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Ho’oponopono, by Ulrich E. Duprée

Ho’oponopono: The Hawaiian Ritual of Forgiveness, by Ulrich E. Duprée
Earthdancer Books, 978-1644118801, 112 pages, September 2023

“Ho’oponopono is a simple way to regain unity, inner peace, and harmony.”1

The quote above is a deceptively simple statement about a practice that in application is difficult for one to embrace, particularly in a society that is hyper-vigilant about who has done what to me. How can I retaliate when forgiveness is not part of the equation. Ho’oponopono: The Hawaiian Ritual of Forgiveness by Ulrich E. Duprée is a small, yet powerful book of self-healing and forgiveness so that we may offer the same state of grace to others.

“Ho’oponopono is a way of solving and resolving internal and external problems and conflicts while at the same time healing relationships: your relationship with yourself, with other people, and with your environment.”2

Ho’oponopono is separated into four main sections with an introductory portion entitled, “The Adventure Begins”. The reader immediately is drawn into the concept that the practice of Ho-oponopono is more than simply reciting special words, offering up specific emotions, and then going about your daily activities until the next “flare up” that needs forgiveness arises. It is indeed an adventure that requires self-reflection, honesty, and most importantly a continued stance of SELF love and forgiveness. Duprée gently reminds the reader throughout that the reconciliation at the level of self is first and foremost in the deeper meaning and success of the Ho-oponopono practices. 

The subsequent sections–“What is Ho-oponopono?”, “The Spiritual Laws-Ho’oponopono in Practice”, and “The Desire For Peace”– take the reader through the nuts and bolts of the history and evolution of the Ho’oponopono ritual and its application within any culture’s beliefs. Duprée also masterfully weaves core principles of living in harmony with all life, respect for all life, and the interconnectedness of all life.

I especially took note of the section, “The Core of the Simplified Ho’oponopono”. This core has been rendered down by Duprée into four statements:

As soon as something annoys you, whenever you feel like turning around and running away from a situation, and especially whenever someone is “pushing your buttons”, please join me in first saying to yourself:
I’m sorry.
Please forgive me.
I love you.
Thank you.3

He discusses each at length, and although the initial response of many would be that of feeling a contradiction to forgiveness towards the situation/individual that you feel victimized by, this speaks volumes to the verbiage of we are all connected and the actual implementation of recognizing that in the heat of the moment.

There are many exercises throughout Ho’oponopono that are brief in what is asked, but if used wisely, reveal and transform the reader’s perspective and view of themself, others, and our collective place in the world. 

Duprée covers multiple aspects of humanity’s existence and these are woven into the Ho-oponopono practices of restoring health, balance in work and home, global implications, and challenges and ultimately the desire for peace and everyone’s role in that aspiration.

Would I recommend?

Ho’oponopono is one of those rare books that looks by appearance to be a “light” read, suited more to those who have interest or personal resonance with Hawaiian practice and spirituality. But there is nothing “light” about this book, other than perhaps the enlightened state that is possible for those who take the time to read, self-reflect, and then apply. This should be a required read for everyone who has felt victimized, who desires harmony, who seeks to be the “change” we often speak of, who wants to remember that regardless of race, ethnicity, religion or geographical location, we all want to acknowledged, heard, loved and feel safe in giving love and forgiveness. Ho’oponopono is absolutely point-on for these troubling times. It’s definitely a keeper and a life-long lesson to be referenced frequently. 

About the Author:

Ulrich Emil Duprée is a spiritual seeker, visionary, and seminar leader. He has studied both Western and Eastern philosophy and lived in a Hindu monastery for four years. He has taught Ho‘oponopono, the ritual of forgiveness, since his mystical initiation by a Hawaiian Kahuna priest in 2009. The is also the author of Family Constellations. He currently lives in Germany.

Soul Helper Oracle, by Christine Arana Fader

Soul Helper Oracle: Messages from Your Higher Self, by Christine Arana Fader and illustrated by Elena Dudina
Earthdancer, 978-1-64411-468-1, 43 cards, 128 pages, April 2022

When I first opened the Soul Helper Oracle: Messages from Your Higher Self by Christine Arana Fader, I was eager to start working with the deck. I shuffled for a bit, said my usual blessing for a new deck, asked a question, and selected a card. I pulled the “Success and Happiness Are Coming” card, which, ironically, is the card whose illustration by Elena Dudina adorns the box cover and the front of all of the cards.

I placed the card in front of me, spending time looking at the glorious illustration of a woman, her under-eye area ringed with small purple jewels, a crystal located over her third eye, and her flaming red hair crowned with peacock feathers. She tells me to enjoy and celebrate life – a message I definitely needed to hear.

Before looking up the card’s meaning in the accompanying small book, I read the introduction that explained how to use the cards, interpretation methods, and consulting an oracle. In hindsight, I would have been better served to have read the introduction that Christine offers first. She describes how the deck guides a person to notice when our souls are speaking to us (which is really all of the time) and to heed its advice, meaning to go deeper into the storm of life facing us to find peace, to search for the truth within, and recognize our potential.

The deck is meant to be used to discover the core issue facing us when a card is pulled, to find the essence of the matter at hand, and to work with the recommended soul helpers. To do so, she recommends pulling only one card and working with the issue at hand for 21 days.

This is not the deck to use for a fast answer, but rather to work with the four soul helpers associated with each card: power animals, herbal essential oils, healing crystals, and numbers. Through a deep 21-day dive on what is being communicated, your soul’s messages will reveal themselves. It is through this extended focus and soul support that the vibrations offered by the soul helpers can help bring “clarity, divine light, and wisdom and will immediately bring about a change for the better, opening doors and guiding you toward happiness.”1

The accompanying booklet describes the characteristics and associated vibrations of the four soul helpers and how to work with them over the 21 days. For example, with the herbal essential oils you can put the recommended oil in a diffusers, or onto your crown chakra, or spritz it in a spray bottle filled with spring water and the oil to mix with your aura.

I’ve lived with this deck for a few months, and just before sitting down to write this review, I pulled another card: “Nature is Calling You”. The card states Nature wants to touch, fulfill, and protect me with its healing powers. With a wink and a nod from my soul, this was the same card that I pulled three weeks ago. And, its message is one that I not only need to hear, but to believe and then live willing to accept the help that is given so freely to me by my soul.

The predominant color of this card is green. A girl clothed in what looks to be a bikini of green leaves, holds some moss to her ear, much like we sometimes hold seashells to our ear when at the ocean. Her head is cocked to one side as she listens, surrounded by ferns, a small waterfall in the background. The power animal of the card is a puma; the herbal essential oil is tea tree; the healing crystal is emerald; and the number is 2.

The wisdom of the card’s offering is spot on for me and it reminds me that the issue raised by the card is not necessarily an easy one but an urgent one. It resonates with me tremendously. I will willingly work with the four soul helpers, heed the message, and work on the prodding that tells me to let go of lower, negative energies and forgo the dark paths of victimhood and begin to shine in my true light instead.

Christine Arana Fader and Elena Dudin have birthed an amazing beautifully illustrated and written deck. I loved Christine’s statement that “your soul is telling you to enjoy life, even its storms and silences, to treat everything as if it were a game in which you are the winner. It tells you to have faith in yourself and your strengths, and to trust your own magic.”2 The challenge for me has been to actually live my belief in this. Working with this deck has given me guidance on how to trust my soul to guide me on this path and to not resist or overthink, or to allow myself to override the divine light of the soul.

I highly recommend Soul Helper Oracle but remind the reader that to fully access the help offered within that you really do need to sit with your chosen card and work with the associated four soul helpers for the 21 days. Invest the time in yourself, your soul is waiting for you to listen and work in concert. As Christine reminds us, “those things that you heal and liberate within yourself will heal and liberate the whole world.”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.

Inner Practices for Twelve Nights of Yuletide, by Anne Stallkamp and Werner Hartung

Inner Practices for the Twelve Nights of Yuletide, by Anne Stallkamp and Werner Hartung
Earthdancer Books,1644113244, 144 pages, October 2021

I’m sure we’ve all felt that liminal in-between realities that occurs between Yule and the New Year, where we are often left wondering “What day is it?” This year, rather than getting lost in the transition of time, I plan to actively integrate the past and divine the future based on what I’ve read in Inner Practices for the Twelve Nights of Yuletide by Anne Stallkamp and Werner Hartung. Filled with meditations and journal prompts, I am  looking forward to delving into the spiritual energy of this sacred time. Reading this book has made me very excited for the Yuletide season, though I am still not fully on board with all of its information.

Originally published in German, this book has been quite the success. Stallkamp and Hartung are a married couple and both are dedicated to spiritual healing. Stallkamp teaches classes on geomancy and spiritual healing, while also working as an interior designer who clears energy in living spaces and arranges to foster energetic balance. Hartung is a medium who also leads workshops on geomancy and spiritual healing, as well as channeling. Both Stallkamp and Werner are Reiki masters too.

I’ve always felt there was a special energy between Christmas and the epiphany, though I’d never realized that other cultures and traditions honored this time as a sacred pause. Stallkamp and Werner briefly mention this, but choose to not delve further into detail, though I wish they had done so to provide a bit more background information. Rather, the book opens with a channelled message from Minerva, known for being a Roman goddess, who asserts herself as a Elohim, or energetic being, in the transmission. Unfortunately, this seemed like a detour from what I had hoped was going to be a book about the Yuletide season; I suppose I was looking for something more grounded and rooted in tradition.

What follows is Stallkamps and Hartung’s system for the twelve nights of Yuletide. For the most part, the twelve nights correspond with traditional Pagan holidays of the solstices and equinoxes, along with cross-quarter days. However, there are some corresponding dates that are not explained at all, plus there is no information about why these dates were selected. I longed for a deeper explanation of how this system works and where the information came from, rather than just a general overview from a channelled message.

The premise of doing these inner practices during the twelve nights of Yuletide is to both reflect upon the year prior and discover what the year ahead will hold. Since there are twelve nights, each one corresponds to a month of the year, though the days vary and this is not thoroughly explained as I already mentioned. Readers are prompted to use reiki to heal and integrate the past year, while also looking to God, the Creator, and our dreams for guidance about our future during this time.

Meaning, by page 20, we are somehow incorporating channeled messages from a Roman goddess/Elohim for Gaia, while corresponding the nights of Yuletide to Pagan holidays, and now we’re supposed to be doing a Japanese form of energy healing and engage in dream interpretation to determine God’s plan for our lives in the next year. Needless to say I was befuddled about the way the authors have presented this system, as it doesn’t seem to have any coherent spiritual basis and is rather a grab-and-go mash up of whatever spiritual path seems suitable for their purpose.

Not to say things can’t all be integrated, but I think it’s too much to piece together in just the opening pages. The remainder of the book is mostly Christianity-centered, even quoting the Old Testament at times, though it does include prayers to Mother Earth. So, if you’re looking to approach Yule from a Pagan perspective, this probably isn’t the best choice.

Now that I’ve vented my frustrations with the book, I will highlight what I like about it. The actual practice of connecting with the past and present during the sacred pause of Yuletide seems like a meaningful spiritual practice. The authors do provide great questions for reflection, meditations, and energy exercises to integrate the past and prepare for the future. I think I will refer to the book during this time and practice some of their suggestions. Though, I will be doing this based on the tenets of my own spiritual practice, rather than the mix-and-match method suggested by the author.

At the very least, this book heightened my interest in the twelve nights of Yuletide and prompts me to be more intentional this season. I will be looking for signs as to what the year might hold for me during this week, as well as consciously tying up loose ends of the past.

Unfortunately, Inner Practices for the Twelve Nights of Yuletide is not a book I will be recommending this holiday season. However, if a reader is willing to look past the spiritual inconsistency and open to the idea that this is a sacred time of transition, they may benefit from engaging in the practices suggested by the authors. I sincerely hope another book is published on this topic, as I feel there is great value from honoring the traditions of this time during the transition from one year to the next.

Animal Spirit Wisdom, by Philip Kansa and Elke Kirchner-Young

Animal Spirit Wisdom: A Pocket Reference to 45 Power Animals, by Philip Kansa and Elke Kirchner-Young
Earthdancer Books, 1644111154, 112 pages, May 2021

The lovely little paperback, called Animal Spirit Wisdom: A Pocket Reference to 45 Power Animals, by two shamans named Philip Kansa and Elke Kirchner-Young is a nice encouragement to open one’s mind to accepting the wisdom and assistance of animal spirits “energy from other dimensions,” as they write on page 8. Philip and Elke have been on a journey, for over 21 years between them, to share the wisdoms of this native tradition, known as Power Animals, or Animal Totems. I personally took their encouragement to heart as I read through this book, because I already have a love for animals in the world of mundane biology. I was quite interested in what the spiritual plane had to offer from animals too!

This book brought me a feeling of warmth and friendliness. I could really grasp the concept of calling a power animal to one’s side as a companion. This was my first true introduction to animal spirits, so I will need to gain more knowledge on the practice, before I might incorporate it into my own spiritual practices. That said though, I look forward to trying out the exercises written in this book, because unlike many other references I’ve seen, Animal Spirit Wisdom seems to take a gentle, guiding approach, rather than a strict format that stresses a lot on technique. That’s not to say the strict approach is wrong, however the easy going nature of this book seemed to match the writer’s intentions perfectly.

Reading through Animal Spirit Wisdom feels like you’re taking a spiritual walk on a path of nature with two friendly tour guides showing you the way. There is a schedule, for Philip and Elke shall also guide those next in line to be lead, but you must also stroll and allow the power animals to come along the path when you’re both ready to learn and grow from the experience.

Animal Spirit Wisdom is written in a succinct, organized style, and it features a clear and precise connection exercise with which to call on each of the 45 spirit animals referenced. Phillip and Elke also include a brief list of keywords and helpful descriptions for ideas on how calling forth any of the power animals may aid and protect you. Each spirit animal page contains adequately sourced and vivid images, which allow for the perfect visual aids for beginners.

I was only slightly confused by one part of this book, but I think that’s because I was taking things literally. I’ll only include my bamboozlement here, because I’m still not completely sure about it. On page 9 of Animal Spirit Wisdom, our shamans state “in order to discover your animal, make a spirit animal journey (see p. 12) with a shaman or another spiritual teacher.” As shown in the quote, there is another page number listed to see. On page 12 there is a whole exercise titled “A Spirit Animal Journey.”

Now, since our authors are shamans themselves, I’m inclined to believe they are indeed the “shamans with us,” so to say, on this particular journey. I don’t know if this might seem nit-picky, but I honestly wasn’t sure if that’s how I’m supposed to read these particular sections, or if I should actually contact either shaman directly and seek their counsel, as it were. Either way, don’t let the confused mutterings of a beginner sway you. The aforementioned curiosity didn’t take anything away from the book’s experience at all. I simply wish to remain transparent and forthcoming with my review.

Overall, Animal Spirit Wisdom by Phillip Kansa and Elke Kirchner-Young was a truly impactful and enlightening reading experience. I would absolutely recommend this book to anyone, of any level, who is interested in acquiring an introduction to the tradition of spirit animals. I genuinely believe the two beautiful shamans who put this book together delight in sharing this very knowledge with you. After my journey through these pages, I am moved to see the animals around me in a much more spiritual light. I wonder if the power animals will know my awe for them. Yeah, they probably will, as they’re the ones with the wisdom, after all.

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!

The Tree Angel Oracle, by Fred Hageneder

The Tree Angel Oracle: The Ancient Path into the Sacred Grove, by Fred Hageneder and illustrated by Anne Heng
Earthdancer Books, 1644110386, 1144 pages, 2nd Edition 2020

The Tree Angel Oracle by Fred Hageneder is a truly beautiful deck, illustrated by Anne Heng. The cards are illustrated with fairy-like figures ethereally interwoven with an image of a tree, creating a magical, endearing effect.  Printed on heavy, shiny cardstock, the cards felt special and charged from the moment I took them out of the box.  I delighted in selecting the cards that match trees that grow in my yard and around my neighborhood, such as Oak, Holly, Cherry, and Apple. I quickly choose all the cards matching the species of trees I have on my property and had a fun time envisioning these angels living in my trees.  The Tree Angels in these cards are drawn with such delicacy and care that I can truly get a feel for the character of the tree angels and also how they connect to that particular species of tree.

The book opens with an endearing introduction where Hageneder writes about a visionary experience he had while attending a Kundalini Yoga Retreat.  In his vision, he was invited into a sacred grove of trees and encouraged by the Tree Angels themselves to develop this oracle deck based on his experiences connecting deeply to trees.

However, unfortunately for me, the fantasy ended there.  In the first chapter of the book, Hageneder presents sort of a “woven tapestry” per se of world religions, their symbolism and mythologies, and how they each hold trees in high esteem.  He presents a particular interpretation on some ubiquitous religious stories, in particular the Garden of Eden story from the Book of Genesis. Here, he very matter-of-factly presents a remarkably modern and “New Age” summation of what that symbology means. Being somewhat of a nerd about classical Theology, I was miffed not seeing appropriate academic citations to back up his interpretative claims, and by the time I got past this, I was far from thinking about trees. Though his religious world-view is interesting — I probably agree with more of it than I disagree — I think it is problematic to present interpretations on religious symbolism as fact without contextualizing the scholarship that gave rise to those interpretations.  But we’ve strayed from the topic of trees, so let’s get back to that.

Obviously, there are hundreds of species of tree in the world and there are only 36 cards in this deck.  Hageneder has based his selection of trees on the “Ancient Irish Tree Alphabet” called the “ogham.” (p. 25) However because this particular catalogue of trees (and he doesn’t describe the “ogham” any further) all originate in a particular geographical area occupied by the Celts, he has omitted some of those trees in favor of wider diversity. For example, he included Ginkgo and Sycamore, which are native to other regions.

Hageneder offers several simple spreads to read the cards, though he emphasizes that choosing one card at a time is a great method for this deck.  I like the “Silent Guardians” spread which is a two-card spread where each card is part of a message relating to a transition in your life – passing from one phase to another.  The three-card spread suggested is called “The Primeval Doorway,” and in this spread the Tree Angels invite you to meet your guide on a journey into the Underworld.

The messages The Tree Angel Oracle cards offer are rich and long, with multiple meanings embedded.  Oak is one of my favorite cards because Oak trees are often associated with magic.

“The source of the life force nourishes your deepest roots with vitality, will, and power.  Make the world your own! But take care, hear the secrets of success, care for those in need, bring tenderness where emptiness once ruled.” (p. 57)

Oak is about being strong and enjoying vitality, but also about having integrity and being compassionate.

Sometimes the descriptions surprised me.  For example, the Ivy Tree Angel signifies humility, though in other sources I’ve known, ivy represents a protector and in other sources, an opportunist. So it seems to me that Hageneder is developing his meanings and interpretations from his own inspiration instead of drawing on ideas about tree spiritual energies that others have written about.

I am grateful for this deck, grateful for the window into deeper communion with trees that The Tree Angel Oracle offers. The cards are so beautifully illustrated by Anne Heng. The messages about the spiritual consciousness that is alive in trees is also beautiful – for this is something I very much believe in.  While Hageneder’s descriptions of the Tree Angel Oracle do not always resonate with me, I believe there is something profoundly magical and alive in these cards and there is a story to tell about discovering the consciousness in trees.

Dragon Wisdom Oracle Cards, by Christine Arana Fader

Dragon Wisdom: 43-Card Oracle Deck and Book, by Christine Arana Fader and illustrated by Anja Kostka
Earthdancer, 1644111086, 112 pages, 43 cards, 2021

In creating the Dragon Wisdom: 43-Card Oracle Deck and Book, Christine Arana Fader has written a mystical book about magical beings that can support you on your spiritual journey.  She worked closely with Anja Kostka to create artwork that captures 38 dragons, 4 elements, and one elf.  In 2000, Christine Arana Fader was introduced to the dragon’s energy by the spirit world and came to work with this energy to introduce people to its power and the energy of Avalon.

Also known as the “Dragon Woman,” Fader has met many teachers on her spiritual journey—angels, power animals, ascended masters, Merlin, and especially dragons. Since 2010 she has led dragon workshops and trance journeys. The author of different publications on mystical beings like dragons and elves, she lives in Germany.

Anja Kostka attended Fachoberschule für Gestaltung in Munich. In addition to the traditional painting and the usual drawing techniques, she also learned to work with many different materials, such as glass, felt, wood, metal and clay. She also got to know the technical world of computers. After excessive self-study she was accepted by Qantm Institute to study game design and earned her Bachelor of Arts in 2010.

After enjoying Game of Thrones, King Arthur, and other such books and movies, I was interested in learning more about dragon energy and how these magical beings might support me on my spiritual journey.

Since I host a weekly “Coffee and Cards” group for my community, I was excited to open the Dragon Wisdom deck and do a reading for myself.  I asked a question about a situation at work that I am currently experiencing and drew the card entitled “Avalon.”  I learned “a powerful, magical energy wants to rise within you.  The moon dragon wants to wake the priestess or sorcerer within you.”1

Furthermore, I learned that the beautiful dragon will travel with me to the world of my ancestors and show me the way to solve my current dilemma.  I very clearly connected with the energy of my grandmother on this journey and heard the word “compassion.”  I was reminded that we never know everything that someone is dealing with.  I felt guided to act with compassion regarding the person at my office.   

Then, I drew a card for the group and drew the card “Decision.”  The key concepts included the importance of making a decision in a timely fashion.  We can ask the brown dragon for support if the decision seems like too great a burden. Fader also included an easy energy clearing tool with this card.2

I love to pull a card for the group and allow people to read the message on Facebook and receive the guidance if the message speaks to their heart. I’ve already heard from one woman who said that the message clearly spoke to her and she expressed her thanks.

I absolutely love these cards.  The dragon artwork is stunning and quite varied.  Some of the designs are very simple and others are multi-layered with lots of shading and color variations. Along with the guidance shared, Fader includes a visualization or exercise to further connect with the dragon energy and these are very well written.  As I also shared, I really enjoyed the exercises or energy clearing tools. The cards are a great quality, with a very nice varnish on both sides and rounded corners. The cards are a good weight for shuffling. 

My favorite card is the one entitled “Peace.”  The dragon is created in shades of blue, from cobalt blue to the light blue of a spring sky. He looks formidable, yet there is kindness in his eyes.  It is a beautiful card for meditation and Fader includes a beautiful suggestion with blue candles and soft music. She begins with “Peace in this world begins within you.”3

She also includes this affirmation:  

“I am the expression of divine peace, peace is within me.”4

I also enjoyed the elemental cards, such as the one entitled “Fire Chalice.”  This card features a ritual from Alba, the queen of all dragons, who invites you to do a ritual she calls “baptism in the element of fire.” She explains that “The baptism is a rite, a rebirth, a ritual cleansing. Baptism is the threshold from the old to a new way of being.”5

At the end of the book is a trance meditation that you can record and then utilize to meet YOUR dragon.

The Dragon Wisdom Oracle deck gives you a hands-on way to connect with the wisdom, love, and magic of dragons. The artwork is created in brilliant full-color and the guidebook includes a black and white photo of each drawing, so you can match the card to the guidance.  Note that the cards are not numbered. However, the guidebook is arranged in alphabetical order, to make it easy to find the information for each card.

The dragon artwork is really stunning and makes it easy to connect with the images, so that you can experience and activate the dragon energies and interact on an intuitive level. These cards would be good for seekers of all ages.  You can use the cards for daily messages and take the experience even deeper by using the visualizations or energy clearing tools. Pre-teens or teens would also enjoy the cards, due to the beautiful artwork.

“You hold a set of cards full of magic and wisdom in your hands. It is an enchanting mixture of exercises and messages, created from the wisdom and power of Dragons.”6

I really enjoyed Dragon Wisdom.  The artwork is matched only by the beautiful prose of Fader’s mystical work with her dragon guides.  I can’t wait to share this deck with my granddaughter, who is 10 and loves Harry Potter and all things magical! I particularly love the script Fader included for a dragon journey, where you can meet your own mystical guide for your daily life.