✨ A Gathering Place for Magical Readers and Writers ✨

Cool Sex, by Diana Richardson and Wendy Doeleman

Cool Sex: An Essential Young Adult Guide to Loving, Mindful Sex, by Diana Richardson and Wendy Doeleman
O-Books, 1789043514, 128 pages, December 2020

When picking up Cool Sex: An Essential Young Adult Guide to Loving, Mindful Sex by Diana Richardson and Wendy Doeleman, I really didn’t know what to expect. In what way was this book going to approach the idea of sex being cool? What I found was a fascinating examination of a sexual style that is (apparently) foreign to most sexually active people. I admit, I certainly had no knowledge of what the authors were about to present.

I was quickly drawn in by the meaning of “cool sex,” which Richardson and Doelman contrast with “hot sex.” Hot sex is the too-often dominant style of sex, characterized by fast, vigorous, and highly-stimulating activity that is intended to reach a peak orgasm. It is goal-oriented for one or both partners. This type of sex, while very exciting, is usually accompanied by a drop in energy after sex, and can also give rise to feelings of loneliness and depression.

Cool sex, on the other hand, is sex that is focused on awareness of the present moment: it has no goal. Instead, cool sex is about relaxing and opening the body to the flow of sexual energy between you and your partner. Through the techniques and mindful practice that Richardson and Doeleman describe, sex can become much more intimate, connected, and loving for everyone involved.

“[Y]our attention is directed inside your body, feeling any subtle or delicate good feelings inside of you. And you keep on feeling yourself – moment by moment. It is very much a meditation and mindfulness practice.”1

The authors describe the origins of cool sex, such as the tantric traditions in India, and present cool sex as a form of neo-tantra, where sexual activity is an aspect of spirituality. But the goal of the book is not just to offer a fresh perspective on ancient methods and ideas around sex. Richardson and Doeleman seek to help disabuse their readers of the idea that sex should/must be hot and goal-oriented (all the time).

While there is nothing inherently wrong with hot sex, the authors urge that exploring sex through relaxation and awareness can reveal new depths of sensitivity and result in wholly different forms of ecstasy — forms which heighten your creative, kundalini energy rather than diminish it through release (orgasm).

One of the most interesting points in the application of cool sex to both men and women is that each sex has a positive and negative energetic pole. These poles exist in different areas for males and females. By learning how to lovingly increase the flow of energy between these poles on yourself and your partner, your connection deepens. The authors provide plenty of advice and instructions about how to gently tend to these poles for relaxation and preparation for sex. I found these suggestions immeasurably helpful helping to create a relaxing and loving state, regardless of whether we ended up having sex.

Along with a deeper energetic and physical connection, cool sex also increases emotional openness between partners. Richardson and Doeleman also emphasize that the mindfulness of cool sex can help work through emotional tension, as partners will be more attuned to their own feelings and needs, as well as more receptive to the other person. Specific methods suggested in the book may also be useful for healing old emotional wounds, stored as tension in the genital region. But again, cool sex isn’t about having a goal (even the goal of healing) to accomplish. Cool sex is about being present to your sensations/feelings and allowing sexual energy to flow between partners.

Throughout the book, the authors regularly use testimonial quotes from interviews with people who’ve used these practices. Although making the switch to cool sex can take time and may not be super exciting at the start, these testimonials help to reassure the reader that allowing this practice to unfold in its own time yields amazing, deeply loving experiences. These quotes help the reader easily identify with other people who’d never considered an alternative to hot sex before, but are now reaping the benefits of these practices.

Overall, this book is a pleasure to read. The writing flowed nicely and each chapter is broken down into several sections to make the contents clear and digestible. Although Cool Sex could be a jumping-off point for someone interested in learning more about tantra, it is a unique guide that stands on its own. The authors do a great job of showing us an alternative to the common style of hot sex and providing a diverse range of meditations, techniques, and simple advice to help us all cool sex down and relax into ecstasy.


My husband (Zak from above) and I intended to write our own parts to do this review jointly, but I think he’s succinctly summed up the premise of Cool Sex. Rather than go into details, I am going to add in my own bit about how beneficial this book has been for our relationship.

I think cool sex is something I had been seeking for a while, but didn’t even know was a thing. Yes, it’s fun to get hot and heavy at a moment’s notice, but early on in my sexual journey, I realized how fleeting that moment was — often over within a quarter of an hour. I longed for a way to connect for longer periods of time in a more intimate way now that I’ve married a man I truly adore. The ability to sustain our passion and connect sexually in a way that feels genuine is a true gift that Cool Sex has provided us with.

My favorite thing about the book was the suggestions the authors make for stimulating energy flow between my husband and me. They discuss the polarity of male and female bodies. Generally, women have a positive pole at their breasts and negative pole at their yoni. For men, the positive pole is the perineum and the negative pole is the chest. Realizing this, we’ve been able to better guide the energy in our love-making to align with this polarity, and it feels really good so far!

To be honest, previously my breasts often were never the focal point during sex, but now they have taken center-stage. Much to my delight, based on the information about how the heart is the source of a female’s outward energy, I’ve discovered a whole new relationship with my breasts. I now notice them throughout the day, intentionally stimulate them with kindness and love, and sense into how this connection affects my energy. This has been truly life changing!

Practicing cool sex together has been a fun, exploratory experience for my husband and I because it makes us more aware of how we’re cultivating and sharing our sexual energy. When things start getting hot, we can slow it down with laughter when we realize and then fall back into a more sensual rhythm.

This practice really makes it feel like the love-making is coming from within, rather than guided by external expectations of how sex should be based on cultural portrayals of it. It’s nice to not feel the pressure to sexually perform, and rather have the opportunity to sink in and enjoy the moment. I think this is the secret I’ve been looking for all along!

I think many people would greatly benefit from reading Cool Sex and integrating the practices into their love-making. (I will note that it seems primarily intended for cis-heterosexual couples, but the principles of cool sex are applicable in all sexual relationships.) So far, integrating the information presented has certainly has cultivated new layers of intimacy in our relationship, and we are only at the start of this practice. I look forward to slowing it down even more as we become more comfortable with cool sex. I’m in it for the long-haul with my hubby anyway, so we might as well savor every last drop together, and this book teaches the sexual techniques to do just that. 🙂

Inviting Angels into Your Life, by Kathryn Hudson

Inviting Angels into Your Life: Assistance and Support from the Angelic Realm, by Kathryn Hudson
Findhorn Press, 1644111727, 239 pages, September 2020

I’ll never forget an encounter I had in a bread shop one cold, December morning. I had just left the hair salon after getting my hair cut. I was thinking about my cousin who was hospitalized for a serious illness and bothered by a relationship problem. The gray sky matched my mood. I was even feeling guilty for going to the salon with my cousin so ill. I heard a man speaking to me from behind as I waited in line to buy bread. “Everything will be okay. I promise you.” I turned around and looked at this slightly built man, the only other customer in the store.

I felt tears well up. “Really, everything will be okay. Remember what Mikey is telling you. Mikey is always right.” He walked up to me, gave me a hug, and left the store. This was not a normal encounter – and I remember it to this day, 11 years later. I continued to wonder if Mikey was indeed an angel. After finishing Kathryn Hudson’s book, Inviting Angels into Your Life, and reading of angelic encounters, I am more convinced than ever that Mikey of the bread store was Archangel Michael.

I’ve read a lot of books on angels over the years, but Inviting Angels into Your Life resonated with me more than most books on this topic. Kathryn describes what angels are (without being clinical in nature or getting bogged down with the hierarchy of the angelic realm) and brings them to the reader in ways that we can truly interact with them on an everyday basis. As she writes, the angels are always present and willing to help– what they need is an invitation from us and that is what she shows us how to do. Angels will never infringe upon our free will. Kathryn, a certified Angel Therapy practitioner, has written on this topic and is a workshop presenter on angels.

One of the things that I most liked, and found very helpful in working with angels, was her descriptions of how there is unlimited angelic help available to all of us. If we work with the angels all day, every day, we are not taking angels from someone who we perceive as needing them more. I came to think of this as an angel being like a mother, a mother who can help one child with a seemingly menial task such as homework help while also helping another child deal with a relationship problem. Nothing is too small to ask an angel for help with – and as such asking does not take the angels away from someone asking for help with a serious health issue, for example.

Kathryn write a lot about living a “Large” life, a life aligned with our intended state of being, which is Joy. “Joy is rooted in the truth of our being, eternal and light-filled, no matter what our current experience is on the earth plane. Joy is the essence of Large Life…”1 Angels help us remember our true essence and are willing to help us live a life that is not based in fear and scarcity.

The book is divided into four parts: Take Action with Angels – Preparation, Our Friends in High Places – Archangels, Energy and Angelic Healing, and Next Steps. In Part One she writes on how we can prepare ourselves for interacting with the angels in an intentional way. She describes an angel as “an expression of God that accompanies us here on the earth plan during our lifetime.”2 By viewing our bodies as an instrument, she shows the reader how, “it is up to us to become more aware of how our instrument works and reach toward its mastery.”3 This instrument works through clairvoyance, the method through which we communicate with angels. She defines clairvoyance as “a capacity to see/understand things in an extraordinary way, over and above what is deemed ‘normal’.”4

Part One offers exercises such as channel opening, how to ask for help, filling one’s body with light, and connecting with the earth. She also suggestions for aftercare after completing the exercise. I particularly liked the exercise of connecting to Mother Earth – and the closing affirmation; “I open my channel to stand strong upon the earth, grounded and ready to live my life’s purpose – Large. Thank you, Gaia, Mother Earth.”5

Part Two focuses on the fifteen archangels with whom she most works, from Azrael to Zadkiel. For each she describes the specific focus or form of help of which each one is a master, the associated chakra and color, and the ideal stone with which to connect. She concludes each description with an exercise that can be used to connect with the specific archangel. Peppered throughout are stories of her connections with the archangel or those of others. Uriel, for example, can be called on in times of natural or personal disasters. Uriel is associated with the solar plexus to bring calm, the color is steel grey, and the stone is snowflake obsidian.

The focus of Part Three is on Energy and Angelic Healing. Included are ways to connect with our inner child, do chakra work, and ways to raise our frequency. As we align more with our true self and the spark of the Divine that resides within us, so too do we open ourselves more to angelic communication.

The final part, Four, focuses on Angelic Co-Creation, “essentially a partnering with the Angelic realm in order to live our lives to the fullest, in service of Light, Love, and Joy.”6 She recommends entering into two Contracts, one with our inner child and one with the angels. All offerings are doable – and not intimidating.

I highly recommend Inviting Angels Into Your Life for those new to working with angels as well as those who have been tapping into the angelic realm for a while. I’ve taken Kathryn’s suggestion to “talk” to my guardian angel during the day, as I would a friend. I now communicate with the angels in ways that don’t always focus on problem solving such as pointing our something beautiful that I see (like that lovely full moon) or laughing at myself for something silly that I did. Angels as friends! Use this book to invite them in!

Manifesting Spirits, by Jack Hunter

Manifesting Spirits: An Anthropological Study of Mediumship and the Paranormal, by Jack Hunter
AEON Books, 1912807882, 296 pages, January 2021

For anyone who’s ever academically ventured into topics such as mediumship, life after death, spirits, and other psi phenomena you’ve most likely found the present literature rarely acknowledges the actual existence of these phenomena, for doing so would bring the entire paradigm into question. These inquiries are often quickly dismissed or explained in terms of cognitive, functional, or pathological theories.  However, Manifesting Spirits: An Anthropological Study of Mediumship and the Paranormal by Jack Hunter has gone where few have gone before.

Hunter has written an extremely well-defined and well-researched study of the paranormal from a perspective that invites an expansion of consciousness and method of scholarship. He frames these phenomena in a way that invites a new paradigm to emerge while maintaining full rigor in the quality of his resources. As he describes, he “does not seek to reduce the significance of spirit mediumship to purely functional, psychological, sociological, or cognitive explanations.”1 In so many ways, this work is truly groundbreaking and an essential read for any serious paranormal practitioner, investigator, or enthusiast.

The approach in this research is a “non-reductive interpretive framework that emphasises complexity and multiple dimensions of process and meaning.”2 I include this because, yes, Hunter’s writing requires a certain level of familiarity with words such as “ontological” and “phenomenological” to fully grasp. I will give him immense credit in his thorough explanation of what he’s doing, but for those who are less inclined to read scholarly material, this book might be quite intimidating.

It took me well over a month (I might even say closer to two) to make my way through this book. Much of the time, it felt like I was reading an academic paper, which was fascinating given the topic, but also not a light read. Many of the chapters seem to be informative literature reviews that were blended together to make a compelling book. As someone who values academic integrity, strong references, and a well-defined methodology, Manifesting Spirits was a true delight.

Hunter does a wonderful job of situating his work within the previous and current literature on the subject, aptly helping the reader to see the building blocks for his research and why he has chosen to write about it in the way he’s done in this book. He acknowledges the pitfalls of academic research on these subjects and how his work differs in that it admits the possibility of paranormal phenomenon. He calls his perspective “ontologically flooded” in that it is “open to multiple possibilities and emphasising complexity over reductive simplicity.”3 Essentially, rather than setting out to prove the validity of spirits and other psi phenomena, Hunter’s position is openness to the possibility of genuine paranormal phenomena being a factor at play but is not automatically assuming it.

To achieve this aim, Hunter began exploring these topics at Bristol Spirit Lodge to better understand the spirit world through those who have regular contact with spirits. By taking their experiences seriously, he accumulated a plethora of ethnographic research.This ethnographic research included attending seances, developing his own mediumship abilities, and interviews with both mediums and spirits. In turn, switching the usual mode of boxing-in these ethnographic experiences to fit the analytic thinking to using the research done ethnographically to re-examine the dominant model for interpreting these events.

In Manifesting Spirits, there are quite a few fascinating topics Hunter explores, many of which I’ve never seen framed from his unique methodological perspective. The main topic of his research is physical mediumship. Physical mediumship involves manifestations such as raps, taps, de/materialized objects, and even ectoplasm. This differs from mental mediumship, which is a form of telepathy used to communicate with spirits, and trance mediumship, which is a form of mental mediumship where the spirit uses the mind of the medium to deliver messages. He notes how members of the lodge feel a reconnection between the physical and spiritual world through witnessing these paranormal experiences, which can be quite a spiritual experience.

The section I liked the most was “Naturalising the supernatural” where Hunter writes about how phenomena that are considered “supernatural” would not be considered so in other culture systems. Cultures outside the Western materialistic approach would see some of these phenomena as natural and a part of daily life. He draws on the writing of social scientist Durkheim, who pointed out supernatural only exists because a natural order exists, but as Hunter writes, “To a certain extent, then we can say that what is deemed possible is both limited and facilitated by cultural norms and expectations.”4

Now that was something I could deeply relate to, both personally and professionally. Since I was innately aware of the spirit world from a very young age (I saw ghosts and was aware of the presence of spirit during adolescence, I also became a youthful paranormal explorer. By my teenage years, I had read countless ghost stories of my local area, presented about the haunted history of town, and catalogued undocumented accounts.

In college, I majored in psychology, but I was quickly frustrated with the exclusion of psychic phenomena. I knew by the time I graduated that the traditional route was not for me, and I began exploring other subsets of psychology such as Jungian (or Depth Psychology) and Transpersonal psychology, but even these were not fully inclusive of what I had very subjectively experience in communication with spirits, as well as in sessions with many mediums over the years. Alas, paranormal studies have sufficed, but I too longed to bridge the gap with academia.

It is for this reason Manifesting Spirits is so immensely valuable to the field. It takes paranormal studies and integrates them into an academic framework that is usable for future research. Reading this book, I just kept thinking how much I wished I had it for reference when attempting to put forth these ideas in my academic studies. I am grateful to have it now, as I truly think this is a foundational book in many fields, from psychology to anthropology, and even religious studies. I truly think I would have written a different thesis had this book existed at the time of my research because it would have empowered me to believe writing and researching on these topics was possible.

Manifesting Spirits is a truly ground-breaking work that I am sure will be referenced by many to come. It completely opens doors to the study of these new realms. Hunter’s research methods are unique and exactly what is needed to go beyond the current limits of research spirits, mediumship, and paranormal experience. It is a must-have for any serious paranormal researcher’s collection, as well as an enlightening read for those with an interest in mediumship. This review is certainly an understatement of the wealth of material presented by Hunter, from blending with spirits to an exploration of the seance. I highly recommend diving into yourself and being open to the emergent ideas and techniques that are bound to provide some revelation.

Horary Astrology, by Anthony Louis

Horary Astrology: The Theory and Practice of Finding Lost Objects, by Anthony Louis
Llewellyn Publications, 0738766997, 424 pages, February 2021

We’ve all been there: frantically search for our lost keys, precious jewelry, or important document. Often we’ll start grumbling about how “it must be somewhere” or perhaps say a quick prayer to beloved St. Anthony, finder of lost objects. But did you know that you can also use astrology to find what’s been lost?

Horary astrology is the art of answering questions by casting a chart based on the exact time the astrologer receives the question. When you’ve run out of options and finally decided to ask for guidance by casting an astrological chart, it can reveal the answer if one knows the techniques to interpret the chart.

In his book Horary Astrology: The Theory and Practice of Finding Lost Objects, Anthony Louis takes readers into a deep dive of this ancient art and provides a wonderful foundation for budding learners. Loaded with real-life examples and extremely detailed explanations of how to read horary charts, Horary Astrology is a wonderful starting point for a seasoned astrologer who hopes to further their knowledge in this branch of astrology.

I do emphasize seasoned though, because this book would most likely be a bit overwhelming for the novice astrologer. Though Louis provides thorough explanations of all his material, I think it’s worth noting the first chart of the book is featured on page eight, which pretty much indicates Louis isn’t giving us the background on how to read charts and we’re going right into things.

You should absolutely be familiar with the houses, zodiac signs, and planetary significance before diving in, though Lous does further explain much of this in regard to reading the chart from a horary perspective. For instance, there is a chapter “Houses and the Human Body,” and another “The Twelve Signs and Associated Physical Locations.” The chapter “The Signs” provides the indoor location related to each zodiac sign, along with possible locations based on the element of the sign.

The majority of the book draws from seventeenth-century astrology William Lily, most noted for his work Christian Astrology. This would be a great read for someone who wants to learn the techniques of Lily without delving into his few-hundred-year old work, as Louis is constantly referring to Lily throughout the whole book. For instance, Louis writes about via combusta, “which, according to Lilly, is an unlucky region from 15 libra to 15 Scorpio where the two Luminaries pass through the signs of their “dejection” or “fall,” implying a deprivation of solar and lunar light…”1 This is just one example of how Louis imparts Lilly’s wisdom into his own work and informs the reader in the process that I found immensely useful.

As for the examples of horary Louis provides, they are varied and absolutely fascinating! From missing people to garage door openers, I felt like I was a detective on a search in reading what was missing, and then I was absolutely thrilled to read how Louis pieced together the clues within the horary chart to solve the case. It really gave me a clear understanding of the application of the techniques Louis writes about in the first half of the book. The examples provided do a wonderful job of explaining his chart interpretation to answer the proposed question or locate what’s missing that really lay out Louis’s thought process.

Another chapter I really enjoyed was “Plantary Keywords of  Vettius Valens (C. 175 CE) where Louis shares lists of planetary keywords based on the work of second-century Hellenistic astrologer Vettius Valens. I think for someone who wants to engage in this type of astrology work, these keyword lists are very influential in being able to decipher the messages of the chart. However, the keywords also bring up my personal dislike for outdated associations with all the planets.

For instances, keywords of Saturn are “self-deprecating,” “downcast,” “tears and grief,” “unemployment,” and “childlessness” to name a few. Maybe I’m too modern for Hellenistic astrology, but I feel the associates can be very outdated, keeping the planets trapped in stereotypes with little room to expand. This is useful in horary astrology perhaps, which uses these keywords to solve real world problems, but I think it can hinder the greater impact of the different planets’ role in our expression.

This isn’t a book I was able to digest easily, and I certainly had to take it piece by piece. It is something that one would absolutely refer to time and time again, making it a worthy investment for a serious student. However, if one is just looking for a brief introduction or beginner’s guide to horary, this is definitely beyond that scope.

The next time you’re struggling to find something that’s lost, hopefully you’ll remember Horary Astrology. Maybe you’ll learn to decipher if it’s possible to find what’s lost, and if so, where it might be located. Taking on this practice will definitely make you feel like a detective. Louis’s insightful writing will deepen your understanding of how our daily life and the stars are so intimately connected, as long as you can see the clues. Though it’s not a light study, the rewards seem rich, which has kept this ancient art a worthy pursuit all the way to modern times.

Of Blood and Bones, by Kate Freuler

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Beyond the Mirror, by M.K. Williams and Natalie Kavanagh

Beyond the Mirror: Seechers, by M.K. Williams and Natalie Kavanagh
Luxon-Drake Publications, 1999962877, 194 pages, March 2020

Beyond the Mirror: Seechers by M.K. Williams and Natalie Kavanagh is a promising first book of a series I look forward to seeing develop, as in, I’m already waiting for the next book to come out. I read this entire book within 24 hours. Much to my husband’s dismay, who was hoping to get out of the house this weekend, I couldn’t put this book down and had no interest in doing anything else but reading on. Hey, it happens when you find a good book to dive into, right? 🙂

I was hooked right from the start, which featured a vivid dream sequence playing out. Here, a young girl shoots a young man standing at the edge of a building’s roof with a mysterious vial of glowing blue liquid in his hand. This pinnacle moment seems to be the culminating peak of the book… but it became so much more!

Thinking it was being told in a frame story technique, where the end is given at the start and you then get to know how the characters got there, I was eagerly awaiting to see what went down. As I was introduced to the characters, I was questioning their intentions and curious about when betrayal might strike when I realized the shooter is initially the young man’s romantic interest. Clearly, I became invested in seeing what got them to the point at the start of the book as I read about how their relationship unfolds.

Slowly and with pure craft, the authors revealed the layers at play in the initial scene to create a deeply enthralling plot centered upon friendship, self-discovery, and, awesomely, combating the “bad guys” of course with newly-found powers of the mind.

The premise of the book is an ancient society, called Seechers, knows the secret hidden gateway to the subconscious. This group initiates new recruits every seven years, and in the meanwhile, live seemingly ordinary lives, while also protecting the balance of energy in the world. You know, no big deal! From the initiated Seechers we meet, it seems they all have their own technique of influencing energy, such as healing wounds or connecting with animals.

It is determined if one has the potential to be a Seecher, which is ultimately their own personal choice when invited, by measuring how much epsilon they have within their brain, specifically in the pineal gland. Those with enough epsilon, a bright blue liquid present in their brain, can undergo activation and join the group. Indicators one may possess this mysterious substance within their brain are heightened imagine, prophetic dreams, and psychic senses of “knowing” things.

However, something suspicious is happening to the potential recruits this year. Many are suddenly disappearing, while others are having dreams of violent kidnappings. The Seechers don’t know who is doing this, but they know their potential recruits are at risk. This causes them to take immediate measures. They decided to gather and test the potential recruits a year before schedule.

The readers know, though, about the scientific work being done at Curative Analytics. Here, there are scientists that are set on harvesting epsilon, believing it shouldn’t only be used by the Seechers and curious about its powers. However, when they do extract it from the minds of potential Seechers, it is tainted and becomes a less powerful version of the substance. This less powerful, “dead” version of epsilon is called epsilac, and the scientists are ruthless in their pursuit of obtaining it.

Aris and Maya, two of the main characters, end up deeply submersed in of all this scheming. Turns out, these two are the young man and woman from the initial scene. On a quest to discover more about the Seechers, Maya draws Aris into the pursuit — only for them to realize Aris is a Seecher himself and more than involved in safeguarding the future of the secret society than they could have ever imagined. In true fashion of curious and bold students, they work to understand the connection between all the strange events happening, landing them smack dab in the middle of all the actions where their crucial decisions have rippling effects for everyone.

I feel the plot has the perfect flow and was very well-developed. There’s so many little hints that point towards more books in this series! I am really curious about the lore behind the Seecheers and their ancient enemies, the Tauredunum Raiders. It was their ancient technology Curative Analytics is using to find the potential Seechers.

All the characters are relatable and well defined, especially Aris. Though the main characters are undergraduates in college, there are other mentors, such as the archetypal professor, so this book appeals to an audience beyond young adults. I found the story very believable and the characters well-defined.

What I liked most was this book combines many spiritual and philosophical ideas, making it a truly intriguing read for anyone with knowledge on these matters. I was suddenly inspired to read Plato’s Republic, reflecting on the allegory of the cave. The concept of the Nihilo, the subconscious world beyond ours, reminded me of the Buddhist void: the place beyond the mind, where all is subconsciously interconnected.

When I finished the book, I was reminded of Kant’s theory of an unbridgeable gap, which acknowledges there is a world that lay beyond the grasp of our senses, in the book’s concept of an unseen middle world where energy can be moved, shaped, and rearranged — though not created, abiding by Newtonian laws of physics. That is, unless one of the new Seechers may have abilities that go beyond this…

Oh, how I love a great fiction read that expands my perception and explores consciousness beyond the usual senses. I think there’s so much talent in being able to bring these concepts to life through storytelling.

While the book does have the typical plot of a secret society, new initiates coming in, a great battle between enemies, and “evil scientists” performing unethical research to further their own motives, I still feel like this book was done in an original and creative way. Williams and Kavanagh are exquisite writers who really know how to weave together an engaging plot.

I highly recommend Beyond The Mirror to those who are seeking a novel that incorporates spirituality and philosophy to create a new tale. I am looking forward to the next book! So much more I want to know about how the story will unfold!

Stars and Stones, by Peter Stockinger

Stars and Stones: An Astro-Magical Lapidary, by Peter Stockinger
Mandrake, 1906958734, 164 pages, May 2016

I recently began a medical astrology herbalism course with Judith Hill and Matthew Wood. As I learn about the physicians of the Renaissance, specifically the way they were all master astrologers, I just discovered in addition to plant remedies, they knew how to use the properties of gemstones to facilitate healing and create magical talismans.

Seeking more information, I turned to Hill’s book Astrology and Your Vital Forces, however the Jyotish description of the use of gemstones wasn’t fulfilling enough for me, as I was hoping to not only to remedy the chart but also use the talismans in my magical workings. Luckily, Stars and Stones: An Astro-Magical Lapidary by Peter Stockinger fills in all the missing gaps I’ve been curious about and truly fits my needs for learning more about this subject.

Written in the introduction, Stockinger’s main reason for writing this book “was to reintroduce the reader to the idea of correspondences and correlations between planets and gemstones.”1 And let me tell you, Stockinger does just this with thorough detail and enough clarification to not overwhelm someone new to this topic.

To begin, Stockinger delves into the planets and their elemental constitutions, which are the foundation of the Universe. Each planet corresponds to one element, and Stockinger provides detail for the attributes of the planet and their element. For instance, Mars is hot and dry, which is attributed to the element of fire.2

The four elements are each associated with a temperament: choleric (fire), melancholic (earth), sanguine (air), and phlegmatic (water). While there have been various methods of calculating a person’s temperament, Stockinger draws from Ferdinand Resberger’s astrological textbook Astronomia Teutsch to teach the reader how to find their own.

This wasn’t the easier endeavour, but after about a half an hour of calculations, I determined all of my temperaments were almost equal, with choleric and phlegmatic having a score of just one higher than melancholic and sanguine. Stockinger made the calculations accessible by clearly starting which zodiac signs correspond to the element or temperament for each stage of the process so one is not having to memorize it all before or consistently reference back to the previous material.

The next chapters are detailed explanations of the planets, zodiac signs, and astrological houses respectively. All the information is the traditional descriptions from Renaissance astrology. I especially enjoyed Stockinger including the diseases associated with the planets and the illnesses associated with the signs of the zodiac. There also are images for all the planets and signs too, which are nice visuals to break-up the dense material.

Additionally, Stockinger includes a list of the body parts associated with every sign and tables of essential dignities and accident dignities according to William Lilly’s Christian Astrology. This introduction concludes Part 1.

Part 2 of the book “Planets, Crystals, Gemstones & Metals” was exactly what I had been looking for in my quest for information. Stockinger sets the stage with a history of the healing properties of crystals and different works about them, such as Abbess Hildegard von Bingen’s Physica and Al Biruni’s Book of the Instructions in the Elements of the Art of Astrology, both published in the 11th century.

“Since the dawn of time, gemstones and crystals have fascinated humans, by their mysterious sparkle, their beautiful colours and their intriguing shapes and symmetries.”3

There is also ample information about the planets and their corresponding metals. Based on the idea that everything emits light when heated, there is a table that shows the wavelengths of color in the visible spectrum. The metals’s emissions spectrum is how the corresponding color is determined. There is ample detail about the correspondence of the seven visible planets, corresponding color, and corresponding metal.

For instance, for the Sun, whose corresponding metal is gold, Stockinger states, “On the physical level, gold helps the body to maintain circulation and it is responsible for the regulation of the impulses in the nervous system.”4 Once again, there is the inclusion of some medical astrology too.

The next chapter, “Planets & Gemstone Remedies,” was my favorite. In this section, Stockinger goes planet by planet giving an extensive overview of each planet (diseases associated with them, corresponding body parts, dignities and disabilities, and more!) and provides gemstones to remedy their effects. For instance, jet and black onyx are recommended to remedy Saturn, while carelin, garnet, haematite, and jasper are prescribed for Mars.

Stockinger provides a detailed history of each crystal and gemstone, along with information about it’s color and hardness. He explains in detail what aspect of the planet the crystal or gemstone remedies and it’s most effective uses. One example is selenite for working with the moon, for it is considered a “holy stone” that helps cleanse and purify emotions.5 It also provides protection against epilepsy and insanity, while repelling negative energies.

Reading through all the crystals of each planet has been immensely useful when deciding which stones to work with in order to produce certain effects. Reading through the case studies in the book helped me to further understand how gemstone can be used to enhance or counter certain energies at play in my astrological chart.

I am looking forward to creating a talisman too from the information I’ve gleaned from this book. Stockinger shares his knowledge on fifteen fortunate fixed stars along with their corresponding sigil (so immensely helpful!), and he shares how to create a fixed star ring for success. He also shares images of the planets and constellations that can be used to enhance a gemstone’s effect, such as a swan for the Cygus constellation and a whale for the Cetus constellation.

Finally, the appendices have a wealth of well-organized content that is immensely useful. There is a Therapeutic Index that has a disease, illness, or circumstance one might want to remedy and a corresponding gemstone, a table of fixed star correspondences, and Agrippa’s planetary glyphs.

All in all, Stars and Stones is a wonderful resource for those interested in learning more about the relationship between astrological energies and crystals, gemstones, and metals. I love how it perfectly blends the stars and earth to facilitate integral healing through one’s chart. I haven’t ever found a book as comprehensive, accessible, or useful as this one on this topic. For those who are looking to incorporate a new dimension into their astrological practice, or perhaps even expand their knowledge of crystals and their healing properties, this is absolutely a book to check out.

The Ways of the Water Priestess, by Annwyn Avalon

The Way of the Water Priestess: Entering the World of Water Magic, by Annwyn Avalon
Weiser Books, 1578637249, 238 pages, January 2021

The Way of the Water Priestess: Entering the World of Water Magic is a profound initiation. As you dive in, author Annwyn Avalon makes clear the distinction between being initiated into a lineage and going straight to the source of your own channel with spirit, your own intimacy with water. This is a sacred text that attunes you so deeply to what you are mostly made of. 

Avalon is a water priestess and a water witch. She is the founder of Triskele Rose,  an Avalonian witchcraft tradition. This book called to me because I wanted to deepen my relationship to water as an act of devotion.

“The work of a water priestess is expressed in various sacred practices like enchanting the waters, facilitating rituals, creating healing ceremonies, and preparing sacred baths.”1 

Each of these rich chapters had me diving into portals of sovereignty and healing. Avalon does a fantastic job weaving together concrete practices, lineages and history, as well as myth and story. In my personal practice, this book was the first step in so much unfolding. I embraced her invitation to me, “While you cannot initiate yourself as a priestess, you can dedicate your life to the sacred waters.”2

For me, this began with building my own water altar. This first step has been potent in my work as a priestess.  And when I say priestess, I mean  being willing to show up and do the work in devotion to tend and clean the altar; to center your acts of service to the water. 

The Way of the Water Priestess is created in such a way as to offer us that sacred journey of initiation, pulling on deities and archetypes, myths, as well as daily devotional practices. This book is beautifully written with a wealth and depth of knowledge. All geared towards you, discovering your own information. Avalon creates a framework for you to foster your own intimacy with the waters. These are concrete and specific tools to connect you to your path. 

My daily devotional, as Avalon calls it, with the water has deepened. Avalon offers prayers to help guide you through every step of the journey. There’s such an incredible wealth of knowledge, rooted, most particularly like Celtic and Roman traditions. I have found myself turning to this book over and over as I’ve struggled with my human being life. “You will find that the lesson of the river is different from the lesson that floral water, a sacred bath, or a gem elixir might teach you.”3 I so appreciated being guided to discover my own sacred relationship with the river, allowing it to be my guide in surrender and flow. 

I drink so much water every day. I’ve experimented with some of the ways that Avalon offers us to bless the water. “Sound is also a good way to create healing water… You can simply start with your voice and tone the water with vowel sounds.”4 You can find a beautiful water prayer on that same page. I love this practice as a way to begin my morning and set intention for my day. The more I’ve dedicated myself to this practice, the more I’ve found my words to honor and bless the water I put in my body. My stepdaughter’s favorite practice is to charge her water with the full moon

Avalon’s way of being in deep ritual practice with water is an invitation to reclaim your sovereignty through devotion and service. 

“As priestesses, it is vital that we honor the water and spirits we work with. But we must also become trusted conduits for their energies by living in sacred union with them and tending their temples–our own physical temples, the temple of our bodies, and the natural temples where the water flows. When in these states of sacred union, we become a vessel through which the spirit can speak.”5

This book serves such a depth and breadth of wisdom as to belong on every bookshelf, from novice to maven water carrier. It accessibly unpacks fundamentals like working on the holy days of Beltane, Samhain, and the like. It explores the art of ritual, water divination, and the path of the priestess. For those steeped in their own traditions and lineages, it offers context and spell work

If you are looking for your activism in this world, I invite you to welcome your devotion and service to water as being a part of how we collectively transform the world. I feel so much more able to hear the message of the water for me in encountering these practices and tools, and the power that comes when approaching this work as a devotee. As a being in service to something so much greater than myself. Everything you need to start is in The Ways of the Water Priestess.

Crystals and Numerology, by Edita Wuest and Sabine Schieferle

Crystals and Numerology: Decode Your Numbers and Support Your Life Path with Healing Stones, by Edita Wuest and Sabine Schieferle
Earthdancer Books, 1644112731, 160 pages, February 2021

I have been absolutely delighted this past week incorporating crystals into my numerology studies! Crystals and Numerology: Decode Your Numbers and Support Your Life Path with Healing Stones by Edita Wuest and Sabine Schieferle has given me practical ways that I can enhance and remedy my numerological energy with crystals. And for those of you who are new to numerology, don’t fear, the authors do a wonderful job of making it easy and accessible to understand and discover your sacred numbers!

As soon as I picked up the book, I loved the interior design. It has bright colors that highlights pieces of information, making it easy to absorb the material, and includes pictures for all the crystals described. I enjoy being able to see the crystal while learning about its energetic properties. This is a book I would keep on my coffee table for guests to pursue because it is both informative and beautifully made.

Whether you are wanting to learn more about numerology or crystals, this is a book that will be immensely useful because it gives background information on both. First, the authors share how numerology can be used to reveal many things about someone, including their professional life,  life perspective, life’s mission, and timing of change. Detailed is how to calculate one’s personal numbers. There are nine different calculations provided, which each reveal a facet of oneself.

For instance, the life path number is used to determine one’s destiny and purpose, while the heart’s desire number gives insight into our core emotions and feelings towards others. There are charts and detailed explanations on how to calculate all these numbers by hand. I spent close to an hour decoding the numbers for my husbands and I. While it wasn’t tough, it did require focus because there was a lot of adding involved!

Next, the book moves into how to do healing work with the crystals. Based on the principle that crystals hold vibrational energy, the authors share methods of connecting with the healing properties of crystals that can easily be incorporated into the reader’s daily life. Some of these ways are holding crystals while repeating affirmations, drinking water that’s been infused with crystal energy, and wearing the crystals as jewelry. There is a description of the spiritual energy of colors too, which adds to understanding the energy of the crystals.

Now that the reader has discovered all their numerological codes and learned the basics of crystal healing, the book moves into chapters on each number 0-9. In every chapter, there is a numerological overview of the energy of the number and provide crystal recommendations to balance the energy. It describes the number’s symbolism, talents and abilities related to the number, weaknesses of the number, and ambition related to the number. For every aspect of the number, there is a crystal to either boost the positive influence of the number or balance the weakness.

For instance, I am a 3 life path. My number one bad habit is starting projects and then getting distracted. I always have about five different things I am working on at once, yet rarely do I see things through to completion. Clearly I immediately resonated with reading, “In their desire to be free, threes are extremely wasteful of their energies: they are soon enthused and start many more projects  than they actually complete.”1 This is undoubtedly so, and you can even ask my mother who chides me whenever I eagerly take on something new with little thought or hesitation due to my excitement.

I discovered that malachite, obsidian, and covellite can balance out my energetic tendencies. This was very interesting because I’ve always felt drawn to malachite and obsidian quietly naturally. They’ve remedied my energy and brought a sense of protection, calmness, and tranquility to my life previously. This was a great reminder to wear my jewelry with these stones more often, especially when I am feeling stretched too thin with projects to come back into my center. Then I had never heard of covellite before, so this was a chance to learn about a new crystal to incorporate into my collection.

At the end of each section are affirmations for the number, additional crystal recommendations, and a description of the healing effects on the body of every crystal listed in that chapter. Sticking with the example of number three, for malachite, the authors describe how it can ease cramps and be treatment for headaches, along with other physical healing properties. I really appreciate this additional section because it adds another layer of knowledge about the healing power of the crystals, showing how they are effective on both a spiritual and physical level.

After going through numbers 1 to 9, the authors provide a section on 0. While I’m not sure anyone can be a 0 path, it can be factored into their numerological energy. As I’ve mentioned I’m a 3 life path, but when the numbers of my birthday are added together it makes 30. This bolsters my 3 with the energy of 0. I was surprised to read this section and discover that watermelon tourmaline is crystal that boosts talents and abilities for 0, as I just purchased a watermelon tourmaline ring I felt “called to” this past weekend and immediately loved the energy I felt when wearing it. Such a synchronicity! Once again confirming for me the accuracy of the author’s crystal recommendations based on my own personal experience.

The book’s appendices includes a meditation to connect with one’s numerological crystals, creating a crystal circle for energy healing, and creating a numerological crystal installation to bring in the energy. I look forward to practicing all of these once I get a few more of the crystals recommended for my unique numerological signature.

All in all, Crystals and Numerology is filled with practical wisdom on how to do energy work incorporating these two modalities. I have enjoyed it immensely and planning on referencing the book when deciding which crystals to work with. I recommend this book to those who enjoy working with crystals, are interested in discovering more about their personal numerology, and are inclined to practice energy healing. This book is sure to provide insight into the numerological energy of your life, while offering guidance on how to effectively engage with it for prosperity, purpose, and pleasure!

Tok: Magick Tale, by Pablo Reig Mendoza

Tok: Magick Tale, by  Pablo Reig Mendoza
Babelcube Inc., 1071582852, 290 pages, April 2021

Tok: A Magick Tale by Pablo Reig Mendoza is the most wonderful occult fiction book I’ve read in quite some time. This insightful, illuminating tale of magic is so realistic that at times I found myself thinking, “What if this really happened..” In the midst of a time when conspiracy theories run wild about the elite, it seems this book could easily tell the secret magical history of the world. In many ways, I’d like to believe it does, which is evidence of Mendoza’s fiction’s ability to transform the reader. His quality of writing drew me in enough to forget reality, while simultaneously thinking about how to propel myself into a new one.

The premise of the book is about the events that bring together a great London magician, Gerard Duprey, and a former boxer turned mineral magician, Juan Chamorro, who is being initiated into a secret society intent on preserving magic in the world. During the book, the two men’s stories are told simultaneously, with chapters going back and forth from the backstory of past events to the current moment of these two character’s worlds colliding, in a well-coordinated and foreseen timeline.

It is the Bond that decides their fates, which all initiates of the order live to fulfill. Those who are successfully initiated into the Bond can communicate with others telepathically (including other species), gain unique occult powers, and are awakened to the fullness of life through their kundalini energy.

“In every age, there have been two types of people: the disconnected and the connected ones. It is more correct to speak of the conscious and the sleeping, for everything that has neutral or electromagnetic activity of some kind is in line with the Bond, whether deep in the subconscious or on the surface, where the awakened man has managed to give birth to his inner “I”, bringing it from the dreams realm.”1

However, there’s even more to the story. A whole species of occult dragons, who arose from the collective consciousness of man and are keepers of the Bond, have their livelihood at stake because gold is disappearing in the world. Up to the current point in the novel, the dragons had The conflict of Vietnam, supposedly about oil and foreign interest, is actually happening because a Japanese general is stockpiling gold in a hidden spot in the jungles of Vietnam.

It is not only those dedicated to the Bond that are searching for the gold; their enemies, the magicians of the Vatican, who have tried to steal all the magic in the world through the false god, or golem, that is man-made. It is up to Juan with his newly acquired power as a mineral magician to beat the Vatican to it, for the sake of the English Crown.

Oh, had I forgotten to mention Queen Victoria and then Queen Elizabeth is one of the highest initiates of the Bond? It is an elaborate plan by Queen Victoria and her lover the Munshi that all that guides the events of the story in order to liberate magic from Vatican control and restore it to the it’s proper place. Queen Elizabeth guides initiate Mohandas Karamchand (Gandhi) to go off and fulfill his mission in India, while Gerard Duprey will remain in London as the city’s magician. Both are to serve in their own way as peacekeepers for the Crown and play their role in the plan to restore magic.

See, I did say the story could start sounding like an elaborate conspiracy theory: secret foriegn affair and war interests coupled Vatican power plays and secret society-initiated royalty. However, there’s so much more to the story that integrates tons of occult history and knowledge!

For instance, Mendonza’s tale also weaves in the role of Aliester Crowley, John Dee, and Mabel Besant — all initiates of the Bond in his book. It was truly fascinating to see how he depicted Crowley’s role, especially, who was under the guidance of Zor the dark dragon. Suddenly the serpent of the beast makes all that much more sense. Until him, it was Tok, the dragon of justice, who was the leader. The more primordial Zor holds of the knowledge of what happened before the dragons and humanity can remember, such as the race of humans that formed Atlantis.

I also loved his take on Mabel Besant and her mother Anne Besant, along with their role in the Theosophical Society. I recently read the book Mystical Vampire that is all about Mabel Collins, who perhaps Mabel Besant was named after, as her mother had close ties with Mabel Collins when they were both Theosophists. Being emerged in mystical year 1888 through Mendoza’s writing, when the occult seemed so much more alive, was a real pleasure.

Another really neat aspect of the book is all the quotations that Mendona uses to frame each chapter. The book starts out with a passage from Book XVI of the Corpus Hermeticism, which comes full circle by the end. From the get go, I was drawn in, as my current practice is a process of moving through the alchemical stages based on the work as it is described in the Corpus Hermeticism. Other quotes include those from Arthur C. Clarke, Ursula K Le Guin, and Helena Petrovna Blavatsky.

Tok is so interesting because it could be read on the level of an ordinary supernatural tale, but for those with knowledge of the occult, it’s a true gem. The level of esoteric knowledge Mendoza has clearly demonstrates his mastery of esoteric studies. To even piece together the concepts he has in Tok, such as “dreaming peace,” in which Duprey has had to dream of violence in order to maintain peace, until the end where he must do the opposite and unleash all the animosity he’s quelled through the decades.

Then there’s Besant’s automatic writing, which foresees events down to minute details. His explanation of the bond and how energy works in the world shows he has done much work to achieve certain states of consciousness. It’s truly the way Mendoza bridges his imagination with occult history to create such an intriguing tale that is the real magic of this book. I mean, bringing to life Gandhi and Crowley’s spiritual journey, woven together through the steam of higher-knowing that infuses the world is pretty incredible.

Also explored is this notion of spiritual partnership, which I greatly resonated with and have experienced myself. Duprey and Besant are essentially spiritually married, united fully through the Bond, however they do not ever get to physically consummate this relationship or be together after their initiation. I really loved how Mendoza showed there’s a spiritual purpose behind many things that happen in our lives, and what happens when we choose to surrender to the will of spirit rather than forcing one’s own desire on the world.

Even how Mendoza reframed the intent and purpose of the Vietnam War was interesting. Particularly to me because once in a past-life meditation, I received the information that many men had to die at that exact moment in time in order to be reborn again in the current time with the knowledge they gained from that life experience. It’s been one of those things that came to me in meditation that I don’t think of often; I accepted it for what it was at the time. But then reading Tok, I was instantly reminded there are higher purposes to things that we often do not understand.

“… in reality, darkness worked as a just and necessary balanced in such a polarised world. He knew that he intentions that governed the events of men contained the seeds of their opposite, the good, the intrinsic evil, and vice versa.”2

The culmination of the book was incredible. It promotes this sense of integration, evolution, and moving beyond dualities. There’s a new future at hand, for those who have the courage to leave the past behind. This path has been forged by many great minds, powerful movers of energy, and spiritual forces dedicated to something beyond themselves.

I think all magicians would enjoy this book, especially those with background knowledge of the occult and particularly the period of the late 19th century. My only quip would be the lack of women magicians, aside from Queen Elizabeth and Mabel Besant, the narrative was mostly male-centered, but atlas, that seems to be a dominant theme in the Western occult. Nevertheless, I still truly loved the book.

I certainly will be recommending it to the fellow occultists in my life. From Atlantis to Zoroaster, necromancy to the keys of Solomon, this book delved into so much wisdom and perfectly blends it all together. I highly suggest reading Tok to see Mendoza’s fascinating literary craftsmanship.