A Stampede of Unicorns

It’s here, the comparative review weeks in the making. Battle of the Unicorn Books! Through a combination of shipping mishaps and publishing trends, I received 3 different books centered on unicorns from two different publishers at the same time! When I realized I was up to my armpits in unicorn books, I thought it only made sense to read one after the other and do a big ol’ review. Better still, the shipping mishaps are enabling me to give some away too!

Who are the contenders in this battle royale?

“The Wonder of Unicorns: Ascending with the Higher Angelic Realms” by Diana Cooper
“Unicorn Magic: Awaken to Mystical Energy & Embrace Your Personal Power” by Tess Whitehurst
“Llewellyn’s Little Book of Unicorns” by Angela A. Wix

So, who was first?

That would be “The Wonder of Unicorns” by Diana Cooper. It was originally published in 2008 and is now being reprinted in a new edition as of November 2019. Next up is “Llewellyn’s Little Book of Unicorns” by Angela A. Wix, which was published September 2019. And last, but not least, is “Unicorn Magic” by Tess Whitehurst which also came out in November 2019.

“The Wonder of Unicorns” is 240 pages of angelic themed unicorns. It features full color illustrations by Damian Keenan throughout and is $18.99. For Cooper, unicorns are another aspect of the Divine. She explores unicorn legends with the perspective of them being angelic beings. Her book explains their angelic realm and hierarchy. She goes on to provide meditations and rituals to help you contact their dimension and work with them. They take on a Guardian Angel role in the lives of those who wish to invite them in. Out of the three books, “The Wonder of Unicorns” is definitely for those who wish to explore a potential angelic aspect to the creatures.

You can learn more here.

Next, what is black, white, and pink all over? “Llewellyn’s Little Book of Unicorns” by Angela A. Wix. It’s a 264 page hard cover perfectly sized to keep on you at all times. And you should keep it on you because her book does a great job of introducing unicorn energy into your life, and helping you recognize the unicorn that’s already there. Mundane tasks like cleaning take on a new energy. Beautiful crystals you may already own have new purposes. In fact, mindfulness, chakras, and more get a fresh unicorn perspective in this book!

You can learn more here.

I have a particular soft spot for the last title, “Unicorn Magic”, because it was written by Tess Whitehurst, who I had the pleasure of interviewing in 2015. Her book is filled to the brim with her positive, kick ass attitude. Whitehurst’s book is a 288 page self-help journey with a unicorn travel guide. She encourages you to find, create, and embrace beauty. If you want to be a better version of yourself, this is the book for you!

You can learn more here.

Now, thanks to the generosity of the publishers, we have a giveaway for ALL the books! That’s right! Follow the Rafflecopter contest below to enter. Contest ends at 11:59pm 01/19/2020.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Not sure you’ll win? Reading this after the contest is over? Either way, below are affiliate links to IndieBound, which supports independent bookstores throughout the United States. If you use these links to purchase the book, I will make a small commission at no additional cost to you.

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org
Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org
Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org
Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org

The Great Smoke Off: Dueling Smoke Cleansing Books

As many publishers, authors, and publicists will tell you, I don’t crank out my book reviews that quickly. Stacks of books pile up while I slowly work my way through review copies and advance readers. There’s just a limit to how quick I can read and write, you know? One day, while scanning my heap of books to read I noticed two books of a similar theme: “Sacred Smoke: Clear Away Negative Energies and Purify Body, Mind, and Spirit” by Amy Blackthorn and “Sacred Herb Bundles for Energy Cleansing: Your Guide to a Powerful Healing Practice to Purify, Bless, and Inspire” by Kiera Fogg. I said to myself, self, why not read them both a write a review comparing them to each other? And here we are.

Let’s start with some core basics. “Sacred Smoke” by Amy Blackthorn came out in October 2019, has 192 pages in black and white with pretty line drawings that retails for $14.95. “Sacred Herb Bundles for Energy Cleansing” by Kiera Fogg came out June 2019, has 128 glossy, full color pages that retails for $21.99.

Who are the authors? Amy Blackthorn (who I interviewed in 2018) comes from a background of herbalism, horticulture, and green witchcraft. She owns Blackthorn Hoodoo Blends, which sells teas inspired by traditional Hoodoo practices. Kiera Fogg’s background is in healing crystals and energy work. She owns Little Box of Rocks, a company that sells healing crystals.

Both books are well written. Both have some overlapping content. However, I feel the authors’ backgrounds are reflected in their books. Blackthorn’s book, “Sacred Smoke”, has more technical information that branches out in more directions. Specific ideas for utilizing smoke for witchcraft, self-care, magical practices, and spiritual practices. Fogg’s book, “Sacred Herb Bundles for Energy Cleansing”, has a much more generalized new age use vibe about it. Nothing wrong with that, heck, it’s pretty much how I roll. It also has to be mentioned that Fogg’s book has a very curated visual look to it. Her work is made for Instagram.

So, which book “wins”? Neither. Or both. Despite their surface similarities, both authors created wonderful books that pull on their individual strengths. In a perfect world, if you had the money and interest, you would buy both. As it is, I would suggest Fogg’s “Sacred Herb Bundles for Energy Cleansing” for those looking for more of a new age how-to, and Blackthorn’s “Sacred Smoke” for a more witchcraft oriented approach.

You can learn more about “Sacred Smoke” here.

You can learn more about “Sacred Herb Bundles for Energy Cleansing” here.

Shop your local indie bookstore. You can buy Sacred Smoke here! <--- This is an affiliate link to IndieBound, which supports independent bookstores throughout the United States. If you use this link to purchase the book, I will make a small commission at no additional cost to you. Shop your local indie bookstore. You can buy Sacred Herb Bundles for Energy Cleansing here! <--- This is an affiliate link to IndieBound, which supports independent bookstores throughout the United States. If you use this link to purchase the book, I will make a small commission at no additional cost to you.

Awakening Your Crystals

It’s always a good time for crystals. Maybe you got some as a holiday gift. Maybe you’ll be spending some holiday cash to buy some. Either way, the time is right to discuss “Awakening Your Crystals” by Sharon L. McAllister.

“Awakening Your Crystals” focuses on what McAllister feels are eight key crystals: rose quartz, amethyst, pyrite, celestite, smoky quartz, citrine, fluorite, and unakite. She examines these eight crystals in depth separately and how they can work together. She does give a brief rundown on a bunch of other crystals too. All in shiny, full-color, I might add. More importantly, “Awakening Your Crystals” discusses care and maintenance of your crystals, how to explore the crystal’s possibilities, and how to “program” your crystals for the work intended for them.

With its compact size, full-color photos, and focus on healing, “Awakening Your Crystals” by Sharon L. McAllister is a great “go to” crystal book for beginners and longtime crystal lovers alike!

You can learn more here.

Shop your local indie bookstore <---This is an affiliate link to IndieBound, which supports independent bookstores throughout the United States. If you use this link to purchase the book, I will make a small commission at no additional cost to you.

Using Sacred Smoke for Spiritual Cleansing

By Minerva Siegel

Smoke cleansing is a great way you can use the power of scent to prepare your energy for a tarot reading. Different forms of smoke cleansing have been used in cultures all over the world for centuries. In Catholicism, censers filled with smoking incense are swung back and forth during some liturgical services. Smudging is a practice common in many Indigenous cul¬tures that involves burning plants (commonly sage) in an abalone shell and fanning the smoke with a feather. In recent years, people have often used the term “smudging” incorrectly to refer to the practice of simply burning sage. The actual act of smudging is a sacred Indigenous ritual. If you’re not of a culture that traditionally practices smudging, please use terms like “smoke cleansing” or “aroma cleansing” to refer to your own sacred smoke practice.

Smoke cleansing refreshes both personal energy and the energy of a room. It clears the auric field, and it rids a space of unwanted and/or negative energy.

Spiritual Self-Care Tip: Cleansing Your Tarot Space

It can be difficult to feel relaxed and ready for a tarot ritual in a messy space. When in chaotic, unorganized places, your energy can often reflect that environment. Infusing a cleaning routine with magical intent is a great way to prepare a ritual location for a reading—plus, it’s just good spiritual hygiene. There are many ways to do this. You can:

• Play recordings of crystal singing bowls or other meditative sounds while you clean
• Use sage-infused cleaning products (sage is an energetically cleansing plant)
• Create a floor-washing solution with spiritually purifying essential oils such as lavender
• Burn magically dressed candles that feature uplifting essential oils

Spiritual Self-Care Activity: Smoke Cleanse with Sage

Smoke cleansing can also be used to cleanse residual energy from objects! You can smoke cleanse all second-hand objects that come into your possession to make sure they’re filled with nothing but positive vibes. Use the following guide to smoke cleanse with sage:

Items Needed:

1 small fire-safe container
1 bundle dried sage
A lighter or matches

Instructions:

1. Use light or matches to light one end of the dried sage bundle in fire-safe container.
2. Use lighter or matches to light one end of dried sage bundle in fire-safe container.
3. Blow out the flame after a moment or two, leaving the end smoking steadily.
4. Walk around the room with the container of sage, making sure the smoke wafts into every corner.

You can also say protective prayers or chants while doing this cleanse. Here is one example: “Chase away things that cause fright. Leave only love. Leave only light.” Perform this ritual weekly throughout your home as energetic maintenance. It can also be done when someone in the home is experiencing nightmares, after arguments, and before spiritual activities like reading tarot.

Filling the space with a cleansing aroma will set the perfect tone for reading tea leaves, trying out a new tarot playlist, or performing any other practice you enlist to prepare your energy for a tarot reading. Be sure to explore different scents as you gain experience reading tarot to find out which ones are most helpful to you.

Excerpted from “Tarot for Self-Care” by Minerva Siegel. Copyright © 2019 by Simon & Schuster, Inc. Used with permission from the publisher, Adams Media, an imprint of Simon & Schuster. All rights reserved.

You can learn more here.

About Minerva Siegel:
Minerva Siegel is a writer, social media influencer, and model. A Sagittarius with a Capricorn moon, she has a deep passion for practicing secular witchcraft, which she considers an essential part of her self-care routine. Over the years, she’s cultivated her practices in the divination arts, such as tarot, reading tea leaves, and astrology, through a transformative and modern lens, while retaining respect and reverence for tradition. She has contributed to the publications “Offbeat Home” and “Offbeat Bride”, and currently writes for “Elite Daily”. Minerva is active with her 64k followers on Instagram, and lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with her husband and their rescue dogs. She is the author of Tarot for Self-Care.

Shop your local indie bookstore <--- This is an affiliate link to IndieBound, which supports independent bookstores throughout the United States. If you use this link to purchase the book, I will make a small commission at no additional cost to you.

12andus and a Freebie!

Do you guys remember Angela Kaufman, author of “Queen Up! Reclaim Your Crown When Life Knocks You Down”? (I interviewed her in March 2018.) She reached out to me about a website that she’s been doing some writing for called 12andus.com. Angela thought you guys might be interested in it.

So, what is 12andus.com? From their website:

Astrology is neither an exact science nor is it deterministic. However, through astrology we can know ourselves deeply. Astrology can uncover aspects of ourselves that might be difficult for us to see through other means. Astrology is the reverberation on the inner plane of the outer planets.

We created 12andus to help people reveal their unique astrological birth qualities and how they match with others. Every relationship, just like every individual person, is a unique constellation of compatibilities and qualities.

We can match another person on many levels: romantic, friendship, business, and spiritual. When we are with a certain person, our connection becomes almost like an independent entity with its own traits. With different people, we may feel practical, affectionate, artistic, sensual, and adventurous, or we may feel lazy, superficial, and argumentative.

12andus will show you the harmonic and conflictual qualities that exist between any two people. In addition to the individual birth reports and relationship reports, we offer forecasts and relationship forecasts.

Another aspect of 12andus’ mission is to collect surveys and big data to statistically demonstrate that astrology works. Research and discovery are our ultimate goals.

Basic membership is free, but I’ve been given a promotional link that will allow people who sign up for the site through it to get the premium membership for free! Premium membership allows access to more personalized reports and chart comparisons with other users as well as access to transit interpretations and tips for the day based on current transits. (This link is specific to The Magical Buffet. I make no money from its use; it is solely for tracking purposes. This promotion ends 10/15/2019.)

If you’re interested in checking out 12andus.com, click here!

The Little Book of Self-Care for….

Today we’ll be talking about “The Little Book of Self-Care for Gemini: Simple Ways to Refresh and Restore – According to the Stars” by Constance Stellas. I’ve got to start by telling you how much I love books like this for gift giving, and this one works great. Nice compact hard cover, with beautiful cover art, and sharp looking interior. Although I read the Gemini version, because I’m a Gemini, there is a book for each astrological sign. In other words, there’s a book for everyone!

The book opens with a good overview of self-care and its benefits. Stellas divides self-care into the categories of physical, emotional, social, mental, spiritual, and practical. She then goes on to provide a basic explanation of astrology and the advantage of practicing self-care that coordinates with it. Stellas presents over 100 options for self-care to add to your daily life. Many of them I already practice (meditation, stretching, skincare), and many appeal to me (Qigong, aromatherapy, travel). So, I guess as a Gemini I can say she did a good job of finding good options for me.

If you’re looking for some self-care ideas for yourself, or someone else, these “Little Books of Self-Care” are worth considering.

You can learn more here.

Shop your local indie bookstore <--- This is an affiliate link to IndieBound, which supports independent bookstores throughout the United States. If you use this link to purchase the book, I will make a small commission at no additional cost to you.

Self-Love and Compassion

By Lama Palden Drolam

Love on Every Breath is an ancient Tibetan Buddhist Vajrayana meditation from the Shangpa lineage that combines breath, awareness, imagination, and an energetic transformation process. The meditation brings all these components together in a powerful way in order to open our hearts, to reveal and cultivate our kindness, love, compassion, and wisdom. In Tibetan, this is called the Extraordinary Tonglen, since it uses special techniques of Vajrayana to transform suffering. The Tibetan word tonglen is composed of two words — tong means “giving or sending,” and len means “receiving or taking.” First, we open ourselves to receive and feel the suffering of ourselves and others, breathing it into our heart center. This is the “taking.” The suffering is then instantaneously and effortlessly liberated in the heart and transformed by a special method into unconditional love. At this point, on the out-breath, love and healing energy are sent back out to whomever you are doing the meditation for at the moment, whether yourself or another. This is the “sending.”

The primary purpose of the Love on Every Breath meditation is to cultivate our love and compassion, to transform and liberate our heart. When we come from a place of love, everything shifts for us. This book gives you the tools to transform and empower yourself and come to a place of creative engaged freedom.

The Love on Every Breath meditation is not an exotic Himalayan practice, but it is something that emerges out of us spontaneously and naturally. It is inherent in us to want to remove suffering — others’ or our own. The problem for many children (and adults) is that we absorb the suffering of others, and then it stagnates inside of us. Love on Every Breath gives a way for the suffering to be liberated in the body and the psyche and emerge as compassion. There is a felt sense as this happens.

Developing Self-Love

Traditionally, in Tibet, Love on Every Breath involves first developing compassion and love for ourselves before we do so for others. In the West, many people do not experience self-love, but rather self-criticism and self-hatred. We tend to be overly self-centered and often feel that something is wrong with us. Therefore, it is important that we start the Love on Every Breath meditation by generating compassion and love for ourselves. One of my students, a serious meditator for over thirty years, found that meditating on Love on Every Breath for himself healed a deep psychological angst that had not been touched by many years of quiet sitting meditation. It powerfully liberated wounds he had been carrying for many years.

Without love and compassion for ourselves, we cannot sustain love and compassion for others. Love and compassion can arise spontaneously in certain circumstances for all of us, but to fully actualize love and compassion, we need to work through our anger and hurt and have compassion and love for ourselves. Then we can authentically have more compassion for others. Otherwise, it is like living in a home where we behave with harshness and cruelty and then expect to go outside and be open and loving. If we do not include ourselves in our love, our love is not whole, not complete. This is essential. As Aristotle wrote (in Ethics, book 9), “All friendly feelings for others are an extension of a man’s feelings for himself.” It should be noted that self-love and compassion are not to be confused with self-centeredness or narcissism.

Developing love and compassion helps us to grow spiritually and emotionally by lessening our ego fixation and self-centeredness and helping our relationships with others. When we generate compassion, we do not excuse or condone our own or others’ negative actions. Likewise, awakened love does not enable our own or others’ negativity or destructiveness. Awakened compassion understands that everyone is trying to be happy. We often try to be happy in all the wrong ways, such as when we think that money, prestige, and power will bring us happiness. Some people think they will be happy by stepping on, cheating, or destroying others, but we can have compassion for them in their ignorance. This does not mean we endorse or in any way condone their behavior. We need to stand up to their destructive agendas. Our compassion means that we wish for them to be authentically happy and free of suffering — in other words, awakened.

About Lama Palden Drolma:
Lama Palden Drolma is the author of “Love on Every Breath”. A licensed psychotherapist, spiritual teacher, and coach, she has studied Buddhism in the Himalayas with some of the most preeminent Tibetan masters of the twentieth century. Following a traditional three-year retreat under his guidance, Kalu Rinpoche authorized her to become one of the first Western lamas. She subsequently founded the Sukhasiddhi Foundation, a Tibetan Buddhist teaching center in Fairfax, California. Visit her online at http://www.lamapalden.org.

Excerpted from the book “Love on Every Breath”. Copyright © 2019 by Lama Palden Drolma. Printed with permission from New World Library — www.newworldlibrary.com.

Shop your local indie bookstore <--- This is an affliate link to IndieBound, which supports independent bookstores throughout the United States. If you use this link to purchase the book I will make a small commission.

Brave Ecstatic Woman

Today we’ll be discussing “Brave Ecstatic Woman: 7 Steps to Ignite Your Feminine Essence for an Audaciously Luscious Life” by Merav Richter, an interesting format for self-discovery.

Richter posits that there are 7 archetypes that apply to women: Earth Mama, Wild Woman, Wonder Woman, Love Goddess, Story Teller, Wise Woman, and Enlightened Mystic. No one woman is all one archetype, they’re just more of some than others. She provides a 48-question quiz to help you learn your dominant archetypes. (You can find a short version of the quiz at www.BraveEcstaticWoman.com.)

Once you know where you fall in the archetypes, you learn more about them. Their strengths, weakness, therapies associated with, examples from history and fiction, and more. Of course, Richter also provides loads of exercises to help you examine yourself and your relationship with each of the archetypes.

Richter’s “Brave Ecstatic Woman” is an entertaining book for any woman curious to learn more about herself.

You can learn more here.

Self-Love through the Sacred Feminine

It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of goddesses, and so I’ll admit the main reason I wanted to check out Jo Jayson’s “Self-Love through the Sacred Feminine” was because the cover art was beautiful and the subtitle is “A Guide through the Paintings & Channelings of Jo Jayson”. I figured a book full of art like what was on the cover was worth a look.

“Self-Love through the Sacred Feminine: A Guide through the Paintings & Channelings of Jo Jayson” is a thoughtful exploration of what it is to identify as a woman. Jayson explores the lives/folklore and wisdom of Guinevere: The Queen, Mariamne of Magdala: The Magdalene, Brighid: Mother Goddess of Ireland, Isis: One Who is All, Mary: The Mother, Jeanne D’Arc: Maid of Orleans, Miriam: The Prophetess, Guan Yin: Mother of Compassion and Mercy, Morgan Le Fey: The Water Spirit, Artemis: Maiden of The Hunt, Kali Ma: The Dark Mother, Inanna: Star of Heaven and Earth, and Grandmother Spider: The Weaver.

First and foremost, the artwork is BEAUTIFUL! The book is hardcover with full color glossy pages, perfect for showcasing Jayson’s work. Each entry includes a brief history lesson and what we can learn from them. There is also a prayer and then some exercises you can work through. “Self-Love through the Sacred Feminine” is equal parts artbook, workbook, and history lesson. It’s wonderful book!

You can learn more here.

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.