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

Catching Up!

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I have not posted on this site for quite some time and I wanted to let you all know why. In the past several months, I have been busy in the process of hiving and birthing a new coven – Coven of the Mystic Path.

This coven came into being at the Winter Solstice!

Read more about this auspicious energy here…

Temple of the Cosmic Spheres: All Systems, Go!

My thanks to you all for being patient during this process and please check back on January 1.2016 as we continue this adventure together discussing new books and finishing the Kybalion…

Blessings…. Robin

The Path

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This lengthy poem was inspired after last weekend’s Climbing the Tree ritual. The Climbing the Tree weekend is hosted by the Tradition to which I belong, The Assembly of the Sacred Wheel. This is a large event requiring much planning, so it is only held every several years (the last being in 2009) and provides the experience of walking the lightning flash of the Qabalisic Tree of Life as an experiential grouping of 10 mini-rituals.

The Tree is laid out on the grounds of Seelie Court and participants move through the Tree, walking the paths and having a ritual experience in each of the spheres in accord with that sphere’s energy. I have had the honor of taking on the role of as one of the spheres for the past 3 runs, but never had the opportunity to actually walk the Tree in its entirety as a participant. This year, I had the good fortune to be able to experience the full Tree!

I wanted to share this writing as a source of inspiration for seeing the potential that is held in being a participant in your own spiritual journey. The lessons of the Qabalistic Tree are ones that are relatable to everyone’s mundane and spiritual experiences and the goal of study is one of self-knowledge and growth.

I invite you to walk with me on the Path of my experience of the Tree. The beauty is that you do not have to know anything about Qabalah to appreciate what this writing has to relate. You have but to set your foot upon the Path and be open to where that path may lead…….

I step upon the Path
And Earth’s energy
Stands as fertile ground.

Water flows from
Deeply hidden wells
Fire streams from
Sun’s quickened light
Air breathes life into
Earth that rises and shifts
Urging me onward.

The tool of my re-making
In heart –body –mind
And will is found.

I move along the path
Into the night sky temple
Of the moon where star
And dreamscape weave
A tapestry that tells of
Cycles of knowing and
Illusion’s sacrificial release.

The path is lit from celestial sky
And all clears with each step
Forward into clarity of mind
That holds creation’s intent
Breathed into life from
Library’s inspired great halls.

I move now with mind
Seeking the victory of
Beauty’s face and come
To pause in awe of Mother
Nature’s surrounding gifts.

Their power and wild beauty
Held within my own physical
Form now awakened and verdant
Mantle claimed as Gaia’s own.

I walk with tears of gnosis
Streaming from gates long
Needing the power of heart’s
Release and step out into the
Vast potential of the unknown.

Into Sun’s great downpour
Harmonious center of
Golden strands that demand
The sacrifice of full light’s scrutiny.

I scream into a breath that offers
Up true release and heat rising
From within empowers my intent
As I leave this place of synthesis
Ablaze with strength newly found.

The sun sets behind me as
Sharpened knife and the
Sword of truth challenge
And give fearsome dare.

Tears now flow freely
Reflected in shimmering
Blade of light and what I
Knew of myself is surrendered
To the pointed test of true worth.

From these fires of tempering
Comes new form that will wield
Its measure of might as warrior
As Goddess and as guardian
Of the sacred Great Work of self.

Courage has been tested
And mercy now awaits
What has been purposefully
Broken down to be birthed anew.

I walk to a place of mercy
I stand crowned as King of
My worldly and spiritual domains
The choice of ruler-ship and weight of
Responsibility now mine to claim.

Like pieces on a chess board
Each move affects the next
Each calculation of mind
Brings reality of heart’s consequence.

There is no winning play as the
Board continually changes and
The pieces transmute as the
Players evolve and grow.

Flexibility and mastery over
What holds me in chains as servant
Rather than ruler over how I would
Construct and command my
Worldly and spiritual domains.

The final realization is one hidden
In plain sight and boldly echoes
The truth of free will’s choice to move
Confidently in changing course and
Not lose sight of drawing to me
What is held dear in those conquests.

I breath deeply taking in all that has
Been learned as the next challenge
Awaits and the choice now at hand
To cross the abyss deep and wide.

I step moving cautiously along a
Path whose end cannot be seen
So great the veiling of light and dark
Faith and a silent promise my only guides
As I stand precariously balanced mid-point
Shedding the last of my mortal identity.

Mother’s voice calls to me gently
Into arms of dark black sea softly
Reminding of all that has been given
And what more remains in hopes
And wishes and dreams.

Time holds no false enchantment
As lifetimes flow as one and every
Pearl of dark sea’s creation has
Potential to be the great manifest one.

Dip deep into the waters
Drink freely from their source
Take one dream as heart’s most cherished
And bring it through the womb of manifest birth.

I breathe into the vision of potential’s hope
The path now one of nebula and galaxy
Of cosmos and starry birth.

I move as witness to the birthing of the Universe
The light of my being scattered as seeds
Of star-filled light moving and flowing
The memory of this potent exchange
Holding the understanding of re-union
And dissolution of what is contained in
Body of light and flesh and bone.

From this eternal cycle of cosmos
An awakening of key held within
Human’s birthing light and deeper
Place of manifesting star’s gift of sight.

I breathe out the light of wisdom
And enter the brilliance of liminal space
That blinds me from the child of the
Limitless All that I am.

What lays hidden in my being
That cries out to be brought
Into the crown of immanence.

I stand in the silence
No words or thoughts
No emotions or action
Can articulate the gnosis
That fills by Spirit and Soul.

All and nothing awaits
The next step upon this
Never ending Path.

The journey begins anew
The possibilities change
And every step has been taken
In all of its many forms.

And as the return of worldly
Affairs and knowledge of my
Place within.

I remain steadfast in my devotion to the Great Work
As the Kingdom of my manifest being
Seeks the Foundation that has been created
By the Glory-filled Victory of my inner Beauty.

Beauty that has been forged by my will to action honed
By the courage of justifiable Might
And cooled in the expansive waters of Mercy.

I have seen the fear of my own reflection in the
Knowledge of all parts of myself claimed by the Great Abyss
And these fears have been soothed by the ebb and flow of
The Dark Mother’s Understanding and my Celestial Father’s
Cosmic Wisdom.

I have experienced this and more in my journey upon the Path
Where the Crown of my Divine Kingship shines in brilliance
For all to see.