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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.

The Corona Transmissions, edited by Sherri Mitchell, Richard Grossinger, and Kathy Glass

The Corona Transmissions: Alternatives for Engaging with COVID-19―from the Physical to the Metaphysical, edited by by Sherri Mitchell, Richard Grossinger, Kathy Glass
Healing Arts Press, 644113073, 374 pages, December 2020

It’s been on the forefront of everyone’s mind for nearly a year: COVID-19. The crucial shifts necessitated from the spread of the virus have impacted all aspects of society, One may feel so “over it’ that they avoid having to think more about the topic than they must, but beyond the news, is there a deeper conversation we can be having about the transformative events taking place? The Corona Transmission: Alternatives for Engaging with COVID-19– from the Physical to the Metaphysical edited by Sherri Mitchell, Richard Grossinger, and Kathy Glass is a book I believe everyone should be reading as we slowly start to process what we’ve been through the past year.

The Corona Transmissions sets out to offer a wide variety of perspectives to make sense of what we’ve been living through during the pandemic. The fearful news and horrific stories of COVID-19 have been flooding our awareness since March 2020. As a result, we may be stuck in a mode of thinking that is limited in its capacity to see the greater picture of the role this virus is playing in reshaping our society. This book brings to the forefront the alternative voices out there that may not be highlighted in mainstream media. From poetry to homeopathic medicine, indigenous perspectives of Earth’s restoration to the esoteric lens of astrology and tarot, the writers gift us a new lens to view the pandemic through.

The book is divided into three sections: Overviews and Transmissions, Medical Information and Healing Modalities, and Deconstructions, Divinations, and Visions. While each writer’s work is loosely connected to the others in their section, every view is extremely different based on their own background, identity, and vantage point of what’s going on. The length of each piece varies, which makes for a stimulating read because there’s a variety to the flow of the book. One minute the reader is contemplating the socio-political failings of the nation that have led to an exacerbation of this situation, and in the next reading is focused on the experience of the coronavirus as a living being with its own agency, fostering a dialogue between humanity and the virus.

The uniqueness of each writer’s thoughts is what I really liked most about reading The Corona Transmissions. Since it is a compilation of different perspectives, there is an overwhelming amount of wisdom filling the pages, and discovering the works of people I’ve never heard of before was one of the best parts of reading the book.. I connected to the work of many people that I may not have otherwise been exposed to but whose words I deeply resonated with, such as Barbara Karlsen and Eric Meyers. I was delightfully surprised by how much I enjoyed the perspective of stone alchemist Robert Simmons, who proposed the Earth is opening up a dialogue of communication with us. Additionally the poetry of Zoe Brezsny, Paul Weiss, James Moore, Stephanie Lahar, and Jack Foley was penetrative, emotionally stimulating, and very accurate depictions of the sentiment of this time. There was even a contribution from one of my favorites: Charles Einstein, author of Sacred Economics (one of the best books I’ve ever read).

The second section, Medical Information and Healing Modalities, was probably some of the best medical information I’ve read about COVID-19. This section was packed with data that illuminated the rate of transmission in relationship to other viruses and provided a really grounded perspective of the numbers and statistics that may otherwise be too complex to fully understand. It also was filled with suggestions on how to naturally boost one immune’s system; from supplements to homeopathic remedies, there are many resources within this section to help the reader take control of their own health. There’s even methods to use for if one does contract COVID-19 to ease symptoms and facilitate quicker recovery.

Reading this book has led to a lot of healing within that I didn’t even realize I needed to be doing. Different writers hit spots within my heart and psyche, sparking a growth of consciousness and also nurturing the emotions that have not been “given voice” yet but wanted to be heard. Moving through The Corona Transmission gave me the opportunity to explore my relationship to fear, acknowledge what I’d been going through internally through this pandemic, and also restore hope for the future going forward. As the saying goes, knowledge is power, and this book is a resource that makes me feel more emotionally and spiritually resilient, informed about the nature of this virus, and prepared for what may be to come as we shift to a post-pandemic world.

Much of this COVID-19 experience of quarantining and social distancing has left us in “survival mode.” We’ve been in defense against the virus, forced to make many personal sacrifices for the sake of safety. It certainly has been traumatic, and I’m sure there’s going to be a sense of collective PTSD as we now begin to integrate the experience and move forward. The collection of writing in The Corona Transmission is a step in that direction. It is for this reason I highly recommend it to people who are seeking to create a new relationship with the virus, find emotional balm in the art that’s emerged from the pain, explore alternative medicine to promote health, and open their perspective to better understand the large implications of all that has occurred.

Seeing the grief be turned into wonderful poetry and reading perspectives that contextualize this event in a more optimistic, or at least evolutionary, light reconnected me to a higher purpose. The voices in The Corona Transmission instilled a greater sense of meaning to the events that we’re living through, helping me to shift from a personal view to a transpersonal view that encompasses a greater range of possibilities. Reading the writer’s words made me feel reconnected to humanity, assured that we’re all in this together and there’s space for the perspective of everyone. In fact, it’s vital that we come together and share our thoughts, feelings, and experiences, and this book is a magnificent start to the dismantling, processing, re-envisioning needed to prevail.

Zeitgeist Nostalgia, by Alessandro Gandini

Zeitgeist Nostalgia: On Populism, Work and the ‘Good Life’, by Alessandro Gandini
Zero Books, 1789044472, 123 pages, December 2020

The social contract has quite rapidly been eroded by advancement in technology, globalization, and neoliberal economic policies of the past few decades. In Zeitgeist Nostalgia: On Populism, Work, and the ‘Good Life’, Alessandro Gandini examines how the result of this transformation has created an age of nostalgia, or wistful, sentimental longing for the past. As societies grapple with the uncertainty of our future, the happy times of the past have become a refuge. The current climate when viewed through this lens of nostalgia offers insight into what has shifted in the past 70 years, lending insight into the present moment in time and offering food for thought about the impact of this sentiment on our future.

Gandini has done a wonderful job in writing Zeitgeist Nostalgia to be the perfect mix of academic research with his own observation and reflections on the state of the world. I admire his attunement to the present moment, and also his clarity of mind to elucidate what is happening, and how we got to the present state we’re in. He presents theories for the future from a range of social theorists and historians, plus techno-economists, that make for a supremely interesting read.

“OK Boomer.” — the recently popularized Tik-Tok phrase to mock the Baby Boomer generation has become all the rage in recent months. The apparent divide between the ages seems to be facilitated by the different cultural events, attitudes, and quite frankly, reality that each group of people was raised within. While the Baby Boomers grew up in the thick of the flourishing of the American Dream, characterized by stable employment, a promise of security, and promotion of mass consumption, the subsequent generations seem to keep getting the short end of the stick as this ideal has disintegrated over the decades.

Currently the millennial generation is finding their job prospects are more irregular and unstable, housing prices are soaring compared to minimum wages, and security is no longer a promise any government can make. The future remains unclear, but Zeitgeist Nostalgia helps to map out these changes with Gandini bringing together the relevant pieces to actually make sense of what the heck is happening in these times of fear and uncertainty felt worldwide.

While many in the younger generations have learned to adapt to this new paradigm, it is the Baby Boomers, who unable to cope with the uncertainty and challenges presented by technological innovation, a falling-out between citizen and government, and progressive values, are turning back to the past when things were more simple. This wave of collective nostalgia sweeping the nation is having social and political effects, ranging from the Brexit vote to the presidency of Donald Trump, with hopes of “taking back control” to eliminate the insecurity faced in the midst of immense change.

At the heart of these populist movements is a desire to return to the “golden age” based upon patriarchy, heterosexual, white norms once upheld and cherished as an ideal. However, a good majority of up and coming generations hold very different values, after seeing the destruction of neoliberal globalization and having a new openness to ways of living that are outside the borders of the traditional “good life,” quite literally in their regard for immigrants. Gandini specifically focuses on events in America and England, but also highlights trends in other areas of the world too to really give a full picture of how this collective nostalgia is playing out globally.

As a millennial myself, I absolutely could relate to Gandini’s writing. I found it immensely relevant to my own personal situation, especially the chapter “ A post-employment society?” which is something I feel I have been doing my best to embody, despite not having a framework for how this future might look. I am constantly noticing which friends of mine are still following along with the traditional American dream (marriage, home ownership, family) and also cherishing my bonds with those who also see the foundation of that society is falling apart, choosing to forge their own path in this new world instead, creating the future as we go.

What I really enjoyed in reading this book was Gandini’s assertion that hipsters are the one who may be doing things the right way. While acknowledging the socio-economic privilege of many hipsters, who are characterized by their vintage looks and discerning tastes, they are focusing less on material capital and relying on cultural capital to get by in the world. At the same hipsters, he asserted, are more focused on sustain processes and authentic outcomes in whatever their domain is, from natural wine connoisseur to old-school butcher, and less on creating products meant for mass consumption.

My former high school boyfriend turned “hipster” in young adulthood chose to forgo higher education and now is thriving brewing beer for a small, family owned and wildly successful brewery in a neighborhood that until the past five years was run-down and in an economic slump. In many ways I’ve envied him making a decent living, pursuing his passion, while I went the traditional route of college and am saddled with student debt comparable to a mortgage with what I’d say about the same job prospects, oftentimes forced to take work just to repay the loans.

The past decade, it’s only become more and more clear to me that we are radically shifting the way we organize our society, from the role technology now has in our daily lives to the acknowledgement that neoliberalism has run its course after the multitude of economic and environmental disasters it has created, though many can still not envision a world without capitalism. We want a change, and we need a change. Without providing a concrete answer, this book helped to broaden my horizons, especially awakening me to the fact these trends I’ve been feeling extend beyond just the United States, notifying me that this is a global ripple that is bound to have far-reaching effects.

Gandini’s academic background clearly shines through this book. He is currently a senior researcher in Digital Sociology at the University of Milan. Formerly, he was a lecturer for Kings College in London. The ideas in Zeitgeist Nostalgia are penetrating, and truly invite the reader to think and do their own research. Gandini fills the pages with his observations, going beyond being merely an academic text. I am impressed with his thorough understanding of history, particularly American history, and amazed at how he seems to clearly have a strong intellectual grasp on the current state of affairs.

I highly recommend Zeitgeist Nostalgia to those with an interest in culture, history, politics, and economics. Gandini has filled the pages with thoughtful social critique backed by plenty of research and anecdotal examples of what he is discussing. Particularly in light of the radical divide between the values of older and younger generations, this book is helpful in understanding how we’ve gotten to this place as a society.

As Gandini points out, waves of nostalgia are common in history in the face of rapid transformation, and often is the forerunner to revolution. Whether salvation comes through the hipsters or not, I certainly know the future crafted by young adults is bound to be centered upon very different societal values. It’s worth thinking about what these values are and how we’d like to see them emerge in the years to come.

Astrology for Mystics, by Tayannah Lee McQuillar

Astrology for Mystics: Exploring the Occult Depths of the Water Houses in Your Natal Chart, by Tayannah Lee McQuillar
Destiny Books, 1644110515, 176 pages, March 2021

There’s so many lenses through which one can embrace astrology, but my personal favorite has always been a spiritual perspective. Astrology for Mystics: Exploring the Occult Depths of the Water Houses in Your Natal Chart by Tayannah Lee McQuillar is a soulful dive into the element of water in one’s natal chart. By tapping into the healing, mysterious currents of the 4th, 8th, and 12th house, McQuillar takes us on a journey to discover and illuminate the depths of our astrology chart as shown by the sign and planet placements.

I think my favorite part of the entire book was the Introduction, “What is a Mystic?”, most likely because I’ve been pondering this question myself recently. McQuillar’s writing demonstrates such wisdom and insight that it makes it clear her spirituality has emerged through authenticity, originality, and genuineness. I immediately felt both trust and respect for her, which made me feel safely held as I proceeded onward.

“Mystics are the foundation of all religious and spiritual systems in the world. Someone, somewhere, at some time had to be the first to wonder if what she was being told about the divine was true and to seek a direct mystical experience in order to confirm or deny it for herself. Then, from that experience, that person formed ideas regarding the truth or nature of existence.”1

Her assurance that this book is meant to assist one in creating their own “individualized occult philosophy and spiritual regimen, one that doesn’t require you to believe anyone else, follow everyone else, or become someone else”2 greatly put this Aquarian at ease as I dove into the water in my chart.

Honestly, water has always been the element I connected with least, so I was looking forward to hopefully taking my time reading to figure out why and how I could better establish a connection to the energy of these houses in my chart. McQuillar lays a wonderful foundation by sharing a bit about what sets water apart from the elements. From how we can consume it and feel its nourishing effects, to the wide spread healing properties, her writing made me take a moment of pause in gratitude for all the water in the world.

By looking to the role of water in mythology, and sharing with the reader different spirits, gods, goddesses that are related to the water, McQuillar highlights water as the foundation of creation. The origin story of many cultures through time have evolved from a watery abyss, likewise the destruction of civilizations occurs through water when people have forgotten the importance of living in alignment. On that note, I appreciated McQuillar’s words on how our current society is allowing for the sacred waterways to become polluted. She puts forth an impactful call to stop these harmful practices and cherish the water supply here on earth.

For those who may be new to this level of astrological exploration, McQuillar teaches the reader how to look up their own chart and see the houses within it to discover the zodiac sign the house is located within and any planets there. She discusses the glyphs to help the reader know what to look for in their chart, and also gives a little overview of each sign with keywords to get a feel for them.

After this introduction into glyphs and astrological energy, McQuillar goes through the 4th, 8th, and 12th house respectively to give a bit of information about the zodiac sign and planet. First is an introduction to these houses, followed by each zodiac sign in those houses.

For every house, McQuillar focuses on the main themes of that house and explains how the energy in the chart of each sign would come through. For example, the 8th house sections are Sexual Intimacy, Your Elevated Self-Image, Your Secret Power, and Transformation and Endings. Based on which sign their 8th house is located within, the reader can learn more about the specifics of their chart.

Next, McQuillar discusses the specific meaning of each planet, providing information about their zodiac sign ruler and co-ruler as well. She then goes through the 4th, 8th, and 12th house and gives a description of each of the seven planets (thankfully, she included transpersonal planets!) in each one. I found her descriptions to be very illuminating, and reading this book came at a particularly apt time for me personally.

While doing a zodiac meditation earlier this week, I realized that I had immense trouble connecting with my Jupiter in Cancer in the 12th house; I simply could not sense the energy, nor get an intuitive grasp on this area of my chart. Reading the description of Cancer on the 12th house brought to my attention some traits that I didn’t immediately recognize within myself, but in reflection saw how they were in play in my life.

I think with the 12th house especially it’s beneficial to have an “outside” perspective because this can often be one of the tougher spots to see about oneself, as it’s related to our hidden, unconscious self. McQuillar calls this the house of “Unspoken Expectations, Confinement, Karma, Loss, and Self-Sabotage,”3 which can make it a bit difficult to delve into these placements lightly.

Luckily, I felt a bit of an optimistic boost from reading about Jupiter in the 12th house. It reaffirmed the initial connection to my spirituality that I usually always feel, and it also reminded me of the feelings of good will I get from being active in communities where I get to share my spiritual gifts.

This all being said, there were a few descriptions that I didn’t resonate with immediately, such as my Pluto in the 4th house, which implied a violence or abuse in my upbringing. However, I don’t think it diminishes the quality of information being shared, even if it felt like a more textbook description for me. I took McQuillar’s mystic approach of embracing what resonated with me and releasing what did not stick.

Plus, I am aware enough to know that sometimes energy and the meaning of the planets and signs can take time to sink in. Since this book is centered on the water houses specifically, it may take a bit more time to dive into these depths, swim within them, and emerge with a fresh breath of clarity. I would advise readers to have patience in moving through this book and taking the time to really explore their chart house by house using all the wisdom McQuillar has graciously offered.

I highly recommend Astrology for Mystics for those who want a guide for navigating the watery realms of their chart. For astrological novice, this can be a wonderful book to tap into the uncharted energy of the 4th, 8th, and 12th house in their chart. Those with advanced knowledge in astrology are sure to discover something new as well since McQuillar offers her own insight, which is soulful and poignant. It can be so very nice to have a “hand to hold” or a book to anchor us as we take the plunge into the occult depths of our natal charts, and McQuillar perfectly holds that space for us.

Mystical Vampire, by Kim Farnell

Mystical Vampire: The Life and Works of Mabel Collins, by Kim Farnell
Mandrake, 1869928858, 240 pages, June 2005

There’s something about exploring the past through a biography that takes you on a stimulating journey. While nonfiction is entertaining, I’ve always enjoyed being immersed in the ups and downs of a person’s life and reading about the way things unfolded for them. Recently, I’ve been extremely into reading about occultists of the past — it’s as though these older texts are now my illumination for a future path. Spiritualism and Theosophy have been front and center in my current studies, but I’ve been seeking more beyond just the popularized figures, such as Helena Petrovna Blavatsky (HPB). Therefore, I was absolutely delighted to read Mystical Vampire: The Life and Works of Mabel Collins by Kim Farnell. 

Mabel Collins, who lived from 1851 to 1927, was quite a dynamic woman, especially for living in England during the Victorian era. From being a popular novel writer to a well known Theosophist (for a time!), Collins made her mark on the occultists of this time period. Her story The Blossom and the Fruit was an influence on the young Aleister Crowley, and she personally organized and edited HPB’s The Secret Doctrine. She even potentially dated Jack the Ripper, who ravaged London committing gruesome murders of women!

In this book, Farnell has done a brilliant job piecing together information to gift readers with a well-sourced biography detailing the escapades of Collins’ extraordinary life. I can only imagine the research Farnell put into writing this because it is so well-rounded, as though she saw all the possible questions a reader might have and filled in the gaps to precede them before they arise. This is most evident in the way she describes the historical background, providing ample context for what it was like in this time-period, to draw the reader fully into an engrossing experience. One is able to slip out of modernity and step right into this era, feeling as though they are within the dynamics of the Theosophists at the time.

And oh goddess, it is thrilling to read about the drama, gossip, and relationships among the “who’s who” in Theosophy at the time. The cast of characters that passed through Collins’ life include William Butler Yeats, Annie Besant, Robert Donston Stephenson, who she believed to be Jack the Ripper, and a very influential relationship with HPB. It’s one thing to read a biography about HPB, the founder of the Theosophical Society – who was supposedly the most “enlightened” and connected to the ascended masters – but it’s an entirely different experience to hear about her from Collins’ point of view, who in many ways was a foil for HPB, though still an ardent supporter and collaborator.

For a time, Collins hosted HPB at her home and attended to the variety of guests that came calling. Eventually, Collins and HPB even worked together to create the magazine Lucifer, which ran from 1889 to 1897. However, HPB ultimately expelled Collins from the Theosophical Society, citing improper sexual conduct, or more specifically, black magic Tantric rituals. Also documented in great detail by Farnell is Collins’ writing of Light on the Path, which is the book she is most well-known for among Theosophists, and the ultimate fall out between her and HPB in regard to the source of this channeled book. And I’m only giving you the basic lowdown of this all because my mind is still reeling from all that Farnell has shared in Mystic Vampire, and what I’ve included thus far is hardly the whole of Collins’ life.

What I am most excited about now that I’ve finished reading the book is going back through my multiple sticky tabs of reference to further research the writings of others during this time. For instance, right now on my desktop I have a downloaded PDF of Geometrical Psychology or The Science of Representation: An Abstract of the Theories and Diagrams of B.W. Betts by Louisa S. Cook, who was Collins’ sister-in-law. Additionally, I have found PDF copies of Collins’ Light on the Path, Idyll of the White Lotus, and The Blossom and the Fruit. Now that I’ve read her story, I am eager to delve into her writing.

Like I said, I’ve been very into researching prior occult texts recently because there is something rich about what was going on during this time with the rise of Spiritualism and then later Theosophy. Luckily, Farnell has provided detailed references for all the information in the book with a very thorough list of footnotes and pages of sources, including books, periodicals, and online sites. I always deeply appreciate this level of scholarship and the way it aids me in discovering new things to read, research, and explore.

I feel like I’ve gotten to know Collins through this biography, and I can say she definitely has become one of my spiritual role models. Her role in Theosophy has been overshadowed by more popular names, but she contributed much to the movement, while also succeeding in other areas of life as well, such as writing romantic fiction and fashion columns for decades. Given the Victorian time period, her ambition is all the more impressive. Farnell has done an exquisite service in writing this book and keeping her memory alive.

Mystic Vampire is a must-read for anyone interested in occult history and seeking to learn more about the happenings in the late 19th century. Collins seems to me a feminist icon in her own right, dabbling in the occult arts and making her way in the world through her writing and activism. Farnell has brought her back to life in these pages, reclaiming her legacy and opening a channel for her spirit to carry on into the 21st century. Due to Farnell’s diligent research and writing, over a hundred years beyond her lifetime, Collins continues to inspire and guide those on a spiritual path.

The Lantern Oracle, by Angelina Mirabito

The Lantern Oracle, by Angelina Mirabito, PhD and illustrated by Yuly Alego
Blue Angel Publishing, 1925538908, 44 cards, 144 pages, July 2020

In the rush of life, it can be common to overlook the importance of a strong spiritual foundation. The Lantern Oracle by Angelina Mirabito, PhD is a reminder of the sacredness in the everyday life of all women. In this touching deck, the beauty of connection among women across the span of time is woven together to create a spring of generational insight. This deck is a gateway to exploring woman’s wisdom through the archetypal forms of feminine consciousness: Maiden, Mother, Guardian, and Crone.

“Together, the young ladies and women of The Lantern Oracle nurture clarity, self-empowerment, and healing. They provide access to the eternal feminine energy, living love, and wisdom as medicine to work with, personalise, and integrate.”1

Mirabito introduces the concept of the deck in the guidebook, which explains how the 44-card deck has 11 cards in each of the four sections of feminine archetypal energy mentioned above. There is a description provided for all of these archetypes that demonstrates how one builds upon the former. For instance Mirabito writes, “Choices that are often naively and idealistically made during the Maiden stage can culminate in the birthing of a new reality or an illusion during the Mother stage.”2

Something I think is unique, which I really appreciate, is her addition of Guardian as an archetypal energy, which seems to add another layer of depth to the traditional triple goddess expression of energy (Maiden, Mother, Crone). I’ve always felt there was a phase in-between Mother and Crone, which Mirabito aptly expresses in the deck and guidebook explanations of the cards in this section.

The Guardian phase is the time of midlife, where one discovers their sense of self in an empowered way. These messages are about learning to stand in one’s own authority, having been renewed through the mistakes of young adulthood and now having learned to carry oneself with composure. Maturity, regeneration, and a sense of responsibility highlight this passageway.

The illustrations on The Lantern Oracle cards, done by Yuly Ageo, really create an encompassing sense of connection between all women, which once again adds to the feeling of this being a deck of universal wisdom. Though there is a mixture of fantasy, with some images having elf-like ears, most of the cards feature ordinary women of all ages. The commonality between these women is evident, who all on their journey towards wholeness and personal fulfillment must face the ups and downs of the wheel of life.

Within Ageo’s images on the cards, I can see the challenges, fears, hopes, and dreams of these women, which emotionally brings them to life for me. Even if the women on the cards don’t look like me physically (there are many cultures portrayed), as I shuffle through the deck I am able to identify the faces of my grandmothers, aunts, mother, and friends because there is a sense of solidarity on the path of feminine wisdom. These cards become a visual reminder of the shared experiences we go through as a collective on the path to learning how to nurture, empower, and tend to ourselves with care, no matter where we originate from or live.

My favorite part of the deck is Marabito’s choice of cards and the wisdom within each one. The different cards have a sense of authenticity, that give meaningful spiritual insight without glossing over reality, putting a positive spin, or becoming too ominous. It feels as though the wisest part of oneself is speaking through the cards, a higher self if you will. Due to the cross-generational messages of the cards, healing is accessible through connection to parts of yourself in former life stages, as well as future ones.

For instance, Trusting Tricksters, is card number six in the Maiden section. I certainly know that as a Maiden I trust quite a few tricksters, who lead me astray and caused confusion in my life. Drawing this card in the present reminds me of that time in life, makes me recall the lessons I learned, and then allows me to consciously put that wisdom into action.

I especially find the cards for Motherhood empowering too right now, as these are the words I wish I had someone telling me as I make my way through early adulthood. Cards such as Melting Mask (16), Radical Honesty (18), and Enough (20) all remind me of the necessity of feeling like I am worthy, moving away from roles that suffocate my spirit, and aligning with who I truly feel myself to be. While these are the lessons we should be teaching all women, it is this wisdom that is often more difficult to hear in a world that drowns out the voice of our soul all too often.

Working with these cards on a daily basis has improved my confidence, made me feel more attuned to my soul, and also reminded me of the inevitable turning of the great wheel of life. I am more relaxed accepting where I am currently, facing what comes my way with a sense of calmness and ease, acknowledging there is always going to be room for growth, new experiences, and transformation. With this deck, I have a trusted resource to guide me in love, compassion, and strength through life’s ups and downs.

I recommend The Lantern Oracle for those looking to bring feminine wisdom into their life on a daily basis for guidance, encouragement, and attunement. Mirabito’s words are so genuine, and just what I need to hear on a daily basis to remember my innate wisdom and soul’s path. Alejo’s artwork is absolutely beautiful, reminding me of my connection to all women, despite our external differences. The inclusive nature of feminine energy shines through this deck and holds space for integrating the lessons of the four phases of consciousness we all pass through on our spiritual journey. This deck is a true spiritual treasure whose timeless quality makes it perfect for working with long term.

Advanced Tarot, by Paul Fenton-Smith

Advanced Tarot: An In-depth Guide to Practical & Intuitive Tarot Reading, by Paul Fenton-Smith
Blue Angel Publishing, 0648746829, 556 pages, May 2021

The next time someone asks me for a book recommendation about reading tarot, I am hands-down suggesting Advanced Tarot: An In-depth Guide to Practical & Intuitive Tarot Reading by Paul Fenton-Smith. I keep wanting to refer to this roughly 3.5 pound book (yes, I weighed it on my scale because I was curious) as a “tarot bible” because it is one of the most all-inclusive guides I’ve ever read on reading tarot cards. Even as a professional tarot reader for nearly a decade, I am gleaning pieces of wisdom from this book, rejuvenating my skill set, and incorporating new perspectives into my readings.

Within this book, Fenton-Smith has crafted a handy and resourceful guide to the entire tarot deck for beginning or deepening one’s practice. While this may seem like his magnum opus, he is already quite the renowned author and teacher who has been sharing his practical insights for over forty years. In 1985 he created the Academy of Psychic Sciences and has been teaching for decades on topics such as palmistry, astrology, clairvoyance, and hypnotherapy in addition to his work with tarot. Needless to say, Fenton-Smith has a large repertoire in a variety of metaphysical topics, and it clearly shines through in Advanced Tarot.

What immediately stood out for me with this book is the way all the information is organized and presented. Pages four through twenty-one feature the striking imagery of the Rider-Waite-Smith deck, sorted into the Major Arcana and Minor Arcana suits. I absolutely loved looking through all the images: though I know them by heart, it’s always pretty to see them all lined up next to each other. I liked the way it was arranged by suit so one can see the storyline within the Major Arcana and get a visual of all the cards in a suit together. As I gazed at the images, I thought how helpful this would be to a beginner just familiarizing themselves with the cards to have this for references.

Now here is where we get into the heart of the book, which at 556 pages you can imagine there’s a lot to absorb. The first 176 pages of the book are dedicated to the art of reading. Fenton-Smith addresses many topics that I feel other tarot books gloss over or neglect to include, such as answering yes/no questions, giving distance readings, what to do when more clarity is needed, and how to read well under pressure. I think what I enjoyed reading about the most is Fenton-Smith’s acknowledgement of the limitation of tarot:

“It is important for a tarot reader to resist the temptation to override the free will of a client. Professional readers predict the future, detail the past and illuminate the underlying causes of events but they don’t dictate what a person should do. Everyone has free will in choosing a preferred destiny.”1

In this beginning section, Fenton-Smith also includes a variety of different layouts. For each one, he gives immense clarity about the position and meaning of each card. It was very easy to follow along with the spreads, and many were ones that I had not tried before. My favorite was the horoscope spread, which is a 13-card spread to give insight into different areas of life and the year ahead based on the house placements in astrology. I loved how he was able to translate the house system into an information tarot spread, perfectly blending astrology and tarot. Additionally, there is information on how to create one’s own layout, which is beneficial for those who are ready to try this out.

What I liked most about this introduction section is all the examples Fenton-Smith supplies. I always enjoy hearing about others’ experiences as a reader, such as what clients ask and how the reader handles the different questions of the client, which he has provided in spades. Reading how he interpreted the cards in his layouts, or handled the self-denial or conflicting feelings emanating from his client, really helped me to think about how I can handle situations more skillfully.

This method of teaching through example also really resonated with me because it built a sense of relationship between Fenton-Smith and me, the reader. It was as though his wisdom was streaming through in all these stories of the experiences he’s had, and I for one very much appreciated being on the receiving end of this storytelling, intently seeing it in my mind’s eye and learning vicariously through him. It’s something used through the entire book that remains useful as we enter the next section of delving into card meanings.

Now, keep in mind we’re only about a fifth of the way through the book at this point – and so much has already been shared! The heart of the book is what comes next: the Minor Arcana, Court Cards, and the Major Arcana. For each and every card, Fenton-Smith provides a predictive meaning for a general reading, career layout, relationship question, and health query. I cannot even begin to express how helpful it is for a specific message to be provided for all these domains, especially health which has been the focus of my questions recently, and had me searching for guidance in other books.

Not only is Fenton-Smith’s interpretation provided for upright cards, he provides just as much information of every card reversed as well. This is yet another humongous bonus to this book, which greatly sets it apart from (and above, in my opinion) other tarot books. And let me tell you, he does not skimp on his interpretation. Each card’s description is detailed, clear, and immensely accurate from the readings I’ve done so far.

In the tailend of the book, Fenton-Smith offers guidance on becoming a tarot reader. Then there are handy reference charts for the meaning of cards in combination, the Minor Arcana upright, and the Minor Arcana reversed. 

One thing I like a lot about the way the cards’ meanings are presented is the organization of the Minor Arcana. Rather than going by suit, Fenton-Smith categorizes the cards by number. Beginning each section of the cards, such as The Nines, he provides an overview of what the cards represent. For instance, “The nines in the tarot represent a period of reflection before a final commitment in a goal or purpose.”2 From there, he explains how the message shows up in each of the suits, which provides an interesting compare and contrast between the suits of each number.

For a seasoned tarot reader, it may seem a book like this may not be useful, but I don’t think that assumption could be further from the truth. There’s something reassuring about reading someone else’s viewpoint, particularly when doing a reading for oneself, in order to maintain objectivity and openness to the cards. I also enjoy reading Fenton-Smith’s definitions because they make for good journal quotes and prompts as I log my readings.

Another way I’ve benefited from the book is through doing readings with my husband, who only knows a little bit about the card meanings, and reading the descriptions to each other for discussion after we pull a spread for an inquiry. The book seems to be a leveling ground for us to communicate about the reading, rather than me having to interpret the cards for him, which has been very useful in making some recent decisions. It facilitated a sense of teamwork between us, as well as a stronger connection to the messages coming through the cards.

Overall, Advanced Tarot is a worthy investment for readers, both novice and expert, that is sure to be of great use. Fenton-Smith has packed so much wisdom into these pages that it in many ways reminds me of a tome. However, his direct, relatable, and practical writing style make the information accessible and able to be integrated into one’s reading with ease. As I’ve already said, I highly recommend this book to all tarot readers. I certainly plan on directing everyone to it with the praise that it is a wonderful, foundational book on tarot for those looking to take their readings to the next level.

Exploring Other Lifetimes, by Patty Paul

Exploring Other Lifetimes: Memoir of a Soul’s Journey, by Patty Paul
IMDEX Publishing, 0964272601, 174 Pages, June 2021

Do you believe in past lives and that the present can be impacted by the experiences you had in previous incarnations? I personally do, especially after some impactful regression sessions I’ve had that provided a lot of insight into my current attitudes, feelings, and beliefs. In Exploring Other Lifetimes: Memoir of a Soul’s Journey, Patty Paul shares her spiritual awakening through the exploration of past lives. Reading her story has reaffirmed many spiritual truths in my life, and it also has awoken me to new dimensions of the spiritual realm that I had previously not known much about. From start to finish, I was drawn into her honest, heartfelt account of the power of uncovering our past lives for personal growth, healing, and enlightenment.

Patty Paul, who acknowledges that this is only her currently incarnated self, has been exploring and teaching about spiritual growth for decades. She has authored another book titled A New Spirituality: Beyond Religion, and she also hosted a TV talk show called Living Wisdom for ten years. You can see really neat episodes of her interviewing well-known channeled beings on her YouTube channel. (For those who are new to channeling, I would highly recommend watching some of her videos to see how the process works!)

What I like most about this book is the way that Patty weaves together all her lifetimes to clearly present them in memoir style. She believes not only are these past lives impacting present events, but that they are also taking place simultaneously in a multi-dimensional reality. Through her experiences, she’s been able to unveil quite a bit of information about current circumstances by traveling to her past lifetimes through meditation and also working with channeled beings.

Throughout the book she mentions certain techniques she uses, such as blending, to merge her energy with that of the person in the past life experience. She has been both male and female in different lives, and some of her incarnations date back to prehistoric times and even Atlantis and Lumeria. Now I realize when these places are brought up, many quickly dismiss their existence as New-Age propaganda. However, I was immensely impressed by Patty’s rejection of many New-Age idealism, which makes me feel her work is grounded in some deeper and more authentic.

I have always kept an open mind about the existence of these places, and to be honest, am more inclined to accept them on a spiritual level than an ideological one. What I mean by this is that I am not as convinced by those who have mapped out exactly where they were placed and the exact purpose of these places, but I did find Patty’s descriptions of her incarnation in these places to be testimony to their existence on some level of reality, at some point in the time/space continuum.

In fact, I very much enjoyed learning more about Lemuria and Atlantis through Patty’s stories of different incarnations. Quite a few of her past lives highlight how Atlantis lost the balance between masculine and feminine polarities, becoming too hyper-focused on technological advancement and exterminating “undesirable” people who did not fit the status quo. The destruction of Atlantis sadly made me reflect on our current time in history, where it seems as though many of the lessons are repeating themselves.

On that topic, overcoming or altering lessons repeating themselves seems to be one of the greatest benefits of engaging in exploration of one’s past lives. In one section, “Ties That Bind — Lifetimes Related to Present-Life Events,” Patty describes five different lifetimes where the events were influencing her life trajectory in this incarnation. By remembering these lifetimes, she was able to access a new perception of her reality in the present, and regain more conscious control of current events.

In some of the lives, she even benefited from going back to the time of death for these former incarnations. One time she held her former self in love and peace as they passed, and this helped to unblock energy in her current life. In another lifetime, she needed to figure out the last dying thought of her former incarnation that was presently impacting her current life. By doing this work, Patty’s current life always shifted for the better as her sense of self expanded to incorporate these new dimensions of her spiritual being. Reading all her stories, which are filled with emotion and historical information, really inspired me to be more proactive about discovering my own past lives.

It was touching to read about Patty’s five key foundational lifetimes, which were described in the first section of the book. For each lifetime, she told the story of her experience and shared the key takeaways, both positive and negative. I found this method of sharing to be very impactful; it really helped me to see how understanding these lifetimes can make a huge difference to allow someone to move through life with a more expansive awareness of the dynamic in play.

Room Decoration in Purple and Gray, by Agnes Pelton, 1917

I found Patty’s story so immensely profound because I enjoy storytelling as a form of learning and sharing wisdom and also deeply respect those who share their wisdom, especially when it’s not very “mainstream.” I particularly was fascinated by her lifetime as a little girl named Maya, dating back to 37,200 BC. This one really touched my heart and seemed to awaken me to the purpose all lives have and also the connection we share with nature.

I also very much enjoyed the section titled, “Loves, Lost and Found — Completing Stories,” where Patty discusses the romantic relationship she’s had in this lifetime in which she and the man also had former lives together. It was so interesting to hear these stories, and it gave me faith that love is never lost and can travel through time, allowing people to meet time and time again. Patty also had a connection to artist Agnes Pelton, a painter who strived to capture the spiritual world in her transcendental paintings. Reading the story of how Patty remembered her connection to Agnes was synchronicity and a very beautiful story.

Throughout the book, Patty is candid in her personal struggles, from resorting to alcohol at one point to struggles with her daughter who suffers from mental health problems. Her honesty paved the way for trust for me as the reader, as well as allowed me to see the genuine desire of Patty to share this information not for personal gain, but to simply share the wisdom she’s learned through her current lifetime.

In the final section, Patty describes lifetimes where she had mastered her spiritual wisdom and the events in that incarnation reflected this. One lifetime that really stood out to me was when she was Crystal Temple Priest in Atlantis. Reading about the crystal grids that powered Atlantis was super interesting. Her stories affirmed for me that we do learn and grow spiritually with each lifetime, and there will be opportunities to live the wisdom we’ve developed through different incarnations.

Overall, I really loved Exploring Other Lifetimes. It inspired me to incorporate more regression, meditation, and perhaps even channeling into my spiritual journey. I believe wisdom is meant to be shared, which Patty has done with skill and grace in service to a higher good. Leading by example, Patty invites us too to explore other lifetimes to better navigate the present reality. Her story, and the stories of all her former incarnations, are ones that will be with you for quite a while on your journey, calling you too to come and discover the greater journey of your soul.

The Book of Candle Magic, by Madame Pamita

The Book of Candle Magic: Candle Spell Secrets to Change Your Life, by Madame Pamita
Llewellyn Publications, 91309165998, 317 pages, October 2020

What a true pleasure to find The Book of Candle Magic: Candle Spell Secrets to Change Your Life by Madame Pamita — the most all-encompassing book on candle magic that I’ve ever read! Confession, before digging into this book, I had a pack of 20 candles in a variety of colors since December 2019 that had never been touched after unwrapping them. It wasn’t because I didn’t have the time to begin a candle magic practice, I simply lacked the wisdom of how to do so to make it feel like I was truly doing something worthwhile.

The extent of my candle magic practice was essentially using a birthday candle here and there for a quick wish. Well, I can say this has all changed significantly thanks to Madame Pamita’s immense knowledge of candle magic, which has been so thoroughly and graciously shared in The Book of Candle Magic, that I am now trying all sorts of different things with confidence, knowledge, and great results thus far.

Madame Pamita is a tarot reader, rootworker, and teacher. She has a YouTube channel filled with information in her series Candle Magic Class and Magic Q&A Tea Party. For inspiration, I also looked through her website, Parlour of Wonders, which is filled with spells, magical materials, and kits for those who prefer something pre-made with instructions. She also has previously published Madame Pamita’s Magical Tarot: Using the Cards to Make Your Dreams Come True. Needless to say, Madame Pamita is a wellspring of practical tips and anecdotal experience coupled with sincere knowledge of her craft.

Before delving into the content of The Book of Candle Magic, I just want to take a moment to reflect on it’s beautiful, sturdy cover. The majestic purple inlay with silver and gold make it a very memorable book, filled with magic and mystery. It has a durability to it, making me feel assured it can withstand the inevitable wax drippings that I will get on it while using the handy references in the appendixes. The pages are laden with purple section headers and extremely helpful and well-crafted imagery, making it a very visually appealing book to read.

There are fifteen chapters and five appendices, in addition to a foreword and introduction. Obviously, I can hardly touch on everything covered in the breadth and scope of this book, but I will do my first to highlight some favorites and share my experiences in reading the book. One thing I noticed immediately is that it was very useful to read the book in the order it’s written. While I was itching to get started on my candle magic from the get-go, I saw how patience would yield the best results. You know, it’s fire, which has a quick, action-oriented feeling to it elementally, but working with the fire, tending to it, and mastering it required a whole skill set I had yet to cultivate, which lucky Madame Pamita was providing from square one.

What I realized most as I worked my way through the book was the subtle nuances to the craft of candle magic. Suddenly, I wanted a candle snuffer, wick trimmer, and new candle holders. I fully plan on dedicating a portion of Summer of 2021 to learning to create my own candles, hand-picking the waxes and scents best suited for the work I want to do. I ordered wax to create my own sigil seal, and also bought new paper specifically for writing out my petitions. All these small details seem to be adding up to make a big difference to the ways in which my spellwork manifests.

Madame Pamita has lit a fire within me to explore this type of magic, which really resonates with my husband and my fire moons and ascendent. It’s been a fun practice to share with him as well. So far, we’ve gone combing the beach for different sea shells to use in our candle magic, which was inspired by one of my favorite sections of the appendixes titled “List of Magical Shells.” There are also lists for magical herbs, gems, and talismans to be incorporated into one’s candling workings. I’ve also spruced up my herb collection and become more mindful of simple talismans I can incorporate into the work.

In addition to being very conversational in the book, Madame Pamita is also very pragmatic and conscious of the impact of her words. I say this because she’ll give small suggestions to make this work more eco-friendly, for those who are mindful of the effects on the environment. After reading the section about how even the way the candles are lit can have an impact, noting the debate between matches and lights, I decided to purchase a rechargeable electric light that seems to bring a bit of Uranian energy to the spellwork. I value that now I can even intuitively know which type of energy I want to light my candles with, increasing the spell potency. She also warns against leaving candles lit unattended or nearby curtains. While these seems like common sense, I applaud Madame Pamita for ensuring the safety of those she is guiding through this work. Sometimes gentle reminders are needed to be mindful in our workings. I say this because I do have a tendency to knock things over a lot! 🙂

There is also plenty of information shared about incorporating the magical energies of numerology, astrology, and the art candle reading. Not only am I now able to create candles with my more awareness of blending energy, I can also use the candles as a form of divination to see how the spell may play out. Madame Pamita covers wax reading (ceromacy), interpreting the flames of the fire (pyromancy), and smoke reading (capnomancy). This section was so useful for adding a new repertoire of knowledge of these forms of reading candles, and it certainly made my connection to the candles and the spellwork more intimate.

My next undertaking is going to be multi-day candle magic. I think now I’ve gotten the basics down, and I believe following Madame Pamita’s wisdom I can take it to the next level. One thing that’s for sure, I will be carefully planning it out. Now that I know how smaller candles can support a master candle, and that I can burn multiple candles over the course of days or divide one larger candle into sections, I feel like I have more potential to work with.

At any magician’s heart I think lay a desire for immense creativity and freedom in how we bring our spells to life, as they are cast from the very depth of our being. This is what Madame Pamita has offered above all in The Book of Candle Magic — the information to craft spells that are unique to you. With her knowledge and insight, there are so many ways a practitioner can take this book and run with it in all sorts of directions. It is a one-stop shop for all things candle magic, offering a plethora of guidances, advice, and tips.

Candle magicians of all levels will find something useful in this book, and it’s one that I know will be kept on hand for a long time to come. I am feeling called to end this with a heartfelt thank you to Madame Pamita for sharing so much of her accumulated knowledge all in one book. I feel like I cannot state the value of this writing enough, and I am so grateful for all the insight, inspiration, and opportunity it’s given me to expand my candle magic craft.

Forbidden Fruits, by Joscelyn Godwin and Guido Mina di Sospiro

Forbidden Fruits: An Occult Novel, by Joscelyn Godwin and Guido Mina di Sospiro
Inner Traditions, 9781644111574, 288 pages, December 2020

What happens when Mexican Gothic crosses with The Da Vinci Code? You get the spellbinding novel, Forbidden Fruits: An Occult Novel by Josecelyn Godwin and Guido Mina di Sospiro. This  thrilling mystery kept me guessing “who dun it” until the near end. I mean, a book that weaves together the magic of alchemy and entheogens, turning history on its head, in order to prevent the spread of evil in present times. Needless to say, I was hooked from the get-go and read the whole thing in 24-hours because I couldn’t put it down.

Godwin and di Sospiro have previously co-authored another book, titled The Forbidden Book. Keeping with the theme of forbidden, the authors continue to use their background to unveil information through fiction once again. Godwin has written extensively about spiritual connection fostered through music in his books which include Harmonies of Heaven and Earth, Cosmic Music, and Music, Mysticism & Magic . Di Sospiro also has a background in music as a classically trained guitarist, but is most well known for the short film he wrote and directed If I Could Do it all Over Again, I’d Do it All Over You. He’s also published the books Leeward and Windward, which also has an alchemical theme, and The Metaphysics of Ping-Pong, which focuses on philosophical topics.

I’ll admit I was a bit leery at the start of Forbidden Fruits that it would be too much of a thriller for my taste, as there are violent scenes interspersed throughout. However, the action scenes are tempered by plenty of nuanced character interaction and dialogue that keep the story intriguing from start to finish. While the plot is centered upon a murder mystery, which can easily become run of the mill, there were many distinguishing features that set this book apart from others.

To begin, the main character, Monica, is an archeologist who is funded by a very eccentric man named Sebastian. After years of searching, they have just happened upon an ancient find that has the potential to change the perception of history. However, this plot thread is only one of many. There’s also the oracle predictions warning an ancient secret society of evil on the island, neo-nazis who are wreaking havoc and murdering innocent people, and a huge immigration problem of Africans flocking to the coasts of Malta. With Sebastian being a noble and respected figure in Malta, he finds himself smack dab in the middle of the turmoil.

I won’t give away the climax of the book, but a turn of events forces Monica to team up with Sebsatian’s elusive son, Raphael to solve the case, all while assassins are out for them as well. There are endless twists and turns in the book that don’t come together until the very last pages of the book. I really enjoyed the variety of possible ways the story could go and watching the storm brew, wondering how things would play out.

There were many modern social justice issues raised, from the growth of hate groups to widespread immigration. While I am not very familiar with the current socio-political climate of Europe, specifically in Italy and Malta where the story takes place, I can see the current global trends happening in the United States as well with the rise of hate groups and human rights issues at the borders. The integration of present world problems heightened my ability to connect to the story, as I could easily understand and relate to the challenges the characters faced.

The best part about this book is how it incorporates alchemy, archeology, and entheogens into the plot. While there are countless stories of wizards, magicians, and occult societies dabbling in labs trying to find the Elixir of Life or the Philosopher’s Stone, I had never seen alchemy from the lens portrayed in Forbidden Fruits. Godwin and di Sospiro have done a wonderful job of illuminating the alchemy through Raphael and his journey to uncover the mysteries hidden within; readers get to experience firsthand the character’s perspective of ritually consuming the sacred soma.

Alchemical drawings and apocalyptic texts sprung to life when viewed from the perspective of entheogen consumption. Godwin and di Sospiro create a whole new paradigm through which to understand Jesus Christ’s message and the words of the Bible by linking it to the ritual consumption of entheogens. While Carl Jung’s Red Book never seemed much more than imaginal pictures to me, I suddenly understood through the writing of the authors how these images can in fact truly mirror archetypal energies.

In our technologically and secular world, the idea of demons and maleficent forces seem arcane. However, reading Forbidden Fruits spurred on my investigation into demonology, helping me to see the value in knowing these energies that could potentially still be within the world. By blending the supernatural with occult knowledge, I feel as though Godwin and di Sospiro elucidated the value of alchemy, beyond the personal plight of truth, knowledge, and life essence often perpetuated in the mythos.

What I enjoyed the most was the humility of the alchemists. With trust in their order and dedication to the natural law, one’s station in life was not as important as the legacy of the alchemical wisdom they protect. With the rise in conspiracy theories, secret societies seem to be all the rage in popular culture, and often to the detriment of these sacred orders. I appreciated there was no self-effacement on the order’s part to assert their will, but rather they used their tools to assist the protagonist Raphael in his own mission quite discreetly. Forbidden Fruits accurately captures the true nature of the groups that protect esoteric knowledge with dignity, respect, and loyalty — a concept that could use some reviving in modern times.

I highly recommend Forbidden Fruits to anyone looking for a good mystery novel, especially if you have an interest in the occult. Godwin and di Sospora have created an illuminating novel that makes the reader question the true nature of Christianity, while also demonstrating and offering insight into how the use of entheogens may be one of the oldest sacred rituals. The characters ultimately must decide for themselves how far they are willing to go to find the truth, and following along in their journey is absolutely fascinating.