All posts by Nimue Brown

Druid, author, dreamer, folk enthusiast, parent, wife to the most amazing artist -Tom Brown. Drinker of coffee, maker of puddings. Exploring life as a Pagan, seeking good and meaningful ways to be, struggling with mental health issues and worried about many things.

Review: Double Whammy of Hands-On Magic

Parting the Mists

We are fast approaching Yule, and most witches and pagans that I know will undoubtedly appreciate one type of gift: a book. For those seeking some focused on hands-on magic, I’ve recently combed through a couple books on this subject.

Late this summer I picked up two titles from publisher Moon Books, Pagan Portals: Candle Magic and Pagan Portals: Poppets and Magical Dolls, both by author Lucya Starza. Both provide introductions to their respective subject, which was perfect for my purpose. As a priestess novitiate of the Daughters of the Sacred Grail, I lead a monthly group study of practical magic. Several of the ladies in our local hearth are fairly new to hands-on magical practice, so I was looking for a couple books to serve as touchstones for the study.

These books fit the bill almost perfectly.

First, Starza’s tone was approachable and unpretentious – I felt as…

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Review of Every Day Magic

Wendy Steele

I treated myself to Every Day Magic in paperback in early December with some of my birthday money.

Every Day Magic - A Pagan Book of Days: 366 Magical Ways To Observe The Cycle Of The Year by [Starza, Lucya]

Every Day Magic, A Pagan Book of Days, is a gem of a little book. On every page are treasures, ideas, recipes, meditations, spells and so much more. Whatever pantheon you follow, or even if you don’t follow one at all, you’ll enjoy exploring thoughts from other lands and belief systems.

I read this book from  cover to cover first but it’s an ideal book to dip into at Sabbats and Esbats or just because you feel like it.

A perfect book to bring a little magic into every day.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Every-Day-Magic-Magical-Observe/dp/1785355678/ref

https://www.amazon.com/Every-Day-Magic-Magical-Observe/dp/1785355678/ref

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The Shamanic Bear Who Was Troubled By Owls

sheila north

There once was an old bear who was a shaman for the creatures in the Cantley area of Doncaster. Though he was a powerful shaman – some said, the most powerful in all of the borough – one winter, he was plagued by owls.

Owls in his medicine bag. Owls on his prayer mat. Owls in his wardrobe. Owls in his hat.

That Solstice, he visited his great friend Rabbit, who lived in nearby Bessacarr. Rabbit was also a powerful shaman. Some said she was even more skilled than Bear. Certainly, even Bear agreed that she had a much better hedge and nest side manner than him, and she was frequently consulted by many of the animals in her area. However, some Bessacarr creatures were too posh to be seen consorting with a shaman. Consequently, Rabbit met them in the less swanky cafés and pubs in central Doncaster. Rabbit’s clients…

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BOOK REVIEW: MERLIN

contemplativeinquiry

Elen Sentier’s Merlin Once & Future Wizard is a marvel, highly recommended. The author effortlessly charms us into a fresh and extended understanding of Merlin, introducing us to a “huge, ancient, wise and powerful” being –  teacher, trickster and friend. For me, her introductory Who Is Merlin? chapter offers the best description of the essential Merlin I have ever read.

“Merlin is a liminal being. Liminal means a threshold, a place between past and future, between here and there, between one world and another … and he is always standing at that threshold. He is that place. And that ever-changing constant threshold is now, the here-and-now, and it’s constantly in motion like the sea”. Merlin teaches us, if we are willing, to “be continuously and consciously aware that you stand in the middle of change all the time, whatever is going on”. This is a lifelong learning. It cannot…

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Pagan Parenting: Today I Talked to my Daughter About Krampus.

The Ditzy Druid

My child has been a bit of a handful lately, especially in the evenings.  It’s probably a result of too many things packed into a week, fatigue, and the excitement of the holidays.  The last couple evenings have been particularly trying.

In our home, we talk about Santa as a spirit of generosity and giving; Santa does not deliver gifts to our house.  The spirit inspires us to give to each other.  We honor this seasonal spirit during our Twelve Days of Solstice observation with prayers of gratitude and offerings of milk and cookies.  Tonight, after my daughter was being exceptionally bratty about bedtime, I took a deep breath, and calmly explained what many people tell their children.  She’s aware that most of her peers think Santa himself brings gifts.  Today I shared another piece of that story – that parents tell their children Santa will not deliver gifts if…

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Lions – an excerpt from Grimalkyn the Witch’s Cat

Here’s an excerpt from Pagan Portals – Grimalkyn, The Witch’s Cat: Power Animals in Traditional Magic Paperback by Martha Gray, published by Moon Books 29 March 2013.

Lions (panthera leo)

The second largest of the four big cats – tiger, leopard and jaguar – the only four that can roar and which are thought to have evolved into their class around 1.6 million years ago. They are muscular and stocky, which they use to their advantage in bringing down prey. Lions live in family groups, known as a ‘pride’ and are the only members of the cat family to do so, as the others are generally solitary. The males’ main function, with a thick mane to protect them when fighting, is to protect the pride from outsiders including other lions, while the females do all the hunting and rearing the cubs. Symbolically, the lion represents kingship, strength, courage, honour and valour.

There are depictions of lions all over Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, with the most famous being those of ancient Egypt. The oldest images are the paintings in the Chauvet caves in France showing a lioness hunting, which are thought to be around 30,000 years old; and paintings of two lions mating in the ‘Chamber of Felines’ in the Lascaux caves. While a prehistoric ivory carving of a lion has been found in the Vogelherd cave in Germany.

Ancient cultures used lions to decorate great buildings in order to add majesty to the design, and were widespread throughout Mesopotamia. The gates of Mycenae in Greece also show two lioness-deities flanking a column; while in Turkey, the old Hittite city of Bogazkay, they adorn the walls of the gateways. Persia also used the image of lions on their gates to project the great majesty of their cities.

The Greeks saw lions as having not just the power of strength but also of invincibility. In the myth of the Twelve Labours of Hercules, his first task was to slay the Nemean Lion. The beast’s golden fur was said to be impenetrable by any weapon, while its claws were sharper than any sword. Hercules eventually followed it into its lair and used his club to stun the lion, and then strangled it to death. He tried to remove the skin from the lion by using his knife but this did not work; the goddess Athena told him to use one of the lion’s claws and he was able to take the fur to use as a cloak of invincibility. The Greeks identified the constellation of Leo with the Nemean lion.

 

You can buy the book from Book Depository Amazon UKAmazon US 

Review: Deathwalking edited by Laura Perry

Fruits of Annwn

Deathwalking: Helping Them Cross the Bridge is
a short book (88 pages) in the Moon Books Shaman Pathways series. It
is edited by Pagan author and
artist Laura Perry and features a dozen essays from Pagans and
shamanic practitioners from
various
traditions and backgrounds.

Its focus is the little known or
spoken about practice of deathwalking, or pyschopomping, which Laura
explains is ‘helping the helping the spirits of the deceased
move on from this world to the next.’

This interested me because, as a devotee of Gwyn ap Nudd, a god who
guides the dead to the Annwn (the Brythonic Otherworld) I have been
called on to retell the stories of the dead and to act as a guide on
a couple of occasions, and wondered if I will be led to work more
deeply in this area in the future.

If so, what might I expect? What guidance might…

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