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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.

Mediumship, by Kerrie Erwin

Mediumship: Your Guide to Connect, Communicate and Heal Through the Spirit World, by Kerrie Erwin
Rockpool Publishing, 978- 1925924985, 160 pages, June 2021

“Mediumship is the practice of mediating communication between living humans and the spirits of the dead. It has been documented from early human history, gaining its popularity during the nineteenth century when Ouija boards were used by the upper classes as a source of entertainment. Natural mediums are born with the gift, although they may not become aware of it until later in life. Every person who walks this path has their own individual gift to offer. Once you embrace mediumship as your life purpose it becomes an enormous responsibility, as you are helping people to cope with their grief. Despite the highs and lows it is very rewarding.”1

Author Kerrie Erwin is an Internationally recognized medium whose work includes spirit rescue and connecting loved ones to those who have passed. There is often a distinct difference in being able to impart the body of what gifts the individual may have in a live setting versus being able to translate that information and teaching into book form. In the case of this title, Mediumship: Your Guide to Connect, Communicate and Heal Through the Spirit World, I would say that Erwin has done a wonderful job of bridging that disparity.  

Although this may seem like an aside and irrelevant, I am going to comment on the visual appeal of the book. We, as humans, are very visually driven, storing memories and feelings from the catalogue of what we have seen and then experienced as a result. This book is a soft powder blue paperback with a lovely piece of cover art depicting a white outlined pseudo Ouija pointer centered between gold text for title and author.

Upon opening the book, the reader is greeted by blue line drawings of eyes in various states of gaze and opening and scattered throughout are assorted blue lined drawings representing certain aspects of the content included in a particular chapter or paragraph. The attention that went into the design of the book itself immediately engages the reader in a gentle “pulling in closer” manner to subject matter that may be frightening or fraught with skepticism.

Mediumship is separated into thirteen chapters, each providing the reader with multiple aspects of consideration when exploring the role of the medium and finding your own style of communication. The Introduction offers a look at Erwin’s life as a medium and how the work came to be. She describes being called by the spirits at a very young age and how a near-death experience in her twenties allowed her first hand experience of the spirit world. Her descriptions are comforting and are filled with hope and joy at reuniting with those within your “soul group” who have passed before you. 

As part of the Introduction, Erwin also speaks of love and its power to act as a point of connection between the living and the departed. This is the connection achieved, as the medium becomes the conduit of that eternal connection…

“Love is the most powerful emotion in the world as its energy in its higher form, can create healing, miracles and magic in our world. When a loved one dies there is no ending but rather a new beginning, a journey back to the spirit world as spirit lives on, connected to us eternally.”2

Chapters 1-3 provide the reader with the basics of what mediumship is and how it may be defined. It was very interesting to have a definition of the types of mediumship, ranging from channeling and transfiguration. Then there is a concluding section on working with the police. 

“Chapter 4: Suicide: A Difficult Subject” was a much needed inclusion in the book for understanding another aspect of the work of mediumship, albeit one that is shied away from publicly….

To lose someone from suicide is incredibly painful, as you never understand why they took their own life and wonder if there was anything you could have done to prevent it.3

Some very thought-filled questions Erwin poses and answers are:

  • If you kill yourself are you punished and sent to hell?
  • Is it harder to make contact with a spirit who has committed suicide?
  • Do people really mean to kill themselves?

Additionally, there is a checklist of signs others can look for in individuals who may be inclined towards suicide and a listing of Australian help lines and agencies that can be called upon for help. 

“Chapter 7: Protection From Negative Energy” provides a reminder of the need to learn protection techniques and the attention that should be given to exactly what and where the spirits you may encounter are coming from:

“One of the first things I learned when I was developing as a medium was the power of protection and how to utilize it, which is mandatory in my profession. There are many different spirits and energies or different vibrations out there that are not always from the light.”4. 

As Erwin states, not all spirits have the best interest of their living connections in mind. Some can be tricksters and others downright baneful in their intentions. Psychic attack is included as a topic and the author also provides exercises in awareness and protection that are useful for those living energetic predators as well as those from the spirit realms. 

“Chapters 9: Meditation” and “Chapter 10: The Chakra System of Mediumship: Your Guide to Connect, Communicate and Heal Through the Spirit World” provide techniques for opening psychic awareness and self reflection through contemplative practice as well as the energetic anatomy that works collaboratively within the individual as the skills of mediumship are developed. Erwin makes use of nine chakra centers, beginning with the Earth Chakra and moving through the Transpersonal Chakra above the crown chakra at the top of the head. Each chakra is defined by its purpose, color and etheric location and the chapter concludes with a visualization exercise for Empowering with the Middle Pillar (another name given to the line of chakras along the etheric central column):

“The nine chakras are the energy centres in your body through which energy flows; they ground and protect you. Blocked energy in your centres can often lead to illness or dis-ease and can be projected onto your clients, so it is important to understand what each chakra represents and what you can do to keep this energy flowing.”5

“Chapter 11: Psychic Links” explores the tools of mediumship used to hone the skills of inner sight and continually build upon your abilities. Topics include flower readings, jewelry readings, pendulums, and Ouija boards to name a few.  Specific exercises to try out these tools are included, as well and provide the reader with a variety of experiences. 

I really enjoyed “Chapter 12: My Spirit Team”. Erwin talks about those guides she has for her work and I found this to enable a point of resonance between the reader and the material presented in giving a very concrete example of how these guides out-picture and what aid they offer.

“Chapter 13: Ethics for the Professional Medium” offers a lengthy and very concise list of the ethical considerations in acting as a medium for another. There is also a listing of what the client can expect from the medium. Again, very useful to ensure that if you choose to work with a medium you are placing your vulnerability and emotions in their care and keeping.  

Erwin sees life as a contract of experiences to be learned from and resolved. And, the compelling reason to seek out the expertise of a medium or to develop your own skills in connecting with those who have been part of your contract is that of healing and being able to move on to the next lifetime. She sums it up nicely in “The Afterthought”:

“I have tried many types of healing, and the most powerful would have to be simple forgiveness on every level. You don’t have to actually like the person, but once you have forgiven them you release yourself from the contract, cutting the energy connection that is no longer needed, learning the lesson and mobbing on to a life of love without fear.”6

Mediumship is a very user-friendly read that demystifies what mediumship is and the healing that can occur from those gifts being used with integrity and loving intention. I also found it a timely read given how many souls have passed over from COVID-19 and other horrific events. As I stated previously, there is definitely a message of hope and the comfort of knowing that physical death is just another state of Being.

Exploring the Divine Library, by Richard Rowe

Exploring the Divine Library, by Richard Rowe
Ozark Mountain Publishing, 9781940265803, 240 pages, March 2021

Exploring the Divine Library by Richard Rowe is a continuation of the journey outlined in his first book, Imagining the Unimaginable: A System’s Engineer’s Journey into the Afterlife, detailing his personal spiritual journey after having a near-death experience as a result of a blood clot in 2004. This experience set Rowe on a quest to deeply analyze and question death, suffering, and how people’s lives often play out in unfair ways. Finding success in a very methodical and analytical style of questioning, the questions became bigger and deeper in their intention and Exploring the Divine Library was written.

Rowe uses a unique format based on personal experience, trial, and methodical reasoning, which sets it apart from the standard fare of books focused on this subject matter. This is not surprising given that his perspective comes from a strong scientific foundation as an inventor with degrees in Avionics Systems Technology and Computer Science, along with an MBA from Florida Institute of Technology. The result is a purpose-filled fusion of spirituality, research, and science that informs the contents of Exploring the Divine Library.

This book is separated into twenty chapters, six appendices, a robust six pages of references, as well as an additional listing of references by chapter. The Introduction provides the reader with clarity of reference as to how Rowe defines the term “Divine Library” and the alternate nomenclature used:

“From ancient times to the present day, many names have been used to refer to information existing somewhere beyond our three-dimensional universe. These names include Akashic Field, Heavenly Library, the Book of Life, Hall of Two Truths, Library of Light, Cosmic Mind, the Matrix, Universal Library, Collective Subconscious, Holographic Library, and others.”1

The entirety of the book is founded upon questioning, researching, experimenting, experiencing, and finally drawing your own conclusions. Exploring the Divine Library reads much like a technical manual and may feel less mystical in its offerings. It is complete with sketches that also bring to mind lab experiment journals. The intention however is clearly one of analysis and organization that leaves room for both skepticism and belief.

“The focus of my exploration continues to be driven by questions that deeply resonate with me. I research a variety of first hand experiences and my own experiences to search for insights. This process is very similar to the approach I have used throughout my career as an inventor to invent, describe, and document systems systematically.”2

“Chapter 2: The Divine Library” lays the groundwork for deepening the readers understanding of what its purpose and nature is. Rowe uses his own findings as well as those who have used hypnotherapy and past-life regression with clients who have reported similar settings and attributes of a storage center (“a multidimensional spiritual data cloud”3) that records all human experience, words, thoughts, actions and the workings of consciousness.

Chapters 3 – 7 take the reader on a journey through the mechanics of the Divine Library. Rowe gives attention to structure, access and the effects of patterns and life cycles on the information stored not only for the personal, but on a collective webbing as well.

Chapters 8 – 13 explore the underpinnings of exploring the purpose and interconnections between the individual and the information contained within the Divine Library. Rowe takes the reader through the processes of formulating the questions, intention, problem solving, and connecting through meditation and prayer.

“Chapter 12: Life Purpose” explores the quintessential question of all humans at some point of their existence: what is my purpose? Rowe explains the importance of asking that and other “big questions” as part of the life experience. The reader learns the value of this movement through life by questioning, and its value when applying this same approach to accessing and co-creating within the Divine Library.

“A significant life event can be the perfect opportunity to ask big questions and evaluate life… Whatever the scenario, asking what is my purpose usually comes along with waves of emotion, confusion, and an off-balance feeling…”.4

Chapters 14-19 provide the reader with practical application of what has been revealed through personal research and analysis of the function of the Divine Library. How to access the records and the interconnectedness of all energetic beings is discussed, as well as ways to exercise manifesting the energy needed and expand the boundaries of individual consciousness to reach into the Divine Library’s resources.

Finally, “Chapter 20: Lessons Learned” is a summary of what Rowe (and perhaps the reader) experienced in his explorations of the Divine Library. I think this was a necessary way to conclude the book and doing so left no loose ends for the reader to try to interpret.

This book is not, by any means, an intuitive or easy read. It is user-friendly only if you have a curious and methodical mind that enjoys the minutia of dissecting whatever your focus is applied towards. That being said, I think it is a necessary and well-founded approach since the goal for the reader is one to know more about his/her/their self and the ultimate purpose of this particular lifetime. If you are willing to put in the work and pay attention to the details, you will find that the gifts of outcome are well worth the time spent in dissecting and analyzing. Exploring the Divine Library provides the access card to enter into the universal data of the Divine Library.

Through the Eyes of the Soul, by Cheryl Yambrach Rose

Through the Eyes of the Soul: 52 Prophecy Cards & Guidebook, by Cheryl Yambrach Rose
Blue Angel Publishing, 9780648746799, 52 cards, 68 pages, May 2021

We, as humans, are collectively engaged and catalyzed by imagery. The development of keen visualization skills is one of the most important trainings required in spiritual/magickal disciplines. We find our voices through imagery. We sense the emotions and intellect of intention through imagery. We see physically and with our subtle senses. We are continually processing and organizing information through imagery. So, when we are seeking answers to our most personal and profound questions, the imagery provided by whatever oracular tool we use is paramount in being able to completely pull us into that moment of intention and query.

Through the Eyes of the Soul: 52 Prophecy Cards & Guidebook by Cheryl Yambrach Rose checks off all of the boxes of what an oracle deck should accomplish. The imagery is beautiful and has a depth that speaks to Rose’s artistic talents and clearly demonstrates her knowledge of spiritual practice and deep teachings.

“Cheryl Yambrach Rose (Glastonbury, UK) is a visionary artist, portrait painter, and author. Her spiritual portraits are published and shown worldwide, appearing in the Nelson Rockefeller Collection, the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum, the San Francisco Palace of Fine Arts, and more.”1

The deck includes 52 cards and a guidebook of interpretations for the meanings of each. Upon opening the box, I noted the image selected for the back of the cards. This image is not simply decorative; rather, it powerfully sets the tone for what is contained on its other side and emanates a subtle energy of deep contemplative quiet. I was immediately drawn into this reflective state and readied for whatever wisdom I was to glean from this palpable visual stimulation.

Each of the cards evokes an emotional response, as any finely crafted piece of art should. The images easily resonate as human to human, rather than fantastical images that are more of deep imaginings. However, upon closer inspection the seeker will be able to sense that although human in representation, those beings depicted on the cards have stepped more fully into their Higher Self and Divine nature. I found this very encouraging of remembering my own Higher Self and what is possible when that transformative awareness comes out of the pictures.

I chose to test out the oracle cards with a simple three-card query: What has brought me to where I am now? Where do I stand in the present? What is my work in moving forward? The three cards selected were on point with my (and, yes I know, very open ended) questions. The gift in the answers was not so much about whether these were magickal cards that could somehow predict, but in the very succinct, yet deeply catalyzing interpretations I read in the accompanying booklet.

As the reader moves through the guidebook of Through the Eyes of the Soul, it becomes apparent that each of the cards contained within the deck hold special relevance to a particular God/dess, enlightened being or evolved individual from a variety of spiritual paths. The cards of my three-card draw reflected the trials a boy endured as he “climbs the ladder of enlightenment” to become a Shaman of his tribe in Suriname. The second card spoke to the wisdom of the Celtic Shaman and the “Dawning of the Green Man” and the third card introduced me to Libuse, the Prophetess of Prague, a Druid princess in the eighth century and the origins and greater meaning of the naming of Prague.

“This oracle deck is a vehicle for providing intuitive guidance from the mythic beings and divine entities who inhabit sacred sites and spaces. Deep insights and profound answers are hidden within the paintings. Meditating on a card image connects you to the energy of the location where the painting was conceived. You become the weaver of your fate by tuning into the higher self and allowing that spontaneous connection to answer questions or suggest advice.”2

One of my favorite cards from Through the Eyes of the Soul is Card 36, “Retreat into Nature. Solitude.”:

“Take time for yourself. Leave the daily routine and return refreshed and renewed…Inside the Redwood tree the (non-cultural) Shamanka/Shaman can retreat in silence and enter into the deeper realm of consciousness while feeling totally protected by animal allies.”3

This message, in particular, rang very true for me and I am quite sure it holds true for so many of us. We seek the paths of the old ways, and yet are continually pulled and battered about societal expectations, deadlines, and more. Just simply placing your awareness and intention in the painting of this card, immediately transports the user to otherworldly places, the redwood forests and a space of respite.

I have many oracle decks and have come to hold a good dose of skepticism for how deep they will take the reader and the overall appearance that many have. That is not to say that they do not have an audience that will resonate and gain much from them, but, having a daughter who is a fine artists and has produced some deeply profound and beautiful spiritual paintings has, I admit somewhat heightened my levels of preferring imagery that is magickal simply in its every line, nuance and shading. These are the paintings and images that at first glance “transport” you along a journey of wisdom as each of your senses is awakened in resonance with what you have “seen”.

Rose has succeeded precisely in the expectation that I hold. Through the Eyes of the Soul is a gift to your spiritual and mundane Self/self that will awaken within you doorways to unimagined beauty and wisdom. I’ll be enjoying this deck for quite some time.

Cell Level Meditation, by Barry Grundland and Patricia Kay

Cell Level Meditation: The Healing Power in the Smallest Unit of Life, by Barry Grundland, MD and Patricia Kay, MA
Findhorn Press, 9781644112243, 176 pages, March 2021

… Dr. Barry Grundland was a psychiatrist whose specialty area might have been called psychoneuroimmunology. This is a big word that basically means min-body healing.  The mind, including our thoughts, emotions and attitudes affects the body, and in turn the body affects our minds, thoughts, emotions and attitudes. For over 50 years, Barry worked with people as a true healer –one who helps others come to Wholeness, or a sense of being who they really are…1

Cell Level Meditation: The Healing Power in the Smallest Unit of Life by Barry Grundland, MD and Patricia Kay, MA provides the reader with a broad perspective of the wonders and amazing capabilities of the wisdom of our bodies to heal. The quote above may not be innovative in our current society that is flooded with self-help tools, self-awareness training and contemplative practices of all manner, but the quintessential intention held in this statement about the co-author Dr. Grundland speaks to the simplicity of the book itself and acknowledgment of our capacity to thrive, heal and remain in a state of well-being simply by engaging the healing nature of our bodies in the process. 

“Cell Level Meditation” is a term crafted by Dr. Grundland to describe the power-and simplicity of establishing dialogue with the body at the cellular level and programming those related cells to function in a specific way. Co-author Patricia Kay speaks to the inherent directive and energy of the cell….

… The Cell is a real thing in the material world., and it is a metaphor as well, since it carries a basic “pattern” of organization you can find in every level of Life. The cell has a nuclei for example, which is a central area where you can find very basic information, that is very precise instructions for how things work; this information is inscribed on strands of tightly coiled threads called DNA…2

Kay further sets the tone for what follows and how the reader will be using the cell as a tool for healing:

… For our purposes, at the “level of the cell” we engage the workings going on there at different levels and states of awareness, which we can find with concentration, focus and participation through breath…3

Cell Level Meditation is separated into twenty chapters and makes use of poetry and quotations throughout the book. In general, there is a very poetic tone running through the information provided, which serves to engage the reader at all levels of being and all levels of understanding of neurobiological studies. 

The Introduction lays the groundwork for what follows in the subsequent chapters:

Cell Level Meditation is a vehicle for finding our way “home”.  We take the breath to our cells, offering them our deepest desire to be happy and healthy and strong.  In some way, they hear us and respond…This meditative form is a gift that helps the mind and the body come into healing, which in turn, helps us be ourselves in fullness…4

One of the things I appreciated about Cell Level Meditation is the way in which the reader is enveloped in the intention, whether overtly or subtly in the writings, with a gift of opening to the experience of meditation as a healing soured, as well as greater knowledge of the physical aspects of our being that are co-creators in that healing. 

Chapters one to five act as a primer for the reader and offer tools, exercises and insight into the art of Meditation and its use at a cellular level (chapter one and two), mind (chapter three), body (chapter four) and breath (chapter six). This information in and of its self is valuable in delving deeper into the “whys” of the contemplative arts, whether directed towards cell level use or general mindfulness

There is a specific and supportive rhythm that flows through the teachings of Cell Level Meditation. Each of the remaining chapters expands on these basics and moves through the process of this meditation in a style that is user friendly and allows for time to process and digest what has come previously. Moving through the book, the information has a wonderful way of capturing the mystical in the scientific and the scientific in the mystical. 

Chapter 19, “Conditioned Habits”, is one that calls the reader to awareness of their body’s (cells) wisdom and inherent dialogue (if we train ourselves to listen); and, the acknowledgement that we are all “programmed” (conditioned) towards certain habitual behaviors.  The previous chapters have established the importance of breath as a vehicle of movement and enlivenment, and the practice of breath focused meditation to further awaken the cells and enable these changes and shifts towards a more balanced state. The reader is reminded that this desire and action towards change often brings about chaos, a term used widely in the scientific community denoting the precipice of change or shift from one state of being to another, a naturally occurring evolutionary process found throughout nature….

… Rather than being too worried about being at the edge of chaos”, you are now empowered to stay present with your experience… Even in chaos, you have the breath. You are going into Unknown Territory, but with your intention and hope and the breath. The rest … comes from a higher place. … By working with the edges of our conditioned habits with awareness, willingness to stay present for what is actually going on as sensations in the body, even stuck patterns are called to a higher level when there is a ripe moment…5

These are merely highlights of this book. It is difficult to capture an “experience” in the writing of a review. I believe, however, that the authors have done just that, and more. Additionally, the publisher Findhorn Press was aptly suited for this title. Having reviewed several of their titles now, there is most definitely a theme and level of quality in the work of their authors that provides representation from the scientific/academic community as well as the more esoterically inclined. The overall themes are those of wholeness and collaboration at the levels of the environment, the planet and most importantly those beings who remain as stewards of themselves and their surroundings.

Cell Level Meditation takes the reader into a journey of the microcosmic nature of our self and the profound power of healing and wholeness contained in the singular component of our physical make-up – the cell. And, from that place of the cell the potential for what can be brought back into the macrocosm is limitless. 

Self-Love Journal, by Akal Pritam

Self-Love Journal: A Journal to Inner Peace and Happiness, by Akal Pritam
Rockpool Publishing, 925924459, 208 pages, March 2021

“Dear Soul… May you surrender to self-love, the blooming of your joyful heart, as you journey towards more inner peace and happiness… May you love yourself through the process of transformation, not judge yourself and stop that inner blooming… I celebrate your beautiful creative rhythm. I bow down to you for all that you are. You are invaluable…”1

Self-Love Journal: A Journal to Inner Peace and Happiness by Akal Pritam is a feast for the eyes and a treasure for the heart. The pages of the journal are beautifully illustrated by the author and lovingly separated by color into sections moving through the energies of the chakras and their associated visualizations.

The quote above is part of the opening 2-page invitation from the author to step into the beauty of your divinity and ability to generate and be love. This small excerpt gives clue that this journal is not like any other you may already own and this invitation echoes within the spiritual nature and capacity for self-love and acceptance inherently within all of us.

Let me begin by saying that this is not a journal I would traditionally have selected for myself. I tend more towards the crisply lined unadorned pages and leather covers. But, as is true of many things, particularly those of a spiritual nature, first choices are necessarily what is needed, nor where you find the most self-growth.

These thoughts and more have been especially relevant in my case, and what I have learned of myself simply by going through the offerings for this review would, I believe, hold true for any reader. Pritam has skillfully produced a visually beautiful space to write your inner most feelings, judgments, and transformative moments, as self-acceptance and love begin to flower in response.

One of the reasons I chose this journal for review is because I have been feeling “raw” after the events of the past year and a half, as I am sure many of you are as well. Self-Love Journal is the perfect soothing balm to begin the healing. As you move through the pages, it feels much like a cocoon from which we can again find strength and joy within; embrace the metamorphosis and emerge with the beauty and lightness of spirit of the butterfly.

Images of beautiful women in soft-colored pastels grace the pages with ample space for journaling and inspiring words of encouragement accompany image or footer of a blank space to write. Each section that denotes the transition from one chakra into the next provides the reader with basic information about the energy they will be working with regardless of familiarity with the specific chakra. These include the English and Sanskrit names, the Bija sound, corresponding body parts, affirmations and more. The entire page is dedicated to the naming of opening this center within the reader’s etheric anatomy in preparation for the work to follow.

The page directly opposite is a beautiful illustration of a woman’s face adorned with the symbol of the chakra at the center of a geometrically patterned heart. The skill of Pritam’s artistic talent shines in these illustrations with the eyes of the women depicted looking back in loving gaze, determination, and support. These felt very much like gazing into the gentle strength of a dear friend hoping to share the reflection of beauty that she sees within you for you to claim as your own.

I especially enjoyed the writing inspirations, color, and visuals used for the journaling pages corresponding to the work of the Solar Plexus Charka (Manipura):

“… I am future ancient, born now. An infinite soul of love empowered by the cosmos. Activated from the core of my true self; and invaluable, radiant, incomparable individual. I know how to serve in loving truth…”2

Much of what the focus centered around was that of stepping into your own power and owning the truth that evolves from that space. Energetically, the Solar Plexus is the seat of the individual’s strength and fuels the forms that action and will take. It is depicted as yellow sun-filled energy.

The colorings used in Self-Love Journal were actually more of a honey-gold that immediately took me to thoughts of the honeycomb, bees, and the power of the queen to command and oversee the production of the sweet nectar of honey that will nourish and sustain. This gave a very warm feel to what is often an intensely heated engagement with this chakra. This, coupled with imagery, provides the reader with a truly organic calling into the heart of the sweetness of the hive, the intricate and beautiful patterning of the comb and preparation to take on the mantle of the “queen bee”.

Self-Love Journal is truly a journal to be experienced. There is something of connection to be made by anyone, whether it is the guidance of the chakras, the inspirational statements, the beautifully rich illustrations or the overall visual beauty. And, if you are interested in supplementing your journaling with oracle or mini cards of inspiration, Pritam also has available an oracle deck (Self Love Oracle: Find Peace and Happiness through the Chakras) and inspiration cards (Let Go: Mini Inspiration Cards). I’ve just ordered the oracle deck!

Answering the Call of the Elementals, by Thomas Mayer

Answering the Call of the Elementals: Practices for Connecting with Nature Spirits, by Thomas Mayer
Findhorn Press, 978- 16441122144, 160 pages, June 2021

Answering the Call of the Elementals: Practices for Connecting with Nature Spirits by Thomas Mayer is a timely book that incorporates the melding of environmental consciousness and the intuitive nature within humankind that desperately needs reawakening if we are to co-exist with those beings that inhabit the natural world.

It is no secret to those who live collaboratively with the ephemeral spirits, beings, and other sentient forces that we are at a crossroads. How we proceed, who (or what) we consider to be allies to form alliances with, will dramatically affect the outcome of this planet and all of the life that occupies it.

Mayer has brought this need to the foreground in a book filled with first hand experience and a prodding for the reader to seek out their own measure of experience that will give proof of the existence of nature spirits. 

Even if we are not consciously aware of it, we live in the realm of elemental beings. Everywhere, and all the time, they penetrate our souls and slip into our hearts. The whole world around us is ensouled with elemental beings. Elemental beings participate in everything that is happening in nature around us… 1

Answering the Call of the Elementals is separated into twenty chapters and is a narrative of the author’s recounting of his experiences in seeking those beings he identifies as elementals. One thing that struck me in reading this book was the lack of a definitive definition as to what “elementals” are. There is a movement between the semantics of “elementals” and “nature spirits” that is not always easy to follow in terms of whether they are interchangeable or something altogether different.

But, even in saying that, there is a purposeful wisdom in what appears to be lacking definition and by the end of the book the reader realizes that there is no generic definition of these beings. They are changeable. They move through many worlds and have many agendas to fulfill in both the physical and spiritual worlds. 

Beginning with the opening pages of “Chapter 1: The Plea”, the reader is immediately drawn into the experience of Mayer and his conversation and meeting with the four Elementals (beings) of nature. In simplistic form, these beings are the pure essence of their respective alchemical realms of earth, air, fire, or water, as they exist within the natural world. This meeting comes as a plea from their realms:

We are the beings of the nature elementals. We encompass and represent them. We come to you with a request. Humanity has forgotten the elemental beings. We live in your subconscious, we are a big part of your lives, but you know nothing of us…2

This plea is the driving force behind the authoring of this book. In Mayer’s writings, the reader can palpably and emotionally feel the imminent need to awaken and to rekindle the long forgotten relationships with those beings we still, albeit not acknowledged, live so intimately with. Mayer provides the reader with as much descriptive and ambient tone as possible to allow the information to wash over the reader at all levels of understanding and, perhaps, to also stimulate the urgency abiding in how far removed we have become from the natural world and these elemental beings. 

It is time. In this moment I decide. It is all perfectly clear in an instant. I will do their bidding. As a first step I will focus on teaching the meditation courses, and the following steps will develop from there…3

In Answering the Call of the Elementals, Mayer succeeds in providing a step-by-step plan of developing and awakening the sensorial tools necessary to “see”, feel and dialogue with nature spirits”.4 In particular, “Chapter 4: Experiencing Elemental Beings” provides some of the “how” to make contact and the “why” of its potential and necessary agenda. 

Experiencing elemental beings is generally prohibited by mental blocks. These mental blocks tend to come up particularly when you begin with practical exercises. You think your own perceptions are figments of the imagination, or fantasies, and you are so full of mistrust that nothing remains. So right away, you throw out the baby with the bathwater…5

As the reader moves deeper into this chapter, there is a slow building of confidence in abilities crafted by specific examples of the author’s experiences, interwoven with sound and practical contemplative endeavors that serve not only this purpose but many others relating to spiritual practice and growth. There is a lot of information in what appears to be not many pages, and the information is dense and rich.

Mayer is very methodical in the step-by-step approach of training the reader to be able to access the largely intuitive and feeling nature that aligns with that of the elemental beings. And, it is precisely this analytical methodology that allows the “mental blocks” that persist to be assuaged in their need to dominate and over analyze so that something more natural and organic can open in their place. This opening becomes the threshold of meeting and perceiving those inhabitants of the elemental worlds, and it is in this space of mutual recognition that the healing of the planet, self, and spirit may begin. 

There is a lot of information to ruminate over and to digest between the covers of Answering the Call of the Elementals. Mayer uses the teachings of Austrian philosopher and esotericist Rudolf Steiner as the underpinnings of this book giving a layer of Christian mysticism to a topic that is also part and parcel of pagan practices. This makes the content more globally based and underscores the intention of its writing; collaboration and co-creation between humanity and the realms of the more ephemeral beings.

It is important to note that Rudolf Steiner was the founder of a specific branch of philosophy known as anthroposophy, which supported the concepts of an objective and intellectually comprehensible spiritual world that could be accessed and experienced by humanity. This is a key understanding Mayer uses throughout the book as a given ability that all of humanity has.

Answering the Call of the Elementals is definitely a title I will return to for another read through. I have a sense that each reading will undoubtedly reveal another nuanced subtleties inherent in this re-connection to the spiritual world. The Epilogue of this title speaks to the author’s …vision for the future “includes elemental beings once again becoming a cultural public resource for our civilization”6

Mayer outlines a vision of the future that integrates elemental beings into the fabric of all of society’s daily workings. These include a school-level course of study focused on the elemental beings as part of the traditional educational studies, elemental research groups at universities, local governmental departments, and committees dedicated to the well-being and care of elementals, as well as farmers enlisting the strength and help of agricultural elementals and the direct connection of contractors and builders with those elementals of the mechanical and work equipment being used. These goals feel lofty in aspiration, but perhaps what is required is lofty ambitions and devotion to restoring our connections to the natural world. 

This vision is surely unfamiliar today and beyond the normal conceptual frame. To me, it is not only realistic, but necessary. The nature elementals are eagerly waiting for human beings to consciously grasp them, for their future existence is dependent upon it. We humans and the elemental beings have a common destiny – to rescue the elemental beings…7

Without Reservation, by Randy Kritkausky

Without Reservation: Awakening to Native American Spirituality and the Ways of Our Ancestors, by Randy Kritkausky
Bear & Company, 978-1591433842, 288 pages, September 2020

“While most of our journeys take us away from our immediate daily setting, the journey described in this book has not been a journey away from home. It is a journey, yet incomplete, homeward…”1

Without Reservation: Awakening to Native American Spirituality and the Ways of Our Ancestors by Randy Kritkausky is a powerful book, relating the author’s journey of self-identification and awakening the connections to what his ancestry holds as wisdom and an authentic sense of personal and collective spirituality. The overarching message of the book is one of a gentle encouragement by the author to explore your own uniqueness, your own histories, your own lineage and by so doing becoming more wholly who you are.

I will share a quote from “Chapter 17: Microbes and Black Swans,” which speaks eloquently to Kritkausky’s intent for himself and the world at large. This chapter relates the author’s continued experiences as COVID-19 spread throughout the world and the arising of his wish for society’s healing anchored from a Native American perspective:

Native Americans know how to cope with a more powerful adversary while maintaining our dignity. We make necessary accommodations as best we can. . . Crisis can be a time to dig into our historical narratives and to gather their wisdom. The isolation and time-outs imposed on us in the form of quarantines may be a hidden gift, a pause button encouraging reflection. Imagine our families and communities gathered in small groups around a fire, exchanging stories of ancestral wisdom and reimagining our future. Imagine the cultural enrichment that might come if this became routine…2

Without Reservation is separated into seventeen chapters and ends with a powerful writing of the “Conclusion: Untangling Threads of Historical Narrative”, which speaks to what the author’s journey has truly revealed for him…

What I did not anticipate is that in, around, and through my personal reflections, another more complex image would emerge and come into focus-that of “Indianness” writ large. I now see unfolding before me something like a five-dimensional hologram of my collective tribal history through time, and even beyond that, an emerging image of our continent’s human history…3

This historical narrative is not one that is found in academic teachings, but rather one that can only be derived by the understanding and wisdom gained in making the time and taking the effort to step fully into the wisdom of the ancestors and nature and seeing through their eyes the true story.  

I appreciated that the author included a Glossary of Indian Words, chapter Notes and a robust and very thorough Bibliography. These were excellent tools that serve to deepen the reader’s understanding of the importance and profound impact this journey “homeward” had for Kritkausky, while giving insight into the wealth of wisdom held by the Native peoples.

One of the things that sets this book apart from many other books about Native American Spirituality or Native biographies is that Kritkausky is one of Native American descent who did not grow up on a Native American reservation, and so he did not have the first hand cultural and ancestral experiences that arise from those daily interactions within community and family. Additionally, he describes himself as frequently standing…

“… before a mirror. . . The face that stares back at me always has hazel eyes, light brown hair, light skin and northern European bone structure. I am continually reminded that I look more like my adopted family’s Lithuanian ancestors than my biological family’s Potawatomi ancestors.”4

And it was this self-reflection that ignited the flame within him to seek “home”.  He goes on to remind the reader that…

“Who we are and who we think we are is not merely a social construct rooted in the fleeting here and now. Who we are and who we think we are is rooted in historical connections with those who have walked on but continue to be with us. Our identity is rooted in our relationships with the land and with a sentient natural world that shares an active understanding with us. When we wander too far from our roots, our ancestors and kin in the natural world call us home, sometimes with gentle whispers and sometimes with loud voices sounding alarms…5

Each chapter gives a thoughtful amount of Kritkausky’s personal background and how he was raised apart from the Native traditions of the Potawatomi tribe, despite the Native heritage on his mother’s side. The reader is privy to the spiritual uncertainty that arose when his mother remarried a man of Lithuanian descent, who became his adopted father, and life in a geographical location lacking in ethnic diversity or non-traditional options to pursue spirituality. 

“Chapter 2: The Awakening” and “Chapter 3: Before the Awakening” recount the synchronistic events and imminent death of his mother, that brought Kritkausky into the wisdom of his Native extended family and their spiritual practices through a tradition of understanding of and collaboration with the natural world. It is often said of important matters that when the student is ready, the teacher will come. For Kritkausky, the teachers took on the forms of ancestral spirits, animal spirits, aunts, uncles, and kin.

“Chapter 4: Pathways to Knowing” is my favorite chapter of Without Reservation. This chapter provides the reader with tools for consideration as the process of awakening to the Native ways of spirituality begins. Kritkausky outlines them in this way:

• Visitations and Connections: “The most astounding and sometimes the most perplexing encounters involve wonderful, unintended and typically unexpected visitations from ancestral spirits…. direct connections with the natural world, (are) moments when the consciousness of other living beings, flora and fauna, becomes accessible…”6

• Observation: “… comes through intended highly conscious, close observation of the world of nature and the lessons that flora and fauna bring, if we take the time to see and listen…”7   

• Reflection: “This mode of coming to know and understanding requires time and critical self-examination, even an element of skepticism. It often requires asking ourselves hard questions…”8

The questions that are posited are found in many other spiritual journeys, all with the intention of verifying what has been intuited, maintaining a level of integrity around the intention and deepening the resonance of integration of what information is received. 

The last pathway, for me, was the most profound and is that of storytelling, described as…

“… profoundly social rather than introspective and private. By sharing or publishing knowledge and wisdom we have been given, we become teachers and conduits of culture…Our friends, families and communities challenge and confirm us, For Native Americans with millennia-old oral traditions, storytelling comes naturally. For others, this is nearly a lost art form…”9

I love this particular intention and pathway. You can feel the power and deep connectedness arising just in reading the author’s words of description. The reader is reminded that these paths intersect, informing one another and creating the point of resonance that will call to the wisdom of the ancestors, the support of the natural world, and the strength of heritage to find a place of cultural home. 

Without Reservation is a moving and intimate recounting of the author’s desire to know more about who he is in his “Indianness.” This book is dynamic with emotion, historical truths, technique, and masterful weaving of a personal account of seeking family. At the level of nuance, this title evokes in the reader a yearning for a simpler, yet deeply connected relationship with the knowingness of who you are in heritage, in spirit and in the network of ancestry.

For me, personally, it struck an emotional chord.  As Kritkausky relates in the beginning of the book, many Americans know of their Native American lineage, but lack the proof required for recognition by the US government and/or the various Tribal Nations themselves. They remain disenfranchised from their roots and find it easier to remain entrenched in the expectations of the society and cultural experiences they were raised in; taking on an identity that is incomplete and unfulfilling. What knowledge they may have of this other heritage is often fleeting or merely a glimpse of some memento or artifact at best, or a random comment made in passing that may indicate that they are something more.

In my case, it was a picture of my great-great grandmother and the telling of a story by my grandmother about her grandmother. The picture portrayed a beautiful Native woman with braids and clothing, presumably Cherokee. My grandmother did not know much other than what she was briefly told by her mother and when my grandmother died, the picture disappeared.

Without Reservation awakened within me the desire to know more about that neglected aspect of myself. And, I would broadly say that the approach and fervent desire that Kritkausky shared could be applied to anyone’s lineage-European, Asian, African, etc. All have historical narratives and ancestral stories to tell. And, as was true for Kritkausky, in connecting with the wisdom of your history, we can better be suited towards living in harmony and respect for one another and ultimately deepen the connections to nature that all indigenous peoples revere.

Of Blood and Bones, by Kate Freuler

Of Blood and Bones: Working with Shadow Magick and the Dark Moon, by Kate Freuler
Llewellyn Publications, 0738763637, 312 pages, July 2020

… we all have a dark side. It’s part of who we are. Even the most peaceful of light workers casts a shadow. We all possess the ability to hate, to be angry, to be bitter, and to want revenge….if we can acknowledge our own darkness honestly, we can control it and channel it into something productive…”1

Of Blood and Bones: Working with Shadow Magick and the Dark Moon by Kate Freuler is a highly recommended title for any who want to deepen their practice of witchcraft and magick in a more balanced and polarized way. Much has been written about the power of moon magick in its more traditional phases; the dark moon always being cloaked in mystery and more of a one-sided stance on how to use its energies. Ms. Freuler faces the topic of dark moon magic head on and begins a dialogue of understanding of its subtleties in a way that leads the reader towards deeper exploration of the dark moon tides within oneself and its inherent support of shadow magick and workings.

As the title suggests, this is not your ordinary book about moon magick, traditional shadow work, or darker Deities. This is an exploration of calling forth the shadow that is cast from a brilliance of polarized light and learning to navigate the terrain as you claim your own dark nature as a source of power. The tools employed on this journey are literally of blood and bone, ashes, remains, rust, decay, debris and more. Their uses and many of the more maligned and misunderstood practices associated with the work of dark magick such as cursing, hexing, blood magick, and others is given the proper context for use. Freuler honors the ethics surrounding the choice and provides enough information to allow the reader to explore these practices using free will and holding the intention of seeing the bigger picture.

Of Blood and Bones is separated into five parts and fourteen chapters. It is written in a way that provides the reader with the tools to go about the work of inner reflection early on in the reading so that ultimately this more informed way can be carried into the outer expressions of that practitioner’s craft. A disclaimer section at the beginning of the book sets the appropriate tone for what follows and lends itself to the example of offering due diligence around the forthcoming subject matter, some of which involves the legality and proper obtaining of the ingredients used.

The spellwork contained in each chapter holds true to the intention of breaking through the hesitancy around workings of a darker nature. Materials used, the how, and the why are all very carefully outlined providing multiple layers of discernment to be developed by the practitioner about their use and when they would be needed. A Spell Index at the end of the book provides easy reference without the need to search through the chapters. Recommended Resources and an ample Bibliography conclude the book, pulling everything together in a user-friendly way from start to finish.

The introduction, “It’s Not All Love and Light,” prepares the reader to take a look at all of the aspects of witchcraft and magickal workings. The reader is reminded that there are aspects of light and dark in all endeavors and for a synthesized and whole practice to develop we have to embrace all of the polarities within our practice. Ethics takes center stage throughout the book and the encouragement to allow those darker aspects that we all possess to come forward to be dealt with and acknowledged is the underpinning of becoming more informed in our practice.

“To be truly connected to nature, the seasons and the cycles of life, we must be balanced; we must acknowledge, accept and embrace the darkness of our spirits as fully as the light parts. This doesn’t mean that we should indulge in negativity and harmful behavior but rather accept these traits as guides and teachers in our personal growth. From there we can transform our lives…”2

“Part 1: Shadow Work and the Dark Moon Current” and the chapters contained within give a very through overview of everything that is needed to begin this journey of dark magick. Listings of Deities aligned with dark magick, moon tides, incense recipes, altars and rituals of dedication provide the reader with ample information to proceed more informed than when starting, now knowing that this work is deeply transformational and to expect to emerge from the dark forever changed.

“Part II: Blood and Bones” exposes the reader to the old ways of the craft and the repurposing of objects for magick, knowing their inherent power. Body fluids such as blood, semen, urine, menstrual blood, and saliva carry powerful and potent magick. Additionally, living a life very close to nature, animal parts were often employed in spells and rituals; their power derived from the earth itself and the specific energy that a particular animal carried. There were no magick stores and everything was seen as sacred and holding its own mantle of power.

“These (subjects) that people find so terrifying make up our very life energy. Blood, semen, urine, menses, bones, and even saliva are literally at the core of survival. Their presence creates life, and their absence takes life away. So, while these topics can be gory, gritty and gross, they speak to people on a primitive level as old as the earth…”3

“Part III: The Forbidden Craft” hones in on some of the more controversial topics surrounding shadow magick. Had the strong component of ethics that flowed through the book not been abundantly present, misunderstanding of the intention and the ultimate categorizing of this book with others that are wholly about revenge, retribution, misplaced power, and harm could have become a lost moment in discernment around what is not so clearly black or white, good or bad, or able to be defined by any of the usual semantics used. Curses, hexes, bindings, death magick, and more are fully discussed from the perspective of when these methods would be appropriately used and the greater ramifications surrounding the intention and its greater energetic effects on both the practitioner and the recipient.

“Chapter 8: A Witch’s Curios” offers the reader an inside look at some of the tools such as broken mirrors, rusty nails, bullet casings, graveyard dirt, hair and nails, and more that typically are not incorporated into spellwork. These are the objects of magick that lay discarded or of fearsome touch: all that lay at the threshold of death and all that are the necessary unwanted reminders of something not entirely of the light. The use for these objects and energies they carry are outlined and spells using items such as these are included. The ethical and legal aspects of collecting graveyard dirt or obtaining some of the other items is thoroughly discussed for informed decision in acquiring and using these as part of your magick.

“In the dark witch’s cabinet there are some things that are repulsive, some things that smell yucky, some things that are frightening, and some things that society as a whole just wants you to ignore. Grab your hand sanitizer and come on in…”4

Of Blood and Bones is a book that will definitely evoke strong opinions about its content. Much of what is provided would be considered by some to be less than wholesome magick, while I suspect others will delight in adding new perspective and tools to a practice that is already dedicated to shadow magick. What cannot be denied is that the compilation of this work clearly shows knowledge by Freuler of all aspects of a balanced practice of magick and respect and reference for those less mainstream practices. We are part of the natural world that at times can be uninviting, messy, unforgiving, overtly blunt, and all together disruptive in its nature. And, this is what makes for a practice that is fully integrated into both the decay and the new life that are part of a continual cycle of being.

There is more that I could say about the details of this book, but it would be a disservice and muddy the intent. This is work (and reading) that must be absorbed through experience and claimed by trial and error. This is a power and way of working that is ancient in all of the ways of that simple word, and so the inroads and understands go deep and reach far. There is much to digest in this book, but with each doing and reading, another mystery within the reader will be revealed — another option for practice will be shown. A deepening of connection to the world and work as co-creator of that light and dark will become who you truly are as a witch.

“As you emerge from your shadow work, you may find that everything around you seems different. This is because you are different. Your perspective has deepened and expanded, balancing the light and the dark…”5

Meditations for the Soul, by Neale Lundgren

Meditations for the Soul: Pathways and Practices to Strengthen Your Soul for the Journey Ahead, by Neale Lundgren, PhD
Llewellyn Publications, 90738764306, 236 pages, December 2020

Meditations for the Soul: Pathways and Practices to Strengthen Your Soul for the Journey Ahead by Neale Lundgren, PhD is a beautiful little book that fits comfortably in your hands. The cover artwork is inviting and a soothing image of water colored birds on tree branches. Before you open the book, the heart, mind, and soul are engaged in its simplicity and inviting visual presentation. 

Everyone is a seeker. Everyone longs for a soulful purpose that sets the heart ablaze… We are seeking to make sense of life. But, we will find it difficult to make sense of life until we have made sense of the soul…1

These words are shared on the first page of the introduction and set a very clear path that Meditations for the Soul will offer more than your standard collection of thoughts and affirmations that make the reader “feel good” without addressing the beauty of cultivating a practice of deepening the connection to the gifts of the soul. The reader is guided towards a space of being both a student and a teacher of the soul’s lessons as a (or many) lifetime’s pursuit. The inclusion of a robust Recommended Reading list and a Glossary at the end of the book also support a tone of learning, exploring, and engaging in an active way. 

Meditations for the Soul is separated into thirty chapters that are further organized into three parts. Each chapter provides a bite-sized offering that includes an introduction to the purpose of its work and concludes with a “Soul Journey.” This begins as a brief guided meditation and flows into an “Awakening Exercise.” 

The content, although brief in words, speaks directly to the soul of the “seeker” as a tome of great wisdom. I appreciate the designation of “seeker” Lundgren uses throughout. It engages the reader in a deeper way and implies that awakening to our purpose at the level of the soul requires a commitment that extends well beyond doing a specific set of exercises or contemplative work. To be a “seeker” is to always be actively inquiring and doing in a way that is infinite in its possibilities.  

It is evident in the offerings throughout Meditations for the Soul that Lundgren brings a perspective of both analytical academia and practical experience. This is supported in his sharing of his personal journey to the soul from successful musician to time spent at a monastery as the result of a back packing trip through Europe and the eventual attainment of a degree as a psychotherapist. Lundgren addresses the needs of the soul for reflective and inward journey as well as the practical outward actions and exercises required to bridge the spiritual and the material expressions of the soul’s work. 

The purpose of this book is threefold; to provide you with ways to connect your body and mind to the senses of your soul; to give you strengthening practices and pathways for your soul’s journey through the material world; and to impart to you teachings based on ancient wisdom that will help you bring more soulfulness to your relationships with others…2

Each of the three parts of the book carefully aligns with one of the principles of Lundgren’s threefold purpose and builds one upon the other. “Part One: Awakening to Soul in the Material World” provides the reader with an introduction to the work of revealing and collaborating in awareness with the soul and its purpose in the realm of material and physical existence.  “Chapter 2: The Seeker Awakens” will definitely appeal to those drawn to the psychoanalytical process. 

The seeker’s journey proceeds in gradual awakenings, along with many stages and trials. These are questions you can ask yourself to help you figure out where you might be… Let these serve as useful indicators of the adventure of soul that lies ahead…3

The questionnaire that followed served both as an eye-opener and a space of claiming the journey as your own unique experience. Anything that allows you to know more about yourself will be an opportunity of growth wherever it is applied. I found this to be an insightful tool of first steps.

“Part Two: Strengthening Soul in the Material World” takes the reader through an exploration of the yogas Lundgren has identified as unifiers of soul and matter within the seeker. This “strengthening” is engaged through the overlay of each of the specific energies of a form of yoga. This approach also allows the reader to open to the awareness that what we as Westerners typically refer to as yoga is much more than the physical expression; but rather, a whole and unified way of being. I was particularly drawn to “Chapter 11: At the Threshold of the Paths,” the first chapter of this section.

Throughout the centuries, masters of the inward journey have provided a rich variety of practices called “yogas” for the purpose of strengthening the soul for its journey through the material world… The word itself comes from the Sanskrit juj meaning to “yoke” or to “unify”…4

This unification is expressed as the energies of the yogas of mind, heart, energy, action, integration, and more. I found this to be a powerful way of reinforcing the concept of all aspects of our being and soul are in alignment with one another, informing each in a connected and unified way.

Having built on the practices of personal revelation of and active participation in the soul’s journey, “Part Three: Bringing Soul to the Material World” engages the reader at a soul level as part of a collective of souls, each finding their own way. The encouragement here is one of continued personal work, now with the understanding that we all become the light for one another, an example and an inspiration of life as a fully integrated corporeal being of soul.

Many of the writings in this concluding section of chapters involve the pitfalls and the joys of realizing your soul’s nature. Chapter topics include stress, relationships, companionship, the language of the soul, and more. This section explores the practical nature of soul work reinforces the knowingness that soul and matter are not separate from one another. They are indeed collaborators and reflections of the other.

Meditations for the Soul is user friendly, but is not an easy read if you take the contemplatives and practices to heart and allow yourself to be open to the journey, from start to finish. I thoroughly enjoyed the first read through, but I will most definitely be starting at the beginning and allowing myself the space and time to fully digest the material and work with the recommendations and wisdom held between its covers. The statement below eloquently summarizes the intention of this book. They are words that should be accessed and contemplated routinely as each new journey unfolds. 

Wander, seek and find new treasures within your soul and within the souls of others. Aspire to expand your heart until it encompasses the universe. Through the refined soul senses of empathy, compassion and forgiveness, impart this healing balm to others in the world, beginning with yourself…5

Deva, by Jacquelyn E. Lane

Deva: Our Relationship with the Subtle World, by Jacquelyn E. Lane
Findhorn Press, 978-1644110741, 320 pages, June 2020

Deva: Our Relationship with the Subtle World by Jacquelyn E. Lane is a title that anyone who is serious about the undertaking of engaging and communicating with the natural world should read. Lane is an educator by profession and this is quite apparent in the organization of the book. She has also been involved in the study of metaphysics for 50+ years, and this experience is the underpinning of this particular title and its teachings regarding the work of collaboration with the laws and spirits of nature through the development of a relationship of mutual respect, stewardship, and care.

…. Life is a great song. From the rocks that seem to be still to the bubbling water of a stream that flows over them. From the uncurling leaves of small plants to giant trees. From the quiet hamlets to the teeming cities. It’s all singing-notes within tunes, tunes within themes, themes within symphonies.1

These words flow from the pages and are the first lines of the Introduction. Simply reading them draws the reader in for a closer look and the journey that is about to unfold in the voluminous content that follows, if truly heard and appreciated, becomes a timeless and timely composition of nature. 

Deva is a fitting publication for the Findhorn Press and the mission of the Findhorn Community. To fully appreciate the need for this book a little history of The Findhorn Community will offer some background. The Findhorn Community developed from the resettlement of Peter and Eileen Caddy, their children, and Dorothy Maclean to the Findhorn Bay Caravan Park in 1962. The three had dedicated their lives to the pursuit of esoteric studies and applications and the barren soil of the caravan park provided the setting of opening to the land spirits and guidance in how to “live” in harmony on the land. All that was planted in accord with the aid of the Devas, elementals, and other nature spirits grew beyond expectation, and the garden became a marvel within the horticultural world.2

This book will please both the scientist and the esotericist in its content. Science and the esoteric philosophies are fast becoming great friends and supports to one another as we learn more about quantum physics and the nature of matter and energy. There is still quite a bit of ways to go in the overlap, but more books such as this will help in creating that bridge of cross-pollination. In reading the biography of the author we learn that Deva, was shortlisted for the 2019 Ashton Wylie Unpublished Manuscript Awards: an affirmation of the need for this material to be given the proper consideration it is due. 

The Introduction holds the keys to everything that the reader needs to know regarding what to expect from this book and what is required from the reader by way of open mind and willingness to become “involved” in the world that surrounds us in a more authentic way. So, for some this book will definitely be one of those slow and steady reads that leaves you with questions and wanting to know more-and do more-with each paragraph. And, for others it will affirm everything they have known and are currently working towards. 

Lane gives a clear and simple (ironically, for a very complex subject) introduction to who/what the deva are and the use of that term in the content that follows…

…. Deva is an ancient Sanskrit word from India meaning “Being of Light”… They sing ideas into form. It is the deva that cause us to exclaim, “Wow, this is a special place. It feels so alive!”…. they are within every atom. Deva are the faeries in the grass. They are the vast energy of sea, wind  and mountains….To really (understand) deva, we need to realize that deva is a kingdom of substance and form-the world of matter both solid and subtle.3

Deva is separated into three parts comprising a total of eighteen chapters. In some cases more is more, but this is one case in which it feels after reading that there were too few chapters — meant in the most complimentary of ways. There is a strong infusion of Theosophical principles throughout the book, but these are incorporated in such a way that the reader does not have to be a student of Theosophy to understand what is being said. The Bibliography is filled with resources of books, articles and recordings sourced from some of the most prominent and respected presenters of physics, botanists, metaphysicians, theosophists and more. I would consider this work as a required text for a course in how to become a participant in the worlds shared by humanity and nature. 

Part One: Elemental Tunes dives right in to exploring the inhabitants of our greater etheric planes of Earth that are the pure expression of energy from densest to the more rarified. Each chapter contained within this section opens the reader to a new experience of the devic kingdom and provides the basis upon which the individual can extrapolate and come to their own conclusions regarding how the energy of what is unseen is often more powerful than that seen as we become more aware of what is within and surrounds us…

… The deva kingdom is everywhere, say the ancients-an Intelligence infused into matter at every level of density.4

Part Two: Who’s Singing Your Song encompasses the aspects of emotion, thought  and those forms of deva that we create. I particularly enjoyed chapter eight “Emotion” and Lane’s attention to the power of our emotions as fueling many of the components of the spiritual evolution of devas, humanity and all of the sea of matter, formed and formless. This chapter really calls to the reader to examine their emotional baggage and presumptions that create patterns of illusion that are in contradiction to the organic nature of the deva and humanity. As I moved through the information in Part Two, I was reminded of the deep connection we have in mind and heart and the impact, not only upon ourselves, but everything from the densest of matter to the most subtle. These also inherently include the discordant relationships and often-resultant ill effects that communication with the deva kingdom may have if the individual is not aligned within him/herself.

Part Three: Symphonies could be compared to the final movement of a stirring orchestral composition. All of the instruments have a role that is both profound and subtle in their impact. The climax reaches its peak and we are left in the after-glow of a symphonic masterpiece that is inspiring and has reached deeply into the fibers of all of our being. These final chapters of Deva speak to active participation in the natural world and those aspects of the deva kingdom we are more familiar with as iconic representations of nature. Trees, plant life, geographic regions, climate change and planetary deva are some of the topics discussed. 

The final two chapters, “Deva, Religion and Pan” and “Consciousness,” were appropriately placed in the organic flow of this writing. These are topics that are usually captured at the beginning of a discourse such as this, and in doing so, feel like the perfunctory ‘getting that out of the way” manner in which they are often treated. In this case, this very important material punctuates the final notes of this symphony, and it is always those last notes that are remembered, even if the rest is forgotten. 

Lane offers these thoughts as conclusion and calls us to re-member our true state of being…

…The Great Song dances out of the One from the highest to the lowest. We can see its effects all around using every kingdom (animal, deva, mineral, etc..) beside us. We can hear it directly when we cease to place our individuality before that One Life. Yet, from the beginning it has called on our inner ear relentlessly until we have learnt to listen and, in listening, we hear the song of our own Light as well.5


Deva: Our Relationship with the Subtle World has been an immensely satisfying book to read. and I am looking forward to the many re-reads I will give as my own journey in connecting more deeply to the Deva continues. We are at a crossroads of choice and the next steps we take collectively, but most importantly individually, will determine so much more than what we see of the physical world. The more reminders we have about our place in this “symphony of life,” and the more books that are brought forward that will speak to all levels of engagement and practice will be steps in the right direction.  Open your eyes with new wonder and call out from your highest intention and you may just be surprised at who/what calls back in reply.