Category Archives: Books and writing

Fiction, non fiction, blogs, magazines and Pagan writing.

The Dictionary of Mystery and Magic

Reviewed by Cosmic Dancer

This is the sort of book I have been looking for for a long time, an absolutely  wonderful book full of information on Magic, its a very very  must have reference book.
I found that while looking through I was  making notes and then looking for other words… just to look up,
I also loved that there were dotted about, some Charms , Spells, Folk medicine, Tree Lore and Seasonal Celebrations. I got this book on kindle but will be making a  purchase for a hard copy, well worth having on your book case, you will use it time and time again. I just love they way Melusine writes too. Brilliant.

The Orphan Witch

Reviewed by Cosmic Dancer

Having read the first book  The Naked Witch, I quickly followed on with this one…  Again  Wendy brings you in and its as though you are there watching things unfold… in this book we learn more about Lizzie and her family, and I can resonate with a lot of the things that happen to Lizzie too.
The only downside I found was it ended! It left me  wanting more and wondering what would happen to Lizzie. Would she get with Richard, or meet someone else, or will she  just be alone…  I want to know more… really cant wait for the next one to hit the shelves. Brilliant!
Find out more about Wendy Steele here – https://wendysteele.com

The Secret Key to the Tarot Interview

Reblogged  with the author’s blessing from https://siriusrising777.wixsite.com/

Occult Times interviews the author Sirius Rising about his latest book, “The Secret Key to the Tarot”.

Occult Times: This is the second book you’ve written about Tarot.

Sirius Rising: Yes, that’s correct. My first book is The Tarot and Sex Magick.

Occult Times: Why did you feel the need to write another Tarot book.

Sirius Rising: The Tarot and Sex Magick is really meant for the advanced Tarot and Magick student. The Sex Magick techniques in the book are based on the teachings of Aleister Crowley.

I never recommend that a student begins his or her journey into Magick with Crowley. He’s really a place to end, rather than a starting point. It’s true that I began my spiritual path with the inspiration of Crowley, but I wouldn’t advise that for everyone.

Also, the Tarot and Sex Magick book also looks into curses. That is not a popular subject these days. There is also a dark side to the Tarot not much understood by Tarot readers today.

Occult Times: Would you say that the rituals in the book, namely sex magick and curses are Black Magick?

Sirius Rising: Well, only in the sense that any rituals designed to achieve material gains are a form of black magick. Personally, I see little distinction between White and Black Magick. They are both about the subjugation of the magician’s Will. When the Christian, Muslim or Jew worships God and puts their lives in His hands, then they have subjugated their Will to God. That is what White Magick really is, and clearly a huge percentage of the world practices White Magick.

There is also a lesser known Middle Way Magick, which is known as Buddhism. But that’s a story to be told in another book.

Occult Times: So, would you say that your new book “The Secret Key to the Tarot” is an introduction to Tarot or Magick?

Sirius Rising: Well, both really. There have, of course, been many excellent introductions to the Tarot written over the past 100 years. Crowley’s Book of Thoth is a masterpiece in that it explains Tarot’s profound link with the Ancient Mystery Traditions  such as the Qabalah. Apart from “Magick without Tears”, Crowley never wrote in a simple manner as he assumed he was writing for his disciples who were already thinking in harmony with his philosophy.

My book looks at the Tarot as an initiation ritual that many call the Path of the Fool. It’s an initiation that we all take in our own lives. They are rites of passage in life, which are the way markers and sign posts. Unfortunately, most people get hopelessly lost on the journey of life. This ends in confusion, resentment and ultimately despair. The Tarot is the perfect spiritual road map. I have little doubt, as Crowley did, that Tarot was carefully formulated in Ancient Egypt by the priest class as a gift to their fellow human beings.

Occult Times: Can you sum up the Path of the Fool?

Sirius Rising: The first half of the new book examines the Path or journey that all of us take. It consists of an outbound and an inbound journey. The Path of the Fool is the Major Arcana. The first 11 cards from the Fool to the Wheel of Fortune describe the outward journey. This is really the descent of the young and seeking soul from her blissful state of rest in the Great Mother’s womb into the chaos and chance of the material world. If you like, it’s the same descent from Kether to Malkuth in the Tree of Life.

The next 11 Major Arcana describe the inward journey back to the beginning point of the next life. All of us take our experience from this life and feed it back into our collective unconscious state ready for the next reincarnation. But as I said, the journey can be a lot less confusing with a tool such the Tarot to guide you.

Occult Times: You describe the book as an introduction to Tarot. Does that include how to use traditional spreads such as the Celtic Cross?

Sirius Rising: Yes, most certainly. After the card descriptions and how they relate to the Path of the Fool, I examine three different readings from real life by using three different spread techniques. When I say from beginner to advanced user, I mean that not only will the student be able to read the cards for themselves or for a client, but they will be approaching the readings from a magical or occult perspective.

Occult Times: What is your next book about?

Sirius Rising: I’m working on a book that shows the Path of the Fool from a Buddhist point of view. Again, with Tarot being used as a tool to illuminate the Buddhist teachings. This is what I referred to as the Middle Path of Magick.

Occult Times: I look forward to interviewing you about that book.

You can find The Secret Key to the Tarot here – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Secret-Key-Tarot-beginner-advanced-ebook/dp/B07BPCZ6YQ/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr= 

The Naked Witch

Reviewed by Cosmic Dancer

Well from opening the first page and  reading the first chapter, I was hooked,.  You are drawn to Lizzie  whether you like it or not,  with her sweet nature and using her witchy ways in a way that I can really relate to.  From the start with the way  Lizzie is described I picked up that she was a witch, despite the title of the book.  It’s wonderfully written and takes you on a journey with Lizzie as a single parent, and her family’s ups and downs , which most people will have in real life… its as though you  can see yourself there watching.  It did jump about a bit in places  but i just couldn’t put it down…  well  worth a read and a  place on any bookshelf.

Here’s the synopsis for The Naked Witch, by Wendy Steele,

Lizzie Martin lives in Romford with her fourteen year old daughter, Rowan. She enjoys her job as a receptionist and typist at an old established, family run company. She clothes herself from charity shops in vibrant, joyful colours with matching headbands she makes herself. Colour is Lizzie’s armour and she uses it to hold at bay the emotional angst of her ex-husband, Josh, whose girlfriend is barely out of her teens, her mother who has the sensitivity of a crocodile, and the big bad world from which she tries to protect her daughter.

But today Edward Brown – her new boss – has asked Lizzie to ‘bare all’, and become more corporate. For Lizzie, swapping paisley for pin stripe is like asking a parrot to wear pea hen.

Meanwhile, as Edward Brown retakes his position as head of the law firm, Lizzie has to choose between her job and her integrity, cope with an unexpected stay in hospital, continue seeking the truth about her father’s death and juggle two new men in her life.

There is hope though.

At the bottom of the garden is a little wooden shed that Lizzie calls Sanctuary. Within its warm and welcoming walls, Lizzie surrounds herself with magic…

Witchcraft into the Wilds

Rachel Patterson’s Witchcraft into the Wilds, reviewed by Cosmic Dancer

Yet another fabulous book by Rachel, this really takes you back to working with nature, very down to earth and showing you just how easy it is. You don’t need to buy fancy things, as mother nature provides these things. I loved the journal prompt too, documenting what you do is a brilliant way to look back and advance you work if you’re new to this path. Lots of very practical advice, these books just get better and better.

More on the publisher’s website – http://www.moon-books.net/books/witchcraft-into-wilds 

Pagan Plant Books, reviewed

Cosmic Dancer reviews these three plant books from Pagan publishing house Moon Books.

This book was not what I expected, not only was the book very informative, but I found it enlightening. I was unsure about the bio-dynamics side , but this is fully explained, but its described in such outline that a total beginner can understand, I love the way Elen writes her books, warmth and clarity, about subjects that are fascinating to me and others, For this book even if you don’t have a large garden, you can implement some of the techniques for the smallest of gardens. Total garden magic here.

More about the book here – http://www.moon-books.net/books/gardening-moon-stars 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This book is totally fantastic, for me. I totally love the way the herbs are described and then full colour photographs of some of the herbs, It’s easy to use for those who wish to go out foraging for them too, not only does it tell and show you where to source then but what some are used for, and excellent reference book and a must for those into herbology.

More about the book here – http://www.moon-books.net/books/herbs-of-the-northern-shaman 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For me this is a great little book.  I use herbs a lot and this not only gives the history of the herbs, but habitat and the seasons in which each herb is grown. It goes in to detail of what you can use the herb for and what part can be used safely,and the chemistry of the herbs as well. This is defiantly my kind of book and a perfect reference one. I have read this book and found that I keep going back to it time and time again,

More here – http://www.moon-books.net/books/healing-power-of-celtic-plants

A Review of The Lay of Aotrou and Itroun by J.R.R Tolkien

by Dr Frank Malone

This recently released book of three poems includes notes and commentary by Verlyn Flieger and Christopher Tolkien. Edited by Dr Flieger (Department of English / University of Maryland), this small volume will not only appeal to Tolkien enthusiasts, but also to students of Celtic myths and legends. From Tolkien’s middle period, these poems are the culmination of what appears to be a year (1929-1930) of immersing himself in Breton languages and folklore.

In Britain’s land beyond the seas

the wind blows ever through the trees;

in Britain’s land beyond the waves

are strong shores and strong caves.

J.R.R Tolkien, “The Lay of Aotrou and Itroun,” lines 1-4

“The Lay of Aotrou and Itroun,” the longest poem from which the book is titled, was finished by Tolkien in 1930 and was published in 1945 in The Welsh Review.  It is a re-working of other earlier authors’ published material into octosyllabic couplet (lai) form. Unused and revised sections are reviewed by the editor giving a glimpse into Tolkien’s creative process.  Here a childless husband seeks fertility help from a “witch” (later called “Corrigan”) who is found sitting beside “the fountain of the fay, before a cave.”  Tragedy then ensues.

‘Mary on earth, why dost thou weep?’

‘My little child I could not keep:

A corrigan stole him in his sleep,

And I must weep.

J.R.R. Tolkien, “The Corrigan,” lines 1-4

The two other poems, “The Corrigan,” and “The Corrigan II,” are also retellings by Tolkien.  They involve motifs and themes found in other Celtic traditions. For example, “The Corrigan,” entails a human baby that is replaced by a fairy changeling, and “The Corrigan II,” concerns an attempted seduction of a human man by a fairy woman.  Other elements are specifically Bretonic.  For instance, “The Corrigan” is a Breton word that means “fairy,” with a unique history of connotations differing from other Celtic lands.

Fans of The Lord of the Rings will enjoy discovering how the Corrigan “foreshadows the greatest and best-known of Tolkien’s magical, mysterious, ladies of the forest…Galadriel.” (xvi).

There has been some scholarship of late examining how, and to what degree, Tolkien might be considered a Pagan author (E.g., Dr Ronald Hutton’s paper, “The Pagan Tolkien” in the Tolkien 2005 Proceedings, published in 2008 by The Tolkien Society.”  The folkloric clashes between Christianity and Paganism are firmly maintained in these retellings. However, it is possible nevertheless to bring a psychoanalytic lens to Tolkien’s displayed attitude in these poems and view it as defensive.  This would betray a fascination with the pagan material that he could not relinquish in his mind.  The discipline of applied psychoanalysis (which interprets culture) may thus perhaps further this vein of scholarly inquiry.