Category Archives: Reviews

Reviews by our authors or about our authors

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 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.

A Review of Merlin: Once and Future Wizard by Elen Sentier

Reviewed by Frank Malone

Elen Sentier’s latest book continues the fabulous Pagan Portals series from Moon Books. These brief volumes constellate an author’s accumulated wisdom on a specific subject. From my perspective as a psychoanalyst, I had heretofore approached Merlin as an archetypal image of the Wise Old Man. Amongst other things, Sentier is trained in transpersonal psychotherapy. She has opened my eyes so that I can begin to see the depth and complexity of Merlin. Furthermore, Sentier teaches us that Merlin is available to us now for relationship.

To my surprise, Sentier shows us that Merlin is the spirit of the land of Britain – and Brittany to boot! She thus explains the many (apparently) contradictory places in Britain and the Continent associated with Merlin in the legends. As spirit, he is far older than the figures in the stories. Sentier takes us through the divers guises of Merlin in literature. This includes, inter alia, the Green Man. The author discusses the light that these incarnations shed on Merlin as spirit.

Sentier is also one of the awenyddion (Celtic shamans). I was fascinated to learn about the Celtic way of journeying to the Otherworld. The trance-induction is different from the auditory-driven induction used in core shamanism, which is my training and practice. The author draws contrast between these two shamanic approaches. Additionally, the Celtic journey process described is, as she observes, “far closer to what Jung calls ‘active imagination’. It was also interesting to read how she integrates shamanic knowledge with her practice of psychotherapy.

I was delighted and grateful for her chapter on Nimue/Vivian. This was the most satisfying treatment of the topic I have seen. I enjoyed as well the integrated biographical material woven throughout the book. I appreciate authors who can be genuine and not hide behind an intellectual defense. The book is also infused with her gentle good humour. Sentier’s book is fun and informative, and I shall keep it around to refer to for years to come.

More about the book here – http://www.moon-books.net/books/pagan-portals-merlin