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Author Archives: Robin Fennelly

About Robin Fennelly

Robin Fennelly is an Elder within the Assembly of the Sacred Wheel Tradition [www.sacredwheel.org]. She is a dancer, teacher, astrologer, author, ritualist and seeker of all things of a spiritual nature. Her writings and classes incorporate a deep understanding of Eastern practice and Western Hermetics and bring a unique perspective towards integration and synthesis of the Divine and Mundane natures of our being. She is a mother of five and lives in Eastern PA with her husband of 45+ years.

2024 Lunar and Seasonal Diary, by Stacey Demarco

2024 Lunar and Seasonal Diary – Northern Hemisphere, by Stacey Demarco
Rockpool Publishing, 978-1925946666, 216 pages, June 2023

I am really looking forward to using my 2024 Lunar and Seasonal Diary – Northern Hemisphere by Stacey Demarco. This diary is beautifully illustrated and the contents on lunar and seasonal energies make it much more than a simple day planner. Each page is an invitation to reflect, plan, and take away some new bit of wisdom that would have otherwise gone unfound. A diary is of no use if it is something more than just a place to count off the days; this diary is so much more than that and then some!

Due diligence has been given by Demarco in creating not only a functional planner but also a source of teachings about lunar workings, correspondences, spell craft, ritual, and introductory astrology. Her writing makes the 2024 Lunar and Seasonal Diary accessible to the aficionados of lunar-forward planning and the witches who wants to incorporate powerful magick in their daily life.

The first 20+ pages are dedicated to the lunar arts and topics include elements and directions, spell timings and moon cycles, lunar energies and crystals, and the wheel of the year. The wheel of the year section is a very robust overview of the sabbats that is packed with readily-applied information on how the month’s energy supported the myriad ways of celebration.

The 2024 Lunar and Seasonal Diary is organized into the standard twelve-month, weekly format common to most planners. Additionally, each month offers a double page section highlighting a specific deity aligned with that month’s energy and an accompanying spell or ritual guiding how to call that energy into the month’s work. Beautiful graphics herald each month and a quick goal starter introduces the weekly pages. For those who are visually stimulated with the tasks of thinking out your goals, what’s and when’s will be happily committed to paper. The paper itself is strong, heavy stock with no bleed through. 

Would I Recommend?

What I omitted in the beginning of this review is that I am highly selective when it comes to my yearly planner. In fact, so much so that it is not unusual for me to have 5-6 different types and formats of these and still not settle on any one just because it doesn’t hit all my checkboxes.

With that being said, 2024 Lunar and Seasonal Diary by Stacey Demarco checks all of the boxes for anyone wanting a beautiful, functional, educational and “just feels right” 2024 diary.  This is a keeper and I am confident that I will be using it for the entirety of the year. 

About the Author Stacey Demarco

Stacey Demarco is The Modern Witch. Passionate about bringing practical magic to everyone and inspiring people to have a deeper connection with nature, she has been teaching witchcraft and mythos for many decades. This diary is now in its 14th edition and is published in both the southern and northern hemispheres. She is the author of The Enchanted Moon and The Priestess Path, which have been translated into other languages. Her oracle card decks include the bestselling Queen of the Moon, Divine Animals, Moon Magick, Elemental Oracle, Oracle of the Universe, and Deep, Dark and Dangerous. An animal activist, ethical beekeeper and dedicated adventure traveler, she lives in Sydney, Australia on a cliff by the beach with her husband and furry companions. Stacey provides private consults as well as teaching workshops, and leads the popular Wild Souls Retreats nationally and internationally.

Sage, Huntress, Lover, Queen, by Mara Banscombe

Sage, Huntress, Lover, Queen: Access Your Power and Creativity through Sacred Female Archetypes, by Mara Banscombe
Findhorn Press, 978-1644117934, 256 pages, July 2023

Sage, Huntress, Lover, Queen: Access Your Power and Creativity through Sacred Female Archetypes by Mara Banscombe has managed to bring a balance of self-reflection and immediate application to the mysteries of the Sacred Feminine. Reaching deeply into the core of what the nature of the sacred is, Branscombe has crafted a book that allows the reader to feel the power held within these mysteries. All the while, she coalesces what is truly soul-searching work into actions and thought processes that are accessible and resonant at every level for any reader.

This book has the structure of seven feminine archetypes: the Maiden, Mother, Sage, Huntress, Lover, Mystic and Queen. Each archetype has been given secondary assignations that are easily recognizable and immediately bring to mind visual experience of how these archetypes might appear in physical form.  

Branscombe describes the Maiden as the Underworld Explorer using the familiarity of the story of Persephone as template for that journey.

“To embody the Maiden archetype is to reclaim creativity, gather courage, restore faith in your biggest dreams, and live with a lust for life.”1

The Mother is the Earth Matrix that knows how to protect, guide, sustain, and create.

“The embodied Mother greets her masculine spark to enhance her feminine frequency. Embracing her inner child, she discovers the world with an awakened vision, choosing love over comparison, acceptance over judgment.”2

The Sage is the Water Healer gathering her power from the flow of deep waters of gnosis and wisdom.

“The Sage flows with change, while staying present to her evolving intuitive process.  She cultivates a peaceful inner life while sharing her visionary’s wisdom with the world. The sage does not sleep her life into being. Like the healing hands of the grandmother, she gathers her current materials and weaves them into her cloak of knowledge.”3

The Huntress is the Fire Generator that catalyzes and becomes the path towards right action.

“The embodied Huntress has the true spirit of the warrior and empowers herself and others to live life to the fullest. Her life purpose is fueled by her devotion to be in service to her impassioned cause. The Huntress teaches us how to ignite our true essence and share it unapologetically with the world.”4

The Lover is the Air Alchemist who teaches the lessons of self-love and acceptance to cultivate healthy and strong relationships at all levels of being.

“The Lover understands that self-awareness is her superpower inside any relationship. Her boundaries are clear, either refined or porous as needed. She is wild at heart and stays true to her mission; to source the pure frequency of love while going as deep into the realms of intimacy as possible in this lifetime.5

The Mystic is the Ethereal Time Traveler who remains rooted and anchored in corporeal existence because this is the path to cosmic understanding.

“The feminine Mystic’s power is expansive. Energy can be sensed within, above, below and all around. She uses this information to respond to her soul’s calling. Paying close attention to the sacred experiences coming alive in this human body is the work of the Mystic.6

And, The Queen as the Universal Thought Weaver who commands ultimate authority over self through experience and indomitable self-awareness and confidence.

“The Queen embodies wholeness. She is a clear channel of refined inner strength. She is both movement and stillness, wisdom and inquiry, surrender and activation.”7

This book is thoughtfully separated into eight chapters, a robust Introduction (“Evoking the Divine Feminine Way”), and “Revealing the Archetypes and Appendix: Rituals and Wisdom Practices to Embody the Archetypes”, which indexes the rituals throughout the book for quick reference. I really liked this addition of indexing and thought there was an abundance of opportunity in using it as a checklist, of sorts, to mark the highlights of your journey through the archetypes. 

Each of the chapters provides the reader with a bounty of information and techniques of approach and awakening the specific archetype of focus within the reader. Branscombe takes the reader through informed step-by-step creative practices, guided visualizations, rituals, and poetry to help the reader embody each archetype and activate a life of fulfillment and happiness

The journal prompts were spot on for each of the archetype chapters and rather than a one size fits all approach to the other self-directed work to be completed, each chapter contained just the right combination of foci and intention to really push the reader to examine more deeply and thus, effect change more deeply.

I was particularly drawn to “Chapter 6 – Awakening the Mystic: Truth Seeker, Vision Holder, Divine Space Explorer”. Typically, the term “Mystic” has been associated with spiritual practice that aligned more with Eastern philosophies and applications. The image of the Mystic has been that of one who has hermited themselves away from the world and immerses totally in the Divine. These are true, but Branscombe has also brought that term into Western practice and more specifically as an archetype of the sacred feminine. The first portion of this chapter answers quite nicely who the mystic is:

“Anchored to the earth and attuned to her inner voice, the feminine Mystic embodies an otherworldly, enigmatic presence. Drawn to the numinous, spirited, and ethereal frequencies, she imbibes the natural magic and shares it freely with the world…The modern Mystic trusts the power of Divine timing. She embodies a heightened awareness to what happens in the natural world and to the ordinary synchronicities in everyday life… The Mystic walks the earth sharing her gifts with all sentient beings while tuning in to the realm of the skies.”8

One of the underpinnings of this chapter, that I would say also is true of other archetypes and development of their potential, is that of illusion that can be found on any spiritual path, particularly one of self-growth.

“Go beyond the smoke and mirrors of certain spiritual practices. Be aware when you are following a spiritual teacher to fit into a mold or generate a false sense of security.”9

Would I Recommend?

Sage, Huntress, Lover, Queen: Access Your Power and Creativity through Sacred Female Archetypes is a treasure of accessible and inspirational content. Throughout the book the reader will find little gems of poem and inspired verse from Banscombe that provide yet another way of engaging those archetypes within self.  This book is a rich and self-empowering and deeply immersive journey into the many facets of power and expression that we hold as sentient beings. Reading this book is an opportunity for reclaiming of these archetypes that have inspired and catalyzed transformative change throughout the evolution of the feminine and HER mysteries. 

About the Author: Mara Branscombe

Mara Branscombe is an author, mother, yogi, artist, teacher, mindfulness leader, ceremonialist, and spiritual coach. Her mission is to amplify wellness and creativity while supporting others to live their best life. She is passionate about weaving the art of mindfulness, self-care, creativity, mind-body practices, and earth-based rituals into her life and work. Mara has been teaching and leading ceremony since 2000.

Ho’oponopono, by Ulrich E. Duprée

Ho’oponopono: The Hawaiian Ritual of Forgiveness, by Ulrich E. Duprée
Earthdancer Books, 978-1644118801, 112 pages, September 2023

“Ho’oponopono is a simple way to regain unity, inner peace, and harmony.”1

The quote above is a deceptively simple statement about a practice that in application is difficult for one to embrace, particularly in a society that is hyper-vigilant about who has done what to me. How can I retaliate when forgiveness is not part of the equation. Ho’oponopono: The Hawaiian Ritual of Forgiveness by Ulrich E. Duprée is a small, yet powerful book of self-healing and forgiveness so that we may offer the same state of grace to others.

“Ho’oponopono is a way of solving and resolving internal and external problems and conflicts while at the same time healing relationships: your relationship with yourself, with other people, and with your environment.”2

Ho’oponopono is separated into four main sections with an introductory portion entitled, “The Adventure Begins”. The reader immediately is drawn into the concept that the practice of Ho-oponopono is more than simply reciting special words, offering up specific emotions, and then going about your daily activities until the next “flare up” that needs forgiveness arises. It is indeed an adventure that requires self-reflection, honesty, and most importantly a continued stance of SELF love and forgiveness. Duprée gently reminds the reader throughout that the reconciliation at the level of self is first and foremost in the deeper meaning and success of the Ho-oponopono practices. 

The subsequent sections–“What is Ho-oponopono?”, “The Spiritual Laws-Ho’oponopono in Practice”, and “The Desire For Peace”– take the reader through the nuts and bolts of the history and evolution of the Ho’oponopono ritual and its application within any culture’s beliefs. Duprée also masterfully weaves core principles of living in harmony with all life, respect for all life, and the interconnectedness of all life.

I especially took note of the section, “The Core of the Simplified Ho’oponopono”. This core has been rendered down by Duprée into four statements:

As soon as something annoys you, whenever you feel like turning around and running away from a situation, and especially whenever someone is “pushing your buttons”, please join me in first saying to yourself:
I’m sorry.
Please forgive me.
I love you.
Thank you.3

He discusses each at length, and although the initial response of many would be that of feeling a contradiction to forgiveness towards the situation/individual that you feel victimized by, this speaks volumes to the verbiage of we are all connected and the actual implementation of recognizing that in the heat of the moment.

There are many exercises throughout Ho’oponopono that are brief in what is asked, but if used wisely, reveal and transform the reader’s perspective and view of themself, others, and our collective place in the world. 

Duprée covers multiple aspects of humanity’s existence and these are woven into the Ho-oponopono practices of restoring health, balance in work and home, global implications, and challenges and ultimately the desire for peace and everyone’s role in that aspiration.

Would I recommend?

Ho’oponopono is one of those rare books that looks by appearance to be a “light” read, suited more to those who have interest or personal resonance with Hawaiian practice and spirituality. But there is nothing “light” about this book, other than perhaps the enlightened state that is possible for those who take the time to read, self-reflect, and then apply. This should be a required read for everyone who has felt victimized, who desires harmony, who seeks to be the “change” we often speak of, who wants to remember that regardless of race, ethnicity, religion or geographical location, we all want to acknowledged, heard, loved and feel safe in giving love and forgiveness. Ho’oponopono is absolutely point-on for these troubling times. It’s definitely a keeper and a life-long lesson to be referenced frequently. 

About the Author:

Ulrich Emil Duprée is a spiritual seeker, visionary, and seminar leader. He has studied both Western and Eastern philosophy and lived in a Hindu monastery for four years. He has taught Ho‘oponopono, the ritual of forgiveness, since his mystical initiation by a Hawaiian Kahuna priest in 2009. The is also the author of Family Constellations. He currently lives in Germany.

Surfing the Galactic Highways, by Barry Goddard

Surfing the Galactic Highways: Adventures in Divinatory Astrology, by Barry Goddard
Moon Books, 978-1803410104, 216 pages, January 2023

“This book is aimed at anyone who has a little bit of knowledge of astrology upwards. Astrology is one of those subjects that enters your bones, and if it is there, then it is there, however much or however little you know. It is a primordial connection to the sky that many of us feel.”1

The quote above succinctly expresses the intention of Surfing the Galactic Highways: Adventures in Divinatory Astrology by Barry Goddard. The twenty-one (21) chapters cover an expansive and fresh perspective that differs from the usual books on astrology and often a more mechanical approach that forms a less intuitive structure for the reader. The visual appeal draws the reader in simply in the cover art work and the colors used and imagery, which exude a playful approach. It is reminiscent of the required dioramas that we crafted as children in elementary school. 

Lest, this playful first encounter set the tone for frivolity in the content, there is an abundance of practical and very relatable information within the pages of this title. To that point, “Chapter 1: The Power of Astrology” begins with the First Vaccination Chart reflecting the date when Margaret Keenan (UK), received the first dose of the COVID vaccine on December 8th, 2020. Using this as a starting point for the innate power of astrology as a predictive tool grounded in the present celestial events, Goddard creates the fertile space of return to inclusion of a sentient and accessible Universe as a tool of free will and intention…. 

“Astrology enchants the universe in an age when that enchantment has been replaced by the notion of a dead universe, that the universe is just a thing and we are just one more thing in it. We are the first people in history to entirely forget our roots in spirit, in the sense that consciousness is fundamental.”2

As you move through the chapters of this book, there is a sense of being part of an adventure in exploration of the astrological basics versus the academia of the subject matter. “Chapter 2: Keeping it Simple” exemplifies this approach beautifully. Goddard provides the reader and novice with just enough astrological information to make sense of the deeper explorations of the components of astrological practice. 

“I like to keep astrology simple, because it is then easier to remain close to the symbolism. When you are close to the symbolism, when you feel it strongly, it can speak through you. Anyone can learn the set of meanings of the planets and signs and put them together to read a chart. A computer can do that. But that is not astrology, because it is not the gods speaking through you, but the intellect, which needs to be the servant, not the master.”3

This simple approach is sampled in the reading of Barack Obama’s chart – only containing the Sun, Moon and Rising signs. The lesson here is one of using the highlights (Sun, Moon, and Rising) information as the starting points for analysis of an individual chart. The reader is reminded of the deep, albeit for many unconscious, knowing we have of the two largest celestial bodies of reference we have access to directly: the Sun and the Moon. This concept follows the idea of connection and symbolism and allows those very common things to speak through the astrological reading by way of what is already established as a connection to the reader’s ideology of what the Sun and Moon mean to them beyond astrological purposes. 

Goddard provides all of the usual information sought after by those looking to astrology with specific intentions. “Prediction, Political Astrology and Bad Astrology” (Chapter 3), “Relationships” (Chapter 4), “Astrology, Divination and Science” (Chapter 10) and “The Elemental Balance” (Chapter 11) are just a few of the highlights that would satisfy the more traditional approach.  But, the more interesting perspectives can be found in chapters such as these: “Trusting in Death” (Chapter 8), “Tweaking Our Creation Mythologies” (Chapter 12), “The Geography of the Underworld” (Chapter 21) and others that pique the reader’s curiosity about entwining astrological concepts into more expansive areas of consideration. 

Throughout Surfing the Galactic Highways, the underpinnings of a scientific approach to astrology are woven with the mythos of sign and planet and the symbolism becomes one infused with reality and intuitive creativity. Each chapter is primed with visual examples of charts that have been simplified in how much is contained within, allowing the reader to properly digest the concepts presented and create new pathways of understanding that can at a later date be expanded upon. 

Would I Recommend?

In Surfing the Galactic Highways, Goddard has successfully taken some very dry and often challenging principles of astrology and crafted them in such a way that makes them relatable to everyone at all layers of knowledge base. Goddard’s writing style is one that elicits an ease of reading that is similar to that of sitting and discussing a complicated subject with a patient and enthusiastic friend whose only goal is one of wanting to share their passion for that topic. All in all, this book is an excellent resource for those who wish to explore the many uses of astrological application and enjoy the journey of new awakenings. 

About the Author: Barry Goddard

In his twenties and thirties, Goddard was engaged in Buddhist practice, but for the last 25 years the main currents have been astrology and shamanism. He regularly writes blogs and Facebook posts about both shamanism and astrology, to which he brings a fresh and sometimes controversial perspective.

Horns of the Goddess, by Dolores Cannon

Horns of the Goddess, by Dolores Cannon
Ozark Mountain Publishing, 1956945210, 400 pages, March 2023

“At the beginning of time everybody was in tune with the mother Earth, for the souls had just begun their journey.  And they were but newly separated from her, and so they remembered how to be in harmony with her.   And they knew how to be in harmony with nature. And, so they observed the things they knew they needed to be observed in order to stay that way.1

Horns of the Goddess by Dolores Cannon is an interesting exploration of the concept of past lives, the use of past life regression hypnotherapy to gain access to the information of the past lives of clients, and the impact that information may carry within the greater scientific and spiritual communities of the present. The quote above was taken from a chapter taken from the transcription of a session of one of the three individuals who shared past lives during the time of the Druids and are the theme of focus for the title.

Cannon was a regressive hypnotherapist and psychic researcher who recorded the sessions of multiple clients and became one of the collectors of “lost” knowledge, much of which was verified by the findings of archeologists. This is an important factor of consideration as the reader moves through this title and recognizes the credibility of both technique and content Cannon brings to material that could be considered just another example of new age fluff. 

The content was compiled by her daughter, Nancy Vernon, and much of the information contained within was withheld in being made part of Dolores’ public research offerings because of the sensitive nature of the information shared by her subjects. Timing in the release of this information and its consideration as potential truths was very important to Cannon. Given the timing of Cannon’s passing while writing this book provided an opportunity for some of the more controversial information to be included.   

Horns of the Goddess is formatted into three sections with chapters of content within. Each chapter is structured as a question (from Cannon) with answer (from the individual’s past life self/ves) transcribed from the recording made during hypnosis. Dolores’ impressions and notes are interspersed throughout, giving additional insight and background to what the reader is taking in. 

The “Introduction: The Time Traveler” provides the reader with Cannon’s path that led her to the writings and research she committed herself to after her children were grown. She describes the refinements and adjustments she crafted to the techniques of hypnotherapy that allowed for a deeper level of communication between the client and past life memories and now are the choice of practice for past life regressionists. 

“Section 1: Life as a Druidess” begins the journey through timelines of Druidry and events leading up to the Inquisition. In “Chapter 1: The Druidress (Karen)” the reader is introduced to one of her subjects who offers insights throughout a good portion of the book through multiple past lives experienced.  She speaks of one of her subjects, Karen:

“During 1982 and 1983 I worked with Karen on a regular basis. I discovered the true meaning of time travel during my sessions with her. We eventually explored thirty different lifetimes, and the detailed information that poured out of her was phenomenal. She was able to so totally become the other personality that she supplied historical information as well as cultural and theological.2

“Section 2: Brenda’s Story as Astelle” is filled with some of the more controversial material and brings to light from the subject’s experiences the horrors of the Inquisition and the lengths taken by the church to tamp down the nature-based practices….

“In the beginning when she was describing the horrors of the Inquisition and the callousness of the Church, I told her in the session…… “They will hang me from the highest tree if I ….tell about the horrible things the church did in those days. They will never stand for hearing such things about their church fathers”…. There is too much explosive material contained within this story. It is probably the truth about the way the church really behaved, but I feel I must wait a while before I dare to write it.”3

The chapters contained within this section are the meat of the book and a wealth of information about how the “old ways”’ of nature based religious practices would have been carried out. Insights into the use of Pentagrams, signs, omens, communication with animals, the lore and legends of the magic of the Druids, and the inhabitants of greater earth such as the Fae, gnomes, giants, etc… are offered through the memories of Brenda/Astelle in her sessions with Dolores. Woven throughout these chapters are the specifics of how the church made use of these beliefs and the ultimate return of the Inquisition period. 

Rounding out the density of information in Section 2,  Dolores returns to her long time subject Karen and shares the impressions received as Karen travels through the subsequent time periods of her Druidic days and returns to past lives as a minstrel, a physician, a child who sees faeries and a Greek priestess. “Section 3: More Lives with Karen” provides the reader with ample opportunity to give consideration to the possibility of multiple lifetimes that are experienced by a singular consciousness/soul.   

In conclusion, I found Horns of the Goddess to be a fascinating and thought provoking read.  Regardless of your perspective on the veracity of past lives, reincarnation and the storehouse of the subconscious in maintaining information that there is no reasonable explanation for the individual to know, the content of this title is engaging and completely immersive in its reading. 

“Dolores opened our eyes to wondrous and mysterious worlds. She dared to go into the forbidden realms of what the mind contained. If it had not been for her insatiable appetite to want to know more and to ask the many, many questions we might never have known the lost knowledge she found with her sessions.”4

Protection & Reversal Magick, by Jason Miller

Protection & Reversal Magick (Revised and Updated Version): A Witch’s Defense Manual, by Jason Miller
Weiser Books, 978-1578637997, 224 pages, March 2023

“I wrote this book to give you better protections and protocols, not to sow fear and paranoia. May the knowledge in the book aid you in staying safe on your journey, but also remind you that there is no such thing as being completely safe.”1

Protection & Reversal Magick (Revised and Updated Version): A Witch’s Defense Manual by Jason Miller is the newly revised version of what has become a classic book regarding magickal work to protect and ward. This edition features a new introduction by the author and updates to the chapters.

I greatly appreciated the titling of “ New Edition Commentary” at the end of each of the chapters. This provided a user-friendly tool for those who have read the original version, so they could read this version without having to pore through the material trying to identify what has been added.

Additionally, the Introduction to the New Edition, lays the groundwork for the “why” of updating the very successful tome written in 2006. 

“We are no longer live in a purely traditional culture. Modern modes of communication and travel have made the world much smaller than it was. The chance that a Santero or Peruvian shaman will cross paths with a Jewish Kabbalist or British witch is now a very real possibility … Without going out of my way to seek anyone out specifically, I was exposed to a Rosicrucian teacher, a rootworker, a Santera, a Buddhist ngakpa, and several different Wiccans all within central New Jersey, and all before I was twenty years old.”2

Overall, the general focus of the book is one of approaching magick from a practical perspective, just as you would with your mundane endeavors and taking the necessary precautions to ensure that you are safe and out of harm’s way to the best of your abilities.  Much of what Miller addressed in the original version is still true and of solid recommendation today, but the complexity of our society and interactions requires particular attention and nuances to address the ever-growing needs exponentially growing from fear, anger and stress. 

Protection & Reversal Magick is thoughtfully divided into nine chapters that take the reader through the basics of awareness and identification of a magickal, psychic or spiritual personal attack of magick, and the daily practices that support and protect your work. And, because of the extensive work that Miller does with Hekate, the reader will find the book filled with spells, rituals, and other workings aligned with the goddess in Her many guises and those spirits and beings who serve her. 

“Chapter 3: Personal Protection” provides the reader with a selection of protective tools, spells, and rituals, including discussion of shielding, amulets and talismans, invisibility, and cleansing and protection baths. The updated commentary of this section is one of caution that if you are already under attack, protection spells alone will not suffice and that a method of cleansing and purification are required as well.

As the reader moves through subsequent chapters, much of the information and workings gather more depth and require a more nuanced approach. In this way, Protection & Reversal Magick becomes not only a tool of effective magick for protection, but also a wonderful teaching guide of exposure to some facets of magick that not all practitioners are aware of such as exorcisms (as they relate from a non-catholic perspective), servitors, and complex talismanic magick. The information given is reflective of Miller’s diverse magickal background and, as such, offers new areas of exploration for some and a deepening of what is known for others.

Just as there was very little to be improved upon from the content of the first publication, there is very little commentary to be made about the expansion of material. The new commentary is rich with Miller having the perspective of additional years of fine tuning and trial and error. Protection & Reversal Magick  is one of those staple texts that should grace the library of anyone who practices magick. If you want to find out more about Miller, his books and online offerings can be found at StrategicSorcery.net.

Untamed Spirit Animal Oracle, by Francesca Matteoni

Untamed Spirit: Animal Oracle, by Francesca Matteoni and illustrated by Rocco Lombardi
Red Wheel, 978-1590035313, 112 pages, 50 Cards, August 2022

“This oracle of sacred animals is intended principally as an invitation to carefully explore and observe the fellow inhabitants of this planet: the beings that run, slither, jump, fly and swim around us and with us. It is an invitation to explore your own untamed spirit, the wisdom from the wild within.”1

Untamed Spirit: Animal Oracle, by Francesca Matteoni (author) and Rocco Lombardi (illustrator), is a visually stunning deck that may be used for its intended oracular purposes as well as a contemplative tool of alignment with the creatures of the natural world. The size of both deck and book of interpretation makes it an easy travel companion on those explorations into the forests, oceans, mountains, and caves that the animals and we call home.

This oracle deck features a 50-card deck and 122-page guidebook, neatly packaged in a drawer-like printed box.  The deck, box, and booklet are hand drawn images that are hues of black, gray and whites. I like this approach as it provides the reader with clean imagery that is neither distracting nor over laden with bursts of color or symbology that is unnecessary.

The dynamic guidebook describes the origin of each animal’s sacred nature along with a chart that lists its element, where it lives, zoological information,  an affirmation of mystical/spiritual energy of calling, symbols associated with it, and a brief charm to ask the animal for advice or guidance. Then each of the 50 cards features a message specific to the animal represented, and the back of each oracle card is adorned with a black and white peacock feather. 

The information relating to each of the oracle cards is thoughtfully organized by the element naturally associated with the animal (Earth, Air, Water and Fire) rather than alphabetically. Some readers may find this a bit clumsy, however, I had a sense that it was purposeful in adding another layer of thought and identification for the reader. This table of contents neatly spans two pages and the entire number of animals represented within the deck fits easily, providing the reader an “at a glance” view to find their card(s). 

I immediately went to the card and interpretation regarding the Swan, my favorite guide from early days of being a professional ballerina and my admiration of Anna Pavlova:

“The swan hour strikes when worlds touch.  I lift myself up from the water into the frigid air.  I carry with me the divine spark that is in every living being and return it to the sky.  The swan hour is the hour in which the soul emerges. Everything is pure.”2

I have come across many different interpretations of the swan, but this interpretation added another layer of depth to the majesty and intention of swan’s energy; that of the fires of the divine shining from within. Matteoni presents a description of grace as well as the recognition of the awkwardness of the cygnet, whose visage and movements do not give rise to this fledgling’s transformation into an ethereal creature. The image of the Swan crafted by Lombardi is both beautiful and evocative of the duality of form of this creature, being neither in the light and not of the dark but moving through a space that is the compilation of both.

My second card was drawn randomly, after asking “What is my focus in the present time?”. Not surprisingly, my subconscious immediately sought out the Bee:

“I am the alchemist of the word.  I transform the nectar of flowers into fruit. In my home, I produce golden honey. My buzzing is the sound of all that is regenerated. I dedicate my work to the great universal mother. I am responsible for what I create.”3

As I read the interpretation, I am reminded that the Bee is part of a collaborative matriarchal society that carries great responsibility within the animal world. Though small, it is mighty in what it can produce and create that is both nourishment and healing. The key words Matteoni uses for the Bee on the card are “responsibility” and “dedication”. This card spoke to me at a personal level of my work within the community as an Elder and High Priestess of the Assembly of the Sacred Wheel Tradition, as mother of five, wife of 46+ years and my responsibilities as an Admin. Assistant within a diverse school district. Busy bee indeed!

Overall, Untamed Spirit: Animal Oracle is a refreshing offering that stands apart from the colorful and graphic laden decks that are in abundance. The simplicity of interpretations provided and the depth of the black and white imagery make this oracle deck a perfect choice for those less familiar with using an oracle system, creating a user-friendly format to explore the mystical aspects of organic life. This is a deck that will be returned to frequently by novice and expert alike. With each new exploration, it will catalyze within its user a call to the stream of animal spirit that resides within all sentient life on our planet.

Becoming a Garment of Isis, by Naomi Ozaneic

Becoming a Garment of Isis: A Nine-Stage Initiatory Path of Egyptian Spirituality, by Naomi Ozaneic
Inner Traditions, 9781644113936, 352 pages, May 2022

“What passes for an ancient Egyptian religion and is often described as such is within the temple tradition, theurgy, the divine work of being and becoming. This is essentially a mystical endeavor quite unlike modern religion.”1

Becoming a Garment of Isis: A Nine-Stage Initiatory Path of Egyptian Spirituality by Naomi Ozaneic is one of those rare reads that emanates its energy and power simply by the calling of its title and the first few words on introduction offered. When you encounter a title of that sort, the reader knows that this will be an extraordinary read with much that is held between the words on the page and how these resonate within the consciousness of the reader by way of inner transformation. 

The book begins with “Preface: Preliminary Thoughts” that speaks to the evolution of its title and includes a powerful retelling of the author’s calling by Isis to take up Her mantle of heart and illumination to better serve the world’s needs in these modern times…

“Do you hear my voice? Do you rise upon a new path? Do you desire to be among my service with all the powers of your heart? Do you turn to me with outstretched hands as a child reaches out to a mother? Do you know the love of my heart? Then come. I am not distant but nearby. I am not locked in the past but I am ever present. I am as close as your next breath.”2

“Introduction: Kemetic Sacred Science” provides the reader with context and a thorough foundation of the Kemetic philosophies and application as a very specific mindset inclusive of science, religion and art…

“The Kemetic Sacred Science is an initiatory schema not a faith, it is a gnosis not a belief, it is a technology of consciousness not a religion. Its conceptual foundation is in a cosmology and theology that embraced all of nature from stone to star as a living presence mediated through a hierarchy stretching from the Above to the Below and completing in the human person as an embodiment of the divine.”3

The rest of the book is separated into four parts and takes the reader through the minds of the heart, spirit, and soul. As the reader moves through the heart of its content the incorporation of magical practice is evident in every aspect of this title and none more so than in the way in which it is organized beyond the preface and introduction. Ozaneic makes use of the enneagram and the number nine that corresponds to its structure in the crafting of nine sections of praxis designed to encourage the application of its content. 

“Nine is the highest digit. It symbolizes comprehensiveness and culmination. The enneagram is a fusion. It’s used for the pursuit of knowledge and in the quest for cosmic deities.4

The first three parts each contain three praxis sections (for the total of nine) and are entitled “Temenos I: The Heartmind”, “Temenos II: The Spiritmind”, and “Temenos III: The Soulmind”. I was intrigued by the use of the word “Temenos” and looked at the definitions given, all of which are telling in the creation of another layer of magic that holds the words of each section as sacred sanctuaries where the reader may explore and step into the power of their Divine nature.

  1. (noun) In Greek antiquity, a sacred enclosure or precinct; a piece of land marked off from common uses and dedicated to a god; a precinct, usually surrounded by a barrier, allotted to a temple or sanctuary, or consecrated for any other reason5
  2. (noun) A sacred circle where one can be himself without fear6

Of note in “(Part 1) Temenos I: The Heartmind” are the Twelve Attitudes of Mind for Spiritual Intelligence, which are part of Praxis 1: The Power of Intelligence.  These key attitudes are taken from the book Spiritual Intelligence by Dana Zohar and Ian Marshall and form the “SQ” or Soul’s Intelligence, an integral concept in the ancient Egyptian’s life’s purpose. These twelve keys encourage the reader to cultivate self-awareness, vision, resiliency, compassion, a diverse mindset, curiosity and humility to name a few. The inclusion of the keys by Ozanaeic offers the reader another path to explore as the Kemetic principles and worldview become interwoven with modern practices of spiritual awakening.

The concluding section, “Part IV: the Star of Mysteries”, refers to the nine-pointed star and each of the praxis sections that have carried the reader to the door of becoming and initiation in the ways of the Goddess, Isis and Egyptian cosmology and spirituality. In the same way that the preface shared the author’s experience in being called to writing this title, the concluding sections provide a detailed recounting of Ozaneic’s experience of embodying the Goddess Isis for her own workings as well as in attendance at the “Parliament of the Worlds”, a multifaith convention that brings together some of the most revered spiritual leaders of the world.

This chapter is an invitation to the reader to give consideration to the service and greater work of offering oneself up to devotion and expression of the ancient Kemetic ways. And, in the sharing of the author’s journey on that path, the reality of such a commitment is presented in a way that maintains the power of self-awareness and accountability and the evolution of spirit through sacrifice and service. 

This whole book is rich in history, theory, practical application and a concluding chapter “Guidance” that offers the reader a contemplative practice to deepen the work of the material offered by each praxis. I found these to prove that powerful contemplatives do not have to be lengthy and filled with unnecessary verbiage to affect the synthesis and change desired.  It is a dense read, as should be any title that takes on the task of reaching out to the most ancient of deities. Its writing is infused with the devotion and illumination of Ozaneic and, thus, exemplifies the gifts and challenges of pledging spiritual service to the Egyptian goddess, Isis. 

The primary take-away from this title is the comfort (or perhaps for some fear) that although many feel far removed from the unity and cosmological understanding of the Egyptian culture and their divine Neter (Gods/Goddesses) there is a re-awakening of the need for their universal connections. The cycles of time and events have merged and interwoven with similar events that caused the downfall and laying aside of the truths held in the Ancient Civilizations.

Becoming a Garment of Isis is a reminder that there is much value to be had in connecting to some of the elder philosophies, calling out to the Deities that held the understanding of creation within their forms and living in accord with the natural order of the world(s) and humanity’s place within it. 

“My journey into the Kemetic landscape has been a personal revelation; all journeys bring discoveries and this has been no exception. I have seen the abyss in perspective between this ancient view of life and our own. Silenced by an inability to read any symbolic language and made unconscious by glittering consumer distractions, we stand deaf, dumb and blind in a world singing to us clothed in the raiment of glory and inviting us to engage and enter into partnership.”7

The Empires of Atlantis, by Marco M. Vigato

The Empires of Atlantis: The Origins of Ancient Civilizations and Mystery Traditions Throughout the Ages, by Marco M. Vigato
Bear & Company, 1591434335, 416 pages, January 2022

The Empires of Atlantis: The Origins of Ancient Civilizations and Mystery Traditions Throughout the Ages by Marco M. Vigato is not an ordinary book about an extraordinary subject. And, it is most definitely not the usual fairy tale of mythology surrounding Atlantis and its fall.

Vigato dedicated the past fifteen years to documenting the evidence of ancient civilizations and their origins. This is most evident in the containers of the book and the detail in which the author goes towards supporting the theories around what he has uncovered, Where many other books focus on either the mythology and esoteric implications of ancient civilizations, in particular Atlantis and others seek only the archeological evidence, Vigato draws from a balance of esoteric philosophies and scientific and archeological evidence that offers a tried and tested timeline of historical events.  Vigato provides the reader with thirty-two pages of a Bibliography that is comprehensive and diverse in resources used to compile this treasure of a book.

The book is separated into six parts that set the reader on a journey beginning with our “Esoteric History:Part l”, “The First Time: Part ll” (including “The Mysterious Origins of Man”), “Twilight of the Gods: Part lll”, “Atlantis Rises Again: Part lV” (offering a look at “The Neo-Atlantean Empires”), “The Megalithic Odyssey: Part V”, and concluding with a discussion of “The Legacy: Part Vl” left from the Ancient civilizations, their cultures, and wisdom that has been lost on modern civilizations.

“The Epilogue: The Cycle Continues” provides a reminder that as a civilization we, as members of humanity, are part of a larger cyclical process that has defined and shaped our history and will most definitely weigh into our future. Dissolution of one cycle is a necessary prerequisite to the birthing and growth of another phase of existence. Despite the fatalistic sound of this concept, it is indeed one steeped in scientific evidence about the nature of evolution.

My recommendation to offset this reaction of “doom and gloom” would be that if the reader takes the time to “wade through” The Empires of Atlantis and give deep thought to the ample charts, timelines, graphics and more contained throughout, acknowledgement that cycles are organically part of the function of the cosmos become the reality of our existence.

Overall, The Empires of Atlantis is not an easy read, but well worth the effort for those who are fascinated by the spiritual underpinnings of humanity and the cosmology of the world. Ironically, this is one of the shortest reviews I have written for a book. This is not because it is lacking in content; in fact, it is entirely the opposite.

The skill with which Vigato has woven together cycles of humanity, evolutionary cycles of civilizations and the esoteric underpinnings that flow through all of it, is not easily reduced to simple quotes from a book and commentary on what information is being provided. This title is definitely worth exploring for anyone who wants a deeper understanding of our place as part of humanity and civilization’s natural evolution, regardless of your belief in the existence of Atlantis.

Pagan Portals – Sekhmet, by Olivia Church

Pagan Portals – Sekhmet: Lady of the Flame, Eye of RA, by Olivia Church
Moon Books, 978-1789047134, 120 pages, February 2022

“Sekhmet is a Goddess for today’s world.  She fiercely protects right order, returning balance to the world, and just as fiercely protects those who celebrate Her.  Her name means “Powerful Woman” and She symbolizes courage and strength as well as inspiration and comfort.”1

Pagan Portals – Sekhmet: Lady of the Flame, Eye of RA by Olivia Church is one of those titles that seems synchronistically to appear exactly when it is needed, much like the Goddess Sekhmet Herself.  And, I would even go so far as to say that in general, the rising interest in the ancient Egyptian deities aligns well with the societal need for a way of devotional that is powerful and terrifying all at once. Sekhmet, as Candace Kant so eloquently expresses in the quote above, is exactly that energy.

This book provides the reader with the tools of information and inspiration that allow for the cultivation of a connection to Sekhmet at multiple layers of experience. Much like the Goddess Sekhmet, the many paths that lead to Her wisdom hold multi-layers of meaning in and of themselves. And, as is the way with the Egyptian Deities–each has many epithets that only give the smallest hint of what lay hidden as you get to know them more deeply. To that end, Church has separated her book into seven chapters that take the reader from ancient knowledge of Sekhmet and the mythos surrounding her and concludes with a more modern approach of devotion and worship. 

Preceding the Introduction there a several pages containing abbreviations used throughout the book and a timeline of Ancient Egyptian history, as well as a geographical map of the more prominent Egyptian sites relevant to Sekhmet. The reader is given a very clear understanding of the the book’s intentions and what can be expected in delving into the Egyptian pantheon.

“Sekhmet is instantly recognizable today from her fierce appearance, bearing the proud head of a lioness, crowned by the sun disc and cobra, with the lower body of an Egyptian woman.  As with many Egyptian deities, Sekhmet is a complex character with a dramatic mythology and enduring influence, which continues to inspire people today…. Sekhmet is a challenging Goddess and this introductory volume will present her without airs and graces…. She is a Goddess of contradiction, sovereign over violence and sickness, as well as patron of healing and protection; she is truly the Mighty One.”2

These few sentences offered in the Introduction set the tone for what Church follows though in providing to the reader in the chapters to come. Each chapter offers the reader the ancient practices, as we know them, of devotion and interaction with Sekhmet and concludes with a section entitled “A Contemporary Pagan Perspective”. Within its writings are ways that the modern practitioner can meld together the inroads laid by the ancients and make them more relevant and accessible within a modern culture. 

As a fitting beginning of introduction to this Goddess, “Chapter 1: Mythology” tells of two myths that convey the origins of Sekhmet.  The subject of Sekhmet’s actual birth is one that exemplifies the mindset of the Ancient Egyptians and the adaptability of their Deities to evolve/spilt and become aspects of various states of being and temperaments rather than singular notions of anthropomorphic overlay.

She is one of several Egyptian Deities that have rather ambiguous beginnings, depending on who is telling the story and where the first stirrings of Sekhmet take place. In reading these myths, we see another layer typical to the Egyptian Deities, where one Deity morphs into another, not quite a hiving off into another half, but in keeping with the Ancient Egyptian psycho-spiritual perspectives, the second becomes an aspect of the first’s personality. This also speaks to the overlapping and true interconnectedness of the Egyptian Deities. 

The first myth presented is the Myth of the Eye of the Sun (The Wandering/Distant Goddess) and the second, which has come to be the more familiar regarding Sekhmet – The Book of the Heavenly Cow/The Destruction of Mankind. In the second myth, Hut-hor (Hathor) through her destructive actions against humanity at the request of RA, her father, Hathor sets out to wreak havoc on those who had turned away from the adoration of RA.  

“Send out your Eye that it may smite them for you, those who have conspired so wickedly. May it descend in the form of Hathor (B.H.C. 10-15; trans. Wente,2003) . . “I have overpowered mankind, and it was agreeable to my heart.” And so, Sekhmet came into being. (BHC.14015)”3

Hathor becomes Sekhmet as another form of being that is the perceived antithesis to the loving and regenerating nature of Hathor and drawing upon that rage and anger, Sekhmet, independent of Hathor comes into being.

“Egyptian mythology makes it clear that Sekhmet “came into being” when Hut-hor (Hathor) manifested true rage within herself.”4

As the reader progresses through Pagan Portals – Sekhmet, the chapters provide a very clear and concise image of the breadth of Sekhmet’s attributions and how important a Deity she was to the Ancient Egyptians. Chapters two to four speak to her designations as “The Devouring Flame” (chapter two), “The Great Healer” (chapter three) and as “The Eye(s) of RA” (chapter 4). And, chapters five to six provide the reader with the ways in which Sekhmet was revered in her “Temples & Cults” (chapter five), “Rituals and Festivals” (chapter six) and the “Magic and Prayers” (chapter seven) offered in adoration and supplication.  

The final chapter, “Worshiping Sekhmet Today”, speaks to some of the powers that were attributed to Sekhmet in ancient times and how these were directly affected by Egyptian culture, geographic location, and more. And, in recognition of those energies, Church encourages the reader to also see from an alternative perspective that worship is impacted by their own culture, geographic location, and worldview.

“I believe that Sekhmet’s ancient manifestations according to the Egyptian ancestors should be considered alongside the perspectives shared by their modern Egyptian descendants and contemporary Pagan experiences of her… As a contemporary polytheist I do not believe that deities remain static and frozen in their first appearances in human culture. I believe the Netjeru, like deities from other cultures, respond to their devotees and changing times…. that they travel with their devotees and are not limited to a single landscape, although they will always retain the memory and connection to their original land and culture.”5

“The Appendix: Key Egyptian Names and Words” is a welcome addition to the book and contains the Ancient Egyptian name/word and its Greek counterpart after assimilation into the Greek pantheon. The encouragement given by Church is for the reader to familiarize themselves with the original Egyptian name–a key factor in aligning with their energies. The Bibliography is a lovely blend of titles that are academic/historical in nature and those more recently written that give an expanded view of the gifts of Sekhmet and the Egyptian pantheon and cosmology in general. 

The test of a valuable title is one that can engage the reader and stimulate interest in the subject matter whether the individual has prior knowledge to build upon, is simply curious or just ordered the wrong book. Oh, and by the way about that last statement of a “wrong book” there are no coincidences! Pagan Portals – Sekhmet is definitely in the category of valuable and informative.

Regardless of what path or tradition you have your spiritual roots anchored within, it cannot be denied that most everything relates back to the Ancient civilizations. And, the Ancient Egyptian world view, their Gods and Goddesses hold a particularly vital place in that lineage. However it is that you come to this book there is a wealth of wisdom in the energies of Sekhmet. And, there is so much more to Her story than a single title could contain. Church has piqued the interest of her reader and what lay within the fires and ferocity of that interest could just be the Divine birthright that changes worlds for the better.