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Oralce of the Birds, by Jeanne Roland and Petra Kühne

Oracle of the Birds: A 46-Card Deck and Guidebook, by Jeanne Ruland and illustrated by Petra Kühne
Findhorn Press, 1644119617, 112 pages, 46 cards, October 2023

I recently read The Madonna Secret by Sophie Strand, and in this book, the main character Miriam often receives guidance from the natural world, especially birds. This got me thinking about my own relationship with birds and questioning “Have I been pausing to appreciate them and hear their message?” Honestly, I had not been paying much mind to the birds, so I started to become more aware of the birds around me–when they appear, how they make me feel, and the tone of their chatter.

Soon after, I noticed the Oracle of the Birds by Jeanne Ruland, and I felt prompted to delve deeper into my bird explorations. This gorgeous deck, illustrated by Petra Kühne, shares the spiritual messages from a variety of birds, providing meaning and affirmations for me to explore, and it has brought a new appreciation for birds into my life. Ruland reminds us:

“They touch our soul. Our soul is like them–free, fluidly connected, unique, and yet belonging to Heaven.”1

This deck consists of 46 cards, which are mostly birds, but also include some mythical bird figures (Ba, Garuda) and bird-related items (Egg, Nest, Feather). From the largest bird (Ostrich) to the tiniest bird (Hummingbird), the wide range of birds in this deck spans the globe.

Kühne has done an amazing job bringing these birds to life on the cards. Flipping through the deck and looking at the images, I feel a subtle humming in my hands, as though the spirits of the birds are being infused right into my soul. The deck is bright with each bird in their own colorful habitat. My favorite part about Kühne’s design is the patterns and sacred geometry patterns shining through softly in the background, reminding me of the divinity of these birds.

On each card is the name of the bird, a few keywords, and then a sentence or two of guidance. This makes the cards wonderful to use on an altar space or simply keep out for the day to glance at for inspiration. The back of the cards is the same for the whole deck, but it also has an encouraging message that reminds readers to keep their gaze uplifted.

The guidebook is short and sweet in its introduction to the cards, quickly delving into the card profiles, which are organized alphabetically. Every description includes a title, image of the card, meaning of the card, message from the bird’s magic feather, list of additional meanings, and an affirmation.

I appreciate how for each card meaning Ruland takes the time to describe how the bird enters your life. For instance he writes, “Death-defying, the falcon plunges into your energy field to hunt demons.”2 Meanwhile, he describes how Goose “comes waddling into your life and enables you to recognize the deep truth of things.”3 His descriptive writing is a portal for the bird’s energy, and I enjoy the sensation of feeling and imagining the way the bird of the day enters during my daily pull to share their insight.

This week I keep pulling the same card, and clearly I feel like I’m being sent a message with the consistency of it appearing day after day, even with multiple shufflings. The card is Garuda, who Ruland describes as “a mythical and immortal messenger of light from the Upper World.”4

The overall message from this card is centered on me opening up to messages from higher realms, listening to my heart, and trusting the guidance of the divine, while remembering that I am a source of light. I really resonate with Garuda, especially how Ruland interprets the card as a sign to focus on my own spiritual development and “connection to the existence of creation.”5

As much as many of us strive to be grounded, this deck reminds us that sometimes we need to let our spirits fly high for a new perspective. Ruland has attentively channeled the wisdom of birds into affirming messages that shift our gaze towards the sky and bring new insights. The imagery created by Kühne transports us into new habitats and states of mind, gleaming with elegance, grace, and possibility.

Overall, Oracle of the Birds is an excellent resource for anyone looking to deepen their spiritual practice and connect with the natural world. The beautiful artwork and insightful messages make it a joy to work with, and the guidance and wisdom of the birds can help you discover insights on your spiritual path. Whether you’re looking for clarity, guidance, or inspiration, this deck can help you connect with the energy of birds and tap into their powerful wisdom.

Sage, Huntress, Lover, Queen, by Mara Banscombe

Sage, Huntress, Lover, Queen: Access Your Power and Creativity through Sacred Female Archetypes, by Mara Banscombe
Findhorn Press, 978-1644117934, 256 pages, July 2023

Sage, Huntress, Lover, Queen: Access Your Power and Creativity through Sacred Female Archetypes by Mara Banscombe has managed to bring a balance of self-reflection and immediate application to the mysteries of the Sacred Feminine. Reaching deeply into the core of what the nature of the sacred is, Branscombe has crafted a book that allows the reader to feel the power held within these mysteries. All the while, she coalesces what is truly soul-searching work into actions and thought processes that are accessible and resonant at every level for any reader.

This book has the structure of seven feminine archetypes: the Maiden, Mother, Sage, Huntress, Lover, Mystic and Queen. Each archetype has been given secondary assignations that are easily recognizable and immediately bring to mind visual experience of how these archetypes might appear in physical form.  

Branscombe describes the Maiden as the Underworld Explorer using the familiarity of the story of Persephone as template for that journey.

“To embody the Maiden archetype is to reclaim creativity, gather courage, restore faith in your biggest dreams, and live with a lust for life.”1

The Mother is the Earth Matrix that knows how to protect, guide, sustain, and create.

“The embodied Mother greets her masculine spark to enhance her feminine frequency. Embracing her inner child, she discovers the world with an awakened vision, choosing love over comparison, acceptance over judgment.”2

The Sage is the Water Healer gathering her power from the flow of deep waters of gnosis and wisdom.

“The Sage flows with change, while staying present to her evolving intuitive process.  She cultivates a peaceful inner life while sharing her visionary’s wisdom with the world. The sage does not sleep her life into being. Like the healing hands of the grandmother, she gathers her current materials and weaves them into her cloak of knowledge.”3

The Huntress is the Fire Generator that catalyzes and becomes the path towards right action.

“The embodied Huntress has the true spirit of the warrior and empowers herself and others to live life to the fullest. Her life purpose is fueled by her devotion to be in service to her impassioned cause. The Huntress teaches us how to ignite our true essence and share it unapologetically with the world.”4

The Lover is the Air Alchemist who teaches the lessons of self-love and acceptance to cultivate healthy and strong relationships at all levels of being.

“The Lover understands that self-awareness is her superpower inside any relationship. Her boundaries are clear, either refined or porous as needed. She is wild at heart and stays true to her mission; to source the pure frequency of love while going as deep into the realms of intimacy as possible in this lifetime.5

The Mystic is the Ethereal Time Traveler who remains rooted and anchored in corporeal existence because this is the path to cosmic understanding.

“The feminine Mystic’s power is expansive. Energy can be sensed within, above, below and all around. She uses this information to respond to her soul’s calling. Paying close attention to the sacred experiences coming alive in this human body is the work of the Mystic.6

And, The Queen as the Universal Thought Weaver who commands ultimate authority over self through experience and indomitable self-awareness and confidence.

“The Queen embodies wholeness. She is a clear channel of refined inner strength. She is both movement and stillness, wisdom and inquiry, surrender and activation.”7

This book is thoughtfully separated into eight chapters, a robust Introduction (“Evoking the Divine Feminine Way”), and “Revealing the Archetypes and Appendix: Rituals and Wisdom Practices to Embody the Archetypes”, which indexes the rituals throughout the book for quick reference. I really liked this addition of indexing and thought there was an abundance of opportunity in using it as a checklist, of sorts, to mark the highlights of your journey through the archetypes. 

Each of the chapters provides the reader with a bounty of information and techniques of approach and awakening the specific archetype of focus within the reader. Branscombe takes the reader through informed step-by-step creative practices, guided visualizations, rituals, and poetry to help the reader embody each archetype and activate a life of fulfillment and happiness

The journal prompts were spot on for each of the archetype chapters and rather than a one size fits all approach to the other self-directed work to be completed, each chapter contained just the right combination of foci and intention to really push the reader to examine more deeply and thus, effect change more deeply.

I was particularly drawn to “Chapter 6 – Awakening the Mystic: Truth Seeker, Vision Holder, Divine Space Explorer”. Typically, the term “Mystic” has been associated with spiritual practice that aligned more with Eastern philosophies and applications. The image of the Mystic has been that of one who has hermited themselves away from the world and immerses totally in the Divine. These are true, but Branscombe has also brought that term into Western practice and more specifically as an archetype of the sacred feminine. The first portion of this chapter answers quite nicely who the mystic is:

“Anchored to the earth and attuned to her inner voice, the feminine Mystic embodies an otherworldly, enigmatic presence. Drawn to the numinous, spirited, and ethereal frequencies, she imbibes the natural magic and shares it freely with the world…The modern Mystic trusts the power of Divine timing. She embodies a heightened awareness to what happens in the natural world and to the ordinary synchronicities in everyday life… The Mystic walks the earth sharing her gifts with all sentient beings while tuning in to the realm of the skies.”8

One of the underpinnings of this chapter, that I would say also is true of other archetypes and development of their potential, is that of illusion that can be found on any spiritual path, particularly one of self-growth.

“Go beyond the smoke and mirrors of certain spiritual practices. Be aware when you are following a spiritual teacher to fit into a mold or generate a false sense of security.”9

Would I Recommend?

Sage, Huntress, Lover, Queen: Access Your Power and Creativity through Sacred Female Archetypes is a treasure of accessible and inspirational content. Throughout the book the reader will find little gems of poem and inspired verse from Banscombe that provide yet another way of engaging those archetypes within self.  This book is a rich and self-empowering and deeply immersive journey into the many facets of power and expression that we hold as sentient beings. Reading this book is an opportunity for reclaiming of these archetypes that have inspired and catalyzed transformative change throughout the evolution of the feminine and HER mysteries. 

About the Author: Mara Branscombe

Mara Branscombe is an author, mother, yogi, artist, teacher, mindfulness leader, ceremonialist, and spiritual coach. Her mission is to amplify wellness and creativity while supporting others to live their best life. She is passionate about weaving the art of mindfulness, self-care, creativity, mind-body practices, and earth-based rituals into her life and work. Mara has been teaching and leading ceremony since 2000.

Shamanic Dreaming, by Carol Day

Shamanic Dreaming: Connecting with Your Inner Visionary, by Carol Day
Findhorn Press, 1644117037, 192 pages, February 2023

Discovering Carol Day has been an experience. She is a remarkable woman, who lends herself to many walks of life. As an author, counsellor, nature educator, and constellation therapist, Carol is used to “working with imaginary realms. Holding space within nature, and multi-realm environments”1

I enjoyed the circular, cyclical elements within Shamanic Dreaming: Connecting with Your Inner Visionary. All of life is cyclical–all of the universe in fact. This concept is something that speaks to me and something I often ponder about, as we see several different cycles regularly. The changing seasons, menstrual cycles, and the circle of life. Planetary spheres. They’re all connected in similar patterns. 

Also, the actor within me thoroughly enjoyed that the book is cleverly laid out in “Acts”, much like life itself. You can split your own play into as many acts as you like, but the point is that we’re all only on this earth for a snippet of time and Carol wants us to deepen our connection to the “calling of the land”2 to make your time here a fulfilling experience.

In Act One you are invited to ask yourself, “Why am I here?” and “What is going on?”.

Day has developed a practice, which she shares with you in the book, to aid people in being open to their visions. She talks about knowing yourself, knowing the visions that you see, and trusting in this process.

The book allows you a hands-on approach and asks you to attune yourself to everything all around you. There are tasks for you to complete throughout, all of which can bring a deeper understanding of your mindset and learning to be present.

I recommend quickly browsing the book before you begin, as some tasks require items you might not just have lain around, such as a shamanic drum. If you’ve already got one, great. But just check beforehand, because getting all ready for one of the tasks only to find you’re missing the key ingredient can be a huge disappointment. 

Day explains to us how we can connect with the vibration of the universe and how this can be beneficial for seeking out your “knowing”. This isn’t a book just to read, it is for you to make a connection, it’s a companion for a specific time in your life. To tune in and be peaceful. To lean into where you need to be in life and in the universe. 

Act Two allows you to travel through the past, present, and future. Kind of like a modern-day Christmas Carol for those who want to reconnect with the universe. No need for any Scrooges, just an openness to all things.

You’ll be guided throughout to connect with the nature of the universe, to find your own spirit guides, to be creative, and learn how to be quiet and be still. How can you be enlightened? What do you find when you open your mind? You shall set intentions across several realms. And learn how to respond to callings, how to interpret the messages, and what to do with those that you receive.

This book literally has everything, from the vibrational settings that we receive when partaking in Shamanic Drumming to the connections we can make with the Fav

We eventually lead into the practice and process of dreaming and how to call the ancestors into your dreams. All the while keeping yourself grounded and safe. 

Life’s grand plan for us all, for you individually, is waiting within these pages, ready to be unleashed and your first step on this path is right here in Day’s Shamanic Dreaming.

The very lovely illustrations that accompany the text are hand drawn and have a slight Quentin Blake style to them. They’re a beautiful accompaniment to this very real, open, and organic guiding system that Day has kindly shared with us. 

If you’re trying to find your place in the universe and you know there’s something else waiting, but it’s just out of reach, maybe Shamanic Dreaming has your answer, waiting patiently just on the horizon.

The Healing Power of the Sun, by Richard Hobday

The Healing Power of the Sun: A Comprehensive Guide to Sunlight as Medicine, by Richard Hobday
Findhorn Press, 164411402X, 224 pages, December 2021

Who doesn’t love the feeling of warm sunshine shining down on them? I know I certainly do! Whether it’s during a warm summer afternoon or a chilly winter’s day as I quickly make my way indoors, the sun never fails to bring a moment of happiness to my day. But until I read The Healing Power of the Sun: A Comprehensive Guide to Sunlight as Medicine by Richard Hobday, I had no idea the extent to which the sun affects our health and well-being. This illuminating book gave me a whole new perspective on sunlight and the many benefits spending time in its rays can have on my daily life.

In the introduction, Hobday immediately addressed the hyper-focus on the sun’s negative effect on the body: skin cancer. He notes that modern medicine is obsessed with the damage sunlight can have on skin, while neglecting the many other ailments that sunlight prevents, including “breast cancer; colon cancer; prostate cancer; ovarian cancer; heart disease; multiple sclerosis; and osteoporosis.”1 Instantly, I was intrigued by these bold claims–can sunlight really prevent these diseases? Luckily, Hobday provides ample scientific evidence to support his position.

There are a myriad of topics covered throughout the book, but all bolster the main thesis that sunlight is a natural form of medicine. Topics in the first chapter, “Your Body and Mind in the Sun” include the importance of vitamin D and how it can reduce cholesterol levels and blood pressure, melanin and different skin types, how sunlight can impact blood and promote growth. Hobday also talks about the psychological importance of the sun, such as regulation of hormonal and biochemical processes, as well as seasonal affective disorder.

With the foundation for the benefits of sunlight laid out clearly, Hobday then explores the how humanity has greatly decreased the amount of time spent in sunlight:

“We can now work, rest, play, shop and travel in an artificial environment, and have very little direct contact with the outside world. One consequence of all this is that, for many of us, sunlight plays only a small part in our daily lives. It can be quite instructive to sit down with a pen and a piece of paper and work out just how much time you spend indoors each week. Some estimates put the average figure at about 90 percent…”2

Personally, I despise sitting in doors all day and intentionally try to spend as much time outside as possible, but if I’m being honest, most friends and family don’t spend nearly as much time outdoors as I do. I clearly see what Hobday was pointing out about our world dominated by artificial light that is drastically different from earlier time periods in civilization where “sun-gods and goddesses were often worshiped as deities of medicine.”3

And it’s for this reason that I appreciated Hobday’s chapter “How to Sunbathe Safely”. One thing he mentions is how the use of sunscreen actually makes people more prone to sunbathing at inappropriate times. By following the provided advice, I feel like I am now able to maximize my sunbathing without being over-reliant on sunscreen, allowing for more direct contact with the sunlight. I’ve been intentionally going outside for early-morning sunshine, which is one recommendation of Hobday, as well as doing short trips outside to enjoy the sun to avoid prolonged exposure. These methods have been great for developing a tan while avoiding sunburn, and it’s been fantastic starting my morning connecting with the sun.

Admittedly, as an astrologer, I’ve always been focused on my spiritual connection to the sun, but after reading about the different methods of using sunlight as a form of medicine throughout time, I became convinced using sunlight should be more integrated in treatment. For instance, Hobday talks about Dr. Bodington’s pioneer open-air treatment for tuberculosis, Dr. Finsen’s sunlight treatment for smallpox and lupus vulgaris, and Dr. Bernhard’s heliotherapy for war wounds. He also mentions Florence Nightingale promoting sunlight for healing too, along with other examples of doctors who have sunlight as a part of treatment.

What I found most interesting was how drug-resistant infections are becoming a severe problem for hospitals. Sunlight remedies, including things such as incorporating sunlight in treatment and even simply having well-lit rooms, can help to combat the increasing spread of infection. Hobday shares many experiments showing that sunlight and natural light reduce infection levels, promoting the idea that our indoor environments should try to recreate outdoor conditions, rather than appeal to the desire for comfort, luxury, or utility. The section on this topic really made me question how buildings, especially hospitals are designed, and even how my own home could be modified to let more sunlight in during the day.

All in all, The Healing Power of the Sun was a very interesting and eye-opening read. It inspired me to spend more time outdoors and explore how I can improve my health by spending time in sunlight. From opening my mind to what medicine can look like (and how it can be so simple and natural) to learning more about the best ways to sunbathe, this book covers a wide-range of information any reader would benefit from learning. My greatest takeaway is that there’s no need to fear the sun; the medicinal properties greatly outweigh the potential harm. Plus, when you choose to safely spend time in sunlight, along with being mindful of what you’re eating and your daily exercise routines, it’s safe, even necessary for one’s well-being, to bask in the golden rays. 

Findhorn Spirit Oracle Cards, by Swan Treasure

Findhorn Spirit Oracle Cards, by Swan Treasure
Findhorn Press, 9781644113745, 44 cards, 159 pages, March 2022

I have used many oracle decks since I was first introduced to them three decades ago; some resonate with me and some don’t. However, the Findhorn Spirit Oracle Cards by Swan Treasure had an immediate energy to them that I had never before experienced when first introduced to a deck. I had a strong feeling that there were many nature spirits and energies present that seemed to spill out of the box as I held the deck. 

Findhorn is not new to me. I had read quite a few books on this magical place in Scotland and how the nature spirits worked with the ecovillage’s founders Eileen and Peter Caddy and Dorothy Maclean on a barren landscape. With the help and direction of nature spirits beautiful gardens were created which eventually developed into a “planetary village” and the Findhorn Foundation which has a “spiritual lineage of cooperation with the subtle realms.”1

“The land surrounding the Findhorn community is indeed a blessed place, tended by a host of powerful and benevolent spirit forces.”2

Treasure worked with the subtle realms to write and illustrate this deck. The author bio reads:  “Her life is dedicated to raising human consciousness through co-creative spirituality so that we can remember, experience, and awaken the beauty of being fully alive on this planet.”3

The deck was “born” in 2018 at the Co-Creative Spirituality conference at the Findhorn Foundation. The pictures on the deck came through using a “meditative technique called touch-drawing”4 using only the hands and fingernails on tissue paper placed on a board on top of colors.  Spirit beings were invited to participate in the co-creation of the deck.

“The messages that have been received in connection with each of the spirit beings depicted in the cards encourage us to reconnect with our essential nature, to expand our awareness to new realities, to activate our full vital energy, and to engage our power of co-creation with the divine, opening to the joy of partnership with the subtle realms.”5

Each card image represents a spirit made visible to us in an understandable way. 

The deck follows the shamanic medicine wheel and the cards within the wheel can be used as a “tool to access the support and assistance of the spiritual realms both as a path for self-actualization and for divination purposes.”6

Treasure emphasizes patience and time in getting to know the energy of the deck. She recommends at least eight weeks to connect with these subtle realms, to experience the practices of the cards, and to enter the gateways of these energy portals. She also recommends that one asks permission before entering these spaces, with words such as “Am I allowed?”7. Swan also provides  details on consecrating the deck, and how to initiate opening and closing ceremonies when using the deck, all centering on spending time with these energies, not rushing, and extending respect to these guides. 

The deck consists of six sets of seven cards, each set representing a gathering of spirit beings associated with the four directions of the medicine wheel plus the directions of above and below. Within each set of seven there are three “significant” cards: a guardian spirit, a turning point, and a spirit akin to an animal or flower. She offers card layouts and types of readings, including the Shapeshifter Reading, The Essence Reading, and The Chakra Alignment Reading. There is a description for each card that includes a communication from the spirit, a focus, and a practice. 

The card illustrations are subtle and beautifully colored in tones that match the message of the spirit attached to the card. The Blessings card holds the appearance of a figure cloaked in white with what could be branches or hair emanating from the being’s head flowing upward. The predominance of the color green in the card is highlighted with bits of purple, the message being “let your presence be a blessing.”8

This card represents the Angel of Findhorn, who reminds us that we are living miracles. The focus of the card is on laughter, homecoming, and miracles. The practice encourages making drawings of angels and writing on them, “you are loved, I bless you”9 and signing them as the Angel of Findhorn.

The Victory card kept appearing in my work with the deck. Victory comes from the Realm Above with the message that the “warrior within uses resistance to awaken.”10 The colors of the card are various shades of green flecked with yellows, blues, and spots of red. The face of a strong figure predominates.

Victory represents the spirit of inclusivity that encourages one to “quiet down, go within, drop the survival fears that keep you enslaved.”11 The focus is on respect, balance, and contribution. The practice encourages a reflective pause. 

I highly recommend Findhorn Spirit Oracle Cards. I’ve absolutely loved connecting with these cards. This deck has a very powerful elemental energy that results in accurate, heartfelt messages. It’s perfect for the springtime, as the nature spirits are in full bloom. If you do decide to get yourself a copy, I strongly suggest that you take the time to experience all that it offers as it introduces you to the unseen realms that have chosen to work with us.

Archangel Fire Oracle, by Alexandra Wenman

Archangel Fire Oracle, by Alexandra Wenman and illustrated by Aveliya Savina
Findhorn Press, 1644112787, 40 cards, 144 pages, April 2021

I love angels. Communicating with angels was one of my earliest spiritual experiences. As I continued to connect with angels through books and decks, I discovered sometimes angelic wisdom gets locked in New-Age conventionality and trappings. When I started to explore esotericism and discovered the work of John Dee, I realized there was a magical art to communicating with angels. Sigils became an important part of my work with angels. Since then I’ve been trying to rediscover the relationship between angels and alchemy.

Archangel Fire Oracle by Alexandra Wenman is a true delight to discover for this reason. It goes beyond the positive, affirming messages of other angel oracle decks, connecting the reader with the genuine essence of each angel. The deck is a blend of color healing, alchemy, and angelic knowledge intended to facilitate awakening in the readers. In addition to learning more about each archangel, Women guides readers to tap into the most divine aspects of themselves through the meditations and exercises that facilitate spiritual awareness, transformation, and a deeper connection to the angelic realm.

There are forty archangel cards in this deck. The archangels are grouped in seventeen suits, each based on a healing color ray or sacred flame. I really enjoy visually seeing the archangels through these different color prisms. It adds a visual connection to each angel, as well as helps to identify archangels that are similar in energy.

The cards themselves are beautiful and some of the best depictions of the archangels I’ve ever seen. It’s very clear the illustrator of this deck, Aveliya Savina, had a strong relationship with the angelic realm and a very intuitive understanding of these energies. There is tons of symbolism in the deck, from animals to flowers, that infuse the cards with meaning. All the elements are represented (fire, air, earth, and water), as well as connections to the solar system and earth. There’s also some mythical energy that opens the reader’s consciousness to different realms.

I have so many favorite images in the deck that it’s hard to choose one. For instance, Rikbeil (11) is shown almost wearing a space suit with sweeping pink wings engulfing his body. Then there’s UFO-like flying saucers in the corner of the cards. It’s neat because the cards aren’t pushing alien-angel connection or anything (I’m so leery of that!), but it is an innovative, modern display of the resonate energetic meaning of the card, which reads:

“Rikbiel is known as the “Chief of the Divine Chariot: – the Merkabah. This Cherubim is said to be the “Power of Love” and he helps us to recognize the incredible power of having loving thoughts. A harmonizing angel, who can influence centrifugal force and find the most loving point between two opposing forces, Rikbiel is especially helpful to call on when working in group situations. Rikbie maintains co-operation and promotes open communication. Like the cosmic diplomat in his oracle card, he shows us that when a group strives towards a common goal based in integrity, they can achieve great things.”1

But while Rikbiel has a cosmic unifier vibe, other cards, such as Asariel (22) have aqueous energy. In this card, Asariel is portrayed with a seashell crown, holding a trident. There’s a hermit crab and treasure chest at her feet, while dolphins and an orca whale leap in the background. I’ve loved gazing at it and inviting the marine energy into my aura. The guidebook explains how she calls us to move with flow, trusting our intuition and dreams.

This deck just really stands apart from others due to the masterful artistry, which is relatable and ignites the imagination, prompting readers to understand the archangel’s energy in a way that goes beyond traditional interpretations of them. Savina’s artwork is perfect for contemplation, meditation, and using the cards on an altar, which is what I’ve been doing most frequently.

The guidebook is phenomenal too! For each of the seventeen suits, Wenman provides the corresponding chakra, crystals, essential oils, magical sigils, and star system. This information alone was worth having the deck for because it opens up so many doors for connecting with each angel. I’ve always been very interested in the relationship between constellations and the angels, and this guidebook has been extremely useful for exploring this.

For every archangel, there is an overall description of their essence, a message from them (a quote of guidance, guidance on how to meet the archangel in the energetic realm through visualization, guidance for diamond fire alchemy with the archangel, and a section on becoming the angel (invoking their energy).

What I love about this wealth of wisdom is that it’s suitable for all levels. Beginners will be content to receive a message from the archangels and learn a bit about their energy. Those who are ready to experience the healing of the archangel might want to do the visualization to meet them or the diamond fire alchemy for spiritual healing or transformation. Then for those who feel experienced enough to invoke the archangel, the final section is very useful in how to embody the energy of the archangel.

While the techniques and exercise require a bit of a time or energetic investment on behalf of the reader, they are truly powerful. As I mentioned, I’ve been very interested in learning more about the archangels, their sigils, and their relationship to the constellations. But Wenman’s guide book helps to take my explorations to a new level through the visualizations and invocation exercises. It’s so useful to have guidance about how to connect with the angels in this way, rather than just having to trace sigils out of an old grimoire I found in PDF form.

Overall, Archangel Fire Oracle is the most authentic angel oracle deck that I’ve come across thus far. Wenman and Savina have successfully channeled the archangels into imagery and a guidebook that is relatable, easy to use, and most of all, soul-stirring. The archangels have been liberated from outdated forms and antiquated definitions of their energy. In this deck, the archangels’ essences shine through, opening readers into a current of love, peace, and spiritual transformation.

Discover Your Crystal Family, by Kathryn Hudson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Body Healing Cards, by Ewald Kliegel

Body Healing Cards, by Ewald Kliegel with illustrations by Anne Heng
Findhorn Press, 9781644112557, 56 cards and 127 pages, June 2021

In this beautiful set of cards and the accompanying guidebook, Body Healing Cards, author Ewald Kliegel & illustrator Anne Heng provide a wonderful way to talk with your body’s organs.  By focusing on an organ and then either choosing or intuitively drawing cards, one can learn more about disease, illness, or upset in the body and discover ways to heal.  Using his 40+ years of experience as a massage therapist, naturopath, and reflexologist, Kliegel really knows the human body. 

He invites you to use this set of cards to communicate with your body and “intuitively investigate the essence of your individual organs and discover their physical, soul and spiritual layers.”1 I was intrigued by the concept of these cards due to my work as a Reiki master, hypnotist, and tarot card reader. 

After briefly perusing the first few pages of the guidebook, I decided to do a card reading regarding my shoulders.  I have an old injury on one shoulder and some arthritis in both shoulders.  Sometimes I have pain in one or both shoulders during the night, as I am a side sleeper. 

I chose the Health Generator Spread2 and chose the Shoulders card for the center of the reading. The design on the Shoulder card featured a human form balancing itself on a spire, with arms outstretched and an apothecary scale behind it. It reminds me of a tightrope walker, and I considered how my shoulders help me balance myself and my life.

With Shoulders lying face up, I proceeded to shuffle the cards and then drew three cards and placed them face down on the right of the center card. Next, I drew two cards and placed those face down on the left of the center card. Now that I had all of my cards, I focused on the Shoulders card and followed Kliegel’s six questions to ask both the card and my shoulders for clues about my pain. 

1. What do I see in this image?
2. Which sensations, feelings, emotions, perceptions or memories come to mind?
3. What do I like most about the image?
4. What do I not like at all in the image?
5. If I were to step inside the image, what could I see, hear or recognize as the person in it?
6. How does all this fit together with the organ and my topic?3  

As I went through the questions, I felt into the beautiful design of blues and purples. The idea of balance came up with this thought:  “As long as I am balanced, I am also safe.” Lastly, I turned to the page in the guidebook where Kliegel shares more information about the Shoulders and suggests Hypersthene and Fluorite as two crystals that may support shoulder health.4

The first three cards revealed even more about this situation.  The first card was Thymus. It featured all of the chakra colors and a human being with arms raised over its head, reaching skyward.  This visual led me to think about the interconnectedness of all of the parts of my body and how when I am stressed, I may tense or hold my shoulders in a tight or constricted way.  

The questions led me to realize that my thymus can help transform my stress.  The crystals Kliegel recommended were Bloodstone and Aquamarine.  I realized that I had some of these beads on hand and decided to make a bracelet with these stones and others I may learn about during this adventure. 

In the second card, I saw Throat and the human being was singing out, free and easy.  She seemed so powerful, asking for help or support, to lighten her burdens.  Again, I caught the tie-in to my shoulders. 

For the third card in this series, Ears appeared, and I felt the sensation of the sound of the ocean when you hold a shell to your ear.  I also heard a soft echo and classical music. I loved the spiral shape of the background artwork and the pleasing rainbow of colors. One suggestion I heard while reviewing this card: “How may I listen to my shoulders for healing clues?” 

Next, I turned to the two cards to the left of the Shoulder card.  Here I found the card for Bronchi, which are the tubes that connect your trachea to your lungs. By following the trail of the 5 questions (which are slightly different for these two cards in this spread), I was reminded of the power of the breath to bring calm.  Once again, when I am calm, the shoulders relax and I can center myself.  I saw myself in a calming oasis and realized that I may be holding my breath and tensing up during my day.  Kliegel suggests that you “Follow your breath without trying to change it.”5  

The last card in this spread was Connective Tissue.  The visual was a boy holding an egg, filled with a tree, a dragonfly, water and plants.  One of the questions led me to realize that I live inside nature and that I can find my calm place in nature. This helped me to see the interconnectedness of everything again and how nature responds to me and my feelings.

Kliegel really encourages you to look at all of the cards and “See how these organs relate to my question, issue or situation?”6 This works as a type of summation of the time you have spent with the cards regarding your health issue.  Another helpful question is “How may I use what I have learned to make a change in my health situation?”7

In the section called “Portraits of the Organs”, Kliegel goes through each of 52 organs and gives basic information and two crystals for healing benefits.  You can refer to this information to learn more about the organs and create affirmations.  Kliegel recommends that you create two affirmations for each card and consider utilizing the crystal recommendations, as well.

I used the Health Generator Spread again for my husband and a friend.  My husband was interested in learning more about his fatty liver.  He learned about the importance of deep breathing and formulated some affirmations to help better nourish himself and be more conscious of his fears.

For my friend, we investigated her diverticulitis, which is based in her large intestine.  From her spread, she learned to “Concentrate on what’s important, and let go of trivial matters.”8 Surprisingly, she also got a message from her stomach and learned this:

“The druid of the stomach cauldron watches over our food as well as how we think and feel about our life force and nourishing our soul.” 9

She shared that this visual will help her make better choices for her own nutrition. 

The guidebook has several spreads, some of which are very complex. One even makes use of all of the cards. I tried Spread 5, Healing Connections, and found it very complicated, as it used ten cards and multiple questions.  If one had a very complex health situation, perhaps the more complicated spreads could be helpful. However, I found the spread with five cards that accented the one central card to be very targeted and helpful. 

At the back of the guidebook, Kliegel offers a chart of all of the organs, arranged in alphabetical order and adds two affirmations and two crystal recommendations. For example, for my husband’s reading, we found a great affirmation for his liver: “I draw on abundance and imagination.” efn_note]page 117[/efn_note] Kliegel also recommends Malachite and Chrome Diopside for supportive crystals. 

The cards are printed on a very nice card-stock, are a good size, and are not too large for easy shuffling.  The colors of the artwork are very pleasing to the eye and also add to the healing quality of the entire card system.  The back of the cards is a beautiful mix of cooling blues and sea-foam green.  I found the cards visually appealing and calming. I loved the box, with its magnetic flap and cutout to hold the cards, with just enough room for the guidebook to fit easily inside.

This card set is probably best for someone who has some experience working with tarot or oracle cards and is comfortable working with different spreads.  I really love all of the questions that Kliegel utilizes in each of the spreads.  He also has a few simple meditations that one can use to get into a good space for doing work with this deck.  Here is one example:

To go back and create space for the whole, close your eyes for a moment and get into the flow with the practice of the four breaths:
– Root yourself in the earth with magma splashing.
– Open your imaginary sunroof for the universal light beam 
– Feel the bubble bath of light around your roots in the magma
– Let the flames blaze high10

I really enjoyed working with the Body Healing Cards and look forward to more adventures.  You can always use it for a quick reading (a three-card spread would also work very well) and refer to the guidebook as needed. This card set would be great for a massage therapist or any type of body worker to accent client sessions. I am also inspired to reflect more on the interconnectedness of my body and its many organs, which work in concert for my good health.

Crystal Oversoul Cards, by Michael Eastwood

Crystal Oversoul Cards: Attunements for Lightworkers, by Michael Eastwood
Findhorn Press, 1644111764, 66 cards, 224 pages, November 2020

I was drawn to the Crystal Oversoul Cards: Attunements for Lightworkers by Michael Eastwood because of the intricate geometric crystal designs on the cards. I thought this deck might help me connect with the sacred geometry within different crystals, hence changing my state of consciousness in meditation. While these cards have shown to be useful for attuning to different perceptions, overall they are quite different than I expected in both positive and negative ways.

First of all, the cards are very big and bulky in my hand. Unfortunately the large size of the cards seems to have detracted from the crystal images on the card. They don’t appear to have enough pixels for the amount of space they take up on the card, similar to if you’ve ever tried to make a photograph bigger and all it does is lose the quality and look stretched out. The only redeeming quality is that the box is nicely designed; it has a magnetic strip along the side, allowing for easy opening and closing, that keeps the box securely shut when being stored.

I also think I underestimated just how New Age these cards would be as an oracle deck. I’m a big fan of working with crystal energy, and I can be receptive to ideas about Lemuria and Atlantis. However, my first impression was that this deck pushed it a bit too far and was very untethered in its approach to attuning to these crystals energies. The whole deck requires knowledge of working with additional chakras beyond the traditional seven: the eighth chakra, the ninth chakra, and the Earth Star chakra. I wasn’t familiar with this, nor could I find much information on them. Leery of channeled information, I will admit I approached this deck with a bit of skepticism.

Eastwood has previously published two card and book sets, Crystal Oversoul Attunements and Crystal Oversoul New Earth Attunements, which he combined to make this deck. An Oversoul is described as “the collective soul or matter all individual crystals in their field will identify and communicate with.”1 I take this to be almost like a common soul of the crystal, which people can communicate with. According to Eastwood, in the past humanity had a closer connection to the Crystal Oversouls, but they still can play a role in our evolution to new levels of consciousness and spiritual awareness. He compares the Crystal Oversouls to mandalas or templates, writing:

“Their visual manifestation as mandalas serves as a clear purpose and the intricate, never ending and overlapping patterns within each temple mirror the differences and uniqueness. Every fine detail stimulates our consciousness to remember specific aspects of our vastness; to reconnect with the awareness of our being part of a greater unfolding, of our divine self.”2

After sharing his own experience of working with crystals and describing how co-creating with them can be a spiritual path, Eastwood moves into teaching the deck user about attunements. I finally became more comfortable with his concept of an Oversoul because he also discusses how the crystal is overseen by a Deva, which I have read much more about and am already familiar with. This made the leap into understanding the Oversoul not quite as far as I had felt it was before. He writes, “When we direct our healing or intent through a crystal, it is amplifying back the consciousness of an Oversoul and Deva directly into our aura.”3 This provided me with a more grounded understanding as proceeded with my first attunement.

Another surprising thing I discovered, which made me more confident in getting started with this deck, is that Eastwood recorded meditations for cards 45-66 because they are especially important energies for the awakening of humanity. There is a link to download them through Inner Traditions website. Hearing Eastwood’s voice was soothing, and it helped me to feel more connected to the cards than when I read the description in the guidebook. I honestly wish he had done the meditation for all the cards and not just these final ones in the deck.

At last, I decided to do a supportive attunement, intending to learn from the image and information. I chose the card Petalite. This card spoke to experiences I was having at the time, including desiring to integrate both intellect and intuition, as well as cleanse my energetic field to release outdated patterns and limiting beliefs. It felt particularly apt for the timing of the pull too because it was during a waning moon phase, which is the time frame this card corresponds with. I spent time holding the card to my chest, envisioning the energy of Petalite merging with my own. This was when I started to feel a sense of reciprocity with the Crystal Oversouls. As I opened myself to their energy, I did indeed start to feel new levels of relaxation, awareness, and wisdom emerge from within.

I realized I had misjudged this deck. My first hasty pull upon receiving it has been hoping for an immediate answer, which the guidebook does not provide. Eastwood offers an attunement for the deck user to open up to the crystal’s energy in their own life. The essence of this deck is engaging in one’s own energy work to facilitate this relationship with the Crystal Oversouls. One will get out of this deck the energy that they put into it.

While this might not be a deck I pull from every day, I feel reassured knowing I can call on the Crystal Oversouls in my spiritual journey as allies. It is interesting to connect with the crystals energetically, merging my auric field with their Oversoul, rather than just touching my crystals or meditating with them physically. There is a subtle dimension of consciousness at work here, and the cards do a wonderful job of facilitating this relationship even without the crystals themselves being in my physical presence.

Therefore, I highly recommend Crystal Oversoul Cards for energy workers who are looking to enhance their connection with the crystal realm. Whether or not one wishes to make the connections to the distant past, such as the time of Lemuria or Atlantis, there is still a great benefit for the future in reuniting with the wisdom of the Crystal Oversouls. Yes, to use this deck requires tapping in beyond the ordinary senses and opening up to new perceptions and ideas, such as the additional chakras, but energetically it will be impactful

Cell Level Meditation, by Barry Grundland and Patricia Kay

Cell Level Meditation: The Healing Power in the Smallest Unit of Life, by Barry Grundland, MD and Patricia Kay, MA
Findhorn Press, 9781644112243, 176 pages, March 2021

… Dr. Barry Grundland was a psychiatrist whose specialty area might have been called psychoneuroimmunology. This is a big word that basically means min-body healing.  The mind, including our thoughts, emotions and attitudes affects the body, and in turn the body affects our minds, thoughts, emotions and attitudes. For over 50 years, Barry worked with people as a true healer –one who helps others come to Wholeness, or a sense of being who they really are…1

Cell Level Meditation: The Healing Power in the Smallest Unit of Life by Barry Grundland, MD and Patricia Kay, MA provides the reader with a broad perspective of the wonders and amazing capabilities of the wisdom of our bodies to heal. The quote above may not be innovative in our current society that is flooded with self-help tools, self-awareness training and contemplative practices of all manner, but the quintessential intention held in this statement about the co-author Dr. Grundland speaks to the simplicity of the book itself and acknowledgment of our capacity to thrive, heal and remain in a state of well-being simply by engaging the healing nature of our bodies in the process. 

“Cell Level Meditation” is a term crafted by Dr. Grundland to describe the power-and simplicity of establishing dialogue with the body at the cellular level and programming those related cells to function in a specific way. Co-author Patricia Kay speaks to the inherent directive and energy of the cell….

… The Cell is a real thing in the material world., and it is a metaphor as well, since it carries a basic “pattern” of organization you can find in every level of Life. The cell has a nuclei for example, which is a central area where you can find very basic information, that is very precise instructions for how things work; this information is inscribed on strands of tightly coiled threads called DNA…2

Kay further sets the tone for what follows and how the reader will be using the cell as a tool for healing:

… For our purposes, at the “level of the cell” we engage the workings going on there at different levels and states of awareness, which we can find with concentration, focus and participation through breath…3

Cell Level Meditation is separated into twenty chapters and makes use of poetry and quotations throughout the book. In general, there is a very poetic tone running through the information provided, which serves to engage the reader at all levels of being and all levels of understanding of neurobiological studies. 

The Introduction lays the groundwork for what follows in the subsequent chapters:

Cell Level Meditation is a vehicle for finding our way “home”.  We take the breath to our cells, offering them our deepest desire to be happy and healthy and strong.  In some way, they hear us and respond…This meditative form is a gift that helps the mind and the body come into healing, which in turn, helps us be ourselves in fullness…4

One of the things I appreciated about Cell Level Meditation is the way in which the reader is enveloped in the intention, whether overtly or subtly in the writings, with a gift of opening to the experience of meditation as a healing soured, as well as greater knowledge of the physical aspects of our being that are co-creators in that healing. 

Chapters one to five act as a primer for the reader and offer tools, exercises and insight into the art of Meditation and its use at a cellular level (chapter one and two), mind (chapter three), body (chapter four) and breath (chapter six). This information in and of its self is valuable in delving deeper into the “whys” of the contemplative arts, whether directed towards cell level use or general mindfulness

There is a specific and supportive rhythm that flows through the teachings of Cell Level Meditation. Each of the remaining chapters expands on these basics and moves through the process of this meditation in a style that is user friendly and allows for time to process and digest what has come previously. Moving through the book, the information has a wonderful way of capturing the mystical in the scientific and the scientific in the mystical. 

Chapter 19, “Conditioned Habits”, is one that calls the reader to awareness of their body’s (cells) wisdom and inherent dialogue (if we train ourselves to listen); and, the acknowledgement that we are all “programmed” (conditioned) towards certain habitual behaviors.  The previous chapters have established the importance of breath as a vehicle of movement and enlivenment, and the practice of breath focused meditation to further awaken the cells and enable these changes and shifts towards a more balanced state. The reader is reminded that this desire and action towards change often brings about chaos, a term used widely in the scientific community denoting the precipice of change or shift from one state of being to another, a naturally occurring evolutionary process found throughout nature….

… Rather than being too worried about being at the edge of chaos”, you are now empowered to stay present with your experience… Even in chaos, you have the breath. You are going into Unknown Territory, but with your intention and hope and the breath. The rest … comes from a higher place. … By working with the edges of our conditioned habits with awareness, willingness to stay present for what is actually going on as sensations in the body, even stuck patterns are called to a higher level when there is a ripe moment…5

These are merely highlights of this book. It is difficult to capture an “experience” in the writing of a review. I believe, however, that the authors have done just that, and more. Additionally, the publisher Findhorn Press was aptly suited for this title. Having reviewed several of their titles now, there is most definitely a theme and level of quality in the work of their authors that provides representation from the scientific/academic community as well as the more esoterically inclined. The overall themes are those of wholeness and collaboration at the levels of the environment, the planet and most importantly those beings who remain as stewards of themselves and their surroundings.

Cell Level Meditation takes the reader into a journey of the microcosmic nature of our self and the profound power of healing and wholeness contained in the singular component of our physical make-up – the cell. And, from that place of the cell the potential for what can be brought back into the macrocosm is limitless.