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, Seventeen.com, and Tarot.com. 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

Footnotes:

  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.

Footnotes:

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

Find on Amazon:

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.

www.sandraingerman.com
www.shamanicteachers.com

Book Review: Elements of Magic

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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

Footnotes:

  1. XIX, “Foreword” by Starhawk
  2. Who is Reclaiming?
  3. 133
  4. 174
  5. 179
  6. 181
  7. 244
  8. 263
Book Review: Paths Between Head and Heart by Oliver Robinson

Book Review: Paths Between Head and Heart by Oliver Robinson

We have finally stepped into the vision of the Aquarian Age of seeing the bigger picture and having the ability to create those bridges of connection between what is seen and what has long been the stuff of imagination and speculation. Paths Between Head and Heart: Exploring the Harmonics of Science and Spirituality by Oliver Robinson engages the reader in becoming receptive to the correlations between the factual and provable world of science and the still indefinable and often immeasurable world of spirituality. The whole of which is a rather large undertaking to be written by a working scientist.

WHEN ALBERT EINSTEIN WAS IN HIS LATE FIFTIES, HE WROTE AN ARTICLE CALLED “PHYSICS AND REALITY” IN WHICH HE CONCLUDED THAT SCIENCE RESTS ON UNKNOWABLE MYSTERIES…. THAT THE THEORIES AND FORMULAE OF SCIENTIFIC KNOWLEDGE CONVEY ONLY PART OF REALITY. BEYOND THEM, HE SURMISED, LIE THE IMMEASURABLE, THE INEXPLICABLE AND EVEN THE MIRACULOUS. 1.

I am curious about what has been the motivation for a scientist to pursue and explore the more esoteric philosophies and ultimately write a book about these topics. And, I have read many books where the information has been sterile and wholly based on detached analysis of what has been gathered for research purposes. Robinson’s offering is clearly not one of those books. He holds a BSc in psychology with counseling degrees and is a senior lecturer in psychology at the University of Greenwich. But beyond those credentials, one has only to look at this book’s endnotes to see the thorough and in-depth research that went into the writing of Paths Between Head and Heart using an impressive collection of concise scientific texts and well-respected staples of writings on the matters of spirituality. The result is a book wherein the reader can feel the resonance of what has been experienced and learned from these materials by the author, giving this book a depth of authenticity that motivates the reader’s own curiosity to know more…..  Read More Here…

The Kybalion: Chapters 11 and 12

kybalio

The Kybalion
By The Three Initiates
The Yogi Publication Society Masonic Temple
Chicago, Illinois. 1912

We continue our reading of The Kybalion and explore the principles of Rhythm and Causation. Rhythm is our constant companion as we move along the course of our making and create the existence we wish to attract. Causation is the container of receipt and return that demands we be ever mindful of our actions and the consequences that ensue. It is the great rule maker that shapes our destiny as we go about our work of checks and balances at every turn.

The fine points of each of these principles comes in awareness that they are all pervasive and unavoidable in their impact on this and every lifetime’s experience. They are also the life within the essence of creation itself. The rhythmic contractions of the birth canal are the only way to naturally birth what was quickened. And, the effect of a union of polarities on all levels of existence is the causation of something Divine to be spawned.

Chapters Eleven and Twelve

Chapter Eleven: Rhythm

“Everything flows out and in; everything has its tides; all things rise and fall; the pendulum-swing manifests in everything; the measure of the swing to the right, is the measure of the swing to the left; rhythm compensates”

This principle of Rhythm surrounds and permeates everything in the manifest and non-manifest world. It’s feeling is one very much akin to the Cause and Effect, in that each produces the other; yet its expression is one that spans a broad base of similarity, disparity, autonomy, singularity, equanimity and more. For every Yin there is a Yan that is inherently composed of the same ingredients yet expresses itself as it will in accord with what other laws mold and shape it. These statements are expressed below…..

“ The Principle of rhythm is closely connected with the Principle of Polarity described in the preceding chapter. Rhythm manifests between the two poles established by the Principle of Polarity. This does not mean, however, that the pendulum of Rhythm swings to the extreme poles, for this rarely happens; in fact, it is difficult to establish the extreme polar opposites in the majority of cases. But the swing is ever “toward” first one pole and then the other.”

Now let’s also add what we have learned of the Law of Vibration in the preceding chapters……

“The Hermetic Teachings are that not only is everything in constant movement and vibration, but that the “differences” between the various manifestations of the universal power are due entirely to the varying rate and mode of vibrations. Not only this, but that even THE ALL, in itself, manifests a constant vibration of such an infinite degree of intensity and rapid motion that it may be practically considered as at rest, the teachers directing the attention of the students to the fact that even on the physical plane a rapidly moving object (such as a revolving wheel) seems to be at rest. The Teachings are to the effect that Spirit is at one end of the Pole of Vibration, the other Pole being certain extremely gross forms of Matter. Between these two poles are millions upon millions of different rates and modes of vibration.”

So, if both statements are true than the “sweet spot” of interest regarding rhythm is indeed what lay between the two “extremes”. If we liken this to the idea of the ebb and flow of the nightly tides that place of rhythm could then be the mid-point between sea and shore where the maximum debris is gathered as it is carried in towards shoreline. The other rhythmical point would then be the mid-point between shore and sea, where what is selected from the shore is carried out towards endless ocean, much falling to the wayside in the process.

Now, let’s expand these thoughts to encompass the vastness and ebb and flow of the Universe….

“ Beginning with the manifestations of Spirit–of THE ALL–it will be noticed that there is ever the Outpouring and the Indrawing; the “Outbreathing and Inbreathing of Brahm,” as the Brahmans word it. Universes are created; reach their extreme low point of materiality; and then begin in their upward swing. Suns spring into being, and then their height of power being reached, the process of retrogression begins, and after aeons they become dead masses of matter, awaiting another impulse which starts again their inner energies into activity and a new solar life cycle is begun. And thus it is with all the worlds; they are born, grow and die; only to be reborn. And thus it is with all the things of shape and form; they swing from action to reaction; from birth to death; from activity to inactivity–and then back again. Thus it is with all living things; they are born, grow, and die–and then are reborn. So it is with all great movements, philosophies, creeds, fashions, governments, nations, and all else-birth, growth, maturity, decadence, death-and then new-birth. The swing of the pendulum is ever in evidence.”

We are the product of the rhythm of exchange between the macro and the micro-cosmos. And, this ideology is replicated ad infinitum in the acknowledgement that we are at once the vast universe of our physical being and the tiniest of holographic particles of light in the largess of the galaxies and stars. The natural conclusion from this process is the occurrence of effects to maintain a specific balance in all things thus created…..

“ There are other features of the operation of this Principle of Rhythm of which we wish to speak at this point. There comes into its operations that which is known as the Law of Compensation. One of the definitions or meanings of the word “Compensate” is, “to counterbalance” which is the sense in which the Hermetists use the term.”

Again, this idea of compensation is one that we as human beings are very familiar with. We continually are in the process of maintaining what we have achieved/acquired and in that action bringing on board the necessary tools/ingredients to successfully keep the scales from tipping too far in either extreme/excess. When we fail at these attempts our state of balance and rhythm is upset. This is a core concept underpinning the practices of Auyurveda and Chinese Medicine. When the doshas/elements within the human constitution are imbalanced (note- this does not mean everything being equal! It means having the compensatory state of balance in comparison with what it is trying to counter-balance), dis-ease and an upset to the natural and healthy rhythm of all of the physiologic systems occurs. The digestive system’s rhythm is off kilter. Circulation is not flowing rhythmically, neurological deficits and irritations occur and more.

If we seek out a practitioner to restore the balance, herbs and advice of methods of compensation ensue. The stimulating of the polarized form of what is lacking or the homeopathic approach of giving specific dosage of what is out of line to “compensate” and thus break the unhealthy rhythm of what that cycle was producing as toxin.

Taking this premise and applying it to the full experience of our corporeal and physical lives…

“ The Hermetists regard the chain of lives as continuous, and as forming a part of one life of the individual, so that in consequence the rhythmic swing is understood in this way, while it would be without meaning unless the truth of reincarnation is admitted. But the Hermetists claim that the Master or advanced student is able, to a great degree, to escape the swing toward Pain, by the process of Neutralization before mentioned. By rising on to the higher plane of the Ego, much of the experience that comes to those dwelling on the lower plane is avoided and escaped.”

We could consider this second paragraph as the Homeopathic effect as described previously; the same goal being that of neutralization. As we move through the cycles of lifetimes of experience we have for our use the lessons and the responses to various experience. The trick is in being able to tap into the Universal Rhythm that holds the keys to those memories. To those of the Eastern and Buddhist paths; the Siddhis/Yogis and Bodhisattvas one of the goals is to escape the pain and suffering of the wheel and eventually reach a place of enlightenment, having choice to return o physical incarnation or leave that Wheel as ascended master. The Hermeticists and those of Western philosophy tend more towards throwing themselves more fully into the world, embracing the pain and suffering and taking from it the lessons needed to effect growth. Each has its own natural rhythm and efficacy of effect, the expression and path of expression being the differentiating factors. In any case, we see the Law of Compensation playing its role in how and what responses are made to this physical incarnation of experience….

“ The things that one gains are always paid for by the things that one loses.” And….

“ The Law of Compensation is ever in operation, striving to balance and counter-balance, and always succeeding in time, even though several lives may be required for the return swing of the Pendulum of Rhythm.”

If we view life as a beautifully orchestrated piece of music that holds the intended rhythm for our spiritual growth in the pace and dynamics of its playing; this Law of Rhythm is one that we may easily get in step with. This is my interpretation of the Principle of Rhythm:

Principle the Fifth: The Principle of Rhythm

1-2-3, 1-2-3
The metronome strikes out the beat
The perfection of rhythm
The movement of feet.

Release and contraction
As above, so below
Measure upon measure
Synchronicity and flow.

The silent strings that are plucked
~ lips moving ~
Sound with not a single word
The pause carefully paced between breath
The call of Will to action
That with physical ears is not heard.

Crescendo and climax
Inspiration and exhale
Limitless space at its birthing
Spirit of humanity extending
And moving beyond its SELF
To part the veil.

 

Chapter Twelve: Causation

“Every Cause has its Effect; every Effect has its Cause; everything happens according to Law; Chance is but a name for Law not recognized; there are many planes of causation, but nothing escapes the Law.”

Now, we move into waters that continually shift, take on new form and etch out evolved paths that nonetheless are still interconnected despite the disparity of semantics. The concept of polarity generally is only identified within the ideas of male and female, right and left, up and down, white and black, and all the other attributions that are used as definition. Opposition is certainly part of this state, but that is only a small piece of a much larger piece of the puzzle.

Homeopathic principles make use of the similarity of substances and the resulting canceling out of the third product that is an aberrant expression of that similarity. One might not consider this to be polarity in action, but in act it is the creation of the antithesis produced by things of the same quality that sets up a new form of polarized response that acts on much the same way of repellant as light repels and (supplants) the dark.

“ The Principle of Cause and Effect underlies all scientific thought, ancient and modern, and was enunciated by the Hermetic Teachers in the earliest days. While many and varied disputes between the many schools of thought have since arisen, these disputes have been principally upon the details of the operations of the Principle, and still more often upon the meaning of certain words. The underlying Principle of Cause and Effect has been accepted as correct by practically all the thinkers of the world worthy of the name. To think otherwise would be to take the phenomena of the universe from the domain of Law and Order, and to relegate it; to the control of the imaginary something which men have called “Chance.”

This is the ripple or “butterfly effect” in action…..

“There is a relation existing between everything that has gone before, and everything that follows. A stone is dislodged from a mountain side and crashes through a roof of a cottage in the valley below. At first sight we regard this as a chance effect, but when we examine the matter we find a great chain of causes behind it. In the first place there was the rain which softened the earth supporting the stone and which allowed it to fall; then back of that was the influence of the sun, other rains, etc., which gradually disintegrated the piece of rock from a larger piece; then there were the causes which led to the formation of the mountain, and its upheaval by convulsions of nature, and so on ad infinitum. Then we might follow up the causes behind the rain, etc. Then we might consider the existence of the roof In short, we would soon find ourselves involved in a mesh of cause and effect, from which we would soon strive to extricate ourselves.”

Read this excerpt offered in the Chapter Ten….

“Light and Darkness are poles of the same thing, with many degrees between them. The musical scale is the same–starting with “C” you move upward until you reach another “C” and so on, the differences between the two ends of the board being the same, with many degrees between the two extremes. The scale of color is the same-higher and lower vibrations being the only difference between high violet and low red. Large and Small are relative. So are Noise and Quiet; Hard and Soft follow the rule. Likewise Sharp and Dull. Positive and Negative are two poles of the same thing, with countless degrees between them.”

Now, read it through again from the perspective of the Law of Cause and Effect. All of the previous Laws- Vibration, Rhythm, Correspondence, etc…. are products of and adhere to this law of Causation. Without the emptiness within the container to fill there would be nothing created with which to fill it. Each state is dependent on the other and in its simplest form encompasses a cycle of one causing the effect of the other, which stimulates a new cause to effect. Now read the above paragraph a third time. Just in that re-reading we have demonstrated the Law of Causation!

“ Just as a man has two parents, and four grandparents, and eight great-grandparents, and sixteen great-great-grandparents, and so on until when, say, forty generations are calculated the numbers of ancestors run into many millions–so it is with the number of causes behind even the most trifling event or phenomena, such as the passage of a tiny speck of soot before your eye.”

If we think of our world as being part of and also containing many worlds within it; each having their own plane of dynamic and because of the structure and vibration of each having their own nuance of interpretation of the great Laws, we may understand more fully the thought presented below….

“Nothing escapes the Principle of Cause and Effect, but there are many Planes of Causation, and one may use the laws of the higher to overcome the laws of the lower.”

In fact, we are making use of this principle to varying degrees when we engage in prayer, meditation and magickal working. We are drawing on what we have available to us through the diligence of our work (and I might add one of the primary effectors of that work being the expansion of our mental states of being and ability to navigate multiple levels of consciousness) of preparation to access the strands of causation required as ingredient towards successful manifestation. An example of this is the process of disease itself. It has been postulated that physical disease first manifests as a state of disruption at the level of the subtle bodies. If not addressed it will eventually manifest in the physical body and the work of treating at the level of the physical body becomes the source of healing. We have also seen that an individual may have been diagnosed with a terminal form of Cancer and given less that months or a few years to live. Yet, for some, when they employ what are considered to be alternative modalities- most of which have a spiritual and etheric component- there have been astounding results for some in living 7- 10 years beyond the initial prognosis. Despite their bodies increasingly metastasized.

In fact, I knew of such a man who had pancreatic cancer, known for its devasting and ravaging effects in a very short period of time. He had been given 6 months to live. This man was a music teacher extraordinaire and the Temple of his worship was in the work he did with kids who could not afford instruments; giving them his gift and love of music. His will to live was strong and he accessed a variety of healing modalities. The cancer continued to metastasize, but he missed very few days of work, the primary purpose being in reaching as many kids as he could before he died. He lived 7 more years and when he died, he had hundreds of children’s lives whom he had touched, many of whom pursued music as teachers and performers. This was a rare example, but it also reminds me of the power of purpose or cause, the effects that cause can have on maintaining a physical body, that should have long expired, to do the work and the effect on multiple planes of existence that were produced; not to mention how those lives effected others. Another fine living example is Dr. Stephen Hawking!….

“ Stop to think a moment. If a certain man had not met a certain maid, away back in the dim period of the Stone Age–you who are now reading these lines would not now be here. And if, perhaps, the same couple had failed to meet, we who now write these lines would not now be here. And the very act of writing, on our part, and the act of reading, on yours, will affect not only the respective lives of yourself and ourselves, but will also have a direct, or indirect, affect upon many other people now living and who will live in the ages to come. Every thought we think, every act we perform, has its direct and indirect results which fit into the great chain of Cause and Effect.”

In conclusion…

“ There is no such thing as Chance. The blind goddess has been abolished by Reason. We are able to see now, with eyes made clear by knowledge, that everything is governed by Universal Law-that the infinite number of laws are but manifestations of the One Great Law-the LAW which is THE ALL. It is true indeed that not a sparrow drops unnoticed by the Mind of THE AL–that even the hairs on our head are numbered–as the scriptures have said There is nothing outside of Law; nothing that happens contrary to it. And yet, do not make the mistake of supposing that Man is but a blind automaton-far from that. The Hermetic Teachings are that Man may use Law to overcome laws, and that the higher will always prevail against the lower, until at last he has reached the stage in which he seeks refuge in the LAW itself, and laughs the phenomenal laws to scorn. Are you able to grasp the inner meaning of this?”

Many will be familiar with the concept in Quantum Physics regarding the point of space within the quantum field that is affected and changes only because it has when it is observed. Similar in thought to the eternal philosophical query…

“ if a tree falls in a forest and no one is there to witness, does it make a sound?”

Using that as a frame of reference, I would also add that;

Neither the causation of movement, nor the causation of sound are important. Regardless of the fact held in either of these statements, the pondering of them effected a new seed of thought in response to the query….

This is my interpretation of the Principle of Causation:


Principle the Sixth: The Principle of Cause and Effect

Pull against the tides
The glistening sand and shell is revealed.

Open the heart in gratitude
And the crowd of humanity rushes in.

Retreat into the hollow space of silence
And the echo of sound is unbearable.

Speak loudly of the unspeakable truths
And the quiet guilt takes your breath away.

Move with the dynamics of fiery will
And gates of iron tremble at your foot fall.

Close your eyes to the disease of injustice
And chaos drives the chariot of destruction.

Rip through the veil of bountiful limit
And the great tsunami of potency crashes down.

Move into the heart and fullness of God
And She pulls you deeper into her embrace.

Remain in the place of expanded stillness
And all of the inner workings of the cosmos
Become the sweet fulfillment of the Soul.

 

Next Post: Chapters 13, Gender and Chapter 14, Mental Gender

 

Resource:
If you would like to follow along, this text may be purchased at Amazon or is available free on-line at:

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Or as a Free Download on ITUNES

The Kybalion: Chapters 9 and 10

kybalio
The Kybalion
By The Three Initiates
The Yogi Publication Society Masonic Temple
Chicago, Illinois. 1912

We continue our reading of The Kybalion and explore the principles of Vibration and Polarity. Now, we come to a space of concept that we can more clearly visualize, and comprehend in a more manifest way. We encounter vibration at every turn of our human existence. Most of its true workings remain “hidden in plain sight”, but the more overt forms are those of our bodies moving, the action of mechanical mechanisms such as cars, the starting up of a computer, the notifications from our phones, and countless others.

Polarity is another principle that surrounds. The dawning of sun’s light from the darkness of a night, a choice of coffee over tea, walking to work or driving, etc.. The usefulness of the fine points of each of these principles comes in the recognition of their more subtle forms of expression and thus gaining awareness of the order that is abundant in the Universe.

Chapters Nine and Ten

Chapter Nine: Vibration

“Nothing rests; everything moves; everything vibrates.”

Having been a professional ballet dancer and loving music, this chapter spoke to me at multiple levels of experience. Movement and the resultant vibration it causes as the flow ripples through the fabric of energetic matter is the core principle in the desire to move.

Let me explain this more fully. When we dance or move, we are in effect by the vibrations caused disrupting energy. We are manipulating and moving through, in and around it in a very specific way. The rhythm that is established is the result of friction between how fast we are vibrating and what resistance we are feeling as we move. You can easily try this out by putting on a piece of music, and trying to remain exactly on the beat with your motions. The point of discord arises when the rate of vibration that is being set by the music itself is either faster or slower than your own vibratory rate of motion. To the observer it appears that you are off the music and not in sync with what they are feeling of the musical vibration themselves. The quote below speaks to this very observation:

“The Hermetic Teachings are that not only is everything in constant movement and vibration, but that the “differences” between the various manifestations of the universal power are due entirely to the varying rate and mode of vibrations. Not only this, but that even THE ALL, in itself, manifests a constant vibration of such an infinite degree of intensity and rapid motion that it may be practically considered as at rest, the teachers directing the attention of the students to the fact that even on the physical plane a rapidly moving object (such as a revolving wheel) seems to be at rest. The Teachings are to the effect that Spirit is at one end of the Pole of Vibration, the other Pole being certain extremely gross forms of Matter. Between these two poles are millions upon millions of different rates and modes of vibration.”

One of the first premises that is taught is magickal workings and interaction with non-corporeal forms is that of the distinction of difference between corporeal and non-corporeal substance is the density of matter. Not only is density a consideration, ascending from the densest forms (manifest life) on a scale of more refined and less dense matter (non-corporeal and spiritual substance), but the rate of vibration changes in accord with the density of what must be vibrated….

“The Universal Ether, which is postulated by science without its nature being understood clearly, is held by the Hermetists to be but a higher manifestation of that which is erroneously called matter–that is to say, Matter at a higher degree of vibration–and is called by them “The Ethereal Substance.” The Hermetists teach that this Ethereal Substance is of extreme tenuity and elasticity, and pervades universal space, serving as a medium of transmission of waves of vibratory energy, such as heat, light, electricity, magnetism, etc. The Teachings are that The Ethereal Substance is a connecting link between the forms of vibratory energy known as “Matter” on the one hand, and “Energy or Force” on the other; and also that it manifests a degree of vibration, in rate and mode, entirely its own.”

In fact, if we refer back to a quote from Chapter Six regarding the exercise of visualization and the mental processes required….

“The Teacher instructs the student to form a Mental Image of something, a person, an idea, something having a mental form, the favorite example being that of the author or dramatist forming an idea of his characters; or a painter or sculptor forming an image of an ideal that he wishes to express by his art. In each case, the student will find that while the image has its existence, and being, solely within his own mind, yet he, the student, author, dramatist, painter, or sculptor, is, in a sense, immanent in; remaining within; or abiding within, the mental image also. In other words, the entire virtue, life, spirit, of reality in the mental image is derived from the “immanent mind” of the thinker. Consider this for a moment, until the idea is grasped.”

What remains of the holographic image is a form of vibration. Think of a radio and how much static occurs until you tune to just the right frequency that vibrates at the same level of reception. Tuning in to the correct vibration (or signal of frequency) calls the image you are seeking into clarity.

This bears repeating from Chapter Six  and is most relevant in consideration of Vibration:

“The Hermetic Teachings concerning the process of the Mental Creation of the Universe, are that at the beginning of the Creative Cycle, THE ALL, in its aspect of Being, projects its Will toward its aspect of “Becoming” and the process of creation begins. It is taught that the process consists of the lowering of Vibration until a very low degree of vibratory energy is reached, at which point the grossest possible form of Matter is manifested. This process is called the stage of Involution, in which THE ALL becomes “involved,” or “wrapped up,” in its creation. This process is believed by the Hermetists to have a Correspondence to the mental process of an artist, writer, or inventor, who becomes so wrapped up in his mental creation as to almost forget his own existence and who, for the time being, almost “lives in his creation,” If instead of “wrapped” we use the word “rapt,” perhaps we will give a better idea of what is meant.”

Continuing the thought of the Qabalistic process, what is described above can be likened to the emanation of the energy of the spheres in the involutionary process from the Crown (or SOURCE) of Kether. I would recommend that you take a little side trip here and read through this basic information about the Qabalistic Tree of Life for a baseline of knowledge:

This is the premise of vibration that as we ascend on the scale the vibration is lighter in frequency and the sound is higher pitched. As the vibration slows, the sonorous sound of low pitch reaches deeply into stimulating us at a physical level. Think of the parade and the resonance of vibration felt usually in the stomach as the drums pass. The high pitch of flute is barely noticeable other than that of an irritating buzz that floats on the air like the hum of a bumble bee. The lower the vibration the greater the opportunity for something concrete and visceral to be experienced. However, this is not the only component needed, the mental construct or idea to be acted upon must be fueled with focused intent.

“A little reflection on what we have said will show the student that the Principle of Vibration underlies the wonderful phenomena of the power manifested by the Masters and Adepts, who are able to apparently set aside the Laws of Nature, but who, in reality, are simply using one law against another; one principle against others; and who accomplish their results by changing the vibrations of material objects, or forms of energy, and thus perform what are commonly called “miracles.”

As one of the old Hermetic writers has truly said: “He who understands the Principle of Vibration, has grasped the scepter of Power.”

We have now reached the point where more of these principles are overlapping in their meanings and are interwoven one within the other. And, so this observation bears repeating from Chapter Eight’s post….

“It is a fact well known to modern science, as well as to the Hermetists who have embodied the truth in their “Third Hermetic Principle,” that “everything is in motion; everything vibrates; nothing is at rest.” From the highest manifestation, to the lowest, everything and all things Vibrate. Not only do they vibrate at different rates of motion, but as in different directions and in a different manner. The degrees of the rate of vibrations constitute the degrees of measurement on the Scale of Vibrations–in other words the degrees of the Fourth Dimension. And these degrees form what occultists call “Planes” The higher the degree of rate of vibration, the higher the plane, and the higher the manifestation of Life occupying that plane. So that while a plane is not “a place,” nor yet “a state or condition,” yet it possesses qualities common to both. We shall have more to say regarding the subject of the scale of Vibrations in our next lessons, in which we shall consider the Hermetic Principle of Vibration.”

If we think about this definition, more clarity is given to the reasoning behind employing specific types of spiritual work that presumably raising the vibrational scale within the individual as a means of evolving. These practices have predominately an energetic component as the vehicle through which matter (or an identifiable physical effect) is created.

Kundalini Yoga is a prime example with purpose being to awaken the potent fire-like energy that sits at the base of the spinal column. This energetic elixir moves up the central column (etherically aligned with the physical spinal column) coiling around each of the subtle chakra centers, stimulating nerve, glands and subtle fields in a way that changes the vibratory rate of the practitioner. One of the goals being that of opening the Higher chakra centers thus making the practitioner a beacon of Light, self and Divine awareness and positively effective in mundane affairs and interactions.

Breath and mantra have long been used as means of transforming the individual’s vibratory rate. Specific breathing techniques (Breath of Fire) and a mantra such as “Om Mani Padme Om” work to regulate and refine the physiologic and adapt it to a higher rate of vibration that is more Universal in its energy. Specific positions sustained in Yoga practice working cohesively with all of the “limbs” of Yogic practice stimulate certain physiologic centers that are directly related to activating the subtle Spiritual centers. In these ways we strive to elevate ourselves to a place of resonance with the Divine. Words vibrate. The sound is at times held in the silence. This is my interpretation of the Principle of Vibration:

Principle the Third: The Principle of Vibration

Ripples of sound
waves of form
hovering-undulating
shaken to the Core
stirred, quickened and stimulated
by the Cosmic touch.

Grid of matter- interwoven and formed
by friction, movement- displacement
whose resonance gathers the discord of harmony
back into itself.

The chord is struck and its echo
in frenzied activity darts here and there
reverberating in a cavernous chamber
nautilus-like paths guiding the
trajectory of motion.

All appears silent and still of form
until microscopic probes of light and energy
reveal the seeming chaos of matter
each moving in concert with the other
creating the illusion of solidity
and opaqueness of Light.

The chord is struck again
and all play a game of musical chairs
each rushing hurriedly to claim a new
crevice, pocket or fold in the web of time.

reshaping-reforming-re-creating
the illusory mask of a calm
Sea in a field of matter
pointing towards the horizon
of manifestation.

Chapter Ten: Polarity

” Everything is dual; everything has poles; everything has its pair of opposites; like and unlike are the same; opposites are identical in nature, but different in degree; extremes meet; all truths are but half-truths; all paradoxes may be reconciled.”
Now, we move into waters that continually shift, take on new form and etch out evolved paths that nonetheless are still interconnected despite the disparity of semantics. The concept of polarity generally is only identified within the ideas of male and female, right and left, up and down, white and black, and all the other attributions that are used as definition. Opposition is certainly part of this state, but that is only a small piece of a much larger piece of the puzzle.

Homeopathic principles make use of the similarity of substances and the resulting canceling out of the third product that is an aberrant expression of that similarity. One might not consider this to be polarity in action, but in act it is the creation of the antithesis produced by things of the same quality that sets up a new form of polarized response that acts on much the same way of repellant as light repels and (supplants) the dark.

“Light and Darkness are poles of the same thing, with many degrees between them. The musical scale is the same–starting with “C” you move upward until you reach another “C” and so on, the differences between the two ends of the board being the same, with many degrees between the two extremes. The scale of color is the same-higher and lower vibrations being the only difference between high violet and low red. Large and Small are relative. So are Noise and Quiet; Hard and Soft follow the rule. Likewise Sharp and Dull. Positive and Negative are two poles of the same thing, with countless degrees between them.”

We see the dynamics of polarity at every turn within our mundane world. Everything that we formulate the mental attitude towards that is true by specific degrees is thus in turn only made a reality by what it is not! This is an important consideration in what we cling so tightly to as our truisms and absolutes. This is also the required flexibility and adaptability to what flows through our minds and ultimately is responded or reacted to by our hearts.

“Love and. Hate” are generally regarded as being things diametrically opposed to each other; entirely different; unreconcilable. But we apply the Principle of Polarity; we find that there is no such thing as Absolute Love or Absolute Hate, as distinguished from each other. The two are merely terms applied to the two poles of the same thing. Beginning at any point of the scale we find “more love,” or “less hate,” as we ascend the scale; and “more hate” or “less love” as we descend this being true no matter from what point, high or low, we may start. There are degrees of Love and Hate, and there is a middle point where “Like and Dislike” become so faint that it is difficult to distinguish between them. Courage and Fear come under the same rule. The Pairs of Opposites exist everywhere. Where you find one thing you find its opposite-the two poles.”

If we use this information in application to what we have learned of the Principal of vibration, we could say that what makes the varied layers of distinction between the scales of polarity of any given thing is perhaps its vibratory energy. Emotions, thoughts, what we experience in the sensorial world are all subject to the fluctuations of vibratory state. Perhaps the changes in that state are what come to be perceived as the differing polarities; which in that thought process infers that all emanates from the same singular source…..

“The student who is familiar with the processes by which the various schools of Mental Science, etc., produce changes in the mental states of those following their teachings, may not readily understand the principle underlying many of these changes. When, however, the Principle of Polarity is once grasped, and it is seen that the mental changes are occasioned by a change of polarity-a sliding along the same scale-the hatter is readily understood. The change is not in the nature of a transmutation of one thing into another thing entirely different-but is merely a change of degree in the same things, a vastly important difference.”

In conclusion…

“A knowledge of the existence of this great Hermetic Principle will enable the student to better understand his own mental states, and those of other people. He will see that these states are all matters of degree, and seeing thus, he will be able to raise or lower the vibration at will–to change his mental poles, and thus be Master of his mental states, instead of being their servant and slave. And by his knowledge he will be able to aid his fellows intelligently and by the appropriate methods change the polarity when the same is desirable. We advise all students to familiarize themselves with this Principle of Polarity, for a correct understanding of the same will throw light on many difficult subjects.”

Many will be familiar with the adage:

“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”

Using that as a frame of reference, I would also add that;

…Polarity is only a matter of difference to the eye that cannot truly behold the beauty

of differing scale of light seen within a singular form….

I love the energy of word to word and playing one in the polarity of the other. This is my interpretation of the Principle of Polarity:

Principle the Fourth: The Principle of Polarity

Each hovering within their own nature
Each compelled to seek the other for completion
One containing the mirror divided, yet equal
opposite ~ yet united
discord and separation.

Splintered cells which once held
the magnetic nature of wholeness
and graceful duets of shape, form and mass
moving in rhythm
guided as curious travelers
towards the destination of a harmonious Soul.

This harmony exerts its cunning charms
and the similarities of Spirit contained within
each that calls itself One magnify and extend
reaching beyond its true measure
forcing the issuance of
the scale’s final decree.

And what is the final discourse of this dual nature
in which all is bathed, purified and reborn
in the shadow of its own reflection?

The final comfort taken in the vision of the
opposing quality held in the supple vise of
Universal Law.

Next Post: Chapters 11, Rhythm and Chapter 12, Causation

 

Additional Reading:

About the Qabalah in the Western Hermetic Tradition:

The Magickal Pen: Geburah’s Might – section on Qabalah Boot Camp-Just the Basics

WitchVox: Thirteen Keys to the Qabalistic Tree of Life

About the use of Mantra:
The Sacred Vessel: Sensing the Subtleties: Part 5- Hearing

 

Resource:
If you would like to follow along, this text may be purchased at Amazon or is available free on-line at:

Sacred Texts On-line

Or as a Free Download on ITUNES