Plum Village

I love comic books. Although technically what I love are “graphic novels”, which are issues of comics bound together into one paperback book that generally covers a story arc. A man whose opinion counts on such matters, Neil Gaiman, says we no longer need to use the term “graphic novels” because comics are now mainstream and recognized for their own artistic merit. However, I know no other term for a collection of comics other than “graphic novels”, so the name remains. At least for me. All this lead in and explanation is amusing because I am now reading a second of what is legitimately a graphic novel. A novel told in art and text. Should I call them picture books for adults? I need some serious help with labels here!

The first was the fabulous “Witchbody” by Sabrina Scott. (Read the review here.) Now, there’s “Plum Village: An Artist’s Journey: Finding Inner Peace at Thich Nhat Hanh’s Buddhist Monastery” by Phap Ban.

The author’s biography is compelling. A freelance illustrator discovers meditation at the age of 24 years old. This leads him to Plum Village, a monastery in France founded by Vietnamese Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh. He eventually received ordination and 3 years later returned to his home country of Italy where he works as an artist for Disney. Who wouldn’t want to see that book?

What Ban has created with “Plum Village” is a visual love letter not just to Plum Village, but his journey while there. Somehow in riotous colors he captures the heart of stillness. With a beautiful montage of imagery, he demonstrates depths of gratitude. Never underestimate the power of images paired with words. Whereas Scott’s “Witchbody” was a transformative reading experience, Ban’s “Plum Village” evokes heartfelt emotions that on one occasion brought a tear to my eye.

This uptick in graphic novels in the mind, body, spirit genres is greatly welcome. Particularly if works like “Plum Village” are indicative of what we can expect.

You can learn more here.

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Justice Howard’s Voodoo

Photographer Justice Howard decided to tackle the subject of Voodoo from her perspective for her latest work, “Voodoo: Conjure and Sacrifice”. Howard’s photos are striking, and not for the faint of heart. She dove deep in assembling her shots, using real human skulls, actual animal parts, and true human forms (which includes nudity).

Paired with her photos are the writings of New Orleans Voodoo Queen Bloody Mary, who some of you may recognize as the author of “Bloody Mary’s Guide to Hauntings, Horrors, and Dancing with the Dead”. Bloody Mary helps provide a frame of reference, a starting point if you will, for the art that Howard creates. Howard presents her interpretation of such Voodoo notables as Papa Legba, Baron Samedi, and Marie Laveau. She also pays artistic respect to Voodoo trappings like snakes, the Crossroads, and animal sacrifice.

Justice Howard’s “Voodoo: Conjure and Sacrifice” is complex visual piece. One moment it presents a beautiful, rich, dark landscape and at the next turn it’s vibrant and sparse. Her work makes you contemplate Voodoo and its relationship with the outside world (with you being the outside world, assuming you don’t follow the faith). It’s definitely not for everyone, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.

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.

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.

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.

Flamsteed’s Atlas Coelestis

As most of you are aware, I started selling merchandise a few months back. Everything I created has different phrases and sentiments that I like and thought you might enjoy. However, in the back of my mind there was something else I wanted to do too.

Hiding in the public domain are many beautiful works just waiting to be rediscovered and shared. I happened across several by John Flamsteed. (By the way, if you support me on Patreon this is all old news to you.) Flamsteed (1646-1719) was an English astronomer and the first Astronomer Royal. He catalogued over 3000 stars and was responsible for several of the earliest recorded sightings of the planet Uranus, which he mistook for a star. After his death his widow helped get his work published as “Atlas Coelestis”. Flamsteed’s work was updated and republished several times, the last being in 1795.

Although the work he did was for science, the images he created are art. And I want to share it! That’s why I used several of his charts to make a line of greeting cards and postcards!



You can see them all in my online store! You’ll want to click in on the images to see what they truly look like, CafePress treats home screen edits more like suggestions than directions. If you like what you see, don’t wait to purchase, these are only going to be available until May 31, 2019!

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.

Silent Night

I like children’s picture books even though I have no children of my own. I think adults without children sometime overlook the value in these books. For instance, I own several children’s books that deal with Buddhism and Hinduism. Sure, the authors simplify the religions, but also, the authors SIMPLIFY the religions. They’re a great way for learning the basics, and often times they have beautiful art work! Also, children’s picture books are children’s PICTURE books. You know, they’re filled with varied, excellent artwork. This can make them artbooks, and you can also use children’s picture books as fantastic, elaborate, greeting cards for friends and family.

All of this leads us to today’s review of “Silent Night” by Lara Hawthorne. I’m going to spoil the plot for you by telling you the text is the lyrics to the holiday classic “Silent Night” and that the very end is a brief history of the song. It’s the art that makes this book truly special.



This book would make a great gift for children, but also consider purchasing it as a truly special holiday card for a special someone. Either way, “Silent Night” by Lara Hawthorne is a classic that will be cherished for years to come.

You can learn more here.

Spiritual Places

I just read the most beautiful book, “Spiritual Places” by Sarah Baxter. Baxter is a travel journalist that has compiled an impressive list of spiritual places to visit. Some are seen as spiritual by their very nature, and other locations are spiritual because of the places of worship built there. 25 places are discussed, ranging from Easter Island to Wittenberg Castle Church. Baxter discusses the location’s history, interesting facts about, suggestions for when visiting and more!

This alone would make “Spiritual Places” a great read, but instead of stock photos for these locations someone (author, publisher, not sure who) decided to have illustrations by Harry and Zanna Goldhawk used in their place. The art is wonderful. It takes an interesting, but potentially stale, book and transports it to another level. Suddenly it feels like you’re reading a whimsical storybook or fairy tale, except the stories are true!

Camino de Santiago

The writing, the art, and the hardcover format makes “Spiritual Places” an excellent gift idea for just about anyone, including yourself.

To learn more, visit here.

Human Tribe

I love art books, particularly photography ones featuring people. Maybe it’s because I’m nosy by nature, but I like seeing other people and their lives. If you’re like me, keep reading because “Human Tribe” by photographer Alison Wright just released.

Wright’s career has been as a documentary photographer for National Geographic publications, and her latest book, “Human Tribe”, contains 160 portraits taken of people on every continent. Her goal was to show the diversity of life and features men, women, toddlers, essentially everyone from every walk of life.

It’s never too soon to consider the approaching holiday season, and “Human Tribe” seems like a beautiful gift.

Here’s a few examples of what’s inside!

There is this.

There is this.
And this.
And even this.

You can learn more about “Human Tribe” here.