The Stargazer’s Embassy by Eleanor Lerman- REVIEW ***A Must Read!!

I received an Advanced Reader Copy of The Stargazer’s Embassy by Eleanor Lerman from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Stargazer’s Embassy is unlike any alien novel written before. Thought provoking and addictive, this is a must read and should be on everyone’s e-reader and book shelf. Judging by the title, what appears to be a quirky cosmic sci-fi novel is actually a rich metaphysical novel that ponders some important existential questions. What really happens after death? What are aliens’ intentions? Can we ever truly escape our past?

The story follows a woman named Julia who finds herself part of an alien conspiracy and wants no part of it. She’s a house-cleaner who is trying to move on from her new-agey childhood and mommy issues. All she has is a tattoo, and a place called The Stargazer’s Embassy, where people come and go, like life itself. We find her at various points in her life struggling with this issue, and trying to make a life for herself. Along the way we are introduced to some interesting characters who find themselves implicated in the very same alien problems she’s trying to escape from.

Julia’s defiance of involving herself in this haunting issue is what makes this a stand out novel. We don’t see Julia enthusiastically throwing herself into the unknown. We see a truly scared, annoyed, and assertive character who becomes the anti-hero. There is a will she or won’t she anticipation that hooks the reader and offers a certain emotional and psychological realism. There are plenty of alien encounters in the novel to satisfy traditional science fiction lovers, but it takes it a step further by offering a multitude of spiritual questions. It is because of this, that The Stargazer’s Embassy becomes an exploration of the meaning of life.

Suffering from emotional abandonment issues, the aliens become a metaphor for Julia’s strange childhood. In essence, she herself is an alien- trying to create a life for herself that she’s never known. Losing her mother with many unanswered questions, Julia hopes her encounters with the aliens, or “things” as she likes to call them, will provide her with the answers she needs. The aliens themselves are not exactly sure what they’re looking for and this in turn becomes a mirror for Julia and other “experiencers” encounters. If we all had the chance to travel throughout the cosmos like the aliens- would any of our questions be answered, or would we be even more confused? Julia spends most of her life searching for answers, but it is the very place she is running away from that provides her with the comfort she seeks- The Stargazer’s Embassy. The aliens have just as many questions as Julia and her friends do, but appreciating life for the journey it is, is all that counts in the end. Everything has a beginning and an end, so rather than spend lifetimes dissecting what it all means, it is important to treasure every waking moment, because it is those moments that stitch the fabric of our lives. There are two things we must do in our lifetime, be born and die. Everything in between is alien compared to the certainty of those two things.

I appreciated the humour associated with the aliens and their un-friendly demeanors. Once again they did not come across as stereotypical menacing superior beings, but relatable drifters who seemed genuinely lost. The story was perfectly paced and the first person narrative was a great way to keep the reader invested in Julia’s journey.

In essence, each of us have our own Stargazer’s Embassy- a place, either imagined or real where we are able to go to find comfort and peace- knowing that the answers we seek, are in fact seeking us. The Stargazer’s Embassy is a place where people- human and inhuman come and go, like life itself.

*A big thank you to Sarah Miniaci at Smith Publicity Inc. for being kind enough to send me a paperback copy to review. You’re friendly correspondence and enthusiasm for this book has me looking forward to reviewing other Smith Publicity Inc. books!

The Witching Hour by Silver RavenWolf- REVIEW

A compendium for the modern day witch which includes spells, powders, and formulas for a variety of needs, wants, and wishes. What is unique about this book compared to other grimoires is that it contains plenty of information on how to prepare yourself for magic. This is the most important part of spellwork which Ms. RavenWolf makes obvious in this book as she spends a great deal of time providing tips on how to do this. Many tips on how to energetically prepare yourself are included such as breathing, posture, and visualization techniques. All of these methods will greatly enhance your magical practices along with choosing the right ingredients and tools which comprises most of the book. Step by step instructions on how much powder, oil, and herbs should be used makes this book extremely useful whether you are a beginner or more advanced witch. Where and when to perform magic, how and where to store your items is also included making this book a magical textbook. Incorporating the elements and planets into spells is also discussed along with fluid condensers which was unique and compelling and should be incorporated into magical practices more often. There is a plethora of information contained within this book that is a must read for anyone who uses magic. No review can do this book justice as you need to pick it up right now and watch your magical practices greatly improve. The Witching Hour begins when you get your hands on this handy dandy grimoire.

Crystal Magic by Sandra Kynes- REVIEW

A must read for anyone who uses and or is interested in crystals- whether you are a lapidary or witch- you will find this book to be both grimoire and text book. Crystal Magic is one of the best books I have read about crystals. Most books on this topic simply name crystals and their properties but this book took it a step further. The first part of the book is about the History and Science of crystals which is absolutely needed if you are going to be working with them. It is fascinating learning about crystals and gemstones in antiquity whether it was in astrology, divination, or medicinal uses. Learning about crystals from a scientific perspective such as their mineral compositions, their crystalline structures, and their formations provides a wealth of information about crystals that help you understand their magical properties even more. This section was not overly scientific, so if you are not a sciencey person, you have nothing to fear about this part of this book. This was extremely useful as we can sometimes forget that at the end of the day, crystals come from the earth. Tips on how to spot fake stones was also very helpful as we want to ensure that we are not simply relying on the placebo effect and that we aren’t supporting fraudulent distributors. I thought the chapter on crystals grids that are based on the crystalline structures of the crystals to be ingenious as I have never come across information about that before. The Compendium of Stones was one of the best I have seen as it also included the history of stones as many books opt not to include that in their descriptions. Two reference guides are also included at the back of the book that list the magical correspondences for the crystals such as ruling deities and planets. Once again this was very helpful. Whether you are a beginner or more advanced crystal practitioner, this book creates a solid foundation in understanding crystals from their historical and geological perspectives. Understanding crystals, gems, and minerals history and compositions creates a deeper and richer appreciation for these marvelous rocks. 

Crystal Prescriptions Volume 6 by Judy Hall- REVIEW

This book explored the use of crystals for karmic healing, soul reintegration, and ancestral clearing. Reading about alternative uses for crystals as opposed to the standard applications was a breath of fresh air. Each chapter contained an overview of what the crystals should be used for ie; karmic healing. This was helpful as it was explained in very straightforward ways that makes it easy for the reader to comprehend. Each chapter contained a list of items needed to perform the rituals and step-by-step instructions on how to use the crystals was provided. I would have liked a description of the crystals used as opposed to simply naming them. There was not enough information about the crystal properties and why certain crystals were preferred over others. This may be due to the fact that this book is not for beginners and those who are new to crystals, but it still would have been helpful to at least list the properties of the crystals- as I do believe some of them are harder to find. I also think there should have been more warnings and precautions mentioned throughout the book as anytime you delve deep within yourself for healing, there is always the risk of fracturing your psyche or shattering your emotional body.

Overall I do think this book was groundbreaking as there is not enough discussion on how crystals can aid very deep spiritual work.

Womb Awakening by Azra Bertrand & Seren Bertrand- REVIEW

An exploration of the divine feminine, an intricate look at the hidden feminine/womb symbology throughout cultures, times, and places, and the explanation of the womb as a spiritual gateway- this book was groundbreaking on a number of levels. As someone who has recently become very interested in the divine feminine, I have been on the hunt for a book like Womb Awakening for quite some time. This book will shock you, awaken you, and inspire you to open yourself up to feminine consciousness. Feminine consciousness is described in the book as a metaphor for cosmic creation. When we begin to honour the feminine and all that is encompasses such as mothering, nurturing, creativity, intimacy, and intuition, we can not only heal ourselves- but we have the opportunity to the heal humanity because the feminine boils down to LOVE. Since we all came from the Great Mother of the universe, we are all starseeds encoded with the feminine- we each have the power to create and to destroy.

The book went in a few different directions and proposed that the ills of the world can be attributed to the disconnection to the feminine- a soul loss. It’s not about being a woman or a man- feminine goes beyond that as we each have both within us. This book explores why there is a need to embrace the feminine cosmology again after thousands of years of patriarchy.

Rather than chapters, this book contains Spirals- which are sections of the book that explore the mysteries of the feminine deeper than what a chapter could. The spirals themselves will be explained later in the book as the original chakra system- a feminine spiral path that energy flows mirroring a cosmic portal. This supports one of the main tenets of womb consciousness which is that flow with life is the feminine mystery. There is a deep discussion of the Womb of God which explains womb consciousness. I would have preferred if that was at the beginning of the book prior to the long discussion of womb symbology. Throughout the book Womb Oracles were a creative way to eloquently express and digest the chapter it followed, and were channeled by the authors who journeyed deep into the feminine. This gave a great visual. A plethora of tips on how to connect to womb consciousness such as breathing techniques and posture poses were extremely helpful and reader friendly.

This book went places other books on the divine feminine did not. There were discussions on the cerebellum, the spiritual meanings of conception, gestation, and how the four elements are connected to birth, which was ingenious. The lunar consciousness discussion was unique, and I would have loved more information on that because there aren’t any books that have explored that from the angle of Womb Consciousness. The trickster archetype to explain the loss of the feminine was original along with the sacred feminine medicine wheel.

If I could sum up what Womb Consciousness is, this is what I would say:

-Womb is a place of sacred union- where we lose the “I’ and become one with source

-Womb as a stargate, a resevoir of cosmic knowledge

-Alchemical abilities of the womb- becoming a sacred form of chemistry

-Womb is an archive of trauma and deep emotions

I have never read a book that had so much passion and love poured into its pages. You can really tell the authors have been affected greatly by womb consciousness and have evolved and opened up to the feminine. This is an encyclopedic source while at the same time a love letter and sensory exploration of the feminine that is compelling and inspiring. Womb Awakening is and will be a sacred encyclopedia for generations to come! The book itself is a womb that the reader will journey into, and every page will become a source of light.

The Oracles of Apollo by John Opsopaus- REVIEW

This book explores  Ancient Greek methods of divination- the Alphabet Oracle, and the Oracle of the Seven Sages. The author spends a considerable amount of time discussing the origins of divination and the underlying philosophical and mythological meanings behind these two systems. Both divinatory systems were engraved on ancient stone tablets which adds some historical proof to what is otherwise considered “magic.” The author does a wonderful job of differentiating the two systems as the Alphabet Oracle should be used for more practical everyday questions, while the Oracle of the Seven Sages is suited towards more spiritual questions. The author provides plenty of instructions on how to use both systems and the tools and or talismans that can be used, such as dice, dominoes, or stones. The Oracles of Apollo are not unique in that there is much hidden symbolism throughout much like the Tarot or Runes, but is unique in that the oracles are written with classical ambiguity- challenging the diviner to rely on their intuition more than the common meanings. Additional information such as the planetary correspondences and other symbology was provided to assist with understanding the basic meanings of the oracles. Rituals to mentally, emotionally, and spiritually prepare the user for the divination was also included, which I found added an additional mystical and ancient element to this way of fortunetelling. I in fact am in the process of creating my own Alphabet Oracle using the tips that were included in this book. The author highly encourages the reader to create their own system using these oracles as a foundation. There are not any Greek Oracle divination systems on the market as far as I know, which is why this book is quite user-friendly.

The Oracles of Apollo will not only change the way you view divination, but it will also add a hermetic layer to understanding the Ancient Greek culture. While we know that the Ancient gods and goddesses have become archetypal symbols- we often forget that the Ancients did not view them as simply symbols. They were real- and divination was real, as everyday life was filled with magic- and every question asked could be answered through mystical means. This is why I feel The Oracles of Apollo will help you to reconnect to your mystical roots and help you to tap into divine wisdom.

Crazy Little Spring Called Love- REVIEW

This anthology contained eight short stories centered around spring time love. Each story was whimsical, quirky, and romantic. Some stories were weaker than others, and some were highly developed enough to become their own stand alone books. Spring time is always a time of magic as flora bloom and fauna procreate. This served as the backdrop for all of the short stories. Whether it was a pagan love story, or a mermaid tale, or Greek gods falling in love- spring romance was definitely in the air. I appreciate Seton Hill University for helping to put this anthology together which featured some great writers and helped to showcase their emerging talents. As a lover of fantasy fiction, this book was a light and easy read that satisfied my mystical book thirst. This is the perfect book to enjoy on a lovely Spring day in the garden amongst the flowers and bees. There was just enough romance to satisfy romantic novel lovers and plenty of magic for fantasy connoisseurs. The stories were not too long and not too short and had many cliffhangers which I hope means a second volume is in the works! The season of Spring always serves as a reminder that anything is possible…….especially when love and magic are involved!