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Book Reviews
Ain’t That A Mother
By: Adiba Nelson / Blackstone Publishing / $16.99

Overview: No one said motherhood would be easy. For Adiba Nelson, the journey to parenthood started with a big bang and continues with a breakdown (or two) and several Why? questions for God.

Verdict: From the off, not only does author Adiba Nelson thank the reader for picking up, nay purchasing, her little ditty about some woman you may, or may not know, she fully admits that even if you do not know her, you are her, and therein she is you.

For she has also had the thoughts that women and moms and daughters should never contemplate having, she had done things she wasn’t Church-raised to do, especially as a Black woman, but she has most definitely lived.

Indeed, the only difference Adiba can see between her and you, is that she just woke up one day and decided to tell the whole freakin’ world about it!

For as she herself freely admits, they didn’t call her motormouth when she was a kid for nothing!

Witty and bold, Afro-Latina Adiba grew up in survival mode. Her sometimes complicated relationship with her strong-willed, vibrant, religious mother marked her views of mothering and love. When a chance encounter with a tall-ish, brown-skinned brotha at Ruby Tuesday’s right before closing time collided with a Jill Scott song and the right time of the month, Adiba found herself unexpectedly pregnant.

She also found herself unexpectedly falling into the same relationship patterns of the matriarchs before her - the ones she swore she’d never end up in.

Mom to a new baby with high medical needs and with a slew of hardships that just won’t quit, she set out on a reckoning that was just as generational as it was personal. Along the way, Adiba never loses her heart or her humor.

Veined throughout with some very real shit experiences, even as a white man, a foreigner here in a foreign land, I found myself feeling deeply for this woman I had never heard of, never met, save for her words on paper, in a book, whose pages I just kept turning and turning; captivated by the inner core, the indelible spirit that kept my new found friend head above water - and some.

This is a true love story, sure, but the kind about a woman loving herself enough to change the course of her life for herself, her child, and the women after her as well as before.

Inclusive of deeply worrying moments of grief, laced with pee-your-pants humor (some which comes from so far left of center, that there is just no way to be ready for it), the book is a journal that encompasses real life experiences, such as: Postpartum Depression, Miscarriage / Grief, Emotional Abuse, Self-Worth / Self-Love Issues, Poverty, Attempted Suicide, Infidelity, Abuse, and Divorce, Sexual Assault and, finally, Special Needs Parenting (and all that comes with it).

Indeed, it’s some of those in-between moments and the self-revelations, where Adiba’s bold and brilliant story of love, family secrets, and lots of What the ...? moments really shine. Just like parenting, the story is messy, but the reward is incredibly satisfying.

From pasties to postpartum depression, this magnificent book is not your average motherhood memoir - and Adiba is not your average mother, of which I’m sure you can now tell - but her struggles and triumphs, her intimate account of raising a child with special needs, her authentically-sculpted grace at being handle all that came at her, shines like a most righteous beacon of hope here throughout the highly impassioned Ain’t That A Mother.

About The Author - Adiba Nelson writes about inclusion and her life as a Black mother, woman, and daughter. She wrote her 2013 children’s book, Meet ClaraBelle Blue, after searching fruitlessly for a children’s book that adequately and appropriately represented her Afro-Latinx daughter with special needs.

The subject of the Emmy Award-winning documentary The Full Nelson, Adiba is a highly acclaimed speaker and in 2017 delivered a TEDx talk to a sold-out house on what to do when life throws you a curveball. As the curveball’s keep coming, Nelson continues to write.

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The Queer Affirmations Coloring Book
By: Joe Carlough / Ally Shwed - Microcosm Publishing, $14.95

Description: Heteronormative platitudes got you down? Color these joyful queer affirmations instead! Next time someone pulls out an old walnut like, It’s just a phase, they’ll grow out of it, you can correct it to, I love your strong sense of self!.

Sick of hearing trite shit like, It could be worse? Cross it out with a Sharpie and replace it with, I’m sorry you’re going through this.

Verdict: Not everyone in your life may know how to talk about feelings and affirm your experience, but you can do it for yourself and the community you create. Joe Carlough’s thoughtful and humorous revisions of everyday platitudes pair perfectly with Ally Shwed’s colorable scenarios of all sorts of queer people bonding with each other, expressing their emotions, and learning to love themselves a little more every day.

In English, we have many linguistic tricks we can use to make a flamboyant show of emotion without ever expressing actual emotion - we can say things like family is a blessing without ever saying I love you and you mean a lot to me.

We have the old-hat language to make a bombastic claim that We live each day like it’s our last without ever expressing the core sentiment that, Yeah, it’s hard to do new things while wrestling with the ticking clock of mortality, but it’s important for your personal growth.

These sayings do serve a purpose - they act as a quick fix to express feelings through metaphor, which is useful. But, and as explained by the author, Joe Carlough, he doesn’t think it’s appropriate for every conversation, or relationship, to become deeply intimate at every turn.

But as these sayings become overused, trite, and empty - or even worse, oppressive - they are stripped of their original meaning and used as a device to avoid expressing emotion.

So what, then, is a queer affirmation? As a result of growing up and carving out space in a heteronormative world, Joe belives that queer people are uniquely qualified to introduce intentionality into our conversational responses.

Most heteronormative platitudes exist to quash conversation, responding to a friend, family member, or coworker’s problems with a God helps those who help themselves might as well be saying, Hush up about it now, you did this to yourself.

It’s simply judgemental and deflating. So what if you answered your friend’s troubles by opening a door instead with, Your life is a story in motion. What’s making you feel stuck? You would be inviting them to probe their feelings on the matter, together with you.

It would introduce the next steps in the conversation and in the relationship. How can we grow closer by connecting on an emotional level? How can I support you?

It’s no longer an inane response, but an invitation to do some soul searching together.

Welcome to The Queer Affirmations Coloring Book, one and all. Born as a joke, Joe hopes you find the ready-to-be-colored pages not only fun, but uplifting to read and useful in their approach to thoughtful conversation.

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Mystic Pursuit: A Novel
By: Erik Daniel Boudreau / Cosmic Egg Books / $14.95

Overview: In a mystical world where life, spirit and material things live harmoniously, a human emerges, bent on destroying it all.

Verdict: It was a world like our own, in an age lost to time. For millennia, humans co-existed peacefully with three distinct orders of sentient beings, the mystics, each helping to maintain universal balance by governing either life, matter or spiritual energy.

Overseeing this grand orchestration was one solitary being, belonging to a sacred lineage all its own, the Voduss Grei - the Gray Mystics. Spurred by a premonition of the world’s end at the hands of a rebellious human from a small seaside village, Noryssin, the last of the Gray Mystics, saw the village destroyed. The events from that night set off thirty years of chaos and discord among all beings.

Lakos, one of the few human survivors from the tragedy, emerged with the singular goal of exacting revenge against not only the Voduss Grei but also all mystics. Caught amid the conflict was Thayliss, a human who had spent the past three decades living among the Ohlinn, or spirit-mystics, as one of their own.

Finding his once-peaceful life destroyed, and the only family he has ever known ripped from his grasp, Thayliss must try to stop Lakos from his plot to control all mystic orders and assume the throne of the Voduss Grei.

I mean, come on now, if all that intriguingly colorful prose alone doesn’t have you eagerly wanting to rush out (or rush online) and buy this most wondrous, cleverly constructed, expertly sculpted new novel, then I honestly don’t know why you are still reading this review!

Simply put, the novel, of which this is only Book One, is an intriguing blend of adventure, plot and romance twists, mystical realm thinking, and which when all jigsawed together provides the reader with a page/chapter-turning, anytime read, of the highest order.

About the Author - Erik loves the challenge of creating a story and trying to bring it to life. From suspense/thrillers and epic fantasy to screenplays and even health/medical publications, he enjoys delving into a wide variety of different worlds. He lives just outside Vancouver, British Columbia, with his wife and daughter.

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The Journey Across Forever
By: Wayne Saaalman / O-Books / $31.95

Overview: The Journey Across Forever is a magical mystery ride through the prism of history in a search for the answers to humanity’s highest dreams.

Verdict: The Journey Across Forever is a powerful collection of writings detailing the author’s metaphysical insights and paranormal experiences over the decades as he traveled the world in a quest for truth and enlightenment.

Topics under discussion include the profound mysteries of consciousness, precognition, karma, reincarnation, the “Phenomenon” (UAPs), the Dreamtime of the Aborigines, Hermeticism, alchemy and the ‘secret knowledge’, shamanism, psychotropics and the three forms of magic.

Saalman reveals what the physicist, the mystic and all seekers of truth have in common and explains why climate change, the power of social media, the threat of “apocalyptic” politics and the nefarious appeal of the dark web are a spiritual challenge for each of us.

Above all, The Journey Across Forever deeply explores why it is crucial that we heed the words, here and now, of those who have had a near-death experience if we genuinely believe in the reality of spiritual immortality and wish to make our way to higher dimensions upon our own exit from this planet.

In the meantime, the author argues, a Brave New Aquarian Age of promise is ours for the making if we really want it and are prepared to do what it takes to secure it.

A hearty tome, a meaty set of prose, The Journey Across Forever: A Magical Provocative Odyssey Across the Ages, Around the World & into the Great Beyond by author Wayne Saaalman is nonetheless a book that has you thinking as you read it, deliberating about what you know and what is being proffered, along with leaving you with questions; that, I’m sure, the author would love us to then pass along in discussion with our friends.

For as the Foreword boldly claims, herein lies an incredible synthesis of the wisdom of the Master of the ages. It will challenge all readers to initiate in inner search while providing many guideposts through an eclectic mixture of experiences of the body, mind and soul [John B. Alexander, Ph.D].

Going deeper, to really comprehend the meaning of life requires serious consideration of thing spiritual, of this we know, but that in-depth and through contemplation would take us many lifetimes to even come close to an understanding.

Hence, The Journey Across Forever is a dutiful, impassioned and wholly investigatory collection of essays and personal stories intended to inspire. It is offered in a spirit of positivity to all who are questing for answers to the most compelling and profound questions a human can ask.

Of course, as noted, there are no easy answers, no shortcut’s to the path of complete and utter understanding, but I am willing to bet that as more and more people begin to read this book, that some most wondrous pleasures within each and every one will ignite, as they find their own path, create their own journey in life, perhaps even continuing to use this quite magnificent book as their personal map to looking at the world around them through a new set of awoken eyes.

About the Author - Wayne Saalman is an American author who specializes in fictional thrillers. His plots have centered around advanced levels of technology and freestyle spirituality. He first published with New Falcon Publications in 1988 and again in 1990. His first novel was entitled The Dream Illuminati and the follow up: The Illuminati of Immortality. He lives in Galway, Ireland with his wife and two children.

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Quaker Quicks: Simple Faith in a Complicated World
By: Kate McNally – Christian Alternative, $10.95

Description: Author Kate McNally grew up in a mainstream Christian faith, where she could not find the connection to the divine that we all seek. She turned to psychology and science and to the pursuit of success.

That all worked for a while, providing a measure of comfort but not fulfillment, feeding the ego but not the spirit. Then, at a low point and broken by the drive for success, Kate began a spiritual journey that brought her to the Quakers, where she found a spiritual community and a stripped-down, simple way of following the basic commandment: Love one another.

Verdict: In Quaker Quicks - A Simple Faith in a Complicated World, Kate explores the faith of Jesus rather than the faith about Jesus and shares with us the connections to God, self, and others that have brought her to the spiritual community we all long for.

In what can only be described as a most impassioned and rewarding journey - for both the author to have experienced herself, and for the reader to begin to learn and understand - that author McNally has brought forth, we first discover how she grew up, and how at university she herself tried out many various faiths, but couldn’t find one whose image of God fit with her own innate sense of God.

She explains that to be a Quaker she still, even today, has to grow her understanding within in it, and that this book is her way of letting the quiet voice speaking within her out, reach out to the ones who need to hear it.

Thus in what is a most persuasive, clear cut and precise prose, Quaker Quicks: Simple Faith in a Complicated World is McNally’s way of taking the reader gently by the hand and walking them into her world, whilst at the same time proffering to them the Quaker experience with thoughtful descriptions of their ways of working and being in the world.

And appealing, nay captivating read from start to finish, she may well also admit that there are many paths to faith, and that this book describes just one of them, but at the same time she knows parts of the book are necessarily personal, most all of it is more general, and that she hopes the reader finds it all, at some level, to be of a general interest.

So come take this journey with her and explore the idea of perfection and how imperfections make us uniquely ourselves, perfectly suited to the work we are called to do.

About the Author - A psychologist by training, Kate McNally worked as a university professor and as a management consultant in the US and Canada. In 2001 she and her husband Dan Flynn moved to Belgium where she taught English to business people and became a Quaker.

She has represented Quakers at the Council of Europe and worked with the Quaker Council for European Affairs on projects related to forced migration, racism, and vicarious trauma among humanitarian aid workers.

She is an elder and associate tutor at Woodbrooke Quaker Study Centre in the UK where she teaches courses on anti-racism. She is a frequent contributor to the British magazine The Friend and is a certified chocolate taster and judge.

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The Artifice of Eternity: A Novel
By: Aaron H. Arm / Cosmic Egg Books / $23.95

Overview: They flew 13 light years away to build their utopian society. But human nature caught up to them.

Verdict: War. Corruption. Overpopulation. Climate change. When Earth reaches a tipping point, the world’s wealthiest man decides to reboot civilization on another habitable planet. Deemed Project Exodus, the voyage includes 4,000 like-minded colonists, a political manifesto, and all the resources they can fit on their ship.

But traversing the stars and establishing the first permanent colony on a new planet is merely the first step. The real challenge lies in their attempt at a sustainable utopia.

The story spans three generations of colonists on planet Eden, from the first settlers of Project Exodus to the native-born and their own progeny. With each new generation comes an existential threat to their way of life, and one family always finds itself at the center of conflict.

Meanwhile, an otherworldly figure lurks in the recesses of time and space, slowly working toward its own designs.

I have to honestly say that the cover was the first thing to grab my attention, let alone the title of the book, but when I started reading it, my goodness, I was quickly off and running into this dutifully created, insightfully nuanced, scene setting, character driven, attention grabbing narrative that I just simply could not put down (ok, I read the book in just two days, so yeah, I guess I did physically put it down, but you get the point!).

The chapters are plentiful, but not overly long in prose, all be they a collective of incisive explorations of human nature in a way that I can long since recall having read on the page, as subtly nuanced like this before in print.

Simply put, The Artifice of Eternity: A Novel by author Aaron H. Arm is a book that everyone should read, that everyone should read at the very least twice, as it not only spins a quite wondrous tale for us all to dive into this summer, but it comes complete with a real-life health warning to the human populous, as a whole.

In closing, The Artifice of Eternity is a sweeping science fiction narrative with elements of mystery, psychological fiction, and political commentary interspersed with media documents from Earth’s past. It is an insightful appraisal of humanity’s enduring pursuit to escape human nature.

About the Author - Aaron attended Ithaca College for a B.A. in English and an M.A. in adolescent education. After a dozen years of teaching, he now works as a writer and editor. The Artifice of Eternity is his debut novel, which is an homage to the science fiction that inspired him. Aaron believes that science fiction is at its best when used as a mirror or lens to evaluate our own world. He lives in Brooktondale, NY.

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The Creation of Self: A Case for the Soul
By: Joshua R. Farris / Iff Books / $27.95

Overview: Here within The Creation of Self, building on the recent decline of interest in materialism and growing interest in emergent-souls, author Joshua R. Farris defends a traditional view of the soul.

Verdict: Situated in broader science-and-religion discussions, The Creation of Self is the first book-length defense of a creationist view of persons as souls. This book therefore serves as both a novel argument for God’s creation of selves and as a critique of contemporary materialist and emergent-self alternatives, critically examining naturalistic views that argue for a regular, law-like process behind the emergence of personhood.

Author Joshua Farris argues on the assumption that persons are fundamentally unique individuals that look more like singularities of nature, rather than material products grounded in regularity or predictability from past events. By extending the basic intuition that we are unique and mysterious individuals, Farris develops a sophisticated analytic defense of the soul that requires a sufficient explanation not found in nature but made by a Creator who has intentions and the power to bring about novel entities in the world.

The Creation of Self gives philosophers, theologians, and the lay intellectual grounding for thinking about persons as religious beings. It aims to help readers understand why recent scientifically motivated objections to the soul are unsuccessful, and why we must consider a religious conception of persons as souls as a common starting point.

Growing up in the Church of England, I was taught early on by my father’s mother that there are two basic perspectives held by orthodox theologians on the origin of each human soul: creationism and traducianism. The creationist view (not to be confused with scientific creationism) holds that God directly creates a new individual soul for everyone born into this world. Even though the soul is supernaturally created by God, the body for every new human is generated by the parents. The exact moment the soul is created is debated amongst creationists.

However, most evangelical creationists maintain that the soul is created by God at the moment of conception. Others have attempted to argue that the creation of the soul doesn’t come until implantation, or after implantation, or even at birth. All three of these views are fraught with difficulties. The Bible, however, supports the argument that the soul exists at conception, but I won’t continue to go off script here any more, have no fear.

In what is one of the most all-inclusive and dutifully-compelling reads on this subject matter that I believe I have ever read, The Creation of Self: A Case for the Soul by author Joshua R. Farris - a world leading expert on substance dualism, offers a profoundly captivating viewpoint on creationist and emergent views of the soul.

In closing, yes, the book is a sturdy, in-depth, yet magnificently-cultivated set of prose, but it is one chock full of innovative, clear and wholly precise thinking, and never once (I’ve read it cover to cover three times now) tells you what to think or how to respond. It has been built to be discussed, to be more widely appreciated (both the subject matter and the book itself), and therein is a Godsend for us humans to take the time to read; in my humble opinion.

About the Author - Joshua Ryan Farris is Humboldt Experienced Researcher Fellow at the University of Bochum, Germany, and an established author and editor. He lives in Helena, AL.

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By: Willie Van Peer / Iff Books / $25.95

Overview: Willie Van Peer’s new book Unbelievable is everything you always wanted to know about the Gospels — their roots and reliability — casting new light on their historical reality.

Verdict: The New Testament has had a profound impact on Western society. But what do we actually know about its evolution? In what context did the texts originate? Who was Jesus, and how did he become the Son of God? Were the four evangelists reliable witnesses? Why are there so many inconsistencies and contradictions in the New Testament?

Unbelievable: The Gospel Texts in Narrative Tradition and Historical Context, explores the traditions and historical reality behind the New Testament, shedding a whole new light on the biblical stories.

In what is a most gloriously styled book of insightful prose, all questions asked, pondered and investigated in a concise, clear language that dutifully enables the reader to gain insight into the historical and literary contexts from which these texts emerged, and how they have shaped all Western cultures, author William Van Peer opens with: What do we know of Jesus of Nazareth?

The answers, not a great deal, in truth, but enough to still be able to form an image of him and his followers, based mainly on the four Gospels. I mean, I grew up on the question as to whether Jesus was always the eternal Son of God or that He became the Son of God only when He came to earth.

Side barring for a second, this is technically called the eternal generation of the Son, and where two issues are involved: The relationship between the nature of the Father and the Son and The relationship between the ways they carry out their respective roles as members of the Trinity.

That aside, what this enthusiastically-charged, magnificently-impassioned book seeks to do is examine the historical origins of the Gospels: where and when they originated, how they differ and how they influenced each other, who the authors were, what is known about their intentions, and which precursors of those texts are known.

In closing, this book is aimed at interested readers who want to learn how the New Testament came into being, and how it has molded our worldly lives. Although it is based on sound scholarly research, Unbelievable seeks primarily to appeal to a broad audience by presenting a cultural history of the book that so deeply influenced and still influences Western societies.

About the Author - Willie van Peer is Emeritus Professor of Literary Studies and Intercultural Hermeneutics at the Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich and Fellow for Life of Clare Hall, Cambridge University. He lives in Oostende, Belgium.

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A to Z of Mindfulness for Christians
By: David Harper / Circle Books / $19.95

Overview: A to Z of Mindfulness for Christians by author David Harper is a book to help you live in the now -- the present -- the presence of God.

Verdict: Studies show that mindfulness benefits not only people with depression, anxiety and pain; it also benefits those who do not live with such conditions but who would like nonetheless to have greater well-being in their lives.

Drawing from personal experience and the experience of others, David Harper shows how mindfulness can make a positive impact on well-being and therefore on faith and spirituality, while countering some of the myths about mindfulness.

Divided into 52 themes and spanning the alphabet, An A to Z of Mindfulness for Christians explores aspects of mindfulness and how they relate to being a Christian.

Each letter represents two relevant themes, from Awake and Attitude to Body and Breath to Zest and Zacchaeus, and each theme is informative, encouraging and overlaps with spirituality, faith and mindfulness. Some people say mindfulness is a positive form of meditation — and so I thought it might help me manage stress. But others believe it can negatively impact mental and spiritual health. As a Christian, I want to be sure I don’t go down a wrong path.

Generally speaking, mindfulness is a technique of deliberately focusing your attention on the present. You don’t let yourself be distracted by other thoughts constantly running through your head; you clear “noise” from your mind.

Mindfulness (some use the word grounding) is characterized by meditation and relaxation techniques. The idea is to become more self-aware. You pay attention to thoughts, feelings, and sensations in that moment — without purposefully deciding whether they’re good or bad, and without becoming overwhelmed or overly reactive. In short, you tune in to what’s real right now.

The concept of “mindfulness” is rooted in Zen Buddhist meditation, although it would be a mistake to classify this as a strictly Buddhist discipline. Yes, of course, there is a strong support within the Judeo-Christian tradition and the pages of Scripture for the practice of meditation in general. For their part, Buddhists believe that awareness gained through meditation is a “power” that helps them reach nirvana: a state of enlightenment, peace, and happiness.

In recent years, mindfulness has gained traction in the West as a counseling and psychotherapy tool. Jon Kabat-Zinn is considered to be a major influencer in Western adoption of the practice. He created a program called Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR). Similar programs such as Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) treat depression and anxiety, and enhance mental health. Mindfulness is also used by employers and schools to handle stress and spark creativity.

Like anything though, mindfulness can be misused. However, it doesn’t automatically contradict the Christian faith. We just need to make sure we approach it in a wise, biblical way.

Hence why A to Z of Mindfulness for Christians is geared to help Christians live in the now, the present, and within the presence of God, by encouraging them to explore the said-same mindfulness.

So, and in closing, can mindfulness ever be a safe and positive option to manage stress and develop a healthier thought life? Yes. And I say that emphatically, my dear friends.

Christians and many faith-based counselors use mindfulness in a Christ-integrated way as a therapy tool. They believe mindfulness can be compatible with a biblical worldview — as long as it’s rooted in Scripture and focuses on connecting with God.

And thus, and in closing, this book from Harper, albeit one obviously, and lovingly deeply rooted in his own Christian faith, still possesses the warm embrace of not only delivering heartfelt, time honored wisdom, but most assuredly allows the reader to harness it for themselves (over and over).

About the Author - David Harper worked for the University of Oxford for more than 30 years, most recently as Bursar for Blackfriars Hall. He currently volunteers at the Oxfam Bookshop, Witney and is also very involved in the Witney Community Fridge and Larder. He lives in Witney, UK.

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Gods & Goddesses of England
By: Rachel Patterson / Moon Books / $12.95

Overview: Pagan Portals’ Gods & Goddesses of England is all about unearthing the gods and goddesses of England, with an aim to work and connect with these very special deities.

Verdict: As noted, Author Rachel Patterson unearths and shines light on England’s ancient gods and goddesses - many of whom, until now, had long since been forgotten.

Based on archaeological finds and ancient manuscripts, and including information about the tribes that once made their home in England’s pleasant lands, this book serves as a guide to the gods and goddesses of England, with suggested ways to work and connect with these very special deities.

Admitting early on that she not only lives in England, but has been fascinated by the gods and goddesses from the land she lives, Rachel’s pathway has been a Pagan one for many years now.

Initially she looked to the Celtic pantheon as it made sense to her, given she lived in the United Kingdom. This had its uses, but she quickly noted the majority of these deities were linked with Ireland, Wales or Scotland.

And so with England seemingly a little bit lacking in that department, she opened up to a deity, as a whole, and ended up working with gods and goddesses from across the globe.

My own undertaking, albeit one from back in the day, was that a lot of the British deities came from Romano-Celtic pantheon. The deities found here belong to the period when Britain was a province of Rome Empire. Indeed, much like Gallic Deities, these Celtic deities were sometimes adopted by the Romans, who lived in the region between first and fourth century AD.

Furthermore, sometimes Roman (and Greek) writers described Celtic deities by given them Roman names, sometimes with their Gallic names, and at other times with just the Roman names. Mercury, Mars, Jupiter, Apollo, Hercules and Minerva were the most common Roman names used, when applying to Celtic deities.

And in the Celtic pantheon, it was Mercury that usually the highest in the order of hierarchy, not Jupiter. Jupiter was also sometimes below in ranking to Mars as well. But I digress.

Broken into two distinctive parts - Part I The History of Humans and Part II Gods & Goddesses - the book then details a veritable slew of all-things connected in-between. Such as sub-sections on Let’s Look at the Isles, Burials, Metals, Offerings, Iron-Age, The Celts, and amongst others, The Pantheons, Meet the Deities, The Three Mothers and the aptly named An English Ending.

Inviting us in to journey alongside her, and these most wondrous gods and goddesses, Rachel hopes we make our own unique discoveries along the way, and I can, for one, attest to the fact that I am now more attune to everything that Rachel has written here; especially given that I am from England, but have resided here in the US for 33 years now, and so leaning back into its mythic heritage was a lovely warm blanket of comforting prose for me to most definitely enjoy. And I know you will think the same way too.

About the Author - Rachel Patterson has penned more than twenty books on the rituals and practices of magic and paganism. She is High Priestess of the Kitchen Witch Coven, and an Elder of the Kitchen Witch School of Natural Witchcraft. A Hedge/Kitchen Witch with an added dash of folk magic, Rachel writes regularly for Pagan magazines and blogs and gives talks at Pagan events. She lives in Portsmouth, UK.

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The Magic of Serpents
By: Scott Irvine / Moon Books / $10.95

Overview: The Magic of Serpents, is a book that searches for the symbolism and worldwide mythology, religious, philosophical and spiritual level the serpent stands for.

Verdict: A remnant from the age of the dinosaur, the serpent was originally a symbol of arcane knowledge from the old gods. Transformed into the devil for tempting Eve to eat from the forbidden tree, the serpent has remained the villain ever since.

Scott Irvines’s The Magic of Serpents is a profound search for the symbolism and worldwide mythology - at the religious, philosophical and spiritual levels - for which the serpent stands.

If think, in one way or another, that we all have been made aware that the snake, or serpent, is one of the most symbolically significant animals in literature, religion, and mythology. Although many people associate the snake with sinister and even downright evil connotations, in reality the symbolism of the serpent is far more ambiguous and wide-ranging than this.

Indeed, some of the most famous and important symbolic traits of the serpent were born a long time ago, nonemoreso than in ancient myth, where a snake devouring its own tail, known as Ouroboros, was a symbol of eternity. The snake’s ability to slough or shed its own skin – symbolic of rebirth and renewal – has also played into this symbolism, and in many cultures, snakes have been associated with the underworld and the abode of the dead (because it spends so much time in pits and below the earth, or hiding under rocks).

In the Bible, although the serpent is most often associated with Satan and therefore with evil forces, this only tells part of the picture. And strictly speaking, even that part is inaccurate, in my humble opinion. But I won’t bore you with all that now.

As for snakes (serpents) in literature, the great D. H. Lawrence (1885-1930) wrote one of his most famous poems, ‘Snake’, while he was living on the island of Sicily, in the beautiful resort, Taormina, on the east side of the island:

The voice of my education said to me
He must be killed,
For in Sicily the black, black snakes are innocent, the gold are venomous.

And voices in me said, if you were a man
You would take a stick and break him now, and finish him off.

Lawrence’s gendering, and anthropomorphism, of the snake as ‘he’ stages a masculine battle (or stand-off – well, if snakes could stand, anyway) between him and the snake, two males facing off against one another. (Lawrence also refers to how the snake ‘mused’ as it drank at the trough, another piece of anthropomorphism).

In closing, what author Scott Irvine does here in his new book The Magic of Serpents, and which itself opens on a Preface that touts the fall of man through Genesis 3, 1-20 of the Good News Bible (1976), is showcase the fact that the serpent – far from being Satan in ophidian form, or being that of anthropomorphism, or simply something hungry enough to devour its own tail re: Ouroboros – is actually an entity, of sorts, a creative force within nature, the transformation from one age to another, shedding the old to grow new worlds and evolve into the future; in other words, to aid us humans’ passage from infantile innocence to the maturity of experience.

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Refine & Grow
By: Lynse Allen / JHP Business Books / $19.95

Overview: Refine & Grow is a new book from author Lynse Allen, and is a guidebook compiled of tips from Fortune 500 consultants, executives, and managers, that helped them achieve career, network, and financial success.

Verdict: In a world where the only known constant is change, adapting and evolving to meet the needs of your employer can be overwhelming, frustrating, and depressing. Whether you need to find work-life health, solve unexpected roadblocks quicker, take on additional responsibilities, or adapt to a diverse group of personalities, it feels like there’s a constant influx of concerns and requests battling for your time, attention, and effort.

In Refine & Grow, author Lynse Allen shows you how to construct and execute a methodology to rise above these common pitfalls, improve your reputation, and take back control of your career.

An impressively astute, knowingly informative, and yet never once condescending to what we might, must, should, could, need to know new book, Refine & Grow: Lessons Learned on Navigating the Business World is a veritable must-have for anyone and everyone who sees value in building their skill set in order to pursue a career path that gives them purpose, and wants to make the organization they work for better.

As Lynse freely admits, your goal, as the worldly informed, business-attired human being that you are, should always be to leave an organization batter than you found it. For this is the concept behind adding value.

She goes on to say that for every lesson written in the book, the primary goal is to teach someone how to add value. Indeed, this was one of a few basic principles from which the book was actually written.

Of course, you must also feel that your career path chosen still aligns with what you have always felt compelled to do, or have a deep interest, nay passion for. Because if you are in a role that you feel no passion for and read this book, it obviously won’t nearly be as useful!

Compiled of tips from Fortune 500 consultants, executives, and managers, that helped them achieve career, network, and financial success, the book is broken down into ten chapters, opening with You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know and Find the Learning in Everything You Do, and also includes Be Buttoned Up, Be Okay with Awkward Silence, and both Don’t Avoid Failure, Minimize Its Impact and This is What You Do, Not Who You Are.

About the Author - Lynse Allen is the owner and founder of Refine & Grow LLC. She is a business coach with over 15 years of experience in the non-profit and management consulting industries. She specializes in training & development, organizational strategy, organizational design, project management, and change management.

She has worked for and with companies such as Amazon, Microsoft, T-Mobile, Grant Thornton, Mitsubishi Financial Group, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, United Way, Hitachi Ltd., and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. She lives in Seattle, WA.

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And this shall be my dancing day (A Novel)
By: Jennifer Kavanagh – Roundfire Books, $16.95

Description: What is the mystery of the dying flowers in a dark doorway with an ever-open door? And why does it matter so much? Two very different women are brought together by love, loss and their struggles with very modern moral choices - whether to act against injustice, and just how far to go.

Verdict: Telling it like it is from the off, and given that both myself and my partner have now read the book in under a week, I can honestly say that And this shall be my dancing day is a most enjoyable read, engrossing and thought-provoking read from start to finish.

From the onset you are pulled into the intrigue of what is to unfold for our characters yet met - She would never have seen it if there hadn’t been a bus strike, and all of a sudden you need to know who Emma is, what she had seen, and how it relates to the mystery to soon unfold.

Not to give anything away, but the character of Emma is an intriguing one off the bat, well drawn, well versed, and someone you feel you can get one side with - even though you have no idea how deeply involved in the mystery she may, or may not be.

She exudes a good, if not complex relationship with her family, along with having a different outreach of sorts with her neighbor Bob, but as the story unfolds, we soon see that not everything is as was first thought.

Indeed, set against a background of Brexit, migration politics and the abhorrent stream of darkness that lives within human trafficking, the strength to change, the courage to act, the need to forge ahead into the light, is one that is inherent within us all at some level.

About the Author - Jennifer Kavanagh worked in publishing for nearly thirty years, the last fourteen as an independent literary agent. In the past twenty years she has run a community centre in London’s East End, worked with street homeless people and refugees, and set up microcredit programmes in London, and in Africa.

She has also worked as a research associate for the Prison Reform Trust and facilitated workshops for conflict resolution both in prison and in the community.

Jennifer contributes regularly to the Quaker press, and is an associate tutor at Woodbrooke Quaker study centre. She is a Churchill Fellow, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and a member of a community of fools.

She has written twelve books of non-fiction on the Spirit-led life, most recently Let Me Take You by the Hand, in 2021, and three novels, most recently (due to be published in July 2023) And this shall be my dancing day.

Balancing an active life with a pull towards contemplation is a continuing and fruitful challenge. As she writes, “Life in the world is about a series of balances: of the life within and the outside world; inner experience and outward witness, plenitude and the void”.

Jennifer is one of the most interesting writers of our generation on spirituality - Derek A. Collins, London Centre for Spirituality.

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Pagan Portals The Norns: Weavers of Fate & Magick
by: Irisanya Moon / Moon Books / $12.95

Overview: For those unaware, The Norns sit at the base of the World Tree, weaving strands of fate and calling on us to step into our role in destiny.

Overview: In The Norns: Weavers of Fate and Magick, we meet the ones who weave, measure, and cut at the base of the World Tree. With Urd, Verdandi, and Skuld we travel across time and meet ourselves as part of fate.

In this meeting, we join the Norns, weavers of destiny, and encounter the wyrd.

As was imparted to me growing up, in Norse mythology, the Norns were three wise women spinners who determined every allotted life span. One spun out the thread of each life, another measured its length, and the third decided when the thread should be snapped.

As noted, these Norse goddesses of fate, represented as three sisters named Urd, Verdandi, and Skuld, lived underneath the world tree, Yggdrasill, located under Urd’s well, and which were linked with both good and evil.

In actuality, the name Norn appears only in Scandinavian sources, but the cult of Nornlike beings occurs in several European folklores and, furthermore, in Norse literature the Norns are sometimes called dísir.

What author Irisanya Moon does in her new book Pagan Portals The Norns: Weavers of Fate and Magick is bring these three sister to colorful life on the page. Inclusive of academic source material, along with a deep dive into her own extensive hands-on history of the subject matter to hand, this what can also be described as guidebook to The Norns is as comprehensive as anything that has gone before it, of that you have my word.

Thus Moon’s personal experiences are the lifeblood of this magnificent read, which is as much a honed debrief of The Norns as it is an enthralling, nay impassioned understanding of them, which through her words, veritably come to life before our very eyes within these most wondrous pages.

All that said, and in her very own words, Moon wishes to say this about all her books with regard deities: Take what you will and leave the rest. [But] take a breath with me, and perhaps begin to feel the threads of time dance across your face and even your heart. Feel how you are already connected to the great mystery of what was, what is, and what is becoming. And maybe more.

About the Author: Irisanya Moon (she/they) is an author, witch, international teacher, poet, and Reclaiming initiate who has practiced magick for 20+ years. She has taught in the US, Canada, the UK, and Australia, bringing her blend of grounded, graceful, and radically authentic facilitation to inspire transformation and liberation at the personal and collective levels.

She has written several books: Pagan Portals (Reclaiming Witchcraft - 2020, Aphrodite - 2020, Iris - 2021, Norns - 2023); Earth Spirit (Honoring the Wild - 2023, Gaia - 2023); and Practically Pagan: An Alternative Guide to Health & Well-being - 2020.

Plus, she has written essays, articles, poems, and blogs for Witches & Pagans, Pagan Dawn, Coreopsis Journal, Moon Books, Revelore Press, Llewellyn, Epona Muse Publishing, and more. In 2023, they self-published a book of poetry, wrecked: the insistence of grief.

Irisanya cultivates spaces of self-care/devotion, divine relationship (whatever that means to you), and community service as part of her heart magick and activism.

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Pagan Portals: Planetary Magic
by: Rebecca Beattie / Moon Books / $12.95

Overview: Pagan Portals: Planetary Magic: A friendly introduction to creating modern magic with the seven energies is an accessible and practical introduction to pre-modern planetary magical techniques used by practitioners for centuries.

Verdict: At the core of modern pagan witchcraft is a knowledge system concerning traditions of nature, connection, and embodiment to the astrological planets. Throughout magical history, practitioners of magic have looked to the planets for inspiration and magical help.

From the earliest beginnings of written magical texts - the Grimoires - magical systems were based on the seven planetary powers that were visible in the night sky. The Grimoires were then studied by practitioners of folk-magic - the Cunning Folk - and by influential groups from the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn to practitioners of Modern witchcraft.

In what is a dutifully, yet wholly impassioned new prose on a most wondrous subject matter, author Rebecca Beattie brings to life - via her flourishing, and at all times accessible teachings - a colorfully detailed introduction to the pre-modern planetary magic that happens all around us, day after day, and yet we are, most likely, not even the slightest bit aware of.

Simply put, Beattie explains - in easy to understand language - the various aspects that the Signs and Planets form as they go through their eternal celestial dance. Thus, this considerable book on modern Paganism goes into depth explaining the esoteric implications within the various aspects; trine, square, sextile, etc.

The book - which is lovingly dedicated to Battles’ very own Witchlets, born from her London-based Witch Club - also goes over each individual astrological and planetary glyph, explaining the hidden symbolism in each one and what that can teach us about working with these celestial energies.

Indeed, if you wish to go deeper, these prime examples of how these glyphs can be utilized in one’s magical practice can fast become very fulfilling to the soul, let alone how the progression of the Zodiac has many lessons to teach within the Great Work of spiritual growth.

Simply put, this enthralling new book is written from a Pagan point of view for magical practice and spiritual growth, and provides valuable information not found in contemporary books on astrology.

And as Battles herself says, I now invite you to explore the ideas in these pages and discover Planetary magic for yourselves.

About the Author - Rebecca Beattie (who lives in Tavistock, UK) has a PhD in Creative Writing and has previously written two novels, a book of short stories, and her first Moon Books title Pagan Portals: Nature Mystics.

Rebecca has been a regular teacher at Treadwell’s Books in Bloomsbury for many years, and has a website at

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Hope From Heaven
by: Elissa Hope / O-Books / $17.95

Overview: When Elissa Hope died during a routine procedure, her soul left her body and traveled to heaven. There she came face to face with God, who then sent her back to her life as his messenger - with an important purpose, one that would not be revealed to her until the time was right.

A true story of divine intervention and the girl who came back as God’s messenger, Hope From Heaven chronicles the author’s near-death experience and tells the breathtakingly beautiful, spiritual love story about her and her celebrity crush Todd Irvin.

Elissa’s fairy tale with Todd leads to her important purpose in the most mystical and magical spiritual turn of events. Hope From Heaven will truly take your breath away.

Verdict: Opening on the self-conscious warning: This book may inspire, impact and influence your perception of how you might get to Heaven and who might show up in your life to usher you through the pearly gates, Hope From Heaven: A True Story Of Divine Intervention And The Girl Who Came Back As God’s Messenger is a candid, very intimate account of the spiritual events in the author’s life.

In what seems like an ordained, unswervable Final Destination kind of way, we get told that at 14, the author experienced a near-death experience (NDE) - albeit not due to a horrible car crash or anything like that, moreover a simplistic, and what should have been administration of gas given to a young girl at the dentist - to the very same woman’s appointment as God’s messenger.

Oh, and lest we forget that Elissa Hope has also had a slew of after-death (ADC) experiences, and yet our fearless messenger wouldn’t change a thing and counts herself richly blessed in having had such a most wondrous, impassioned and spirit-adorned life.

Back at 14 years old, still sat in the dentist’s chair, her head a fog with the laughing gas, Elissa found herself moving through a long speeding tunnel. The best way she can describe it is like hearing the sound of wind on the windiest day. A loud whooshing sound that went on and on as she continued to travel through the tunnel.

Starting to become starkly self-aware that somehow she had left her body behind, and that this was one journey her soul was taking all on its own, her mother - who had accompanied her to said dentist - was in the waiting room, completely obvious to the fact her daughter had just died.

Yes, this is how the book opens and it just gets better, more engrossing and dutifully magical, albeit all true, of course, as the pages turn. In what can only be described as a good, old-fashioned page turner of a prose, this exquisitely written, heartfelt and just purely faith-driven book will - and without a shadow of a doubt - have all its readers connecting with a higher level of understanding; and one that bears its soul within faith, love and a genuine hope that we might all be as lucky as Elissa in our own search for a Higher Learning.

For as Dr. Harmony, Twin Flame Ascension Expert & Quantum Healer, says in her Foreword to the book, and in just one of the endearing sets of passages she herself imparts, Before we are born, we create agreements with the soul family that agree to facilitate our self-actualization and learn lessons for our spiritual evolution. These interactions with others cause us to experience painful and difficult situations. They teach us to transcend limiting beliefs, generational curses, cultural conditions, and toxic relationships, and to reprogram old patterns that no longer serve our purpose. This process is known as ascension.

The ascension journey assists us in letting go of who we have been, learning to love who we are, and embracing who we are becoming. The purpose of this transformative rebirth and metamorphosis is to help us rise above our limitations and regenerate into the best version of who we came here to earth to be.

When our soul is ready to reach these higher states of consciousness, we experience a dark night before we can discover the light of God inside ourselves. This intense quest assists the soul to align with all aspects of oneself and become whole - prepared to return to oneness with its other half.

About the Author - When Elissa Hope was fourteen she had an extraordinary near-death experience. Now, forty years later, she is ready to share it with the world. Elissa has been a model, makeup artist and aerobics instructor, studied acting at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute, and worked as a flight attendant.

Today, Elissa lives on the Gold Coast of Long Island, NY, not far from the town of Oceanside where she grew up.

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Self-Awareness and Meditation: An Advanced Guide..
by: Charles Attfield / Mantra Books / $25.99

Overview: We are all on a journey, a journey from illusion to truth. Self-Awareness and Meditation: An Advanced Guide for Meditators looks at both the evolution of consciousness along this journey, and meditation as an integral part of it.

A point comes when there is an awakening to the possibility that there is more than the consensus reality, which we have been part of for eons. We know that there is something more - and so our search begins. Eventually, with meditation, our focus moves within as we search for the Self - our true nature - which, until now, has been hidden in illusion, waiting for our awakening and eventual, joyful return.

Verdict: Human development is a slow, organic process. There are times when everything blooms quickly, and there are seasons of hibernation when it seems like nothing is changing, but in fact a lot is happening underneath the surface. Inner transformation can seem as slow as a tree branch growing. However, we need to consistently nurture ourselves, be patient, and let things unfold in their own way.

Self-Awareness and Meditation focuses on the return journey back to the Self. True meditation is a state of awareness which comes naturally as we increasingly align with our soul. We realize that we are not the doer, and then comes a different perspective about allowing our false reality to fall away, and we discover that consciousness, not the ego, has been running the show all the time.

I think, given what we have all been through these past years, that we can all agree that there has never been a better time to strengthen our ability to cultivate patience, compassion, acceptance, and non-judgment for others and yourself — all qualities that are foundational for successful mindfulness practice.

And so starting to build a dutiful foundation of mindfulness with the bricks cultivated from the principle of self-awareness, thus providing us to then be able to implement these skills in our day-to-day lives, is one of the best things we can do for ourselves. So why is it just so damn hard to get started on this road to self-awareness?

Starting from the beginning acorn of where this book wishes to direct you, internally and mentally, the big question has to be: What is Self-Awareness?

Well, self-awareness is our ability to tune-in and consciously be aware of our own thoughts, emotions, and actions coupled with how our behavior affects others. At first, this may sound simple, but it actually takes a great deal of practice and skill to be able to call upon that consistent level of awareness.

For example, as you read this, are you able to tune into your current emotional state? Are you able to recall how you felt when you woke up this morning? How about how you felt after the last conversation you had? Life moves fast, and if we don’t take the time to build moments into our day to slow down and tune-in we can move through life on autopilot.

Every day, we repeat movements, thought patterns, and ways of interacting with others. In this repeated daily practice, we create automatic behaviors (some good, some bad) that have a tendency to stick. Whether it’s moving through your usual day-to-day activities, being confronted with difficult thoughts and emotions, or having conversations with others, we all have patterns of behavior that we act out over and over again… without fully recognizing the patterns we’ve created.

I mean, come on now, we have all left a difficult conversation or made a quick decision in an emotional state with the sinking feeling that we wished we could have said or done things differently, had we been in a different emotional space or mindset.

And so by building your skills of self-awareness through meditation you can learn how to hit the “pause button” before reflexively leaning into bad habits or negative behavior patterns without noticing.

Thus, here within Self-Awareness and Meditation: An Advanced Guide for Meditators, author Charles Attfield provides us the tools that allow us to take a step back, to slow down and then to create space between receiving information, processing, and reacting – giving us the ability to check-in with our best selves in real-time before responding.

Opening with the aptly-named Search for the Self, Attfield presents his findings within Eastern Meditation, in a form readily understandable by the West, and which was actually handed on down to him by his own teacher, and founder of the Synchronicity Foundation, Master Charles Cannon.

About the Author - Charles Attfield was a high school teacher for most of his career. Originally from the UK, he moved to Australia in 1986. His interest in meditation and eastern philosophy grew rapidly after his later visits to India.

In addition to teaching qualifications, Charles has qualifications in esoteric psychology, astrology and counseling. He lives in Helena Valley, Australia.

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Children’s Unexplained Experiences ...
by: Donna Maria Thomas / Essentia Books / $19.95

Overview: Historically, children’s inexplicable experiences -- from telepathy and conversing with deceased relatives to out-of-body- or near-death experiences, and more -- have been theorized through traditional scientific lenses that may not have the explanatory power to account for such experiences.

In Children’s Unexplained Experiences in a Post Materialist World, author Donna Maria Thomas shares research that she and other scholars, past and present, have conducted with children and young people across the world. By placing children’s unexplained experiences and views about reality in the contexts of culture, consciousness and the nature of self, this book offers a middleway for explaining these childhood experiences within post-materialist science and philosophy.

Furthermore, Thomas suggests that children’s experiences could greatly contribute to a new paradigm for understanding the mystery of being human and the nature of reality.

In what is a enjoyably engrossing, in-depth, personal and highly researched new book, author Thomas brings forth an engaging study - and one told from the viewpoint of the child - about the children who have experienced the near-death phenomenon and its aftereffects.

Noting that the child who returns from a near-death experience is not the same child as before, but is a, for want of a better description, “remodeled, rewired, reconfigured, and a wholly refined version of the original,” it is also thought that these very same children have thus experienced structural, chemical, and functional changes in the brain, which then shows up in their greater empathic abilities; as well as dramatically higher intelligence.

A veritable slew of enhanced abilities that cannot be tied to simple genetics, we must first understand the near-death experiences of children ourselves so that we can help them to prepare for a quantum leap in not only their very own evolution, but the evolution of humanity overall.

In closing, Children’s Unexplained Experiences in a Post Materialist World is a smartly written, non-biased, and generously prose adorned read that whilst shedding light into this phenomenon also goes a long way to show extreme, and thorough professionalism throughout.

Simply put, fair and honest at all times, this book is a neverending fountain of wisdom, one where the author provides a most glorious informational platform for the children, in a way that de-stigmatizes and normalizes these exceptional experiences; whilst at the same time explores how these experiences affected the children (then and now) and the meanings they themselves adhere to them and their own changes within.

And, as Thomas herself freely admits, As a child experiencer, I write this book in the spirit of reflexivity. Making sure that my own experiences shared do not impinge on the experiences of the children I research with. It is hoped that my own experiences bring an element of understanding and open-mindedness that is distinctly lacking for unexplained experiences in childhood.

About the Author: Donna Maria Thomas has researched with children for 18 years and has a special interest in the nature of self and anomalous experiences in childhood. She lives in Blackburn, UK.

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The Peace of Freysdal: A Light Twister Novel
by: Michael Richards / Lodestone Books / $21.95

Overview: The Peace of Freysdal tells the story of Jaren’s future, which is upended when he becomes a Light-Twister and now he must suppress the light-twisting darkness and defend Freysda.

Verdict: Freysdal is a peculiar place for more reasons than one. Besides manufacturing radiant items for non-Light-Twisters, it’s also the only place in Thadren where thralls and freemen work side by side. Jaren knows that he’s no more than a small piece in the effort to overthrow Thralldom, but he’s comfortable with that role.

That comfort is shattered, though, when he learns that he can control radiant energy. Now, instead of working to be reunited with his sisters, Jaren must resist the burden that drives Light-Twisters to cruelty and survive an abusive radiance instructor long enough to figure out who’s trying to kill Freysdal’s founder.

The stress ramps up with growing rumors of an impending attack on Freysdal, and Jaren must decide whether he’s willing to give up the Peace of Freysdal and become the Sword that defends it.

In what is a book that I knew nothing of story wise, or even about in general, until it arrived for review, and then found myself fully engaged within it from the very first few pages onward, I have to honestly report that The Peace of Freysdal: A Light Twister Novel is the most perfect book to take on holiday, to sit in a sunny park with, or just to relax on the sofa with on a rainy Sunday afternoon.

An enthralling, wholly captivating young adult fantasy, via its 350 pages the book never lets go of your imagination, has you sat still, not wishing to even move onto doing something else, whilst at the very same time dutifully adorning us by succeeding in doing the best it can to introduce the reader - of which this book is cleverly designed to be a prose fit for any age group - to a most wondrous world of magical adventure.

Coming complete with a subtext that revolves around the fight against oppression, the central characters are quickly fleshed out, their destinations (and destinies) well-paced, the overall plot a delightful gradual burn, thus allowing the reader to keep time with the tale that author Richards wishes to spin.

Sure, for the most part, you could call this a fantasy novel, but more importantly, it is a very unique work of spellbindingly creative illusions that although don’t come all at once, when they do begin to overlap, weave a most delightfully otherworldly tale for us to feast our minds on.

About the Author - Michael Richards is a US Air Force officer with a Ph.D. in Energy Science. He’s currently stationed in downtown Tokyo, Japan, where his assignment is to find and fund top quantum science researchers in Asia.

He likes growing beards (when on leave...), smashing atoms, making cheese, and writing stories; but not at the same time.

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Pagan Portals - Animal Magic
by: Rachel Patterson / Moon Books / $12.95

Overview: Pagan Portals - Animal Magic: Working With Spirit Animal Guides by author Rachel Patterson, is an introduction to the world of animal magic; how to find, recognize, connect and work with the power of animal magic.

Verdict: Within the confines of this easy to read, relatable, and wholly impassioned new book, author Rachel Patterson dives into a slew of different types of animal magic, some probable origins, modern versions, and then provides some informative meditations to help the reader search for animal guides of their own.

The book covers topics that include just what animal magic is and the benefits of practicing it, along with those aforementioned meditations and even some simple spells to employ when attempting to figure out which animal has some meaning to you; and what they might well be able to teach you.

If you have ever wondered about what your spirit animal could be, moreover what it might be able to do with/for you, then you are not alone, for the fundamental search for your spiritual juju (which can only be found in the energies of the animal kingdom) is a search that has been instilled in humans for the longest time.

So, you’re not alone for spiritual seekers through all of history have recorded their interactions with animal energies and medicine. Furthermore, they strove to build strong relationships with animal archetypes as a way of broadening the human experience with the natural world and its gifts.

As we learn, Spirit, Totem and Power Animals are messengers from the world of Spirit, the collective conscious, Source, etc. and they show up in our awareness when the time is right; gifting to us a gentle reminder that we are connected us to their divine energy and can call upon it to achieve our highest and best life.

More importantly, these creatures become teachers, guides and advisors when we most need it and so here in Pagan Portals: Animal Magic, Rachel shows us how to incorporate our own guides into rituals and other workings once you have made your connection with them.

Encouraging the reader to use their own intuition to learn what the animal has to teach them, as opposed to relying entirely on a paragraph from a reference book, Rachel’s book is a rather solid, down to earth, dutiful guide to different aspects of working with these most wondrous of animal spirits.

As for the author herself, she describes herself as thus: I am a witch ... have been for a very long time ... the real sort, but I am also a working wife and mother. I am also a High Priestess of the Kitchen Witch Coven and an Elder at the online Kitchen Witch School of Natural Witchcraft.

My craft is a combination of old religion witchcraft, kitchen witchery, hedge witchery and folk magic. My heart is that of a Kitchen Witch.

About the Author: Rachel Patterson is High Priestess of the Kitchen Witch Coven and an Elder of the Kitchen Witch School of Natural Witchcraft. A Green/Kitchen Witch with an added dash of hedgewitch and folk magic. She lives in Portsmouth, UK.

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Pagan Portals - Dancing with Nemetona
by: Joanna Van Der Hoeven / Moon Books / $12.95

Overview: Nemetona is an ancient goddess whose song is heard deep within the earth and also deep within the human soul. She is the Lady of Sanctuary, of Sacred Groves and Sacred Spaces. She is present within the home, within our sacred groves, our rites and in all the spaces that we hold dear to our hearts.

Verdict: She also lies within, allowing us to feel at ease wherever we are in the world through her energy of holding, of transformation. She holds the stillness and quiet of a perfect day; she is the stillness at the end of it, when the blackbird sings to the dusk.

She is the energy of sacred space, where we can stretch out our souls and truly come alive, to be who we wish to be, filled with the magic of potential. Rediscover this ancient goddess and dance with a Druid to the songs of Nemetona.

Thus, here in Pagan Portals - Dancing with Nemetona: A Druid’s exploration of sanctuary and sacred space by author Joanna Van Der Hoeven, the reader will learn how to reconnect with this goddess in ritual, songs, chants, meditation and more.

As we learn, Nemetona’s themes are wishes, protection, joy, fairies, magic, luck and nature and her symbols are Hawthorn trees (or trees in general). In Romano-Celtic regions, Nemetona guards groves of trees with a special protective presence that marks the area as a sacred site. Within this space, the soul is hushed and calm, becoming one with nature and the Goddess.

Nemetona’s name means ‘shrine’ giving new depth of meaning to William Cullen Bryant’s poetic phrase ‘the groves were God’s first temples,’ which makes Nemetona a very ancient Goddess of the Celts; specifically those in Gaul (what is now France). As well, She is thought to have been the eponymous deity of the Nemetes, a group of Germano-Celtic people living by the Rhine in an area now called Trier in Germany.

The Celts, in general, did not build temples, but rather practiced their spirituality in sacred groves and Nemetona personifies this belief in the sacred land. Her name literally means ‘sacred space’, from the Celtic root ‘nemeto’ which means ‘sacred area’.

Additionally, She is related to the druidic concept of nemeton, the designation of sacred spiritual space and what this new book doers so elegantly is take an informative dive into the human relationship; but not only with this Goddess, but also with the concepts of sacred space and boundaries.

In what is an impassioned, yet easy to read book, the reader will find guided meditations to help them connect to Nemetona, to find their own nemetona, to learn to expand it, and your own world, and importantly is a mighty fine, and extraordinary valuable resource for anyone interested in Druidry; and who, perhaps, also feels drawn to the Goddess Nemetona or who would like to begin working with her.

And leaving the last word to the author herself, Joanna says: May you be inspired, and may you find peace within the sacred grove.

About the Author: Joanna van der Hoeven has been working in Pagan traditions for nearly 30 years. She is an author, teacher, dancer, blogger, photographer and videographer. Her love of nature and the land where she lives provides her with constant inspiration. She was born in Quebec, Canada and now lives near the sea in Suffolk, England.

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Raven Goddess: Going Deeper with the Morrigan
by: Morgan Daimler / Moon Books / $12.95

Overview: Pagan Portals - Raven Goddess follows on from the author’s earlier book, The Morrigan, to help the reader continue to get to know the Irish Goddess of war, battle, and prophecy with a particular focus on disentangling truth from common misconceptions.

Verdict: As the Morrigan has grown in popularity, understandings of who she was and is have shifted and become even more nebulous. Raven Goddess is intended to clarify some common points of confusion and help people go deeper in their study of the Morrigan and assist in nurturing a devotional relationship to her.

Taking it from the top, out of the many mythical characters in Irish folklore, the Morrigan is arguably one of the best known. The Morrigan is one of the many prominent figures to feature in Irish mythology and is primarily associated with war / battle, fate and death.

She is a gifted shape shifter and is known to favor changing into the crow. Furthermore, the Morrigan was one of the Tuatha De Danann, who were the folk of the Goddess Danu. Growing up, we were frequently told stories about Celtic Gods and Goddesses, however, few stories had us on the edges of our seats like the tales of the Goddess Morrigan.

The mysterious Morrigan Celtic queen as kids growing up in Ireland. Like all stories from Irish and Celtic Folklore, the tales were colorful, magical and, in this case, featured many a battle. The Phantom Queen/Morrigan mythology is one of the most popular there is, which is likely due to the incredible stories that revolve around her.

It’s said that the name ‘Morrigan’ roughly translates to ‘The Phantom Queen’. Like the Puca, she was a shapeshifter yet, unlike the Puca, she was associated with war, death and destiny. So what we get here in this follow up book from author Mercedes, is not only a dutiful, updated tag on to her prior book, but also brings forth a Celtic prose to those not wholly familiar with the warrior queen herself (although the name by which she is called tends to change depending on who is telling the story, she often referred to by several different names).

So what Mercedes does here now is not only tell more salacious tales about the Irish Goddess of war, battle, and prophecy, but strives (and succeeds) to shine a new, and defined focus on disentangling truth from common misconceptions (such as spellings and pronunciations, et al.) about the Morrigan.

For example What is the deal with the Morrigan and Cu Chulainn? and Is Nemain really one of the Morrignae? Thus, Mercedes offers both personal insight along with cautionary advice, which all comes to the fore to hopefully be useful to someone who is dedicatedly trying to put the historical facts into a contemporary way of integrating the deity into their own personal, spiritual path.

And leaving the last word to the author’s friend, Lara O’Brien (author of A Practical Guide to Irish Spirituality), who says: All in all, I know this book will become an invaluable reference book that I keep right at my desk at the Irish Pagan School HQ, alongside so many of Morgan’s other books. It is a fantastic addition to the few quality books and resources on the Goddess that I can wholeheartedly recommend.

About the Author: Morgan Daimler is a blogger, poet, teacher of esoteric subjects, witch, and priestess of the Daoine Maithe. Morgan is a prolific pagan writer, having published more than a dozen books under Moon Books alone, and she is one of the world’s foremost experts on all things Fairy.

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Sun Magic How To Live In Harmony w/ The Solar Year
by: Rachel Patteron / Moon Books / $12.95

Overview: Live in harmony with the solar year and utilize all the magical powers it provides. Sun Magic is a book filled with the basics of the sun cycle, the representations and correspondences, what magic to work and when. It also looks at the solar year, sun deities, sun spells, meditations, specific sun rituals, sun recipes and more.

Verdict: A companion volume to the bestselling Pagan Portals - Moon Magic, Sun Magic: How To Live In Harmony With The Solar Year by author Rachel Patterson is just one of those books you can pick up at any time, whether you have read it through or not, and just happily dissolve into a chapter of your choice for the foreseeable moments thereafter.

And just like the moon, the sun has phases which can be used to tie in with your magical workings to add an extra boost of power. The sun measures time, where it sits in the sky denotes what time of the day it is, and a sun dial would be quite useless without the sun to cast a shadow!

Rachel goes on to say that she also thinks the point between night and day and vice versa, that moment of hand over is quite special, and then brings forth five points of observation:

Sunrise – Basically when the sun wakes up and peers over the horizon. This phase is all about new beginnings, changes, health, employment, renewal, resurrection and finding the right direction. It can also be very cleansing.

The morning – This is when the sun is growing in strength, so it brings the magical power for growth, positive energy, resolutions, courage, harmony, happiness, strength, activity, building projects and plans, prosperity and expansion of ideas.

High noon – When the sun reaches its peak in the sky at midday – work magic for health, physical energy, wisdom and knowledge. It is also a good time to pop your tools or crystals out that need charging. (Note: some crystals can fade in strong sunlight so check first before putting them out.)

The afternoon – The sun is heading back down, and the energy now is good for working on business matters, communication, clarity, travel, exploring and anything professional.

Sunset – As the sun takes itself off down below the horizon, work magic for removing depression, stress and confusion, letting go, releasing or finding out the truth of a situation.

In summary, Pagan Portals’ Sun Magic is yet another quite wondrous book that is chock full of delightful information about the sun, its energy, and how to use that energy to conjure up your very own magical workings. Written with ease and in a way that is both informative, yet personally impassioned, Rachel’s descriptive prose is not only relatable, but enjoyable.

As for the author herself, she describes herself as thus: I am a witch ... have been for a very long time ... the real sort, but I am also a working wife and mother. I am also a High Priestess of the Kitchen Witch Coven and an Elder at the online Kitchen Witch School of Natural Witchcraft.

My craft is a combination of old religion witchcraft, kitchen witchery, hedge witchery and folk magic. My heart is that of a Kitchen Witch.

About The Author: Rachel is an English witch who has been walking the Pagan pathway for over thirty years. A working wife and mother with over 27 books published (so far), some of them becoming best sellers. Her passion is to learn, she loves to study and has done so from books, online resources, schools and wonderful mentors over the years and still continues to learn each and every day but has learnt the most from actually getting outside and doing it.

Oh, and she likes to laugh...and eat cake! Rachel gives talks to pagan groups and co-runs open rituals and workshops run by the Kitchen Witch Coven. High Priestess of the Kitchen Witch Coven and an Elder at the online Kitchen Witch School of Natural Witchcraft. A regular columnist with Fate & Fortune magazine, she contributes articles to several magazines such as Pagan Dawn and Witchcraft & Wicca.

You will find her regular ramblings on her own personal blog and YouTube channel. ​Her craft is a combination of old religion witchcraft, Wicca, hedge witchery, kitchen witchery and folk magic. Her heart is that of an English Kitchen Witch.

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the Dagda: Meeting the Good God of Ireland
by: Morgan Daimler / Moon Books / $12.95

Overview: Get to know the Good God of Ireland through mythology, history, and modern worship. The Dagda is one of the most well-known of the Irish Gods, a king of the Tuatha De Danann and mediator between the Gods and mortals after the Gaels came to Ireland.

Verdict: A popular God among Irish and Celtic pagans, the Dagda is a powerful figure who reaches out to us from myth and memory. For those seeking to honor him today finding information can be difficult or confusing.

Pagan Portals - the Dagda offers a place to begin untangling the complex history of this deity, an entity that was chief of the Tuatha dé Danann, the foremost of the Irish ancestral gods. Highly skilled and wise beyond measure, he was not only the god of life and death, but of seasons, agriculture, fertility, magic, and druidry as well.

As we learn, the Dagda’s name seems to come from the proto-Gaelic Dago-dēwos, meaning “the great god”, and it is a fitting epithet given his position in Celtic mythology. He held a paternal role in the Celtic pantheon, and one of his epithets was Eochaid Ollathair, or “all-father,” marking his primordial place in mythical Ireland.

Also, the Dagda held dominion over the seasons, fertility, agriculture, time, and even life and death. He was a god of strength and sexuality and was associated with weather and growing things. Seen as both a druid and a chief, he consequently held authority in almost every area of human and divine affairs.

For me, and not knowing anything about the Dagda beforehand, I have to confess that Morgan’s prose not only shows that she is very knowledgeable about the subject matter to hand, but her writing has a very readable, fluid, and most importantly, easy-to-understand style to it.

Furthermore, she has done a rather wonderful job in compiling resources and providing the (possible) lay reader with a solid introduction to both the ancient and modern telling’s with regard the Dagda; from his names, stories, associations and so much more.

And leaving the last word to the author herself, she says: I have been an Irish-focused pagan since 1991 and have long held a deep respect for the Dagda in my worship as a giver of abundance and wisdom. Although he is not one of my primary Gods I honor, he is an important one.

I hope the reader feels that some value is gained from the time spent with this little volume, getting to know the Dagda.

About the Author: Morgan is a blogger, poet, teacher of esoteric subjects, witch, and priestess of the Daoine Maithe. Located in Connecticut, USA, Morgan is a prolific pagan writer, and is one of the world’s foremost experts on all things Fairy.

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Ritual of Writing: Writing as a Spiritual Practice
by: Andrew Anderson / Moon Books / $14.95

Overview: Using writing to deepen your connection with the Universe. The Ritual of Writing explores the connection between writing and ritual in Pagan spirituality. Focusing upon practical tasks, it begins by helping readers create a piece of writing connected to the Wheel of the Year and honoring a seasonal festival, taking them step by step through the process.

Verdict: There is a key element of working with the spirit of place, wherever the reader is in the world. The book also considers other ways in which writing can inform spiritual practice, discussing elements such as poetry, non-fiction and ritual work. Practical throughout, with developmental tasks at each stage, The Ritual of Writing helps the reader build skill and confidence and to find their own writing voice.

In a book that is as fascinating, as eye-opening and as impassioned as one could only hope it to be with this title, The Ritual of Writing: Writing as a Spiritual Practice by author Andrew Anderson is one that will immediately open your eyes to seeing a connection between your spirituality, your writing, and the incredibly vibrant power of nature that surrounds you, wherever you might be; and which is, in and unto itself, an infinite source of inspiration.

In what is a quite brilliant theory to connect writing with the magic of location, any and all seasonal celebrations, and the practice of holding to your own governing ritual, I was myself hooked from the very start (well, I am a journalist,after all, the written word my one and only true love).

What Andrew does is focus on activities centered around different forms of writing (fiction, non-fiction, poetry), basically, all those outlets that should appeal to both the serious practitioner of Pagan spirituality, but also anyone looking for new ways to reflect upon and spark their very own creativity.

Ergo, each highly relatable chapter gives a different perspective to the process of writing and how you can bring your own character to your prose. The book even sets out tasks along the way that help you to be imaginative and creative, and be more able to connect with your surroundings; whether that me a place, a person or a time, etc.

And leaving the last word to the author himself, he says: This book will guide you through the process that I developed when I began writing stories to honor the eight Celtic Wheel of the Year festivals and encourage you to do the same.

This is a process which requires you to focus on where you are in the world, read the work of others, and try out different techniques in your writing. It will also lead you to explore old stories and myths which you can either retell or use within your work.

Finally, the book will explore ideas for further types of spiritual writing and how we can set up a space to embed spirituality in our work.

About the Author: After trying a number of spiritualties, Andrew discovered Druidry in 2013. He is currently studying the Ovate grade with the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids. Andrew is a freelance English and Creative Writing teacher, and is training to be a celebrant. His passion lies in working with the spirit of place, and he spends a lot of time in the nearby Cotswolds. Andrew lives in Stratford-upon-Avon, UK.

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True Magic: Unleashing Your Inner Witch
by: Cyndi Brannen / Moon Books / $18.95

Overview: True Magic: Unleashing Your Inner Witch goes beyond everything you’ve ever tried before. Combining traditional magic and modern strategies, you will transform your life through spells, practices, rituals, and journeys, unlocking the power of your true self.

Verdict: True Magic takes the best parts of witchcraft, shamanism, occult and mystical paths from the ancient to the contemporary so that you can wield their wisdom. You will learn how to use plant magick, animal spirits, words of power, alchemy, ancient philosophy, the chakras and more to unleash your Inner Witch.

Revealing the secrets of healing, great relationships, personal power, maximizing your potential and connecting to the universal energy flows, True Magic gives you the tools you need to achieve abundance and wholeness using the energies of the moon, the elements and the three worlds.

So, are you ready for True Magic? That is the question posed by the author and having now read it in full (and in just three days), and also having dived back into certain chapters for their prose of wealth on the subject matter to hand, I can honestly say that I myself am not, but I can definitely see how Cyndi’s book could easily be a portal into unleashing an inner witch within many who read it.

Because True Magic: Unleashing Your Inner Witch is a book that, and from the off, will open your eyes to not only what is openly going on all around you, all around the world, but to who you yourself could become. And thus allows you to be shown just how to become a new you.

Extraordinary in its depth of relatable detail, author Cyndi has provided a rather excellent, astutely helpful book that not only details all the different rituals to help the reader with their self development, but within the prose you will also deepen your understanding of your self, your practice, your spirituality.

And so, if the philosophy of witchcraft is for you and you are craving a connection to something bigger, physically using the tools of tarot, astrology, and crystals to discover your best self is a good start, but reading and learning from this new book from Cyndi, is by far the best accompaniment to everything physical.

And as the the author herself adds: This book will activate the True Magic that is already inside of you. It’s there, longing to be unleashed. Set yourself free! Your Inner Witch is all about the hustle. Witches do. Witches go. Witches learn. Witches fight for what they believe in.

The activities in this book will get you busy unleashing your Inner Witch. Exercises focus on skills development while the practice activities are about applying these techniques. Your Inner Witch has much to do and no time for nonsense.

About the Author: Dr. Cyndi Brannen is an outlaw witch devoted to Hekate and witchcraft. She teaches The Sacred Seven: A Course in Applied Modern Witchcraft. Cyndi has enjoyed a varied life as a psychologist, spiritual teacher and healer, social justice advocate, policy consultant, relentless outdoor adventurer and incurable optimist.

Her blog, Keeping Her Keys, is a mixture of all these things with an emphasis on personal growth through Hekate and witchcraft, and it is this blog that inspired her new book of the same name. Cyndi lives in Nova Scotia, Canada.

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Phantoms in the Night or ETs?
by:Lorraine McAdam / 6th Books / $15.95

Overview: Phantoms in the Night or ETs? is one author’s attempt to relate her lifelong experiences of physical and telepathic contact with extraterrestrials and the paranormal.

Verdict: Writing Phantoms in the Night or ETs? was not easy for author Lorraine McAdam, and what she relates in this book might not be believed by the vast majority of people - which is why she delayed writing it for so long.

Indeed, until now, only those in her close, nuclear family had known of the details of her story, which has been a lifelong one. But in her heart she eventually realized that withholding her story - of what she has now come to believe is some form of ongoing ET contact - was no longer an option.

And because it seems that the world at large has moved to a more enlightened attitude towards ‘abductees’ or ‘experiencers’ who have experienced and gone through this high strangeness, loosely called ‘alien contact’, McAdam now thinks that the time is ripe to reveal her story. “This is my own simple, truthful, riveting, intriguing, and sometimes frightening account of multiple encounters, and experiences, with beings I believe originate from other worlds and, possibly, other dimensions”, she writes. “And yet I am, to all who know me, an ordinary English teacher, wife, and mother. So why me? I have no answer.”

Taking it from the top (of the subject matter to hand), many people have wondered: are earthlings living on a speck of dust -- alone in the infinite universe or are there other intelligent life forms out there in the cosmos?

Nearly half of all Americans and millions more globally believe we’re not alone, according to a 2000 poll. While 40 million Americans say they have seen or know someone who has seen an unidentified flying object, or UFO, a growing number believe they’ve actually met aliens.

Some even believe that Extraterrestrials can embody people’s fears, looking radically different from human life. Indeed, pop culture depictions of aliens don’t seem to be slowing down, one of my own personal favs being the acclaimed mini-series Torchwood: Children of Earth.

But I digress, for another, and one which Lorraine herself attests to, is spiritual transformation, when you see these objects, and then you do the research and you see that there are so many people who have experienced the same thing as you. And so you have to say to yourself, well, okay, maybe there is something to this.

As for Lorraine’s story in particular, well, its a smorgasbord of encounters that all add up to to the fact that she has believed for the longest time that she has had various encounters with either phantoms in the night or ETs. “Having undergone a series of spiritual promptings lately, I believe I can no longer sit on the sidelines in the shadows and that it is time to share my story with the world.”

So, from my point of view, and having now read this book twice through, I think is it time to start taking these stories more seriously? I’m not saying that I believe it’s literally true that there are alien’s riding around the galaxy in their respective spaceships, but at the very least, these people such as Lorraine, who were previously disbelieved and even ridiculed, should be listened to and given a hearing.

And, in closing, for everyone who tells you these people are attention seekers after fame and fortune, I would say, ‘What fame? What fortune?’

About the Author - Lorraine McAdam is an artist, writer and poet. In the past, she worked as a nurse for twelve years. At 45, she trained to become a teacher, and she now runs her own tuition business. She is also unusual in that she believes she has been having encounters with the paranormal, ETs and UFOs since she was a child. She lives in Cumbria, UK.

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Are You a Mutant?
by: Raquel Reyna / O-Books / $23.95

Overview: Are You a Mutant? reveals that during this radical time, there is a new system designed simultaneously to wake you up and reveal who you are NOT! Read on to discover if the real you is what is being shown or if there is another you hiding behind the curtain, ready to reveal themselves!

Verdict: If things were to collapse, would you still know who you are? Would you know which way to turn if you suddenly felt betrayed by the company you worked for or by the leaders of your country? Do you feel empowered to make decisions for yourself, or do you rely on others for guidance?

Each of us is conditioned to fit in, to strive for specific goals, to make life choices that our parents or society designated for us, rather than to understand and strive to live our uniqueness. And because we are in uncharted territory in these new times, which call for serious upgrades, it is essential to learn who you are, how to live as your unique self, and how to make decisions based on your own personalized inner GPS system - a powerful inner guidance system you probably don’t even know you have.

Thus, Are You a Mutant? by author Raquel Reyna breaks down a brand-new intel designated to assist you in uncovering a truth about yourself that is inevitably shocking. An insight that rings true like a mystical calling from your soul that simultaneously reveals all the places in your life you are living as a fake.

Acknowledged as a book that encompasses a lifetime of discovery and experimental learning, and giving thanks to the many people who have conspired with her along the way, Rayna’s prose was also given a wealth of physical and emotional support to enable it to come to fruition; inspiring, encouraging and giving the wisdom and hope to both herself and her writing.

And thus, in these changing times, we need all the upgrades we can get, and now it is time for an INNER WORLD UPGRADE, a new system of knowledge to support your understanding of the world we are currently wading through, its complexity, who you are within it, what makes you different, and how you can live the best strategy for your personal success, satisfaction, peace, and the wonderment of being alive.

So, how do you develop and upgrade your inner world? Well, whether things are going well or going poorly, the stronger you are inside, the more you accomplish outside. Ergo, such tips to make you more powerful with each mental and physical state you take are, but not beholden to: Know who you are - Spend time in silence - Set a routine - Create the right circle - Gain control of your body - Give yourself a good home.

Assured that the book wouldn’t have even existed without all these life contributions that these people kindly bestowed upon her, it’s also found within the Forward (by best-selling author Kathryn Alice) that perhaps reading this book will also be your very own ticket into the life you’ve always wanted - a life of happiness, fulfillment, love and joy.

About the Author - Raquel Reyna has a Master’s Degree in Spiritual Psychology and is a Human Design, transformational instigator and revolutionary teacher. She is the founder of the Creative Coaching Certification and the Four Radical Transformation Certification programs.

At one time, Raquel was climbing the corporate ladder and was a representative for her company traveling the world, speaking on shows like Tyra Banks and The View, until she gave up her corporate career in her 40’s and launched her online career, now serving over 60k mutants worldwide. She lives in Irvine, CA.

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Enter the Journey
by: Rosanna Lenco / O-Books / $19.95

Overview: An engaging narrative, poetic in style, Enter the Journey: A Mystical Guide for Rebirth and Renewal opens the imagination and takes you on an extraordinary adventure from the wintry Arctic landscape to the portals and vortexes of Sedona, Arizona’s red rocks.

Verdict: Assisted by power animals and spirit guides, Enter the Journey will return you to your true essence and compel you to embrace your destiny in a new equilibrium. Author Rosanna Ienco demonstrates the profound soul connection and hidden wisdom mysteriously waiting in the caves deep within your interior landscape.

Through creative visualization and wild imagination, you will accompany Rosanna along her metaphysical voyage deep inside a mysterious cavern in the Australian Outback, where she reunites with an ancient teacher who shares hidden knowledge.

Enter the Journey is an enchanting mixture of shamanic journeys and authentic storytelling, an otherworldly odyssey in which Rosanna shares her own tales of transformation - revealing a sacred, unbroken bond of love and trust as she transports you through the aurora borealis, among the stars, opening your imagination, guiding you through the magical gateway to your soul. Enter the Journey opens a path through Earth’s wisdom to rebirth and renewal.

An invitation to expand your imagination far beyond your already known perceptions, and thus engage you within a most beautiful magical odyssey, Lenco’s first book not only showcases a series of poetic and adventurous stories, but at the very same time takes you even deeper within that sacred place within your creative visualizations; where, once there, you will thusly enter a portal of possibilities.

Traveling near and far, from Sedona on into the Australian Outback, her search for not only the hidden knowledge within but for a better understanding of rebirth and renewal, takes us deep within portals and caves, where you will quickly discover you do not walk this earth alone.

For aside from there being a number of guardians in the form of spirit animals and guides, the elements of the earth will also truly support you on your journey. For nature will always talk to you, communicate with you if you allow it to, because if you listen to the whispers in the wind, you will be guided to the places you have not yet been.

About the Author - Rosanna Ienco is a mother of three children. Having overcome her own personal traumas, she has dedicated her life to serving clients and students from around the world. She has been studying Shamanic arts, Spirituality, Psychism and Mysticism for over thirty years and now offers empowerment workshops, online programs, mentoring programs, intuitive soul readings and has healing practices on Vancouver Island and in the UK. Rosanna is a visionary who uses her gifts of deep insight to enhance the lives of others. She lives in Bournemouth, UK.

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Pause - A Spiritual Power
by: Rob Wykes / O-Books / $19.95

Overview: Pause - A Spiritual Power explains how we can find and enter the ’spiritual pause’ between our usual rational approach to life and the spiritual world at the very edge of all we can imagine.

Verdict: Opportunities to enter a spiritual place are all around us, but we often don’t recognize them. Pause - A Spiritual Power helps the reader identify those moments and enter places of spiritual pause. The spiritual life, often neglected, exists apart from our thoughts and feelings. Pause explores how spirituality is separate and how we often mistakenly substitute rational and emotional experiences for spiritual experience.

To be spiritual is not to be religious or bound to a specific understanding of God. To be human is to have a spirit within, regardless of religious commitment or persuasion. Attending to one’s spiritual life, finding pause, is not confined or defined by any one faith tradition.

In Pause, author Rob Wykes relates accounts of his own journeys - physical and spiritual - that have helped him discover his own spiritual self. Part of his story is a literal pilgrimage on foot and by bike that brought him into a deeper understanding of pause.

Over the years, we have been shown that spirituality helps us with our mental health, and sometimes just getting more rest and better exercise are also clear suggestions for living an abundant life. But you may be thinking, what in Heaven’s name does it mean to take care of your spirit?

For lots of people, being spiritual means observing rituals, studying texts, and attending religious services, well, religiously. For others, it’s not at all about traditional structures or notions of God.

You can think of spirituality as connecting to whatever you consider meaningful and holy. You can find it in God, in yourself, in other people, in nature, art, or kindness. Whatever you focus on, spirituality offers many possible benefits, including better mood, less anxiety and depression, and even fewer aches and illnesses.

Over the years I have identified a moment of pause as having a central definition, Wykes reveals, like the moment our body, mind and spirit coalesce in an unmeasureable, unrestricted moment. At just such points of experience our being has no conscious awareness of the need to be anyone or anywhere else in that given moment.

Our intellectual capacity is vital, our body is an amazing structure, yet I want to show how much richer life is when we see we are more than our thoughts and more than our physical bodies.

Indeed, attending to one’s spiritual being is as important as physical health and emotional self-care. Learning to find pause in life’s experiences and to enter those spiritual places yields profound meaning and pleasure many have never before known.

I ask that you walk with me to seek out moments of pause in the ordinary and chaotic, Wykes adds, and in the general run of life both planned and impromptu, where we discover the precious reality of our whole being at rest and in concert.

About the Author - A former Chaplain, Chief Executive, and Champion for social equality, Rob Wykes now writes on spirituality and faith. Rob is a regular speaker in churches of all denominations and has presented in the Houses of Parliament and several Bible colleges. As a young man exploring life and purpose Rob took a trip across Europe, Iran, Pakistan, and India, pushing his world view and faith into new dimensions. His adventures are woven into his writing. He still loves to travel the world but likes to come home to Cheshire, UK.

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by: Michael Paul Stephens / O-Books / $17.95

Overview: We-Topia is the true and shocking story of how ego conquered the world. From happier, healthier, and more spiritually evolved nomadic ancestors to a selfish globalized world that exploits, divides, and petrifies today, We-Topia explores how a powerless society has always been part of the plan. And it’s worked.

Verdict: Across the millennia, society gradually devalued human consciousness while social systems such as slavery, money, and religion turned people into resources. Now, like a James Bond villain, this purposeful manipulation mesmerizes us to be consumers and tells us that higher spiritual evolution is a delusion. How did this happen? How do we change? What is life’s purpose and meaning?

We-Topia answers these questions with some good news - there’s a way out of this mess and there always has been. As our ancestors knew, liberty from ego is possible when society values real human needs, and We-Topia provides the concepts for you to begin. It is a spiritual odyssey from me to we - the ultimate inside-out rebellion against 13,000 years of conditioning.

Here in We-Topia, practicing Reiki master, life coach and organizational consultant, Michael Paul Stephens is keen to point out that the purpose of We-Topia is not idealism in any shape or form and that it expects no miracles or epiphanies.

Indeed, We-Topia is a pragmatic investigation into why we live the way we do and what we gave up to live this way. Moreover, it asks you whether you are ready to stop embracing the misconceptions of our past, the lies about our future, and the illusions we have all been taught to believe are real.

So, the introductory challenges are Can the world change? And can we create an inclusive place, where equality reigns and everyone is at liberty to pursue their life goals? For answering these, and other questions, has been a dream of Stephens’ and thus this book is his attempt to realize it.

He has long been interested in how Buddhist philosophy and practice answer those tough questions. I perceive Buddhism, not from a religious viewpoint, but as a profound set of ideas that get great results in the real world.

In fact, at their heart, Buddah’s teachings are what you might call anti-religious because he didn’t ask us to accept on faith a single speck of what he taught. Indeed, Buddah explicitly asked us to challenge his ideas. And that’s about as brave as any teaching can be. It says Try this! And Throw every single question at it that you can!

The madness of this idea, simply put, is that a truthful set of ideas will stand up to scrutiny and work for you There will never be a need for faith if good results are tangible in your life. We-Topia takes this idea and applies it to our modern society. A good, healthy society will withstand scrutiny and criticism. But an insecure, superficial one will balk and shoot the messenger.

Simply put, as the author himself admits, We-Topia is a journey from me to we and you don’t even need to set foot off our sofa.

About the Author - A practicing Reiki master, life coach and organizational consultant, Michael Paul Stephens has taught thousands of people to create personal transformation through the conscious application of spiritual power. He lives in Tamworth, UK.

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Bogowie: A Study of Eastern Europe’s Ancient Gods
by: T.D. Kokoszka / Moon Books / $34.95

Overview: Bogowie: A Study of Eastern Europe’s Ancient Gods is an earnest and careful analysis of East European folklore, history, and mythology, and a credible summary of Slavic paganism.

Verdict: T.D. Kokoszka grew up in Texas with a Jewish mother and a Polish-American father. While he was aware of roots going back to Eastern Europe from both families, he found it hard to learn very much about them. He knew that Polish people would whack one another with palm leaves around Easter, and he knew that his great-grandmother purportedly believed in forest spirits known as borowy.

However, it wasn’t until he was in his teens that he became vaguely aware of an ancient people known as the Slavs who gave rise to the Polish, Ukrainian, Russian, Serbian, Bulgarian, Slovakian, Slovene, and Czech languages. It quickly became clear to him that this was a family of cultures currently under-represented in popular culture, and even in western scholarship.

Not simply a regurgitation of scholarship from the Soviet period - and presenting new analyses by using previously neglected resources - Bogowie: A Study of Eastern Europe’s Ancient Gods offers one of the most painstaking scholarly reconstructions of Slavic paganism.

These new resources include not only an overview of folklore from many different Slavic countries but also comparisons with Ossetian culture and Mordvin culture, as well as a series of Slavic folktales that Kokoszka analyzes in depth, often making the case that the narratives involved are mythological and shockingly ancient.

So, growing up, and having delved into this a little bit back in the day, the question of What do Slavic pagans believe? came up several times, believe it or not. And even though the Slavic pagan religion wasn’t monotheistic, there was still a supreme god, called Perun. The closest equivalent from other cultures would be Zeus from Greek mythology and Thor from Norse mythology since they reign the heavens as the gods of thunder and lightning.

Something else I grew up hearing was a myth known to all Slavs that tells how God ordered a handful of sand to be brought up from the bottom of the sea and created the land from it. Usually, it is the Devil who brings up the sand; in only one case, in Slovenia, is it God himself. This earth-diver myth is diffused throughout practically all of Eurasia and is found in ancient India as well.

But I digress, for Bogowie: A Study of Eastern Europe’s Ancient Gods is an articulately woven together smorgasbord of well-told, well-informed folk tales that walk hand in hand with enlightened explanations about the Pagan beliefs interlaced found within them.

The book also manages to showcase just how intellectually savvy Kokoszka is with regard his earnest and careful analysis of East European folklore, history, and mythology. Of course, the state of the research on Slavic paganism is fairly difficult to praise currently, for there are still significant barriers preventing the type of research that needs to happen from taking place.

But one that remains in effect to this day is ethnic and national boundaries. The most logical approach to this topic is to analyze traditions from all 13 Slavic countries, and reconstruct a body of shared elements. It is precisely these shared elements that are most likely to represent old traditions from the Common Slavic or Proto-Slavc period. However, one has always been rationalism, and the goal to put forward a narrative of national or ethnic exceptionalism. While there are indeed many exceptional cultures in Eastern Europe, this book will attempt to show the incredible benefits that come with an international approach to understanding the ancient principle that folklore concepts found in multiple isolated communities are more likely to be ancient than those found in a single location. Based on this, a localized approach to understanding Sklavic paganism - or even one focused on material from just one nation - is unnecessarily limited.

In conclusion, there are, of course, other circumstances that have stymied the field, thus readers will recognize many European folktale types and possibly even learn to look at these folktales differently after reading this book. But all values require some sentimentality in order to become more than just words. For an increasing number of us in the modern world, the poetic beauty of mythology and folklore is intimately connected with our passion for our principles.

About the Author - T.D. Kokoszka studied Microbiology at Texas State, graduating in 2013 with a B.S. in Microbiology, and currently works at a human tissue bank (Parametrics Medical). However, he used his time at Texas State to research leading scholars like Vernadsky and Ivanits on the topic of Slavic history. During this time, he also cultivated connections with ADF (Arn Draiocht Fein) and utilized their research-oriented methodology for his own purposes. He lives in Austin, TX.

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Pagan Portals - Freya
by: Morgan Daimler / Moon Books / $12.95

Overview: Pagan Portals - Freya: Meeting the Norse Goddess of Magic is an introduction to the mysterious and intriguing goddess Freya, from esteemed author Morgan Daimler.

Verdict: The most popular of the Norse goddesses is the Vanic deity Freya, found across the Norse myths and into modern mass media, yet often obscured by contradictory tales and external moral coding. Freya is an alluring deity of magic and fertility, a being so important in the mythology that gods and giants fought over her, yet she is never shown as a passive prize to be won only as a forceful being with agency and will of her own.

Who is this powerful goddess who has left such a profound mark across not only Norse culture but also wider Western culture? Pagan Portals - Freya is a basic introduction to the Norse Goddess Freya that covers her history, mythology, associations, and modern appearances, and offers readers suggestions for how to begin connecting to Freya in their own lives.

Growing up, I was introduced to one of the principal deities of the Norse pantheon, the lovely and enchanting Freya, very early on in my growth, by my grandmother’s neighbor, of all people, and I was thus taught that she was a goddess of blessings, love, lust, and fertility.

A member of the Vanir tribe of deities, Freya shared her people’s penchant for the magical arts of divination. Indeed, it was Freya who introduced the gods to seidr, a form of magic that allowed practitioners to know and change the future.

As is shown throughout this highly informative new book from Morgan, Freya was gentler and more agreeable than the other Norse deities. Where Thor accomplished his goals through aggression and Odin and Loki resorted to trickery, Freya achieved her ends with the gentler persuasions of gifts, beauty, and sex.

While Freya was often unselfish and helpful, it should also be known that she did have a darker side. Like the male gods, Freya had a taste for blood and fought fiercely in battle. It was said she took the lives of half the warriors ever slain in battle.

Freya was known by a number of epithets, and the variants of her name (Freja, Freyia, Freyja, Fröja, Frøya, Frøjya, and Frua, among others) were as different as the Germanic languages and dialects of her many worshippers. Thanks in part to these linguistic differences, some interpretations of Norse mythology believed Freya to be synonymous with Frigg, Odin’s wife, and sometimes Gullveig, the völva narrator of the Völuspá who recounted the Aesir-Vanir War and predicted the fate of the gods during Ragnarök.

But I digress, as here in Pagan Portals - Freya: Meeting the Norse Goddess of Magic, Morgan (herself a witch, and priestess of the Daoine Maithe) cements her prolific pagan writing once again. Having published more than a dozen books under Moon Books alone, here she doesn’t delve too deeply into the subject matter of freya, moreover provides a solid introduction to another great spirit (and one close to her heart).

About the Author - Morgan Daimler is a blogger, poet, teacher of esoteric subjects, witch, and priestess of the Daoine Maithe. Morgan is a prolific pagan writer, having published more than a dozen books under Moon Books alone, and she is one of the world’s foremost experts on all things Fairy. She lives in Gales Ferry, Connecticut, US.

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Full Contact Performance
by: Grayson James / Moon Books / $29.95

Overview: Most of us believe that good collaboration depends upon how cooperative our colleagues are. That’s a costly mistake, says Grayson James, international collaborative performance consultant, leadership coach, and 6th degree black belt in Aikido.

Integrating understandings from organizational leadership, psychology, language action theory, martial arts, and other mind-body disciplines, James gives us an eye-opening view of what really happens when organizational collaboration goes well, and what to do when it doesn’t.

Verdict: Through personal insights and stories, this book brings to life the five principles and the three key conversations that enable us to make Full Contact with our colleagues. And the simple practices provided help us recognize the action inherent in every word we speak, the role our body plays, and how our attention determines the success of our collaborative performance.

As noted, the book is organized in three parts. Part 1 is about building new awareness about what is really happening when we’re collaborating (or trying to). In Part 2, he looks at the three main types of conversations in organizational collaboration. Using examples and anecdotes, we’ll see why these three conversations are important and how to approach them.

And in Part 3, he shifts his focus squarely back onto ourselves. Here, we are reminded that, regardless of the circumstances or personalities we may be facing, we, ourselves, are always the central figure in our collaborative encounters. Here we will revisit a recurring theme in the book: the power of shifting our attention back to ourselves, beyond the specific content, circumstances or thinking we may be engaged in with others.

He also offers a handful of simple practices that will expand our capacity for clear thinking and skillful, respectful collaborative action, even in their toughest situations. The epilogue offers some final thoughts on Full Contact Performance.

So, if you’re a senior executive leading multiple teams or functions, you know that your company’s success hinges on how well your leadership team members think and learn together around what matters most for the business.

If you’re a manager or team lead, you know how critical it is for your team to solve complex problems together, to engage skillfully with folks on other teams or functions, and to execute impeccably - to do what they say they’re going to do and to take responsibility for the outcomes.

Even if you’re a sole contributor and have nobody reporting to you, you still need to work with others - even if it’s just your boss (sometimes the most challenging person to collaborate with).

With few expectations, if you work in an organization, you interact with other people. Some of the folks you must collaborate with may be delightful to work with, and some you might never choose to work with in a million years. Yet there they are, and here you are. That’s life in organizations, even for the boss.

And as the author himself freely admits, I wrote this book for anyone working in an organization who wants to transform, or at least greatly improve, their collaborative performance at work.

In conclusion, James shows that we ourselves are always where the real action is whenever we’re trying to get things done with other people. This is great news, because it means we each have the power to transform our collaborative performance, regardless of our circumstances, no matter who we’re working with.

About the Author - Grayson James has been helping executives, boards and senior management teams improve their collaborative business performance for over 30 years. In addition to coaching senior executives and teams, he facilitates organizational change initiatives and provides collaborative leadership education internationally through his consulting firm, Grayson James Consultants, LLC + Full Contact Institute. He designed and also leads the highly acclaimed Full Contact Collaboration workshops worldwide. He lives in Sonoma County, California.

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Spontaneous Contacts with the Deceased
by: Evelyn Elsaesser / Iff Books / $19.95

Overview: Spontaneous Contacts with the Deceased is the very first large-scale scientific study that credibly and verifiably proves that spontaneous contacts with the deceased are not wishful thinking but a frequent and deeply meaningful phenomenon.

Verdict: This large-scale international investigation into spontaneous After-Death Communications (ADCs) reveals the circumstances, nature and consequences of these beautiful and consoling experiences. You will discover the powerful beneficial impact of these deeply meaningful contacts, allegedly initiated by the deceased towards their loved ones.

Taking it from the top, and within this international investigation into spontaneous After-Death Communications (ADCs), it is shown that the first objective is to describe the phenomenology of ADCs. Therein, the project sets out to answer the following questions: Who has an ADC? Under which circumstances? In what form (type)? How do these experiences unfold? What are the messages of ADCs? Who are the deceased persons allegedly initiating the contact? What was/is their relation with the recipients? Are there differences between countries?

Of course, research questions were elaborated further on the basis of a thorough review of the existing research literature on ADCs.

The second objective was to analyze the impact of ADCs on recipients. The following questions were addressed: How do recipients experience ADCs? What is the impact on recipients? How does it influence the grieving process? Does the national and social context influence individuals’ experiences?

The third objective consisted of disseminating the research results as largely as possible to the scientific community and the general public. By collecting information about how ADCs occur and unfold, and analyzing their impact on individuals’ lives, they aimed to make these results accessible to people who face the death of a close relative, partner or friend, and to the broad public.

Indeed, following an applied research orientation, they emphasized in their conclusions the relevance of our results for the public, and highlighted the possible policy implications. The research project would them contribute to raising awareness about ADCs and have a practical impact on a large number of persons.

Considering the lack of research and knowledge on ADCs, they expected the results of this exploratory research to open up further questions, of which it rightly did. Therefore the project could also enable them to specify new research hypotheses which may be pursued in the future in the frame of a large scale research, involving research teams in different countries.

OK, so, and to break it down a little bit more into bite-size snippets of information, ADC is a spontaneous phenomenon in which a living person has a feeling or sense of direct contact with a deceased person.

ADC may occur as any of the following types — alone or in combination: visual, auditory, tactile, sense of presence, olfactory, dream, symbolic (song on radio, butterfly), deathbed vision (nearing-death awareness), and telephone.

Dream ADC may be the most common — and might better be termed “sleep” ADC because people who report ADC (ADCrs) often report the “dream” was actually real or was more real than typical dreams. Who has ADCs? According to 35 research studies between 1894 and 2006 involving over 50,000 people from around the world, about one-third have experienced ADCs. Both bereaved and non-bereaved people, but bereaved more than non of people report having bereaved: about three-fourths (3/4) of people within one year of the death experienced ADC some - of a loved one.

People usually find ADC to be beneficial, using descriptive words like pleasant, positive, mystical, serene, elating, helpful, comforting, healing, spiritual, and a good experience. Most ADCrs report that, as a result of the ADC,they feel reassured and comforted that the deceased continues to exist—and in a state of well being and happiness, and the relational bond of love between the ADCr and the deceased continues—albeit in a different form. In summary, the ADCr feels affirmed that neither the deceased nor the relationship with the deceased has ceased; rather, both have transformed and continue.

People sometimes experience distress related to ADC, almost always fear and confusion from lack of information or misinformation about ADC rather than from the contents or experience of the ADC itself.

As for this mighty wondrous, insightful and overall intuitive new prose from author Evelyn Elsaesser, she has brought together a most extensive and in-depth book for us all to delve into. Her results confirm, clarify, and greatly expand on previous research, which then brings us a more updated and heartfelt review of how ADC’s continue to both affect and effect our lives today.

I invite you to discover the results of our survey and the numerous testimonies illustrating them, Elsaesser says, because in this book, I present the results of the first part of a five-year international research project on the Phenomenology and impact of spontaneous and direct After-Death Communications.

About the Author - Evelyn Elsaesser is an independent researcher and author in the field of experiences related to death, especially Near-Death Experiences (NDE) and After-Death Communications (ADCs). She is the project leader of the research project Investigation of the Phenomenology and Impact of Direct and Spontaneous After-Death Communications (ADCs) and a founding member and member of the scientific committee of Swiss IANDS (International Association for Near-Death Studies). She lives just outside Geneva, Switzerland.

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Talking with Angel about Illness, Death & Survival
by: Evelyn Elsaesser / Roundfire Books / $16.95

Overview: Talking with Angel about Illness, Death and Survival is the moving story of a young girl battling leukaemia whose fear of death is ultimately lifted by the spiritual wisdom provided by her favorite doll, Angel, and by the account of a near-death experience told to her by a young companion.

Verdict: In what is a rather mighty fine authoritative, moving and moreover wholly captivating read, author Evelyn Elsaesser (an independent researcher and author in the field of death-related experiences, notably NDEs and ADCs) brings us a novel that highlights the fact, and from the off, that the narrator is not a fictional person - she is you. Becoming her, you will find yourself - and your way home. [Kenneth Ring, Ph.D.)

On the surface, Talking with Angel is the story of a young girl, told in the first person, who has contracted a serious disease. But don’t be under any misconception, perhaps suggested by the title, that this is still another story of sentimental claptrap designed merely to tug at the reader’s heartstrings.

Or that it is a book about the supernatural intervention of angelic beings who bring inspirational messages of spiritual uplift and bland comfort. No, something else is going on here as we follow our unnamed heroine’s journey during the course of her illness - a journey which, thanks to the author’s literary skill and psychological insight, we also find ourselves taking with her.

Woven seamlessly with how an informative, helpful vein of parents face the loss of a child, simply put, Talking with Angel about Illness, Death & Survival is a genuinely embracing, well researched and moving story of beautiful possibilities, all lovingly embroidered with spiritual hope for all concerned.

About the Author - Evelyn Elsaesser Valarino was born in Switzerland in 1954. She has studied Near-Death Experiences for over twenty years and collaborated with Kenneth Ring on Lessons from the Light: What We Can Learn from the Near-Death Experience (2000). She is also the author of On the Other Side of Life: Exploring the phenomenon of Near-Death Experience (1997). She works at the University of Geneva and is a coordinator for the Scientific and Medical Network.

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Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas ...
by: Emily Zemler / Epic Ink / $27.00

Overview: After 30 years, discover the inspirations behind Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas and its legacy as a certified pop-culture experience.

Verdict: What is it about Jack Skellington that is so compelling? Why does the love between Sally and Jack resonate with so many? The feature-length, stop-motion movie about the Pumpkin King of Halloween Town who becomes obsessed with celebrating Christmas is a fascinating musical and love story that has transcended the original film and captivated the world.

From the improbable tale to the lovable characters, Tim Burton’s creation has turned into a lifestyle, branching into fashion, video games, card and board games, live-action concerts, themed celebrations at Disneyland, and even cameos in other movies.

Featuring an original foreword by Tim Burton himself, Disney Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas: Beyond Halloween Town celebrates the film and the culture that has grown around it with exclusive and original interviews from:

• Author and creator, Tim Burton
• Animators, sculptors, and other artists of the film
• Musical talent behind Jack Skellington
• The iconic voice of Sally, comic actress Catherine O’Hara
• Musicians on the Nightmare Revisited album

Delve into the magic of Halloween and Christmas in a story told through unlikely heroes that started 30 years ago. This beautifully designed coffee-table book is sure to captivate die-hard and casual fans alike.

In what is a most luxuriant, veritably sumptuous and overall endearing new hardcover, if you are a Tim Burton / The Nightmare Before Christmas fan (in in the slightest) you will simply adore this enthralling, conversation-starting coffee table book.

Chock full of colorful, expressive and gorgeously detailed pages, let alone a seemingly neverending plethora of seen and, for my money, previously unseen photos, all the quotes, teased tidbits, production notes, behind-the-scenes views, stop-motion inspirations, the music and songs, live performances, and general facts about the actors, processes, sets, all the subsequent Jack and Sally dolls, fandom, cosplay, weddings, and more, make this, quite possibly, the best book written on the subject to hand to date.

Inclusive of a Foreword from the man himself, Tim Burton, he brings us the strange tale of how The Nightmare came to fruition in 1982, spawned from a poem he had written of the same name, which was itself influenced by his favorite children’s author Dr. Suess.

At the same time he was working as an animator at Walt Disney Studios, making films such as Vincent and Frankenweenie, and thinking he should also adapt this poem into a short film or even a television special.

His one-page introduction continues onward with how he did a number of drawings, storyboards, and concept are and even had Rick Heinriche sculpt some character models (although Disney didn’t get it and thought it was too weird, too dark at the time).

But perseverance and self-belief pushed him forward, and even though many avenues, dead ends, and more were hit/explored, we know how it all eventually turned out, of course.

Not only is it a magnificent Christmas gift, but it is something, as aforementioned, that you can simply lay out on your coffee table (as it is a large-styled, old school hardcover) for guests to peruse, and then just sit back, or lean in from the kitchen and smugly acknowledge the fact that you have enlightened the masses.

Super informative, super creative and super addictive, Disney Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas: Beyond Halloween Town: The Story, the Characters, and the Legacy is brought to us by author Emily Zemler (The Art and Making of Aladdin and Disney Princess: Beyond the Tiara), and we caught up with Emily to get a little more insight into just how the book came together in this EXCLUSIVE interview!

Who came up with the idea for this beautiful book? - “I previously wrote Disney Princess: Beyond the Tiara for Epic Ink. After I finished that book, the former publisher there, Delia Greve, suggested we continue the Beyond series with another Disney property. Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas seemed like a great idea since it would be celebrating its 30th anniversary. The idea was to look at what inspired the film as well as what the film has since inspired and its enduring cultural legacy.”

And why was the time right for it to come out this year? - “2023 is the 30th anniversary of the film, so it was the perfect time to release a book looking back on its legacy.”

Can you remember when you watched the movie for the first time and what thoughts it left you with? - “I don’t remember the first time I watched the film, but I am a long-time fan of Tim Burton’s work and I watched all of his movies growing up. I loved his singular, unique vision and the darker tones he explored, both visually and thematically. I eventually owned this movie on DVD and watched it all the time. To me, it’s a Halloween movie, so that’s usually when I rewatch it. I always wondered how they made the film and what inspired Tim Burton.”

Were any of those questions purposely answered in this book? - “This book explores a lot of aspects of the film, from Tim Burton’s initial inspirations to the making of process to how it was promoted when it came out in theaters. I wouldn’t say I went in with specific questions. It was more about pulling all of this information together in a way that gives the reader new insight into how the film has impacted pop culture. It was really fun to interview people involved with the movie, as well as cosplayers, fans, and musicians who have reinterpreted the songs.”

Were you ever in direct contact with Tim Burton? - “Tim Burton was gracious enough to do an interview for the book. We spoke over Zoom and he answered many of my questions. He also wrote the book’s foreword, which I love.”

How long did the book take you to research and pull together to then get finalized? - “It took several months to research, interview, and write the book. That was just a small part of the process, however. There were hundreds of photos to collect, sort, and pick from, and then a lengthy editing and layout process. A book like this, which is both images and text, requires a lot of work. Luckily, I had great help from a photo researcher and several editors.”

Looking at it today, what have since become your own personal favorite sections within it? And why? - “I am proud of the entire book, but I especially love the fan chapter. Tim Burton has always said he loves to put his work into the world and let the fans have it. It was important to show the different ways they’ve loved and honored the film. I also think the merchandise chapter is fun because you can see all kinds of crazy themed items people can buy, including a crockpot and a cheeseboard.”

Lastly, how much more could have gone into this book, that you decided to emit, due to one reason or another? - “Not much was omitted. We had to cut a few photos for space, but generally everything I wanted in the book is in there.”

About the Authors - Emily Zemler is a writer and journalist based in London. She is a frequent contributor to the Los Angeles Times and Rolling Stone, among other prestigious outlets. Emily is the co-author of A Sick Life, with TLC’s Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins, and the author of The Art and Making of Aladdin and Disney Princess: Beyond the Tiara.

Tim Burton, director and artist, is widely regarded as one of cinema’s most imaginative and visual filmmakers. Both his live-action and animated films have earned Academy Awards, Golden Globes, BAFTAs, and many other industry accolades, cementing his status as one of the greatest filmmakers of our time.

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Pagan Portals - Ancient Fayerie
By: Melanie Godfrey - Moon Books, $12.95

Description: Tales of the Elven ones have echoed on whispering winds since time immemorial. The fayerie realm lives in unity within the sacred landscapes and within this book, the author takes you on a journey into the heart of the Celtic fayerie worlds … where trolls roam through sylvan glades … where dragons dwell amid mountain ranges … and where at night, through sapphire skies, moonbeams descend on faeries, dancing.

Verdict: In Pagan Portals - Ancient Fayerie: Stories of the Celtic Sidhe and how to Connect to the Otherworldly Realms, by author Melanie Godfrey, reveals ways by which you can unite with these mystical worlds as you reconnect with nature and realize that you are not separate from Mother Earth.

As you share in the author’s creative visions, you will learn how to intuit the world of fayerie. This book will inspire you to fall in love with these Celtic Isles over and over again, and these lands will lead to a homecoming within your heart as you take your own pilgrimage.

In the Emerald Isle they have Irish myths aplenty about the Fairy Folk, with records starting in the 17th Century and continuing right through to Fairy stories and Irish folklore that is still being spoken of and recorded in the present day. They call them the Sidhe.

The Sidhe, who are Irish Fairy folk specifically, is a genuine belief and tradition that still holds sway in Ireland today and thus Irish folklore is rich with stories of fairies, elves, and other magical beings. Indeed, these tales are often passed down through generations and are believed to contain important lessons for us humans.

Many believe that these legends are rooted in real events, and there was (and still is) a very real belief in these inhabitants of the Fairy Mounds, and the powers they wield. The Sidhe, or Fairy People, are said to travel the mountains and forests of Ireland, usually invisible to humans, and to be found also in the bogs, caves, lakes and islands of the Irish landscape.

Especially belonging to them though are the old forts and mounds, the ancient monuments built by our ancestors, which contain entrances to where the Sidhe really live – the land of Fairy, or the Fairy realm, which we call the Otherworld (An Saol Eile).

They generally appear as human like, though there are exceptions among the different types of Irish Fairy, and though there are some who are traditionally small in stature (such as the leprechaun), they will most often appear as regular human sized too.

Irish mythology and folklore tradition varies through the ages on whether they are the Tuatha Dé Danann, a race of Gods and Goddesses banished to the hollow hills, or fallen angels, not quite bad enough to be cast to hell during the fall, stuck in limbo here on earth until the day when they are forgiven and can reclaim their place in heaven.

In modern terms, Irish folk who believe in the Sidhe tend to view them as inhabitants of the Otherworld, encompassing a variety of races or tribes or types, who have access to this world and can manifest here or affect humans at will … though humans are usually not aware of their presence or interference, often until it is too late.

But I digress, as what Melanie does here in this fascinating book is share some of her very own intimate encounters with Faery and the Elemental Kingdoms. She begins with a story, one that as it progresses, itself envelopes experiences had within various sacred landscapes. She then offers up both techniques and meditations to help the reader deepen their own relationship with these beings from nature, and their respective dwellings.

About the Author - Melanie is an International Psychic Clairvoyant who has been working with the spirit world for the last twenty-six years, giving spiritual readings and healings to people and animals from all over the world. She is also a Therapeutic Counsellor, a Spiritualist Healer, and is an Ovate in the Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids. She lives in Cornwall, UK.

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Pagan Portals - Fairy Witchcraft
By: Morgan Daimler - Moon Books, $12.95

Description: Pagan Portals - Fairy Witchcraft: A Neopagan’s Guide to the Celtic Fairy Faith by author Morgan Daimler is a guidebook for those seeking a path that combines modern neopagan witchcraft with the older Celtic Fairy Faith.

Verdict: Many neopagan’s today are drawn to honor the fairies but find that the modern-day path to Fairy is hidden in mist and shadow. Yet the path is still there, waiting for those who are ready to seek it out.

Pagan Portals - Fairy Witchcraft: A Neopagan’s Guide to the Celtic Fairy Faith by prolific author Morgan Daimler, is a guidebook for those seeking a path that combines modern neopagan witchcraft with the older Celtic Fairy Faith.

Topics include basic beliefs and practices, holidays, tools, altar set up, and theology, with the intent of giving the seeker a solid grounding in the basics of modern Fairy Witchcraft.

This highly intelligent, expertly sculpted, and extremely well researched new guidebook is a most dutiful one on the subject matter, sure, but it also expands in a way that allows Morgan’s very own personal experiences with these entities to bleed through; allowing the reader to admire, and learn, all the collective arts and practices of Fairy Witchcraft along the way.

Growing up in England, it was told to me that Fairy Witchcraft was a polytheistic and animistic religion first and foremost, which meant that we believe in many individual Gods and also that all things have a spirit. This is a vital difference between Fairy Witchcraft and some other forms of modern neopaganism, which may see the Gods as archetypes or as manifestations of a single Godhead (or Goddess-head as it were).

For their Gods are no more or less reflections of an even higher Power than we ourselves are, and as we know them they are unique individuals with personality and presence.

Interestingly, the Fairy Witchcraft view of death and the afterlife is a thoroughly Celtic one, reinforced with some Heathenry. We know from Roman and Greek sources that the Celts believed that the soul was immortal and that after dying in this world it was reborn into the Otherworld for a certain amount of time before being reborn here again (Freeman, 2000).

Caesar mentions in his work The Gallic Wars that the great courage the Celts had in battle came from this belief, because they did not fear death, but saw it as merely a transition into another life. They believed this so strongly in fact that people could write an I.O.U. promising to repay debts in the next life.

But, I digress, for here in Morgan’s enthralling new book, we quickly discover a heartfelt, impassioned and all-embracing guide to the powers of magic brought forth by the Sidhe. And in what is an all-encompassing Introduction from the author, one that in some ways acts like a speedy set of cliff notes on the subject at hand, the steps are clearly laid out for what to expect from the book. And with that said, expect a LOT!

About the Author - Morgan Daimler is a blogger, poet, teacher of esoteric subjects, witch, and priestess of the Daoine Maithe. Morgan is a prolific pagan writer, having published more than a dozen books under Moon Books alone, and she is one of the world’s foremost experts on all things Fairy. She lives in Connecticut, US.

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Icons, Idols and Idiots of Hollywood
By: Bruce Belland - BearManor Media - $32.00

Description: The son of fundamentalist preacher sings his first solo in front of an audience at age four. The congregation’s enthusiastic response inspires his dream of becoming a singer.

That dream comes true as front man of America’s first “Boy Band”, Capitol Records vocal group The Four Preps, whose classic hit “26 Miles (Santa Catalina)” lands them in the Vocal Group Hall of Fame. One band mate will later create TV’s Knight Rider and another the rock classic “Tainted Love.” This is their story too.

Verdict: Set against the backdrop of vintage Hollywood in the Fab 50’s, “ICONS, IDOLS and IDIOTS of Hollywood” recounts adventures with greats from Ozzie and Harriet to Elvis, Sinatra to the Beatles, Bob Hope to the Beach Boys, as four pals from Hollywood High get dropped into the fast lane of Pop music stardom while still in their teens. Riveting tales one reviewer called “. . .wild, ribald, at times poignant and always hugely entertaining.”

As for this reviewer, well, descriptive words and terms that come to my mind - having now read Icons, Idols and Idiots of Hollywood - My Adventures in America’s First Boy Band twice through in quick succession- are enjoyable romp, colorfully detailed, and both hearty and informative; so, as you can tell, this is most definitely a book that lives up to its title!

Ergo, what we have here is a book that not captures the very essence of the era that Bruce Belland is talking of, but encapsulates perfectly the kind of man the author himself is. An artist in both his prose and his descriptive verbology, most everything he throws down is relatable - and even if some of it accounts for a time when we ourselves wouldn’t have ever been so lucky, Bruce manages to ensure that each tasty morsel is grounded, wholesome and remarkably entertaining.

But, as Bruce himself freely admits, “This is my story, but it’s also the story of two other young dreamers who were every bit as driven as I was to make their mark in Hollywood: Glen A. Larsen and Ed Cobb.”

“Together - with fourth Prep Marv Ingram - we achieved worldwide fame while still in our teens. Then they both went on to become giants in their own right and still make more show business history.”

“I was lucky to have them as my friends, musical brothers and partners in making my dream a reality. It would never have happened without them.”

The short Prologue opens in 1940, where a 4 year-old Bruce is about to perform is very first solo in front of an audience, during a morning worship service. His dad being a fundamentalist minister with a small congregation on the Northwest side of Chicago, it was a readymade platform for the young lad.

When he finishes his rendition of God Bless America, they all erupt into rapturous applause, cheer and even shouts of Amen start to ripple around the inside walls of the gathering. His father rushes over, wraps him into tight bear hug and growls in his ear, “You are terrific!” His mom remains seated at her piano, yet her turned head reveals her eyes brimming with pride. And so, as expected, not only does the young Bruce love the way it is all making him feel, but (and, no pun intended) the stage is well and truly set for the start of his dream life.

Pushing forward and it was at HHS in 1954 that Bruce convinced Glen Larson, a friend since grammar school, to co-found a vocal group for that year’s student talent show. Bruce, Glen and two pals from the school choir, stole the show with the Crew Cuts’ “Sh-Boom.” Convinced they were on to something special, Bruce and Glen enlisted two classmates—Bruce’s friend 6’4” bass and high school football star Ed Cobb, and high tenor and former boy soprano in the famed Mitchell Boys Choir, Marv Ingram—to permanently fill the other two slots.

They may well have just been four driven kids from meager backgrounds, but then and there The Four Preps were born!

Of course, the book goes on to recount how after “26 Miles” became an almost instant hit on the charts, which almost as quickly enabled the song to become the eternal anthem of Southern California’s Catalina Island, how the band found itself sharing the bill with Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Louis Armstrong and Rosemary Clooney on a TV special entitled The Edsel Show (which was, in all truth, set up wholly to sell a new car).

So sure, the book details the bands rise to fame, their time spent in the spotlight, but it also showcases the subsequent slow down of their careers, and what they did thereafter. Sadly, today, Bruce is the last survivor of the original Four Preps, but the author has done an incredible, magnificently dedicated job here in keeping their spirits alive in what is most assuredly an expressively diligent, yet highly upbeat and remarkably dutiful read (at over 400 pages and complete with 100 photos) from start to finish.

Inclusive of chapters such as The Last Good War, Marilyn Moves In, Singing for Gas Money, Lawrence Welk and the Candy Bar, Ricky Nelson, Crosby On My Left, Sinatra On My Right, Ed Sullivan Calls, Godzilla With Three Stripes, JFK Gets His Way, The Friars Have Sammy Davis Jr. for Lunch, Hey Beatles, Dick Clark, and amongst a slew of others, One Dead Junkie and a Masturbating Monkey, the book is a genuinely heartwarming, impassioned and most wondrously crafted book, written and sculpted through time by its dedicated storyteller supreme, Bruce Belland.

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Pagan Portals - Gods and Goddesses of Ireland
By: Morgan Daimler - Moon Books, $12.95

Description: Pagan Portals - Gods and Goddesses of Ireland by prolific writer Morgan Daimler allows us all to meet the Gods and Goddesses of pagan Ireland in myth and modern practice.

Verdict: This very concise guide to the Gods and Goddesses of pagan Ireland, their history, mythology, and symbols, is one of the best starter guides on the subject matter that I have personally read in quite a long time.

Rooted in the past but still active in the world today, the Gods and Goddesses of Ireland have always been powerful forces that can bless or challenge, but often the most difficult thing is to simply find information about them.

This short introductory text looks at a variety of different Irish deities, common and more obscure, from their ancient roots to the modern practices associated with honoring them in, an encyclopedia-style book with entries in easy-to-use sections.

Polytheism was the main belief system of the Celts. It was the most popular religion in society and meant that people worshiped many different Celtic Gods and Goddesses. Each god represented something important in society, such as life, death, the seasons, weather and wars.

Most Irish people have descended from the Celts, a central European group who invaded and took over Ireland during the Iron Age, estimated at around 500 BC. They thrived up until 400 AD when Christianity arrived in Ireland. During the many centuries that followed they occupied Ireland embedding their own religion, customs and art into what is now thought of as Gaelic culture.

When Christianity arrived in Ireland Celtic polytheism/paganism was replaced. It was Christian monks however who were the first to transcribe the mythology and record the history of Ireland. Some of the details and characters of the stories were altered to better suit Christian ideology.

This, along with the fact that stories have been passed from mouth to mouth for generations, resulted in many different versions of the same mythos. From different time periods to different endings, one thing that remains consistent is the many different Celtic pagan deities that feature.

Some of the deities worshiped were common between different cultures, but the Celts had unique gods of their own too. There is a lot to learn about polytheism and the way it affected the Celtic community culturally and traditionally.

Chock full of fascinating stories and histories for all the Celtic Gods and Goddesses and their roles in mythology (such as The Tuatha Dé Danann Gods/Goddesses and Other Gods of Ireland), Pagan Portals - Gods and Goddesses of Ireland: A Guide to Irish Deities is a highly accessible, impassioned and dutifully written compilation of information, whilst at the same time offering up suggestions for interacting with the deities in question.

About the Author - Morgan Daimler is a blogger, poet, teacher of esoteric subjects, witch, and priestess of the Daoine Maithe. Morgan is a prolific pagan writer, having published more than a dozen books under Moon Books alone, and she is one of the world’s foremost experts on all things Fairy. She lives in Connecticut, US.

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Pagan Portals - Living Fairy
By: Morgan Daimler - Moon Books, $12.95

Description: Pagan Portals - Living Fairy, by prolific writer Morgan Daimler, is the calling of the Othercrowd back through active practice and holy days based on the Pleiades.

Verdict: The human world and the Otherworld have always been intrinsically connected just as the beings within them are, but these connections have been strained in the Western world over the last millenia. Cultural and religious shifts have pushed the Other to the fringes and centered humanity in the world and in many spiritual frameworks.

As we move into the 21st century the Othercrowd is pushing back, seeking a return to their place in things. Many witches are feeling this shift.

Living Fairy is a look at ways to deepen your practice of fairy witchcraft by actively calling the Good Neighbors back, and connecting to them more experimentally. It emphasizes older ways of relating to them within a modern framework, while acknowledging the good and the bad that comes with this work.

There is also an emphasis on moving away from solar and lunar holy days into a system focused on the stars, which may perhaps be an older way to relate to both the fairies and our spirituality.

For those unknowing, in Celtic mythology, the Otherworld is the realm of the deities and possibly also the dead. In Gaelic and Brittonic myth it is usually a supernatural realm of everlasting youth, beauty, health, abundance and joy. It is described either as a parallel world that exists alongside our own, or as a heavenly land beyond the sea or under the earth.

The Otherworld is usually elusive, but various mythical heroes visit it either through chance or after being invited by one of its residents. They often reach it by entering ancient burial mounds or caves, or by going under water or across the western sea. Sometimes, they suddenly find themselves in the Otherworld with the appearance of a magic mist, supernatural beings or unusual animals.

For example, an otherworldly woman may invite the hero into the Otherworld by offering an apple or a silver apple branch, or a ball of thread to follow as it unwinds, and so forth.

But, I digress, for here in this dutifully sculpted new book on Fairy Witchcraft and Star Worship, author Morgan Daimler describes how the cycle of the Pleiades rising and setting in the sky relate to the Others, and how this might play out in your observations of the ritual year.

It’s a rough outline, as it’s still an ongoing investigation into the importance of the Pleiades and just how she will come to use them, but it’s a very interesting section nonetheless; one that I myself found increasingly intriguing the more I think about just how this will eventually pan out.

Ablely blending academic research with spiritual practices, Morgan delves deep into the subject matter to hand, and through her practice and experiences, brings forth a magical thread of her own that entices us, therein connecting us to the Faery magick of the past with the celestial fabric of the Pleiades in the beautiful night sky.

About the Author - Morgan Daimler is a blogger, poet, teacher of esoteric subjects, witch, and priestess of the Daoine Maithe. Morgan is a prolific pagan writer, having published more than a dozen books under Moon Books alone, and she is one of the world’s foremost experts on all things Fairy. She lives in Connecticut, US.

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Pagan Portals - The Morrigan
By: Morgan Daimler - Moon Books, $12.95

Description: Pagan Portals - The Morrigan, by prolific writer Morgan Daimler, teaches us that ancient and enigmatic, the Morrigan reaches out to us. Learn who she is and how to answer her call here in this new informative book about Meeting the Great Queens.

Verdict: On shadowed wings and in raven’s call, meet the ancient Irish goddess of war, battle, prophecy, death, sovereignty, and magic. This book is an introduction to the Morrigan and several related goddesses who share the title, including Badb and Macha.

It combines solid academic information with personal experience in a way that is intended to dispel the confusion that often surrounds who this goddess was and is.

The Morrigan is as active in the world today as she ever was in the past but answering her call means answering the challenge of finding her history and myth in a sea of misinformation, supposition, and hard-to-find ancient texts.

And so, here in one place, all of her basic information has been collected along with personal experiences and advice from a long-time priestess dedicated to a goddess who bears the title Morrigan.

As the Morrigan has grown in popularity, understandings of who she was and is have shifted and become even more nebulous. Author Morgan Daimler is now here to clarify some common points of confusion and help people go deeper in their study of the Morrigan, and even assist in nurturing a devotional relationship to her.

Taking it from the top, out of the many mythical characters in Irish folklore, the Morrigan is arguably one of the best known. The Morrigan is one of the many prominent figures to feature in Irish mythology and is primarily associated with war / battle, fate and death.

She is a gifted shape shifter and is known to favor changing into the crow. Furthermore, the Morrigan was one of the Tuatha Dé Danann, who were the folk of the Goddess Danu. Growing up, we were frequently told stories about Celtic Gods and Goddesses, however, few stories had us on the edges of our seats like the tales of the Goddess Morrigan.

The mysterious Morrigan Celtic queen as kids growing up in Ireland. Like all stories from Irish and Celtic Folklore, the tales were colorful, magical and, in this case, featured many a battle. The Phantom Queen/Morrigan mythology is one of the most popular there is, which is likely due to the incredible stories that revolve around her.

It’s said that the name ‘Morrigan’ roughly translates to ‘The Phantom Queen’. Like the Puca, she was a shapeshifter yet, unlike the Puca, she was associated with war, death and destiny. So what we get here in this follow up book from author Mercedes, is not only a dutiful, updated tag on to her prior book, but also brings forth a Celtic prose to those not wholly familiar with the warrior queen herself (although the name by which she is called tends to change depending on who is telling the story, she often referred to by several different names).

But, I digress, as Pagan Portals - The Morrigan: Meeting the Great Queens, Morgan brings forth some insightful, useful, and highly impassioned, well-researched information on the Irish Morrigans. Including some well respected academic sources, it may well all sound a little straight-laced, but trust me when I say she makes learning an enjoyable act here.

Inclusive of a chapter dedicated to finding the Morrigans in the Modern World, the Queens included here are: Morrigu (Goddess of Battle), Marha (Goddess of Sovereignty), and Badb (Goddess of Prophercy), with other chapters designated to: The Morrigan by Other Names, The Morrigan in Mythology, and Animals of the Morrigan.

About the Author - Morgan Daimler is a blogger, poet, teacher of esoteric subjects, witch, and priestess of the Daoine Maithe. Morgan is a prolific pagan writer, having published more than a dozen books under Moon Books alone, and she is one of the world’s foremost experts on all things Fairy. She lives in Connecticut, US.

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