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So You Want to Be a Medium? by Rose Vanden Eynden

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For the most part, I really really enjoyed this book. The first half is filled with great exercises, advice and stories, as well as a very ‘down to earth’ approach to spirit work and mediumship. The author makes a point of trying to not involve religion, which while the attempt is nice, she ends up incorporating quite a bit of her Christian beliefs into it. No one is totally unbiased, after all. One thing I really appreciated is how she tried to be inclusive of LGBT and non-binary genders. She didn’t operate off the typical god/goddess binary. For the most part, it is a very good book and I learned a lot from it…at least, for the first half.

The main problem I had with this book was that she works with Indigenous and Native spirits. Specifically, that she works with them and calls them by their names in English. Like…Black Hawk. I’m sorry, but if you are going to work with a spirit from a closed culture, specifically a culture that your ancestors tried to wipe out, at least learn their names in their own indigenous tongue, or at least what tribe they were from. She treats Nativeness as a monolith, and it is so frustrating as a native person to see that. As I said in my Spirit Speak review, if you were a member of a culture that endured genocide, and you were woken up by someone who in your time period would have hunted you for sport, raped your women, slaughtered your children, burned your home and stolen your land, would you have a polite conversation with them? No, you would probably react violently or just laugh in their face.

So, while this book is, I believe, a very good resource on beginning medium work and spirit work, please please please remember to stay in your lane. Do not attempt to contact or work with spirits from closed religions and cultures, ESPECIALLY if you are white and that closed culture/religion is an oppressed minority culture and has endured a history of genocide by your ancestors. Just don’t do it. Respect those traditions and their people, as we are asking you to please not do this. As I have said before, was stealing our land and many of our practices and people not enough? Must they have our ancestors spirit’s and our sacred creatures too?

The other problem was that she talks about chakras. Please, please, unless you are a member of the closed religions and cultures that have access to that term, do not claim it. Respect them, but use the alternative term ‘energy points’.

So, while I do recommend this book to spirit workers at any level as it does have some good lessons in it, I also highly recommend that you read it with a grain of salt and do not follow in the author’s footsteps in regards to overstepping boundaries and appropriating/stealing/working with spirits that are part of closed cultures. Just…just, dont do it. Please.

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Spirit Speak by Ivo Dominguez, Jr.

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Spirit Speak: Knowing and Understanding Spirit Guides, Ancestors, Ghosts, Angels and the Divine is definitely one of those books one should read with a grain of salt. While the majority of the book is good information, filled with personal experiences and exercises for the reader to try out themselves, the book is filled with very Wiccan approaches to the subject. The author writes about chakras, god/goddess binaries, ‘shamans’, and almost seems to encourage working with spirits that originate and are part of closed cultures and religions.

In my experience, as a native person, why would a person with colonizer/invader blood WANT to work with a native ancestor, spirit or creature? 9 times out of 10, that spirit will react violently. I mean, how would you feel if someone woke you up, someone who in their time period would have killed your family, probably raped your wife and set your house on fire, hunted your kin for sport, and stole your land, and then that person tried to have a polite conversation with you, or god forbid, ask you for a favor? It just would not happen. You would be furious, or laugh in their face.

So while much of this book I do think has valuable information and I did enjoy reading parts of it, it is so important to just remember to respect closed cultures and religions and try to work with spirits that are part of open practices. Instead of using the term ‘chakras’, try using ‘energy points’ instead.

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Palmistry by Roz Levine

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Palmistry: How to Chart the Lines of Your Destiny is a no frills, down to earth guide to learning the art of palm reading. It is straight forward, to the point and an easy read. The author, Roz Levine, gives us lovely color photos and glossy paper along with detailed descriptions of all the parts and secrets of hands and what they say about us, and about our futures.

I have nothing bad to say about this book, except that it is a very basic guide to the art of palmistry, but if you are a beginner or just looking to start palm reading, this is the perfect book for you. It is inexpensive, well organized and well written by an author who clearly knows their stuff. You can get it here!

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The Dreamer’s Almanac by Sasha Parker

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The Dreamer’s Almanac is a beautiful glossy, high quality, colorful book filled with easy to access information and lovely color photos depicting and explaining a wide variety of dream subjects. The beginning of the book briefly describes and explains the history of dreams, dream interpretation and the science behind sleeping and dreaming. The rest of the book is dedicated to listing and explaining different dream scenarios and what they could mean for our subconscious or for our future. This is easily my favorite book on dream interpretation, simply for how well it is organized, the beautiful photographs, and the easy-to-understand-no-frills-attached way that things are explained.

I highly recommend this book to anyone looking to find the meaning behind their dreams. This was a short review, I know. But I really don’t have anything bad to say about the book! You can get it here!

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The Hidden Messages in Water by Masaru Emoto

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The Hidden Messages in Water is a delightful and beautiful book by Dr. Masaru Emoto. It takes a scientific approach to a spiritual subject–how water reacts to human emotions. The book is filled with beautiful high quality color photos of Dr. Emoto’s experiments, where he has documented the reaction that water crystals have upon freezing while being exposed to a specific emotional sentence or phrase. I really enjoyed this book. It is beautifully written and you can easily tell how passionate the Doctor is about the subject material.

The book is easy to read, not terribly long, and I believe very useful, specifically for those who work with water as an element. It is so fascinating to know that water is indeed sentient (something many of us already knew, haha, but now there is scientific proof!) and that it responds and changes it’s molecular structure to mirror emotions. How beautiful and amazing!

I would highly recommend this book and I can think of no critiques for it. And, the icing on the cake: the author is  a person of color! You can purchase it here!

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Animal Talk by Penelope Smith

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After reading Animal Speak by Ted Andrews, I was super discouraged. I distanced myself from reading any kind of witchy books that focused on animals because of it. That book was so disgusting and culturally appropriative. I picked this book up because I had heard about the author on the internet. She is an ‘animal therapist’ and instead of magic or witchcraft, her book falls more in line with psychic and telepathic studies. The book covers the history of inter-species telepathic communication and how you yourself can use it to communicate with animals, wild or domestic.

I have to say I was very pleasantly surprised. I found no traces of cultural appropriation in this book and it is written in a very non-biased and secular way. The book not only teaches you how to communicate with animals, but also gives you exercises to try and several pages of personal examples from the author involving how to communicate with specific kinds of animals. I really enjoyed it. Smith doesn’t involve religion (I think she mentions her personal beliefs once in one of her personal stories), she doesn’t involve closed cultures, and she explains everything very clearly. I truly believe that after reading this book, with enough practice I will be able to fluently communicate with animals. I’ve always kind of been able to do so to an extent, but it kind of comes and goes. I’m really excited to put the new stuff I learned in this book to the test.

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The Witches Cupboard by Anna Zollinger and Bree NicGarran

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I’m FINALLY getting around to purchasing and reviewing Anna and Bree’s books and I thought I would start with their powder recipe book first. Man, as a certified Herbalist, I keep a lot of herbs around but there were a couple ingredients in here that I had to squint my eyes at for a second because I hadn’t heard of anyone using them for a long-long time. Like, Bloodroot. Or Dogbane. Not something you see everyday! And I have to admit, it was a treat. This little book was SO refreshing.

Anna and Bree do a phenomenal job at getting right down to it. There is only one introductory chapter and it covers the different powder bases and methods of use, as well allllllll the safety concerns when preparing/storing/using said powders. The rest of the book, save for the last couple of pages, is recipes. And wow, there are a lot! I am definitely going to be making some of them as soon as I can get my hands on some empty jars. The last few pages of the book are dedicated to resources, references and author biographies. I really enjoy using powders/dirts/salts in my practice (I have a constant supply of black salt, graveyard dirt, goofer dust, cascarilla powder and hot foot powder on hand at any given time) and I’m really happy to finally have found some new recipes to try.

I’m really excited to get their other book, The Sisters Grimmoire, once I have the funds. I really enjoy their simple and to-the-point writing styles. I highly recommend their work to any witches, beginner or seasoned, as I think any kind of witch would find it very educational and inspiring. Well, I’m off to go make some of Bree’s Banishing Powder!

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The Un-Spell Book by Mya Om

The Un-Spell Book (Pocket)

I bought this book to brush up on my energy work, and boy howdy, was I right to do so. Mya Om wrote another book called Energy Essentials, I think, that is for witchlings and beginners, but this was her second book, geared more towards intermediate work. Mya Om is a Wiccan witch from , and at first I was a little weary to be reading, yet another, Wiccan-wrote witchcraft book, but I was actually pleasantly surprised. While it does carry quite a few Wicca-esque parts (her ritual examples are very Wiccan), she carries a tone that aims to cater to any kind of witchy reader. Meaning, I guess, that she writes with an open mind, as a witch first and a wiccan second. She also was fairly respectful about the few parts where she did mention chakras. I dislike the use of ‘chakras’ and prefer ‘energy points’, but I’ve learned to kind of pick my battles with witchcraft books.

Overall, the book covers mostly energy work. The first 2 chapters are more introductory stuff, but I still found the exercises useful and the information was definitely something I needed to be reminded of. It covers trigger words, centering, grounding, raising, focus, will, intent, energy, etc. All the basics. The last few chapters cover things like elements, rituals and tools. These were really cool. She gave examples of several kinds of ways to connect with the elements and use different tools in rituals. I found this book to be really helpful. I’ve been having a lot of problems with energy work lately, just because I suffer from severe depression and anxiety, so I have no motivation or energy to do magic, but this book really inspired me to try a few new methods.

If you can ignore the subtle undertones (unless you ARE Wiccan, in which case this is perfect for you), then this book is an extremely useful and definitely something you should read. Even if you are a seasoned witch, the exercises and information are still really good to read over and practice to keep you sharp. I have no real complaints about the book, and I really enjoyed it (again, to my surprise). This is probably the first witchy book about energy work that I’ve ever read that wasn’t completely full of crap or full of overbearing Wiccan views. I will be adding this happily to my witchy bookshelf and will definitely be referring back to it often.

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The Mythical Creatures Bible by Brenda Rosen

The Mythical Creatures Bible by Brenda Rosen

While I usually try to avoid these kinds of books in my practice, as a knowledge-hungry gemini I’ve always craved reading books about mythology and magical creatures. I will say this right off the bat, that this book should be read for educational purposes only, as many of the creatures mentioned are part of closed cultures or religions and are not open for the use in the practices of outside witches or persons. However, there are certain sections, like certain sections on Mermaids and Dragons, that are open for witches to use in their work. It is just important to be mindful and only work with the critters that are open for you to work with. Don’t go trying to contact a Thunderbird or anything. Come on. Be respectful of closed cultures.

Aside from that, this is a great book. It provides awesome historical accounts and descriptions of hundreds of magical and mythological creatures, which are accompanied by beautiful illustrations. The book is arranged into parts, Fabulous Animals, Creatures from the Shadow World, Nature Spirits and Sacred Creatures. That last chapter is actually more about animalistic deities in religions and cultures than about creatures. While I do recommend this as a good resource for witches, it is absolutely vital that they read it with a grain of salt and not with the intention of trying to work with the creatures that are associated with closed cultures. A good rule of thumb is to stay away from anything involving cultures that have suffered oppression, discrimination or genocide (usually native, indigenous, aboriginal, or minority cultures) at the hands of oppressors (usually european, white and the majority culture). As long as you keep that in mind, this book will do wonders for you. It really enriched my understanding of certain creatures, such as Dragons and Nymphs.

The book is well written from an unbiased perspective, easy to understand, and fun to read. I highly recommend giving it a read, if nothing else but for the wonderful stories in it.

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Leaves in Myth, Magic and Medicine by Alice Thoms Vitale

Leaves in Myth, Magic and Medicine by Alice Thoms Vitale — Reviews ...

While The Complete Illustrated Encyclopedia of Magical Plants by Susan Gregg is probably my number one resource for plant and herbal information in magic, I would have to say that this is my number one resource for trees in magic. Alice Thoms Vitale is a wonderful author, and this book she has created is a work of art.

The book is a collection of trees and other leafy plants and all their wonderful information. It provides beautiful pressed scans (or maybe they’re very detailed drawings?) of each plant’s leaves, a detailed description of the plant and it’s role in the history of man, the scientific and botanical properties of the plant, the medicinal properties of the plant, and the magical and metaphysical properties of the plant.

While Susan Gregg’s book is an incredible source on herbs, this is an incredible source on trees. I think they are both incredibly useful and vital to my personal practice, not only as a witch, but also as an herbalist. I highly recommend picking up a copy if you are interested in incorporating trees into your practice, or are just interested in botany or green magic in general.