A Collective Gathering Place for Readers, Writers, and Seekers

Pagan Portals – Blodeuwedd, by Jhenah Telyndru

Pagan Portals – Blodeuwedd, by Jhenah Telyndru
Moon Books, 1785352126, 134 pages, August 2021

Most faith-based belief systems have similarities ranging from deities and methods of worship and ritual to their myths and legends. In Pagan Portals – Blodeuwedd, Jhenah Telyndru takes us on a deep dive into who the Welsh goddess is, where she came from, and what she symbolizes. 

An in-depth researcher who leaves no stone unturned, Telyndru has masterfully taken an enormous amount of data and compiled it into healthy bites that present an interesting tale. Like most of the Celtic Britons, the Welsh people opted to share their stories through oral tradition, resulting in limited resources from which to pull when putting together a book such as this. Telyndru has woven a magical tale of a goddess whose origin story sounds a lot like that of Eve.

One of the reasons why I love exploring religious cultures and their deities is the thread of consistency that connects most, if not all, of the religions we see today. We are all familiar with the Christian tale of Eve: a woman created from the rib of Adam, the first man, and what she has come to represent. A similar thread appears in the Welsh goddess’ story as well.

In Blodeuwedd’s story, she is created to be the wife of Lleu, a man who is forbidden to marry a human woman due to trickery. Lleu and his father create Blodeuwedd out of oak, broom, and meadowsweet flowers and the two are married. Once married, Lleu is gifted lands by his father and the two settle down.

One day, Lleu decides to visit his father and leaves the estate under Blodeuwedd’s care. He leaves, and Blodeuwedd is informed that a lord from a neighboring kingdom is on her lands. He and his party had been hunting a stag and had followed the animal onto her lands. She extends the hospitality of her hall to him, as is the custom, and sparks fly. They spend a few nights together and they come up with a plan to spend the rest of eternity together. These things never turn out the way they are supposed to, and both Blodeuwedd and her lover are found and punished.

What’s interesting to me is the fact that Blodeuwedd was not given a choice, much like the Christian Eve. They were both created to serve a function, and once they discovered that there was more to life than their specific function, they were punished. This theme carries through into real life as well, with women bearing the brunt of man’s anger and suspicion throughout the ages. You needn’t look far back in time to see glimpses of this: it’s everywhere.

The book details the circumstances around the creation of Blodeuwedd and explains why her creation story was a bit tricky to accept. Telyndru explains:

“It is notable that we don’t see Blodeuwedd give consent to her marriage…Even if we assume she has given consent “off stage”… as a literal newborn, would Blodeuwedd have even possessed the understanding or capacity required to make such a choice?…she has no family to negotiate the terms of the marriage on her behalf. She has been created specifically for the purpose of being Lleu’s wife, since her creator is Gwydion, Lleu’s uncle, it is clear that his priority is to see his nephew wed…”1

Telyndru continues:

“…Blodeuwedd is married the same day she steps into this world… it is this very lack of consent which may have stood out to the contemporary medieval audience, leading them to consider that the marriage…may not have been proper or legal.”2

This is important because Blodeuwedd’s apparent adultery was not considered to have been that; according to their customs, her union with Gronw, the lord from the other kingdom, fulfilled very specific requirements involving three nights of consecutive sleeping together as a sort of elopement. Since her ‘marriage’ to Lleu did not have her consent, and therefore did not seem legal or proper, she couldn’t have committed adultery. What a fascinating twist! Despite all that though, it should come as no surprise that this story was meant as a cautionary tale to the medieval audience: “nothing good comes of women seeking to change their circumstances, especially when it goes against the status quo.”3

This book, while fascinating and wonderfully written, had parts that really upset me. I see echoes of this story everywhere I look, where women regularly sacrifice their own dreams in order to look after the home and support her partner. Personally, I am tired of the expectation that I should shelve my own aspirations in order to support my partner in achieving their goals. I didn’t even get into the sexual repression and how women’s sexual agency is an apparent threat as the whole thing just infuriates me. Not Telyndru’s fault or anything they have done, it’s the topics that this particular legend covers that just irks me.

Having said that, I think it’s vital that we read things such as this in order to see where these ideas come form and hopefully create new ones that are in alignment with current equality expectations. And honestly, the legend of Blodeuwedd doesn’t stop with the whole adultery thing. Becoming the Goddess of Sovereignty isn’t just about agency, it’s also about creating opportunities for those who would rule to prove themselves worthy of the task. As her legend evolved, Blodeuwedd morphs into a benevolent Goddess who was instrumental in creating an opportunity for Lleu and Gronw to achieve their destinies.

If you have even an inkling of an interest in this type of legend, you should pick Pagan Portals – Blodeuwedd. It infuriated me in parts and made me happy in others, and that’s really what I want in a book. Telyndru did a remarkable job in putting together a ton of information in an easy-to-understand way. Now if you’ll excuse me, there’s a patriarchy I have to topple.

A Visionary Guide to Lucid Dreaming, by Lee Adams

A Visionary Guide to Lucid Dreaming: Methods for Working with the Deep Dream State, by Lee Adams
Destiny Books, 1644112373, 192 pages, 2021

In his practical guidebook, A Visionary Guide to Lucid Dreaming: Methods for Working with the Deep Dream State, Lee Adams provides the reader with step-by-step information for lucid dreaming. A Visionary Guide to Lucid Dreaming is a compilation of “articles, blog posts and studies”1 Adams has done over the past two decades. He explains in the beginning of the book: “I am a dreamer and have been all my life.”2

With a bachelor’s degree in psychology, Lee Adams has practiced, researched and taught lucid dreaming for more than 20 years. He is currently pursuing a Ph.D. at Pacifica Graduate Institute. He hosts both the podcast Cosmic Echo and the dreamer community taileaters.com from his home base in Port Orchard, Washington.

My interest in this book can be traced to a six-week course that my husband took in lucid dreaming at a local yoga studio. Although he passed on his notes from the class, I was interested in more practical information. With Adams’ teachings, I began to understand more about lucid dreaming and what is possible with practice. In A Visionary Guide to Lucid Dreaming, Adams covers everything for your lucid dreaming journey from “What to Expect” to “Various States of Consciousness” to “Preparing to Dream.” It’s as if he takes you by the hand and invites you to accompany him on his private journey to lucid dream land!

Adams calls the higher areas of the unconscious “The Self” and shares his goal for the book: “to provide an “easy-to-follow path to help you build your lucid dreaming skills.”3 He promises to share not only “science and techniques” but also his own dreams and dream journal excerpts.4 He defines lucid dreaming as “the most basic definition being the act of dreaming while being aware that one is dreaming.”5 He suggests that the reader get in touch with your personal motivations for lucid dreaming. Under your “Why?” lies your reason, your intention and your focus for this practice. “Understanding your reasons for embarking on this journey will focus your path. Having a clear intention for your journey is another key to success.”6

One of the first topics Adams discusses is the importance of mindfulness and mindfulness meditation. Next, he discusses the importance of “getting quality rest” and tips on how to do this. Adams follows up with his list of “Daily Habits to Promote Sleep”, which includes being exhausted, exercise, diet, and supplements.7 A bedtime routine is discussed in the next section and Adams shares lots of tips. My favorite technique was “The Talk” and how he discusses the importance of actively engaging with your unconscious mind. He suggests that you either write down or say out loud the things bothering you. In this way, you can release those bothersome things and get to sleep. He also says audibly, “It’s time for bed” to signal to his unconscious mind that he is ready for sleep.

Adams also shares how dreams occur in both REM sleep and Non-REM sleep. He talks about dream memory and how to foster better dream recall, including information from some scientific studies and how some supplements may help. In his lucid dreaming process, Adams shares 7 steps, including “good sleep hygiene and intention setting.”8 We all dream, says Adams, and we remember parts of dreams and may forget some other parts. He has a great list of techniques from “Easy” to “Intermediate” to “Expert” to help you remember your dreams.

The information Adams shares on symbols and dream interpretation was the most interesting portion of the book to me. He talks about Carl Jung and Jung’s use of symbols and archetypes for dream interpretation. Later in the book, he shares ideas from Jung’s mentor Sigmund Freud and two other men, Medard Boss and Martin Heidegger.

If you begin to notice the symbols in your dreams and bring them into your waking life, you can learn even more about the dream symbolism and the messages from your unconscious. He gives an example of when he dreamed about a panda. He created a clay panda and placed it on his nightstand. Then, he had more dreams and came to learn about a man (who looked like a panda!) and began to ask the man about dreams and reality in his lucid dreams.

The whole idea of interacting with the symbols in your dreams is new to me. I was intrigued to try this in my dream life. I took a dream I had a few weeks ago and used an interpretation technique that Adams shared. A symbol that figured prominently was a car, in which I was a passenger and no one was driving. Using Adam’s technique, I sat with this image and recalled the dream “as if for the first time.” Then I listened to any intuitive hits I received about the dream. Finally, I considered how the dream relates to me personally.

I began to see how this dream represented how I feel like “I am not in the driver’s seat” in my career. That I am just riding along, going wherever the job takes me. I also was able to see some ideas about regaining control, asking for what I need at the office and making the most of the upcoming annual review period to request more support.

To make the book even more helpful, Adams has included a great Table of Contents, a complete index of terms and an exhaustive bibliography. Throughout the book, Adams shares various online forums and resources for the lucid dreaming student. All of these elements add to the overall promise of the book: to share the journey and documentation of his personal dream work.

Adams’ writing style is very conversational and entertaining in A Visionary Guide to Lucid Dreaming. He peppers his scientific data with personal examples and information from other authors, as well. He has definitely lived his material and it really shows in the pages of his book. I feel that this book is best for a serious lucid dreaming student. Someone who already has experience keeping a dream journal would really benefit from the techniques and tips Adams shares.

The Once and Future Witches, by Alix Harrow

The Once and Future Witches, by Alix E. Harrow
Redhook, 0316422045, 528 pages, October 2020

Embracing the season of the witch, my book club picked The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow for our October read, and I am in love! This is such an empowering tale of women finding their strength, courage, and magic to change the world. It’s a reminder of what happens when women from all walks of life embrace witchcraft and join together to raise hell!

At a whooping 528 pages, this book wasn’t just a rinse-and-repeat story with the typical exposition, rising action, climax, and resolution. There were so many twists and turns along the way, which made it a really lovely read to sink my teeth into. I knew this wasn’t a book I was going to tear through, and this opened me up to embracing all the characters that I’m sure will live on in my heart for quite some time.

This is a tale of the three Eastwood sisters, Agnes, Beatrice, and Juniper, who are reunited in New Salem under magical circumstances. Having all escaped the wrath of their abusive father, the girls are each making their own way in the world: Agnes as a mill girl, Beatrice as an assistant librarian, and Juniper as a good-intentioned suspected criminal on the run. As fate would have it, Beatrice chants secret hidden worlds that bring back the lost tower of Avalon, a place that was banished the last time it was called back by witches in Old Salem, leading to the great purge of witchcraft.

Suddenly, the sisters are brought back together, though not without their share of quarrels and hard-feelings between them. Juniper, who has taken up the cause of women’s suffrage, is set on using magic to further the rights of women. Bella, though hesitant to be drawn in, is obsessed with collecting witch-stories and tales. As witches know, all that is required is the will, the words, and the way. Together, the sisters use their strengths to create their own group of witches and start to wreak mayhem in the town.

Mayoral candid Gideon Hill is dead-set on capturing the witches and bringing them all to justice. There’s an oddity about him, and the shadows of the town seem to obey his will. However, this doesn’t stop these women from advocating for the ways of witchcraft to be brought back. And there’s just so many twists and turns, with a whole lot of love — both romantic and sisterly!

I won’t get too far into the plot, because as mentioned already, it’s a long book. But I will rave about it from the stance of a witch. It did a really good job of portraying witchcraft as inclusive, open to everyone regardless of their social status, ancestry, and even gender. The book is filled with spells, fables, and fairy tales – all with a witchy spin to them. It makes one proud to be a witch, and I wish more women could unite under common causes to protect one another.

The book also draws heavily upon the maiden, mother, crone archetype, as well as the united three-circle witch’s mark. There’s a mixture of academic witchcraft aka grimoires and arcane spellwork with witchcraft that is only spoken and passed down through oral traditions. I especially liked the focus on the Daughters of Tituba, which is an African-American group of witches that the Eastwood sisters become involved with.

Another aspect I liked was how magic was used for social justice. As many women in the book acknowledge, small spells are mostly for mundane things, such as whitening the laundry or keeping one’s hair in place, but as the women share their words and ways with each other, they discover that bigger change can happen through magic. I love reading about women working together, understanding each other’s plight, whether it be as a mother, abused daughter or wife, or part of the LGBTQ community .

There’s a strong acknowledgement of the desperation that often leads one to tap into magic in order to create a path where one was not before. This book isn’t about girls who “do the right thing”, it’s about the women who decide to claim their power in a world that refuses to give it to them. I felt very sovereign reading about these badass witches who didn’t back down and kept witchcraft alive even in the face of adversity. They didn’t adhere to stereotypes, but were happy to throw them in other’s face with their pointed hats and broom flying.

I highly, highly, highly recommend this book for anyone who’s into witch-fiction. Once and Future Witches one of the best books in this category I’ve ever read. There’s so much beauty, love, and magic interwoven in the pages; every reader’s heart will certainly swell, as their magic grows. This powerful read will remind you of what can happen when you choose a life of magic and decide to stand in solidarity with a community to achieve so much more than you ever could on your own. All the while, teaching the importance of healing old hurts, forgiving the past, and opening one’s heart to learn to love again. <3

The Tree Horoscope, by Daniela Christine Huber

The Tree Horoscope: Discover Your Birth-Tree and Personality Destiny, by Daniela Christine Huber
Earthdancer, 9781644113226, 144 pages, October 2021

Did you know that everyone has a birth-tree based on the day they were born?  In The Tree Horoscope: Discover Your Birth-Tree and Personality Destiny, Daniela Christine Huber describes the 22 different archetypal trees that shape your personality and lifestyle. As someone who absolutely loves nature, especially trees, it has been a pleasure getting to know more about my signature tree horoscope. The best part is how Huber makes it easy to jump right in and get started!

The book starts out with an introduction to Celtic tree mythology and Daniela’s experience of working with these energies. Previously, I had learned the Celtic tree-months while reading A Spell in the Forest by Roselle Angwin, which covered the Ogham calendar and the 13-month wheel of the year in which tree-months were connected to lunar cycles. Huber has created horoscope profiles based on the archetypal Celtic tree energies. She reminds us that “Following the path of this connection with Nature with our hearts will lead us to the Source, the roots within us.”1

In Huber’s system, each Celtic tree appears twice in the cycle of the year, with the expectation of Oak, Birch, Olive, and Beech that have just one day assigned to them. Every birth-tree also is assigned an earth element (earth, water, fire, air, ether) and Huber offers a short description of the energy of each. She also discusses how connecting with the element of our birth-tree can help restore balance and fulfill emotional and psychological needs. She describes how “Our birth-tree is the guardian of our individual potential; it will always remind us of that fact and help us to become aware of our gifts and talents.”2

There’s an easy to follow chart in the front of the book that makes it easy to find one’s birth date and look up their birth-tree. Mine is Cedar of Lebanon, so I went right to that page first. Immediately I was struck by the beauty of the photograph featured. I think the pictures in this book are one of it’s best attributes. It’s one thing to read about the different trees, but to see photographs of them really helps with identification. I like having a visual when connecting with the energy of my birth-tree.

For every tree, there is information about the elemental family, gifts and talents of those with the tree energy, the tree’s mantra (called “Carpe arborem” by Huber), the tree’s symbolism, and the path of life for people born with this birth-tree. The path of life is the longest section of each horoscope. Then there is a general overview of the personality of people with the birth-tree, healing powers of the tree, birth-tree power, and inspiration for someone with the tree’s personality. It’s quite a bit of information packed into just a few pages!

I really resonated with my tree horoscope. It highlighted my personality pretty well. I especially liked learning more about the healing powers of my birth-tree, and I loved my carpe arborem:

“I am freedom of choice, the core from which the creative powers in my life can take effect. I free myself from the limitations of my understanding with humility and reinvent myself over and over again.”3

This was very affirming for me because I feel like I am constantly reinventing myself as I continue to learn and grow. Creativity is a big part of my life, and I felt the connection with the Cedar of Lebanon tree in this regard. To deepen this solidarity with my birth-tree, I decided to order Cedar incense that I can burn to remind myself of the special powers associated with this birth-tree: courage and self-confidence.

I have shared the tree horoscopes in this book with some friends and family. They too have all been delighted with the insight it’s given them. Another neat feature of the book is the birthday calendar in the back, where you can keep track of everyone’s birthday . It lists their birth-trees, as well as famous people also born with that particular birth-tree. I really like how easy it is to keep track of birthdays, while also learning more about the birth-trees and reflecting on how they reflect the energies of people in my life.

Earth energies, such as flower essences and herbal remedies have always been an important part of life. For years, I’ve focused on bridging heaven and earth by teaching how our energy is always reflected in both the natural world and celestial bodies. The Tree Horoscope does a beautiful job of demonstrating this idea by giving readers insight into who they are based on their corresponding birth tree. I absolutely love how the book fosters an ecocentric view of human’s relationship with trees, acknowledging how they influence our development.

All in all, this is a wonderful book for those hoping to learn more about their personality and discover how it is shaped by their birth-tree. I think The Tree Horoscope would make a great birthday gift, though it’s also useful to store birth dates of loved ones to make sure you never miss their special day. The beautiful photographs are a wonderful way to practice tree identification. While this is only a small snippet of the mythology of Celtic trees, the book is a good starting point for those who want to learn more about the different symbolisms and energies of these mighty connectors of heaven and earth. I’ve really loved reading this book and will definitely be referring back to it as the days of the year go by to see which tree energy is present.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ABRACADABRAH!

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

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

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

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

Sit Down to Rise Up, by Shelly Tygielski

Sit Down to Rise Up: How Radical Self-Care Can Change the World, by Shelly Tygielski
New World Library, 1608687449, 256 pages, October 2021

Self-care is all the rage right now, but how often does it extend outwardly to encompass a community? Sit Down to Rise Up: How Radical Self-Care Can Change the World by Shelly Tygielski is a beautiful reminder of what can happen when honoring the need for mutual support and community as part of our self-care practice. This isn’t a “Ms. Independent” tale of how self-care is synonymous with “me-first”; it’s a potent story of struggling to make one’s way through life amid challenge and still choosing to show up each and every day for yourself and the people who count on you.

Through this book, Tygielski candidly recalls stories of her past, even some of her family’s tales too, as she guides readers to rediscover meaning in their life, overcome limiting mindsets, and build encompassing communities that redefine the structures of society. She starts off by reminding readers of their own agency, which she likens to free will. In the section “Forget the Guru, Find the Yuru” (which I loved!) she writes:

“We all spend a lifetime climbing the proverbial mountain with an expectation that we’ll find a wise person at the top who will tell us the meaning of life. This person doesn’t exist, I promise. The ability to thrive, love, be happy, and fulfill all comes from within. Every single bit of it. It comes from the realization that we have been bestowed with the gift of agency to choose how and when to cultivate it in ourselves.”1

Once the reader has been reminded of the importance of them actively participating in their journey, Tygielski moves through a whole range of heartfelt wisdom she’s cultivated in life, channeling through her relatable stories of how she built this practice for herself. I for one always love hearing someone else’s story; it gives me motivation and affirmation that if they can do it, I can do it. Chapters include “Good is Good Enough”, “Not Broken”, “Familiarization”, “Sustainable Self-Care”, and more.

I will delve into each a bit more, but I wanted to mention how much I like Tygielski’s style. Tygielski has a way of writing about her experience without making it feel like this book is a tout of her success. It’s almost as though a close friend is having a heart to heart with you about all they’ve gone through recently, revealing their own vulnerabilities, fears, and doubts, as well as how they mustered the strength to keep going.

For instance, Tygielski writes about “deconstructing” ourselves to learn more about the narratives shaping our lives (many of which aren’t the healthiest and deserve some care from us) and then “reconstructing” ourselves in more realistic ways that allow for self-acceptance, grace with our mistakes, and affirmation that we are enough.

I tried this practice myself, after a few months of feeling woefully inadequate and caught up in a comparison-game with others, and found it to be very relieving. It helped me to see what stories I was telling myself and then actively reshape them into a more accurate and honest perspective, bolstered with a dose of “good enough” and self-love.

One of Tygielski’s defining moments in her life is finding out she has uveitis, which is an inflammatory disease of the eye, when she woke up blind one morning! I honestly can’t even imagine how scary this would be for her. She described the sensation, as well as how she had to get her toddler son ready for school without her sight, trying to remain calm until a friend could take her to the hospital.

Since it’s the leading cause of what makes people under 40 go blind and she’d require treatment the rest of her life, being diagnosed with this was a huge shift in her life. Naturally, she spun down a rabbit-hole of fear, but she made a decision to lean into her emotions, rather than try to suppress or deny them, inviting the reader to also stop masking their own pain and find happiness that isn’t based on the condition that things are all good. Tygielski writes, “I came to recognize that by changing my perception of these problems, or if I saw even the worst experience in a different light, I experienced them all differently. I felt set free.”2

It was at this point in her journey that Tygielski began examining her Jewish faith, taking up meditation, and learning more about the path of Buddhism. She describes racing thoughts and the challenges of starting this practice. However, by breaking things into small chunks, she was able to move forward with her goal of practicing self-care.

One of my favorite things Tygielski did was creating “chunks” in her to-do list (which she shares an image of!) that breaks things down into categories. I started doing this with my own to-do this and have found the organization of it to be both practical and pleasing. So, the book has not only meaningful inspiration, but also real examples that can be practiced in one’s life to cultivate this foundation.

Tygielski realized this path to change wasn’t going to happen overnight, yet her dedication to working towards getting to the root of her negative thinking, make changes in her life, and develop self-care practices never waivered. Through trial and error, she was able to find a self-care practice that works for her. And while she suggests times to include self-care, such as when transitioning from one thing to another during the day, her message encourages readers to find self-care practices and routines that fit their own lifestyle.

She also reflects on the importance of authentic self-care, as well as how it has been misconstrued in society “by corporations to create a very profitable industrial wellness complex, one that focuses on beauty, happiness, and comfort in the name of self-love and self-compassion.”3 YES! I am really glad she pointed that out, while also explaining how self-care is a key component to making the world a better place through participatory transformation.

What I like most about Sit Down to Rise Up is how Tygielski brings it outward to her community. During the pandemic, she created a grassroots mutual aid organization called Pandemic of Love. She explores the importance of mutual aid, which once was the center of community-life, but has recently disappeared in our modern culture.

Reviving this solidarity and calling upon the strength of one’s village is a self-care practice in itself, one that has a power to change the very fabric of society as people choose to offer love, kindness, generosity, and support, even to those who seem very unlike themselves. Tygielski’s organization has grown exponentially, and I’m glad because she has her priorities straight and an agenda that is truly devoted to service.

“The success and growth of Pandemic of Love proved that mutual aid goes beyond charity by mobilizing humans on behalf of humanity. It provides us with a powerful vision of the type of alternative society that is possible, one where we can be a global community connected by cooperative compassion and where we are no longer consumers in endless capitalist competition.”4

I am all on board with this call to practice self-care on behalf of not only oneself, but the entire world, so perfectly framed by Tygielski. If this message speaks to you, if you’re ready to change the world by going through the effort of changing yourself first, then Sit Down to Rise Up is definitely a must-read. It’s inspiring, empowering, and liberating to one’s spirit. As we change ourselves, the world around us changes too. By caring for ourselves, we learn how to create communities that care for others as well. I’m thrilled to see Tygielski’s community thriving — its success definitely points to what the heart of society is longing for right now.

Revelations from the Source, by Barbara Hand Clow

Revelations from the Source, by Barbara Hand Clow
Bear & Company, 1591434319, 352 pages, October 2021

It started with Revelations of the Ruby Crystal (2015), then came Revelations of the Aquarius Age (2018). Now, at long last, Barbara Hand Clow has completed the trilogy with the most recent book Revelations from the Source (2021). I have eagerly been anticipating this latest release after having grown quite fond of the tight-knit community of characters in this series. All my hopes and expectations were exceeded in this dynamic final book, which expertly weaves together multi-dimensional layers of information, inspiring revelations, and reconsideration of how things truly are in the world.

Before diving into things, while this book can be read as a stand-alone, I highly recommend reading the first two books before this one. Clow doesn’t spend too much time introducing the characters in this final book, and the few sentences to summarize the characters’ relationships for those who aren’t familiar hardly does justice to the complexity of their bonds. Plus, the characters have naturally evolved, and therefore their current circumstances in this book are directly related to the previous ones.

This being said, Revelations from the Source was a thrilling read because it has an up-to-date timeline of current events. While not every event in the book happened in real life, the story intends to parallel current events. From the election of Pope Francis, the first Jesuit to hold the position, to political tensions in Iran and the presidency of Donald Trump, all the way up to the COVID-19 pandemic, the book focuses on the characters’ experiences of events.

As I read, I was reflecting on having lived through these experiences, many not too long ago, with a new sense of perspective, as well as room to integrate what I was feeling as I moved through them. This is because all of the characters in the story are very tapped into the zeitgeist, all from their own point of view, such as a psychotherapist working with clients’ processing to an artist capturing energetic transmissions of sound in painting to awaken the masses. Another character is a reporter, who previously covered events in the Middle East but is now a correspondent for a newspaper reporting on the happenings in the Vatican.

My favorite character point of view is Claudia, esteemed fashion-designer and astrologer. Since I am an astrologer myself, I could remember all the full moons and conjunctions described, during which characters perform initiations or simply muse about the world. I especially recall the conjunction of Saturn and Pluto in 2020, which was a significant moment in the book as well, as the characters work together to perform a ritual uniting the nine dimensions. I think those prone to reflecting on the placement of the stars, as well as the tumultuous events of the past few years would have a lot to gain from reading the insights of the characters in Revelations from the Source.

Clow’s astrological background is effortlessly integrated into the fictional narrative of this story. For instance, there is a lot of discussion about the nine different dimensions, with certain characters having more of a connection to each one. Clow previously authored the book The Alchemy of the Nine Dimensions, which I’m sure this story’s plot is based on. I’m always a fan of reading fictional stories where I can relate to a character’s feelings, thoughts, and experience, rather than just a non-fictional explanation of some phenomena. And it’s for this reason that I enjoyed this book so thoroughly. Other topics that Clow has woven in from her previous books include Mayan Codes (The Mayan Code), energetic influence of Chiron (Chiron), connections to other star systems (The Pleiadian Agenda), and lots of raising sexual energy as a form of altering consciousness (Astrology and the Rising of Kundalini)!

However, Clow doesn’t hesitate to venture into some of the deepest, darkest shadows in our culture as well. At times, it was hard to stomach parts of the story, especially the sexual abuse of priests on young children, which is a prominent theme in the entire series. This book really covers a lot of the energetic forces of the Catholic Church, as well as how the energy of youths has been inappropriately harvested for power, money, and prestige. Once again, while the story is fiction, it mentions events that really happened such as the Boston Globe story which revealed the extent of abuse and cover-up in the Catholic Church.

Quite a few characters leave the Church, and by the end of it, I felt more confident in my resolve to do so as well. I was born and raised in the Catholic faith, even attending a Catholic university for my undergraduate studies. However I am increasingly finding it hard to find faith in a religion that does not value the spiritual authority of women and is rife with abuse and misconduct. The characters’ journeys were really empowering in my own spiritual path, making me see that I could follow their lead, rather than continue to go along with the corruption that has taken hold in the Catholic religious community. There’s so much history packed in the story, as another character is a scholar of early-Christianity, that I was constantly Googling new topic ideas, such as “Marconi” and “Mithraism.”

Other controversial topics include climate change, vaccinations, 5G towers, and the public-safety response to the pandemic. I will admit, sometimes the beliefs did feel a bit “conspiracy theory-esqe,” but I kept an open mind without discrediting anything. I was especially intrigued by the explanation for the coronavirus springing to life when it did, which had to do with telluric interference. Now that is a thought that has never crossed my mind!

At its heart, Revelations from the Source is a tale of the characters’ awakening into the Age of Aquarius. Due to their reputable, affluent, and influential families, the characters in the story are keepers of secret history, serving as a bridge between past and present. In this way, they serve as foils to modern society, clearly showing where humanity has veered off course, thus resulting in evil forces being unleashed through social strife, political controversy, intimate violence, and looming threats of war.

Clow clearly shows through the plot that the transition isn’t an easy one, and there are many forces at work during this tumultuous time. However, with the right perspective, and tools (art, past-life regressions, astrology, writing), humanity will be able to pull through. What’s most important is that we remember the importance of connection, building trust, and working together to overcome the destructive forces both within ourselves and the world at large.

The story’s theme of friendship and community is a prompt for the reader to find their own community to assist during this changing of ages. And most of all, for readers to continue to do their own investigations and express their revelations with a broader community. In this age where the people have the power and the power is the people, increasing our ability to transmit thoughts, energies, and feelings effectively will be a key to survival.

Overall, I am immensely satisfied with the culmination of this trilogy. Revelations from the Source is a treasure-trove of alternative ideas woven perfectly into the seemingly-static fabric of our 3-D reality. Filled with history, ancient and secret knowledge, as well as esoteric understandings of humanity’s place within the greater star systems, this book will bring you into new realms of realization. By delving into the defilement and debasement of some of society’s most corrupt institutions, the truth is exposed. Something we will be seeing more of as the Age of Aquarius dawns.

I highly recommend not only this book, but this entire series, for those looking for a fascinating read that delves into many dimensions, facets of history, and opens a doorway to a future unlike what we’ve known thus far. The writing is engaging, and the characters will soon feel like an extended friend group (I certainly wish I could call on them for advice!). More and more, those awakening to the shifts will be looking for answers, and while it’s fictional, this book is sure to be the key that unlocks readers’ perception.

The Inner Work of Age, by Connie Zweig, Ph.D.

The Inner Work of Age: Shifting from Role to Soul, by Connie Zweig, Ph.D.
Park Street Press, 9781644113400, 393 pages, September 2021

As a woman of a “certain age”, I was not surprised when the Universe placed The Inner Work of Age: Shifting from Role to Soul by Connie Zweig, Ph.D. in my hands. Of course, the information would be pertinent as I contemplated taking an early retirement option to join others in what is being termed the “Great Resignation”. And yes, I had faced a life-alerting disease that served as a wake-up call. The real question though, was how receptive I would be to doing the inner work offered in the book to shift from “role to soul.”

Dr. Zweig explores the “inner ageist” that exists in us, and in parables, stories, and interviews, “uncovers a realm of aging that is unexplored territory: the unconscious, or Shadow.”1 The book explores ways to remove inner obstacles to aging from the inside out and in doing so, connect to the soul.

Aging is not an option, of course. But how do we shift from a role-centered life to a soul-centered life? If you ask someone to tell you a little about themselves odds are they begin with describing what they do for a living; their role that’s earn money is often their first identity. The shift to doing one’s soul work, transitioning to the role of the Elder, does not automatically manifest due to one’s chronological age. It requires intention and inner work, which is outlined in the book.

The book is divided into four parts. Part One centers on Divine Messengers and offers ways to age from the inside out. How does one break one’s identification solely with one’s role and focusing on nourishing one’s soul? It describes three portals to aging consciously – shadow awareness (the portal to depth), pure awareness (the portal to silent vastness), and mortality awareness (the portal to presence). It also explores two divine messengers – retirement and life-changing illness.

This section of the book most resonated with me. The chapter on retirement offered me the opportunity to explore what was holding me back from accepting a very generous retirement package and shifted my focus to wanting time affluence – time to do what I want, when I want to do it – versus a fixation on financial affluence – and facing my shadow of fearing financial destitution.

Part Two focuses on Life Review and Life Repair where one is offered the chance to work in ways to review one’s life – both lived and unlived and the ways to repair and release the past in order to live more fully in the present. The section offers ways to repair one’s past, to look back and reconcile to move towards closure. In reframing the negative, one can see betrayals as initiations into the shadow.

The focus of Part Three is on moving from Hero to Elder and describes the many forms of the Elder archetype – the spiritual, the creative, the Earth, and the activist among others. Elder wisdom calls one to “serve something larger than ourselves” while also transmitting knowledge gleaned over one’s lifetime. Part Four centers on Life Completion and consciously moving toward a completed life. It allows one to reimagine death – not as a finality but as the completion of a cycle.

Each chapter of the book begins with a parable that exemplifies the chapter’s focus. Each chapter also contains interviews with a wide range of individuals from mystic Robert Atchely, Buddhist teacher, Anna Douglas, and two of my personal favorites, kirtan chant leader, Krishna Das and Jungian analyst, Marion Woodman. The interviews often encapsulate the focus of the chapters in a nutshell. I particularly loved how Marion Woodman spoke about the “crown of age,” knowing that the word crone is derived from the word crown – relating to the crown chakra.

As the book encourages action and inner work, at the end of each chapter one is offered questions focused on Shadow Work practices as well as Spiritual Practices, or “contemplative practices to turn your attention from role to soul.”2

“Each chapter offers practices from shadow-work and spiritual contemplative traditions to help us break through denial, become aware of these inner obstacles, and overcome them. These practices ask us to slow down, turn within, and self-reflect.”3

Dr. Zweig reminds the reader that “as each of us chooses not to merely grow old but to grow whole, to intentionally step across the threshold to become and Elder, we discover that aging can be a spiritual path.”4 There is a lot of “stuff” that comes up as one ages and reaches certain milestones that are too often associated with redundancy, where one feels relegated to the corner of the room, no longer viable, when one’s “doing” slows down and as such, one might be termed a liability to society and instead of an honored and revered member. This inner work, this move to self-awareness will greatly benefit the reader in particular – and one’s community as well.

Dr. Zweig’s writing style is easy to understand despite the book being laced with studies from publications such as the Harvard Gazette, Psychology and Aging, and Scientific American. Her descriptions of sessions with clients offer insight and analysis on various archetypes and Shadows, such as Victim and Victimizer.

I highly recommend reading The Inner Work of Age, but more importantly, I recommend doing the work as prescribed.

“With inner work, we move beyond midlife and cross a threshold into later life, emerging as the Elder. We let go of the striving and the pushing; we let go of the “should.” We release our past identifies but carry all that we’ve learned, all that we love, always, within us. In this way, we are evolving from role to soul.”5

Do the inner work necessary to transition to the role of Elder – you’ve earned that crown. Wear it with pride.

Rituals of the Soul, by Kori Hahn

Rituals of the Soul: Using the 8 Ancient Principles of Yoga to Create a Modern & Meaningful Life, by Kori Hahn
New World Library, 978-1608687527, 240 pages, October 2021

There are times when you start reading yet another book about yoga and you think to yourself: “Is it worth my time? Is this one going to just be like all the others?” Sadly, that is sometimes the case: the book provides the same information, just wrapped up in slightly different packaging. But this is definitely NOT the case for Rituals of the Soul: Using the 8 Ancient Principles of Yoga to Create a Modern & Meaningful Life by Kori Hahn! I was absolutely delighted to surf my way through this book (Kori loves ocean metaphors and is an avid surfer), and I think other readers will find it an incredible guide on their spiritual journey.

As you move through the pages, it’s quite clear that Kori’s book (her first!) is a labor of love and comes directly from the soul – which is exactly what the book is all about. More than achieving an intellectual understanding of yoga – or solely enhancing the physical exercises that the western world associates with this practice – Rituals of the Soul was created to help readers completely transform their lives. The book proves to be both an excellent source of information about the holistic practice of yoga, as well as a fantastic aid to help the reader develop a blend of spiritual exercises attuned to the unique path of their own soul.

The main current that Kori presents to us is that connecting with our intuition is the key to manifesting the dreams that flow from our deepest source – the soul. However, this book is not just about how to manifest the values given to us by society (or even our biology): financial security, success, notoriety, pleasure, etc. All of these things may come with realizing the dreams of our soul, but these are not the goal. Nor, Kori tells us straight-up, is this dream manifestation itself the purpose of yoga. “Your dream isn’t the ultimate goal. It’s merely a tool for soul growth through the eight-step yoga process.”1

It is exactly this sort of direct message that sets Rituals of the Soul apart from other books. Kori is not trying to “sell” her readers on an idea or set of beliefs. She is describing a path – a way of journeying, not simply a route – that she has found for herself, and is lovingly sharing of herself in the hope that others discover their own way of spiritual growth. Thus, what she is doing throughout the book is providing a set of techniques aimed at helping the reader become better at listening to the messages of their soul. In doing this, the reader can discover the way of spiritual growth that is unique to their own soul’s journey.

Even as I am writing this review, I feel a closeness with Kori that I don’t get from reading many other authors – something I didn’t even realize until I noticed myself referring to her on a first-name basis. At the same time that Kori is sharing her yogic knowledge, she is also sharing her own story: the lived experiences that were pivotal to her coming to the realizations she is now passing on to us. Rather than a lofty guru who is speaking from a place of mastery, Kori’s narrative sections demonstrate how much of an “average human being” she is, and how her life transformed through the deep yogic practice she presents in the book.

Rituals of the Soul has a very simple structure: one chapter each for the introduction and conclusion, and one chapter on each one of the eight steps in the yoga process. Again, Kori excels with her simplicity and directness! The eight steps of yoga that serve as the foundation of her approach are based upon principles she has distilled from the Yoga Sutra of Patanjali, an ancient text discussing the principles of yoga. I was surprised to learn that almost none of the Sutras deals directly with the physical practice of yoga – most of them pertain to the other, more expansive aspects of the yoga process.

This very idea is another one of Kori’s main points: most people who practice yoga in the modern world are barely scratching the surface. The postures and breath work that constitute most yoga classes, while beneficial, are ultimately meant to serve as tools for opening ourselves to our intuition – the primary means by which our soul can guide us towards growth. When all eight steps of the yoga process are integrated into one’s life, they build upon and reinforce one another, enabling the practitioner to live the dreams of their soul.

I am also deeply impressed with the thoughtful way that Kori structures her chapters. In the opening section of each one, she uses a story from her life to help create a backdrop for the more in-depth discussion of the topic. I like this strategy because it makes the principle immediately relatable to human life, and also demonstrates the principle put into practice.

After her discussion of the principles, Kori then provides clear, concrete methods for how to integrate that principle into your own spiritual practice. This could be different styles of meditation, postures, or exercises to open yourself to the whispers of your intuition. She presents these merely as examples, encouraging you to find the methods that speak most to you, and provides a step-by-step guide of how to build a spiritual practice that you can gradually incorporate into your life.

Kori’s ability to speak from a place of understanding is one of the shining features of Rituals of the Soul. She is able to offer you her wisdom and guidance in a structured, yet flexible, system – helping you to develop a style of spiritual practice that you actually can integrate into your daily life. This is not to say that doing so will be an easy journey – souls experience growing pains too – but Kori delivers a very down to earth presentation and approach that leaves you feeling much more confident in your ability to expand your spiritual journey.

All in all, I think this is an excellent book for readers who want to feel a connection with a guru, but may not be able to take up an in-person practice at the moment. Or even if you do have a spiritual teacher, Kori’s book would be a great supplement to their instruction. As Kori points out, your soul chose to be incarnated here and now for a reason, and cultivating the disciplines that allow you to better listen to its subtle messages can unveil a life of amazing possibilities. Even if you already know a thing or two about yoga and/or have spiritual practices of your own, her spirit comes through loud and clear in the book and can help further ignite your passion to follow the dreams of your soul.

360 Degrees of Your Star Destiny, by Ellias Lonsdale

360 Degrees of Your Star Destiny: A Zodiac Oracle, by Ellias Lonsdale
Destiny Books, 1644112825, 416 pages, August 2021

As a huge fan of Sabian symbols, I was eager to read Ellias Lonsdale’s latest book 360 Degree of Your Star Destiny. While this book is based on Chandra Symbols, which differ from Sabian symbols, I very much enjoyed reading about the esoteric wisdom of each degree in the zodiacal wheel. Lonsdale’s poetic writing brings astrological energy to life, filled with metaphor and imagery, going beyond the static, traditional interpretations of these potent power points.

Before diving in, I think it’s beneficial to highlight the differences between these various star degree systems. Sabian symbols were channeled in 1925 by Elsie Wheeler, along with assistance from Marc Edmund Jones. The story is actually quite lovely and can be read here. Master astrologer Dane Rudhyar  was fascinated with the symbols and interrupted them through his own lens.

However, Lonsdale, who has studied with both Rudhyar and Jones, drew inspiration for this book from the Chandra system, which was channeled by John Sandbach in 1983. Sandbach’s spirit guide, Chandra, which is Sanskrit for “Moon”, shared the symbols with Sandbach in the span of four hours one afternoon. He intended for those symbols to facilitate new awareness in astrologers, going beyond the labels of some degrees as “negative” and some as “positive”. His aim was for astrologers to be able to tune into the energy of these points, which is ever changing, without overthinking or over-rationalizing the symbolic meaning.1

With this foundation laid, Lonsdale has continued the work. 360 Degrees of Your Star Destiny is a collaborative work between Lonsdale, his current partner, Sharuna, and his former partner Sarah, in the form of spirit guide Haven, having passed beyond this world. It was channeled while Lonsdale and Sharuna lived in a “wildly open state”2 in the Singing Hills, bluffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean. It has taken them nearly 25 years to write this book based on the original transmissions.

Tapping into the Chandra Symbols’ energy is very intuitive when following Lonsdale’s method. Detailed are the “core activator”, or word image, for the nine planets, along with Rising Sign, Moon’s nodes, and asteroids Vesta, Juno, Ceres, and Pallas. The core activor descriptions of the planets are intended to help the reader connect with the esoteric wisdom of astrology. The descriptions of the planets based on their core activating imagery really adds a new dimension to one’s relation with each planet. For instance, here is part of the description for “Pluto as Winged Prophecy”3 (core activator: winged prophecy”):

“The true Plutonian depth process keeps us perpetually in the dark, yet it is a laser that reveals whatever we need to know to move deeper in order to get through the underworld. Clairsentience shows us that we do not need to see nor hear in the physical or subtle worlds. All is vibrationally and immensely re-creative.”4

I find there’s great advantage in relating to the planets through this core activation imagery. It brought the planets alive for me in a new way. Two that were especially revelatory for me were “Mercury as Intonation”5 and “Mars as Being and Becoming”6 Lonsdale’s elucidation on this word imagery renewed my  connection to the planets, inviting me to relate to them in a way different that I normally do.  He reminded me that planetary energy is both malleable, ever-changing, and multi-dimensional.

“In this way each planet opens as a portal and an evolutionary impulse into uncharted waters. So the planets don’t just tell us how it has always been. They reveal the mystery of what can be, as all is moving forward and deeply through us at any given time.”7

After opening the reader to all the planetary energies, Londales then delves into all the Chandra symbols and their star spark, which is the interpretation of the symbol. The book moves from Aries-Pisces, starting with the first degree and moving upward. In this system, the degree should always be rounded up. For instance, my natal Sun at 29 degrees Aquarius would be rounded up to 30 degrees. And speaking of this, let me share my star spark to give you an idea of Lonsdale’s poetically thought-provoking writing style:

“Aquarius 30
A large pool filled with white water lilies in bloom
Light in the spirit food that permeates the ethers of the planet with all that we need to grow and evolve. It’s a signal, a direct emanation of that sense that there is so much more where this came from. To inhale light in abundance is to be greatly blessed, honored, show the way.”

This is only a small snippet, yet I felt like there is so much wisdom in just this paragraph that I want to meditate on it for a week. I mean, naturally, I was so eager and curious that I read through all my natal planets immediately. But now that I went and did that, I can spend time with each Chandra symbol and let it’s insight reveal itself to me as I ponder the star spark and how it energetically shows up in my life. I have been taking it slow to absorb the information, and this delicacy with the imagery and interpretation has made all the difference.

I am trained in depth psychology, and one of the greatest things I learned is that you can’t rush the unconscious mind, which views the world in symbols, metaphor, myth and imagery. What is hidden must be accessed by indirect routes, allowing the mind to open and reveal itself as it feels ready. You can’t force the process, though it can be guided with the right words and images. This is what 360 Degrees of Wisdom has been for me: a subtle and powerful guide into the more esoteric wisdom of the planets, as well as the more subtle layers of energy in play within my own astrological chart.

Another way that I have been connecting with the Chandra Symbols is through drawing. By sketching and coloring the symbol, I feel like I am opening up new channels within myself for information to flow through. I have even tried translating my interpretation of the symbol and star spark into poetry. The beauty of this book is the invitation to be creative in how one approaches planetary energy and becomes attune to it in their own life.

Lonsdale writes how the reader can use the Chandra Symbols to learn about their natal chart (as I have been doing), as well as a form of divination by opening to a page to take in its meaning, following meaningful transits, and looking back on special moments in life to see what the planetary energy was at that time. These symbols and star sparks help to create meaning about one’s  astrology journey.

I plan on moving more slowly through the star sparks in my natal chart, moving towards each planet as it calls to me. Right now I am really wanting to work with Mars a bit more closely. The star spark feels SO resonant that it’s soul-warming. Here’s the Chandra symbol and part of the star spark for my natal Mars:

“Capricorn 15
A woman wearing a necklace of skulls
At the center of the maze, in the heart of darkness, she stumbles on the power that is given her, the power she cannot deny. She goes anywhere and everywhere in her search to become the other. Then she returns to the place she started from and the magic is right there, stronger than ever, refusing to be held within the structure and forms she tries to impose on it.”8

I have been reading this paragraph to myself every morning. I feel it within me, and it taps into an inner source of power I often overlook, though I cannot consciously describe what hits me so deeply. The imagery is especially potent for me since my middle name is Kali, a Hindu goddess often portrayed wearing a necklace of skulls! I have even thought about purchasing a necklace with a skull on it to remind me of my Mars energy. And this is what is so amazing about all the ways the Chandra symbols can be integrated into one’s own practice.

The core activators of the planets are not closed-off, bound definitions of each planet, nor are the star sparks walled-in interpretations. There’s so much room for contemplation, application, growth, and revelation within Lonsdale’s system, which make it mighty appealing to this philosophical astrologer.

I am also excited to refer to the Chandra Symbols and star sparks during certain impactful transits, such as Saturn crossing my descendent. I feel like going into the energy of that degree, while keeping in mind the planetary activator of Saturn, will help make the experience more meaningful. I certainly believe this consciousness to our transits can impact how we experience them, and I’m grateful Lonsdale has shared his channeled wisdom about each degree to help guide us in the process.

I highly recommend 360 Degrees of Your Star Destiny for those looking to expand their relationship with planetary energy. As I’ve said, these are not text-book definitions. Lonsdales has done a wonderful job of translating multifaceted, ever-changing energy into imagery that one can use as a starting point to delve deeper into the insight of the stars.

If you are someone who enjoys working with imagery, either as an artistic, writer, or depth-psychologist, this is definitely a must-have for one’s astrological collection. Because of the simplicity of the method and boundless possibilities of integrating the Chandra Symbols and star sparks, I think this is a great book for astrological beginners. Though even those who have lived by the stars for quite some time are sure to find something meaningful in Lonsdale’s works.

I keep thinking this book would be great to explore as a group, perhaps through meditation, art, or poetry. I would really enjoy discussing it with others, and for that reason, I plan on recommending it to friends. There’s something about it that calls to be shared, as though the information doesn’t want to be static and wants to keep moving. Perhaps it’s been passed along to you now! 🙂