a new direction.

One really neat thing about The Creative Pendulum is how Staffen shared two chapters on using the pendulum and Intuitive Creativity Charts to coach yourself and others. She offers tips for coaching oneself with a reading and includes two personal assessments worksheets that help you to clarify the issue you’re working on and hone in solutions.

Then there’s also an entire chapter on coaching others by discovering their talents and motivating them to take action. Staffen offers guidance about preparing for a session with clients, along with client assessment forms that can be used when working with them. I so deeply respect Staffen’s choice to so transparently share her Intuitive Creativity Charts method with others and teach them how they can use it to coach others. 

And it gets better – Staffen saved some of the best material for last, such as the chapter “Paint on Your Hands: Art Prompts” that are “fun exercises…to help beginners spark their own brave, intuitive creative within.”3 As a creative at heart that often needs a nudge to indulge, I loved the prompts to draw, create collages, play with finger paints, and more! It got me motivated to actually take out my art supplies and enjoy/explore myself.

In the final chapter, Staffen suggests starting a “creativity cluster” of “like-minded people who want to learn to dowse, journal, and play together!”4 Now I’m certainly wanting to do this, and I’m thinking about starting a Meet-Up group once I relocate next month. 

Overall, The Creative Pendulum has been such a breath of fresh air! I highly recommend this book for those seeking to expand their horizons. When read with curiosity and an open-mind, the possibilities of what you might discover about yourself through the process of dowsing with Staffen’s Intuitive Creativity Charts are endless.

From discovering your creative identity to figuring out what business steps you should take next, this book is useful on so many levels, which opens doors for readers to make their dreams a reality through the aid of their pendulum. It’s certainly a book one can come back to time and time again, whenever you are feeling called to use the guidance of the charts for both yourself and teaching others.

Pagan Portals – The Temple Priestesses of Antiquity, by Lady Haight-Ashton

Pagan Portals – The Temple Priestesses of Antiquity, by Lady Haight-Ashton
Moon Books, 128 pages, 1803410280, August 2022

I think it’s very common for modern witches and priestesses to feel a connection to our predecessors, at least this is true for me. Reading about the lives of priestesses, oracles, and healers of the past builds a bridge between past and present, reminding me of the timelessness of the Goddess. Pagan Portals – The Temple Priestesses of Antiquity by Lady Haight-Aston was a very interesting read that took me through the cultures of priestess traditions dating back to 12,000 B.C.E. in Mesopotamia all the way to the present age.

“Whether Oracles, Seers, Psychics, and Sibyls, or Sacred Dancers and Healers, the ancient Temple Priestesses wove a narrative of both realism and mythology. They held court in every ancient civilization with their mysterious and mystical powers. These empowered women enthralled those who sought their advice while always serving the Goddess they revered.”1

Lady Haight-Aston’s resume is quite impressive. She is a Third Degree High Priestess of both Gardnerian and Cabot Hermetic Tradition, as well as High Priestess of Sacred Moon Coven and the Iseum of the Graceful Goddess. She is also a professional psychic, trance medium, Sacred Dancer, teacher, and tarot reader. In 2019, Lady Haight-Aston published Pagan Portals – The First Sisters: Lilith and Eve. The vastness of her knowledge of different traditions and forms of Goddess worship shine through every page of this book.

The most prominent priestess cultures covered in this book are those of ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome, including Goddess cults of Isis and Hathor, the Oracle of Delphi, and the Vestal Virgins. But I was surprised to learn about other traditions that I had previously not heard of before, such as The Ank Priestesses of the Isle of Iona and the Cumaean Sibyl that presided over the Oracle of the Dead in Baia, Italy.

I will admit each section is short; this isn’t a full deep dive into any one priestess tradition, but rather a small sample of each one. But there is still plenty to learn from this book, and I found it valuable to read about all the different priestess cultures side by side. I noticed similarities and differences stand out more than when I study one priestess culture on its own. And as someone who has studied different priestess cultures previously, devouring any piece of literature I could get my hands on, Lady Haight-Aston still provided me with plenty of new revelations.

As she weaves her way through periods of the past, Lady Haight-Aston notes different speculations of academics and clearly informs readers where there is a lack of archeological evidence to make assured claims. But simultaneously, she adds her own perspective as an initiated priestess to share missing links of herstory. I deeply appreciated her point of view and am always glad for a feminist version of history, but for those who this might not be appealing, there is ample reference sources provided at the end of each chapter for readers to investigate themselves and draw their own conclusions.

I mean, if we’re being honest, priestess cultures have hardly been given the academic recognition they deserve, especially in comparison to the study of different priesthoods. To this day, putting together the pieces to better understand these cultures is still quite a challenge. As much as I value the efforts of historians and anthropologists, I feel there is value in having a modern-day Priestess share her thoughts on the significant findings too, providing an experiential interpretation of the artifacts and records.

One of my favorite chapters was “The Modern-Day Oracle Priestess” where Lady Haight-Ashton discussed prominent women that have helped to keep the Priestess tradition alive in recent times, such as Helena Petrovna Blavatsky and Sybil Leek. In this section, Lady Haight-Ashton also shares more about friends of hers that have created different communities. I was thrilled to learn about these, especially Woolston-Steene Theological Seminary (the only degree program in the United States for Wiccan ministry) and the Aquarian Tabernacle Church International.

All in all, Pagan Portals – Temple Priestesses of Antiquity was a fantastic read that expanded my knowledge of the influence Priestesses had on cultures of the past. Lady Haight-Aston’s personal path of Priestesshood helps to shine light on what the experience of these devout women of the past might have been within the context of their unique cultures. This book serves as a reminder of the spiritual and political influence women have had through time, and it inspires hope that the way of the Goddess will someday thrive again. For those interested in the pathway of the Priestess, Lady Haight-Aston provides many resources to explore as one finds their own path towards serving the Goddess in the modern world.

Flower Essences from the Witch’s Garden, by Nicholas Pearson

Flower Essences from the Witch’s Garden: Plant Spirits in Magickal Herbalism, by Nicholas Pearson
Destiny Books, 1644113007, 512 pages, April 2022

While doing a chakra meditation, I discovered that my heart chakra was calling for me to deepen my relationship with flowers, which surprised me. I appreciate the beauty of flowers, but aside from my herbalist astrology teacher’s reference to the properties of different flowers, I hadn’t really ever delved into flowers or their potent magical essence before. Luckily, Flower Essences from the Witch’s Garden: Plant Spirits in Magickal Herbalism by Nicholas Pearson had just been released, and I decided this book might be a good starting point.

This book is packed full of valuable information! I feel like I received my beginner’s introduction that steadily progressed to expert-level advice as I continued reading. Pearson makes flower essences approachable for all, while simultaneously sharing patiently accumulated wisdom and knowledge that will benefit all who work with flower essences.

Pearson begins by sharing his journey to working with flower essences and then dives into a very thorough explanation of what exactly is a flower essence. Right off the bat, this description of what flower essences are and are not was very helpful in clearly understanding how the essence, or vibration, of the flowers can be used for one’s magical practice. Plus, the chapter “The History of Flower Essences” provided great insight into how the use of flower essences has evolved over time, situating the information being shared within a larger historical context.

“Flower essences are indeed magickal, because magick is medicine for the soul. Essences are infused with the life force, healing virtues, and consciousness of the plant kingdom. They offer safe, economical, and environmentally friendly ways to connect with plant spirits and add their blessings and powers to your magickal practice.”1

Another way that Pearson lays a good foundation for the use of flower essence is teaching about spirits of nature, including devas, plant spirits, and green familiars. He notes the similarities between a green witch that works with plant intelligence and the practice of using flower essences, both of which draw upon the spiritual force of the “guardian consciousness of the plant itself”2

Exploring the realms of “green intelligence” makes it so readers of the both have access to greater range of understanding the consciousness of plants. And included exercises, such as Plant Spirit Attunement and Seed-to-Flower Meditation, further help the reader to connect with the spirit essence of plants before getting started with flower essences. My favorite exercise was Journey to Hecate’s Garden, where one is guided to explore the plants of poison and power there.

It’s not until nearly 100 pages in that Pearson gets into the making of flower essences, and let me say, he does not skip one step! It’s like every question I could have asked about the process was being answered as I read on. He covers materials needed to get started, making the essences, bottling the essences, dosages, and so much more!

And with the practical “how-to” clearly laid out, Pearson turns to the subtle art of creating flower essences. He writes about the significance of the number of petals of a flower, planetary correspondences, elemental signatures of flowers, and the meaning of different colors. This information is the foundation for someone to really start getting creative with their flower essences, fine-tuning them to their specific intention. And for those who are unsure, he offers methods such as dowsing, kinesthetic intelligence, and communing with plant spirits to discover what one needs.

It is at this point that Pearson moves into writing about flower essences in one’s magical practice. Topics include anointing candles with flower essences, flower essence charms and amulets, incense, bottle magic, and even potions, which he provides ample formulas for things such as making flying blends, love, and even countermagic. I personally really liked the sabbat formulas shared to create essences that bolster and balance the energy of each one.

Pearson even goes into spagyrics in the chapter “Plant Spirit Alchemy”, at which point you know you’ve really advanced in your flower essence education!  He shares how to make an alchemical plant tincture, as well as flower essence spagyrics. This part was very interesting because I love alchemy, but for the time being a little too beyond my skill set. It does motivate me to practice creating and working with flower essences enough to get to that level though, plus it’s very valuable alchemical knowledge for those who also share an interest in the topic.

The final chapter, “Dictionary of One Hundred Flower Essences”, spans over 200 pages and is so handy to have at one’s fingertips! For each one, Pearson provides elemental, planetary, and zodiac signature, corresponding chakra, magical use, and therapeutic indications, along with multiple paragraphs of additional information to provide readers with a full understanding of the flower. I’ve both read through the chapter, just to learn more about each essence, and turned to it when trying to decide what type of essence to create; in all cases, the dictionary has been immensely helpful. For example, in regard to Hawthorn, Pearson writes:

“Hawthorn lore teeters between light and dark. The more pleasant tales of hawthorn depict it as a tree of healing, love, and connection to other worlds. Hawthorn fruit and flowers were sometimes used in divination, especially to dream of your future while, while their thorns have been used to defend again malice and harm, to break curses, and to cast out spirits and other malevolent beings.”3

I also really appreciated a list of flower essences suppliers, including their websites, in the Appendix. Just in case I’m not up for making my own, it’s good to know where I can purchase high quality flower essences.

All in all, Flower Essences from the Witch’s Garden has been a very insightful read. I’m deeply impressed with how Pearson laid out the book so perfectly, thoroughly educating the reader from the ground up, to give a full-spectrum education into flower essences. The level of detail is astounding, from the history and lore included to the charts and tables that help one to visually understand different properties of the flowers–everything you need to know is covered. This book is a one-stop-shop for those hoping to delve more into flower essences.

I highly recommend it for beginners and experts alike, as so much is covered within these pages that it’s well worth having nearby for reference. I feel like a whole new layer of magical working has opened for me after reading this book. I plan on making my own flower essence and then using it for candle magic. I’m excited to see how the results unfold!

Witch Queens, Voodoo Spirits, and Hoodoo Saints, by Denise Alvarado

Witch Queens, Voodoo Spirits, and  Hoodoo Saints: A Guide to Magical New Orleans, by Denise Alvarado
Weiser Books, 1578636744,  276 pages, February 2022

My spirit longs to visit New Orleans, but alas the time has not yet come. So I decided to delve into Witch Queens, Voodoo Spirits, and Hoodoo Saints: A Guide to Magical New Orleans by Denise Alvarado, letting her words transport me to the “sacred supernatural geography of the city”1. I’ve been completely absorbed in this book; Alvarado has done such a wonderful job illuminating the spirits and folk saints of this beloved city with a rich cultural history that I’ve hardly put it down.

Alvarado is a New Orleans native, who has been studying the indigenous healing traditions of the area for more than four decades. She teaches South conjure at Crossroads University and is also a rootworker in the Louisiana folk magic tradition. Alvarado has written quite a few other related books, including The Conjurer’s Guide to St. Expedite, The Magic of Marie Laveau, The Voodoo Hoodoo Spellbook, and The Voodoo Doll Spellbook. She also has an online shop at creolemoon.com with plenty of magical items for sale.

“As anyone who has been to the Crescent City will tell you, you get a feeling when you are there that screams “elusive and mysterious.” It’s a gut-level feeling–you know there is more to it, but you just can’t put your finger on it. All you know is that you want to see more, know more, and ultimately, feel more–more of that good old N’awlins supernatural vibe.”2

This is definitely how I’m feeling! But after having read Witch Queens, Voodoo Spirits, and Hoodoo Saints, I feel like I know the potent visible and invisible world of New Orleans a bit more. In this book, Alvarado shares her research and experience about twenty influential Louisiana spiritual figures. With such a rich tradition, being as New Orleans is a merging place for multiple cultures, it’s hard to put all the people and spirits covered into one category. From folktale hero Annie Christmas, warrior-for-the-people Black Hawk, Voudou Saint Jean St. Malo, African Diaspora god Papa Legba, and even Catholic Saint Joseph, Alvarado delves into adoption of these figures into the spiritual tapestry of New Orleans.

Chapter by chapter, with each one focusing on one character, Alvarado shares all she knows, which I am positive is more than even locals know because of her studious research. It’s very clear that Alvarado has put dedicated time and effort into finding out all she can about these figures. And what I really appreciate is that she sticks to source material, which range from oral stories of New Orleans residence that were documented, old newspaper clippings, or even original source documents. If there’s a story that Alvarado can’t find source material for, she shares it but also lets the reader know she hasn’t found information to back it up, keeping the reader fully informed.

Alvarado also sometimes presents different views, offering the reader diverse perspectives on the figure she’s describing. This might be the different ways certain religious traditions portray a certain spirit, or differing versions of folktales. Alvarado lays it all out for the reader to truly see the full picture. And this made for a very interesting read because that’s how real life, and even more so spirituality and magic, tends to be – there’s no definitive answers and we’re doing our best to piece together information based on sources, experience, and stories from others.

Oh, but each story Alvarado shares is just so interesting! And her writing style is very conversational; her colloquial way of writing really draws the reader in! Alvarado successfully engages the heart, soul, and imagination all in one with these stories. You feel the pain of the spiritual figures, or those in need praying to them; you can taste the offerings being laid out; you can feel the culture the figure’s life took place in; you can see the Voodoo queen going about their daily lives. The weaving together of so many stories is tantalizing and will certainly have your mind wandering, hoping you get the chance to see these places in real life soon. And just in case you don’t get to right away, there’s plenty of pictures included throughout to provide visuals of what Alvarado describes.

This book is also beneficial for those who are hoping to expand their magical practice. If you’ve felt drawn to work with some of these figures, Alvarado provides useful insights. Now, I don’t mean you’ll suddenly be able to create your whole Voodoo or Hoodoo practice based on this book. That would require a much more in-depth study, obviously! But there’s plenty of information about what to offer certain spirits, what they like on their altars, and basic prayers or spellwork that can be done. For instance, burying an upside down statue of St. Joseph to sell one’s home or creating lucky garters to attract a generous man of means based on Lala Hopkins’ grimoire.

For each figure, Alvarado does a wonderful job describing who they were (their life story, spiritual origins), the impact they had in their life, why one might call on them, and what offerings are best to make if one does decide to create a relationship with them. Plus, there’s plenty of information about how different New Orleans spiritual practitioners or traditions work with these figures too for broader context.

Overall, Alvarado does a wonderful job teaching readers about the supernatural element of folklore vibrant in the city, opening them up to the multifaceted magic of New Orleans as an introduction to this very special place. Story after story, filled with historical information and practice magical how-tos, make this a very interesting book to read. Alvarado has skillfully pieced together tons of information to give the readers a fascinating guidebook about the figures that remain present in New Orleans folklore and culture, offering both blessings and curses depending on how they’re called upon.

If you’ve ever felt the pull of New Orleans, Witch Queens, Voodoo Spirits, and  Hoodoo Saints is perfect for learning more about the spiritual roots of the unique city; there’s so much insight and knowledge packed into these pages, you’re bound to learn plenty and have quite a few laughs along the way with these tales!

Spirit Weaver, by Seren Bertrand

Spirit Weaver: Wisdom Teachings from the Feminine Path of Magic, by Seren Bertrand
Bear & Company, 1591434351, 256 pages, May 2022

Spirit Weaver: Wisdom Teachings from the Feminine Path of Magic by Seren Bertrand was balm for my aching soul. Recently, I have been rather withdrawn, tending to my inner world over making strides towards accomplishments in the external world. I’ve been quite content exploring and feeling into the changes taking place within myself as I enter a new phase of my life

But amid the soul-shifting happening, I was being quite hard on myself, lamenting about “not being productive” and chastising my need to remain in my domestic sphere, which has felt quite like my safe haven or nest during this time. It wasn’t until I spent two days in bed, switching off between deep-diving into the wisdom of this book, journaling, and napping, that I felt a very rooted, authentic connection to my own feminine magic was restored.

“We have to nest. Not to always be somewhere else.

Wild creatures know how to nest. They know how to leave–and how to return.

There is great spiritual power in pottering–in the garden, in the kitchen, just being around the house, the home. Tending the herbs in the garden, making a fresh-brewed tea, the sensual art of cooking. Or entering the prayer chamber of the sofa, lounging with God, in intimate conversations and occasional snoring.

Nowhere to go, nothing to do. No grand theories to unite. Just to relax and be.

Home brings us back down to Earth. It makes us real. It grants us “enrealment.”

It is imbued with Womb magic; the power of Earth, of life, of love, of the real.”1

Bertrand is a skilled spirit weaver and visionary creatrix, who has done so much research on the lost global feminine wisdom traditions. She has also co-authored Womb Awakenings and Magdalene Mysteries with her husband Azra. Both of these books were life-changing for me, and I highly recommend them as well for anyone interested in feminine magic.

What sets Spirit Weaver apart from these other two books though is that this one feels more personal and the wisdom shared can be easily incorporated into one’s life. Whereas Womb Awakening and Magdalene Mysteries are both 560 pages of historical, anthropological, and spiritual revelation, Spirit Weaver is about half the length and is based on Bertrand’s personal insight and heartfelt experience of living the path of feminine magic.

Her first-hand perspective really hit home for me, as it felt like an invitation to walk alongside her as she shares what she’s learned throughout her journey, much like listening to a friend. Her soothing way with words was a more creative approach to sharing the mysteries of this path, intuitively opening new chambers within my own psyche and soul to explore. And it’s definitely worth noting though she explores feminine magic worldwide, Bertrand’s personal narrative of her ancestry to her homeland of England is a prominent theme.

“Sitting at the heart of these essays I share with you is the story of my personal ancestral lineage at Mam Tor (Mother Mountain), in the Peak District of the Old North of England, once the grail lands of Maid Marian and Robin Hood and the ancient tribe of the Brigantes–who worshiped the goddess Brigantia, the ancien mother of the old north–who were once led by powerful queens. These lands are an ancestral soulmate within me, the earth placenta of my childhood.”2

The book is composed of 50 essays divided into five sections: “Spinning Our Web”, “Growing Our Roots”, “Weaving Our Healing”, “Dreaming Our Magic”, and “Enchanting Our World”. While the sections have essays relevant to the overall theme, each one stands alone as a unique, insightful reflective piece of writing. I choose to make my way through chronologically, but one could absolutely pick and choose the essays or sections that feel relevant to them in each moment.

One thing I loved about this book was the brilliant paintings throughout the book that was rich with symbolism, featuring images of women, animals, spirals, and more. It felt as though each picture was perfectly placed, inspiring revelation as I turned the page after reading a specific essay to see a creative expression of the essence, energy, and themes Bertrand is describing. Sometimes, I would end up staring at the imagery for a good five to ten minutes, sometimes contemplating its message and other times just admiring the beauty. Plus, there is variation in font color too, which adds to the beauty of the book; it’s not just black and white, but alive with color for visual appeal.

In addition to paintings, there’s also some photographs included too, such as wells, festivals, and even an ancestral photograph of Bertrand’s family. These pictures definitely made Bertrand’s writing more realistic because I could see exactly what she was describing, even if I haven’t visited these places myself or experienced the culture of the lands she describes, especially her homelands of northern England. Now I just want to go take a pilgrimage!

Another thing I really enjoyed about Spirit Weaver is how Bertrand offers ideas for self-reflection or advice about how to integrate what she’s just written about in her essay. For instance, following the essay “Feminine Archetypes: The Witch and the Priestess”, Bertrand invites the reader to reflect on which one is more resonant to them right now. Following another essay, “Rooted Power: Feminine Spiritual Path”, Bertrand shares a way to find the balance between one’s rooted power (embodiment check-ins) and their infinite love (affirmation). While not every essay has something like this at the end, these prompts definitely helped to integrate Bertrand’s writing.

Overall though, I think my absolute favorite thing about the book was the content. Bertrand delves into many aspects of the feminine with such insight. As someone who also walks the path of feminine spirituality, it felt like a homecoming to read Bertrand’s thoughts and reflections. I’m constantly vacillating between whether to call my path one of witchcraft or priestesshood, while also contemplating how to embody this practice in my daily life. Mary Magdalene and the Christ path has always had a special place in my heart, which is definitely not discussed much in witchcraft, so I loved soaking up Bertrand’s wisdom about that.

But the topics covered a wide range of feminine spirituality, such as Moon magic, Celtic traditions, Dankini magic, working with the shadow, romantic love as a spiritual pathway, the wisdom of Grandmothers, mermaids, and so much more. This might sound like a smorgasbord, but it wasn’t at all like that; it’s a rich tapestry of all aspects of the feminine skillfully woven together.

What I was most surprised at was her essay called “Lady Saturn: Lineage of the Cosmic Witch”. I recently did a whole astrology presentation about the feminine aspect of Saturn as Crone, and I was thrilled to read another’s perspective about the VERY overlooked female attributes of Saturn. Bertrand writes, “Lady Saturn is the darkness of wisdom, of Sophia. She is the grand cosmic witch.”3 This just set my passion ablaze and spurred me on in my own research!

I was also just overcome by what I read in the section “Epiphany: Three Wise Witchy Midwives” where Bertrand discusses the Christmas Witch La Befana. As an Italian-American, the past three yuletide seasons, I’ve been deepening my relationship with la Strega Noel, and Bertrand provided more information in this section than I had been able to find thus far. I loved learning about how “The sacred Christmastime of Epiphany was once the heartland of the feminine mysteries, celebrated by many feminine folk traditions.”4 Suddenly, it made a lot more sense why this has become such a special time of the year for me, as I walk this path.

All in all, Spirit Weaver is a treasure trove of wisdom about the magic of the feminine mysteries. I highly recommend this book to all who feel called to walk the path of the feminine spirituality, in whatever form this looks like for them. Bertrand covers such a wide-range of topics that each reader is sure to take away something meaningful for their own personal journey. Bertrand truly continues to do such a service to the feminine spiritual pathway, educating readers with her research and courageously sharing her own experience to illuminate the way for others. This is a book that I know I will be returning to time and time again, as I continue to weave my own way immersed within the all-encompassing divinity of the feminine.

The Healing Power of the Sun, by Richard Hobday

The Healing Power of the Sun: A Comprehensive Guide to Sunlight as Medicine, by Richard Hobday
Findhorn Press, 164411402X, 224 pages, December 2021

Who doesn’t love the feeling of warm sunshine shining down on them? I know I certainly do! Whether it’s during a warm summer afternoon or a chilly winter’s day as I quickly make my way indoors, the sun never fails to bring a moment of happiness to my day. But until I read The Healing Power of the Sun: A Comprehensive Guide to Sunlight as Medicine by Richard Hobday, I had no idea the extent to which the sun affects our health and well-being. This illuminating book gave me a whole new perspective on sunlight and the many benefits spending time in its rays can have on my daily life.

In the introduction, Hobday immediately addressed the hyper-focus on the sun’s negative effect on the body: skin cancer. He notes that modern medicine is obsessed with the damage sunlight can have on skin, while neglecting the many other ailments that sunlight prevents, including “breast cancer; colon cancer; prostate cancer; ovarian cancer; heart disease; multiple sclerosis; and osteoporosis.”1 Instantly, I was intrigued by these bold claims–can sunlight really prevent these diseases? Luckily, Hobday provides ample scientific evidence to support his position.

There are a myriad of topics covered throughout the book, but all bolster the main thesis that sunlight is a natural form of medicine. Topics in the first chapter, “Your Body and Mind in the Sun” include the importance of vitamin D and how it can reduce cholesterol levels and blood pressure, melanin and different skin types, how sunlight can impact blood and promote growth. Hobday also talks about the psychological importance of the sun, such as regulation of hormonal and biochemical processes, as well as seasonal affective disorder.

With the foundation for the benefits of sunlight laid out clearly, Hobday then explores the how humanity has greatly decreased the amount of time spent in sunlight:

“We can now work, rest, play, shop and travel in an artificial environment, and have very little direct contact with the outside world. One consequence of all this is that, for many of us, sunlight plays only a small part in our daily lives. It can be quite instructive to sit down with a pen and a piece of paper and work out just how much time you spend indoors each week. Some estimates put the average figure at about 90 percent…”2

Personally, I despise sitting in doors all day and intentionally try to spend as much time outside as possible, but if I’m being honest, most friends and family don’t spend nearly as much time outdoors as I do. I clearly see what Hobday was pointing out about our world dominated by artificial light that is drastically different from earlier time periods in civilization where “sun-gods and goddesses were often worshiped as deities of medicine.”3

And it’s for this reason that I appreciated Hobday’s chapter “How to Sunbathe Safely”. One thing he mentions is how the use of sunscreen actually makes people more prone to sunbathing at inappropriate times. By following the provided advice, I feel like I am now able to maximize my sunbathing without being over-reliant on sunscreen, allowing for more direct contact with the sunlight. I’ve been intentionally going outside for early-morning sunshine, which is one recommendation of Hobday, as well as doing short trips outside to enjoy the sun to avoid prolonged exposure. These methods have been great for developing a tan while avoiding sunburn, and it’s been fantastic starting my morning connecting with the sun.

Admittedly, as an astrologer, I’ve always been focused on my spiritual connection to the sun, but after reading about the different methods of using sunlight as a form of medicine throughout time, I became convinced using sunlight should be more integrated in treatment. For instance, Hobday talks about Dr. Bodington’s pioneer open-air treatment for tuberculosis, Dr. Finsen’s sunlight treatment for smallpox and lupus vulgaris, and Dr. Bernhard’s heliotherapy for war wounds. He also mentions Florence Nightingale promoting sunlight for healing too, along with other examples of doctors who have sunlight as a part of treatment.

What I found most interesting was how drug-resistant infections are becoming a severe problem for hospitals. Sunlight remedies, including things such as incorporating sunlight in treatment and even simply having well-lit rooms, can help to combat the increasing spread of infection. Hobday shares many experiments showing that sunlight and natural light reduce infection levels, promoting the idea that our indoor environments should try to recreate outdoor conditions, rather than appeal to the desire for comfort, luxury, or utility. The section on this topic really made me question how buildings, especially hospitals are designed, and even how my own home could be modified to let more sunlight in during the day.

All in all, The Healing Power of the Sun was a very interesting and eye-opening read. It inspired me to spend more time outdoors and explore how I can improve my health by spending time in sunlight. From opening my mind to what medicine can look like (and how it can be so simple and natural) to learning more about the best ways to sunbathe, this book covers a wide-range of information any reader would benefit from learning. My greatest takeaway is that there’s no need to fear the sun; the medicinal properties greatly outweigh the potential harm. Plus, when you choose to safely spend time in sunlight, along with being mindful of what you’re eating and your daily exercise routines, it’s safe, even necessary for one’s well-being, to bask in the golden rays. 

The Twilight of Pluto, by John Michael Greer

The Twilight of Pluto: Astrology and the Rise and Fall of Planetary Influences, by John Michael Greer
Inner Traditions, 1644113112, 176 pages, April 2022

There’s no doubt Pluto has a stronghold within astrology, especially Evolutionary Astrology, where Pluto is considered the “starting” point for understanding the entire natal chart. Maybe you’ve heard recently about the Pluto return of the United States and what it may mean for the fate of the nation, or perhaps you’ve learned about the destructive, yet purifying nature of Pluto within your own chart.

But why is it that many astrologers overlook that Pluto is no longer technically considered a planet? And what might this mean for the planetary influence Pluto has moving forward? These are the questions John Michael Greer explores in The Twilight of Pluto: Astrology and the Rise and Fall of Planetary Influences – a must read for anyone with an interest in astrology.

I’ll confess, I was firmly in the astrologer camp that believed this “small” astronomical change of categorization had no impact on the influence of Pluto. I’ve enjoyed working with Pluto in my natal chart over the years– the way Pluto squares my North and South node, the significance of Pluto in my 4th house, the transit of Pluto through my Capricorn stellium the past decade, most notably conjunct Saturn and Venus in recent years.

Pluto has felt very significant to my astrological understanding of myself, but not once did I question what the change of Pluto from planet to dwarf planet by astronomers in 2006 might mean for the astrological fate of Pluto moving forward. With this book, Greer has completely shifted my point of view about the influence of Pluto, not only providing insight into what I went through on a personal level but also reshaping the way I perceive the influence of Pluto as an astrologer.

“It’s an irony of no small proportion that the downgrading of Pluto took most astrologers completely by surprise. While astronomers discussed the dwindling estimates of Pluto’s mass and laid the foundation for the decision in 2006, and (as we’ll see) many of the distinctive phenomena of the Plutonian era declined at roughly the same pace, astrologers by and large went blithely on their way treating Pluto as a planet, making predictions that assumed it would continue to retain its planetary status forever.”1

Greer’s main thesis in The Twilight of Pluto is that Pluto’s influence is waning now that it has been reclassified as a dwarf planet. To back this claim, Greer shows how the rise and fall of other celestial bodies, both those proven to exist, as well as bodies that were only hypothesized to exist, such as Ceres, Lilith, Vulcan influenced the world during their prominence in astronomy, but faded away once they were either reclassified or determined to not exist. He also discusses the impact of discovering new planets, such as Uranus and Neptune, and the impact of these planetary energies on culture.

The key domains that Greer examines to document the rise and fall of Pluto’s planetary status are nuclear fusion, space travel, communism, psychoanalysis, and modern art. Pluto brought out a focus on despair, apathy, divergence, separation, a lack of symmetry, and breaking things down to the smallest parts in order to make sense of the whole.  And everything Greer points out about the emergence and decline of these characteristics in these main domains was utterly fascinating.

“These examples from the past offer important guidance for the future. As we will see, the core nature of Pluto can be summed up straightforwardly as opposition to cosmos. The ancient Greek concept of cosmos–literally “that which is beautifully ordered”–lies at the heart not only of astrology but of most of the world’s traditions of spiritual philosophy and practice. . . During the Plutonian era, that vision was in eclipse.”2

However, luckily, it seems the doom and gloom of the Plutonian era is fading, as a return to unity in the cosmos happens once again as Pluto’s influence continues to wane. Greer dedicates an entire chapter, “After Pluto”, to his thoughts about how astrology will continue to evolve, as well as the changes he foresees happening in the Plutonian domains examined. There’s plenty of thought-provoking material to reflect on, especially for practicing astrologers. Greer asserts the potential implications of Pluto’s classification as a dwarf planet leads to the need for future investigation about the planetary influence not only of Pluto, but the dwarf planets too: Ceres, Eris, Makemake,and Haumea.

The final chapter, “The Cosmos Reborn”, highlights how despite believing modernity, often characterized as a abandonment of the cosmos, including all of magic, spirits, and inherent symmetry within the cosmos, will continue on this way, there’s plenty of evidence to the contrary. Greer explores how Pluto’s planetary declassification actually aligns the ten planets with the Tree of Life, and explores the placement of each planet within the Tree of Life. This was fascinating to read about.

Overall, I really enjoy how The Twilight of Pluto blends history, astronomy, and astrology. Too often, I feel astrology is divorced from the scientific study of space. This book is helpful in getting astrologers to break out of habits, such as the focus on Pluto in the chart, and reconnect with the present moment. I think my favorite take-away of the entire book was the reminder that both astronomy and astrology are constantly evolving as new information comes to light. I enjoyed Greer’s thoughts about the future of astrology, as well as areas in the field where he believes there’s room for more exploration.

This is by far the most influential astrology book I’ve read this year, and Greer has done a great service to the astrological community for sharing his careful study and observations. I highly recommend this book to every single practicing astrologer, as well as those interested in history and the potential for the future in general. If you’re interested in learning more, one of my favorite astrologers, Aeolian Heart, interviewed Greer about the book, which can be listened to here.