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/.

Joseph Campbell: Correspondence 1927-1987

I’d like to think everyone knows who Joseph Campbell is, but just in case, here’s the briefest of biographies. Campbell was probably the person most responsible for bringing the discussion of mythology into popular culture. He’s the author of “The Hero with a Thousand Faces” and the four-volume “The Masks of God”. His ability to find the universality in myth and religion and convey them to the average person makes him an individual who will always be remembered.

With that in mind you’ll understand why I was excited to read “Joseph Campbell: Correspondence 1927-1987”. This is a never before available collection of written conversations between Campbell and some amazing people, such as Alan Watts, Bill Moyers, Thomas Mann. These letters give insight into Campbell’s relationships, life, and influence on others. Alongside the correspondence are plenty of great photos.

Obviously, the correspondence is the star of the show, but it should be noted the introduction features a wonderful biography of Campbell. It provides all the background you need to understand and enjoy the letters that follow.

To learn more, visit here.

Gods and Monsters

I am a sucker for packaging and formatting. Because of this, I am a sucker for Rockpool Publishing’s Supernatural Series. You may remember that in 2017 I reviewed “Witches and Wizards” by Lucy Cavendish, and in that review, I said, “This book is going to last, and better still it says, ‘The Supernatural Series Book One’ at the top. This hopefully means I can look forward to a shelf full of these attractive and interesting books.”

I now have two more attractive and interesting books from the series! These two have much in common with “Witches and Wizards”. Both are in the compact hardcover format that I loved with the previous book. Both have beautiful cover art and nice black and white illustrations throughout them. And both are big picture, general overviews, of subjects that could have books devoted to just one entry.

First up we have “Monsters and Creatures: Discover Beasts from Lore and Legends” by Gabiann Marin. This sucker discusses just about any creature you can think of! You’ll find well known creatures, like dragons, mermaids, werewolves, and centaurs. Marin also has loaded “Monsters and Creatures” with tons of lesser known creatures, such as kappas, pookas, kinnaris, and drop bears. (I would tell you about them, but shouldn’t you just buy the book?) At 196 pages it doesn’t go in depth with any of them, but “Monsters and Creatures” offers a great starting point.

The other book, “Gods and Goddesses: The Rise of Divine Mythologies”, also by Gabiann Marin, follows a similar format. Marin discusses deities with origins in Greece, Egypt, China, Rome, and more. However, she doesn’t just discuss deities of the past, but their existence in modern times. Again, it doesn’t go into great detail, but it’s a fabulous starting point.

If you’re looking to learn more about these books, visit here.

The Heart of the Goddess

“The Heart of the Goddess: Art, Myth and Meditations of the World’s Sacred Feminine” by Hallie Iglehart Austen was originally published in 1990, but Austen felt the time was right to bring it back.

She’s right. In this time of #resistance, Austen’s look at universal spiritual feminism is right on the mark. Respect for the earth, community building, and reclaiming the power womanhood all blend together in “The Heart of the Goddess”. Instead of your typical who’s who of female deities, Austen discusses each goddess from the perspective of a piece of artwork featuring the deity. This allows for a discussion of the origin of the art (geography and date) and with it, the history and culture surrounding the goddess.

To make “The Heart of the Goddess” a spiritual journey for the reader, the deities are collected into 3 parts: Creation, Transformation, and Celebration. Along the way Austen presents meditations, prayers, and thought exercises with the goddesses.

Regardless of how many books you own or have read about goddesses, I guarantee you that you’ve never encountered anything like this. Informative, spiritual, and filled with art pieces from antiquity to contemporary times, “The Heart of the Goddess” is, and will remain, a classic.

Learn more here.

The Real Witches of New England

I’m nosey. I’m super interested in people’s lives, particularly spiritual leaders and magic users. So, you can understand why it was impossible to resist Ellen Evert Hopman’s latest book “The Real Witches of New England: History, Lore, and Modern Practice”. It is a big ol’ book of interviews and biographies of modern-day witches and people who were accused of being witches in the still too recent for comfort past.

The first part of the book is dedicated to the history of witch persecutions. It’s a concise round up of who was targeted, why there was witch paranoia, where there was witch hysteria, and what actual witches were doing during this period. This next part is truly inspired. You can find loads of books with biographies of people accused of witchcraft, however what Hopman has done is not only provide you with their biographies, but also includes interviews with their modern-day descedants. She asks them questions such as were they always aware they were descended from an accused witch, how do they define witchcraft, and do they practice themselves.

Lastly, and my favorite part, is a whose who of contemporary witches of New England. There are some big names, such as Raven Grimassi, Christopher Penczak, and Christian Day, and many that were new to me. Hopman conducted email interviews with 25 different people. By asking a relatively consistent set of questions of each person it gives you a unique perspective of the various ways people define and practice witchcraft. I do have one question though, she interviewed Christopher Penczak and Adam Sartwell, two of the three founding members of the Temple of Witchcraft, why not also include Steve Kenson, the third founder and all around magical bad ass? Seriously, his absence totally stuck out to me. (What can I say, I’m a ride or die Kenson girl!)

I can’t imagine who wouldn’t love “The Real Witches of New England”. Hopman has managed to put all New England’s witchcraft history, and its future, into one enjoyable book. I only hope she does more books like this focusing on other geographic areas.

To learn more, visit here.

Rise Up, Heathen Priestess: She Lives in the Wilds

By Danielle Dulsky

Our human divinity is bone-deep, lit by the red light of our souls’ truth and sourced straight from the cosmic womb. I have an insatiable hunger for Her fierce mother-love, as I believe all members of our global collective do, and I am calling out and calling on all wild Priestesses of our world to join me in Her resurrection. I am howling from the dark depths of every forest, and I am crooning a siren’s song from every body of water I can find. I am seeking you out, the wild woman who is through making apologies for her own divinity, the Witch who is handcrafting her own religion stitched from her own truth, and the blessed incarnation of every human being who can still feel Her. I will speak to you directly, for you are a Wolf-Woman of my bloodline and we share the same language, the heathen Mother Tongue of the wild word.

I hereby vow to validate your experience, your spiritual autonomy, and your magickal agency as we walk this misty and uncertain path together, and I will not ask you to sacrifice anything you know to be sacred. I do not assume that your life matches mine, and it is the uniqueness of our lived experiences of Her that will truly nourish the divine feminine in us all, rather than the bland and bleached homogenization of the Goddess experience.

As women of the wild, we deserve our own holy books, our own teaching tales, and our own venerable verses of validation. The spiritual wisdom of the feminine has always been born of lived experience, and the hooded Crone in all of us knows that her truth, her cyclical ways, are unique to her and her alone. The her-stories I offer here have merit only in their meeting with your own life; they do not stand alone as immutable truths or a step-by-step path toward any lofty and permanent healing goal, nor do they assert any secret mysteries that I alone am privileged to know. Without their soul-specific relationship with your memories, passions, woundings, and core values, Priestess, these verses are only words. Without your willful exploration of how the feminine archetypes I discuss in this heathens’ bible live and breathe within your own psyche, their names remain merely the default teaching tools used by outmoded traditions that have long required feminine shame to survive.

The women who have been locked inside the books they called good deserve liberation from their externally imposed immorality. We must unlock the cages in which they have been contained for so long, trapped behind the iron bars of judgment and dismissal. We women of this evolving world are tasked with their redemption, for they are we. We share the scars of every woman who has been condemned to ever be spiritually imprisoned, and, in these pages, I offer all the primal feminine technology this Witch has in her toolbox to dismantle the indoctrinated beliefs that continue to limit our spiritual autonomy; divorce our bodies from our spirits; and fence in what is, by nature, untamed, heathen, and wild.

The roots of the word heathen run far deeper than its derogatory, godless connotation; it is believed to come from the Germanic word meaning “dweller on the heath, one inhabiting uncultivated land.” To be heathen means to belong to the wild, to take our lessons from the natural world, and to be nourished by what we fundamentally are rather than what we are told we must be. Let me distinguish here between Heathenry, a polytheistic neo-Pagan religion for which I have much reverence but to which I do not belong, and the eclectic pre-Christian landscape of our ancestors. To be heathen is to remember the rawestessence of our worth, what is most authentically human about this flesh-and-blood body we find ourselves in, and what is left when our most carefully constructed psychic temples, those long-held belief systems that once served us so well, crumble into dust. Every one of our bloodlines is rooted in an Earth-based tradition if we only follow our lineage back far enough, and every one of our souls longs to come home to the wilds.

About Danielle Dulsky:
Danielle Dulsky is the author of “The Holy Wild” and “Woman Most Wild”. She is an artist, yoga teacher, energy worker, and founder of Living Mandala Yoga teacher training programs. She leads women’s circles, witchcraft workshops, and energy healing trainings and lives in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania. Find out more about her online at www.DanielleDulsky.com.

Excerpted from the book “The Holy Wild: A Heathen Bible for the Untamed Woman”. Copyright ©2018 by Danielle Dulsky. Printed with permission from New World Library — www.newworldlibrary.com

Find Your Goddess

Skye Alexander, author of “Find Your Goddess: How to Manifest the Power and Wisdom of the Ancient Goddesses in Your Everyday Life”, unsurprisingly wants you to find and work with a goddess or two. In her latest book she doesn’t spend loads of time convincing you of this, instead she lets the goddesses themselves do the talking and the teaching.

“Find Your Goddess” offers a diverse selection of profiles for approximately 75 goddesses. Each entry gives a brief overview of the history and mythology and her virtues. Then Alexander discusses how you can manifest their power. With a variety of female deities ranging from Persephone to Mama Quilla you’re bound to find at least one, if not many goddesses that resonate with you. “Find Your Goddess” is a great jumping off point to find goddesses you want to research, but it also is great for those just looking to explore a wider variety of female deities.

Learn more here.

Due to some confusion over shipping I ended up with two copies of this little gem, so I’ll be giving one away to you! We’re doing the Rafflecopter thing again! Contest is open October 15, 2018 until 11:59 P.M. Eastern Saturday, October 20, 2018. Must be 16 years or older to enter. Open internationally. Not sponsored by any social media service including Facebook.

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Medieval Lay Mystics

Christian History magazine is back with a new issue I thought many of you would be interested to check out, the latest issue is titled “Medieval Lay Mystics”.

Christian History Institute (CHI), publisher of Christian History magazine (CHM), announces its latest issue, titled: “Medieval Lay Mystics”. The entire issue explores a mysterious question for many Christians, historians and scholars – What did it look like and what did it feel like to be a medieval Christian?

Spanning four vivid centuries, from 1000 to 1473, CHM issue #127 takes an in-depth look at the lives of notable medieval mystics, especially those who were not ordained clergy.

By the twelfth century devout women, monks and hermits came out of seclusion to preach and minister to others, proclaiming the gospel in local languages so that common people could understand it. They called on both fellow laypeople and clergy to repent and enter a genuine relationship with Christ. This spiritual process, culminating in an inner, mystical union became known as mysticism.

Scholars agree, that around the twelfth century, a variety of forces led to a cultural and spiritual renewal among those living outside formal religious institutions and traditions. First by thousands, then by the tens of thousands, common people responded to the gospel. Thirsty for a vital Christian life, they fostered devotional lifestyles, joining various movements of piety and service to others that offered opportunities to grow spiritually.

Three centuries before the Reformation, scholars began to also translate the Bible into local languages. Outdoor preaching became common and itinerant preachers traveled across Europe calling people to a life of repentance. This led to 300 years of repeated revival movements and waves of spiritual renewal across Western Europe leading up to the Reformation, which began around 1500.

“People from these movements penned timeless devotional classics, many still popular, writing of their desire to reach a mystical oneness with the Christ they loved,” said the managing editor of Christian History, Jennifer Woodruff Tait. “Here, I think, is the point where we can connect their lives with ours. We both desire to learn how to be more devoted to Jesus.”

CH issue #127, contains 7 features and 4 shorter side-bar articles; a chronology time-line; an archive of rare art-work & photos; a ‘letter to the editor’ section and an extensive reading list compiled by the CHM editorial staff.

I read the issue and found it an interesting, worthwhile read. What’s great is, you can read this issue, all their past issues, and access all sorts of other resources for FREE on their website! You can find it all here.

Traditional Magic Spells for Protection & Healing Review and Giveaway

I have a hard time writing reviews for Claude Lecouteux’s books. They’re all dense tomes of knowledge, meticulously researched, and loaded with excerpts and references from medieval texts. One doesn’t casually breeze through one of his books, you slowly follow the path that he lays out before you. And his latest “Traditional Magic Spells for Protection and Healing” is no exception.

As usual Lecouteux turns his scholar’s eye towards highlighting the intersection of Christianity and Pagan beliefs, this time with medical practices tossed in. In medieval times health issues were a matter of body, the spiritual world, and spiritual concerns. Not only does Lecouteux outline means of diagnosis, but addresses the cures whether you’re being afflicted with an evil spell, or tormented by a demon. Incantations against wolf bite, using alum in water to help someone regain their speech, charms against demons, and obviously so much more!

“Traditional Magic Spells for Protection and Healing” is a must for magic nerds like myself. Honestly, every Claude Lecouteux book is a must own.

You can learn more here.

Guess what? Due to a mix up at Inner Traditions I have a copy of “Traditional Magic Spells for Protection and Healing” to give away!

The winner will be selected via the Rafflecopter contest below on Sunday, April 29th at 11:59 PM Eastern time. Good luck!

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