Bonus Post: 30-Days of Samhain 2021-Day Twenty-Six

Book Review

The Ultimate Guide to the Witch’s Wheel of the Year: Rituals, Spells & Practices for Magical Sabbats, Holidays & Celebrations by Anjou Kiernan

Fair Winds Press. 208 pages

I had the pleasure of reviewing Ms. Kiernan’s book entitledThe Book of Altars and Sacred Spaces: How to Create Magical Space in Your Home for Ritual and Intention for the July 2020 issue of PaganPages and was impressed with the content and the beautiful photographs that underscored the visual components of creating altars. It was both a feast for the eyes and for the inspired mind. The Ultimate Guide to the Witch’s Wheel of the Year: Rituals, Spells & Practices for Magical Sabbats, Holidays & Celebrations by Anjou Kiernan is another installment from Anjou that stimulates your creativity and uses photography and illustration to conjure up a diverse palette of possibility.

The contents of The Ultimate Guide to the Witch’s Wheel of the Year: Rituals, Spells & Practices for Magical Sabbats, Holidays & Celebrations give ample attention to each of the eight Sabbats and provide the reader at the onset with the origins and reason for the seasons. The Resources section at the end of the book provides the reader with a listing of the rituals suggested in each of the individual chapters with a quick look index guide to find them readily.

Each of the Sabbat sections is organized in such a way, that everything you would need to know, both as a beginner and more advanced practitioner, is presented in a clear and precise manner. Dates of the Sabbat, expanded Correspondences, Astronomical Basis, Ancient Sites, Pagan Cultures and Deities, Ancient Traditions and Modern Spells are some of the categories explored with rituals and active workings specific to that Sabbat strewn throughout. There is enough variety in recommended activities for celebration that would resonate with herbalists, craftspeople and ritualists, alike.

Being an Imbolc baby, I was especially interested to see the treatment given to this Sabbat and any new ideas I could use for my own celebrations. Additionally, being in my 60’s and a new grandmother, the “Crone Annointing Oil” was timely in reading. The inclusion of the Cailleach, the Morrigan and Hecate at this time of the year was a nicely surprising intention. The Crone is not often associated at this time of the year, but entirely makes sense in alignment with the seasonal tides and the underpinnings of energy experienced. In keeping with the more traditional assignations of Imbolc, there is a recipe for crafting a candle honoring Brighid and her potent triple flames. Cleansing amulets, weather divination and ritual and poppets fill the pages for this Sabbat, offering a cornucopia of ways in which the magick and celebratory nature of the Sabbat can be accessed and flow nicely with a modern or more traditional approach.

This comprehensive style is used for each of the Sabbats and the overall sense is one of bolstering and feeling confident in at least one of the forms of honoring used, while being open and receptive to the implementation of new traditions.

Would I Recommend:

The Ultimate Guide to the Witch’s Wheel of the Year: Rituals, Spells & Practices for Magical Sabbats, Holidays & Celebrations by Anjou Kiernan could easily fit into the category of a coffee table book given its rich and beautiful imagery throughout. But the real gift here is the thoughtful crafting of a book that engages the reader at all levels while instructing in the fundamentals of the Witch’s Wheel including the nuances of each celebration.

Overall, this book is really all that is needed to craft meaningful, visually beautiful and powerful expressions of the Witch’s Wheel of the Year. Additionally, if the reader takes the time to move through each of the possibilities presented in content and idea, the thread of continuity and flow from one Sabbat to the other as suggested by the “Wheel” as semantic, comes to life in a dynamic and self-generated manner. The Ultimate Guide to the Witch’s Wheel of the Year: Rituals, Spells & Practices for Magical Sabbats, Holidays & Celebrations by Anjou Kiernan is definitely a book to proudly place on your shelf and return to frequently.

About Author Anjou Kiernan:

Anjou Kiernan is the hedgewitch and herbal alchemist behind Light of Anjou, a witchery shop and virtual sacred space for magic and mysticism. She has been toiling in potions and occult writing since the age of 16 and has continued her journey in witchcraft on a magically-minded homestead in the rolling hills of mid-Maine. Anjou has been named as one of Refinery29’s “Magical Women You Really Should Be Following on Instagram.” Her writing and photography of unique altars and sacred spaces have attracted a broad audience and customer base on both Instagram (@lightofanjou) and her online witchery shop ( She is the author of The Ultimate Guide to Witchcraft and the Book of Altars and Sacred Spaces

Bonus Post for 30-Days of Samhain 2021

Book ReviewDark Goddess Magick: Rituals and Spells for Reclaiming Your Feminine Fire by C. Ara Campbell

Publisher: Fair Winds Press.192pages.9.14.2021

…. Deep transformation occurs when we connect to the ancient wisdom of the dark goddesses. Through her practices and rituals, we can reshape our world. By embrac­ing our darkness and dancing with our shadows, we embrace the truth of all that we are. The wisdom in these myths aids us in finding our truth….C. Ara Campbell

Dark Goddess Magick: Rituals and Spells for Reclaiming Your Feminine Fireby C. Ara Campbell is a thoughtful book that expands on the traditional Goddesses associated with darker magick and introduces the reader to a darker side of many others normally favored for their gentler and more nurturing nature. Twenty (20) Goddesses grace this book from a variety of pantheons and cultures which offers up the theme of dark and powerful energy residing throughout. These include Hecate, Kali, the Morrighan and Lilith; as well as Aradia, Spider Woman, Yemaya and Persephone. Persephone is a perfect example of thinking outside of the usual attributes of being the “victim” and in this writing she becomes the transformer and bridge between the worlds of separation, loss and love…

Read more here…

Bonus Post 30-Days of Samhain: Book Review-Dark Goddess Magick

Just in Time for Samhain!-Book Review

Do I Have To Wear Black: Rituals, Customs and Funerary Etiquette for Modern Pagans by Mortellus

Explore the myriad of customs that have emerged around death and dying in the magical and Pagan communities. Filled with rituals, meditations, legal considerations, and deep insights into death as a spiritual process, this book can be used by magical practitioners or shared with non-Pagan professionals who support Pagans in their final transitions… From the Publisher

Do I Have To Wear Black: Rituals, Customs and Funerary Etiquette For Modern Pagans by Mortellus is a timely read that fills a gap that has existed for some time now. Modern American society, as a whole, shy away from death, making it a very sterile and one size fits all affair. The pagan community intuitively and by virtue of many of the traditional and ancient ways has stepped a little more deeply into how death can be honored as a natural and unavoidable process not to be feared and uniquely out-pictures for each individual in its own way. Separated into five (5) parts and twenty (20) chapters, this book assists in bridging that gap and navigating death in a way that is respectful of all concerned.

Part One: Views of Death and What Comes After provides the foundation for whatever disparity may occur between the beliefs and customs of parties involved.

Part Two: Mortuary 101 gives the reader a look behind the scenes of the business of death in the modern world. The author, Mortellus, uses their knowledge as a Mortician to engage us in the reality of funeral rites and what more could be done in honoring the dead. The reminder to make sure that your wishes are known before you die and the choices that an individual may have regarding their funeral are brought into focus reinforcing the thought that each life is unique as is each death.

Part Three: Customs and Funerary Rites takes the reader through some of the more prevalent types of paganism and the nuances and ways in which the dead are honored. I believe this serves a multitude of intentions in highlighting the specifics of rites and their meanings as well as the thread of commonality that is woven regardless of your practice. Some inclusions are: Kemetism, Hellenism, Druidry, Heathenry and others.

Part Four: No Two Deaths Are The Same really drives home the reminder that the one size fits all approach that is common in modern society is a disservice to the beloved dead. It may serve to quiet the discomfort of the survivors around issues of death and honors nothing more. Some of those more poignant inclusions are those rites for those transitions caused by suicide, death of a child or abortion. These, in particular are deaths that are not easily accepted and uncomfortable for many to come to terms with.

Part Five: Grief and Everything After brings the journey of death to its natural ending and offers ways of healing and mourning. Letting Go Poppet Ritual, Mourning Dream-Pillow, Painting with Cremains and Sending Messages to the Dead are some of the spell work and memorial creations offered.

Would I Recommend:

Do I Have To Wear Black: Rituals, Customs and Funerary Etiquette For Modern Pagans by Mortellus is an intimate journey into death and how we may better serve the lives that have passed on. I appreciate the knowledge that Mortellus is a mortician, and as such, has first-hand experience of the many ways in which death and grief are expressed and the individuals whose lives are touched in the process.

As a much needed resource, this title is filled with sample rites, memorials and suggestions for honoring the dead in a way that is fulfilling for all concerned and in keeping with their specific beliefs and wishes. From the perspective of the pagan community, we need to embrace our wishes and those of our loved ones, step up to let these be known in the more traditional settings and speak from an informed place. Do I Have To Wear Black: Rituals, Customs and Funerary Etiquette For Modern Pagans by Mortellus fills all of the check boxes!

About Author Mortellus:

Mortellus is the High Priestex of the Coven of Leaves in Western North Carolina, a Gardnerian Coven operating an Outer Court training group who like to say that they are a bubbling cauldron of bitter esoterica slithering their way through Western North Carolina. Additionally, Mortellus is a Mortician, Medium, Necromancer, and author of Do I Have To Wear Black? Rituals, Customs & Funerary Etiquette for Modern Pagans. Currently, they reside on three acres that are hastily becoming overgrown again with their spouse, three-year-old twins, and one really, really ridiculous dog.

Book Review: The Modern Witchcraft Guide to Fairies

Some light reading for a warm summer’s night…..

A Witch's Sacred Journey

The Modern Witchcraft Guide to Fairies: Your Complete Guide to the Magick of the Fae by Sky Alexander

Adams Media, 978-1507215913, 256 pages, June 2021

…. When you hear the word “fairy”. What image comes to mind? A miniature girl with gossamer wings and a sparkly dress, a la Disney’s version of Tinker Bell? A benevolent creature who flies about sprinkling fairy dust everywhere, waving her wand to make children’s wishes come true? if so, you are in for a surprise……Like unicorns and mermaids, these magickal entities have been denatured by pop culture, robbed of their mystique and majesty. The fairies of old were nothing like the sugar coated cartoon characters we envision today. They were powerful beings of a semi-divine nature, who may have descended from the gods and goddesses. According to some tales, they served as the prototypes from which the human race evolved… 1.

The Modern Witchcraft…

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It’s Twins! A Book for the Mom-to-Be and another for the New Parents!

When I was asked to review these two books I thought, how timely! One of our daughters is expecting her first child in December. And, with that excitement comes the memories of my own pregnancies and the five (including twins) beautiful children that we were blessed with. I wish there had been titles like these when I was pregnant. So, I will most definitely be sharing these with my daughter.

Pregnant Goddess: Your Guide to Traditions, Rituals and Blessings for a Sacred Pagan Pregnancy by Arin-Murphy Hiscock. Adams Media, 978-1507213834,224pp, June 2020

….When a woman is pregnant, she becomes the very essence of the Goddess: she who carries life within her, she who will rebirth new life created from old…

The first of our books is Pregnant Goddess: Your Guide to Traditions, Rituals and Blessings for a Sacred Pagan Pregnancy by Arin-Murphy Hiscock and is a perfect gift for the Mom-to-be. The information is separated into nine (9) chapters covering a range of topics including the Divine Mother of folk wisdom and cultures, unexpected events, using energy effectively and with consideration of your body’s changes, labor, post-partum and more.

Chapter 1: Preparations and Beginnings reminds us that each pregnancy is unique and cannot be compared in expectation with any other, even if this is not your first. Amidst all of the worry, appointments and daily goings on, the emphasis is on taking time to simply “be” with your pregnancy and be fully present in the emotions, thoughts and physiological changes. The attention of this chapter is immediately given to the sacredness and spirituality of conceiving and makes use of ritual, meditation and creation of a “pregnancy shrine”.

The importance of knowing the lineage of Divine Motherhood is beautifully outlined in Chapter 2: Exploring the Universal Mother. This was a lovely addition to the book and really allows the reader to not only recall many of the stories already known, but now see the deeper meanings as the resonance of pregnancy is brought to the forefront.

Moving through the subsequent chapters of Pregnant Goddess: Your Guide to Traditions, Rituals and Blessings for a Sacred Pagan Pregnancy the author provides a list of Goddesses traditionally associated with pregnancy/childbirth and highlights their attributes offering an opportunity to connect and call to the wisdom and assistance of the Divine Feminine.

I particularly enjoyed Chapter 4: Using Energy for Strength, Support and Insight. Here, we find a compendium of correspondences, meditations to align with the alchemical elements, Tarot, animal guides, plants and flows into Chapter 5: Responsible Energy Work. Physiological changes that occur during pregnancy change the energetic signature of the individual and it is very important to be mindful of the energy expenditures and styles you engage in during this time of great change.The author gives particular attention to the need for caution in working with certain magickal supplies while pregnant and the potency for toxicity.

Chapters 6: Preparing for Change is written in a way that truly celebrates the pregnant goddess within any expectant mother. Self-care, pregnancy journaling, techniques for relaxation and massage exemplify the many ways of honoring your body.

With any pregnancy there is the possibility of things not going as you had hoped. Ms. Murphy-Hiscock discusses some of the concerns and potential outcomes such as pre-term labor and delivery, miscarriage and grieving in a way that is comforting and realistic. Chapter 7: Dealing with Unexpected Events, in keeping with a spiritual practice, provides suggestions to ritually honor the pregnancy, fetus and decisions for adoption of your or another’s baby.

Chapters 8: The Rhythm of Labor and Birth and 9: Postpartum Changes and Challenges honor the power, joy and pain of birth and what to expect after the blessed event. Birthing charms and talisman, and a ritual “Creating a Spiritual Birth Plan” allow the intention of birthing as a sacred event to flow through the actual experience. And, the time after birth, post-partum and beyond ensures that the gamut of feelings will be broad and many with a reminder to be kind to yourself and patient with the extraordinary changes occurring physiologically and spiritually within the new mother.

The concluding Bibliography shows the breadth of research and information that went into the crafting of Pregnant Goddess: Your Guide to Traditions, Rituals and Blessings for a Sacred Pagan Pregnancy. The book clearly lives up to its title, making it a beautiful fusion of information about pregnancy and what more can be offered to that sacred state of being when entered into with the intention of the sacred.

About the Author:

Arin Murphy-Hiscock is the author of Spellcrafting, Wicca, The Way of the Green Witch, The Green Witch, The Way of the Hedge Witch, Pagan Pregnancy, Power Spellcraft for Life, Solitary Wicca for Life, and The Hidden Meaning of Birds: A Spiritual Field Guide. She has been active in the field of alternative spirituality for over twenty years and lives in Montreal, Canada.

And, For the New Parents!

Babystrology: The Astrological Guide to Your Little Star by Judi Vitale. Adams Media, 978- 1507213797, 224 pp., June 2020

The second book, Babystrology: The Astrological Guide to Your Little Star by Judi Vale is the perfect addition for the new parents. This book takes the reader on a fascinating journey into the twelve (12) astrological signs and what predispositions you may anticipate in your baby’s temperament based on his/her Sun sign (date of birth). Each chapter provides the reader with core astrological information relating to your child’s birth sign and an additional section mapping how the parent’s birth sign interacts in combination upon that core sign.

Babystrology: The Astrological Guide to Your Little Star begins with a brief introduction to the basics of astrology to make the information useable by anyone. It continues from there with twelve (12) chapters, each dedicated to a specific astrological sign moving around the great wheel from Aries and ending with Pisces.

Descriptive titles, such as Aries: The Wild Ram – Leo:The Dramatic Star – Scorpio:Still Waters Run Deep and more set the tone for what to expect from your little one. Each chapter begins with five(5) immediate correspondences – Born Between (date timeline); Ruling Planet, Exalted Planet; Color; and, Gemstones.

The journey around the sun is complete with lots of information about the basic proclivities of each sign and how they are expressed as a son or daughter, talents and affinities, challenges, and discipline style. A chart lists songs, movies, games, books and foods specific to your child’s sign and continues with tips and techniques for calming, environment, stimuli and style.

The next section of the chapter offers suggestions relating to skills and considerations in “Parenting…”. This section goes through the twelve (12) astrological signs aligned with the parent(s) and what type of interaction that will ensue in combination with parent and child.

There is lots to reveal and feast on in this book. And, having it useable and specifically written for what is already the joyous and exciting adventure of new parenthood gives an extra dose of fun to getting to know your baby. In recommendation of this book, my thoughts are aligned with the reminder of the author. Anything you read of astrology should be held in the spirit of pre-dispositions, not fixed qualities that are written in stone and will always be true. There are many things that go into the development of an individual and part of the human experience is one of opportunity for change and growth. And, especially when making application of these attributes and qualities, the developmental changes that occur from birth into the early first years is exponential in potential outcomes.

About the Author:

Judi Vitale is a writer, speaker, and empowerment coach. Her horoscopes have been published by Marie Claire, Redbook,, and She is certified as an astrologer by NCGR Professional Astrologers’ Alliance. After thirty years in New York City, she now resides near Pittsburgh, PA.

Book Review: Encounters with Nature Spirits: Co-Creating with the Elemental Kingdom

Fall has arrived and cooler weather invites us outdoors before the Winter cold sets in. This book was a lovely inspiration to get me out there and communing in nature. Enjoy….

Encounters with Nature Spirits: Co-creating with the Elemental Kingdom, by R. Ogilvie Crombie

Findhorn Press, 9781620558379, 232 pp., 2018 (3rd. Edition)

Encounters with Nature Spirits: Co-creating with the Elemental Kingdom is one of those rare books that immediately takes you out of your head and transports you into the woods or a park, sun shining down and warm as you observe the play and interactions of those lesser seen beings. This little treasure is separated into bite-size chapters and explores the relationship between the author R. Ogilvie Crombie (“ROC”) as he is affectionately known, Pan and the many and diverse elementals and spirits of the natural world.

There is no doubt that Ogilvie was an initiate of an ancient and veiled spiritual tradition…(he) never revealed his spiritual lineage, but it’s clear he had a profound understanding, not only of what used to be called “the occult” but of all the world’s major religions, and many of its more obscure ones. 1.

Chapter 1, “Afternoon With A  Faun”begins the journey of Ogilvie into the mysteries of teh natural world, when he sees a faun dancing about a tree. As any “rational” man would do he dismisses this as fancy, yet the visage persists and he relinquishes disbelief as we are also reminded…

Here was a strange and wonderful experience. Why should I not accept it, see what happened and analyse it later? 2

Thus begins the dialogue between man and the nature spirits of greater earth, as we too surrender our disbelief and read the recounting of a lovely afternoon’s revealing of what lay hidden, but only by our own skepticism. As the years, and chapters progress we are reminded that once the doors have been opened, more will follow and the illusion of our separateness and aloneness in nature falls away.

One of my favorite encounters occurs in Chapter 3, “Meeting Pan on Iona”. This chapter, in particular, speaks of the increasing disconnect between humanity and nature, the demonizing of the God, Pan and the sadness within that world devoid of human interaction.  These meetings and interactions between ROC and the spirits of the natural world served as opportunities for reconciliation, through the author’s retelling of his encounters and the relating of their words and thoughts.

About R. Ogilvie Crombie and the Findhorn Community

One of the things that makes this book so relevant in opening up the “possibilities” that we co-exist beside an entire world that is not only living, breathing and evolving as we are, but that we can become co-creators of a more harmonious world, simply by recognition. These writings and philosophies came from one who was a scientist at heart. And, driven by an innate sense of curiosity and a large dose of intuitive action, layered into that foundation proficiency in mythology, history, esotericism and the love of the fine arts. Add to this the fortune of living in Edinburgh, Scotland, in and of itself one of the natural sacred sites and you have the recipe for clear-headed analysis and openness to what lay beyond the realms of the usual human experience.

Chapter 13, “The Wild Garden”, exemplifies the impact a single individual can have on what has been tradition. The tradition of formal gardens was long established in Britain, and those garden not so finely manicured gardens were off limits to humans, being the domain of the fairies and elves. Lest a human stray from the path and be seduced into the timeless realm of the Fae. On the other hand, ROC, having long been in contact with Pan and others of the natural realm knew the importance of respect and reverence for these lesser tended spaces, leaving them to be the domain of the elementals and wilder spirits. I felt this as a timely reminder of a call to return to caring for and nurturing the lands; having enough for all seen and unseen, and being mindful of leaving a legacy of nature our gentle hands and hearts.

Communication between ROC and the nature spirits of Findhorn continued regardless of where ROC was, as Peter Caddy recalls. 3.

The “Afterword” of Encounters with Nature Spirits is written by Dorothy Maclean, the co-founder of the Findhorn Garden community (with Peter Caddy). ROC and Dorothy met sometime in the 1960’s, well after contact with the nature spirits of Findhorn had been established and the community and gardens were thriving, guided by the Devas and nature elementals. The years following found ROC and Findhorn collaborating, each informing the other the experiences held in their own “neck of the woods” so to speak and we learn that Findhorn was further informed in its success by ROC’s more extended interactions and contacts.

When ROC talked about his connection with nature beings, his imagination was clothing these entities in images arising from the many planetary cultures…in this case images from Greek mythology….he was picking up thought forms already existing within the collective consciousness of humanity.”  4.

I could go on and on offering praises to the value and content of Encounters with Nature Spirits, but this is one of those books and readings that have to be experienced first hand. As I read further into the book, I found myself doing so outside, surrounded by nature; imbibing in a fully visual and tactile experience calling me “home”. Did I see any nature spirits in my travels? Ah, that is mine to know, and yours to find out!

To read more on the Findhorn Community:

The Findhorn Garden: Pioneering a New Vision of Man and Nature in Cooperation by the Findhorn Community


  1. Prologue, xiii
  2. p. 5
  3. p. 119
  4. p. 181-182

Book Review: The Green Witch’s Grimoire

The Green Witch’s Grimoire: Your Complete Guide to Creating Your Own Book of Natural Magic by Arin-Murphy-Hiscock. Adams Media, 978-1507213544, 256 pp., July 2020

… A grimoire is essential for any witch wanting to capture and record spells, rituals, and secret ingredients. And for a green witch, a perfect place to reflect upon the power of nature, and document the stones, plants, flowers, oils, and herbs used in her practice….

The Green Witch’s Grimoire: Your Complete Guide to Creating Your Own Book of Natural Magic by Arin-Murphy-Hiscock is a companion title to Arin’s previously published The Green Witch: Your Complete Guide to the Natural Magic of Herbs, Flowers, Essential Oils, and More. The author noes in the introduction that the reader would benefit by going back and reviewing some of the basics of magickal practice as that is not included in this title. And, given the amount of information and guidance provided by this title, this would have been a tome too large to digest in the manner that it deserves.

The Green Witch’s Grimoire: Your Complete Guide to Creating Your Own Book of Natural Magic by Arin-Murphy-Hiscock is portioned into ten (10) chapters separated into a two (2) part journey in crafting your own grimoire and developing your skills as a green witch. Part One-Chapters 1-5 are dedicated to “Designing Your Green Witch Grimoire”. Each chapter address a component of the intention and understanding required to assemble a grimoire that is a reflection of your personal style and work. Chapter 1: What is A Grimoire opens the way for knowing what a grimoire can become, its historical uses and the primary functions that creating a personal record vs. a compilation of someone else’ work that should be factored into what you craft.

Chapters 2:Designing Your Grimoire; Chapter 3:Creating Your Grimoire through Chapter 4:Setting Up Your Grimoire, dive into the specifics and nuances. Selecting the correct papers, what your grimoire will look like and been contained within, organizing the content and more are covered in a way that stimulates the reader’s discernment and encourages creativity while being mindful of what is needed and what is extraneous matter. Befitting a Green Witch’s Grimoire, Chapter 5:Adding the Magic of Plants to Your Grimoire provides the reader with recommendations for noting herbal workings, the energies of specific herbs you may use, toxicity warning, geographic locations, medical uses and more. Samples of a “Plant Entry”  take the reader through all that should be included in your grimoire for safety and efficacy of your green work.

Part 2: Using Your Green Witch Grimore gets into the practical application of what you have lovingly crafted using the guidelines and information from Part 1.

… “A Green Witch’s Grimoire” isn’t meant to sit on a shelf. It’s meant to be used often, thumbed through, written in, scribbled on, and consulted. It’s the place to record ideas and new information, and keep track of your spellwork and rituals. It’s where you collect information about spell materials, store things that inspire you, and journal your medita­tions and reflections. It’s a collection of memories and dreams, goals, and obstacles. In other words, the grimoire is the reflection of your spiritual journey, which means that it, too, is always in development. It’s a symbol of your path and your direction, which shifts as your growth takes place…

Chapter 6: Practicing Witchcraft with Your Grimoire guides the reader through several exercises relevant to specifics of the Craft to be used as tools of exploration, the findings of which can be recorded in your grimoire. These include the foundations of sensing energy, contemplative activities and sacred space. In keeping with the practices of green witchery, the use of herbs and natural components is strewn throughout. There is a lovely section of instruction on how to “Make An Herbal Blessing Wand” using dried herb stalks, natural fiber string and a small dish of sand. The results of “bundling” the stalks and tying is a lighter version of a typically envisioned smudge stick.

Chapter 7:Using Your Grimoire in Energy and Spellwork  emphasizes that…

Your Grimoire is part reference book, and part lab notebook. As you work with it, it will collect and expand in parallel with your practice, reflecting your growth and insight…

This chapter focuses on divination, spellcraft and ritual workings. There are suggested templates for recording your experiences and work in your grimoire in a way that is useable and memorable .

I particularly enjoyed Chapter 8:Journaling in Your Grimoire. This is an action that I think many to do not necessarily consider as something to be included within their Grimoire. The reminder is that this is your personal collection of everything that is you magically. This also includes everything that may arise to the surface as you do the work and record those impressions, references and notes in your grimoire.

Chapter 9: Honoring Your Grimoire moves organically into the final Chapter 10: Personal Development Within the Green Witch Path. Topics such as ethics, spiritual and mundane, death and the dishonoring of the natural world are discussed and there is plenty to chew on and use a points of opening for you. These insights that arise from this work of honoring the path you have chosen and who you are in the larger world are further deepened in the final chapter. The intention of this final offering is one of connection.  The seamless and organic connections between the Green Witch’s path and their surroundings in all of their forms, subtle, spiritual and physical.  These may include activism, healing, travel and being present in the current events that are evolving ever more quickly.

The Green Witch’s Grimoire: Your Complete Guide to Creating Your Own Book of Natural Magic provides a robust Recommended References and Resources listing in conclusion. A robust Bibliography, quick reference to Herbs and Plants, the Magical Associations of Fruits, Trees, Crystals and Stones, and Colors allow for user friendly interaction.

Would I recommend:

The Green Witch’s Grimoire: Your Complete Guide to Creating Your Own Book of Natural Magic by Arin-Murphy-Hiscock is a complete package of insight, guidance, knowledge and practicality. Regardless of whether your path is that of the green Witch, the contents are useable and wen put into practice will definitely serve as a transformative experience. This is a book that you will want to spend time with, read, digest, try and re-read again because there are so many layers to each of the topics contained. I have read and reviewed other titles by this author and once again the easy style of writing and Arin’s passion for her chosen path are evident in the meticulous care give to producing a reading that is relevant and useable in any time or setting.

About the Author:

Arin Murphy-Hiscock is the author of Spellcrafting, Wicca, The Way of the Green Witch, The Green Witch, The Way of the Hedge Witch, Pagan Pregnancy, Power Spellcraft for Life, Solitary Wicca for Life, and The Hidden Meaning of Birds: A Spiritual Field Guide. She has been active in the field of alternative spirituality for over twenty years and lives in Montreal, Canada.

A Book For These Uncertain Times….

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Protection Spells: Clear Negative Energy, Banish Unhealthy Influences, And Embrace Your Power by Arin Murphy-Hiscock, Adams Media (An Imprint of Simon & Schuster), 978-1-5072-0832-8, 224 pp., 2018

I have read and reviewed several of Arin Murphy-Hisock’s books and have always found them useful and relevant in both content and presentation.  This title is no different in that statement but all the more important during these times of uncertainty and the challenges of COVID-19.

Protection Spells: Clear Negative Energy, Banish Unhealthy Influences, And Embrace Your Power is an invitation to step into our power and use the magick that we know and trust to move with more confidence and strength in the months ahead. This statement is the first paragraph of the Introduction and I cannot think of any that speak more to our current situation.

…Whether you are seeking to protect your emotional well-being, reinforce your confidence, or find some comfort in a stressful world, protection spells can help. Feeling unsafe puts a strain on your emotional state and robs you of energy, but the spells in this book can strengthen your comfort and security and heal your body and mind… 1.

Protection Spells is thoughtfully organized in three (3) parts; giving the impression of a lean and simple text. There is nothing lean, nor simple in the work that you are called to. The flow is organic in moving from Part 1: Spellcrafting into the work of crafting Part 2: Spells and coming to a practical application in the final Part 3: Rituals and Protective Objects.

Chapter 1: An Introduction to Spellcrafting gives the reader a concise definition of what a spellcraft is, and the reason for employing its use as a routine part of your spiritual/magickal work…

…What is spellcraft? It’s the art of using energy to help regulate your world, to attune yourself to the energies around you, and to work with those energies for a beneficial outcome….Using spells to protect and defend yourself, the people you care about, and various areas of your life can be part of supporting healthy living…2.

The foundations are laid in plain language regarding what spells are and what they are not, the components that are required, and I don’t mean the decorative items; and the ethics of spell work. This last are, ethics, is a biggie when it comes to spellcraft; the most prevalent breach is in many of those oh so popular love spells. We are reminded that even the best intentions can go awry if permission of the parties involved is not given.  The chapter concludes with some basics including guidance in creating sacred space, altars and the adjuncts to and types of spells you may wish to use.

Part 2: Spells is broken down into four (4) chapters that give ample overview of how spell craft may be used for Body and Spirit (Chapter 2); House and Home (Chapter 3), Family and Friends (Chapter 4) and Out and About (Chapter 5), which takes into consideration the needs in more public locales such as work or school.

Chapter 2: Body and Spirit is filled with spell work that takes into consideration preventative measures and actions that compliment a daily spiritual practice as well as the challenges met in mundane work. Offerings such as: Protection from Oversaturation, Defense Against Social Media Overload, Saying No, Defense Against Burnout, Protecting Yourself Emotionally and many more cover all of the bases of need as well as encouraging the establishing of healthy boundaries and general well-being. There is even a Safe Deposit Box Spell for protection of your home!

One of the spells that caught my attention in Chapter 3: House and Home was the work to Enchant Cleaning Supplies for Protection with the rationale that…

…Magically programming your cleaning supplies is one of the easiest ways to support the magical maintenance of your home. You houseclean on a regular basis anyway, so why not tie magical cleansing into the physical part?…3.

Simple, smart and intuitive and I must confess a use of spellwork that has been completely off my radar. Each of the spells is given additional support with tips and maintenance reminders and considerations, which compliment a weaving of these actions into the routine of magickal and mundane work.

Chapter 3: Out and About continues the broadening of spellcraft use in very practical ways. I thought the Transit Pass Spell was wonderful and the suggestion to couple it with the prior given Visualization Spell for Vehicles added another layer of support.

Protection Spells: Clear Negative Energy, Banish Unhealthy Influences, And Embrace Your Power completes its work of self-empowerment in Part 3: Rituals and Protection Objects.

… Sometimes you need more than a spell. These rituals are longer and more detailed, and they involve more energy and more focus. They accordingly provide a more complex level of protection. These rituals are excellent foundations upon which to add levels of defense with spells…4.

Chapter 6: Rituals delivers of what is promised with rituals that are both easy to do and call for supplies that are easily obtained and many of which you probably already have in your home. Categories include rituals of protection for the home, objects and a person, with the reminder of need for obtaining permission.

Chapter 7: Protective Objects provides a buffet of supports to bolster your spell work using appropriately corresponding energies. Colors, herbs, crystals, Gods and Goddesses, Saints and Angels, sacred symbols and talismans and more are all woven into the why’s and how to incorporate into your workings.

The Bibliography has just enough reference resources to deepen your understanding and knowledge of effective magickal work in general. And, I always appreciate the addition of an Index for this type of book, making it easy to return to as reference frequently and find exactly what I need effortlessly.  

Would I recommend:

Protection Spells: Clear Negative Energy, Banish Unhealthy Influences, And Embrace Your Power by Arin Murphy-Hiscock is filled with everything you need to begin the art of spellcrafing and use its inspiration for writing and acting with intention and power. The approach is one of not only informing, but I believe instilling self-awareness as well. In order to effectively make use of this spells, you have to understand the mechanisms of your own personal energy, intent and all the while be fully present and aware of how your actions are impacting and affecting the world around you. That world is both the greater expanse of locale and the microcosmic domain of your inner workings.  There is much to read between the lines of this book and as I commented at the beginning, that reading is timely and exceptionally relevant now.

About the Author:

Arin Murphy-Hiscock is the author of SpellcraftingWiccaThe Way of the Green WitchThe Green WitchThe Way of the Hedge WitchPagan Pregnancy, Power Spellcraft for LifeSolitary Wicca for Life, and The Hidden Meaning of Birds: A Spiritual Field Guide. She has been active in the field of alternative spirituality for over twenty years and lives in Montreal, Canada.


  1. Introduction
  2. p. 11
  3. p.  83
  4. p. 181

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Protection Spells: Clear Negative Energy, Banish Unhealthy Influences, And Embrace Your Power

Book Review: The Book of Ceremony

Shamanic Wisdom for Invoking the Sacred in Everyday Life by Sandra Ingerman

ISBN: 978-1683641490, Sounds True, 216pp., 2018

Although I do not follow a Shamanic path, I have long been a fan of Sandra Ingerman’s work ad fold much of her teachings into the practice and teachings I offer to my coven mates and students. I particularly enjoyed this book as a reader friendly and generic template for incorporating ceremony into any practice.

The Book of Ceremony by Sandra Ingerman reminds us that our focus is often distracted as we attempt to recreate or analyze ancient teachings and wisdom and that the most important piece in ceremony is our intention and desire to affect change.  The approach to ceremony that Sandra uses guides the reader towards healthy expressions of emotions that could otherwise become more negative energy feeding situations in which we feel helpless.

The book is divided into four parts beginning with the basics of what is considered a “ceremony”; moving to specific types of ceremony; work to create balance within ourselves and the energy that moves through us and concluding with practical application of ceremony and creating your own definition of what these actions enable within your practice.

One of the key points brought to light early in the book is the difference between the terms of “Ritual” and “Ceremony”. The author uses her perspective of ritual being more repetitive in nature, whereas a ceremony is designed for specific outcome and at a specific time. I don’t fully agree with this definition as I believe that the two overlap in a myriad of ways, however, I believe this to be a good starting point for those exploring the use of “sacred action” filled with intention and hoping to create something new from what is acted upon.

The sections throughout the book, cover all of the information anyone would need to begin crafting ceremony and weaving it into their specific practice. Altars, tools, music, preparation of yourself, seeking Spirit guides, ancestors and more are presented in a useable way and offer both background and reasoning behind the selection offered. 

I especially liked reading the section, “Turning Points and Rites of Passage”. It is richly illustrated with actual ceremonies that have been created and executed that were powerful examples of what can be accomplished in sharing the gifts of ceremony as a working tool.

All in all, this is an excellent book to begin the process of aligning yourself more deeply with your inner wisdom and intention-filled practice in honoring the sacred in the work you undertake. To quote Sandra…

“In shamanic teachings, every spiritual and sacred act we perform is a ceremony. When we recognize the sacredness of each moment, miracles happen.”

About the Author:

Sandra IngermanSandra Ingerman, MA, is an award winning author of twelve books, including Soul Retrieval: Mending the Fragmented Self, Medicine for the Earth, Walking in Light, and The Book of Ceremony: Shamanic Wisdom for Invoking the Sacred into Everyday Life. She is the presenter of several audio programs produced by Sounds True, and she is the creator of the Transmutation App. Sandra is a world-renowned teacher of shamanism and has been teaching for more than 30 years. She has taught workshops internationally on shamanic journeying, healing, and reversing environmental pollution using spiritual methods. Sandra is recognized for bridging ancient cross-cultural healing methods into our modern culture, addressing the needs of our times.

Sandra is known for gathering the global spiritual community together to perform powerful transformative ceremonies, as well as inspiring us to stand strong in unity so we do our own spiritual and social activism work while keeping a vision of hope and being a light in the world.

She is passionate about helping people to reconnect with nature. Since the 1980’s thousands of people have healed from past and present traumas through the classic cross-cultural shamanic healing method Sandra teaches called Soul Retrieval.

She is a licensed marriage and family therapist and professional mental health counselor. She is also a board-certified expert on traumatic stress. She was awarded the 2007 Peace Award from the Global Foundation for Integrative Medicine. Sandra was chosen as one of the Top 10 Spiritual Leaders of 2013 by Spirituality and Health Magazine.

Sandra has two new books released in 2018. The Hidden Worlds was co-written with Katherine Wood and is a novel written for young adults to help them navigate the changing world. The Book of Ceremony: Shamanic Wisdom for Invoking the Sacred Into Everyday Life was written for a shamanic and general audience on how to bring the sacred into daily life by performing shamanic ceremonies designed for our times and the challenges we are facing today.

Book Review: Elements of Magic


Elements of Magic: Reclaiming Earth, Air, Fire, Water and Spirit, by Jane Meredith and Gede Pema Llewellyn Publications, 9780738757148, 336 pp., 2018

We can always use a refresher and new perspective in our understanding of the alchemical elements which form a strong component of our spiritual/magickal work. This title fits the bill nicely….

The values of Reclaiming tradition come from our understanding that the earth is alive and all of life is sacred and interconnected. We see the Goddess as immanent in the earth’s cycles of birth, growth, death, decay and regeneration. 1.

Elements of Magic: Reclaiming Earth, Air, Fire, Water and Spirit is a collection of the voices and shared experiences of those following the values and practices of Reclaiming tradition. The title is a purposeful play on words; acknowledging the teachings within its contents as being those provided within the Reclaiming tradition, as well as the reminder of re-claiming the elemental nature we hold organically and imminently within and without.

The book is separated into six segments, five aligning with each of the alchemical elements and the sixth providing a ritual of synthesis and completion. The format provides the reader with a scaffolding of theory, practice, exercises and ritual focused on the specific element of topic and builds a solid foundation for deeper exploration. Each sub-section within the element is written by several authors, and the overall feel of the book is one of collaboration and being completely aligned in its efforts with one of the core values of Reclaiming tradition; that of Unity.

To fully appreciate the intention of Elements of Magic: Reclaiming Earth, Air, Fire, Water and Spirit it helps to know a bit about the Reclaiming tradition. The “Foreword” is written by Starhawk, co-founder of Reclaiming and gives some background information about how this book came to be. But, the broader story of Reclaiming’s teachings and the underpinnings of the collaborative efforts of this book are based in Reclaiming’s “Principles of Unity” and its Mission Statement.

“Reclaiming is a community of people working to unify spirit and politics. Our Life Force. We see our work as teaching and making magic: the art of empowering ourselves and each other….We use the skills we learn to deepen our strength, both as individuals and as community, to voice our concerns about the world in which we live, and bring to birth a vision of a new culture.” 2.

Reclaiming evolved from the collaboration of Starhawk and Diane Baker in the Bay Area of San Francisco, CA in 1979-80. The intention was to teach classes in the basics of modern Witchcraft including core classes of the Elements of Magic, the Pentacle of Iron (from Victor and Cora Anderson’s Feri Tradition) and Rites of Passage. The classes were so well received and sought after that a working collective of individuals trained and experienced in these and the emerging by-products of new teachings core began to share and expand general interest in what would later become the Reclaiming community.

Elements of Magic: Reclaiming Earth, Air, Fire, Water and Spirit continues that spirit of teaching, learning and sharing, now being able to reach a wider community of those interested in the basics of magical practice and wanting to know more about Reclaiming. Each chapter is full to the brim with three or more author’s experiences and understanding of the particular element and practice exercises to further engage the reader in developing their own patterns of reference. I especially appreciated the addition of “length of time” and “what you need” accompanying each of the exercise components. This gave me the option of selecting which exercises I could accomplish in the time I had available.

The recommendation given for getting the most from Elements of Magic: Reclaiming Earth, Air, Fire, Water and Spirit is to give yourself a six month period; each element having one month to integrate and the sixth for the concluding ritual. I cannot say that I had a favorite chapter since by its very nature, the study of the elements requires an integrated approach of exploration as everything we are and know is comprised of these in alchemical and etheric form. But, to offer some highlights of the studies, there are a few exercises and writings that struck a deeper chord for me.

The “Playing with Your Boundaries” practice written by Catherine Gronlund in the “Fire” segment of Elements of Magic: Reclaiming Earth, Air, Fire, Water and Spirit is a simple, yet very powerful exercise to expand on the way in which the reader perceives energy and bring awareness to the same construct of energetic patterns that are part of our bodies-physical and subtle.

“ Just as our skin defines the edges of our physical body, we have an energetic boundary that defines the edges of our energy body and interacts with the universe.” 3.

The exercise begins in establishing the reader’s sense of their boundaries while standing in place and feeling connected to the energy of earth. The exercise then goes trough a series of testing this boundary you’ve sensed; changing its texture, how far it extends beyond your body and more. Each change is encouraged to have pause and time to fully engage your senses in what is being experienced. I found this to work on multiple levels in allowing me to be more fully present in mundane activities as well.

“Water” stands out with the interview between the editor, Gede Parma and Rose May Dance, one of the “Mothers of Reclaiming” who has been part of the collective since 1980. The interview focuses on discussion of the element of water and the prominent use of trance work in the Reclaiming tradition.

“RMD: In Reclaiming we work a lot with group trance. Everybody goes to the same place and speaks aloud together what we are seeing and sensing. In this way we create or make accessible an inner landscape through evolving consensus.” 4.

The use of trance is further exemplified by the two exercises which follow this interview. The first is called “Place of Power” by Thibaut Laure and is a mini-ritual that….”will help you find your place of power, the safe place within you from where your magic emerges and is anchored to.” 5. The second is entitled “The Barrier and the Well” by Heidi Marian and its work is one of allowing….”you to enlist your own power and ability to overcome obstacles and find new strength.” 6.

The “Spirit” segment included a wonderful exercise by Rae Eden entitled, “Elemental Pentacle”. Being leadership of a coven and having a strong personal practice, I liked that this exercise could be done individually or in a group. And, the simplicity of its technique was very appealing given the big pay-off in being able to palpably experience each of the elements.

“To prepare for this exercise, use the tape or string to make a pentacle about three feet long on each side…..Label each point, starting with spirit at the top point. Going around clockwise as you look upon the pentagram, label the next point air, then water, then fire, then earth.” 7.

The reader is directed to walk from point to point, pausing at each to completing immerse yourself in your new found connection to the element and offering a blessing in the name of each element to complete this scribing. As I moved from elemental point to point, the energy was palpable, sweet and powerful.

The final segment, “Creating a Ritual” provides the reader with the tools and understanding of how to craft a ritual from start to finish with samples to guide the way and checklist for consideration. The ritual provided is the same used to conclude each of the Reclaiming trainings of Elements of Magic.

“We are gathered under a tree in a summer garden….after a weekend spent immersed in an all-ages, skills-based Elements of Magic class. We have travelled the paths of spirit, earth, air, fire, and water, returning to spirit, and we delight in the power and magic

an all-ages, skills-based Elements of Magic class. We have travelled the paths of spirit, of this group as we come together, irrespective of age, and put on a ritual created by the class that celebrates the unique magic of each one of us.” 8.

The reader is guided step-by-step through the process of creating a ritual, the necessary components and structure for crafting a successful and meaningful experience. There is a very gratifying feeling from doing a ritual that has been tested and tried by a collective of like-minded individuals and the astral inroads that have been laid.

Elements of Magic: Reclaiming Earth, Air, Fire, Water and Spirit is a read that satisfies on many levels. I especially appreciated the concluding “Glossary” and “Resources and Recommended Reading” as enticement to learn more. The content and voices of the authors providing their work with the elements is clear, on point and accessible to anyone. The reader immediately has a sense of the work and layers of evolution that have gone into crafting this course of study. Additionally, this book is a wonderful resource for diving more deeply into the Reclaiming tradition, its values and its work in the pagan community. I could say so much more about this book, but it truly is a work that has to be experienced for oneself and to that end, the reader is offered the tools for a successful practice and a jumping off point to find their own particular path.

To learn more about Reclaiming Tradition and its work:

Reclaiming Tradition


  1. XIX, “Foreword” by Starhawk
  2. Who is Reclaiming?
  3. 133
  4. 174
  5. 179
  6. 181
  7. 244
  8. 263