365 Days of Crystal Magic by Sandra Kynes: REVIEW

365 Days of Crystal Magic takes you on a daily journey using crystals. Each day features a different ritual that uses crystals to invoke the energy of that particular day. Suggestions on how to use the stones to utilize their magical properties are included.

Astrology, Celtic Ogham, tree months, runic half months, ancient festivals, moon sabbats are also included.

Since different crystals are used each day, the author makes a point to not encourage the reader to purchase every single crystal mentioned. Rather, the book is written in such a way that encourages you to learn how to tap into the crystal for its different properties, and to also create your own rituals.

The rituals were simple and easy to follow and did not require many additional tools. I only wish that a brief explanation as to why certain rituals were chosen for specific days was included. Also, alternative crystals should have been included for each ritual.

This is a great “how to” book for anyone who wishes to enhance their crystal divination systems or for beginners. 365 Days of Crystal Magic will help you to familiarize yourself with many different crystals and their magical properties. A must read for any crystal lover!

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Futura: A Novella by Jordan Phillips- REVIEW

Futura follows the story of Ruby- an ex-pat living in 2050 Paris. Paris is under a dome to preserve its Nouveau Nouveau architecture, Invisibles (AI) are the framework for society and are the “blue collar’ workers. Humans have a Universal Basic Income so work is no longer a priority but just a means to pay for indulgences, genetically engineered babies are the norm as are air taxis and virtual reality experiences.

We follow Ruby as she yearns to have a baby- to create a human life that is the stark contrast of Paris- imperfect and unpredictable.  We can use Ruby’s journey in wanting to conceive as a protest against the perfection and the obsession to be authentic. In 2050 Paris where everything is acceptable and AI is the pillar of society- human emotions become the determining factor between what is real and what is fantasy. Every emotion is accepted and people are free to express them in public without judgement. As one of the characters in the book proclaims “it’s as though every human emotion is rewarded.”

Throughout the book Ruby explores what it means to live in the present- to be mindful. Human life becomes meaningless as every emotion and act is accepted as a human liberty. For Ruby, conceiving a baby is a natural process-not from a virtual source but from the purest source, LOVE, which is something that can not be dehumanized.

Futura ponders some important existential questions. If in our current society we are encouraging the expression of emotions and authenticity, what will our future look like? Will everything become accepted to the point that no morals and values will be considered? If everything is created artificially, does creation even exist?

A short but powerful read that will leave you feeling both unnerved and mindful.

 

 

 

The Body Heals Itself by Emily A. Francis: REVIEW

The Body Heals Itself looks at muscle memory from a metaphysical perspective. This book has a Louise Hay ring to it because she built her career on her books about the emotional body. This book takes it a step further by focusing in on our muscles- which is something Louise Hay did not.

A discussion on the biology of muscles was included to help readers understand their functions. From there, muscles as storehouses for memories was included using both biological and spiritual examples. The author’s main point was that when muscles are massaged and stretched- emotions are released. She gave examples of clients she worked with who were able to discuss and heal old wounds when their muscles were massaged and activated which helped to prove her point. Chakras and meridians were also described, which is pretty standard for these types of books.

By the far the most interesting and important part of the book was learning the emotional component of each muscle group which is directly linked to their functions. Stretching techniques were included, along with recommended crystals, and essential oils. The main thesis of the body healing itself comes through when by the end of the book we are reminded that muscles remember when they are healthy as does the body. Our body stores emotions in order for us to go within and release them. Healing can only occur when the body is an active participant.

Overall a fascinating read that will ultimately offer a deeper appreciation of something we take for granted- our muscles.

 

Sigil Witchery by Laura Tempest Zakroff: REVIEW

Sigil Witchery explores sigil magick all the way from the past such as heiroglyphics, up to the modern day present with graffitti. This book is different in that it does not show you how to make a traditional sigil using a kabbalah numbers grid. It would have been helpful to show how to make a traditional sigil rather than simply mention it and move on. The instructions on how to make a sigil were based on modern magick and witchy sovereignty. A discussion on why certain symbols were sacred to certain peoples were mentioned in many chapters which was a prelude to finding one’s own symbolic significance.

Personally, I wished a more methodical approach to sigil witchery was the focus of this book, as opposed to just making your own sigil without any specific system. There was a recurring theme of playing around with shapes and designs that does require a certain level of artistry in my opinion. Not only does this turn away a large audience, but for those looking for a more ritualistic and traditional approach to sigil magick, this book would not be satisfactory.

My advice to the author would be to devote some time to explaining traditional sigil magick in order to lay the proper foundation for readers.

 

The Faerie Handbook: REVIEW

The Faerie Handbook is an enchanting read that takes the reader on a fantastical journey through faerie lore. If the faerie kingdom were to make a manual for new initiates- this would be it! The book is divided in to four sections: Flora & Fauna, Fashion & Beauty, Arts & Culture, and Home, Food, & Entertaining. Chapters include where to find fairies, common inhabitants, fairy houses, craft ideas, fashion, recipes, fairy history and so much more!

Reading The Faerie Handbook felt like a sprinkling of periwinkle blue fairy dust on my head from an invisible winged friend. You can’t help but get pulled into this magical realm of a book, making you feel as though you yourself are a faerie. Reading the pages felt as if it were consecrated by some great fairy queen in a thicket of a luscious forest in the early days of Spring. The renderings and pictures are charming and romantic which gives off a vintage vibe that suits the antique look of this book.

What I particularly love about this book is that it doesn’t come across as juvenile or kitschy- quite the opposite in fact. There is a discussion of the more menacing and sinister sides of the Faerie world which are not widely known. There is also a lovely balance between vintage and modern references to Faeries- including some obscure mentioning’s such as Tasha Tudor and Katerina Plotnikova.

There is an abundance of folklore for those interested in the history of Faeries and cutesier aesthetic pleasing information for lovers of the ethereal lifestyle. Quotes and literature references to the Faerie world weave a gold-spun thread throughout the book, luring the reader deeper and deeper into its vast kingdom.

This handbook is a love letter to those who find themselves drifting between two worlds- the mystical flower kingdom and our mundane reality. There are books about witches and vampires, but there hasn’t been such a comprehensive collection of faerie facts and information compiled into one book before. If you are a fan of Faerie Magazine, think of The Faerie Handbook as the flower crown of fairy books. The book is written with both a whimsical and poetic flair that pulls the reader into its silver lined pages. As the ultimate fairy tale, this handbook is a must read and should be in every fairy lover’s collection.

A big thank you to Faerie Magazine, Carolyn Turgeon, and Lily Lopate at HarperCollins for providing me with an advanced reader copy to review.

The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman: REVIEW

The Rules of Magic revisits the Owens clan- not Sally and Gillian this time, rather the eccentric aunts- Fran & Jet. The story follows the aunts and their brother Vincent as teenagers who discover their magical lineage and all the perilous adventures they have as a result. The 1960s backdrop of the novel creates a kaleidoscope of magic that twists and turns as the story unfolds. It’s less hippy star-child, and more awakened thrill seeking. Growing up in a strict household, when Franny turns 17, she receives an invitation to spend the summer with her eccentric aunt in Massachusetts (in that glorious white house we remember from Practical Magic). The three head off and are initiated into magic-by making black soap at the full moon, collecting herbs for their neighbours woes, and scrying a black mirror that shows the future. Once again the home served as a sanctuary and respite from the children’s overbearing mother who forbade magic and falling in love. One day, their spunky cousin April comes for a visit who tells them all about their ancestor- Maria Owens- who was responsible for the Owens “love curse.” As we saw with Practical Magic the Owens tend to play a dangerous game of love vs fate. Franny is cautious, Jet is passionate, and Vincent is reckless. The story takes us from their magical awakening in Massachusetts, to their adult life running an Apothecary in NYC, and to their first meeting with Sally and Gillian. Along the way we find ourselves becoming entangled in their love affairs, grieving at funerals, and soothsaying what appears to be their fated futures. It’s hard not to become emotionally involved with these characters whose innocence, determination, and risk taking, tugs at your heart strings- at times making you cry and smile.

Readers and fans of the Owens story know, that death is a frequent visitor for the Owens and The Rules of Magic are no exception. Tempting fate and risking love are the common themes throughout this story- but we see so clearly how it is loss, heartbreak, and destiny that weaves the most powerful spell of all. Alice Hoffman’s most successful achievement with both Practical Magic and The Rules of Magic is that she makes us realize that magic is not about waving a wand or dancing naked under the full moon (partially clothed will suffice), rather magic is an inherent gift we each possess- we either live our lives defeated-surrendering complete control to kismet, or we actively co-create our realities through adding a heavy dose of love to everything that comes our way. Magic is what you make of it, and as we have learned from the Owens the only rule of magic, is that magic is boundless- we create our own rules through the choices we make. A pinch of salt, some lavender, and a black cat doesn’t hurt either.

Prepare to become spellbound when this grimoire of a book becomes available for purchase October 10, 2017.

The Magic of Nature: Guest Post by Molly Ringle- Author of ‘The Goblins of Bellwater’

I can’t seem to stay away from stories of magic for long. I write real-world stories sometimes too—what the book industry calls “contemporary” fiction—but before long I tend to come back to writing a story with a supernatural element. I’ve written about ghosts, Greek gods, and, most recently in The Goblins of Bellwater, goblins and other fae.

These types of folklore have always fascinated me, even though I’ve slept many nights in supposedly haunted buildings and have never seen a ghost, and have wandered along in the most enchanting of woods and never seen a faery, and (regretfully) have never met a Greek god either. (Rather than this being any comment on their actual existence, I think I’m just unobservant and too much in my own head most of the time!) Still, something about these entities feels real to me. That isn’t surprising: after all, these are the kinds of stories humans have been telling for millennia. Every culture around the world has its ghosts, fae folk, nature spirits, and divinities, many of whom may mingle and overlap with each other depending on the local belief system.

What makes these beings interesting to me, and also what makes them excellent material for stories, is that they aren’t always good or evil. They come in a variety of behaviors (like humans), and their culture and rules may not always make sense to us (again, let’s be honest: like humans!).

In The Goblins of Bellwater, I started with the inspiration of Christina Rossetti’s poem “Goblin Market,” which tells the tale of a young woman cursed by goblins, and her sister who sets out to undo the spell. The poem makes it clear that goblins are, indeed, almost totally malevolent in the Victorian world these sisters live in, or at least mischievous. Folklore tends to agree on this assessment. Goblins are usually described as rude, thieving, and fond of causing trouble, so that’s how I wrote them. But in keeping with the notion that there are many kinds of fae in the world, I also included more benign or even helpful varieties of fae living in the forests of Washington state (where I set my version of the story), to whom the two sisters might be able to turn for help.

In doing so, they need to show proper respect for the forest and the waters—in fact, for all four of the elements: fire, water, earth, and air. I enjoyed looking around at our beautiful natural landscape here in western Washington and deciding which parts of nature would be best represented by which elements, and then giving each some faery spirits to bring them further to life. Seal-like fae swim in Puget Sound in my story, air fae in the shape of hummingbirds and moths fly through the night skies, earth gnomes and glowing creepy-crawlies dig into the soil, and fireweed fae and little wildfire-dwelling dragons emerge from the flames. It’s easy to feel fear when encountering any of them, but if my characters have demonstrated their trust and love for the land, they should know they will remain safe. That is, if they can stay out of the clutching hands of those tricksy goblins!

As my characters are reminded, we modern humans with our mostly indoor lives can easily forget how much we depend on nature. But it’s not only important to remember, it’s healthy for us. Scientific studies have found that being out in the natural world has a restorative, soothing, uplifting effect on mental health. All you have to do is go be with the trees and the fresh air, appreciate them, and of course protect them so that we can all go on benefiting from them. Sounds a little like magic, don’t you think?

Molly Ringle

 

The Goblins of Bellwater by Molly Ringle will be available for purchase on October 1, 2017. Don’t forget to pick up your copy!

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