The Secret History of America

When you see a title like “The Secret History of America”, you might perk up at the thought of nefarious, conspiratorial plots. And although secrets abound in “The Secret History of America: Classic Writings on our Nation’s Unknown Past and Inner Purpose” by Manly P. Hall, you’ll be hard pressed to find sinister actions. That’s because through Hall’s account of history America, the literal land the country exists on, has been preordained to be a utopia, or as close to one as humanity can create.

As editor Mitch Horowitz says in his introduction, “Hall’s view of American history could be called transcendental.” He goes on to explain, “Within Hall’s writings on American history, particularly in his essays and book called The Secret Destiny of America, appears the principle that the U.S. serves – at his finest hours – as a vessel for primeval ideals of democracy, self-development, individual searching, and personal liberty. Hall located these ideals, in their earliest form, within ancient esoteric traditions, and he believed that such principles were preserved within the work of illuminated intellects, like Francis Bacon and Sir Walter Raleigh, as well as covert fraternities, including Freemasonry and Rosicrucianism, and enacted, albeit imperfectly, by America’s founders, many of whom were either Masons, such as Washington and Franklin, or were intimately steeped in ethical and individualistic philosophy, such as Paine and Jefferson.”

Hall profiles a colorful cast of characters including George Washington, Albert Pike, Benjamin Franklin, Andrew Jackson, and Ralph Waldo Emerson. He shares stories of mysterious strangers at the signing of the Declaration of Independence, and potential identities of Quetzalcoatl. All the while Hall paints a picture of an aspirational America. An America living up to its fullest potential.

Entertaining, inspiring, and informative, Manly P. Hall’s “Secret History of America” is a must read.

You can learn more here.

Tarot for the Fiction Writer

So darn many of you expressed an interest in this book when I shared it on social media, and you were all right to be excited. “Tarot for the Fiction Writer: How 78 Cards Can Take You From Idea to Publication” by Paula Chaffee Scardamalia was I book I had been anxiously anticipating.

First off, Scardamalia has been featured on our website in the past. Obviously, this makes me partial to following her projects. Also, I had the pleasure of having dinner with her once where we talked shop. Let me tell you, she is intelligent, supportive, and brimming with inspiration and ideas for others. She is one of the few personal coaches I’ve ever met that I think could truly make a difference in their client’s lives. She’s an amazing lady.

Then I get my grubby little hands on “Tarot for the Fiction Writer”. It is a beautiful, full color, hardcover book featuring images from Ciro Marchetti’s “Legacy of the Divine Tarot” and “Tarot Grand Luxe” decks as well as Robert Place’s “Tarot of the Sevenfold Mystery” deck. It even has a built-in ribbon bookmark! This is easily the most attractive book I’ve seen from Schiffer Publishing.


Now here is the truly delightful surprise of “Tarot for the Fiction Writer”. You don’t need to be a fiction writer to get something out of this book. Let me clear, this book absolutely and clearly shows the similarities of the tarot and a story, and how you can use the tarot to inspire and navigate the storytelling process. The surprising twist is, in doing that you learn more about the tarot itself. If you love stories, Scardamalia’s methodology brings a new angle to learning the tarot cards.

You can learn more here.

Crafting Love

Way back in 2013 I introduced you to Maggie Oman Shannon through her wonderful book “Crafting Calm: Projects and Practices for Creativity and Contemplation”. Fast forward 5 years and now we have “Crafting Love: Sharing Our Hearts Through the Work of Our Hands”.

“Crafting Love” explores 7 categories of love: romance, friends/teachers/mentors, family, nature (places and animals), self-love, others in the world, and the divine. Just reading her thoughts on the different ways we experience, express, and share love is gratifying and could have been a nice little book in and of itself. However, just like with “Crafting Calm”, Shannon offers loads of ideas and inspiration for things to create.

Kindness cards, family trees, edible love notes, goddess rosaries, and much more are offered up as suggestions. The wide variety of craft projects suggested cover ideas for beginners to experienced DIYers. Her ideas are sure to inspire some original projects of your own! “Crafting Love” by Maggie Oman Shannon challenges you to put some love out into the world.

You can learn more here.

Williamson Wants You

I love primaries during the run up to a presidential election year. I play armchair pundit like many Americans, weighing pros and cons, and handicapping the primaries as they start rolling. Obviously, I was stoked to see who was going to throw their hat in the ring to become the Democratic Party presidential nominee. Well they can just stop it already! I had a good handle on the candidates for a while, but now I can barely keep up! My cup runneth over, and seriously, I’m drowning in the flood of information!

Not to make matters worse but there is a primary candidate that may be under your radar, and since she comes from a new age/self-help background I felt I should bring her to your attention. If you haven’t heard, author, speaker, and spiritual mogul Marianne Williamson is running for the Democratic Party nomination.

A quick overview of her platform shows her to be mostly in line with most of the progressive candidates. One of her biggest departures with other candidates is her desire to create a US Department of Domestic Peace-Building. As I write this, there are 14 people running for the nomination with Williamson being the last in fundraising. You can find out more about the candidate’s fundraising here.

I honestly don’t know who I’ll vote for at this point. I’ll probably wait for the primary process to winnow the field down, then pick from what’s left. If you’d like to learn more about Marianne Williamson’s campaign, visit her site here.

Witchbody

I remember looking through the Weiser Books catalog and seeing “Witchbody” by Sabrina Scott. It was described as a graphic novel about everyday magic. I’m a fan of comic books, particularly in their collected form, commonly referred to as a “graphic novel”, so I had to check it out. Simply put, it’s amazing.

“Witchbody” is a beautiful and poetic exploration of ecology, magic, the environment, spirituality, and ontology. Scott’s art and prose combine to create not only a book, but a true magic item. Reading it changes you.

I don’t know what else to say. In my opinion “Witchbody” by Sabrina Scott is a must read and instant classic.


You can learn more here.

Musical Meditations on The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success

Old school readers will recognize the name Paul Avgerinos. He is the Grammy winning new age musician who has been kind enough to be interviewed for The Magical Buffet on and off since 2007. When he emailed me about his latest project, I thought it would be of interest.

To celebrate the 25th anniversary of Deepak Chopra’s 1994 New Age classic NY Times bestseller, “The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success”, Avgerinos has teamed up with Chopra and Grammy winner Kabir Sehgal to release “Musical Meditations on The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success”.

In “Musical Meditations on The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success”, there is a summation of the essential meaning of each law, followed by a meditation on the essence of that law with guidance on integrating this wisdom into your life and being. Newcomers to this material will find an accessible path to understanding and for those familiar with the material, it’s a pleasant refresher course. There is also a bonus Mindfulness meditation included.

Here’s a little taste for you:

One Truth and One Spirit

Early on in my interest in magic and religion I was given the advice to steer clear of Aleister Crowley. Essentially that he, and his work, was not for beginners or dabblers. Since I am nothing if not a dabbler, I have basically remained mostly ignorant of Crowley and Thelema. I can say that “One Truth and One Spirit: Aleister Crowley’s Spiritual Legacy” by Keith Readdy has changed all that.

Readdy approaches Thelema as a new religious movement, which may seem odd to those of us on the outside looking in, but he lays out a compelling argument for its inclusion as one. And as with all new religious movements, things always getting interesting after the passing of its founder, since this is when you learn if a religion is sustainable. That’s why “One Truth and One Spirit” focuses on the years following Crowley’s death in 1947.

Readdy quite adeptly summarizes Crowley’s Thelema in enough detail for the novice such as myself without getting too bogged down as to become tedious, particularly for those versed in the practice. He outlines the framework for the O.T.O and AA (two intertwined, sister organizations within Thelema). Readdy also takes on the daunting task of trying outline the succession and evolution of the O.T.O. and AA following Crowley’s death. He utilizes a myriad of sources including some previously unavailable to the public.

It should be noted that Readdy is a member of the O.T.O. The author makes it clear when he is expressing his opinion, and overall, I feel he offers a balanced look at the subject matter. Of course, those involved with the organizations may feel differently.

“One Truth and One Spirit” by Keith Readdy is an excellent introduction to Aleister Crowley, Thelema, the associated organizations, and their past and future.

You can learn more here.

Hail Satan?

I received a press release about a documentary that I definitely want to see! Check it out!

Chronicling the extraordinary rise of one of the most colorful and controversial religious movements in American history, Hail Satan? is an inspiring and entertaining new feature documentary from acclaimed director Penny Lane (Nuts!, Our Nixon). When media-savvy members of the Satanic Temple organize a series of public actions designed to advocate for religious freedom and challenge corrupt authority, they prove that with little more than a clever idea, a mischievous sense of humor, and a few rebellious friends, you can speak truth to power in some truly profound ways. As charming and funny as it is thought-provoking, Hail Satan? offers a timely look at a group of often misunderstood outsiders whose unwavering commitment to social and political justice has empowered thousands of people around the world.

Hail Satan? will be in theaters April 19th! You can learn more and find tickets at https://www.hailsatanfilm.com/.

Joining The Ark

A Kickstarter campaign was recently brought to my attention and since it involves a deck, you know I had to share it! I’m excited about it because it looks like it’s incredibly flexible in how you can use it, has beautiful artwork, and the accompanying book features the creator (Bernadette King), Patricia Telesco, and Dayna Winters (who has had a book or two of her own featured on our site). So, what am I talking about?

“The Ark Animal Tarot & Oracle Deck”.

Bernadette King has created a 100 card multi-use animal themed tarot & oracle deck with 300+ page full-color guidebook. I just love the flexibility! You can easily use it like a traditional tarot deck (complete with major and minor arcana) or as an oracle deck, and probably a bunch of other ways!

You can learn more with this video:

To learn even MORE and/or contribute to the Kickstarter campaign, click here. (FYI, this project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by Fri, April 19 2019 5:55 AM EDT.)

Ready for more? Bernadette King, the creator of the deck has offered to giveaway a deck to one of my readers! (Once the project is funded and the deck is completed, of course.) Enter today using Rafflecopter! You have until Friday April 5, 2019 11:59pm eastern to enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Come…Sit in My Heart

As you know, I don’t really do poetry on my site. I tend to be finicky about what I end up liking and honestly, I don’t want to get flooded with requests from every poet drifting around out there. However, I received an email offering me a chance to review a book of poems by Hosain Mosavat called “Come…Sit in My Heart: A Sufi Speaks His Silence” and I said, “Yes.”

His biography is what compelled me to give it a try. “Born in Shiraz, Iran, 1934, where Saadi and Hafez grew up to be giants of Persian poetry. Raised in Tehran. Survived the first revolution in 1953 against the Shah. Within three days a coup d’etat happened, financed by the CIA, which I didn’t survive, because of losing fifteen friends. Also lost faith in my country. Then in 1955, with the help of my father, came to America, in which I have lived, worked and served to bring peace and harmony, trying to heal the pain and losses of my friends and my country. This book is about how far I have come from revolution to making love as a way of life. I have no regrets, only great hope for our family of mankind. No one is too small to rise and touch another soul. In the name of love and compassion, I stand before you.” Who says no to that? Certainly not me!

If you dare venture inside “Come…Sit in My Heart” you’ll be treated to some earnest reflections on love and spirituality.

A creek
gently flowing among the pebbles
in the stream
whispering freshness
flowing through and around
whatever touches it

That’s the teacher I’m looking for

You can learn more here.