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Author Archives: PJ Spur

About PJ Spur

PJ Spur is an author, intuitive, spiritual mentor, astrologer, and hypnotist.  She does tarot & oracle card readings, natal chart readings, grief coaching, and relationship healing. She also has hosted a weekly “Coffee & Cards” event with her Soul Compass Community for the past four years. Her book Navigating Grief with Grace is available on Amazon. Learn more at www.dearpj.com

A Healer’s Journey to Intuitive Knowing, by Dolores Krieger, Ph.D.

A Healer’s Journey to Intuitive Knowing: The Heart of Therapeutic Touch, by Dolores Krieger, Ph.D., R.N.
Bear & Company Books, 1591433934, 156 pages, July 2021

In this book, which was published posthumously by Dolores Krieger’s estate, the primary goal is to explore how the healing modality of Therapeutic Touch utilizes the healer’s intuition and compassion to move energy and bring about healing. A Healer’s Journey to Intuitive Knowing: The Heart of Therapeutic Touch chronicled experiences by Krieger during her 50+ years as a nurse, instructor, and champion of hands on healing. She wrote this book before her death at the age of 97.

Krieger published several books in her lifetime and was co-founder with Dora Kunz of Therapeutic Touch. She met Kunz when she was a nurse and had just received her Ph.D. degree. (I found a number of articles about both of these women, as well as a man who began his journey by healing horses and then other animals with his hands. Later, he began to channel healing to children, and when he moved to Canada, he became part of a study with Kunz  and Krieger regarding hands on healing.)

As a Reiki Master myself, I was interested in learning more about hands on healing and the roles that intuition, intention and compassion play in the healing process. I was particularly interested in Krieger’s chronicle of the connection between the healer and the person being healed. Her philosophy shared that the person who is laying on hands is simply supporting the person to get in touch with their own ability to heal themselves. 

Including both case histories and information from scientific studies, Krieger showed how Therapeutic Touch (TT) taps into what she calls the “Inner Self” of the healer. TT has been taught in over 80 universities and over 90 countries around the world. Krieger explained the process as: 

“Ancient healing practices that are incorporated into the TT process include the laying on of hands, deep visualization, touch with and without physical contact, sustained centering of the TT therapist’s consciousness, the therapist’s knowledgeable use of certain of her chakras, and the intentional therapeutic use of breath and touch. Prime is the centering of the healer’s consciousness; throughout the TT interaction she remains in the state of ‘sustained centering.’ This becomes the background of the process, as she includes other practices that are appropriate to the condition of each individual seeking healing.”1

Next, she discussed the role of “compassion as power.”2 She saw compassion as “the catalyst or tiny chemical reaction that lights the benevolent intention to help or heal.”3 I’ve read quite a few books on hands on healing and never have I read about the role of compassion. This book gave me a greater understanding of how healing energy works and how I can fine tune my own energy and my energy centers to allow more healing energy to flow through me. 

In discussing the role of the “Inner Self,” which Krieger named “Issie”, she explained that in her view, the Inner Self is “essentially the soul-the spiritual or innermost part of an individual’s being.”4 By doing the grounding, centering and tapping into the essence of oneself, the healer grows and transforms herself along with the healing journeys of her patients. As I read the book and engaged with the steps for healing sessions that she described, I began to use what I was learning to create a different style of healing session for my loved ones and friends.

As I did a healing session for my husband one evening, I was more aware than ever before of my ability to allow the healing energy to flow through me and also became aware of “seeing” the blockage of energy near his large intestine. As I continued to allow the energy to flow, I could see him visibly relax and later he would report a lessening of the pain he had felt and some sense of relief from his diverticulitis. 

Krieger’s writing style is a great combination of scientific paper and compassionate healer notes. I love how she shared 18 in-person healing sessions, complete with her initial thoughts as she approached the person through the assessment and then the “rebalance.”5 While the notes were clear and complete, there is an underlying sense of the compassion she felt for every patient. This came shining through each case study. Later in the book, Krieger also highlighted case notes from distance healing sessions. I especially enjoyed this section, since a lot of my own healing practice happens through long-distance healing requests.

This book is a true compendium on TT and she shared not only a bibliography, but also a glossary, a list of TT resources and an index.  The index is particularly helpful in referring to key ideas in the book. Toward the end of the book, Krieger shared a poem that she wrote “On the Possible Magic of Healing.”  I’ll share a portion of it here, because it is so beautiful and captured the heart of TT:

“Healing is a window into a natural magic.
There it is,
a lump of wounded flesh,
and then touch,
Therapeutic Touch . . .

ABRACADABRAH!

Unseen clouds
Of inert biochemical molecules
Are drawn
In an uncanny manner
To the site of the wound
Quietly
Sorting themselves out en route
To match
The needs of the damaged tissues.”6

As a final note from Krieger, here is a quote on energy:  

“The prime characteristics of energy are that it flows or is continuous as it moves through space, that its flow has a coherence or rhythm, and that it has the capacity to do work.  Its flow has been described on a continuum from slow to fast, strong to weak, unimpeded to congested, tenuous to thick, or quiet to tumultuous, depending upon the situation.  Its rhythm has been characterized as steady or irregular, in harmony or unharmonious, in sync or disorganized.”7 

A Healer’s Journey to Intuitive Knowing would be great for any student of hands on healing, from the new Reiki student to the master of cranial sacral healing to the experienced massage therapist.  Anyone who would like to take their healing practice to a new level will benefit from reading this book. This book will not only improve your abilities to channel healing energies, it will also contribute to your own spiritual growth and transformation.

Manifestation Magic, by Elhoim Leafar

Manifestation Magic: 21 Rituals, Spells, and Amulets for Abundance, Prosperity, and Wealth, by Elhoim Leafar
Weiser Books, 9781578637423, 192 pages, July 2021

In Manifestation Magic: 21 Rituals, Spells, and Amulets for Abundance, Prosperity, and Wealth, Elhoim Leafar truly delivers on his description of this book as “a practical guide to prosperity magic using amulets, talismans and rituals.”1 This wonderful book is written in three parts:

  1. Magic & Sorcery
  2. Abundance, Prosperity and Wealth
  3. Desires, Wishes and Spells

Born in Venezuela into a family of healers, Leafar draws on his spiritual and magical traditions to not only live an abundant life, but to also share his tools and tips for the reader.  In 2015, he left his native country and moved to New York City with only one suitcase and $15. Five months later, he signed a contract with a publishing firm and published his first book Wicca! Love & Soul.  He has published books in both English and Spanish.

I was interested in this book because I began investigating magic and forms of manifestation over the past two years.  The title was intriguing, as well as the number of rituals and spells that the author promised to provide. 

The book is very easy to read and  I found it both entertaining and educational.  Leafar’s style is down-to-earth and he speaks to the reader as if you were sitting across a table enjoying a coffee or meal.  He shares information from his heart and you can tell that he has years of experience with the tools he shares. He begins by explaining the difference between magic and sorcery, which forms the baseline for the book:

“For many theorists, sorcery includes a group of knowledge, practices, techniques and tools for studying magic.  I propose to use the study of magic for the theoretical and sorcery to refer to the practical application of this knowledge.”2

He goes on to say that it is as important to “unlearn” ideas as it is to learn new ones. I love the idea that you come to this practice with a beginner’s mind and see magic and manifestation with new eyes.  He goes on to say that “your magic skills work like a muscle.”3  He recommends that you use the visualizations and tools regularly and even goes so far as to recommend how often to utilize certain techniques. 

There are many great visualization exercises throughout the book. The one called “Visualization Magic”4 will help you start your adventure. I recorded the visualization exercise sat on my back patio and enjoyed the sounds of nature while I listened to the recording.  I felt closer to Mother Nature and began to feel my own innate power connecting with the earth and coursing back up through me. 

In the next section, Leafar lists the tools that you will want to use for manifestation, each of which symbolizes an element. These include a cup or chalice for water, a cauldron for earth, candles for fire, and so on. Along with this list, which includes tips on choosing and using each tool, Leafar also provides a “Consecration Ritual,” in easy steps.

Leafar recommends that you create your very own “Personal Book of Magic.”5  Whether you use a simple spiral notebook, a journal or a folder on your laptop, he lists the ways that this chronicle of your magic journey can aid your growth, as well as celebrate your accomplishments.

I was particularly interested in the chapter that covered using the sun, moon, and planets in magic. As an astrology student for the past 15 years, anything that touches on the stars and planets interests me. Leafar’s explanation of when to work with solar energy and when to call on the moon’s magic really hit home for me. He also had brief information on the moon in each of the 12 signs and how that sign’s energy might contribute to your spells or works.

He gave an example of using the moon phases and days of the week for a healing ritual for two sample clients. It helped me to see the importance of working with the phases of the moon and days of the week to “greatly increase your results.”6 Leafar also talks many times about the importance of clarity regarding your intentions.  This is a critical element, not only for rituals and spells, but for your life.

Next, he covered the energy of the days of the week, various Gods and Goddesses, colors, and crystals.  I feel that he presented a very good foundation for the next section, where he goes into background information for abundance. My favorite passage from this section:

“Every time something good happens in your life, every achievement, every joy, every celebration, let it flow and memorize how it feels. Once you have memorized it and embraced it, you will have filed it in your brain and in your soul and enriched yourself with this emotion.”7

In the section Rituals & Spells, Leafar shares 21 rituals for abundance.  My favorite was the Scroll of Abundance. I’m looking forward to seeing how my scroll works on a long term goal. 

Lastly, Leafar shares several prayers that can uplift you and work to call on Divine support.  My favorite was the “Daily Prayer to the Spirit of Prosperity that Rules the West,” which starts with:

“Oh great spirit of prosperity that everything you touch prospers and grows . . .”8

Everything in this book, from the spells to the prayers comes from the heart of this magician and flows like a beautiful river. This book is best for the student of magic, whether a beginner or someone who has practiced spells for a few years.  It is easy to read and comprehend, and many of the rituals and spells are shared in step-by-step processes that anyone can follow. I really enjoyed his writing style and how he shared his knowledge and years of experience with magic.

I look forward to continuing my work with the spells and rituals from Manifestation Magic. I’ve already received a few ideas about modifying the altar I have in my office, as well as continuing my work with the moon in various phases and zodiac placements.

Body Healing Cards, by Ewald Kliegel

Body Healing Cards, by Ewald Kliegel with illustrations by Anne Heng
Findhorn Press, 9781644112557, 56 cards and 127 pages, June 2021

In this beautiful set of cards and the accompanying guidebook, Body Healing Cards, author Ewald Kliegel & illustrator Anne Heng provide a wonderful way to talk with your body’s organs.  By focusing on an organ and then either choosing or intuitively drawing cards, one can learn more about disease, illness, or upset in the body and discover ways to heal.  Using his 40+ years of experience as a massage therapist, naturopath, and reflexologist, Kliegel really knows the human body. 

He invites you to use this set of cards to communicate with your body and “intuitively investigate the essence of your individual organs and discover their physical, soul and spiritual layers.”1 I was intrigued by the concept of these cards due to my work as a Reiki master, hypnotist, and tarot card reader. 

After briefly perusing the first few pages of the guidebook, I decided to do a card reading regarding my shoulders.  I have an old injury on one shoulder and some arthritis in both shoulders.  Sometimes I have pain in one or both shoulders during the night, as I am a side sleeper. 

I chose the Health Generator Spread2 and chose the Shoulders card for the center of the reading. The design on the Shoulder card featured a human form balancing itself on a spire, with arms outstretched and an apothecary scale behind it. It reminds me of a tightrope walker, and I considered how my shoulders help me balance myself and my life.

With Shoulders lying face up, I proceeded to shuffle the cards and then drew three cards and placed them face down on the right of the center card. Next, I drew two cards and placed those face down on the left of the center card. Now that I had all of my cards, I focused on the Shoulders card and followed Kliegel’s six questions to ask both the card and my shoulders for clues about my pain. 

1. What do I see in this image?
2. Which sensations, feelings, emotions, perceptions or memories come to mind?
3. What do I like most about the image?
4. What do I not like at all in the image?
5. If I were to step inside the image, what could I see, hear or recognize as the person in it?
6. How does all this fit together with the organ and my topic?3  

As I went through the questions, I felt into the beautiful design of blues and purples. The idea of balance came up with this thought:  “As long as I am balanced, I am also safe.” Lastly, I turned to the page in the guidebook where Kliegel shares more information about the Shoulders and suggests Hypersthene and Fluorite as two crystals that may support shoulder health.4

The first three cards revealed even more about this situation.  The first card was Thymus. It featured all of the chakra colors and a human being with arms raised over its head, reaching skyward.  This visual led me to think about the interconnectedness of all of the parts of my body and how when I am stressed, I may tense or hold my shoulders in a tight or constricted way.  

The questions led me to realize that my thymus can help transform my stress.  The crystals Kliegel recommended were Bloodstone and Aquamarine.  I realized that I had some of these beads on hand and decided to make a bracelet with these stones and others I may learn about during this adventure. 

In the second card, I saw Throat and the human being was singing out, free and easy.  She seemed so powerful, asking for help or support, to lighten her burdens.  Again, I caught the tie-in to my shoulders. 

For the third card in this series, Ears appeared, and I felt the sensation of the sound of the ocean when you hold a shell to your ear.  I also heard a soft echo and classical music. I loved the spiral shape of the background artwork and the pleasing rainbow of colors. One suggestion I heard while reviewing this card: “How may I listen to my shoulders for healing clues?” 

Next, I turned to the two cards to the left of the Shoulder card.  Here I found the card for Bronchi, which are the tubes that connect your trachea to your lungs. By following the trail of the 5 questions (which are slightly different for these two cards in this spread), I was reminded of the power of the breath to bring calm.  Once again, when I am calm, the shoulders relax and I can center myself.  I saw myself in a calming oasis and realized that I may be holding my breath and tensing up during my day.  Kliegel suggests that you “Follow your breath without trying to change it.”5  

The last card in this spread was Connective Tissue.  The visual was a boy holding an egg, filled with a tree, a dragonfly, water and plants.  One of the questions led me to realize that I live inside nature and that I can find my calm place in nature. This helped me to see the interconnectedness of everything again and how nature responds to me and my feelings.

Kliegel really encourages you to look at all of the cards and “See how these organs relate to my question, issue or situation?”6 This works as a type of summation of the time you have spent with the cards regarding your health issue.  Another helpful question is “How may I use what I have learned to make a change in my health situation?”7

In the section called “Portraits of the Organs”, Kliegel goes through each of 52 organs and gives basic information and two crystals for healing benefits.  You can refer to this information to learn more about the organs and create affirmations.  Kliegel recommends that you create two affirmations for each card and consider utilizing the crystal recommendations, as well.

I used the Health Generator Spread again for my husband and a friend.  My husband was interested in learning more about his fatty liver.  He learned about the importance of deep breathing and formulated some affirmations to help better nourish himself and be more conscious of his fears.

For my friend, we investigated her diverticulitis, which is based in her large intestine.  From her spread, she learned to “Concentrate on what’s important, and let go of trivial matters.”8 Surprisingly, she also got a message from her stomach and learned this:

“The druid of the stomach cauldron watches over our food as well as how we think and feel about our life force and nourishing our soul.” 9

She shared that this visual will help her make better choices for her own nutrition. 

The guidebook has several spreads, some of which are very complex. One even makes use of all of the cards. I tried Spread 5, Healing Connections, and found it very complicated, as it used ten cards and multiple questions.  If one had a very complex health situation, perhaps the more complicated spreads could be helpful. However, I found the spread with five cards that accented the one central card to be very targeted and helpful. 

At the back of the guidebook, Kliegel offers a chart of all of the organs, arranged in alphabetical order and adds two affirmations and two crystal recommendations. For example, for my husband’s reading, we found a great affirmation for his liver: “I draw on abundance and imagination.” efn_note]page 117[/efn_note] Kliegel also recommends Malachite and Chrome Diopside for supportive crystals. 

The cards are printed on a very nice card-stock, are a good size, and are not too large for easy shuffling.  The colors of the artwork are very pleasing to the eye and also add to the healing quality of the entire card system.  The back of the cards is a beautiful mix of cooling blues and sea-foam green.  I found the cards visually appealing and calming. I loved the box, with its magnetic flap and cutout to hold the cards, with just enough room for the guidebook to fit easily inside.

This card set is probably best for someone who has some experience working with tarot or oracle cards and is comfortable working with different spreads.  I really love all of the questions that Kliegel utilizes in each of the spreads.  He also has a few simple meditations that one can use to get into a good space for doing work with this deck.  Here is one example:

To go back and create space for the whole, close your eyes for a moment and get into the flow with the practice of the four breaths:
– Root yourself in the earth with magma splashing.
– Open your imaginary sunroof for the universal light beam 
– Feel the bubble bath of light around your roots in the magma
– Let the flames blaze high10

I really enjoyed working with the Body Healing Cards and look forward to more adventures.  You can always use it for a quick reading (a three-card spread would also work very well) and refer to the guidebook as needed. This card set would be great for a massage therapist or any type of body worker to accent client sessions. I am also inspired to reflect more on the interconnectedness of my body and its many organs, which work in concert for my good health.

Gateways to the Soul, by Serge Beddington-Behrens

Gateways to the Soul: Inner Work for the Outer World, by Serge Beddington-Behrens
Findhorn Press, 9781644110454, 302 pages, 2020

In his book Gateways to the Soul: Inner Work for the Outer World, Serge Beddington-Behrens shares ways that we can reconnect with our soul through various “gateways” that he has used in client sessions and workshops over his 40 years as a transpersonal psychotherapist. His goal for this book is an invitation; he asks the reader to bring a “new kind of ‘sacred space’ into the way you live your everyday life.”1 Beddington-Behrens gives us a framework for healing by inviting us to move through the book as a “training manual” and use the exercises and questions he includes to create new “gateways” into change and healing.

“In every chapter, therefore, I discuss how we can concretely bring the qualities of this mysterious ‘thing’ called Soul into all aspects of our daily lives and thus enable ourselves to start making them into a sacred practice.”2

Beddington-Behrens begins by sharing his background as part Russian royalty and part wealthy aristocrat. He was educated in what he calls “posh” schools and was growing up to be in an elite part of society. When he read a book by the Indian spiritual teacher Krishnamurti, he began to see the possibility of a different type of life in a different type of world.  He knew that he had to change his inner world to make the changes he wanted to see in his outer world. 

His first spiritual experience took place when he visited the Scottish spiritual community at Findhorn in his early twenties.  He points out that Findhorn was not the large community that it is today, but rather a bunch of “caravans” and a small group of people.  This took place in 1967 and he immediately felt at home.

He learned that Findhorn became a “kind of training course to help you to be yourself!”3 Here he learned to ask questions, to confront himself, and to challenge his past conditioning.  At the end of the first chapter, he poses questions to help the reader unearth information about inner changes we may want to make. (He also gives us a hint that there will be more questions to come!)

What really interested me about this book was its subtitle about “inner work for the outer world.”  It was Gandhi who said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”  The author really hits home with this idea in every chapter. He asks us to do the inner work in order to see changes in our outer world.

One technique that he taught dealt with regret.  He invited the reader to use the breath to release regret.  By exhaling regret and inhaling good energy, one can release regrets. He then shared another series of techniques:

“You can also use the four elements of fire, water, earth and air to help you release your regret. You can either use one element that you feel more drawn to, or if you wish, all four. With fire, write down your regret on a piece of paper and then throw it on the fire. As you watch it burn, imagine the regret burning up inside. With water, stand under a shower and imagine the water is flowing through you, flushing out your regret; see it going into the drain and being washed away for good. With earth, lie down on the grass and imagine giving your regret to mother earth and it passing out of you into the soil. With air,  stand outside on a windy day and say: ‘Please wind blow my regret out of me.’”4

I used this tool to help myself clear an issue that I had been carrying around with me for several months. Afterwards, I felt lighter and more at peace with myself and the other person involved in the situation.

Another section that really spoke to me was the one entitled “Gateways through Our Dark Side.” As someone who has been doing shadow work for a number of years,  I was particularly interested in any new techniques.  He first explained that “shadow” is “those parts of ourselves that we are ‘in the dark’ about, that we don’t know we possess.”5  He then went on to share how his father projected parts of his own shadow onto his son and then those shadow aspects became a part of Beddington-Behrens’ own self-image.  This summary really touched me:

“What happens when we get negatively projected upon – we can also say ‘regarded in a reductive light’ is that we will often internalize the projections and incorporate them into our own self image. This is often what will have occurred with people who have low self esteem.“6

I see now that my mother projected quite a few traits on me!  He then shared with us a concept of “withdrawing our projections” and focusing on our close relationships as the basis for becoming more aware of shadow aspects. At the end of the chapter are questions for journaling and unearthing these shadow aspects.  Then, he included a healing exercise where one can take back projections and send positive energy transmissions to anyone involved.

I really enjoyed the author’s writing style and all of the stories about his life.  He was very honest about his healing journey and his strengths and weaknesses, and I appreciated his candor.  As an Oxford-educated transpersonal psychotherapist, Beddington-Behrens is also a shaman, an activist, and an educator.  He teaches worldwide and enjoys homes in both London and Mallorca. 

This book is probably best for someone who has been on a spiritual journey for at least a few years.  Some of the concepts might be difficult for someone who is new to awakening or new to healing psychological issues in a transpersonal way. 

In the back of the book, the author includes a recap of all of the exercises in the book, listed in order and by “gateway” complete with page numbers.  This is extremely helpful.  He also includes a separate index.

As he was finishing the book, the COVID-19 pandemic began. He mentions it with this interesting point of view:

“My strong hunch is that underneath this seeming curse, lies- if we evolve a long term perspective- a very profound blessing, and that a story or a ‘world of consciousness’ that I have been arguing needs to die, is actually doing so much more quickly, and is therefore quietly creating a space for something new to be born that very much needs to be born. Basically, this pandemic has actually come to save us from ourselves!”7

Thank you, Beddington-Behrens, for a fascinating chronicle of your life and these healing exercises in Gateway to the Soul.

Kali Journal, by Alana Fairchid

Kali Journal:  Sadhana for Sacred Introversion, by Alana Fairchild and ilustrated by Jimmy Manton
Blue Angel Publishing, 0648746751, 220 pages, 2021

On first glance at the Kali Journal: Sadhana for Sacred Introversion, my senses were overwhelmed with the beauty and majesty of the artwork.  Author Alana Fairchild and artist Jimmy Manton have taken the incredible art from her Kali Oracle Deck and interspersed the pages of this journal with the stunning images.  There are over 40 full page, full color renderings of the Goddess Kali, her ritualistic tools, and other sacred symbols.

In addition to presenting a journal that includes both lined pages and a few unlined pages for sketching or other uses, Fairchild adds general information about Kali, moon phase rituals, mantras and a prayer dance for healing.   Each of the two page spreads also includes an affirmation, blessing or message from Goddess Kali. The paper is a very nice quality and is a warm buff color that really sets off the artwork.

Alana Fairchild is a spiritual mentor based in Australia, who has published over 20 oracle decks, 30 albums of sacred music and meditations, and 13 books. Since I have a few of Fairchild’s oracle decks, this journal really interested me.  Jimmy Manton is the artist for the artwork.  He is an award-winning illustrator who is also based in Australia.  He has illustrated numerous tarot and oracle decks. 

When I initially opened the Kali Journal, I was really interested in learning more about the history of the goddess and how she represents the energy of the Divine Mother/Divine Feminine. According to Fairchild, Kali represents the “wild, gracious and transformational realm of the dark face of the Divine Mother.”1 I was intrigued and drawn in, anxious to know more about how the Goddess Kali might support me on my spiritual path. Kali is the Hindu Goddess of time, creation, destruction, power and liberation.  The very first quote was quite arresting:

Within, you have the power of the Divine Mother’s wisdom and blessing. 
Do not underestimate her. 
Do not underestimate yourself.2

Fairchild explains that “Sadhana” comes from the Sanskrit and means “to accomplish.” In this use, she is referring to spiritual practices that foster healing and support us as we move toward enlightenment. Introversion is a psychological term that means the tendency to be concerned with one’s own thoughts and feelings, rather than with external things. So, this journal is a tool to help one with accomplishing a review of one’s thoughts and feelings. 

One particular Kali yantra and mudra practice really supported me through a time when I was experiencing a struggle with my mother.  It is called “Kali Yantra and Mudra Practice to Banish Negative Interference.” With this practice, I learned that a YANTRA is a sacred geometric symbol that can act as a portal to the temple of a god or goddess. One gazes on the visual element, as you would a candle flame or other sacred symbol. The practice also included a special hand mudra and several mantas for recitation. By invoking the power of Kali and using the specific mudra, the yantra, and several mantras, I was able to realign, recalibrate, and heal myself. The next time I talked with my mother, I was aware of my own healing and an energetic shift that had taken place.

Fairchild has created a journal that can benefit anyone, from the novice spiritual seeker to a seasoned soul traveler.  You can go as deep with the rituals as you want to go or simply use the lined pages as a journal and benefit from the uplifting messages on each page. The book is an undated journal, which you can use for any purpose you want. Both covers are designed with a folded extension, so you can mark your place in your journal. I really love this feature and the cover is a nice card stock that makes this feature easy to use. 

The Kali artwork really brings alive the energy and history of Kali and inspires me every time I open the pages. Manton’s use of rich, jewel-tone colors makes each depiction of the Goddess Kali and her consorts come alive on the page.  Many of the images portray the goddess with blue skin, burgundy lips, and dark penetrating eyes.  Yet, these images are not scary or off-putting.  Rather, each one seems to jump off the page with an aliveness that is spontaneous, inspiring, and arresting. 

Kali Journal is for anyone wanting to release and heal life issues and seek the liberation that the Goddess Kali can bring into your life. I recommend this journal for anyone who wants to connect to the magic and healing power of Kali, the “goddess of fierce protection and wild grace.”3 I plan to use the journal for my weekly Saturday wrap-up and use the rituals to release the week and move on to new adventures.

11.11 Oracle, by Alana Fairchild

11.11 Oracle:  Answers to Uplift and Shift, by Alana Fairchild
Blue Angel Publishing, 0738767077, 302 pages, June 2020

Have you seen 11.11 recently?  Are other numbers repeating in your world, such as 1:11 or 2:22 or some other number that has relevance to you? Do you see the same three-number sequence on a clock, your phone, emails or receipts? Some would say that these repeating numbers may be a sign or message from the Universe.  Spiritual mentor Alana Fairchild says that the 11.11 number is not only a sign, but it also has a unique purpose to “awaken, uplift and inspire us.”1

In 11.11 Oracle: Answers to Uplift and Shift, Fairchild shares a lengthy explanation about the power of 11.11 and her belief that “every instance of 11.11 is the Universe reassuring us.”2  Fairchild even includes an invocation that you can use to tune into the 11.11 frequency. Instead of continuing to reinforce old thoughts and patterns based on the ego, Fairchild invites the reader to attune to the power of 11.11 and grow past fear, anger and other lower frequencies. Using the frequency of 11.11 can bring you into harmony with higher consciousness

Fairchild is a spiritual teacher based in Australia, who has published over 20 oracle decks, 30 albums of sacred music and meditations, and 13 books. Since I have a few of Fairchild’s oracle decks and recently misplaced my angel number guidebook, I was particularly interested in this book of number signs.

Fairchild packs quite a lot of information in this small book that is only 6.5 X 6.5.  Beginning with the explanation of 11.11 and the importance of this frequency, she shares ways to align with the positive energy that this number represents.  Her words are encouraging, supportive, and even funny at times. 

Then, Fairchild shares an invocation that you can use to tune into the vibration of 11.11 whenever you want to do so.  You may also use the invocation before looking up guidance from any number in this book.  She suggests two ways to use the book:

1. Randomly flip open a page and let the index finger of your non-dominant hand land upon a number.

2. Look up the number you continue to see in your daily existence.  

For example, I kept seeing 848 in several ways.  I saw 8:48 on my computer, on my phone and then I heard someone on TV say 848. So, I opened the book to number 848 and read the message:

“I focus on grounding, connecting to my body and the earth, so that the sacred partnership between heaven and earth may manifest itself in my life.” 3

This message was very pertinent to me, because I had experienced a few days of feeling like I was floating and flitting all over the place. It was a gentle reminder to go out in my backyard and ground myself. I was also reminded that I am a part of the Great All That Is. 

On another day, I was feeling a little lost and uninspired.  So, I followed Fairchild’s guidance and went into my heart, asked this question: “What do I need to know to move forward with inspiration and support?” Then, I closed my eyes and randomly opened the book.  My index finger on my non-dominant hand fell upon the number and message for #595:

“No problem, confusion or difficulty can withstand the liberating clarity and healing influence of spiritual grace, which brings sweet relief to my life now.” 4

Shortly after reading this encouraging message, I got the idea to call a trusted friend and talk through a situation I was encountering and she was a kind listener who also had a few words of guidance.

Fairchild has created a very complete number guide to healing and uplifting messages from the Universe.  The numbers range from 1 to 1111 and cover a myriad of topics for support on your spiritual journey.  This book is the perfect size for a desktop reference book.  I love the simplicity and the depth of this guidance offered.  The book is arranged in numerical order, with about 8 messages shown on each two-page spread.  She highlights some messages by giving the message a full page, and she uses shading on other pages to break up the information. I love that Fairchild included a burgundy ribbon that you may use as a placeholder for this oracle book.  Many times, I like to mark the place of a prior number I’ve reviewed and reread the info before looking for another number that I want to investigate. 

This book is a great book for those who are newly embarking on their spiritual journey, as well as those with more experience.  The guidance shared is very easy to understand and can also be applied on several levels. Fairchild has channeled the information shared within these pages. 

I plan to keep the book on my coffee table, as a resource for both my husband and myself.  After he saw it on my desk a few days ago, he asked me what it was.  After I gave him a brief explanation, he picked up the book and searched a number he had seen in a dream:  #424.

Your Guardian Angel brings the message that spiritual assistance is helping you heal and resolve whatever matter is now on your mind.” 5

“Thanks!” he said and then he got up to go meditate and ask for more guidance regarding the dream.

I love the idea of using this new resource for guidance, encouragement and a way to shift my perspective on my daily spiritual path. If you’ve been seeing the same number or number sequences over and over again, then 11.11 Oracle is also for you!

The Spiritual Roots of the Tarot, by Russell Strugess

The Spiritual Roots of the Tarot: The Cathar Code Hidden in the Cards, by Russell A. Sturgess
Inner Traditions, 1644110563, 368 pages, 2020

In The Spiritual Roots of the Tarot: The Cathar Code Hidden in the Cards, author Russell A. Sturgess presents the story of a medieval group of Gnostic Christians who are later referred to as the Cathars. The Cathars originated in France in the 11th century.  Not well liked by the Catholic Church, Cathars were considered a threat and were removed from Western Europe by the Catholic Church around 1350.

They called themselves “Troubadours of God” and their theology was based on the Beatitudes from the New Testament Sermon on the Mount. They lived a life based on agape love and also espoused a theology of duality, one where both good and evil existed.   Their beliefs professed a “formula for escaping the world of the evil God and the journey that one had to undertake to return to the Kingdom of the good God.”1

No one really knows how the Cathars worked together to preserve the mysteries of this formula, which was their program of ascending to the good God. Sturgess admits that it is unlikely that the Cathars produced any tarot cards. However, they were weavers and may have woven small tapestries with the symbols of their theology or created small paintings of the symbols.  None of these remain due to the Crusades and Inquisition — all such artifacts were destroyed. 

One of their key tenants was the idea of “being a fool for the sake of Christ.”2 The Fool’s Cap symbol and watermark would have been a mark of the Cathars. And, of course, the first card in the Major Arcana of the Marseille Tarot, as well as many other decks,  is a Fool.

What interested me most about the concept of this book was the melding of religious and metaphysical theologies. The idea that a religious group of Gnostic Christians could have hidden symbols that show the way to God in miniature paintings or small stained glass images that later became tarot cards is intriguing! When you consider that the clergy was among the few who were able to read and write in the 11th to 13th centuries, you might begin to understand their role in preserving these symbols.

The Marseille Tarot appeared in the 17th Century and told the Cathars’ story of the Fool and his transformative journey to Christ. Sturgess shares a complete history of the tarot and features many color plates of Major Arcana cards in various styles of cards.  One plate that I found fascinating follows the Fool’s Journey as the Major Arcana cards are laid out in an infinity symbol shape (Plate 30, The Cathar Code key, the cards by Jean Noblet, circa 1650).

Sturgess provides a thorough review of each of the cards of the Major Arcana, sharing key symbols, their meanings and how the cards both differ and mirror each other. My birth card is The Empress, so I was especially interested in learning more about this card. According to Sturgess, the symbols of the shield she holds, the cockscomb on her left side and her scepter all point to key characteristics of The Empress.  As both masculine and feminine symbols are shown, the Empress embodies the combination of male and female.

“This is a Cathar invention, symbolizing the hieros gamos, the sacred union of the masculine and the feminine that was Christ here on earth. In the world of the Cathars and that of the good God, when governed by Christ consciousness this was symbolic of the sacred marriage resulting in the androgyny of Sophia.”3

Sturgess goes on to say that the Empress is all about “the impending birth of the Fool, who is the Christ Incarnate.” 4

Another aspect that I found fascinating was the idea that there was no Devil card or Tower card before the 17th Century. These two cards may have been kept secret because of the role they play in revealing the “portal to the kingdom of Heaven.”5 And did you know that the Tower card was initially called the “House of God”? A common belief contends that the named changed to the Tower due to the structure shown in the center of the card.6

Sturgess employs a very scientific and thorough writing style. The photos of key pieces of Cathar history, the beautiful plates of tarot cards from various centuries, and important documents from antiquity make this story come alive.  After a history of the Cathars, Sturgess covers each card in the Major Arcana through eleven chapters of the Fool’s Journey. This book will appeal more to the Tarot aficionado, rather than a novice, who might be overwhelmed by the depth of the information.

I really enjoyed The Spiritual Roots of the Tarot and look forward to reading it again and doing an in depth journey into each of the 22 cards of the Major Arcana. My knowledge of the symbolism of the Major Arcana was enhanced greatly by what I learned. I’d recommend this book for Tarot teachers, expert readers, and others who study Tarot history and meaning.

To conclude, I will share one concept that Sturgess wrote that really touched me is the Cathars’ theology of love:

“The Cathars’ theology of love could be described in one word:  kindness.  As much as they understood the deep mysteries, in terms of how they were expressed in day-to-day life, it was simply about being committed to being kind.”7

Dragon Wisdom Oracle Cards, by Christine Arana Fader

Dragon Wisdom: 43-Card Oracle Deck and Book, by Christine Arana Fader and illustrated by Anja Kostka
Earthdancer, 1644111086, 112 pages, 43 cards, 2021

In creating the Dragon Wisdom: 43-Card Oracle Deck and Book, Christine Arana Fader has written a mystical book about magical beings that can support you on your spiritual journey.  She worked closely with Anja Kostka to create artwork that captures 38 dragons, 4 elements, and one elf.  In 2000, Christine Arana Fader was introduced to the dragon’s energy by the spirit world and came to work with this energy to introduce people to its power and the energy of Avalon.

Also known as the “Dragon Woman,” Fader has met many teachers on her spiritual journey—angels, power animals, ascended masters, Merlin, and especially dragons. Since 2010 she has led dragon workshops and trance journeys. The author of different publications on mystical beings like dragons and elves, she lives in Germany.

Anja Kostka attended Fachoberschule für Gestaltung in Munich. In addition to the traditional painting and the usual drawing techniques, she also learned to work with many different materials, such as glass, felt, wood, metal and clay. She also got to know the technical world of computers. After excessive self-study she was accepted by Qantm Institute to study game design and earned her Bachelor of Arts in 2010.

After enjoying Game of Thrones, King Arthur, and other such books and movies, I was interested in learning more about dragon energy and how these magical beings might support me on my spiritual journey.

Since I host a weekly “Coffee and Cards” group for my community, I was excited to open the Dragon Wisdom deck and do a reading for myself.  I asked a question about a situation at work that I am currently experiencing and drew the card entitled “Avalon.”  I learned “a powerful, magical energy wants to rise within you.  The moon dragon wants to wake the priestess or sorcerer within you.”1

Furthermore, I learned that the beautiful dragon will travel with me to the world of my ancestors and show me the way to solve my current dilemma.  I very clearly connected with the energy of my grandmother on this journey and heard the word “compassion.”  I was reminded that we never know everything that someone is dealing with.  I felt guided to act with compassion regarding the person at my office.   

Then, I drew a card for the group and drew the card “Decision.”  The key concepts included the importance of making a decision in a timely fashion.  We can ask the brown dragon for support if the decision seems like too great a burden. Fader also included an easy energy clearing tool with this card.2

I love to pull a card for the group and allow people to read the message on Facebook and receive the guidance if the message speaks to their heart. I’ve already heard from one woman who said that the message clearly spoke to her and she expressed her thanks.

I absolutely love these cards.  The dragon artwork is stunning and quite varied.  Some of the designs are very simple and others are multi-layered with lots of shading and color variations. Along with the guidance shared, Fader includes a visualization or exercise to further connect with the dragon energy and these are very well written.  As I also shared, I really enjoyed the exercises or energy clearing tools. The cards are a great quality, with a very nice varnish on both sides and rounded corners. The cards are a good weight for shuffling. 

My favorite card is the one entitled “Peace.”  The dragon is created in shades of blue, from cobalt blue to the light blue of a spring sky. He looks formidable, yet there is kindness in his eyes.  It is a beautiful card for meditation and Fader includes a beautiful suggestion with blue candles and soft music. She begins with “Peace in this world begins within you.”3

She also includes this affirmation:  

“I am the expression of divine peace, peace is within me.”4

I also enjoyed the elemental cards, such as the one entitled “Fire Chalice.”  This card features a ritual from Alba, the queen of all dragons, who invites you to do a ritual she calls “baptism in the element of fire.” She explains that “The baptism is a rite, a rebirth, a ritual cleansing. Baptism is the threshold from the old to a new way of being.”5

At the end of the book is a trance meditation that you can record and then utilize to meet YOUR dragon.

The Dragon Wisdom Oracle deck gives you a hands-on way to connect with the wisdom, love, and magic of dragons. The artwork is created in brilliant full-color and the guidebook includes a black and white photo of each drawing, so you can match the card to the guidance.  Note that the cards are not numbered. However, the guidebook is arranged in alphabetical order, to make it easy to find the information for each card.

The dragon artwork is really stunning and makes it easy to connect with the images, so that you can experience and activate the dragon energies and interact on an intuitive level. These cards would be good for seekers of all ages.  You can use the cards for daily messages and take the experience even deeper by using the visualizations or energy clearing tools. Pre-teens or teens would also enjoy the cards, due to the beautiful artwork.

“You hold a set of cards full of magic and wisdom in your hands. It is an enchanting mixture of exercises and messages, created from the wisdom and power of Dragons.”6

I really enjoyed Dragon Wisdom.  The artwork is matched only by the beautiful prose of Fader’s mystical work with her dragon guides.  I can’t wait to share this deck with my granddaughter, who is 10 and loves Harry Potter and all things magical! I particularly love the script Fader included for a dragon journey, where you can meet your own mystical guide for your daily life.

Visionary Path Tarot, by Lucy Delics

Visionary Path Tarot: A 78-Card Deck, by Lucy Delics
Park Street Press, 1644110601, 32 pages, 78 cards, 2020

Lucy Delics (aka Emma Lucy Shaw) has created a stunning black and white deck that captures tarot archetypes woven with spiritual symbols, plant medicines, and Peruvian images in Visionary Path Tarot. Delics worked for over three years on the creation of this deck, utilizing the plant medicines ayahuasca and huachuma and connecting with her guides, high up in the Andes mountains of Peru. The Visionary Path Tarot contains all of the 78 cards of the Major and Minor Arcana of a traditional tarot deck. (Note:  Delic does not number the Major Arcana cards, yet the guidebook lists them in their traditional order for your reference.)

In the guidebook, Delic describes her journey from the UK to Peru and how ancient plant medicines and Peruvian Spirit doctors helped her heal her heart after her mother’s death.1 She goes on to describe experiences with shapeshifting, psychedelic journeys, and seeing the visuals that became many of the images for these beautiful cards. The guidebook provides direct and reversed interpretations for each card, as well as a few spreads for utilizing the cards for divination. 

On Delic’s website, she says that the deck, “Features intricate black-and-white archetypal and fractal images that act as binary codes of consciousness, allowing you to feel the inner guidance flowing from the cards and make intuitive interpretations.”2  She also shared briefly about her studies of several different traditions, including Norse, Celtic, Navajo, and Egyptian.  

These cards are so beautiful and are both intricate and simple in design. For example, the Two of Pentacles features a scale and an eagle.  Only two elements, yet the background design is also an intricate series of curvy lines that can take you on your own journey. If you meditate on the card, you can allow the energy to be your vehicle for transformation or healing. When you connect in with the card’s imagery, you can also feel a message bubbling up and the guidance enters your aura and lands on your heart and soul.

I really enjoyed the back design of the cards as well.  It features the drawing of a hand, also created with intricate, black and white art, with the index finger touching a four-pointed star.  It is like the healing hand of some great Medicine Doctor or Peruvian Shaman. It makes a great meditation aide, as well as the flip side, where you find each card design.

It was hard to select a favorite card, so I picked two:  Death and Strength.  Strength is typically the card I look to when I am appraising a deck for my own personal use.  If I can connect with the Strength card, then the deck is going to be a good fit for me. In this case, Delics uses the traditional symbolism of the maiden and the lion. Yet, the girl is not the demure archetype in other decks.  She is strong, confident, and commanding.  I also get a “yellow brick road” vibe from this card, as if she is on her way to fulfilling her dreams. The lion is there to remind her of her innate courage and strength.

The Death card features a coyote or some type of fox.  He is cunning, kind, and benevolent, according to the feelings that I get when I meditate on this card.  There is also a beating heart, which is connected to both the Spirit Animal and the designs on the card. Some of the valves are attached to arteries and one is attached to a leaf, perhaps plant medicine? She also features a snake skin for rejuvenation, a figure eight for simplicity and balance, and a face that looks like an Egyptian Pharaoh.  All in all, this Death card represents transformation, regeneration, and rebirth.  I could meditate on it for hours and learn more and more about myself and my journey.

I used the deck for a reading for myself, using one of the spreads that Delics includes. The Horseshoe Spread3 is a good one for an overall reading.  With the 7 cards that I drew, I learned that I might benefit from:

Being aware of too many irons in the fire, as well as being ready to take a risk on a new beginning.  I was also reminded that I have all of the resources I need and a suggestion to use my healing gifts for myself and my family.  

Such a strong message from these cards!  I really enjoyed this reading and the simple, yet profound messages that came through. I’m looking forward to using the cards more for personal reflection and healing work.

The Visionary Path Tarot might be best for a seasoned tarot reader or student.  Because the designs are simple, yet intricate and more than a few vary greatly from traditional tarot symbolism, a reader might want to have some experience and knowledge in the tarot to benefit from using these cards. The guidebook has very basic meanings for each card, almost like key words.  For this reason, I also recommend this deck for a more experienced reader. 

Delics has created a truly magical deck, rich in symbolism and imbued with hidden messages and codes for personal healing. She currently lives in the Peruvian Andes with her family.