The Little Shop of Found Things by Paula Brackston: REVIEW

From the author of the The Witch’s Daughter comes a brand new time bending adventure story that will make you never look at antiques in the same way again.

Without giving away any spoilers, this story follows a Mother & Daughter duo as they attempt to rebuild their lives in rural England by opening up an antique shop. What follows is a magical silver piece with a sordid past , a violent ghost, ley lines, a good old-fashioned love story, English politics, and proper English gentleman.
The author’s use of descriptive language to evoke a charming English village and its previous centuries old history, not only transports the main character, but also transports the reader to another time and place.
The strong relationship between the main character Xanthe and her Mother Flora was a nice added break from stories about estranged parents and dysfunctional families. It’s what kept the reader anchored to the present but also floating to the 17th century sub plot as well. It is their mutual love that drives the story forward like an old-fashioned carriage, a little bumpy, but reliable nonetheless.
The supernatural aspect of the story was tasteful and effective as were the bits of romance. Readers will appreciate the female characters who were each strong in their own ways appropriate to their statuses. The main character Xanthe is a heroine, with her mud-stained cheesecloth rags she rescues an innocent young girl from her terrible fate, and in doing so, rescues a part of herself that she lost after enduring her own terrible fate prior to moving to Marlborough.
We see how this charming English village of Marlborough evolved into a more modern version of itself but still retained the same type of personalities even after hundreds of years. This made the story more believable, as the past and present are always interacting with each other and it is those long forgotten items and discarded antiques that are some of the greatest witnesses of history. If we started treating them as such, as opposed to a price tag, we would develop a greater appreciation for the present.

Be careful not to hold onto this book too tightly, for you might find yourself transported to 17th century England…oh and if you do, a minstrel is always a good disguise.

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Carl Llewellyn Weschcke By Melanie Marquis: REVIEW

I was super excited to have the opportunity to read and review an ARC of this book because I heard about it a few months ago and knew that I had to read it. As a long time reader and fan of Llewellyn, I desperately wanted to learn about their origins and marvelous history. I was also curious to learn more about the person behind the name and this book definitely did not disappoint. I was amazed at the depths of this book. It’s truly a biography of a publishing house and the wizard behind the curtain.

Weschcke was such an interesting character with an incredible back story. I could see bits of myself in him as I’m sure most Llewellyn fans could as well. We magical book-worms share many things in common, one of the main ones being the love of spiritual books!

Marquis does a brilliant job at delving deep into the life of Weschcke from his childhood, pharmaceutical background, his NAACP years, and his acquisition of the Llewellyn publishing house. It was interesting to read about the New Age in the 1960s and 1970s at its height and all of Weschcke’s other magical ventures. Marquis discusses his failures and shortcomings equally as she does his successes.

The passion for sharing occult information with the world is evident in this biography and brings a human element to what has become the number one publishing house of the mind, body, spirit genre. The family like feel of this company was evident from the very beginning as was its mission to educate and celebrate the New Age. The attributes I associate with Llewellyn today such as quality and expertise have their origins with Weschcke and all of the trailblazers who have been apart of the Llewellyn family from the start.

Each chapter takes a close look at the many different incarnations of Llewellyn that often responded to and inspired the need and desire for occult information over the decades. This was helmed by Carl Weschcke whose intuition and passion for education was the North Star of this company.

Readers will appreciate the quotes from many Llewellyn authors and staff, as well as the intimate look at Carl Weschcke the grandson, son, husband, father, and boss.

Llewellyn is so much more than a publishing house. It is a relic with a history as constellated as the starry skies, and a founder as magical as its books.

 

You Are Magical by Tess Whitehurst: REVIEW

Tess Whitehurst has become quite the celebrated author in the New Age world. I mean who hasn’t read her first book Magical Housekeeping, or turned to Magic of Flowers come gardening season? I know I have, and when I heard that Tess was publishing a new book, I knew had to get my hands on it.

You Are Magical takes all of the new agey information out there and brings it back down to the basics……you. It’s a Me, Myself, & Magic book where you come to understand that YOU are the source of magic. It doesn’t always have to be about tarot cards and crystals (although these are both discussed in this book) but we have reached a point in the spiritual communities where WE don’t really seem to matter anymore. It’s become about the latest pretty deck and Mercury Retrograde cycle more than it is about our own role to play in it.

You Are Magical reminds you that your magical power lies within. The book begins with a heartfelt preface that sets the mood for the entire book. Tess describes magic as an inherent feeling, that special something that we all possess, but have been conditioned to forget. The following chapters delve deeper into this, teaching you how to reconnect with that sacred part of yourself. Reconnecting allows you to live a life of wonder and purpose creating an incredible self awareness that empowers you to live life on your own terms.

Each chapter contains assignments to help you develop this self- awareness. Some are as simple as sitting in nature and noticing how it makes you feel, while others are more complex such as pondering why you are drawn to certain objects. The assignments in this book might seem easy at first but these are important first steps that everyone, no matter where they are on their spiritual journey, should do. This book will help you to take responsibility for your spiritual practice as opposed to partaking in quick fix witchy schemes. You will learn about ego desires versus authentic desires, societal conditioning, and how to personalize your craft. The end of the book contains a series of spells that will put to the test all of your previous assignments in this book. The quality and success of your spell work is largely dependent on the health of your magic-are you disconnected from the universe, or are you anchored in your own power? This book will help you answer those questions and more.

You Are Magical weaves luminous threads of authenticity, inspiration, and self empowerment throughout leaving you with a deeper sense of who you are…and I couldn’t think of anything more magical than that.

31 Day Blog Challenge- Day 4: My Earliest Magical Memory

I’m participating in the 31 Day Blog Challenge. I was inspired to participate in this challenge by my friend – handmade gemstone jewelry designer Mixed Elementals. Check out her beautiful pieces here.

If you would like to participate in this challenge, check out the 31 day prompts at the bottom of this blog and don’t forget to tag it using the hashtag #31dayblogchallenge.

Check out my previous posts in this challenge by clicking on the ‘Miscellaneous’ Tab on the homepage of this blog.

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My earliest magical memory was visiting a new age shop called ‘Odyssey Books & Resource Centre.’ It was a local shop that my Mom had frequented looking for Astrology & health books. When I was around 8 she took me to the shop for the very first time and I have been visiting it ever since.

It was at that time that the first Harry Potter film was released and I was a huge fan! Going to ‘Odyssey’ was like stepping into Diagon Alley. The shop itself is in a Germanic inspired courtyard which is also home to a dance studio, an icecream shop, a German restaurant, a dress shop, and fur shop, & so much more. There is a purple and gold celestial banner outside and you can smell floral musky incense wafting outside into the parking lot. It’s the store’s signature scent that has sunk into the pages of its books and attaches itself to your clothing, intoxicating everyone who comes in.  Here’s a picture of it down below.

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Stepping inside made me feel like I was in the world of Harry Potter. The walls were lined with tall bookshelves packed full of all sorts of obscure titles that would feed any new ager’s soul. Every square inch of this store had something to see and touch. Crystals, incense, candles, jewelry, trinkets, odds & ends, wands, statues…….all that was missing was Mr. Ollivander himself. Over the years many customers have complained that the store is cluttered, but I feel it adds to the authentic aesthetic it has going on. There’s so much to see that you can only tackle one section at one time.

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During my first visit to this shop I purchased a white stuffed bunny wearing a celestial garb and pointed hat. I named him Merlin and I had him for years. He was a much complimented fixture in my starry themed bedroom. I remember leaving the store after my visit feeling awe inspired and a bit more magical.

Although there have been a number of new age shops that have opened in the area, including one I briefly worked at, Odyssey has always been my favourite and go to for crystals and books. Last year they celebrated their 20th anniversary and I am hopeful that they will be around for another 20!

I never get tired of visiting this shop. There is always an excitement that precedes my visit and an even more excited feeling that succeeds it when I leave with my little purple bag full of all sorts of goodies. Their items have helped me along in my spiritual journey, and if it wasn’t for their books and crystals, I am not sure what and where I would be?

I have been shopping at the Odyssey for 17 years, and what a magical 17 years it has been.

Blessed Be!

 

An Ammonite Spring Rite

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Ammonites are fossils of the extinct Ammonoidea which are believed to have existed 400 million years ago. Modern day species include the nautilus, squid, cuttlefish, and octopus.

The name Ammonite is derived from the ancient Egyptian god Ammon. Ammon is depicted as having the head of a ram with twisted spiral horns that look like the spiral shaped Ammonites. Pliny the Elder, the Roman historian, described Ammonites as the holiest stones in Ancient Ethiopia because they were believed to bring prophetic dreams and assist with past life recall.

Fossils can assist us with transitioning from the old to the new, dusting away all that no longer serves us and embracing the new energies of the Spring season. Ammonites are in the shape of a spiral which holds very special meaning in sacred geometry. The coiled shape represents the cycle of death and rebirth which we see during the Spring Equinox. Following its coiled shape takes you on a journey to the centre of your heart. Many shamans believe that if an Ammonite were to be uncoiled, it would look like a ladder. This is why Ammonite it also called the “ladder of heaven.” The journey to the centre of the heart can also be seen with the full colour spectrum that the Ammonite contains (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet). This mirrors the colours of the seven main chakras which, when in harmony, fill the heart up with love.

The Spring Equinox sees us welcoming the ingress of Aries season whose core lesson is to inspire self-love within us. There is always the risk with Aries energy to focus on the external more than the internal which is why anyone with strong Aries energies in their horoscope, tends to struggle with relationships. Working with Ammonite will help you to open up all seven chakras which will initiate yourself to the fresh cosmic energies coming through during Spring.

If you would like to make the most of the Spring Equinox energies, grab yourself a piece of Ammonite and meditate on the image of the sacred spiral. What do you see? Where will it take you? Imagine yourself going on a spiral journey to your heart centre. Feel the negativity filter through its spirals and be released as love.

Featured Image: sarahsmilescreations

Spring Equinox: The Venus Cure

Babylonian Origin- Ostara- Goddess of Spring
The Ostara story comes from the Sumerian legend of Tammuz and his wife Inanna (Ishtar), from an epic myth called “The Descent of Inanna” found inscribed on cuneiform clay tablets dating back to 2100 BC. When Tammuz dies, Ishtar is grief–stricken and follows him to the underworld. In the underworld, she enters through seven gates, and her worldly attire is removed. “Naked and bowed low” she is judged, killed, and then hung on display. In her absence, the earth loses its fertility, crops cease to grow and animals stop reproducing. Unless something is done, all life on earth will end.

After Inanna has been missing for three days her assistant goes to other gods for help. Finally one of them Enki, creates two creatures who carry the plant of life and water of life down to the Underworld, sprinkling them on Inanna and Tammuz, resurrecting them, and giving them the power to return to the earth as the light of the sun for six months. After the six months are up, Tammuz returns to the underworld of the dead, remaining there for another six months, and Inanna pursues him, prompting the water god to rescue them both. Thus were the cycles of winter death and spring life.

The Sumerian goddess Inanna is known outside of Mesopotamia by her Babylonian name, “Ishtar”. In ancient Canaan Ishtar is known as Astarte, and her counterparts in the Greek and Roman pantheons are known as Aphrodite and Venus. In the 4th Century, when Christians identified the exact site in Jerusalem where the empty tomb of Jesus had been located, they selected the spot where a temple of Aphrodite (Astarte/Ishtar/Inanna) stood. The temple was torn down and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre was built, the holiest church in the Christian world.

The story of Inanna and Tammuz is just one of a number of accounts of dying and rising gods that represent the cycle of the seasons and the stars. For example, the resurrection of Egyptian Horus; the story of Mithras, who was worshipped at Springtime; and the tale of Dionysus, resurrected by his grandmother. Among these stories are prevailing themes of fertility, conception, renewal, descent into darkness, and the triumph of light over darkness or good over evil.

Celebrated at Spring Equinox on March 21, Ostara marks the day when light is equal to darkness, and will continue to grow.

According to Jacob Grimm’s version, the idea of resurrection was ingrained within the celebration of Ostara: “Ostara, Eástre seems therefore to have been the divinity of the radiant dawn, of upspringing light, a spectacle that brings joy and blessing, whose meaning could be easily adapted by the resurrection-day of the Christian’s God.”
The Germans personified this growing light of Spring by creating the Goddess of Spring Ostara which in ancient Germanic languages means- Goddess of Growing Light. They adopted her from the Babylonian Goddess Innana.

The Astrology of the Spring Equinox
Equinox means equal night because on this day we have equal day light and equal darkness. It is a time of balance and harmony. The conditions are perfectly equal, creating a fertile energetic frequency.

The Spring Equinox occurs on a different date each year but it must occur during the first Decan of Aries, or the first 3 degrees of Aries which is from March 20-22nd.

Aries- soul forging through into new life- recalibrating, refreshing, initiating, creating something new, energetic, fiery.

The Spring Equinox marks the official start of the Cosmic New Year. This is when we enter into a new energetic cycle until the next Spring Equinox. This new cycle is the optimal time to give birth to something new, hence Spring is associated with nature coming back to life. So technically, January and February are still under the influence of last year’s energies. Progress will start to be made after this time.

Venus and the Spring Equinox
As I discussed earlier, Inanna was the original goddess of Spring, who later became known as Aphrodite to the Greeks, and Venus by the Romans, and Ostara to the Germanic peoples.

Venus holds very special significance to the Spring Equinox for the following reasons:
1. Venus is a very hot planet- heat creates new life, and remember, Aries is a fire sign that marks the start of Spring.
2. Venus in Astrology represents love, values, beauty, life, fertility, luxury, flowers, food, the arts, nature, self-love and the feminine.
3. Every account of Ostara, going back to Innana describes her as a beautiful young goddess who is the patron goddess of the above mentioned things. Ostara in all mythologies is described as a young maiden who collects water from flowing brooks, is wearing a sheer white dress and is covered in flowers, and is holding a set of keys. Venus is a planet that rules water, the colour white, and flowers. Holding a set of keys implies that she is the key to life. Thus the Spring Equinox is a celebration of the feminine because she is a creatrix.
If we go back to the Winter Solstice, a seed of frequency was created at that time that was encoded with our blueprint for the coming year. At Imbolc- February 3rd, that seed becomes conceived and the gestation period begins at the Spring Equinox and that seed/frequency will be released at the Winter Solstice 9 months later. This is why the Spring Equinox is a celebration of the divine feminine. Remember, the Spring Equinox has equal light and darkness making the conditions fertile so life can be created. Think back to December. What did you experience back then? What themes were you dealing with? The omens, signs, and symbols at that time were giving you clues as to what the upcoming year has in store for you. Also pay attention to any signs and symbols at the Spring Equinox.

Where does the Bunny symbol come from?
There are a few different beliefs as to where the Bunny Rabbit symbol originated:
1. It is believed the rabbits are creatures of the underworld because they live underground. In the Myth of Inana, when she returns to Earth, she is carrying a rabbit with her.
2. In Germanic paganism, Ostara rescued a bird that had broken its wing. She decided to transform the bird into a rabbit so it no longer needed wings.
3. Hares don’t live underground which is why they would be one of the first animals you see when the weather starts warming up. This was later changed to Rabbits, as they were believed to be more appealing than a wild rabbit (hare).
4. Modern paganism believes that the Spring Equinoc is a fertility ritual and since rabbits spend most of their time procreating, they are a symbol of fertility.

Where does the Dyed Easter Egg come from?
1. Babylonian myth- Inanna fell from heaven to the Euphrates in an egg and hatched.
2. The egg is representative of Jesus’s tomb, hence why the Christians adopted it. Remember that the Church of the Holy Sepulchre which is the supposed site of Jesus’ tomb was built upon a former Temple of Venus.
3. Eggs are typically white which is the colour of Venus, and the yolk is round and yellow like the Sun. Remember, the Spring Equinox occurs when the Sun enters Aries, and the Sun is strongest in the sign of Aries.
4. March/April are the peak time of year for Chicken to lay eggs, which were a vital source of protein for the ancients.
5. In almost every culture in the world there is a story about Earth being born from a Cosmic Egg.

Where does the Hot Cross Bun come from?
In the 12th Century a monk baked the buns with a symbol of a cross on them to mark the upcoming Easter holiday. However, there is more to it than that.
Cross Glyph- representing the intersection of matter and earth.
Now if we look at the symbol for Venus, it is a cross with a circle on top of it. The circle in Astrology represents the Sun. So we have the Sun, representing consciousness above the cross, which is Earth. So the Venus symbol represents ascension, consciousness, rebirth, and enlightenment. The Church being a patriarchal institution, removed all obvious divine feminine symbolism, thus the cross became the symbol for Christ, and not the Venus symbol. Venus at its core represents self-love. The Church knew this which is why they wanted to disguise the Venusian symbolism. Christianity became a religion for suffering and martyrdom and not self-love.
Venus also rules carbohydrates and sweet foods, so eating a hot cross bun at Easter is a way of honouring Venus.

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Easter
The Christians incorporated many Pagan traditions and called it their own. Easter is their most sacred holiday as it celebrates the death and resurrection of Christ. Remember, when Inanna went into the underworld, she was hung up on a cross to die just like Jesus. Once again the cross represents matter/earth and Jesus represents the Sun/light. If you look at a picture of Jesus’ crucifixion, he looks like the Venus symbol. His crown of thorns and halo represents the Sun. The Sun is on top of the Cross= Venus glyph

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Easter always falls on the first Full Moon after the Spring Equinox. This is because the Moon represents completion and rebirth and the divine feminine. The Moon rules over pregnancy and fertility in Astrology, and the Full Moon even looks like a pregnant woman’s belly. The Church knew this, which is why Jesus supposedly rose to heaven on this day. He was being reborn.
It’s on this first Full Moon after the Equinox that animals start procreating and frogs start spawning.
On a side note, when the three wiseman saw the Eastern star in the sky, signalling the birth of a King/Sun (Jesus), it was the East-Star, which is why the Christian’s named it Easter.

Conclusion

Goddess Spirituality allows us to get in touch with different parts of ourselves that we can use for self empowerment. Ostara is a goddess of life, love, beauty, sensuality, creativity, and so much more that we discussed today. The Spring Equinox is a time of creating life, and of awakening to our feminine nature. On this day, indulge yourself- that might mean taking a long hot bath, or eating something you really enjoy, or pampering yourself by getting your hair or nails done. The Spring Equinox is when the conditions are perfect for creation. When you feel good, you feel invincible, and this is what Ostara can help you with. Love yourself and the world is yours.

 

 

New Moon in Sagittarius: The Vision Quest Completed

Date: Monday December 18

Moonbeams: Visions Realized, Reality Checks, Burdens Lifted

The New Moon in Sagittarius is not going to feel like your classic New Moon. Saturn is exiting Sagittarius at the time we have this New Moon. Saturn is a dense slow moving energy so wherever he leaves, you will feel a great weight lifted off of your shoulders. You won’t necessarily experience new beginnings in the Sagittarius ruled area of your life, but you will reap the rewards of the restructuring that has been going on here during these past two years. We have an ending and a beginning happening simultaneously.

Sagittarius is a sign that is associated with our higher perspective, so expect the New Moon to give you that major reality check that has been in the works since 2016.

We will have the Sun, Moon, Mercury RX, and Venus in Sag, so the emphasis on your Sag ruled area/house will be forcing you to ponder the lessons you’ve learned here.

Reach for the stars and accept your reality for as it is. Your vision quest in Sagittarius has come to an end. Saturn in Capricorn will help you to collect your trophies and receive your medals of honour.

 

 

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!

Saturn in Capricorn December 21 2017-2020: Ain’t No Mountain High Enough!

Saturn is about to transition into the sign of Capricorn on December 21 and will remain there until 2020. Many have already been feeling this transition as Saturn- planet of karma is a very dense energy.  You will feel a lightness in the house where Saturn has been during the past 2.5 years. It will be as though a weight has been lifted off your shoulders. You will also have restructured that area of your life.

Saturn in Capricorn

Since Saturn is Capricorn’s ruler, Saturn will be comfy and cozy in this sign. He will be able to easily manifest and work his magic because his energies are very compatible with Capricorn. They both love structure, responsibility, hard work, and success.

The area of your life ruled by Capricorn will be undergoing many changes. Saturn in Sagittarius was about over hauling your belief system regarding the Sagittarius ruled area of your life. Saturn in Capricorn will now force you to act practically with this new found direction. Some questions you might want to ponder are:

What steps can I take to achieve my desired success?

What is the biggest responsibility I have to myself?

How do I need to mature?

What should I keep doing and what should I be stopping?

 

The Occult Sun

Saturn’s responsibility is to empower you to manifest the gifts of the house it rules. Many associate this planet with restrictions and limitations, but this only comes about when you resist its power of change. Restructuring things are always uncomfortable at first but the more you are able to surrender to it’s energies, the more successful you will be.

In ancient Astrology Saturn was known as the occult sun. This is because Saturn brings to light everything that is not working in specific areas of your life. It is a source of illumination. How can we improve our lives if we are not willing to confront the issues and problems that are hindering our progress?

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Put a Ring On It.

Saturn transits are always times of great awakenings. His rings bind you to the energies of the house he is moving through. This is why Saturn rules contracts and business alongside Capricorn. When the energies of the house have come full circle, he naturally moves on to the next area of your life. He is a slow moving planet that helps us focus on the present which allows us to make better decisions without taking unnecessary risks.

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Conclusion

View Saturn in Capricorn as your time to mature and evolve your Capricorn area of life. You will reach the top of Capricorn’s mountain as long as you remember that slow and steady wins the race. Please keep in mind that we are entering a universal 11/2 year which is all about awakening and authenticity. Saturn in Capricorn will help you to recommit to YOU.

 

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New Moon in Scorpio- November 18- The Thief in the Night

The New Moon in Scorpio will feel quite dense compared to other New Moons. We have 4 planets in Scorpio- Sun, Moon, Venus, & Jupiter. We can see that a heaviness is present that is dragging us deep into the archetype of Scorpio. Scorpio is the sign of transformation and deep healing. Where ever Scorpio falls in your chart, is the area that will see these themes coming into play.

Uranus will be aspecting the New Moon forcing you to remove the thief in the night that is consuming you. What is draining your energy? The Scorpio waters will be nourishing those parts of your life that need a break through.

Mars square Pluto- don’t be too aggressive in your dealings with others