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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.

Uncommon Tarot, by Shaheen Miro

Uncommon Tarot, by Shaheen Miro
Weiser Books, 1578637147, 64 pages, 78 cards, October 2020

I absolutely love when artists put a new twist on the classical tarot, which is just what Shaheen Miro has done with the deck The Uncommon Tarot. This mixed-media deck is filled with surprises that gently push on the boundaries of the traditional tarot cards. The imagery gently invites the reader to reimagining the tarot, as this deck has infused it visually with the symbols of diverse cultures and spiritual traditions, inviting in new wisdom to the cards.

The box this deck comes in is a lovely design. I appreciate when a creator uses a different design than a standard box where the lid separates from the bottom. The Uncommon Tarot folds open and has a magnet to keep it secure. It is small, but sturdy, and the box fits neatly within my collection of decks and ensures the cards will not start to fade in time, as happens with decks without a good box. It also has a yellow ribbon to gently guide the cards out of the deck and prevent them from getting stuck. Absolutely marvelous packaging!

It’s no wonder the box is so well designed, as the cards themselves are truly masterpieces. The cards all have an ethereal feeling to them that transcend the bounds of time and space. Some seem to have themes of Renaissance art, while others bring to mind Surrealist imagery. Interspersed is Native American, Asian, Indian, and African people and, sometimes, animals to depict the energy of the card.

My favorite card in the deck is Strength. It has a classically painted woman looking over a relaxed, life-like looking lion. The lion is crowned with a green infinity symbol. In the background is a mixture of sunflowers and painted leaves. There is a serene energy to the card. I love how the sunflowers and yellow hues remind me of the card’s correspondence to the Sun, while the green infinity symbol reminds me of the connection to the heart. While my words may not do the imagery justice, it’s as though my unconscious mind picked up on all these subtle visual cues to feel the meaning of the card within my soul.

What strikes me the most is how even though re-envisioned, every card seems to still perfectly encapsulate the energy of the traditional tarot card description. It’s as though the cards have been enhanced and are now  more revelatory because of the added element of subtle fluency and dynamic expression. Here the energy of the tarot is no longer locked into the traditional deck, and the deck comes alive through its ability to truly express the energy it’s always wanted to.

You can look at cards and still see intuitively the meaning. The minor arcana still includes the image of wands, pentacles, swords, and cups for every card, and the major arcana images still capture the essence. There’s also the name of the card at the bottom. A few names have been changed, such as the “Fool” being renamed “Wander” and “Temperance” renamed “Alchemist.” Once again though these revisions seem to magnify the energy of the card, distilling the past bias and stripping away what is excess to merge with the liminal energy of the deck between the physical and spiritual world.

There’s more emphasis on the artwork speaking for itself to guide readers to discern the information coming forth than relying on the guidebook for information. The guidebook is only a short 64 pages. For every card there is a corresponding question, keywords, general theme, and reversal information. There’s no guidance on how to do a spread, just a suggestion about how to acquaint oneself with the deck and an invitation to be creative. There’s a brief explanation of elemental energy and the meaning of numbers. And that’s about all!

One could skim through the whole guide book in about fifteen minutes. But in no way do I feel like this diminishes the deck. In fact, I feel this would still be a wonderful deck for expert or novice tarot readers because it offers the ability to reconnect with one’s intuition. Rather than offering explicit meanings, these cards leave room for there to be understanding within without it need to be clearly stated. Seeing these cards is enough to prompt your intuition and send the answers you seek through your entire being. There’s no need to run back to the words to seek the validation of what you’ve uncovered, though if you want a bit of illuminate there’s enough in the guidebook to put your mind on the right track.

While the artistry wonderfully captures the energy of the standard 78 cards in the tarot, it also infuses new layers of meaning that have really assisted my readings. I have found this deck awakens the imagination, and the visual cues of the collage-like imagery draw forth intuitive information that I may not have otherwise picked up on. This happened just this morning actually in a reading with my querent when Six of Swords was drawn.

The traditional Six of Swords tarot card has an image of a hooded figure being rowed away from shore with the swords at the front of the boat. In The Uncommon Tarot, the imagery is of a yellow butterfly soaring over the top of six swords, highlighted by blue, green, and yellow background shading, looking absolutely radiant. The moment my querent saw it, she immediately intuited the meaning of this card to represent a transition from being her cocoon to emerging to be the butterfly.

It was remarkable to see her so quickly discern the energy of the card from the artwork, and her vivid excitement about it let me know that it deeply resonated. I always appreciate when the imagery on the card speaks to my querent and infuses them with the energy of the reading beyond the words I may be saying; this is what makes for the readings people remember for a long time.

For those who are collectors, The Uncommon Tarot is definitely a deck to add to one’s collection. The title aptly describes it’s uniqueness with the magnificent artistry makes it stand out among other decks. This inclusive tarot deck successfully draws upon the ancient tradition of tarot and infuses it with a modern imagination. I highly recommend this deck to anyone looking to add a bit more fluidity to their reading, as it invites the energy to flow through the imagery and guide you to new levels of awareness.

Spells Trouble, by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast

Spells Trouble: Sisters of Salem, by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast
Wednesday Books, 1250765633, 320 pages, May 2021

As a millennial who grew up watching Double Double Toil and Trouble, there will always be a place in my heart for twin witches. I mean, come on, there’s just something so downright spooky about the psychic connection they share. Well, I’m happy to say that P.C. Cast and daughter Kirstin Cast are back at again with their latest book Spells Trouble: Sisters of Salem, which if you haven’t figured out by now focuses on TWIN witches, Hunter and Mercy Goode. And it’s certainly double the fun!

I will confess, P.C. Cast is one of my favorite authors because she just gets what it means to be a witch and brings to life the most authentic characters in fantasy-filled books that always keep eagerly page-turning. My favorite is P.C.’s Goddess Summoning series, which I always recommend to all my magickal friends for entertaining reading, along with Eternal: More Love Stories with Bite, which she edited. I can’t recommend literally anything she’s written highly enough.

This isn’t the first time this mother-daughter duo has teamed up. Their most well-known series is probably House of Night, which was immensely popular and had many off-shoot series, and they have also authored The Dysasters. Luckily, Spells Trouble is only the first in this latest series, and the next book Omens Bite is expected out in 2022! It filled me with happiness knowing there’s already another book to look forward to next year. Oh yes, which brings me back to the review!

So, essentially Mercy and Hunter Goode come from a long line of witches who guard the five portals to the Underworld in their small, Midwestern town. There’s a special tree for each of the gates, representative of the Underworld it’s guarding (for instance Egyptian, Greek). It is their sacred duty to maintain the gates in order to keep the monsters contained in the Underworld.

However, on the eve of their 16th birthday, when they are dedicating themselves to their chosen god/goddess, all hell breaks loose, literally. Without warning, the twins are thrust into a life or death situation, suddenly finding themselves alone and with little guidance on how to fortify the gates and ensure an incident doesn’t happen again.

As if that’s not enough to deal with, murders start happening around town. Quickly, it becomes clear something has escaped from the Underworld, but determining what is just another mystery the sisters have to solve. Luckily, they have some wonderful friends, as well as a devoted feline familiar that are willing to assist them with their task.

This is the basic run down, but in fact, the book is so much more. It is an intimate portrayal of the sisters finding their own magical powers, learning what it means to be dedicated to their deities, experimenting with spells (some successful, others not so much), and drawing upon their inner strength to make it through a very tough time.

There’s also subplots happening throughout the book, such as Mercy dating a jerky jock, who is sweet to her but a misogynist pig to the others, and Hunter’s experience as a lesbian in a small town. Spoiler alert, their familiar also turns into a person, which is quite entertaining. Hunter and Mercy both also have best friends, Emily and Jax respectively, who add to the dynamic between the characters and provide comic relief and heart-warming love.

While it is a young adult novel, which deals with coming of age themes, I still enjoyed it very much as an adult. I think this is because P.C. and Kristin write with so much honesty and truth about witchcraft, weaving in spells and describing the ritual objects used. I’ve yet to find another author who so effectively blends the practicalities of modern witchcraft with captivating fantasy elements.

The book does have an added supernatural component, but I enjoy this because it’s like the psychic world given 3-D formation. Rather than banishing spirits, the twins are fighting monsters from the Underworld. There’s demonic possession, mythological creatures reeking havoc, and intense physical manifestations of energy, but it makes for a wonderful story.

Also featured is more common spell work, such as one done by Hunter to relieve the grief of her sister. Reading about the girls collecting the items they need, picking out herbs and crystals, and also going through grimoires to find spells were all things I could relate to as a magical practitioner.

I also very much related to the twin’s experience of getting acquired with their powers. Mercy has dedicated herself to be a Green Witch of goddess Freya, while Hunter is a Cosmic Witch dedicated to god Tyr (well, for the most part..). Seeing how each of their powers manifest itself is insight into determining what one’s own magical skill set might be.

Mercy can intuitively connect with nature, calling on trees as allies, but she’s terrible at tarot. While Hunter draws strength from the moon, crystals, and is wonderful at decoding the messages of her tarot deck. She’s also realizing she has quite the skill for blood magic, while Mercy copes with her first sexual experience dedicated to a love and fertility goddess. It’s confusing sometimes stepping into our powers, isn’t it?

All in all, I absolutely loved Spells Trouble, and I recommend it to all witches looking for an entertaining summer read. I think there’s so much potential for this series, and the Casts are authors who never let me down. I’m thrilled to see how this series develops, as I’m already invested in the character and enjoying the plot. It has the right mixture of feel-good emotions stemming from the love, trust, and bravery of the character with the tension from conflict between the twins about what the path forward looks like in regard to their choice of deities. Eek! But I don’t want to give too much away, so I’ll wrap up here by saying this is one to add to the reading list this summer!

Growing Big Dreams, by Robert Moss

Growing Big Dreams: Manifesting Your Heart’s Desires Through Twelve Secrets of the Imagination, by Robert Moss
New World Library, 1608687046, 344 pages, September 2020

What does it mean to truly live out your dreams? For some, it may feel like the idea of manifestation has been co-opted by positive thinking gurus teaching how to harness control of your mind to direct it very specifically toward an intent. But what if the real secret to manifestation is not within your conscious mind, but your dreaming one? In Growing Big Dreams: Manifesting Your Heart’s Desires Through Twelve Secrets of the Imagination, Robert Moss teaches how to use time honored techniques to enhance your life through dreams and imagination.

Moss provides twelve insights that reveal the power of dreams and teaches how combined with imagination these dream techniques can guide one to living their soul’s callings. This mixture of shamanic journeying, depth psychology, story-telling, creative exploration, and dream-weaving is a wonderful tapestry to explore one’s own bigger story in life. By bridging the mythic and mundane, a doorway opens up to explore the deeper callings and potential for our lives, most often revealed through dreams and the imagination.

Before delving into my review, I must confess, I am a huge fan of Robert Moss. His work has been deeply influential on my dream practice, and I’ve read quite a few of his books, as well as taken an online course through the Shift Network led by him. Some of his most notable books are Active Dreaming, Dreaming the Soul Back Home, and The Secret History of Dreaming. I also have previously reviewed his book published in 2018, Mysterious Realities. He is an incredible storyteller, teacher, and dreamer.

However, despite my familiarity with Moss’s work, I still gained so much from Growing Big Dreams that was original, unique, and impactful. The entire process of reading this book felt like the gateways to my creativity where being flung open, allowing streams of insight to flow in and shift my perspective. There’s three things I especially love about the way the book is written that I want to focus on because I feel they really highlight what stands out about this book in particular.

The first is the many, many stories Moss provides to give examples of what he’s writing about. Since he’s been actively practicing and teaching dreamwork for decades now, he’s filled to the brim with stories to tell, and he perfectly blends his wisdom with an anecdote to show the reader how the principle can manifest or be applicable in their own life.

There were stories of recovering illness through dreams, discovering personal power, transferring dreams to another for healing, and reconnecting with parts of oneself that have been previously split off. Every chapter has a reflection on a workshop taught or story from one of his students who used the technique successfully, and it makes me confident as a reader that I too can connect with my dreams and imagination for healing and personal growth.

The second is that the whole book is filled with mythology, stories, and wisdom from tons of cultures. Quite literally spanning the globe, there is immense diversity in Moss’s approach to dreamwork. Moss discusses his experience of connecting with an indigenous medicine woman when he purchases land in New York. He also delves into the mythology of many pantheons, especially the Greek pantheon with the myth of Persephone. There’s a really intriguing story of his connection with Yemaya during a workshop in South America. Additionally, there’s stories of working with ancestors, animal guides, and gatekeepers.

Also referenced often are the insights of people, such as Barbara Hand Clow, Dion Fortune, and David Bohm. Moss draws from physics, psychology, religion, and more to bring together a comprehensive method of manifestation unlike anything I’ve ever read before. I especially enjoyed reading about Henry Corbin, who translated the works of Islamic mystics Alam al-Khayal and Alam al-Mithal, and who wrote on the Mundus Imaginalis (imaginal realm).

“It is a region of mind between the world of time and the world of eternity. In this realm human imagination meets intelligence from higher realities, and they co-construct places of healing, instruction, and initiation. Here ideas and powers beyond the grasp of the ordinary human mind — call them archetypes or Platonic forms — take on guises humans can begin to perceive and understand.”1

But here’s the third thing that makes this book so epic: Moss doesn’t just write about this stuff and leave you with no map, he provides exercises and practices so the reader too can explore. It took me quite a while to make my way through this book because I kept wanting to try all the exercises, while also giving myself the time to integrate them without just rushing onto the next section in excitement.

Some of the ones I tried were Journey to the Cave of Mama Bear, Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast, Visit Your Dream Cinema, Journey to the Blue Lake of Healing, Bring Hummingbird into Your Heart, Who is Persphone to You?, Through Blue Fire, Step into a Picture, Journey to the Island of Your Heart’s Desire, and Gift a Power Animal.

My dream journal is packed after making my way through this book! And Moss did not hold back at all. It’s like he took all his techniques, exercises, and tools he’d used with participants in his workshops and classes and wrote it all out for the reader to do at home. Within this book, there is SO much to explore and infinite possibility through the portals of dreams and imagination.

With each exercise I tried, I feel like I found a new piece of myself. The entire time of reading Growing Big Dreams, along with doing the dreamwork and imaginal journeying, felt immensely creative. I certainly feel more attuned to what my soul is yearning for, and like I now have the toolkit to bring about these inner dreams to life in the physical world. 

This is the type of manifestation that I feel everyone should be practicing, as it connects us to ourselves, the energies present in the world (mythic, archetypal, nature, animals, spirits), and assists us in re-envisioning what’s possible for our life. I certainly felt my personal story expanding into something larger, a part of a much greater whole.

All in all, I recommend Growing Big Dreams to everyone interested in dreamwork or simply discovering a new pathway for healing and growth.  Once again, Moss has hit the ball right out of the park. I greatly appreciate all the wisdom he shares with readers as a teacher, mentor, and guide. If you are interested in learning more about dreamwork, I think this book is a wonderful place to get started for beginners. Though, experienced practitioners are certain to benefit as well from the techniques shared by Moss.

There’s many benefits to attuning ourselves to the wisdom of dreams and imagination, from boosting creativity to nurturing childhood wounds. The ample possibilities that open up when we begin actively engaging with our dream life is absolutely incredible, and it might be just what our world needs most at this time.

The Art of Aliveness, by Flora Bowley

The Art of Aliveness: A Creative Return to What Matters Most, by Flora Bowley
Hierophant Publishing, 1950253104, 224 pages, March 2021

How often do we really pause to think about what truly makes us feel alive? Have you ever thought there could be ways to feel more inspiration, creativity, and joie de vivre? Well that’s exactly what Flora Bowley offers in her book The Art of Aliveness: A Creative Return to What Matters Most. This spectacular process-oriented book is a guide to rediscovering one’s zest for life.

Flora Bowley is a woman of many talents: artist, healer, yoga instructor, and author (her previous books include Brave Intuitive Painting and Creative Revolution). These different pursuits lend to her creative lifestyle, which she has learned to navigate intuitively. According to her website, her aim is to create “a new holistic movement in the intuitive art world.”1 She purses this passion by leading in-person workshops and online painting courses, along with pursuing the other avenues her creativity inspires her to follow.

“Aliveness means reaching into the vast depths of our full human experience, not shying away from what we find there, and being brave enough to say, “I can be with what is, and I can choose again. I can create beauty out of sorrow and find meaning in the madness. I can be the alchemist of my own life no matter what cards I’ve been dealt.””2

I absolutely loved the book and had many “aha” moments reading it. First of all, Bowley is so honest about her journey. The ups and downs, she is willing to share her story with authenticity. This aspect made me greatly respect her, because it’s certainly not easy to lay it all out for others to know about. Her life is pretty epic though, and simply reading it brought me so much motivation to take new risks and follow my intuition more often.

Some of the really neat things Bowley has done in her life discussed in the book are volunteering in New Orleans after the destruction of Hurricane Katrina, attending Burning Man and awakening to new parts of herself, and even changing her name legally to reflect this emerging identity. How badass are all these things? She reminded me that it’s okay to live outside the box and do things that I’m feeling called to do without having to justify them to other people or be worried about what they will think.

This honesty in Bowley’s writing created a connection with her that made me feel like I could trust her and she wasn’t trying to push anything on me. This whole book is an invitation to open up to the richness of life. She even writes about how in her journey of teaching intuitive painting, she realized the difference between sharing a creative philosophy and teaching a creative lifestyle. While her creative philosophy absolutely can be seen woven into all areas of her life, this book intended to help the reader develop their own creative lifestyle.

All the chapters in the book are a life lesson about living creatively. At the start of the chapter, Bowley includes anecdotes from her own life. Many of these describe how she came to the wisdom that she’s sharing. Then at the end of the chapters, there is a section called “Try This On” where Bowley offers a practice for the reader to do. Most were easy to incorporate into life, such as “The next time you feel a strong emotion, or if you’re feeling one now, notice if you are pushing it down or allowing it to run the show.”3 These practices helped me be more aware of my intuition, feelings, and creative process.

Furthermore, Bowley’s visual description of elements of painting became a symbolic imagery for me to envision when reading. The abstract concept of adding contrast to life came alive on canvas as she described popping yellow paint burst from a deeper blue. Never having painted much, this perspective opened new doors to perception for me, which made me actually want to try my hand at putting the brush to canvas. (Okay, maybe I’ll start with finger paints for now, but it’s still invigorating!)

“Contrasts brings together two or more strikingly different things, creating a dynamic relationship in juxtaposition or close association. In other words, contrast happens when two very different worlds collide, kiss, or simply exist side by side. I hunt for opportunities to create contrast because I know that tension between elements creates energy, a spark, nuance.”4

She also has so many suggestions from her workshops that I really thought were engaging in helping creators acknowledge feelings in a new way. For instance, one thing she’s done with participants is having them give away their half finished painting. Some were sentimental about it, others were happy to be relieved of it, but either way it is an exercise in letting go. From there, the painters were supposed to build on what the other had started. This made me start thinking more about my attachment to things and how I could also include more collaboration.

Reading Bowley’s story made me start thinking about my life as a big canvas, filled with colors and shapes, rather than my normal way of seeing it filled with people, activities, and commitments. Thinking about each of these elements in my life through an artistic perspective got me wondering what the current canvas of my life looked like and how I might bright out something new in what I was working with.

Overall, The Art of Aliveness is filled with wisdom and personal insight in which Bowley draws on her creative process to offer insight on how to reconnect with the inherent beauty in life. I feel like anyone looking to reawaken their creative spirit would benefit from reading this book. As already mentioned, simply hearing her personal story was an inspiration to follow my dreams. Her painting expertise is an added bonus that is sure to motivate other creators to make meaning of their life’s journey through artistry.

Manifesting Spirits, by Jack Hunter

Manifesting Spirits: An Anthropological Study of Mediumship and the Paranormal, by Jack Hunter
AEON Books, 1912807882, 296 pages, January 2021

For anyone who’s ever academically ventured into topics such as mediumship, life after death, spirits, and other psi phenomena you’ve most likely found the present literature rarely acknowledges the actual existence of these phenomena, for doing so would bring the entire paradigm into question. These inquiries are often quickly dismissed or explained in terms of cognitive, functional, or pathological theories.  However, Manifesting Spirits: An Anthropological Study of Mediumship and the Paranormal by Jack Hunter has gone where few have gone before.

Hunter has written an extremely well-defined and well-researched study of the paranormal from a perspective that invites an expansion of consciousness and method of scholarship. He frames these phenomena in a way that invites a new paradigm to emerge while maintaining full rigor in the quality of his resources. As he describes, he “does not seek to reduce the significance of spirit mediumship to purely functional, psychological, sociological, or cognitive explanations.”1 In so many ways, this work is truly groundbreaking and an essential read for any serious paranormal practitioner, investigator, or enthusiast.

The approach in this research is a “non-reductive interpretive framework that emphasises complexity and multiple dimensions of process and meaning.”2 I include this because, yes, Hunter’s writing requires a certain level of familiarity with words such as “ontological” and “phenomenological” to fully grasp. I will give him immense credit in his thorough explanation of what he’s doing, but for those who are less inclined to read scholarly material, this book might be quite intimidating.

It took me well over a month (I might even say closer to two) to make my way through this book. Much of the time, it felt like I was reading an academic paper, which was fascinating given the topic, but also not a light read. Many of the chapters seem to be informative literature reviews that were blended together to make a compelling book. As someone who values academic integrity, strong references, and a well-defined methodology, Manifesting Spirits was a true delight.

Hunter does a wonderful job of situating his work within the previous and current literature on the subject, aptly helping the reader to see the building blocks for his research and why he has chosen to write about it in the way he’s done in this book. He acknowledges the pitfalls of academic research on these subjects and how his work differs in that it admits the possibility of paranormal phenomenon. He calls his perspective “ontologically flooded” in that it is “open to multiple possibilities and emphasising complexity over reductive simplicity.”3 Essentially, rather than setting out to prove the validity of spirits and other psi phenomena, Hunter’s position is openness to the possibility of genuine paranormal phenomena being a factor at play but is not automatically assuming it.

To achieve this aim, Hunter began exploring these topics at Bristol Spirit Lodge to better understand the spirit world through those who have regular contact with spirits. By taking their experiences seriously, he accumulated a plethora of ethnographic research.This ethnographic research included attending seances, developing his own mediumship abilities, and interviews with both mediums and spirits. In turn, switching the usual mode of boxing-in these ethnographic experiences to fit the analytic thinking to using the research done ethnographically to re-examine the dominant model for interpreting these events.

In Manifesting Spirits, there are quite a few fascinating topics Hunter explores, many of which I’ve never seen framed from his unique methodological perspective. The main topic of his research is physical mediumship. Physical mediumship involves manifestations such as raps, taps, de/materialized objects, and even ectoplasm. This differs from mental mediumship, which is a form of telepathy used to communicate with spirits, and trance mediumship, which is a form of mental mediumship where the spirit uses the mind of the medium to deliver messages. He notes how members of the lodge feel a reconnection between the physical and spiritual world through witnessing these paranormal experiences, which can be quite a spiritual experience.

The section I liked the most was “Naturalising the supernatural” where Hunter writes about how phenomena that are considered “supernatural” would not be considered so in other culture systems. Cultures outside the Western materialistic approach would see some of these phenomena as natural and a part of daily life. He draws on the writing of social scientist Durkheim, who pointed out supernatural only exists because a natural order exists, but as Hunter writes, “To a certain extent, then we can say that what is deemed possible is both limited and facilitated by cultural norms and expectations.”4

Now that was something I could deeply relate to, both personally and professionally. Since I was innately aware of the spirit world from a very young age (I saw ghosts and was aware of the presence of spirit during adolescence, I also became a youthful paranormal explorer. By my teenage years, I had read countless ghost stories of my local area, presented about the haunted history of town, and catalogued undocumented accounts.

In college, I majored in psychology, but I was quickly frustrated with the exclusion of psychic phenomena. I knew by the time I graduated that the traditional route was not for me, and I began exploring other subsets of psychology such as Jungian (or Depth Psychology) and Transpersonal psychology, but even these were not fully inclusive of what I had very subjectively experience in communication with spirits, as well as in sessions with many mediums over the years. Alas, paranormal studies have sufficed, but I too longed to bridge the gap with academia.

It is for this reason Manifesting Spirits is so immensely valuable to the field. It takes paranormal studies and integrates them into an academic framework that is usable for future research. Reading this book, I just kept thinking how much I wished I had it for reference when attempting to put forth these ideas in my academic studies. I am grateful to have it now, as I truly think this is a foundational book in many fields, from psychology to anthropology, and even religious studies. I truly think I would have written a different thesis had this book existed at the time of my research because it would have empowered me to believe writing and researching on these topics was possible.

Manifesting Spirits is a truly ground-breaking work that I am sure will be referenced by many to come. It completely opens doors to the study of these new realms. Hunter’s research methods are unique and exactly what is needed to go beyond the current limits of research spirits, mediumship, and paranormal experience. It is a must-have for any serious paranormal researcher’s collection, as well as an enlightening read for those with an interest in mediumship. This review is certainly an understatement of the wealth of material presented by Hunter, from blending with spirits to an exploration of the seance. I highly recommend diving into yourself and being open to the emergent ideas and techniques that are bound to provide some revelation.

Horary Astrology, by Anthony Louis

Horary Astrology: The Theory and Practice of Finding Lost Objects, by Anthony Louis
Llewellyn Publications, 0738766997, 424 pages, February 2021

We’ve all been there: frantically search for our lost keys, precious jewelry, or important document. Often we’ll start grumbling about how “it must be somewhere” or perhaps say a quick prayer to beloved St. Anthony, finder of lost objects. But did you know that you can also use astrology to find what’s been lost?

Horary astrology is the art of answering questions by casting a chart based on the exact time the astrologer receives the question. When you’ve run out of options and finally decided to ask for guidance by casting an astrological chart, it can reveal the answer if one knows the techniques to interpret the chart.

In his book Horary Astrology: The Theory and Practice of Finding Lost Objects, Anthony Louis takes readers into a deep dive of this ancient art and provides a wonderful foundation for budding learners. Loaded with real-life examples and extremely detailed explanations of how to read horary charts, Horary Astrology is a wonderful starting point for a seasoned astrologer who hopes to further their knowledge in this branch of astrology.

I do emphasize seasoned though, because this book would most likely be a bit overwhelming for the novice astrologer. Though Louis provides thorough explanations of all his material, I think it’s worth noting the first chart of the book is featured on page eight, which pretty much indicates Louis isn’t giving us the background on how to read charts and we’re going right into things.

You should absolutely be familiar with the houses, zodiac signs, and planetary significance before diving in, though Lous does further explain much of this in regard to reading the chart from a horary perspective. For instance, there is a chapter “Houses and the Human Body,” and another “The Twelve Signs and Associated Physical Locations.” The chapter “The Signs” provides the indoor location related to each zodiac sign, along with possible locations based on the element of the sign.

The majority of the book draws from seventeenth-century astrology William Lily, most noted for his work Christian Astrology. This would be a great read for someone who wants to learn the techniques of Lily without delving into his few-hundred-year old work, as Louis is constantly referring to Lily throughout the whole book. For instance, Louis writes about via combusta, “which, according to Lilly, is an unlucky region from 15 libra to 15 Scorpio where the two Luminaries pass through the signs of their “dejection” or “fall,” implying a deprivation of solar and lunar light…”1 This is just one example of how Louis imparts Lilly’s wisdom into his own work and informs the reader in the process that I found immensely useful.

As for the examples of horary Louis provides, they are varied and absolutely fascinating! From missing people to garage door openers, I felt like I was a detective on a search in reading what was missing, and then I was absolutely thrilled to read how Louis pieced together the clues within the horary chart to solve the case. It really gave me a clear understanding of the application of the techniques Louis writes about in the first half of the book. The examples provided do a wonderful job of explaining his chart interpretation to answer the proposed question or locate what’s missing that really lay out Louis’s thought process.

Another chapter I really enjoyed was “Plantary Keywords of  Vettius Valens (C. 175 CE) where Louis shares lists of planetary keywords based on the work of second-century Hellenistic astrologer Vettius Valens. I think for someone who wants to engage in this type of astrology work, these keyword lists are very influential in being able to decipher the messages of the chart. However, the keywords also bring up my personal dislike for outdated associations with all the planets.

For instances, keywords of Saturn are “self-deprecating,” “downcast,” “tears and grief,” “unemployment,” and “childlessness” to name a few. Maybe I’m too modern for Hellenistic astrology, but I feel the associates can be very outdated, keeping the planets trapped in stereotypes with little room to expand. This is useful in horary astrology perhaps, which uses these keywords to solve real world problems, but I think it can hinder the greater impact of the different planets’ role in our expression.

This isn’t a book I was able to digest easily, and I certainly had to take it piece by piece. It is something that one would absolutely refer to time and time again, making it a worthy investment for a serious student. However, if one is just looking for a brief introduction or beginner’s guide to horary, this is definitely beyond that scope.

The next time you’re struggling to find something that’s lost, hopefully you’ll remember Horary Astrology. Maybe you’ll learn to decipher if it’s possible to find what’s lost, and if so, where it might be located. Taking on this practice will definitely make you feel like a detective. Louis’s insightful writing will deepen your understanding of how our daily life and the stars are so intimately connected, as long as you can see the clues. Though it’s not a light study, the rewards seem rich, which has kept this ancient art a worthy pursuit all the way to modern times.

Beyond the Mirror, by M.K. Williams and Natalie Kavanagh

Beyond the Mirror: Seechers, by M.K. Williams and Natalie Kavanagh
Luxon-Drake Publications, 1999962877, 194 pages, March 2020

Beyond the Mirror: Seechers by M.K. Williams and Natalie Kavanagh is a promising first book of a series I look forward to seeing develop, as in, I’m already waiting for the next book to come out. I read this entire book within 24 hours. Much to my husband’s dismay, who was hoping to get out of the house this weekend, I couldn’t put this book down and had no interest in doing anything else but reading on. Hey, it happens when you find a good book to dive into, right? 🙂

I was hooked right from the start, which featured a vivid dream sequence playing out. Here, a young girl shoots a young man standing at the edge of a building’s roof with a mysterious vial of glowing blue liquid in his hand. This pinnacle moment seems to be the culminating peak of the book… but it became so much more!

Thinking it was being told in a frame story technique, where the end is given at the start and you then get to know how the characters got there, I was eagerly awaiting to see what went down. As I was introduced to the characters, I was questioning their intentions and curious about when betrayal might strike when I realized the shooter is initially the young man’s romantic interest. Clearly, I became invested in seeing what got them to the point at the start of the book as I read about how their relationship unfolds.

Slowly and with pure craft, the authors revealed the layers at play in the initial scene to create a deeply enthralling plot centered upon friendship, self-discovery, and, awesomely, combating the “bad guys” of course with newly-found powers of the mind.

The premise of the book is an ancient society, called Seechers, knows the secret hidden gateway to the subconscious. This group initiates new recruits every seven years, and in the meanwhile, live seemingly ordinary lives, while also protecting the balance of energy in the world. You know, no big deal! From the initiated Seechers we meet, it seems they all have their own technique of influencing energy, such as healing wounds or connecting with animals.

It is determined if one has the potential to be a Seecher, which is ultimately their own personal choice when invited, by measuring how much epsilon they have within their brain, specifically in the pineal gland. Those with enough epsilon, a bright blue liquid present in their brain, can undergo activation and join the group. Indicators one may possess this mysterious substance within their brain are heightened imagine, prophetic dreams, and psychic senses of “knowing” things.

However, something suspicious is happening to the potential recruits this year. Many are suddenly disappearing, while others are having dreams of violent kidnappings. The Seechers don’t know who is doing this, but they know their potential recruits are at risk. This causes them to take immediate measures. They decided to gather and test the potential recruits a year before schedule.

The readers know, though, about the scientific work being done at Curative Analytics. Here, there are scientists that are set on harvesting epsilon, believing it shouldn’t only be used by the Seechers and curious about its powers. However, when they do extract it from the minds of potential Seechers, it is tainted and becomes a less powerful version of the substance. This less powerful, “dead” version of epsilon is called epsilac, and the scientists are ruthless in their pursuit of obtaining it.

Aris and Maya, two of the main characters, end up deeply submersed in of all this scheming. Turns out, these two are the young man and woman from the initial scene. On a quest to discover more about the Seechers, Maya draws Aris into the pursuit — only for them to realize Aris is a Seecher himself and more than involved in safeguarding the future of the secret society than they could have ever imagined. In true fashion of curious and bold students, they work to understand the connection between all the strange events happening, landing them smack dab in the middle of all the actions where their crucial decisions have rippling effects for everyone.

I feel the plot has the perfect flow and was very well-developed. There’s so many little hints that point towards more books in this series! I am really curious about the lore behind the Seecheers and their ancient enemies, the Tauredunum Raiders. It was their ancient technology Curative Analytics is using to find the potential Seechers.

All the characters are relatable and well defined, especially Aris. Though the main characters are undergraduates in college, there are other mentors, such as the archetypal professor, so this book appeals to an audience beyond young adults. I found the story very believable and the characters well-defined.

What I liked most was this book combines many spiritual and philosophical ideas, making it a truly intriguing read for anyone with knowledge on these matters. I was suddenly inspired to read Plato’s Republic, reflecting on the allegory of the cave. The concept of the Nihilo, the subconscious world beyond ours, reminded me of the Buddhist void: the place beyond the mind, where all is subconsciously interconnected.

When I finished the book, I was reminded of Kant’s theory of an unbridgeable gap, which acknowledges there is a world that lay beyond the grasp of our senses, in the book’s concept of an unseen middle world where energy can be moved, shaped, and rearranged — though not created, abiding by Newtonian laws of physics. That is, unless one of the new Seechers may have abilities that go beyond this…

Oh, how I love a great fiction read that expands my perception and explores consciousness beyond the usual senses. I think there’s so much talent in being able to bring these concepts to life through storytelling.

While the book does have the typical plot of a secret society, new initiates coming in, a great battle between enemies, and “evil scientists” performing unethical research to further their own motives, I still feel like this book was done in an original and creative way. Williams and Kavanagh are exquisite writers who really know how to weave together an engaging plot.

I highly recommend Beyond The Mirror to those who are seeking a novel that incorporates spirituality and philosophy to create a new tale. I am looking forward to the next book! So much more I want to know about how the story will unfold!

Stars and Stones, by Peter Stockinger

Stars and Stones: An Astro-Magical Lapidary, by Peter Stockinger
Mandrake, 1906958734, 164 pages, May 2016

I recently began a medical astrology herbalism course with Judith Hill and Matthew Wood. As I learn about the physicians of the Renaissance, specifically the way they were all master astrologers, I just discovered in addition to plant remedies, they knew how to use the properties of gemstones to facilitate healing and create magical talismans.

Seeking more information, I turned to Hill’s book Astrology and Your Vital Forces, however the Jyotish description of the use of gemstones wasn’t fulfilling enough for me, as I was hoping to not only to remedy the chart but also use the talismans in my magical workings. Luckily, Stars and Stones: An Astro-Magical Lapidary by Peter Stockinger fills in all the missing gaps I’ve been curious about and truly fits my needs for learning more about this subject.

Written in the introduction, Stockinger’s main reason for writing this book “was to reintroduce the reader to the idea of correspondences and correlations between planets and gemstones.”1 And let me tell you, Stockinger does just this with thorough detail and enough clarification to not overwhelm someone new to this topic.

To begin, Stockinger delves into the planets and their elemental constitutions, which are the foundation of the Universe. Each planet corresponds to one element, and Stockinger provides detail for the attributes of the planet and their element. For instance, Mars is hot and dry, which is attributed to the element of fire.2

The four elements are each associated with a temperament: choleric (fire), melancholic (earth), sanguine (air), and phlegmatic (water). While there have been various methods of calculating a person’s temperament, Stockinger draws from Ferdinand Resberger’s astrological textbook Astronomia Teutsch to teach the reader how to find their own.

This wasn’t the easier endeavour, but after about a half an hour of calculations, I determined all of my temperaments were almost equal, with choleric and phlegmatic having a score of just one higher than melancholic and sanguine. Stockinger made the calculations accessible by clearly starting which zodiac signs correspond to the element or temperament for each stage of the process so one is not having to memorize it all before or consistently reference back to the previous material.

The next chapters are detailed explanations of the planets, zodiac signs, and astrological houses respectively. All the information is the traditional descriptions from Renaissance astrology. I especially enjoyed Stockinger including the diseases associated with the planets and the illnesses associated with the signs of the zodiac. There also are images for all the planets and signs too, which are nice visuals to break-up the dense material.

Additionally, Stockinger includes a list of the body parts associated with every sign and tables of essential dignities and accident dignities according to William Lilly’s Christian Astrology. This introduction concludes Part 1.

Part 2 of the book “Planets, Crystals, Gemstones & Metals” was exactly what I had been looking for in my quest for information. Stockinger sets the stage with a history of the healing properties of crystals and different works about them, such as Abbess Hildegard von Bingen’s Physica and Al Biruni’s Book of the Instructions in the Elements of the Art of Astrology, both published in the 11th century.

“Since the dawn of time, gemstones and crystals have fascinated humans, by their mysterious sparkle, their beautiful colours and their intriguing shapes and symmetries.”3

There is also ample information about the planets and their corresponding metals. Based on the idea that everything emits light when heated, there is a table that shows the wavelengths of color in the visible spectrum. The metals’s emissions spectrum is how the corresponding color is determined. There is ample detail about the correspondence of the seven visible planets, corresponding color, and corresponding metal.

For instance, for the Sun, whose corresponding metal is gold, Stockinger states, “On the physical level, gold helps the body to maintain circulation and it is responsible for the regulation of the impulses in the nervous system.”4 Once again, there is the inclusion of some medical astrology too.

The next chapter, “Planets & Gemstone Remedies,” was my favorite. In this section, Stockinger goes planet by planet giving an extensive overview of each planet (diseases associated with them, corresponding body parts, dignities and disabilities, and more!) and provides gemstones to remedy their effects. For instance, jet and black onyx are recommended to remedy Saturn, while carelin, garnet, haematite, and jasper are prescribed for Mars.

Stockinger provides a detailed history of each crystal and gemstone, along with information about it’s color and hardness. He explains in detail what aspect of the planet the crystal or gemstone remedies and it’s most effective uses. One example is selenite for working with the moon, for it is considered a “holy stone” that helps cleanse and purify emotions.5 It also provides protection against epilepsy and insanity, while repelling negative energies.

Reading through all the crystals of each planet has been immensely useful when deciding which stones to work with in order to produce certain effects. Reading through the case studies in the book helped me to further understand how gemstone can be used to enhance or counter certain energies at play in my astrological chart.

I am looking forward to creating a talisman too from the information I’ve gleaned from this book. Stockinger shares his knowledge on fifteen fortunate fixed stars along with their corresponding sigil (so immensely helpful!), and he shares how to create a fixed star ring for success. He also shares images of the planets and constellations that can be used to enhance a gemstone’s effect, such as a swan for the Cygus constellation and a whale for the Cetus constellation.

Finally, the appendices have a wealth of well-organized content that is immensely useful. There is a Therapeutic Index that has a disease, illness, or circumstance one might want to remedy and a corresponding gemstone, a table of fixed star correspondences, and Agrippa’s planetary glyphs.

All in all, Stars and Stones is a wonderful resource for those interested in learning more about the relationship between astrological energies and crystals, gemstones, and metals. I love how it perfectly blends the stars and earth to facilitate integral healing through one’s chart. I haven’t ever found a book as comprehensive, accessible, or useful as this one on this topic. For those who are looking to incorporate a new dimension into their astrological practice, or perhaps even expand their knowledge of crystals and their healing properties, this is absolutely a book to check out.

The Language of Flowers Oracle, by Cheralyn Darcey

The Language of Flowers Oracle, by Cheralyn Darcey
Rockpool Publishing, 1925924408, 44 cards, 144 pages, April 2021

Spring is in full swing where I am, and it’s been a pleasure enjoying both the scents and scenery of the blooming flowers. It feels like the perfect time to be getting acquainted with The Language of Flowers Oracle by Cheralyn Darcey, as gardening has been on my mind now that outdoor weather has returned. This colorful deck has been brightening my oracle readings, while also giving me personal insights, along with tips and techniques for tending to my plants.

When I first opened the deck, I was immediately delighted by the cards’ colorful design. The blending of pink, dark blue, and white flowers remind me of a Hawaiian shirt, calling to mind memories of sunshine. Turning the cards over to look at them before shuffling, there were all sorts of color palettes popping out to catch my eye. It’s as though an impressionist painted to capture the essence of each flower through variation and contrasted hues.

The cards are all numbered, which makes it easy to find their meaning in the guidebook. There is also a keyword and the name of the flower at the bottom of the card. Then there is the image of the flower in the sacred place where it naturally blossoms.

For instance, the sacred blue lily’s card has the imagery of the Nile River and pyramids in the background because that is its habitat. I really enjoyed this connection between flower and place, as it helped to contextualize the ecosystem each flower thrives in, adding to my understanding of its healing and divinatory message.

The guidebook is short and sweet. Darcey suggests journaling about the cards, meditating with them, and using them alongside healing modalities, such as homeopathic medicine and flower essences. She also hopes the deck will inspire the reader to connect with nature and learn more about the botanical world.

For each card, the guidebook has the flower’s scientific name, card’s oracle meaning and challenge, botanical profile, gardening tips, and information on the flower’s sacred place. I’ve found the section of meaning and challenge in the guidebook to be very insightful. So far, I’ve found all the readings I’ve done with this deck to be spot on.

It’s also interesting to read the botanical profile, which talks about the color and size of the flower, along with its native region. While I am not much of a gardener myself, I feel the gardening tips would be immensely useful for those who hope to cultivate these flowers, many of which will be growing outside of their native landscape. Darcey, very helpfully, includes a gardening skill level for each flower too. If I do decide to cultivate my green thumb, I’d know which flowers are easiest to get started with growing.

I also just love the description of the flower’s sacred place because it takes me to another place and opens me to new cultures. To give an example, this is part of the description for card twenty-four, Inspiration: Siberian Iris, whose sacred place is Lake Baikal in Russia:

“The lake has been considered sacred throughout history, with many names pertaining to this belief such as Sacred Lake, Sacred Sea, and Spiritual Waters. It is believed by the many Shaman-practicing people of the area that the earth spirits are the strongest here because, despite all odds, the waters are still the purest and the lake has survived for so long.”1

How cool is that? And it’s certainly not a place that I would have known about otherwise. By providing this connection, Darcey helps to bridge the spiritual and material world through the beauty and healing properties of the flowers and their impact in local culture via the honoring of sacred lands.

The entire deck inspires me to go explore outdoors, get to know the flowers in my area, and appreciate the beauty they bring to the world. Maybe it’s because it’s spring and I’m in a sensual, joyful maiden energy, but working with this deck has awakened my desire to smell the scents of the flowers and indulge in purchasing bouquets from the farmer’s market. I want to touch, feel, see, and even taste the flowers! Yes, I’ve been Googling some recipes.

I really have appreciated the deepening of my relationship to flowers through The Language of Flowers Oracle. It has been a wonderful resource to learning more about the natural world, and also a very accurate oracle that’s provided immensely insightful guidance. It truly venerates the exquisite world of flowers.

For those who enjoy the beauty of the natural world and are looking to bring a bit more of it into their oracle readings, this is a wonderful deck. I also recommend it to gardeners and botanical enthusiasts that are looking to explore the oracle realm. This deck is a perfect blend of science and spirituality that will expand one’s knowledge of the world, while also teaching how to cultivate flowers that branch the distance right within your home.

Crystals and Numerology, by Edita Wuest and Sabine Schieferle

Crystals and Numerology: Decode Your Numbers and Support Your Life Path with Healing Stones, by Edita Wuest and Sabine Schieferle
Earthdancer Books, 1644112731, 160 pages, February 2021

I have been absolutely delighted this past week incorporating crystals into my numerology studies! Crystals and Numerology: Decode Your Numbers and Support Your Life Path with Healing Stones by Edita Wuest and Sabine Schieferle has given me practical ways that I can enhance and remedy my numerological energy with crystals. And for those of you who are new to numerology, don’t fear, the authors do a wonderful job of making it easy and accessible to understand and discover your sacred numbers!

As soon as I picked up the book, I loved the interior design. It has bright colors that highlights pieces of information, making it easy to absorb the material, and includes pictures for all the crystals described. I enjoy being able to see the crystal while learning about its energetic properties. This is a book I would keep on my coffee table for guests to pursue because it is both informative and beautifully made.

Whether you are wanting to learn more about numerology or crystals, this is a book that will be immensely useful because it gives background information on both. First, the authors share how numerology can be used to reveal many things about someone, including their professional life,  life perspective, life’s mission, and timing of change. Detailed is how to calculate one’s personal numbers. There are nine different calculations provided, which each reveal a facet of oneself.

For instance, the life path number is used to determine one’s destiny and purpose, while the heart’s desire number gives insight into our core emotions and feelings towards others. There are charts and detailed explanations on how to calculate all these numbers by hand. I spent close to an hour decoding the numbers for my husbands and I. While it wasn’t tough, it did require focus because there was a lot of adding involved!

Next, the book moves into how to do healing work with the crystals. Based on the principle that crystals hold vibrational energy, the authors share methods of connecting with the healing properties of crystals that can easily be incorporated into the reader’s daily life. Some of these ways are holding crystals while repeating affirmations, drinking water that’s been infused with crystal energy, and wearing the crystals as jewelry. There is a description of the spiritual energy of colors too, which adds to understanding the energy of the crystals.

Now that the reader has discovered all their numerological codes and learned the basics of crystal healing, the book moves into chapters on each number 0-9. In every chapter, there is a numerological overview of the energy of the number and provide crystal recommendations to balance the energy. It describes the number’s symbolism, talents and abilities related to the number, weaknesses of the number, and ambition related to the number. For every aspect of the number, there is a crystal to either boost the positive influence of the number or balance the weakness.

For instance, I am a 3 life path. My number one bad habit is starting projects and then getting distracted. I always have about five different things I am working on at once, yet rarely do I see things through to completion. Clearly I immediately resonated with reading, “In their desire to be free, threes are extremely wasteful of their energies: they are soon enthused and start many more projects  than they actually complete.”1 This is undoubtedly so, and you can even ask my mother who chides me whenever I eagerly take on something new with little thought or hesitation due to my excitement.

I discovered that malachite, obsidian, and covellite can balance out my energetic tendencies. This was very interesting because I’ve always felt drawn to malachite and obsidian quietly naturally. They’ve remedied my energy and brought a sense of protection, calmness, and tranquility to my life previously. This was a great reminder to wear my jewelry with these stones more often, especially when I am feeling stretched too thin with projects to come back into my center. Then I had never heard of covellite before, so this was a chance to learn about a new crystal to incorporate into my collection.

At the end of each section are affirmations for the number, additional crystal recommendations, and a description of the healing effects on the body of every crystal listed in that chapter. Sticking with the example of number three, for malachite, the authors describe how it can ease cramps and be treatment for headaches, along with other physical healing properties. I really appreciate this additional section because it adds another layer of knowledge about the healing power of the crystals, showing how they are effective on both a spiritual and physical level.

After going through numbers 1 to 9, the authors provide a section on 0. While I’m not sure anyone can be a 0 path, it can be factored into their numerological energy. As I’ve mentioned I’m a 3 life path, but when the numbers of my birthday are added together it makes 30. This bolsters my 3 with the energy of 0. I was surprised to read this section and discover that watermelon tourmaline is crystal that boosts talents and abilities for 0, as I just purchased a watermelon tourmaline ring I felt “called to” this past weekend and immediately loved the energy I felt when wearing it. Such a synchronicity! Once again confirming for me the accuracy of the author’s crystal recommendations based on my own personal experience.

The book’s appendices includes a meditation to connect with one’s numerological crystals, creating a crystal circle for energy healing, and creating a numerological crystal installation to bring in the energy. I look forward to practicing all of these once I get a few more of the crystals recommended for my unique numerological signature.

All in all, Crystals and Numerology is filled with practical wisdom on how to do energy work incorporating these two modalities. I have enjoyed it immensely and planning on referencing the book when deciding which crystals to work with. I recommend this book to those who enjoy working with crystals, are interested in discovering more about their personal numerology, and are inclined to practice energy healing. This book is sure to provide insight into the numerological energy of your life, while offering guidance on how to effectively engage with it for prosperity, purpose, and pleasure!