✨ A Gathering Place for Magical Readers and Writers ✨

Hoodoo Justice Magic, by Miss Aida

Hoodoo Justice Magic: Spells for Power, Protection and Righteous Vindication, by Miss Aida
Weiser Books, 1578637562, 288 pages, November 2021

Why do so many magical practitioners shy away from getting their hands dirty with messy spellwork – the spellwork meant to curse, hex, harm, and eliminate those who perpetuate injustice? I am not a Hoodoo practitioner, nor do I lean towards baneful magic, but Hoodoo Justice Magic: Spells for Power, Protection, and Righteous Vindication by Miss Aida was calling to me. I felt the need to add some protection to my arsenal of magic, and by selecting this book, I was given an entire army of spells, metaphorically speaking, to fight for and defend myself.

Reading the contents of this book made me feel tough as nails. And this armor was probably necessary, as it can get pretty gruesome. Miss Aida is fierce, and she doesn’t pamper her readers with gentle counsel. You really need to be ready to delve into gritty topics of body fluids and revenge, but with her guidance you’ll have enough know-how to implement successful spellwork.

But what gives grounds for the use of justice magic? Miss Aida explains:

“Sadly, not everyone is guided by moral principles but instead may value power, status, wealth, notoriety, and/or gratifying their own desires. These people believe they are entitled to whatever they wish without having to work for it, and they can and will act out that belief at any cost and without regard for others. They are immoral people.”1

Therefore, those who suffer the consequences of these people need to have their own means of defense and protection. Reading this introduction to the text was a reminder to me that sometimes magical means are necessary to combat injustice, and I appreciated the list of “Immortal Tactics” that describes how this injustice is perpetuated, ranging from deception to theft to physical and emotional abuse.

However, even though I’d come to see the necessity of justice magic, I will admit opening to the concept and spellwork took a bit of de-conditioning. The idea of the meek inheriting the earth and turning the other cheek seems to run deep in my psyche, and though some might deny it, I believe this is true for many magical practitioners.

Miss Aida turned these notions upside for me by including many psalms and prayers, such as The Apostle’s Creed and Hail Mary as part of the spellwork. She notes that retributive Psalm 109 is estimated by historians to date back to 1060 BC, and therefore concludes “The proof of magical payback is right in our very own Holy Bible.”2

Despite being raised Catholic, as I read these verses through a justice magic perspective, for the first time I began to feel the strength and agency within the words. There’s even a section in the chapter “Spells for Justified Curing and Hexing of Your Enemies” that describes how to curse through prayer!

These aren’t the only tools Miss Aidea provides for justice magic though – oh no, this book is filled with tips and techniques ranging from candle magic to insect magic. (Yes, insect magic! I had never realized the power ants have to destroy relationships with the proper spellwork.) Her advice on candle magic is some of the best that I’ve ever read, and the book is honestly worth reading for that chapter alone.

Constantly while reading, I was reminded of the necessity of working with what’s available as a foundation in Hoodoo tradition. While some spells require a bit more preparatory work or specific ingredients, Miss Aida gives tons and tons of options for achieving one’s means quickly and with what is on hand. However, this doesn’t mean this type of magic should be performed willy nilly or immediately just because one feels slighted.

Miss Aida gives plenty of caution about how spells can misfire, including situations where her own spellwork has led to unintended outcomes. With the nature of this type of justice magic, permanent physical damage, even death, can result. Miss Aida reminds practitioners the retaliation should always be equal to what is being done by the perpetrator, and that it is best to wait while deciding if the magic is worth one’s time, energy, and supplies before casting any spells.

These bits of guidance from Miss Adia, along with detailed advice on how to prepare one’s magical space for the work and clear energy afterwards, go a long way in keeping practitioners safe while engaging in this work. I particularly enjoyed the chapter “What’s Your Strategy?” where she lays out seven steps for this work, which help one to discern how and when to pursue justice magic.

Miss Aida covers a lot in these steps, from proper timing to do’s and don’ts of summoning entities. She also does a great job conveying the importance of intention and provides prompts for one to consider when crafting their petition or request to make it as specific as possible, leaving little room for unintended consequences.

I don’t think of myself as a very spiteful person, but reading through some of the spells, such as “Gag the Gossip” and “Dog Doom”, which includes dog poop as a spell ingredient, got me thinking about some people I’d like to try these out on. Honestly, I probably won’t perform them in the near-future, but just knowing I can always pull from this book makes me feel more confident that I can take care of myself through magical means if necessary.

Hoodoo Justice Magic seriously seems to have a spell for just about every defensive, protective, and vengeful aim one might want to pursue. Chapter topic includes sending enemies away, binding enemies, cursing and hexing, and breaking up relationships. But it’s not a “how-to” manual. Miss Aida writes as though she’s right there next to you, giving you small tips and reminders from her personal experience.

One example of this is when writing about a sweetening spell, she describes how it might make one have positive feelings or thoughts towards you, but it doesn’t necessarily promote action and therefore additional spellwork may be required. That little gem of wisdom is valuable to know if one chooses to do that type of spellwork.

Where her expertise really shines in the area of using ingredients for spellwork that are often considered taboo, such as bodily fluids or excrements. From vomit to semen, Miss Aida teaches how these can be potent facilitators of energy for magic. And she really ensures, to the best of her ability as an author, that a practitioner will not harm themselves in the process of performing justice magic.

When discussing gathering items that contain the DNA of one’s target of the spellwork, she reminds the reader to never let the item also have their own DNA on it. Other practical tips include how to obtain, refrigerate, and store secretions. It’s all quite interesting, especially the section on dominating others through your own urine. There’s even a good deal of information on how to gather graveyard dirt.

While all these items are common for Miss Aida’s Hoodoo practice, for me this opened up a whole new world. While at times I felt a bit icky about things, reading about how to use natural waste and human fluids in my magic actually made me feel more at ease with my own human nature. I found myself saying “Yuck!” less and instead wondering, “How could I use this as a magical ingredient?” It’s really eye-opening to see how much goes to waste that holds magical potency. Miss Aida has a way of shining light on the magic within the mundane.

All in all, Hoodoo Justice Magic is a book I am thrilled to add to my collection. It’s out of my comfort zone in so many ways, but Miss Aida has done a wonderful job of making the spellwork accessible to all levels. I feel like I will be less scared to shy away from needed confrontation and more willing to take justice in my own hands when necessary because of the knowledge this book has given me. It’s by far the best book on defensive and protective magic that I’ve ever read, and I highly recommend it to those seeking to expand their repertoire of spellwork.

Three Books of Occult Philosophy, translated by Eric Purdue

Three Books of Occult Philosophy, by Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa, translated by Eric Purdue
Inner Traditions, 164411416X, 864 pages, November 2021

As a practicing astrologer and magician, of course I’ve skimmed Three Books of Occult Philosophy by Heinrich Corenlius Agrippa. It’s a foundation of Western occultism after all. But if I’m being honest, the editions thus far, such as the one edited by Willis F. Whitehead in 1898 or more recently Donlad Tyson in 2018, just never seemed to keep my attention. My experience reading Eric Purdue’s translation of Three Books of Occult Philosophy thus far has been entirely different though. I’ve been utterly engrossed, pouring over the information, meticulously researching references to other sources, and for the first time comprehending the text.

And I think this is because there is a prominence to this set. The sturdiness of the black box that houses the three books (The Natural World, The Celestial World, and The Divine World) takes up space, making itself known on my bookshelf. This is one of those sets I know I’ll return to year after year, making the quality of it very important. Plus, I feel pretty cool having it displayed in my living room. It is a truly collector’s item for one’s occult library, as well as a worthy investment for extensive amounts of wisdom within the text.

The books themselves are very big! I measured them, and they are over 10 inches tall and 7 inches wide. I personally love this because I am often referring to them in my practice and it’s helpful to have such a heavy-duty, substantial book where I am not constantly having to try to keep the pages open or squinting to read the writing. For instance, I’ve spent hours drawing the planetary seals for sigils and the size of the book makes it much easier, especially since sometimes I even lay paper over the images in the book to copy from.

Another significant thing about Purdue’s translation of the Three Books of Occult Philosophy is the first English translation published in the last 350, adding to the distinctiveness of this particular set. I thoroughly enjoyed, as well as found helpful, Purdue’s “Translator’s Introduction” that describes why a new translation was needed, in addition to how his translation differs from others. Some reasons cited for the need for this new translation include mistranslation, lack of technical knowledge of previous translators, archaic English that is distracting to read (yes, I concur on this one!!), and incorrect graphics. In some cases, Purdue explains, flaws in previous translations have continued to be compounded rather than corrected with additional translations.

Purdue’s intention in producing this translation was to create a new edition of the Three Books of Occult Philosophy directly from the original Latin and to cross-reference Agrippa’s sources.

“Our translation attempts as much as possible to cite sources that were available to Agrippa. This has allowed us to largely reconstruct Agrippa’s library and has demystified his method of obtaining it. This shows that Agrippa, rather than the writing from texts now missing or obtaining books from secret sources, instead was a mainstream scholar of his day, using texts widely available.”1

And this is where Purdue’s translation really shines, especially for any studious practitioner. The footnotes and sources provided have led me in so many new directions. Being able to look at the footnotes and see the source where Agrippa’s content is being drawn from has been immensely helpful in doing my own research. Two topics prominent in my practice, which I often write articles about, are the hierarchy of angels and numerology. It’s been tough finding primary sources on both these subjects, but suddenly, in reading this version of Three Books of Occult Philosophy, I have new leads from the detailed footnotes of books I can further explore. I am deeply appreciative of Purdue’s dedication, concentration, and effort to add these references into this translation. There is also a very interesting bibliography and comprehensive index in Book III, which again, is monumentally helpful for occult practitioners and researchers.

Another really interesting addition to this translation is quick summaries on the side of what Agrippa is talking about. For instance, in Book I’s section “Of lights and colors, lanterns, and lamps, and the colors distributed among the stars, houses, and elements.” there are side notes of what Agrippa is writing about such as, “The color of the planets.”2 and “The color of the humors.”3. These are incredibly helpful when doing a quick skim while looking for something in particular.

From a historical standpoint, Three Books of Occult Philosophy is the primary source of Western occultism, and it’s interesting to see how long some beliefs have existed, such as astrological correspondences or concepts about the elements. Even if one feels they are an expert, going back to these foundational texts really helps to see the origins of many occult beliefs embedded in our culture. It’s like a beginner’s 101 course, but one that is dated nearly 500 years and really encourages one to put themselves into the minds of magicians of the past.

However, what I’ve found most surprising is the relevance of the text centuries later. Not everything (I certainly cringed a bit reading about the bewitchment women use to lure men into love and the poisonous effects of their menstrual blood on crops), but a good majority of the text is viable for one’s modern magical practice. This is particularly true if one is drawn to arcane magical practices of times long gone, rather than the current trendy paradigms, such as chaos magic. And I think Purdue’s translation really aids in making the content of the Three Books of Occult Philosophy accessible for all.

Overall, this is by far the best translation I’ve ever seen of the Three Books of Occult Philosophy. Purdue has done such a great service in producing this new translation. From the physical heftiness of the book to the detailed footnotes, I’ve felt so connected to this set. It’s as though the arcane wisdom had just been waiting for the right translator to revive it to make it obtainable, on many levels, by a new generation, and Purdue was just the right person to do this. I highly recommend this translation above others, yes, even the free PDFs available online, because it feels alive with a potent spiritual energy. There is so much to learn from this new translation – sources to explore, wisdom to remember, and inspirations to be had.

How to Become a Mermaid, by Elyrria Swann

How to Become a Mermaid: Embodying the Elemental Energy of Water, by Elyrria Swann
Destiny Books, 164411450X, 128 pages, December 2021

I have one main goal for 2022. Are you ready for it? Promise you won’t laugh? It’s to become a mermaid. This has been blossoming for quite some time. I would say it started after I moved to the coast of Southern California, met all the wildlife along the shore, and started cultivating a meaningful relationship with the ocean. Overtime, I accumulated a seashell collection, which is now at nearly 300 different types of seashells, and focused on learning sea magic. I even have mermaid swim training with the tail booked for February at the LA Mermaid School.

When I discovered How to Become a Mermaid: Embodying the Elemental Energy of Water by Elyrria Swann, I was absolutely thrilled to read her perspective on this topic. It hadn’t crossed my mind that there might be a larger mermaid community out there or that I could learn from someone with experience in the mermaid realm. Lucky for me, Swann is the perfect bridge for beginner mermaids with the mermaid realm, teaching them how to cultivate a path to developing their own relationship with the mer-folk and embody the element of water in their daily life.

Swann’s approach to the topic of being a mermaid comes from her own experience, but it is filled with references to the works of others, which guides readers to new sources. It’s whimsical at times, and I would bet that quite a few might be dubious of her experience living as a mermaid, deeply connected to the elemental realm of water and astral realm of mermaids. I’ve always been someone who truly believes in angels, fairies, unicorns, and other mythical creatures, so opening up to Swann’s wisdom about mermaids wasn’t a far leap for me. But for some it might be, and that’s okay.

If a person can’t widen their perspective to include the possibility of mer-folk, then chances are this isn’t the path for them. I intend to review this book for an audience that has an interest in learning more about the topic, rather than try to convince a disbeliever of its merit. This being said, you might not be the right audience for this book if this concept seems far-fetched to you, as Swann doesn’t downplay her experience or restrain her knowledge of the subject to fit neatly into a “normal” lens of reality.

In fact, part of Swann’s reasoning for writing the book is to create a guide for those who feel called to working with the mermaid realm, or are even mermaids themselves, so they are a bit less lost in the world. At the same time, Swann repeatedly cautions readers about energetically connecting with mer-people. She asserts the need for an open heart and pure intention when working with the element of water, as well as knowledge of energetic protection and some preparatory basic skills of energy work.

One of my favorite sections in the whole book is about the mermaid’s energetic protectors in the astral realm: krakens, gorgon medusas, selkies, and hydras. These can become allies or foes, depending on one’s intention for the mermaid realm. Swann shares really interesting stories of engaging with these allies in the astral realm, as well as successful experiences of calling on them for protection in the world.

I enjoyed learning about these astral entities and their protective qualities, though I’m not sure I’d be ready for an alliance or communion with them just yet. Their presence made me more aware that the mermaid realm isn’t all fun and play; there are many energies in the astral that one has to be prepared to encounter, and I am grateful for Swann’s illuminating this.

The greatest change in my perception about mermaids came from Swann’s description of what a mermaid is:

“Mermaids are elemental beings that embody the vibration of water. A simple way to think of it is that they are the personification of the watery element. If water could talk, then it would be a mermaid. The purpose of the mermaid realm is to love and enrich the water element in the spirit world. “1

This definition heightened my awareness of the element of water being the primary aspect of being a mermaid. It might seem rather obvious, but previously I didn’t realize that working with mermaid energy is essentially learning how to engage with the element of water. While this can feel like a daunting task, as anyone who’s ever studied working with the elements can attest to, Swann offers practices to help one get to know their watery mermaid energy.

One example, recommended to be tried in the bathtub, is called “Meditation to Integrate the Spiritual Water Element.” I found this meditation to be quite helpful for discovering my own “unique signature vibration”2, as Swann describes it, of water. She also includes a “Meditation to Enter the Mer-realm” that I am looking forward to doing soon.

I deeply resonated with Swann’s call for mermaids to heal the world’s wounding and find a deeper meaning to this path:

“Donning mermaid tails, owning pet fish, and supporting mermaid merchandise companies is fun and makes life beautiful, but it is not enough. We must become what a mermaid (or merman) is. We must choose love, empathy, and “now” consciousness to be in alignment with a reality where Earth succeeds. We must take physical action when and where we can. Every decision we make can be conscious and rooted in a desire for the good of all.”3

One way that Swann suggests mermaids do this is through learning how to clean up the ocean not only physically, but psychically as well. This was a fascinating concept to me. Though, I have to admit, I tried doing the “psychic clean-up” of the ocean after a storm, where it is known that sewage overflows into the ocean, and I ended up with a sinus infection for two days. I definitely saw Swann’s point about the need for protecting oneself’ while working with the very fluid element of water. I got a feeling that the toxic energy I was trying to clear from the runoff caused a buildup in my sinus cavities.

As a result, I eagerly have been looking into the recommendation Swann provides to study the magical system called Hermetics developed by Franz Bardon in order to strengthen my relationship with water to learn more about on an element level. She describes how Bardon’s Hermetics system teaches about cosmic letters and numbers, which correspond to different elements and elemental properties. Swann writes these cosmic letters and numbers “are vibrations that are accessed through visualization , sound, concentration on imagery and feeling, and oneness with the element it represents.”4

For instance, Swan explains that M is the mastery of the water element. Through meditating on the letter M, people can strengthen their connection to the water element. I think this concept is extremely neat, especially since I love numerology and the correspondence between letters, numbers, and energy. This is yet another technique of Swann’s I plan on exploring.

All in all, How to Become a Mermaid is a wonderful guide for developing a relationship with not only the Mer-realm, but the element of water as well. Swann’s experiences with the mer-realm opens new doors of possibilities for those seeking to establish their own connection. She has lovingly, though with due caution, provided a guide for readers to create their own relationship with mermaids and discover the elemental pathway of water. This book certainly will give you a new perspective on what it means to be a mermaid and how developing the traits of a mermaid can change the world.

The Ancestral Power of Amulets, Talismans, and Mascots, by Nigel Pennick

The Ancestral Power of Amulets, Talismans, and Mascots: Folk Magic in Witchcraft & Religion, by Nigel Pennick
Destiny Books, 9781644112205 , 352 pages, May 2021

Nigel Pennick is the author of over 50 books on various esoteric topics and an authority on ancient belief systems, traditions, runes, and geomancy. His latest book, The Ancestral Power of Amulets, Talismans, and Mascots: Folk Magic in Witchcraft & Religion, doesn’t disappoint: this weighty tome is an absolute must have for anyone even remotely interested in those topics.

This book seems a bit intimidating at first due to its size, but please do not let that deter you from picking it up. Anything, and I mean anything, you ever wanted to know about talismans and amulets is in this book. Pennick provides a visual narrative as well as a written one, and that additional information is invaluable.

The amount of information in this book is staggering and thoughtfully presented. The table of contents clearly lists the various topics being covered and provides the reader with an opportunity to jump right into whatever strikes their fancy. For me, that chapter was “Animals and Their Images”. In this chapter, Pennick states:

“Animal amulets and mascots take three forms. There are amulets made from part of the actual animal, like a rabbit’s foot or toad bone; there are amulets made in the shape of a lucky animal, such as a pig or cat; and there are live animals that serve as mascots, especially for military units.”1

Pennick goes on to explain the significance of the pig, ram, cat, fox, dog, bear, elephant, and tiger. Not only is the information in this section incredibly useful, it’s also very current. There is a photo (Fig 23.4) of the mascot of Motörhead, War Pig which according to Pennick, is “an emblem of resistance”2.

This differs from the usual interpretation of the pig symbolizing luck and fecundity, and with the inclusion of War Pig, Pennick is able to capture the entirety of the symbolism behind the pig. This kind of well-roundedness is what makes this book so fascinating; it doesn’t just focus on one area that might be more relevant in today’s society. Pennick drills down into the very core of the subjects in this book and provides a vast array of uses, both past and present, that are more relevant than one might think.

Another chapter that truly resonated with me was Chapter 21: “Trees, Plants, and Seeds”. Having grown up on a farm surrounded by forests and growing our own food for part of the year, I found this section to be particularly relevant to me personally. Our forest was mainly cedar and oak trees and as children, my brother and I would quite often spend the majority of our time outside up in the boughs of one of the larger oaks. I’ve always felt an affinity for oak trees and still collect acorns for use in my own magic.

Pennick distills the essence of the mighty oak into knowledgeable bites that present the leafy giant in a very magical light, saying, “In the European tradition, the oak (Quercus robur) is the most powerful tree of them all, sacred to the sky god variously called Zeus, Jupiter, Taranis, Ziu, Thunor, Thor, Perun, and Perkunas”3

To me, this is a perfect example of what this book is: a reference tome to be pulled down and used when exact information is required. Honestly, I can’t think of another book that does this so well and with such precision. I’ve never heard of Perun or Perkunas until this book. #alwayslearning

While the actual structure of the writing might throw some people off due to its clinical directness, I find it to be in line with the information presented. This isn’t a how-to book: you will not find spells or meditations or any sort of magical direction here. This is a research book of magical items and while there is some information on how specific items have been used magically over the centuries, that isn’t the point.

Some people pickup books such as this with a view to bypassing some of the work they need to do to strengthen their own magic. This book won’t do that, as it is not meant to be a supplement to personal practice. The multiple page bibliography at the back of the book is a clear indicator that this is a reference book and not a practical magic volume. While there are some charms and incantations included in the various chapters, they are not meant as actual spells but as examples of what would be done or said at the time of the amulet being created or activated. This distinction is important.

This book is meant for those who have a genuine interest in the history around amulets, talismans, and mascots and who are willing to spend a bit of time in the investigative space. I found that I went down many a rabbit hole while reading this book, in that I would turn to the extensive bibliography at the back and be drawn into another book on the same topic and then all of a sudden it’s five hours later and my cats is squawking at me to be fed. That is the sort of book this is — beautiful and mind-opening.

I have made amulets and talismans my whole life; as a child I wasn’t aware of what I was doing until much later and now I’ve refined my practice. In reading this book, I understand more clearly why I make the things I do and why I am drawn to specific materials time and again. As Pennick says:

“The amulet is more than a mere “object” or “artwork”. It’s a transcendent communication between human beings and the powers of the natural world that manifest in myriad ways.”4

As witches, we have an innate need to create a symbol of our will: be it for protection, wealth, love, health, or any other reason. Having a tangible object to imbue with our will is how many of us ‘do’ magic. I will be keeping The Ancestral Power of Amulets, Talismans, and Mascots handy as a reference tool for many years to come.

Spirit Life & Science, by Mahãn Hannes Jacob

Spirit Life & Science: Understanding Your Gifts of Healing and Mediumship, by Mahãn Hannes Jacob
O-Books, 1789043158, 424 pages, December 2021

At long last, evidence for the interconnection of spirit and science is becoming more widely accepted. Mahãn Hannes Jacob is one of the most prominent healers of this age, who actively works as a practitioner of mediumship and spiritual healing, as well as teaching and lecturing worldwide. Spirit Life & Science: Understanding Your Gifts of Healing and Mediumship is very practical advice from Jacob himself about the fundamentals of this pathway. It is essential ready for all of those seeking to better understand how to use energy to heal, develop mediumship abilities, and advance spiritual healing as a therapeutic modality.

Since Spirit Life & Science is imbued with Jacob’s energy, it’s important to understand the integral role he plays in shaping the future of spiritual healing as an ally to science. Jacob obtained a graduate degree from Arthur Findlay College in London to become a Professor of Mediumship. He is also a Spiritualists’ National Union Approved Healer. In 1990, he opened his own clinic in Switzerland, where he has been a practitioner of mediumship and spiritual healing. In 2005, Jacob founded the Swiss School for Healing and Mediumship, where he now serves as Director of the Fréquences. He teaches on topics such as spiritual healing, mediumship, Therapeutic Touch and meditation.

Needless to say, Jacob knows his stuff, and Spirit Life & Science is a compendium of his knowledge. There are twenty-six chapters in total, plus meditations, exercises, and secrets for healing. The content of this book is a nice balance between anecdotes and evidence-based information. With this style, Jacob effectively conveys his message because the reader gains an education about the data on the subject, along with a personalized tale of how mediumship and spiritual healing take place within real life rather than just studies.

The start of the book is a fantastic overview of mediumship in general, including information about who practices it and why someone would want to engage in mediumship. Next, the book covers a range of scientific data about energy transmission and the effects of using spiritual energy for healing. Following this, Jacob describes all types of ways to communicate with spirits, from different types of mediumship (trance, physical, etc.). Jacob does a wonderful job of bridging mind, body, and spirit to show the strong connection between them, inviting new ways of perceiving how they work together for optimal health and well-being.

Spirit Life & Science delves into many topics, making it relevant for both beginner and advanced energy healers alike. A beginner would benefit from the all-encompassing view of the fields of mediumship and spiritual healing since Jacob writes in a way that makes them approachable and easy to understand. He discusses prominent historical figures that have furthered the fields, many forms of meditation, breathwork, and healing modalities, as well as common fears and misconceptions people have who are unfamiliar with the naturalness of mediumship and spiritual healing. And for those already familiar with the subject, Jacob’s personal experience and innovative techniques are sure to enhance one’s mediumship and spiritual healing skill set.

What I like most about the book is the color illustrations. For instance, pages 300-320 feature full-length instructions for the Therapeutic Touch protocol and photographs of Jacob’s hand placements for patients both laying down and sitting. Looking through the photographs helps to see the physical movement of the practitioner on the client when performing the Therapeutic Touch protocol, and if I were a practitioner, the imagery would make me feel much more confident using it on a client than simply reading instructions would.

Another really neat photograph is on page 92, which shows the results of an energy transmission experiment Jacob performed on plants. He energized one plant, but not the other, and otherwise tended to them the same. There is a huge difference between the flourishing of the plant that was energized and the plant that was not. This is just one example of the many different studies recorded in the book, many of which also feature data tables or photographs to illustrate the results.

My favorite chapter in the book is “Extraction of Pathological Information (EPI)”, which is a unique method currently only practiced by Jacob. It reminds me a bit of psychic surgery, but it’s actually an information extraction method. He describes how he learned about this gift through healer Estor Bravo and then by a spirit too. Plus, there’s photographs of the mark EPI leaves on patients, as well as a handful of success stories. In a medically supervised study, this healing method had a 94% success rate.1

Jacob heals with this method by understanding that the manifested pathologies “are based on harmful information and when it is removed, a great many patients are healed and freed of their ills or improve considerably.”2His thoughts on the future of medicine were absolutely mind-blowing to me, but as someone who was able to shift belief and affect biology, his notion also really made sense. Jacob writes:

“Allopathic medicine neglects and does not recognize the notion of inscription or memory. Yet everything is based on this. Once again, I want to emphasize that the medicine of the future will be information medicine!”3

My only caveat about the book is that it does have a religious influence. Jacob’s writing is influenced by both Christianity and Buddhism. He is a practitioner of Kriya Yoga, and received his spiritual name, Mahãn, by Swamiji Dharmananda Sarawati Maharaj. Readers that do not feel connected to these religions might feel a bit at odds with some of the information presented. However, for me, this didn’t detracted from the wealth of knowledge still available in the book, particularly in regard to the science behind energy transmission.

Toward the end of the book are meditations and forty-six exercises to enhance one’s mediumship and spiritual healing abilities. These alone are worth the read for anyone called to this path. Some are individual, while others are better with a partner or in a group, so I highly recommend this section for people who are involved in a community of spiritual healing.

All in all, Spirit Life & Science is a fascinating read filled with practical information to enhance one’s mediumship abilities. It’s the perfect blend of story and facts, conveying Jacob’s one-of-a-kind insight into this topic. This book should be a foundational read for all spiritual healing, as it does such a wonderful job of helping readers to understand the basics of energy transference, as well as the potent potential this healing modality has for the future.

Discover Your Crystal Family, by Kathryn Hudson

Discover Your Crystal Family: Working with Stones and Their Angelic Messengers, by Kathryn Hudson
Findhorn Press, 9781644113028, 239 pages, October 2021

Stones find their way into my life. I once bought a 20 pound rose quartz crystal while shopping in HomeGoods for baking trays. When friends travel they bring me back stones that they found that “remind them of me.” When I was having “issues” at work, in addition to addressing the situation with my supervisor, I felt drawn to visiting the local rock shop and picked out a stone that I felt needed to be on my desk.

I clearly love stones, but until I read Discover Your Crystal Family: Working with Stones and Their Angelic Messengers by Kathryn Hudson, it never occurred to me that the stones were finding me. An interactive relationship in which they presented themselves but left it up to me to bring them into my life. Hudson offers a very interesting take on one’s relationship with stones. “Of themselves, crystals can do nothing for us: like angels, they can support only our intention in accordance with our free will.”1

The book is NOT a rock encyclopedia. While it does describe certain rocks, their qualities, and their angelic and chakra connections, it offers so much more than dry information. As Hudson explains, “crystals exist to help us find and follow our own path, helping us to find our way home to the truth of who we are.”2 They offer us support that we must be open and willing to accept. I especially loved how she connected the rocks to the “enormous power of our Mother Earth, with the universal support of the Heavens.”3

The book is divided into three parts. Part one, Crystals on Your Path – Understanding the Dynamic, offers four chapters, each dedicated to working with crystals in regard to one’s soul contract, working with crystals and angels, opening up the channels of communication, and choosing stones. I liked how Hudson referred to the crystals as our friends in “low places” since they are from the earth. “Crystals are part of Earth. They act as sensory points for her and her inhabitants…”4 According to her, they help us to heal ourselves and “so healing of ourselves helps the each because we are part of the earth.”5 This was a very beautiful sentiment to me.

While the stones are indeed our friends in low places, they also open us to our friends in high places: the angels. Again though, this is only with our invitation. Hudson writes of her connection to angels via the stones and offers ways and exercises for us to open up our channels to divine communication.

The first section concludes with ways to choose our stones by following what we are drawn to. I’ve tried this exercise of choosing by walking around a gem store and seeing what I was drawn to, often realizing that the type of stone that I initially thought I was going to the store to buy wasn’t what I came home with. But, it never has failed that what I chose was what I “needed.” Interestingly, variations such as jewelry, wands, tumbled stones, and natural stones are covered in depth for those seeking to lean more.

Part Two, Protocols for Healing – Let’s Get to Work, covers caring for the stones. It also offers a “deepening” meditation for connecting with the stones, with the reminder:

“The idea is not that the stones heal the chakras, but rather, that we access energies that we need; when we access and integrate those energies within us, our chakras are naturally aligned.”6

This was an interesting concept for me since up until then I had given all of the power to the stones, and short-shifted myself! Hudson also has a chapter in this section titled “The Fifteen: A Full Complement of Crystals and Archangels.” She provides overviews on 15 select stones, their related archangels, and the qualities for enhancement, such as inner child healed, personal power, and groundedness on the path.

In Part Three, the final section, Hudson encourages the reader to discover additional stone allies that they feel drawn to work with. The ones she offers are her own “favorite 44 friends in ‘low places.’”7 Each stone is nicely photographed and accompanied by it’s aspect (natural qualities), its strength (e.g., purification), and its related archangel (as the stones are energetic mirrors to the angel realm), chakra, affirmation, and message.

I liked this section because it provided a great overview for stones that I was drawn to purchase without knowing any of its qualities, such as Apache tear (a form of obsidian). I also found stones that I was not familiar with and now want to seek out, the main one being Fairy Stones, and ironically that stone is much-needed at this time in my life!

I’ve read many books over the years on stones, but this one stands out. I particularly like how Hudson shows the personalities of the stones. I agree with her that one should choose a stone that one is attracted to, as it will be in sync with your energetic field.

I also liked her reminder to choose a size to fit how you want to work with the stone. For example, if you’d like to have it at hand as a protector or reminder, choose a size that will fit in your pocket or purse or under a pillow. Look at the color stone to which you are attracted – and notice if it aligns with a chakra that needs opening or an energy that you need to awaken.

Hudson also touches on the many ways to cleanse stones from water baths, to moonlight baths, to sunlight– and offers a reminder on what stones should not be placed in water due to their delicate nature such as selenite.

Overall, I highly recommend Discover Your Crystal Family. Read through it to familiarize yourself with all that Hudson has to offer, and then keep it as a companion for reference or reminding. It’s easy to read and understand – and it bridges the Earth with the Heavens. As Hudson reminds us, “crystals exist to help us find and follow our own path, helping us to find our way home to the truth of who we are.”8

The Path of the Warrior Mystic, by Angel Millar

The Path of the Warrior-Mystic: Being a Man in an Age of Chaos, by Angel Millar
Inner Traditions, 1644112671, 240 pages, November 2021

Right from the outset of Angel Millar’s new book, The Path of the Warrior Mystic: Being a Man in the Age of Chaos, I was struck with the impression that this was going to be a challenging book. Not challenging in a technical way – it’s actually quite an easy read, all things considered – but in that it calls the reader to action. As this is exactly one of the major themes of Millar’s book, the provocation to take more action in our spiritual lives is what the reader should expect from delving into this text.

Before getting too involved in the text here, it should be noted that this book is certainly geared towards a male/masculine audience. Although many of the ideas presented in the text could readily apply to anyone on the path of a spiritual seeker, the book is definitely geared toward the traditional spiritual practices of “men” in our world (as the subtitle suggests). As this book serves to highlight aspects of spiritual practice that have been declining in the modern world, it would be beneficial to any reader to become more familiar with what a true warrior mystic would look like. 

As the title suggests, the purpose of the book is to illuminate and merge two roles, paths, or identities that we (in this day and age) tend to think as separate: that of the warrior and that of the mystic. Until recently, Millar argues, these two paths were often – perhaps even necessarily – linked. That is, those who seek to elevate their spiritual life must also actively participate in their physical/material existence, rather than ignoring or eschewing it. This is in stark contrast to the contemporary world, with its bias toward mental activity over the physical, where our overall spiritual health seems to be slowly eroding.

The Path of the Warrior Mystic reminds us of how deep the interconnection between our physical and spiritual lives runs: drawing from many traditions, prominent figures, and ideas coming from all over the world and through different eras of our history. From Plato in Classical-age Greece to the Buddha in India, spiritual teachers have emphasized the importance of development of the physical body just as much as contemplative efforts.

This recognition of imbalance within the masculine spiritual world too often results in wishful (and perhaps wistful) attitudes toward life and one’s goals rather than prompting us toward action. And, ultimately, while contemplation and the quieting of the monkey-mind are necessary to foster growth and development, they are insufficient. Without the beneficial impact of wisdom put into practice, for the good of the larger community as well as oneself, spiritual seeking might devolve into a shallow, hollow version of what it used to be.

A return to some form of older masculine values might cause some in our modern world to balk and object to a resurgence of “the patriarchy,” an aspect of Western culture that has led to significant harm. However, Millar is striking a common vein in the movement to bring back a vital force that has been lacking in our world. Instead of encouraging a return to the traditional values of patriarchal domination, Millar draws our attention to attitudes that, if reintroduced to culture, would help address those very problems. The blending the physical, mental, and spiritual aspects of ourselves provides the sense of wholeness that is often lacking in the pursuit of purely material or social success.

“Thus, in a society that is too masculine, the creative individual brings awareness of the divine feminine. And in a society too feminine, he brings awareness of the divine masculine. In a society that is too rational, the visionary brings a return of the nonrational, and vice versa. Likewise, if it has veered too far left or right, he aims to bring it back to the straight course–the “middle path,” to borrow a phrase from Buddhism–and not have it veer to the other extreme.”1

I have both seen and felt the movements in our culture over the last few years towards the rediscovery of wisdom and different ways of knowing, such as the knowledge of our bodies through intense physical training. Millar does great work in bringing together examples and principles from spiritual traditions, artists, and philosophers from across many different cultures and time periods. He argues that the warrior-mystic is encapsulated by the creative individual, a force which can revivify the world, starting with themselves and expanding outward.

Millar is good at bringing the more abstract spiritual matters down to the level of the every-day. His writing is straight-forward and direct, not indulging in drawn-out esoteric discussions. The chapters easily indicate their topic so that it’s a simple matter of going back to a section that you want to reread (the Index in the back is also a great help!). Millar doesn’t shy away from touchy topics, such as sex and the idea that sometimes you need to end personal relationships if they are not serving the needs of your higher self.

One of my favorite sections was Millar’s discussion about man’s romantic nature being bound up with the “death drive” as a response to a significant question. To/for what should I sacrifice my life (in both senses: one’s life’s work and one’s mortal existence)? I very much resonated with this question, as it is one I have grappled with at many points in my own experience, and will definitely continue to explore the ideas prompted by this book.

The one itch that The Path of the Warrior Mystic doesn’t quite scratch is the wish to delve deeper into the topics Millar explores. This is a fantastic way to introduce the many connections arising around the pursuit of the creative spirit characterized by the warrior-mystic. But Millar’s to-the-point style and the breadth of ground that he covers leaves one wanting to go a little deeper at times. Yet, this may be what the author intends, as it is a spur to action – to take up the quest for oneself and explore the world, rather than just consuming content with the mind.

Goddess Luminary Leadership Wheel, by Lynne Sedgmore

Goddess Luminary Leadership Wheel: A Post-Patriarchal Paradigm, by Lynne Sedgmore
Changemaker Books, 1785354787, 208 pages, December 2021

Empowerment through Goddess-center spirituality is something very dear to me. Attending a Catholic college, I realize just how great of an inequality there was between men and women in regard to spiritual authority. This set me off on a path of reclaiming the Goddess, from studying about matriarchal societies to obtaining a degree in ecopscyhology, studying the relationships between ecology, psychology, and feminism. Meeting Starhawk, the person who awoke me to goddess-centered magic and spirituality, is a memory I’ll always cherish fondly. Therefore, I was quite excited to begin Goddess Luminary Leadership Wheel: A Post-Patriarchal Paradigm by Lynne Sedgmore and thrilled to realize she too was deeply attuned to this paradigm shift, writing about and studying the same sources I just listed – plus more!

This book opens readers to the many facets of goddess-centered worship through sharing background knowledge on the topic, and most especially, offering a pathway to Luminary Leadership. Doesn’t it just sound radiant? Sedgemore writes:

“I use the term Luminary to replace the more masculine word leader and all its associations, and to bring about a radical shift in how it is manifested. Luminary means ‘a person who inspires and influences others, someone prominent in their field’. It also means ‘a natural light-giving body, especially the sun or moon’, someone who illuminates.”1

This is the type of leadership I aspire to! And Sedgmore has made it easy for all readers to adopt this style of leadership through the Goddess Luminary Leadership Wheel (the Wheel for short). Sedgemore draws from her extensive knowledge on the subject of leadership, including over 40 years of leadership in mainstream and spiritual organizations and a doctoral thesis on spiritual leadership, to develop this post-patriarchal model.

Sedgmore has reframed all her experience in leadership to create the Wheel, placing the Goddess within the center of it. In this way, she uniquely bridges spirituality and leadership to reposition feminine values of love, beauty, and connection at the core of communities. The Wheel incorporates both the Moon phases and elemental energies, which are two of the shamanic elements of the wheel.

The other two are Goddess Gnosis and Luminary archetypes. Sedgmore defines Goddess Gnosis as “your personal unique truth of the direct experience and knowing of the Divine as Goddess, as sacred female.”2 Then the six Luminary archetypes reflect the six cycles of the Wheel that practitioners move through. Sedgmore describes them as “valuable metaphors for self-understanding and coming to wholeness”3

Also embedded within the Wheel are radical Luminary leadership approaches: “the Luminary Leaderful Way, States of Being, Paths of Power, and Ways of Knowing”4). These are the synthesis of Sedgmore’s leadership experience, integrated into the Wheel to foster new models of leadership. For instance, Ways of Knowing focuses on embodiment and bodily intelligence as a source of wisdom, which is often overlooked as integral to leadership. Together, these shamanic elements and Luminary leadership approaches make the Wheel both practical and adaptable; there’s both stability and a sense of flow, which ultimately allows each practitioner to develop their own relationship to the Goddess, as well as their leadership potential.

While all of these integrated aspects of the Wheel might seem a bit complex, Sedgmore does a wonderful job of explaining it piece by piece. And once one delves into the practice of using the Wheel, it feels intuitive. What’s also very helpful is that Sedgmore provides a diagram of the Wheel for readers who are more visual. There’s a general outline for each Cycle, but also a very natural flow to the book that guides readers through reflections, mythology, and new ways of relating that are embodied, present, and from a place of inner power.

One of the neatest aspects of Goddess Luminary Leadership Wheel is that the reader can move through the Wheel individually or create their own group to lead with it as a manual of sorts. Reading each cycle and doing the practices, reflections, and exercises feels like a sacred ceremony. There’s a ritual in each chapter, starting with a call in and check in and ending with a chant and reflection. Sedgmore has ensured we all know how to create a safe space to do this inner work, containing this transformative knowledge in a protected circle. It makes me want to  create a group to practice the Wheel collaboratively in a circle with others.

And this is why I am impressed by Sedgmore’s own leadership style, which is reflected in the way she presents the Wheel in the book. She genuinely hopes people all over will feel a connection to her method of Luminary leadership and put it into action. I always appreciate when leaders have faith in the autonomy of others to learn and do, which is exactly what Sedgmore demonstrates in offering this model for everyone. She put out the call, even writing a Luminary Charge for those who feel called to this path.

What I really like about the Wheel is how accessible it is. First of all, Sedgmore is very clear that this is an inclusive model for everyone who identifies as a woman. The archetypes end with x, such as Illuminatrix and Connectrix to reflect this notion.  Furthermore, she delves into topics such as feminist intersectionality, gender, and cultural appropriation, offering reflection questions to assist with personal reflection and awareness.

I also really enjoyed how part of the Wheel delves into shadow and toxic leadership. Cycle V The Brilliance of the Dark Moon, whose archetype is Wisdom Keeper, is where practitioners get to connect with the Dark Goddess. We learn about how the archetypes manifest themselves through this energy, examples being Saboteur and Imposter.

The exercises help to discover these shadow characteristics in one’s self, as well as an invitation to notice what one projects on others because they can’t see it within themselves. The Wheel’s exercises assist the reader in transforming their projections into a reflection of their own positive qualities.  There’s also information on surviving toxic leadership, which I think many people could benefit from reading. 

All in all, Goddess Luminary Leadership Wheel is a wonderful book for those who are looking to do inner work around leadership but are looking for alternative models for how this might look. This is also a must-have for anyone who holds space as a spiritual leader, particularly if you’re leading a group of women. The Wheel is a powerful model that will provide a lot of insight into one’s leadership style and potential in a way that fosters growth, awareness, and connectivity. I am happy to now be thinking of myself as a Luminary, rather than the traditional leader, and have felt very empowered exploring what this term means to me while making my way through this book.

Earth Energy Meditations, by Susan Shumsky, DD

Earth Energy Meditations: Awaken Your Root Chakra – The Foundation of Well-Being, by Susan Shumsky, DD
Weiser Books, 978 157863 703 4, 224 pages, 2021

In her book Earth Energy Meditations: Awaken Your Root Chakra – The Foundation of Well-Being, Susan Shumsky sets the stage for personal work on a level that is both sustainable and achievable. A highly respected teacher, author, and founder of Divine Revelation, Shumsky’s goal is to educate those who feel called to explore their chakras and learn how to both bring them into and keep them in balance. Beginning with the first chakra, known as the root chakra, Shumsky shows how to reconnect with the earth and humanity through a series of readings and meditations.

Real talk: I have a hard time with meditating, simply because of the guilt that arises each time I try and sit and do ‘nothing’. I think we all have a degree of that sense of ‘I should be doing something productive instead of sitting here breathing’ and for me, I find I spend more time fighting that than actually visualizing the sphere of light or whatever I am supposed to be focused on. I do my best to stick with it as I understand the benefits, but I’ve never been able to do it for any great length of time.

Knowing this, Shumsky chose to take a different approach using the introduction section of the book. She explains that the book contains a series of guided meditations, carefully written out with pauses built in and encourages the reader to record their own voice. Jumping ahead in the book is discouraged, however. Shumsky says, “The book is written in a particular order to help you gain increasing strength and integrity. So it is best to practice these meditations in the order they are written.”1

Despite that, there is a provision for those who wish to explore a specific topic in their meditation, and Shumsky encourages focusing on the related chapter. With chapters on such topics as healing ancestral entities, developing inner wisdom, and living your truth to name a few, it’s easy to see how one might want to dive into a later chapter that could offer more of a robust lesson in meditation.

Personally, I did something I never do: I started at the beginning and worked my way through the book as directed. I recorded my own voice as suggested and did my best to try and relax and breathe through the various stress-filled moments where I felt like I should be doing laundry or cleaning or something more important. I think a big part of meditation is learning how to put yourself first, and that idea of putting myself before other things been something that has not come easily or naturally to me.

One meditation that completely resonated with me to the point of tears is around releasing your false self. Shumsky says:

“Human being generally identify themselves with the false self, a.k.a. the ego – limited and bound by ignorance. When I say “ego”, I am not referring to “egotism” or being “egotistical”. I am referring to how you define yourself, i.e, who or what you imagine yourself to be.”2

After the passage, Shumsky then asks the reader to record the affirmation that follows in a strong voice with conviction and I have to tell you, this specific affirmation worked wonders for me. I am not much for the ‘love and light’ crowd as I feel deeply that things need to be balanced and too often we strive for that balance on the side of lightness. There is something to be said for coming to a deep realization that we are beyond what our conscious mind believes.

Meditating and working with the root chakra unlocks a bunch of hidden stuff that can either be allowed to overtake you or can be used to gently strip away that which is no longer needed. Personally, I like shadow work in all forms and I liken this book to that practice completely. Learning how to connect and ground through simple mantras and other techniques is incredibly helpful for times when I need something concrete to hold onto. In the middle of a panic attack, I don’t have to think about too much outside of deep breaths and palms pressed together. That to me is a comfort. As I become more practiced, perhaps other techniques will surface for me to use but for now, this works brilliantly.

Shumsky writes with a practiced ease and answers questions you didn’t know you had until you started reading. Her style is open and gentle and is both accessible and reachable in terms of who can practice. There is no feeling of needing to catch up nor is there any shaming if you aren’t able to perform the simplest of meditations. This is meant for the reader to experience as they will and is not meant as another tool with which to beat yourself up over.

Anyone interested in learning chakras but feeling a bit overwhelmed by the whole thing would do well to read Earth Energy Meditations. I am very much for foundational readings, and, as this book covers the root chakra, this is a great place to start. The writing is approachable and the book itself set up into chapters that clearly identifies what specific area is being explored. I would caution that some of this work gets a bit heavy and if you find yourself sinking too deeply, there is no shame in reaching out for help. Asking for guidance is an act of bravery and does not mean you are unable to look after yourself. We all need help from time to time and the best way you can show yourself how much you love yourself is by getting the help you need.

Plants of Power, by Stacey Demarco and Miranda Mueller

Plants of Power: Cultivate Your Garden Apothecary and Transform Your Life, by Stacey Demarco and Miranda Mueller
Rockpool Publishing, 1925924351, 352 pages, September 2021

“Go touch grass.” This is a sentiment that I really took to heart this past spring, summer, growing season or whatever else you want to call it. I ended up going ham in my little yard and definitely bit off more than I could chew this season. Clearing out the unwanted and planning for what I did want around me was rough and it’s still a work in progress. 

It’s through this little foray into the growing stuff side of life that made this book ping my interest radar. So, I waddled over to my shelf just to see what I had over there. Whelp, I will admit I had no books on plants. None, zip, zilch.

I want a practical plant space. I want it full of good strong allies ready and willing to help me out when I need it in exchange for the love and care I have to give. And with a hesitant chuckle, I began to read Plants of Power: Cultivate Your Garden Apothecary and Transform Your Life by Stacey Demarco and Miranda Mueller. This book is a good book, a great book even, and it has definitely taught me a thing or two.

I was aware that our ancestors, those who walked before us, had a deep connection to the land. It fed them, gave them the raw materials needed to build tools and shelter, the power to mend wounds and ease illness, all things we have lost touch with today. They found the plants that lessened swelling and eased a headache by observing what we nowadays can glean from a quick google search provided by science and electricity. This was their science; our science is much different. Don’t get me wrong, science is great, but it is also not so great. 

“Talk of how a plant might alter consciousness has increased the chance of that plant being banned by authorities, usually with a campaign of fear.”1

It’s the sad truth. We are so disconnected from the land and how to use it that we fear what should not be feared, we demonize what should be respected and we cherry pick which plants get this treatment. We do not shun the Lily just because it’s lethal to cats. We ignore the fact that the bulb of the Daffodil is bad for both us and our canine companions as we edge walkways with them. There are so many wonderful plant allies that have been done dirty just because we do not understand them the way we once did. I better cut this off here though and move onto the book proper here.

Part One

This book, past the intro, is divided into two main sections. The first part consists of six bite sized charters that covers a little about our authors and some general plant knowledge.

The first chapter is the meet-the-author chapter. Here we get an abridged version of their life paths away and back to the land. The next two cover nature and the land. The patterns that appear in nature have lessons to teach us if only we would slow down and listen, tending the land that we have is a great way to do this by the by. Be this land a full yard or a few pots on a balcony, it’ll do you some good me thinks.

The second half of the chapters are less about the land itself and more about the plants and what we can do for/with them. Did you know that plants can sense your intent? What about the fact that there’s two, two different ways to compost? What about using the moon and zodiac signs in your planting and harvesting? I sure as heck didn’t. I’d recommend paying extra attention to these sections, as they were quite eye opening for me and I’m sure they will also be for you.

Part Two

Here we get into the greenery proper. The plants are split into sections based on season and each plant gets a few pages to itself. These pages are laid out as follows. First, the common name at the top and the scientific one directly underneath it. Then, under that a box is further quick info like other names, planetary rulings, and a little correspondence list. Past the box is a quick blurb on the plant, some notes on its cultivation and foraging.

The really fun part of this section, the crafts section. In the crafts section, we get a bit of a mix bag from recipes for food like mint pesto and even mouthwash to meditations and salves centered on our plant in question.

Y’all my wallet gonna hate me this coming spring! I’m kidding…maybe… But in all seriousness coming out of the reading gauntlet (I tore through this book in three days) I have a deeper appreciation for the earth and the plants that I already have been tending. Which are a few mints, some common sage bushes, rosemary and a marshmallow, in case you were curious. My wishlist of plants has also become obscenely long, but it will be thinned out as I research further on which ones will grow best in my area. I hope to add at least two plants from this book as well as many, many more mint plants in pots so I can make all the mint pesto I want (recipe page 180).


I did have some minor issues with this book. Don’t you go scrunching your face up at these words, remember it’s physically impossible to fully please everyone with what you create and you just gotta roll with it. The biggest, most glaring issue is where is the index?! There’s usually an index in books like this. I don’t normally need to use the index, but in looking for the page with that mint pesto recipe, the index was sorely missed. I mean I eventually found it, but it would have been so much faster and less frustrating had there been an index.

These next two wishes were not mine originally. My wonderfully accepting and former chef father pointed out that some of the plants with an edible craft do not have a basic flavor profile. While this particular nit-pick isn’t a big one, it’s still something that might have been nice. The last one is phonetic spelling on some of the names. We spent a good twenty minutes debating the pronunciation of Comfrey over coffee one afternoon. While it was invigorating to whip out my phone and prove myself correct, this particular inclusion would have made the discussion unnecessary.

Overall Plants of Power is a great book, well worth the coin for this particular ware. This book would be a good fit for someone who doesn’t have much knowledge about plants and their real uses beyond being a pretty thing outdoors. As a beginner in the plant world there is so much more to learn but that’s what research is for and this book is a great place to start from.

The basic info provided is enough to get an idea of what you might want to start growing. This would help to keep the budding gardener from becoming overwhelmed by the sheer volume of things out there to learn. Why spend hours learning all the ins and outs of growing say an olive tree if you know for a fact you don’t have the space or proper growing conditions for one?

I would also think someone with an intermediate to advanced knowledge of plants would also find value in Plants of Power. Even if they don’t exactly learn anything “new”, the different perspectives these two authors bring to the table ought to open doors to revelations and breakthroughs that might otherwise have laid dormant.