✨ A Gathering Place for Magical Readers and Writers ✨

Yemaya, by Raven Morgaine

Yemaya: Orisha, Goddess, and Queen of the Sea, by Raven Morgaine
Weiser Books, 1578637430, 208 pages, September 2021

Back in May, sitting atop a small mountain in Joshua Tree National Park and meditating as the sun rose at dawn, the word “Yemaya” came through the silence. Instantly, I felt a sense of peace rush through me. I knew Yemaya was a great ocean goddess, but that was my extent of knowledge about her. When I returned home after this experience, I followed an intuitive nudge to bring some cowry shells down to the ocean and honor Yemaya, thanking her for the beauty of the ocean that I enjoy and the calmness that it brings me.

While I felt a call to continue developing this relationship and explore this quiet prompting from either my intuition or the Universe (not sure!), my summer travels took me away from my home on the California coast and into the canyons of Utah, woods of the Sequoia trees, and cities of the east coast from Philadelphia, PA to Providence, RI. Within my heart though, I kept remembering Yemaya and doing my best to connect with her energy wherever I went.

Now that I’m settled into my daily routine again, back to combing the beaches for seashells and spending my weekends reading on the beach, I felt ready to explore this budding relationship a bit more. However, I will admit I didn’t know exactly where to get started. The Orishas have always felt unreachable for me, a white American woman with European ancestry, due to their African heritage. I am well aware of the training and dedication that goes into becoming a devotee of the Orishas, and I also know how inaccessible these traditions can be to outsiders.

Therefore, you can only imagine my joy in discovering the recently published book Yemaya: Orisha, Goddess, and Queen of the Sea by Raven Morgaine. It was all I’ve been searching for and more!

Morgaine is a spiritual artist who has dedicated his life to Yemaya. He practices Candomble, New Orleans Voodoo, Santeria, and witchcraft. He also owns his own shop, Familiar Spirits, in Coventry, Rhode Island. Most of all, he’s an incredible storyteller that brought all facets of Yemaya to life in this wonderfully written book. His inclusion of practical wisdom, anecdotes, recipes, recipes for making oils and candles, along with plenty of Orisha stories made my connection to Yemaya so much more tangible and alive.

In fact, there were times reading this book when I would put it down and have my thoughts be washed away in feelings of love, tenderness, and security. It felt as though I was coming home to a mother who wanted nothing more than to make me feel loved, nurtured, and supported. While I am only in the beginning phases of building my altar and figuring out what this relationship is going to look like in my life, Yemaya assured me this pathway is open to all and that I will find my way.

Filled with his own written prayers, blessings, and spells, this entire book is imbued with Morgaine’s energy in the best way possible. His love and reverence for Yemaya streams through every word written, from warning those seeking to develop a relationship with Yemaya about what she does not like (never put metal on her altar or use it as a ritual tool, also she’s not a dog person!) to all the ways one can win her favor (beautiful combs, pearls, mirrors, white roses). Morgaine does not cut a single corner in laying out the foundation for establishing a relationship with Yemaya, and he happily delves into stories to illuminate the meaning behind why the practices are done the way they’ve always been done.

I truly loved learning more about many Orishas, from Yemaya’s younger sister Oshun to Shango and Eleggua. Morgaine’s writing was one of the most inviting introductions to the Orishas I’ve ever come across, and for the first time, I felt welcomed to partake in and honor these gods and goddesses.

Though, I will also admit, Morgaine’s solemn warning of what is involved in creating and maintaining a relationship with Yemaya is both awe-inspiring and a bit nerve-wracking all in one. More than anything, he conveys that she is not a goddess to call upon on a whim or to instantly demand quick results from. She is royalty, and thus she wants to be treated with respect, care, and devotion. She enjoys her lavish praise and will actively pursue what she wants, letting the practitioner know what does and does not please her.

The experiences shared by Morgaine of working with Yemaya for over 35 years made me realize just how misconstrued my previous assumptions of this great ocean goddess had been. I particularly enjoyed how he went through all the different facets of Yemaya, naming each one and sharing a bit of background information related to that incarnation of her, so that a more well-rounded picture of her was painted.

Morgaine openly shares trials from his own life, from despair at the end of an abusive relationship to being evicted at a very sensitive time in his life following his brother’s passing, to show readers Yemaya’s ever-present compassion for her children. Likewise, he also recounts times where she graced him with her presences, highlighting that Orisha gods and goddesses are more than just abstract energies; they are dedicated protectors, guardians, and way-showers of the natural world and humanity.

What has me most inspired is the descriptions of how to build an altar. I am looking forward to creating the time and space to do this soon. I knew I had been collecting seashells, sand dollars, and mermaid figurines for something! And thanks to the wisdom Morgaine has imparted in Yemaya, I also plan on creating cleansing and protecting my house as well.

Once again, I must impart how thorough Morgaine is in his details of doing these things. He even describes how it’s good to have an altar with drawers to store sacred objects, where to find affordable old furniture, and how to cleanse the furniture. At other times, Morgaine reminds the reader to use a dust mask or that a certain spell might smell weird, but that’s okay. His conversational writing style makes it feel like I am directly receiving this valuable information from a beloved teacher, mentor, and friend.

Somehow, Morgaine finds the perfect mixture of lightheartedness and seriousness to impart these lessons with care and consideration both of Yemaya and the well-being of the practitioner. He very much wants to ensure Yemaya is honored in a way that is pleasing to her, and he also wants to make sure practitioners don’t make foolish mistakes that can have detrimental impacts. Truthfully, he’s the perfect mediator between both, an ambassador if you will, in establishing this relationship.

And what’s so special about Morgaine’s perspective in Yemaya is that it’s inclusive. For him, having a relationship with Yemaya is not limited by one’s race, gender, sexual orientation, or cultural background. He draws parallels between Mother Mary and Isis with Yemaya, as well as acknowledging that many pagans choose to work with deities outside of their own culture’s pantheon. There’s a lovely section on how different aspects of Yemaya are protectors of people of all gender and sexual orientations — Yemaya is mother to us all.

Oh, I could keep raving about this book forever! All in all, Yemaya is a wonderful book to begin a relationship with the great mother ocean goddess. Morgaine teaches the reader how to cultivate a spiritual practice dedicated to Yemaya through telling her stories with the Orishas, sharing her many aspects of self through reincarnation, what offerings she loves and what things she dislikes, and how to establish a relationship nearby or far from the ocean. The anecdotes, recipes, magical associations, and practical wisdom from Morgaine are enough to get someone started on this path for at least a few years!

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. 

Pagan Portals: Hellenic Paganism, by Samantha Leaver

Pagan Portals – Hellenic Paganism, by Samantha Leaver
Moon Books, 9781789043235, 104 pages, March 2021

When I first got my hands on this book, I thought I knew what it was going to be about. I mean, it’s Hellenic so it’s about Greek Gods and Goddesses, right? Let’s be clear: Pagan Portals – Hellenic Paganism by Samantha Leaver is not the typical book that lists the various Olympian deities and provides a basic framework for how and when to worship them. No, this book goes much deeper than that. 

Citing a life-long fascination with Greek mythology, Leaver has crafted a beautifully written book that details the many participants in the Hellenic pantheon. A self-proclaimed Kitchen Witch, Leaver has always felt drawn to the Mediterranean and this book is her personal journey through the various deities and how she works with them in order to foster a connection with the divine. 

Chock full of useful information around the practice as a whole, the book starts with an artfully crafted introduction that explains the society of the Hellenes and gives a brief overview of what Hellenic Paganism is. Leaver makes points on how things have changed since those times, noting that some of the Hellenic practices are no longer viable choices in today’s society. She suggests a variety of ways to do the same things in today’s context, something I found to be quite helpful in aligning myself with the practices in a modern time.

Written simply and with a profound sense of reverence, this book is a delightful entry point into the mythical world of the Greeks and the way they performed their rituals. Leaver clearly enjoys herself as she writes and is eager to share all that she has learned in her personal journey through the pantheon, while at the same time making distinctions between their world and our time. She notes that the psychological aspect of Hellenism differs from other well-known forms of religion, saying:

“Hellenism is more about connecting with and understanding the relationship you have to the natural world, it is all about living the best life you possibly can, with virtue, rather than sin, punishment, and redemption.”1

I really appreciated the depth of knowledge imparted by Leaver, as she delved into many aspects of ancient Hellenic life. Maybe some would find it tedious and want her to get on with the spells already, but I want to know where the rituals and ceremonies come from and why they were done. To me, that fleshes out the ‘why’ of the practice and I feel that is a vital piece of the ritual puzzle.

Leaver points out that much like Wicca, there are multiple paths in Hellenic Paganism and details a few to show their similarities. With that comes different names for deities in the pantheon, something I had not considered much to my chagrin. Of course there would be different names for deities depending on where you lived. Why would everyone use the same name? We don’t even have the same for a spatula in today’s society (seriously, it IS a spatula, not a lifter, and I will fight you). 

What I loved about gleaning this particular nugget of information is that Leaver also expresses her own double-take. She says, “To be honest, I thought I had a good handle on the Gods, until simple things like, ‘wait, the Hellenics call them Theoi’ happened, or ‘wait, there are numerous versions of each mythology out there by different writers at different times.’”2

This admission of disconnect solidified that this was the book for me. The honesty with which Leaver presents her journey, flawed as it was, is an absolute dream to partake of. It also made me feel much better about my own personal journey, as I have experienced similar things while bobbing along trying to figure out what kind of witch I am and who I should devote my time to. There is a difference between knowing that these things happen with others and then actually reading about an experience, and while it’s uncomfortable to watch others struggle in their search for sovereignty, it’s comforting to know that despite what path we find ourselves on, we are all having similar experiences. 

The book is cleverly divided into four parts and a section called “Closing thoughts from a Modern Hellenic Pagan.” The four sections clearly divide up the vast knowledge Leaver has on Hellenic Paganism: the introduction is both straightforward in laying out the structure of the information that will be presented and Leaver’s own journey along this particular path. Subsequent sections titled “Living the Path”, “Relationship with Deity’” and “Magic and Mysticism” are equally well laid out and written in a very approachable manner. 

It’s always interesting to take something like auspicious days and try to make them relevant to today’s society. Leaver does this admirably, making connections to more modern tactics rather than leaving you to figure it out on your own. The best example of this is listed in Hesiod’s Auspicious Days: Day 4: a good day to bring home a bride, begin building narrow ships, and open jars. Leaver offers another way to look at it, saying, “I like to think of this day as the day to begin building projects, a crafty or creative day. This is also a good day to take care to avoid troubles that eat out the heart. I like to use some time on this day to concentrate on all that is good in my life.”3

Pagan Portals – Hellenic Paganism is a great jumping on point for those interested in Hellenic Paganism or just want a deeper dive on the Greek pantheon. I found the information to be very helpful and detailed in a way that was not overwhelming. One thing I did not expect was how many gods and goddesses are considered to be part of the Greek pantheon: there are literally too many to name. If you have even a glimmer of interest in knowing more about this particular branch of paganism, I highly recommend picking up this book. I am happy to add it to my growing collection of books.

The Divine Feminine Tao Te Ching, by Rosemarie Anderson

The Divine Feminine Tao Te Ching: A New Translation and Commentary, by Rosemarie Anderson, Ph.D.
Inner Traditions, 1644112469, 160 pages, April 2021

Rosemarie Anderson, Ph.D., has many accomplishments – she is professor emerita of psychology at Sofia University, an Episcopal priest, an author of several books, and the recipient of the Abraham Maslow Heritage Award. She has traveled widely through Asia, and she has decades of experience with the Chinese language and the Tao Te Ching – all of which more than qualify her to author The Divine Feminine Tao Te Ching.

However, the qualification that touched me the most was declared in the very first sentence written in the book, in the acknowledgments section: “Translating the Tao Te Ching has been a work of love.”1 The love that this author has for the Tao Te Ching, and for the language in which it was written, informs her entire translation.

Anderson begins with a few short pages explaining her personal story of moving to Asia as a young woman and how she very quickly learned, and fell in love with, the Chinese language. She explains her love for the elegance of the calligraphic form and the etymology of the characters, along with the reverence the Chinese people seemed to have for them. 

In exploring and observing the Chinese way of life during her time in Asia she recognized that she was beginning to learn a concept the Chinese call “wei wu wei, which means to ‘act without acting’ or ‘know without knowing’.”2

This concept of wei wu wei, she explains, is essential to understanding the Tao Te Ching, requiring one to slow down, to read with patience, to allow the poems to enter one’s knowing almost of their own accord.

Anderson originally decided to translate the Tao for her own benefit and delight, using her basic knowledge of Chinese supplemented by scholarly books that would teach her any characters she did not recognize. She began this process expecting that she might discover something new in the Tao Te Ching along with some new discoveries about herself. The thing she did not expect was to discover that the Tao was profoundly feminine – full of self-descriptive words such as “mother”, “virgin”, and “womb of creation” – all intrinsically feminine ideas! 

In fact, the descriptor of Anderson’s translation in the title as “divine feminine” is what drew me as a reader to this version. And it seems so obvious upon reading these ideas that the Tao would be referred to as “She” in most if not all places where pronouns are used, but historically that has not been the case. “Only in a rare poem do a few translators refer to the Tao as “She” when the reference to “mother” or “womb” is blatant.”3

Something I found profoundly interesting was that the author’s experience of the wei wu wei method of translation is that it was “rarely mental but typically took the form of bodily impressions.”4

This idea of allowing input (in this case the poems of the Tao Te Ching) to reverberate in the body instead of automatically depending on the mind to figure everything out seems to be something worth exploring in earnest. 

The next idea to help us ingest the poems (and to enter into wei wu wei) is to read the poems aloud, or to sing them – even perhaps to a favorite tune, along with a suggestion to read one poem per day and to truly commit to listening and hearing what the Tao has to offer. 

I particularly liked this specific instruction:

“Sing out loud and sing long. This is hermeneutics in action. The term hermeneutics comes from the Greek god Hermes, the great communicator who brought the gods’ messages down to humans. In singing the Tao Te Ching, communicating with the Heavens and back to planet Earth is precisely what you are doing. Do it. Improvise on the text as an ancient storyteller might. Begin your own legend – your own pathway to the Heavens and back again.”5

This instruction seems like the perfect way to begin or expand one’s exploration of the Tao Te Ching, especially The Divine Feminine Tao Te Ching – unhurried, embodied, and without any specific expectation other than “communicating with the Heavens and back to planet Earth.” For me, as a beginner, this encouraged me to not overthink or overdo, but to just sing.

So far, one of my favorite poems in Anderson’s translation is poem 34, which I place here for your enjoyment:

-34-
The Tao flows everywhere!
She stretches to the left and to the right
All things rely on Her for life
She never turns away
She accomplishes Her work
And makes no claims
She is free of desires
We call Her small
All things return to Her
Yet she never controls
We call Her great
In not striving to be great
The wise accomplish great things

This selection seems to align well with the author’s instructions and contemplations of wei wu wei, and this particular passages encourage me in the idea of “accomplishing great things by not striving to be great”6 and to “grasp the Great Mirror”7 of the Divine Feminine Tao Te Ching.

The poems are presented in a beautiful, flowing form, the typography spacious. And the book wraps up nicely with Notes on the translation and calligraphy, as well as an annotated bibliography. 

I recommend this little gem of a book to anyone wanting to study the Tao Te Ching – especially to consider it in the context of a gentle, non-striving practice.

Seasons of a Magical Life, by H. Byron Ballard

Seasons of a Magical Life: A Pagan Path of Living, by H. Byron Ballard
Weiser Books, 987-1578637232, 197 pages, August 2021

Take a breath, pause, and gift yourself the time to delve into Seasons of a Magical Life: A Pagan Path of Living by H. Byron Ballard. In doing so, use the wisdom shared in this book to create a guide to a more connected way of living and co-existing. As Ballard writes, “this book is an invitation to modern Pagans to return to a simpler and quieter time, either literally or virtually, through letters from a small forest-farm in the southern highlands of the Appalachian Mountains.”3

The educationally credentialed author, H. Byron Ballard (BA, MFA), is a teacher and folklorist as well as a senior priestess. Her life and work are centered in Asheville, North Carolina, where she is a co-founder of Mother Grove Goddess Temple and the Coalition of Earth Religions. 

As I read, I felt as if I was accompanying Ballard around her farm. I could smell the air, feel the weather, and taste the food offerings. I was afforded the experience of spending time with her and the life force that surrounds her in her mountain setting and, by extension, the life force that surrounds me in my setting. 

As the cover indicates, the book focuses on the celebrations, festivals, and rituals for the Wheel of the Year. It is divided into three parts. Part One is a five-chapter section that offers background essays “Animism, Mutual Aid, and Permaculture”, “Tower Time and the Conceit of the Ever-Turning Wheel”, “A Different Means to Reckon Time”, “Re-enchantment and the Uses of Magic”, and “the Good Neighbors, the Land Spirits”.

Part Two is comprised of two chapters, focusing on the Wheel of the Agricultural Year: “Winter, The Waxing Year” and “Summer, the Waning Year”. Within those chapters are the equinoxes of spring and fall. “The chapters are broken into the four seasons, with the Quarter Days a highlight within each, and include simple skills that accompany each marker of the year.”4

Part Three wraps up with “Hearth”, a “chapter on the spiritual and physical immersion into these seasons”5 no matter where one lives, rural, urban, or suburban. 

The essays offered in Part One are intended to “not only give the reader a map of (the) journey but also to introduce some ideas to better inform the journey.”6 Some essays were written as if Ballard was talking to a friend as they climbed a hill, while others unfold in a more informational manner, such as the sections on Ember Days and Embertide and Rogation Days.

As one who communicates daily with the trees and rocks that surround my house, I loved the writings on animism and permaculture. Re-enchantment? Yes, please; I could use a healthy dose of that. However, I recommend taking time to sit with what is being offered in these essays as some are more “heady” than others.

I liked how Ballard did not write about these topics in a clinical, detached manner. She walks the reader around her property as she delves into these subjects; the reader is invited to sit at her kitchen table as she prepares meals. Living seasonally, living and working by the natural light, living with the rhythms of nature. 

Wanting to not only read the book but also practice the activities offered, when I finished the section on the essays and moved to Part Two, the “Wheel of the Year”, I began reading the final chapter first, Chapter 7, “Summer: The Waning Year,” as I received the book a few days before Lammas, the Season of the First Harvest.

As with all of the sections on the Wheel of the Year, Ballard offers a letter from her forest-farm, skills to use, chores to be completed, foods for the season, traditions and celebrations, activities to do with children and other friends, an icon of the season and a concluding paragraph on season’s end.

For Lammas, in her letter from her forest-farm, she writes about how hot and dry the farm now is and surveys what is happening in the garden – an abundance of squash and tomatoes, days of “sweat and effort.”7 She offers a lesson on bread-making including the “philosophy” of kneading and sour dough. Chores such as canning and pickling are covered. Traditions and celebrations such as the blessed loaf and the ceremony of cakes and ale are introduced.

The Lammas section continues with recommended activities for Children and Other Friends, including shaping a loaf person and making corn dollies. The icon written about is Wheat as Lammas is “the first in a series of three harvest festivals that is usually dominated by bread – making it, shaping it, and eating it.”8

It concludes with a paragraph on Season’s End that encapsulates the essence of the season, for Lammas, namely looking to the “symbol of the harvest and what that means about gratitude in your life – how you express it, how you use it.”9

She asks the reader to look at the intention that was planted in the Spring — both literally and symbolically and see if the reader tended to this intention — and if it’s ready to “feed you now, that thing that you imagined planting?”10

The book’s final section delves into the aspects of hearth and homely life. She praises homeliness – simplicity in one’s home, comfort, pleasant but ordinary. She invites the reader to view the kitchen as living space for nurturing physically and emotionally. Home altars both indoors and outdoors are discussed as spiritual anchors. Ironically, while I have a home altar, I hadn’t thought of creating an outdoor altar until reading this book. She writes of – are you ready? – laundry as a meditative practice, which after reading I now understand. 

I especially love the book’s concluding lines, offered as a friend waving as you depart their home and sending you off with love:

“There is so much to do, every day, to tuck in the ends of this weaving we are creating: to observe and really see, to listen and really hear, to integrate our intuition and our Ancestral memory into a practice so practiced it no longer feels artificial. It only feels like living a good life and a full one.”11

I highly recommend not only reading Seasons of a Magical Life – but living it. For those who are looking to deepen their connection to the natural cycles of the year, this is a great book to have in one’s library. It offers simple, practical ways to engage with the seasonal energy of the year as it makes its way around the wheel of time. Many of these small practices are certain to enchant one’s life and bring a deeper sense of purpose to the small actions we do daily, fostering an appreciation of the current moment in time that is grounded yet extraordinarily magical.

The Ancient Language of Sacred Sound, by David Elkington

The Ancient Language of Sacred Sound: The Acoustic Science of the Divine, David Elkington
Inner Traditions, 432 pages, 1644111659, April 2021

In The Ancient Language of Sacred Sound: The Acoustic Science of the Divine, David Elkington has put forward a truly fascinating work about the role that sound plays in our spiritual experiences. This is a work of deep scholarship and intense study of locations around the world which are considered sacred sites to those who built them. Far from considering humanity’s ancient ancestors as primitive, this book highlights the absolutely breathtaking precision and purpose in the design of ancient monuments such as the pyramids at Giza, gothic cathedrals in Europe, and Newgrange in Ireland.

Elkington’s general thesis is that the hero — an exemplar of the capacity to grow, gain wisdom, and come to self-awareness — is a state of mind, and the development of this mental state can be aided by sacred sites. His theory has its foundation in the fairly recent discoveries about the resonant frequencies of Earth and its atmosphere. I was amazed to learn that regions below and above the ground each tend to resonate at different extremely low frequencies, and that these frequencies can also correspond to the frequencies generated by the brain: alpha, theta, and delta waves.

The idea that Elkington proceeds to develop is that many sacred sites were meticulously constructed to, under the right conditions, amplify the natural frequencies of the Earth so as to alter the brain wave patterns of anyone at that location. Through the structure’s architectural design, building materials, and geographic location, these sacred sites were built to tune in,  literally, to the energy of the world around us.

This very scientific approach to describing how we and our ancestors could come into harmony with what is greater than ourselves helps this book to feel extremely grounded compared to some other texts that discuss the experience of divine oneness. To me, the book is a fantastic bridge between scientific and spiritual approaches to how we can understand what “the hero” represents, both for our ancestors and for us today.

One of the revelatory ideas Elkington discusses which really struck me was that sacred sites are not merely historical monuments. When much of the western world has become removed from connection with the Earth and the older cultures who were so connected to the energy of the planet, we are likely to view structures like the Egyptian pyramids as symbols of some important person, group, event, etc. That is, someone or some group really wanted to leave a lasting legacy. This latter idea is much closer to our own, modern way of viewing the world. But one of the crucial ideas in this book is that these sacred sites did – and still do! – function to leave an impression upon the people visiting them: a much more potent impression than a mere symbol.

What amazed me still further about Elkington’s theory is that the spiritual impact of these sites is not made solely by visiting the structure, but through participation with it. By speaking, singing, or chanting words or phrases of power from the culture which constructed the site – the name of a god or hero, for example – the acoustic properties of the structure would amplify and enhance the sounds, building up to the mind-altering resonant frequencies. The overall idea that active participation is necessary for spiritual growth is exactly right, and is exemplified by these sacred sites.

Moving into the middle of the book, Elkington seems to take a long detour, delving into the meaning and significance of “the hero” in mythology. Interestingly, he focuses quite a bit on Jesus Christ as a hero figure rather than a historical/religious persona. Why, you might ask? Well, Elkington sets up Jesus as a heroic figure because he proposes that the Jesus we know from Christianity is just one example of someone who embodied the kind of heroic consciousness that is promoted by the sacred sites. Although I was aware that the story of Jesus shares a lot of commonalities with figures from other mythological traditions, this was my first time encountering the notion that ‘Jesus of Nazareth’ is more akin to a title (similar to how ‘Buddha’ is a title) rather than an individual name.

Elkington delves heavily into the history and relationships of various ancient languages that have helped shape this title. Admittedly, this section of the book came off as a little tedious and matter-of-fact at times. The author makes all of these linguistic connections and cross-references between ancient Greek, Hebrew, Egyptian, and more – often leaving me to wonder whether these developments of language actually occurred. Elkington does provide many sources and citations throughout the book, especially in this chapter, but without reading the source material or possessing deep knowledge of these ancient languages, I was somewhat skeptical of the plenitude of linguistic transformations being presented. Do these connections actually exist, or are they being presented to fit the theory?

However, I was reassured when, at the end of his linguistic explorations, Elkington himself admits to casting a skeptical eye at the mountain of linguistic data he’d uncovered. Although it would still take a great deal of research to substantiate all the bits and pieces of his work, I felt better knowing the author expressed his own doubts about his findings. Ultimately, however, the trail of linguistic breadcrumbs reaches the conclusion that Jesus (again, not the historical-religious figure) and Christianity itself dates back to the Egyptian Old Kingdom! Linking this to what Elkington discusses about sacred sites, he says “We have forgotten the power of that name, only limiting it to a kind of modified superstition, but now we can show, we can demonstrate beyond doubt that the name actually does work as a name of power, this is the name of God.”1

Elkington continues developing this startling discovery throughout the book, tying together the importance of the sacred sites, words of power, and the shifts in consciousness that may result from their combination. The Ancient Language of Sacred Sound is quite dense, and I wish I could expound more upon all the intriguing inquiries and discoveries it contains. As a fair warning, some of this book may be a little difficult to get through, depending upon the reader’s interests and attention span. But in my estimation, it is a truly unique and eye-opening book – a journey well worth the time and dedication.

Hekate, by Courtney Weber

Hekate: Goddess of Witches, by Courtney Weber
Weiser Books, 978-1578637164, 224 pages, August 2021

Author Courtney Weber has a wealth of personal experience with witches and witchcraft. Her bio describes her many accomplishments – she is a Wiccan priestess, writer, tarot advisor, creator of the Tarot of the Boroughs tarot deck, a metaphysical teacher, workshop leader, and social activist. She leads workshops throughout the U.S. and has written several other books in the magical genre including Brigid: History, Mystery, and Magick of the Celtic Goddess, Tarot for One: The Art of Reading for Yourself, and The Morrigan: Celtic Goddess of Magick and Might.

Her latest book, Hekate: Goddess of Witches, begins with a chapter titled “Meeting Hekate” and was an exciting indication of what was to follow with. It’s a delightful combination of personal story, facts about Hekate and her lineage, impressions of what it is to be a witch today, suggestions for using the book, and three rituals for getting to know Hekate, which I found to be wonderful, especially including these rituals right off the bat, in chapter one. Weber’s down to earth writing style made me feel at ease right away, like I was not only meeting Hekate, but happily meeting her as well. 

The book continues with a deeper dive into Hekate’s lineage, a nice touch especially if you are a fan of mythology (and really, what witch isn’t!?), and then proceeds with a listing of animals that are strongly associated with Hekate, including brief descriptions of the reasons for some of these associations. 

Hekate is considered the goddess of witches and Weber explains how Hekate’s familial relationships (as well as her own) were affected by being a witch in a section called “The Witch in the Family.” This section brilliantly weaves the author’s personal experiences, Hekate’s mythological stories, and the readers experience (unearthed by some deep and powerful questions provided in this section).

I particularly loved this interweaving of experiences – Hekate’s, the author’s, and my own as the reader, a beautiful braid of powerful ideas for discovering one’s own role with Hekate’s support. This section contains a ritual for “Finding Yourself in Hekate”, which in part includes the words:

Masked Lady, Gorgon queen
The sister, the daughter, the mother, the lover,
The cousin, the child, the one who sees,
The one who watches, the one from afar,
Stand with me in this moment,

And I will stand with you.1

This section concludes with a beautiful encouragement for how to find your strength and unique offerings and gifts per a change of perspective, especially when being a witch is causing stress for you in family or social situations.

Hekate is a goddess who has many names and personas (I’ve read lists of over a hundred different epithets for her, each name attached to a different facet of her power and personality), and this book covers several of them in depth.  Many of Hekate’s personas are considered “dark” or “dangerous” – such as “Brimo” and “Hekate Chthonia” – the goddess of the Underworld, and I loved the way this book’s message embraces all sides of her, both dark and light. After all, the world is full of both and our lived experience will always encounter both, no need to shy away from darkness.  

Each chapter is presented with a delightful mix of the author’s own personal storytelling and experiences and a wide variety of spells and rituals calling on different aspects of the goddess for different situations and outcomes. I enjoyed that Weber was very thorough in covering many different areas where these spells and rituals may be used – sometimes even metaphorical, as in the section “Working with Hekate and the Dead” where we find rituals for working with the dead and with ghosts, including a ritual for releasing a “symbolic ghost” – which I found to be potentially useful to most of us, for who hasn’t dealt with a memory “haunting” them?

My favorite experience with this book happened the day I read the last few pages of the chapter called “The Dangerous Goddess and the Dangerous Witch”. I have a personal practice of drawing cards each day. I draw a tarot card, a playing card, and a pair of Lenormand cards. That day my cards showed two different swords, a scythe and the crossroads. I smiled seeing the crossroads card since Hekate is known as the Queen of the Crossroads. But my jaw dropped when I picked up the book to continue reading where I’d left off the previous day and found myself reading about Brimo and three different rituals all using athames (ritual blades). Hekate seemed to be speaking to me loud and clear. 

Another of my favorite rituals in the book is included in the chapter titled “Keeper of the Keys”, actually a lovely pair of rituals – one for opening a symbolic door and another for closing one. These rituals will be on my list for the near future, along with all of the rituals requiring keys, of which I have a fondness as well as a fair collection. 

The chapter titled “Hekate’s Grimoire” includes a list of items that Hekate is known to have affection for to be used in offerings, along with a list of herbs that are historically sacred to her, some gorgeous invocations to her, two recipes for moon water, and a nice compilation of spells for a variety of situations. 

I thoroughly enjoyed everything about Hekate: Goddess of Witches and am delighted to add it to my growing library on Hekate. I would recommend it to anyone interested in knowing her or knowing more about her. It is a beautiful tribute to Hekate for novice and adept alike. 

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

The King in Orange, by John Michael Greer

The King in Orange: The Magical and Occult Roots of Political Power, by John Michael Greer
Inner Traditions, 1644112582, 208 Pages, May 2021

With the many controversies happening within our country right now, from vaccination mandates to military withdrawal, it feels an opportune moment to reflect on the state of American politics and the forces that are shaping our current government system. Cue The King in Orange: The Magical and Occult Roots of Political Power by John Michael Greer, here to help magically-minded folks make sense of the political mess in terms they understand.

Drawing upon The King in Yellow, a book of short stories by Robert W. Chambers, Greer helps to discern the energetic forces behind collective political movements that have been taking shape the past decade through the lens of occult forces (both conscious and unconscious) guiding the path forward.

In particular, he highlights the competition between two competing schools of magic that ultimately lead to the presidency of Donald Trump. By examining what led to this Populist rise, an occurrence happening elsewhere too, such as Britain, Greer leads the reader through a journey in the masked magical forces impacting public discourse.

And I’m going to be honest, Greer gives a very fair treatment of the subject without ever outwardly picking a side. So, this book may be potentially troublesome for anyone very rooted in their own personal beliefs and isn’t willing to see things differently.

For the most part, there is no sway towards either political party. I will say the exception to this seems to be in regard to Greer’s writing on Hilary Clinton, which I did find to be rather pejoratively biased. Overall though, Greer presents the material very objectively, offering perspective to guide readers in making their own conclusions.

Greer really delves into the concepts such as virtue signaling, privilege in America, and the class divide rift between salary workers and wage workers. He especially packs a punch by highlighting the magic of the liberal, privileged salary class that directly contributed to the populist rise of Trump: mainstream culture and the mass media that perpetuates it.

“This is one of the crucial points about privilege in today’s America: to the privileged, privilege is invisible. That’s not just a matter of personal cluelessness or of personal isolation from the less privileged, though these can of course be involved. It’s one of the most significant magical spells we’re under. The mass media and every other aspect of mainstream American culture constantly present the experience of privileged people as normal, and just as constantly feed any departure from that experience through an utterly predictable set of filters.”1

The filters used by the media, as well as the new American Left, according to Greer, inaccurately portray Trump supporters using distorted narratives, such as homophobic, racist, misogynist, when in factor many votes for Trump were for populist reasons of job loss, wage cuts, unaffordable health coverage, and a general lose of faith in system that is willingness neglecting their interests. Though identity politics currently take precedent above other cultural divisors, the overlooked factor is social class.

Greer draws on the scholarly work of Ioan Couliano to illuminate age-old forms of manipulation dating back to the Renaissance now channeled into modern advertising and mass media. This one-sided perspective led to a nation-wide upset as millions of voters were blind sided by Trump’s victory, which was dismissed as impossible by the media narrative.

Simultaneously, chaos magicians are also waging their own in the form of Pepe the frog memes, truly believing their symbolism was having an effect on the election, and thus constellating a change in consciousness among a group of “internet wizards.” Delving into the story of how this magic was used via Reddit was a really interesting topic, particularly after having encountered it directly in my mid-20s as quite a few acquaintances began to post about it.

To be honest, I’m still integrating the way he’s woven together the underpinning occult energies in play in American politics with the recent history of the 2016 election to present a viewpoint that is entirely original and most relatable as a magical practitioner. As an avid seeker, I enjoy how Greer’s insight work blends discourse from political, social, and magical movements.

While the future is not set in stone, the deeds of the past are catching up and contributing to where we are now as a nation. With ample reference to material such as Oswald Spengler’s Decline of the West and Dion Fortune’s war letters, Greer provides multiple avenues for readers to further study.

Reading The King in Orange had me reminiscing about when I was a recent college graduate, filled with liberal ideals, dating a boisterous, in your face Trump supporter. Needless to say, the relationship didn’t even survive the political campaigning. As tension in the country has become more polarized, I’ve literally seen more and more long-term relationships ending over deep-set political stances.

I really feel like reading Greer’s ideas in this book helped me to reconcile my differences and find a more balanced perspective. When my Trump supporting friend asserted the other day that America needs to “Blame the suits, not the boots”, I had much more insight into her perspective.

The King in Orange is not an easy read, as there are some hard truths to swallow regardless of where your political beliefs lay. But this book opened my eyes to the roots of the current political climate that go deeper than just standard party issues. There are fundamental shifts to the American way of life that are leading to uncertainty about the future. Being more aware of the occult forces in play on both sides helps to be discerning in shaping our beliefs. I have been recommending this book to quite a few people recently who are wondering what’s going on in the politics right now because it’s a really thought-provoking read that delves into the psychological factors effecting the collective consciousness.

Alchemical Tantric Astrology, by Fredrick Hamilton Baker

Alchemical Tantric Astrology: The Hidden Order of Seven Metals, Seven Planets, and Seven Chakras, by Frederick Hamilton Baker
Destiny Books, 1644112809, 242 pages, June 2021

Recently, my husband completed the course Spiritualized with astrologer Aeolian Heart, and it really ignited a lot of spiritual growth for him. The premise of the course was to energetically move through the alchemy of astrology to facilitate healing through the gateways of the chakras.

Curious to learn more about this, I was delighted to discover Frederick Hamilton Baker recently published Alchemical Tantric Astrology: The Hidden Order of Seven Metals, Seven Planets, and Seven Chakras, which seemed to essentially be drawing from the same alchemical/astrological associations as Aeolian Heart did in my husband’s course. Now it was my turn to take a deep dive into the material, and I’ve been delighted with the quality of Baker’s dedication to this subject.

Baker begins by sharing how he came to develop the Alchemical Tantric Arrangement (ATA), his own astrological system, through his time studying in California, serving in the U.S. Navy, and visiting sacred sites around the world. Blending his study of astrology, alchemy, and the chakra system of tantric yoga, Baker has concluded Capricorn to be the final sign of the zodiac and Aquarius as the first.

I really resonated with this conclusion, particularly after watching the events unfold during major alignment of planets in Capricorn in 2020 and getting to know my own Capricorn stellium in my chart. It simply makes sense, given the many “new beginning” holidays in Aquarius (Candlemas, Chinese New Year, Imbolc), and I personally have always waited until February to set my new year intentions.

Diving right into associations between chakras, astrology, and alchemical metals, Baker clearly lays out the correspondences that are the foundation of ATA. From there, he delves into the mythology of every zodiac sign, which was very beneficial as an astrologer to read. While I am familiar with most of the mythology, the way Baker illuminates all the archetypal energy within each zodiac sign through his interpretations was extremely insight.

By offering a cross-culture description of archetypal energies (gods and goddess) from different pantheons, my understanding of the energies of each zodiac sign expanded. For instance, I previously did not know that Hecate and Vishnu are both associated with Pisces. I also really liked his thorough descriptions of Mercury/Hermes roles, including some such as secret keeper, midwife, and seducer, which I hadn’t previously realized.

Next, Baker gives an overview of kundalini energy and the tantric aspect of transforming consciousness with astrological energy. He notes this process can also be referred to as Hermetic astrology, where the alternating feminine and masculine energies of the signs move up and down the chakras to facilitate shifts in conscious awareness. Therefore, Baker concludes, “Knowing the signs and their associations with the two directions of the chakras, those who are acquainted with transits can now use astrology to tune into the most appropriate time for their meditation and actions.”1

Baker teaches the reader how to sense astrological energy as having an upward motion (Aquarius to Leo) and downward motion (Virgo to Capricorn), moving the energy in a cyclical way, just like the continual inhale and exhale of our breathing. Through his very illuminating descriptions of the relationships between each zodiac sign and the corresponding chakra, I gained a deeper understanding of this upward and downward energetic motion he describes.

For instance, Pisces and Sagittarius are both associated with the second chakra, however Pisces is the upward energy of the second chakra, while Sagittarius is the downward energy of the second chakra. Additionally, he provides the Hermetic phrase for each zodiac sign, giving further explanation of how the astrological energies are expressed through the chakras. One example is “The key word of Hermetic Scorpio is transformation.”2

My Aquarius Sun and Mercury found the most interesting section to be when Baker moved beyond the Saturian planets, which have a long alchemical history, to explore the trans-Saturian planets (Uranus, Neptune, Pluto, and Eris) with Chiron as a gateway. He relates Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto to the radioactive elements uranium, neptunium, plutonium, and americium (respectively), which completely blew my mind and is a connection I would have never made on my own, but fascinated me in terms of alchemy and the future.

Since Chiron is still rather new to astrology, discovered in only 1977, many astrologers are still working to figure out the energy of the asteroid. In his philosophy of ATA, Baker asserts “Chiron is the key to unlocking the central nadi in the chakra system and a bridge between the downward and upward paths of the zodiac signs.”3

He goes on to explain, Chiron serves as a guardian of the threshold between the traditional alchemical metals and planets and the radioactive metals and planets. His insight on Chiron is worth reading for those interested in astrology, for it presents an archetypal explanation of the role this energy may hold in how the future unfolds.

This section concludes with information on the numerology of the astrological houses, the connection between DNA and the chakra energy, and how astroyoga can open multidimensional portals through meditation. Baker offers written-out guided visualization processes for the reader to tap into this potent energy.

I also really enjoyed the final part of the book, which focuses on interpreting events through the lens of ATA, and is the practical application of this complex system. Baker teaches the reader how to understand this Hermetic Chart compared to a traditional Western astrological chart. They look quite different, and I had to hand sketch how my Hermetic chart would look because there’s no program to produce this. I’m still not sure exactly how to interpret the placements (yet), but it helped to understand the alchemy of my personal chart better.

I particularly enjoyed Baker’s focus on the alignments happening in 2020, which I had been waiting years to see how they would unfold, knowing major change is in store for everyone on both a personal and collective level. HIs interpretation of events, both past and future, did not disappoint. I find his evolutionary approach to astrology to be very aligned with my own conclusions, particularly his thoughts on the upcoming transit of Pluto through Aquarius, as it wraps up a transit through Capricorn. He certainly knows his stuff and has given immense thought to the impact of the transiting planetary energy currently shaping events.

The one thing I do have to say about the ATA, as forward-thinking and integrative as it is, I would assert these ideas are not new and others have drawn similar conclusions as well. While this lends credence to the ATA system, I also think it’s valuable to acknowledge a lot of this system is rooted in alchemy, astrology, and yoga practices that have existed for centuries.

Nevertheless, Baker’s perspective, stemming from years as a researcher and practitioner of these arts, certainly bolsters the knowledge on these subjects and integrate them in a way that can be practically applied in one’s life for energetic attunement with the zodiacal energy. He has a way of sharing his wisdom that makes it easily accessible to readers, both logically and intuitively. There is plenty of information for readers to gain from Alchemical Tantric Astrology, and it is a wonderful book for readers to become acquainted with Hermetic Astrology.

I have been truly delighted to discover similarities in my own astrology practice with Baker’s practice. Currently, I am looking forward to seeing if I notice the downward energy shift as the Sun moves into Virgo next week. I feel like this integration of the tantric energy into my nature-based spirituality and astrology practice will be bolstering my awareness.