Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Llewellyn Booksellers Blog: Banishing the Post-Holiday Blues

Llewellyn Booksellers Blog: Banishing the Post-Holiday Blues: Hi Booksellers, I’ll just go ahead and say it: I am not a winter person. I don’t ski, skate, or sled. I don’t cheer for snow (because I ...

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Review: Journey to the Faerie Ring: a Guided Meditation CD by Alicen Geddes-Ward

Journey to the Faerie Ring: a Guided Meditation CD by Alicen Geddes-Ward. Paradise Music.

I first tested out this CD with my group, The Gathering Grove, on the best day of the year to work with fairies: Midsummer. We had prepared for the meditation by lying blankets on the ground around a bonfire. After our Midsummer ritual, we proceeded to the bonfire area where each group member took a place on a blanket and got comfortable. The CD played in a portable CD player and was plenty loud for everyone to hear over the popping and snapping of the fire.

This meditation CD is a true journey as you begin in one location, at one time, and the you journey along with the CD meeting different fairies, traveling to different locations throughout the program.

Each track on the CD builds onto the one before. The problem with this, is each track is not its own separate meditation; while the topics change with each track, they cannot be used as their own separate standalone meditation. Therefore in order to complete this meditation most effectively you do need to have plenty of time on hand to go through the entire CD. All of us performing the meditation that Midsummer night, agreed we would have liked the meditation better had each track been able to be completed on its own.

The track listings on this CD include:

1. Begin the Journey of Secrets
2. Discover the Faerie Queen
3. The Sparkling Spider’s Web Entrance
4. The Magic of the Elven Tree
5. Enchantment of the Elves
6. The Singer in the Stream
7. The Faerie Ring
8. The Faerie Mound at Dusk

Though I did try to perform the meditation separately, they just do not work well on their own. Therefore, when preparing to perform this meditation, be sure to have at least an hour set aside to do so.

The enclosed CD insert in clues information such as:
how to use this album for meditation to the faerie ring, tips for meditating successfully, about the fairies and their message, meeting the faerie queen, what is a fairy ring, recommended faerie reading, information on workshops magazines artist and sculptors, and a brief bit of information on the Orkney Faerie Museum and Gallery.

While each one of us enjoyed the meditations on this CD, and each had a different and unique experience, we all agreed that the length seemed too long. Because each track blends in with the track before and after it, there just didn't seem to be any real pauses or breaks. However this also did make it feel like a true journey. If you don't mind longer meditations, this was definitely fun, frisky and informative. I simply cannot emphasize enough, that in order to make this meditation the most positive it can be, you will need to make sure you have plenty of time set aside along with a comfortable position, perhaps even lying down.

Prepare well for this meditation and you will be rewarded at the end of your journey.

The Little Spirit Guide Meditation Album: 10 minute meditations to help find your Spirit Guide by Philip Permutt

The Little Spirit Guide Meditation Album: 10 minute meditations to help find your Spirit Guide by Philip Permutt. Paradise Music.

The first time I tried out this meditation CD, I invited a couple of friends over to do it with me. We set up the downstairs so it would be already for us to meditate, with three couches - one for each of us, and dimmed lights, we put the CD into the DVD player, got into position and let the meditation flow.

The voice of Philip Permutt is soothing and relaxing, so soothing and relaxing that both one of my friends and myself fell asleep halfway through the CD.

The third person in our trio however, completed the entire meditation, ran to a different room, got paper and a pen, wrote down several notes about his own experience, and then woke the rest of us up. Obviously, we were in a pretty deep sleep.

A few days later I attempted the meditation again, this time sitting up in daylight, and was able to go through the entire CD without falling asleep. Though I admit, I was still getting a little groggy by the end of the CD. It wasn't that the meditations were boring it's just that Phillips voice is that soothing and comforting, you feel safe enough to fall asleep wherever you are.

Backed with music by Llewellyn, if you did want to use the CD to help you sleep at night it probably wouldn't hurt.

The track listings on this CD include:
Track 1: Introduction
Track 2: The Mountain
Track 3: The Forest (animal guides)
Track 4: The Cave
Track 5: The Crystal
Track 6: The Pyramid
Track 7: The Temple in the Clouds

What I specifically liked about the CD is the fact that each one of the tracks stands alone as its own separate meditation. You do not have to listen to them all at the same time. If you only have a small amount of time to meditate you can pick which track you would like to work with, or if you have a longer amount of time you can run the tracks together. With some other meditation CDs this just isn't possible you need each track to build upon the one before.

Philip uses rich descriptions to transport your body, mind and soul into your meditation. These places he takes you, become alive and real in your mind's eye. These meditations to meet your spirit guides, are definitely a positive experience that can have great impact on your daily life. Performing these meditations multiple times may introduce you to different spirit guides, or it may just help you build a stronger relationship with specific guides you are working with.

I found the programs on this CD to be highly effective, soothing, entertaining, informative, and just plain interesting. Whether you are new to meditation or an old pro, give this CD a try, it may very well open a new world to you.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Tarot Workshop: An Introductory Guide to Tarot CD by Suzanne Corbie

Tarot Workshop: An Introductory Guide to Tarot CD by Suzanne Corbie. Paradise Music.

This two disc set is a whole new way to look at and learn the Tarot. On these CDs, Suzanne Corbie works with the Rider-Waite Tarot deck, and while she does say you can use other decks to follow along with her, I would highly recommend going ahead and using the Rider-Waite deck. I listened to this CD several times with several other decks, and while some fit with her descriptions, some don’t have the same details she refers too. At least start with the Rider – Waite, and then when you are comfortable with that, you can move onto other decks.

These discs are broken down into the major and minor arcanas.

Track listings:

CD 1 Major Arcana – Introduction to the Tarot

1. Introduction to the Tarot
2. The Fool, The Magician, The High Priestess, The Empress
3. The Emperor, The Heirophant, The Lovers, The Chariot, Strength
4. The Hermit, The Wheel of Fortune, Justice, The Hanged Man, Death
5. Temperance, The Devil, The Tower, The Star
6. The Moon, The Sun, Judgment, The World
7. Working with the Tarot Daily Readings and questions
8. Simple Three Card Spreads

CD 2 Minor Arcana – Connecting your intuition with the tarot

1. Swords
2. Wands
3. Cups
4. Pentacles
5. Connecting with the tarot. Exercises to connect your intuition with the tarot using both major and minor arcane, storytelling, identifying walks of life and describing your life using the cards
6. Step by step celtic cross spread
7. Guided mediation through the Major Arcana – the Journey of the Fool

In learning about these cards, Corbie emphasizes this isn’t about memorization, it’s about interpretation and that the cards will mean what you need for them to mean – this doesn’t mean you consciously tell the cards to mean what you want them to say, but that you will be able to interpret the information from the cards that you need to. The cards may have different meanings for you at different times – depending on what your situation is at the time. A large part of this workshop is taking each card individually and spending time with it, stare at, look at all the aspects of the picture. How does it make you feel? Close your eyes and see what comes into your mind – this is the message the card has for you.

This is a great set to help yourself learn how to use the tarot, or to work together with your friends in a group. For discussion purposes you can each share what each card means to you. You may help others see things they hadn’t seen before, and they may do the same with you. This would make a great discussion/workshop to do at metaphysical stores or with in your own group – particularly if everyone worked with a different deck.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Review: Time of the Quickening: Prophecies for the Coming Utopian Age by Susan B. Martinez, Ph. D

Time of the Quickening: Prophecies for the Coming Utopian Age by Susan B. Martinez, Ph. D. Bear and Company: Rochester, VT. 2011.

I really had no clue what to expect with this book, but because it’s sort of 2012 related, I was quite anxious to check it out.

The author takes information and predictions from all kinds of sources – the Oahspe Bible, Nostradamus, Jeane Dixon, and others to compile what she sees at the new world order we are heading too.

Part of this book deals with the mathematical aspects of events that have already happened and how they are connected to each other, and I will admit that these parts just didn’t have a really big impact on me, in fact I began to find them annoying. I feel that timewise, we can tie ANY two events together by saying they are a certain number of years apart, that in no way means they are connected in any other way, and throughout this book we so much about that. I find these correlations to be coincidences, if even that. Just by the nature of time itself, we will always be able to connect ANY event to another event simply by stating the amount of time that occurred that between the 2 (or more) events.

This was not the part of book that I found impressive. What I did indeed find impressive were many of the quotes Martinez used to show what may be coming, and the most impressive was Martinez’s own insights.

When she compares the overall state of mind of Americans to that of someone suffering from Narcissistic Personality Disorder, and then explains just how the clinical definition so well fits as a description of American society today, I was simply floored. When she elaborates further on the double standards of American politics, I was so excited to see that someone else out there was publishing views I have agreed with for years.

I was extremely impressed with Martinez’s commentary and views on American life how the way we act now may end up leading to eventual downfall and possible demise in the future.

This book was extremely interesting – far more so than I had originally expected. While I felt the areas talking about time lapses between events was a bit dry, I was highly impressed with Martinez’s theories on American society’s over all beliefs – and just what those beliefs may end up leading us to in the foreseeable future.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Review Goddess Cards: Inanna and Yoga Mama

Review Goddess Cards: Inanna and Yoga Mama

It’s a beautiful day in northern Illinois, and it’s time again for a couple more cards from the Goddess Card collection from Anne Baird. Today’s selection includes: “Inanna: Sumerian Goddess of Heaven and Earth” and “Yoga Mama”

The Inanna card is slightly different from the other Goddess cards we have seen so far as this one doesn’t have the border around the main picture, so we don’t get as much of her story in the full picture. Still, this is a beautiful card that emphasizes the strength and wisdom of this Mother aspect Goddess.

This card also reminds us what used to be considered the ideal physique of a good mother – ample breasts, along with ample hips and waist – not the warped image of physical “beauty” advertisers are convincing people to strive for today. Inanna is all real woman.

The second card this week is “Yoga Mama”. On the front of this card it says “You constantly amaze me”, and pictures two women practicing yoga together – showing them in several different poses.

On the inside of the card, we have two women, one younger, one older, belly dancing to the music of two musicians and the words, “Is there anything you can’t do?”

This is a sweet card that you can send to show any woman in your life how you respect and appreciate her. I also like how it does end up showing the tie in of yoga and belly dance too – these two practices are complimentary to each other – perhaps similar to your relationship with the woman you would send this card too. This is another card that emphasis the strength of women – something women everywhere need to celebrate – in themselves and in each other.

Pick up some of these cards today to send to your female friends and family. Let them know you appreciate and celebrate their strength – you are not intimidated by or jealous of it. Female strength gives the world life. Take the time to honor it.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Essence of Vali: Relief Massage and Bath Oil

Essence of Vali

Relief Massage and Bath Oil

The ingredients of this mixture contains: Jojoba oil, essential oils of lavender oils, peppermint leaves and birch bark.

This mixture combines together to help relax the body, penetrate into the muscles and soothe away pain.

As someone who suffers from several different forms of chronic pain, I found this oil to be suitable to deal with the arthritis in my knees, but not potent enough to alleviate the pain from my sciatica (which is not too surprising since that is a rather severe pain.)

For sore muscles, and arthritis pain however, this massage oil worked quite well, especially when used after a hot shower, applied in a massage fashion, and then covered with a heating pad. This allowed the peppermint oil to really penetrate into the muscle and let the birch bark do its job to alleviate the pain.

Available in two sizes” 2 oz for $10.00, 4 oz for $17.00

Watch for more Essence of Vali reviews in the near future!

Goddess cards: Isis and Gaia

Goddess Cards

Our third set of greeting cards from Anne Baird of Goddess Cards brings us “Isis: Queen of the Immortals” and “Gaia: Mother of All”.

Though, the Isis one is very interesting, and again the artwork is incredible while telling the story of Isis and her love and search for Osiris around the outside of the card – I am particularly drawn to the Gaia card.

As “Mother of All” this card shows Gaia as mother to the animals that live on the land, in the sea, and in the air, along with humans of different ethnic groups. Animals and children both flock around her, while one small babe reaches out to be nursed.

With a cat curled up in her lap and a cow laying at her feet while a sheep grazes just inches away off of lush green grass, we are truly able to see and understand just what “mother of all” really is. Gaia is mother to not only the animals and people depicted on this card, but the vegetation, tree, flowers, hills, and river as well, making this the perfect card for many occasions including new moms or for someone who just needs to know they aren’t alone – we are all Gaia’s children, we are all connected, we are all family.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

EOV Eau de parfum

Essence of Vali

EOV eau de parfum

When you head over to the Essence of Vali eau de parfum page – Vali herself gives this background and explanation of how this scent came into existence:
I consider EOV my masterpiece blend! It was created over
10 years ago for a private client and I have always loved the
aroma of this complex formula. Five years ago, I had it made
into a Eau de Parfum and it won an award for Best Natural
Product at the Extracts show in NYC in 2004.

It is personally my favorite perfume and I wear it year round.
Where ever I go, people ask –“what is that perfume you are
wearing?” The essential oils we use are – lavender, cedarwood,
rosewood, patchouli, palmarosa, geranium, litsea cubeba & clove.

Men and women can both enjoy the benefits of aromatherapy
and the pleasure of wearing a beautiful fragrance. If you would
like to try a sample, please call or e-mail and we will send one to you free
of charge.

Being an eau de parfum, this scent is definitely strong and a little dab will go a long way, but what I do find really interesting about this scent is that it will indeed work for either a man or a woman. Slightly sweet undertones, with heavier earthy, woodsy and spicy overtones, this scent is masculine enough for a man, while retaining a hint of mystery for a woman.

Obviously with different body chemistries, scents take on a life of their own when applied to various people, but with a free sample available, you have nothing to lose by giving this eau de parfum a change.

It’s sleek, it’s sexy, it’s seductive. What more could anyone want?

Vote for the Next Pet Star - Photo Contest | Show Us Your Pet's Healthy Smile

Vote for the Next Pet Star - Photo Contest | Show Us Your Pet's Healthy Smile

Review: Goddess Cards - Demeter and Persephone

Goddess Cards

Our second set of greeting cards from Anne Baird of Goddess Cards brings us “Demeter: The Fierce Mother” and “Persephone: the Maiden, Queen of the Underworld”.

With Autumn upon us, this is the perfect time for either of these cards. Again Anne Baird uses her extreme talent to interpret the lives of Demeter and her daughter around the edges of each of these cards and tell us their stories.

The story of Demeter and Persephone is a beautiful story of a mother’s love for her daughter, and how a mother will go to the ends of the earth to protect her daughter from the evils of the world – or the Underworld for that matter.

While I am still more partial to actual paper cards, Anne Baird does also have ecards available through her second website A full year’s membership is only $19.95 and for that price you can send up to 40 ecards a day. It is a great price and with the large selection of cards available, anyone should be able to get plenty of usage for their money.

I particularly like the Demeter card as it not only resonates with me as a mother, the main picture of Demeter depicts her walking through a field of wheat as she holds some in one arm and a torch in the other. This card has a very “fallish” feel to it, and fall is my most favorite time of the year.

Whether you have friends with birthdays this time of year, or just want to wish someone a Merry Mabon, this is the perfect card to write your own internal note on and send away to share the beauty with someone you love.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Review: Rita's Spiritual Goods

Rita’s Spiritual Goods

Rita sent in 2 products from the dozens she has available on her etsy website to have reviewed. I was pleased when I saw her site and saw what a wide variety of products she has and know that she is catering to the needs of many and not just a few. Her line is extensive and impressive.

Rita’s Signature St. Rita’s Hand Brewed Oil

The description given by Rita on her etsy site for this product says:

St. Rita is the Patron Saint of Impossible Wishes and Causes. It is said that a sweet smell emanates from the walls where St. Rita’s body is buried and that it even perfumes the atmosphere beyond the walls of the church.

This essential blend is not only to honor the goddess St. Rita, but also embodies the energy of her patronage to help call on her in impossible situations. Wear it daily as a perfume to honor her or on your third eye and behind your ear to call on her to make your impossible wishes come true.

Rita's ST. RITA Oil comes in an 1/8 ounce perfume roller bottle that measures about 2 1/2 inches with the cap on and as always made when the moon is right.

The price on these bottlew is set at $7.88 making them just over to $10 with shipping.

For several years now I’ve had a favorite scent I get from an online business that also travels the ren faire circuit. This scent is extremely close to that one, which totally caught me off guard and surprised me even more with the price - which is also a lot less than what I’m used to paying – about 1/3 the cost.

St. Rita is also the patron saint of interline travel, sickness, wounds, marital problems, abuse, and mothers – so this blend can be used for more than just impossible wishes and causes.

This blend is rich, sweet, and sensual and will give you a magical boost throughout your day as it helps give you the confidence to take on anything.

Rita's Triple Strength Dragon's Blood Spiritual Mist Spray

The description for this product states:
Rita's Spiritual Mist Sprays are hand brewed with all natural herbal powders and essential oils. Carry one with you or keep it in the home, office or car for when you need a quick cleansing. These sprays are perfect to use throughout the day to clear negativity away from your personal space and revive the energy around you.

This one is a personal favorite of mine, the smell is addicting. I don't know what I would do without Dragon's Blood!!! The magical uses for Dragon's Blood are quite powerful for rejuvenation and cleansing, Energy, Strength, Purification, Changes, Determination, Cleansing, Courage. Use this mist anytime a confrontation has occurred in your home or office, or right before you begin a ritual to charge you and your space with strength and power. It is a must for any witches juju collection.

Rita's Dragon's Blood Spiritual Mist comes in a 4 ounce spray bottle and as always made when the moon is right.

Please note true traditional hoodoo sprays are made to be shaken upon use as some settle make occur of the juju inside, this also helps to charge the energy of the spray before you spritz. Please also note that some sprays may stain fabrics due to oils, resins and/or color even though the color is water based (most of the time washing in cool water with woolite on delicate cycle will work though).

This spray is listed at $9.98, again making it less expensive than many similar products from competitors. It’s definitely very red, so I would be careful where this product does get sprayed if you don’t want to have to worry about clean up.

I honestly was a little surprised with this one – as it is called Triple Stregnth, I thought it would have an extremely strong smell, but instead the smell was actually pretty light.

I can see where people would really enjoy using this – I just don’t know how much of a spritzer kind of person I am myself preferring to use droppers or other methods of dispersing.

This would come in real handy to purify people before they enter a circle, but with the color of it I don’t know how well people would want to take the risk of staining clothes. One of my group members recommended it be sprayed only on the hair of a person, but I don’t know that I would consider that to be quite the cleansing we normally do before ritual. While I can see definitely using it in a personal setting, I think for group dynamics it would have to be discussed ahead of time – just in case.

One way I did find that I really did like to use it was in my own purifying ritual. After taking a purifying bath I sprayed it all over me (while still standing in the shower) and allowed myself to drip dry. This way clean up was minimal, no clothes are towels were stained, and I was able to completely retain the dragon’s blood potency on my own skin and carry it with me for the rest of the day.

While I thought the labels were really great looking for the packaging, I was disappointed to see no ingredients listed – not on the web page, nor on the packaging itself and this could be a problem for people with sensitive skin or allergies, so if you have any of these types of conditions, it would be best to send Rita an email an ask about any possible reactions first.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Review: Essence of Vali - Sleep: A Bedtime Ritual

Essence of Vali

Essence of Vali is a an aromatherapy company created by a woman named….yes, you guessed it…. Vali!

Vali sent in several different products to be reviewed, so like Goddess Cards, in order to do these products justice, the reviews will be broken up over the next few weeks, in order to get them all in and give them all sufficient testing, and opportunity to be written about.

The first product I am going to review is Sleep – A Bedtime Ritual. This is a small vial of a combination of essential oils that you simply place one drop -- and yes – JUST ONE DROP – on your onto a tissue that you can stick inside your pillow case.

My only problem with this product was getting that just one drop out of the vial! You do have to be very careful or you will accidently spill more out of the vial and this potion is so potent, one drop is really all you need.

Sleep is a combination of lavender, cedar, marjoram and ylang ylang. These scents combine together to create a very uniquely relaxing smell that does indeed help induce sleep. Those who have read my reviews for a while know that without some kind of help, I have severe sleep issues, so whenever I go to try out a new sleep aid, I have to basically go cold turkey for a few days on any remedies and then try out the product to give it ample opportunity to prove itself.

This product did just that. It is very relaxing and literally you can feel yourself sinking into a state of relaxation. When I combine this essence with one of my sleep CD’s - I get the best sleep I’ve ever had in my life.

Watch for more Essence of Vali reviews in the near future!

Goddess Greeting Cards from

Goddess Cards

Anne Baird of Goddess Cards sent us so many of her greeting cards to review, I thought it only fair to break them down into sets and review them 2 at a time. Because we still have so many other items to review right now and are a bit behind (thanks to many life events hitting all at once!), these reviews will be intermingled with other products instead of doing a straight series.

Goddess Cards has many different categories of cards, but I am going to start with the actual Goddess Category. This week’s cards are “Kuan Yin” and “Oshun”

The Kuan Yin card states her name at the bottom middle of the card, with “Mercy and Compassion” written underneath. The back of the card gives a bit of information about this Goddess and gives some history and stories about her as well. These cards are both beautiful and informative. If you are unfamiliar with any of the Goddesses featured on any of her cards, the back will give you enough information to be able to understand why the front is drawn as it is.

With the Kuan Yin card, we see the Goddess featured in the center of the greeting card, while other information about her surrounds her, for example, we see her with her sisters before her father the king, and we see her being rescued by a tiger before she was to be beheaded.

These cards are simply beautiful while being educational at the same time.

The Oshun card tells us she is The “Yoruba Goddess of Love and Beauty”. Her card includes the same type of information on the back with important events from her background drawn in all around her on the front.

These blank cards could be used for many different occasions, or for no occasion at all – just to drop a friend a quick note.

In a world of electronic….well everything, these cards are a beautiful way to keep in touch with loved ones, to wish a happy and joyous marriage, or just to help educate those you love in your own beliefs.

You may have a draw to a particular Goddess that you prefer to work with, and Goddess Cards has designs of many of them – which we will explore in later reviews, but go ahead and check out her website to see all of the many cards she offers in the different categories. She also does have sabbat cards and with Samhain and Yule just around the corner, now would be a good time to get your orders in!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Review: Earth Star Studios: Spiritually focused art and unique Goddess imagery

Earth Star Studios: Spiritually focused art and unique Goddess imagery

The artwork of Megan Welti is truly awe inspiring. Earth Star Studios owner, Megan Welti sent out several greeting cards to be reviewed that feature her artwork. Not only can this art be bought in card format, but also prints, and there are other goodies available on her site as well including wall plaques and jewelry. Each of these designs is truly unique, thought provoking and they have a strong spiritual presence.

My favorite of the samples is “Danu”. In her green cloak, with braided red hair, the Celtic mother of all nurses one green nature baby – serving as a symbol of the earth – while her belly swells with another child waiting to be born.

Also in this picture we see the grass beginning to green, leaves beginning to form on a tree, and a blue bird preparing to build her nest – all signs of new life approaching.

Each one of these different designs tells its own story and in each one you may find more than one story waiting to be told.

Often in this day and age the simple gesture of sending a card to someone is overlooked. We can email, text, even post to their wall on Facebook. We can continue to communicate in these impersonal, technological ways, or we can take the time to show our loved ones we are never too busy to take some time for a personal, more connected communication. These cards are all blank on the inside so you can use them to write out what you truly want to say instead of using someone else’s mass produced words to try to explain how you feel. Not too mention we often find ourselves in situations that mass produced cards just don’t cover.

These cards will help make your communications more spiritual, more heartfelt, more personal, and more real, all while sharing a beautiful piece of artwork with your loved ones. These cards are also worthy of being framed (or buy the larger print sizes) to decorate your home or even to be used as altar decorations – especially those that are sabbat related or if you will be honoring or working with a particular deity, you can include her picture as you call her into your circle.

Truly a bright and beautiful collection, these cards make you want to take the time to communicate deep thoughts, or other sentimental messages to family and friends, with a bit of spiritual style.

Also look for: Imbolg, Luna (which is really quite lovely), Artemis, The Bee Priestess, and with Samhain and Yule coming up, the prints and jewelry would make great gifts, while the Samhain and Yule cards are great for just letting people know you care without having to spend a ton of money – one of these cards with a picture frame to put it in after the card is read, is an incredibly personal, beautiful and unique, yet inexpensive gift from the heart.

The White Witch of Spiton and the Serpent of Anata by Tracey Rolfe

The White Witch of Spiton and the Serpent of Anata by Tracey Rolfe

Jake Boy Publishing: 2007.

When I first began reading this book, I had a difficult time trying to figure out what age the intended audience was supposed to be – actually I didn’t figure it out until I found a postcard that states “The White Witch of Spiton Children’s Books” – still I’m not sure which age group of children they expect this book to appeal to – between the length and subject matter, it seems to be a bit of a clash.

The characters are extremely one dimensional and instead of writing about “real” witches with “real” powers, we are given another Harry Potter want to be type of story except this one isn’t even near as good.

The timeline is even fishy as it doesn’t seem the characters have enough time to complete their different tasks, when suddenly their counterparts are off on another task or adventure, time seems to go by too quickly.

The characters also come across as confusing with some of the language they use, their motivations and their actions, yet at the same time they are also often predictable.

Unfortunately, this book seemed to be another attempt at creating a world of wizards and witches that falls short of its goal. It would be nice to see stories regarding real witches – not people riding vacuum cleaners across the globe.

This is also one of those books that brings color into play (as shown immediately by the title), making it a tad bit on the skewed side – of course we all know “white” is “good” and nothing but – yes – that would be a ton of sarcasm.

Unless you’ve got nothing better to do and you’re strapped into a chair and are forced to read this book, there really isn’t a whole lot of point to bothering with it. You won’t be missing much and I can’t see this being a strong pull for children of any age either. Unfortunately, I can’t like everything that comes across my desk, and this one just doesn’t make the cut.

Monday, August 22, 2011

2012 A Clarion Call: Your Soul’s Purpose in Conscious Evolution. By Nicolya Christi

2012 A Clarion Call: Your Soul’s Purpose in Conscious Evolution. By Nicolya Christi

Bear and Company: Rochester, VT. 2011.

This is an extremely interesting and different point of view of what is going to happen when the Mayan calendar ends in 2012. In this theory, the author explains her belief that humans will change from being Homo sapiens to Homo luminous – from 3rd dimensional human beings to 5th dimensional beings of light that vibrate at a higher frequency.

According to Christi, we need to start working toward making changes now that will adjust our vibrational frequencies so that we are able to fully adjust and transform when need be when the right time in 2012 rolls along.

While many of her ideas are definitely thought provoking and sound like what many of us would like to see happen in a “New World”, I do have to wonder how realistic it really is.

Filled with activities and exercises to help you bring about your own personal chances, many of these exercises are really interesting and would definitely be life changing if you allow them to be. The real question here is what about those who don’t make these changes? What happens to them?

This book includes an remarkable appendix that contains a glossary, a list of resources, and several healing methods and practices¬ used to help you in your quest to raise your vibrational frequency,

While this book is actually a lot easier to read than I had thought it would be, there are moments when you have to just pull back and take a deep breath and say, “What if this is all true?” Because if it is, we are all in for some massively huge changes in front of us and real soon.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Review: Simple Green Cat Pet Stain and Odor Remover

Simple Green Cat Pet Stain and Odor Remover

The makers of Simple Green bring us a super duper pet stain odor remover that is people and pet safe made with natural, non-toxic biodegradable ingredients.

For those of us that are cat owners, we know that our animals have accidents every now and then, some more than others. Whether they are kittens just trying to learn to use the litter box or older cats who are having physical or emotional issues, sometimes messes happen.

Often when an animal urinates on a rug or other location, they will continue to go back to the same area and use that location over and over simply because they can smell that they have gone there before. If you have other animals in your house, they may also begin peeing on the same area as a way of claiming territory. Either way, you can end up with a terrible mess and an even worse smell wafting throughout your home.

With Simple Green’s Cat Pet Stain and Odor Remover the smell isn’t just covered up or masked as often is the case with so called odor removers. Simple Green’s natural bacteria neutralizes the urine smell so cats don’t find the same location again.

I have 4 cats, 2 older, 2 younger and lately 1 of the older cats has been having a lot of peeing issues. To make a long story short we couldn’t get rid of his bladder infection as it turned out he was diabetic, so we were dealing with a whole lot of peeing throughout the house – especially on the rug and sofa cover in the family room. Because so much of the sofa cover had been urinated on we decided instead of spraying it to simply wash it in the Simple Green Cat Pet Stain and Odor Remover. Of course we ended up diluting the spray with the wash water, but we washed it on as low of a wash as possible and it did the trick. Simple Green Cat is also available in a gallon size bottle (along with the 32 oz spray bottle) to make things like adding it to your wash easy if it’s necessary.

To clean the sofa itself, I added the Simple Green to the upholstery shampoo and used my carpet shampooer to clean it followed by another spraying of the Simple Green Cat once the area had dried.

These treatments successfully kept my Quantico from going back to the same area and urinating there again. In the meantime, since we now knew Quanitco was having health issues, we were able to get more testing done until we learned he was diabetic and have been able to get him help.

So in the long run, while it’s important to have a good odor remover like Simple Green Cat – it’s also important to remember your pet is peeing where he or she is for a reason. While Simple Green Cat takes care of the smell and prevents further urination in specific areas, it’s even more important to find out what is causing the problem in the first place so you can give your animal the help he or she needs.

Simple Green Cat is available through the website or at your local Petsmart.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Fate, Fortune and Mysticism in the Peruvian Amazon: The Septrionic Order and the Naipes Cards

Fate, Fortune and Mysticism in the Peruvian Amazon: The Septrionic Order and the Naipes Cards by Marlene Dobkin De Rios, Ph.D. Park Street Press. Rochester, VT: 2011.

Since this is a short book, (just over a 100 pages), I had assumed it was going to be highly focused on the Naipes cards and their meanings, but in actuality the Naipes cards are a relatively small part of this book with most of the emphasis being on other practices.

The author goes into detail about the time she spent in the Peruvian Amazon back in the 70s. When she discovered the Naipes cards, which are semi similar to tarot cards. she began giving readings to the natives. Eventually she was initiated into the Septrionism tradition – and this book gives more information about this tradition.

The author writes in a clear and easy to understand manner, so that this book doesn’t read like a college text book, but more like a personal conversation reflecting on her experiences.

While the book wasn’t as centered on the instruction of using the cards as much as I thought it would be, it was definitely an interesting read while informing the reader about a completely different tradition. However, I would find it beneficial if there was some updated information to see if the traditions are still practiced the same way they were 40 years ago when the author spent her time in the Peruvian Amazon.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Review: Goddess Healing CDs by Mary Marzo

Goddess Healing CDs by Mary Marzo (4 CD set)

Mary Marzo is a holistic psychotherapist, a certified Kundalini Yoga instructor, a devoted Goddess spirituality teacher and leader of workshops, rituals and sacred healing circles.

This CD set includes:

Goddess Relaxation and Meditations

Goddess and Child (Meditations for the Inner Child)

and Goddess Blessings: (2 CD set that includes Goddess Mantra Chants on one CD and Daily Meditations on another)

The Goddess Relaxation and Meditations CD is broken down into 3 meditations:

1. Relaxation (30 minutes)
2. Grounding Meditation (18 minutes)
3. Inner Sanctuary Meditation (15 minutes)

The tracks on this CD not only include the guided meditations, they include some helpful hints and tips for meditating along with breathing patterns to practice. Before actually performing any of these meditations, I recommend listening through the entire CD at least once and do some of the breathing exercises as you familiarize yourself with the process and get together any of the items Marzo suggests to use; such as a shawl or blanket, and prepare a comfortable location for your meditation practices. By listening to the CD ahead of your actual meditation session, you will also know what you are dealing with and which meditation you would like to perform.

You can perform each of these meditations separately or join them together for a longer session. I would not recommend joining more than 2 together though, as this may end up being too emotionally and mentally draining. If you do want to join two together, I would recommend the relaxation meditation followed by either one of the other two meditations.

The Goddess and Child (Healing Meditations for the Inner Child) CD includes the following tracks:

1. Healing the Inner Child (31 minutes)
2. Introduction to the MA chant
3. MA chant (13 minutes) – the CD insert says “Inspired by the temples of Malta. Imagine yourself encircled by 13 female voices chanting “MA” in a healing Goddess temple circa 3500 BCE. The MA mantra is one of the most ancient sounds on earth and is evocative of the primordial Great Mother Goddess.”
4. Coming Home – Creating a Safe Sacred Place (23 minutes)

This CD I do recommend taking the time to again, listen to it first, but then complete the entire CD in one meditation session – at least the first time, so in the future you can specialize your practice to what you need it to be.

The third CD is Goddess Blessings, and this is a 2 CD set.

The first CD of this set is Daily Meditations, and includes the following tracks:

1. Introduction to Goddess Blessings
2. Inner Teacher Meditation
3. Introduction to Chakra Meditation
4. Chakra and Golden Light Meditation
5. Protection
6. Gratitudes
7. Intentions
8, Affirmations
9. The Charge of the Goddess
10. HER Amazing Grace

The 2nd CD is Goddess Mantra Chants

1. Durga (Goddess of Protection)
2. Lakshmi (Goddess of Abundance)
3. Saraswati (Goddess of Creativity and Communication)
4. Sri Yantra (Universal Divine Feminine)

With the first CD you are able to pick and choose what type of meditation you need to suit your needs at any particular time. With the second CD you can practice the different Goddess mantra chants.

This entire CD set can be used to add to your daily practices or to enhance group or solitary ritual.

This set is a complete collection to help intensify your spirituality. Marzo expertly helps the listener transcend into a meditative, highly spiritual state, where true healing of the mind, body, and soul can take place while strengthening the relationship between the listener and the divine feminine.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Wind that Shakes the Barley CD by Loreena McKennitt

The Wind that Shakes the Barley CD by Loreena McKennitt. Quinlan Road Limited. 2010.

Sitting through this incredibly hot summer in northern Illinois, makes me yearn even more for the cooler, humidity free days of fall. This latest CD from Loreena McKennitt, helps me imagine those cooler carefree days, giving me at least some relief from the heat.

On the inside of the CD case there is a quote that says, “Every once in a while, there is a pull to return to one’s own roots or beginnings, with the perspective of time and experience, to feel the familiar things you once loved and love still.” This quote is repeated over and over in many different languages, showing its true importance to the music selection on this CD.

This CD of mostly traditional songs, takes the listeners back in time, transporting us to an era where the earth and nature were of the highest importance as they were the givers of life. A time when Kings and Queens ruled until their death with the love, or at the very least- respect, of the people.

Songs on this CD are perfect for listening to any day or time, but many are also perfect for different ritual use. I particularly like Brian Boru’s March and feel it is perfect for maypole dancing, walking down the aisle at an outdoor wedding, or even as ceremonial music for bringing in a harvest and presenting the first feast to the Gods. It’s truly a beautiful song that can be used in all kinds of situations.

The tracks on this CD include:

1. As I Roved Out
2. On a Bright May Morning
3. Brian Boru’s March
4. Down by the Sally Gardens
5. The Star of the County Down
6. The Wind that Shakes the Barley
7. The Death of Queen Jane
8. The Emigration Tunes
9. The Parting Glass

Whenever a Loreena McKennitt CD comes out, it’s hard not to say for each and every one, “this one is my all time favorite”, but with this one and the Irish/Celtic roots, I can’t fight it anymore, this one is definitely my favorite CD so far from Loreena.

It is spiritual while entertaining. I have big plans for this CD at our Lughnasadh ritual, as the mood it creates will go along great with our festival and ritual.

You can listen to samples on the Quinlan Road website – make sure to check out this incredible CD from one of our most talented artists.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Review: Moon Glow Jewelry

Moon Glow Jewelry

These handcrafted customized pieces of jewelry can help you commemorate any special date or event in your life with a glowing moon matching the phase of the moon on your special date.

Available in necklaces, earrings, anklets or bracelets with either 1, 2, or 3 moons, this jewelry makes the perfect gift for a large variety of occasions.

Moon Glow jewelry is available in silver, pewter or stainless steel with moonstone.

Each piece of jewelry is customized to match the moon phase for the date you requested. Other customizations include adding a birthstone or other stone charm.

When you receive your jewelry, you will also receive a card that gives you a code to use to go back to the website to learn more about your selected moon phase.

Even the artist’s signature logo on the back of the pendants is a beautiful design.

One of the best parts of this jewelry line is it does exactly what the name says – the moons actually glow after they soak up some light, giving this line an extra special touch.

With a vast price range depending on the type of jewelry and the material used, “Moon Glow”, is the perfect gift for yourself or anyone else for any occasion.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Review: Sacred Suds: Soaps with Soul.

Sacred Suds: Soaps with Soul.

Sacred Suds combine natural ingredients with positive intentions to create a spiritual cleansing experience.

Andrea Badgley, owner of Sacred Suds says, “At Sacred Suds, we believe that by giving something our attention, either through prayer, meditation, or the simple ritual of mindful bathing, we give it power to grow and manifest in our lives. Our mission with Sacred Suds is to provide soulful soaps that help channel positive energies into your life.”

Sacred Suds sent three different soaps to be reviewed: Green Man, Spring Witch and Vesta.

The Green Man (Be Wild and Be Happy!) soap is made with olive oil, coconut oil, organic palm oil, patchouli essential oil (earthy, wealth), basil essential oil (peace, happiness, money). This soap is vegan and all natural. The description given by Sacred Suds is: “Reunite with the natural world and revel in its prolific greenness with this soap inspired by the Green Man, Celtic Nature Spirit.

Spring Witch (An ye harm none, do as ye will) soap is made with olive oil, coconut oil, organic palm oil, hemp seed oil, castor oil, rosemary essential oil, pine essential oil, orange essential oil, and cinnamon leaf essential oil. This soap is vegan and all natural. The description given by Sacred Suds is: “Follow the way of the witch! Celebrate life, nature, and your personal intuitive and healing powers with this soap inspired by the witches of the world.”

Vesta “Cook’s Hand Soap” is made with brewed coffee, coconut, organic palm, olive, avocado, wheat germ and castor oils, essential oils of orange and cinnamon leaf. The description provided by Sacred Suds says, “Keep your hands clean and your kitchen blessed with this soap inspired by Vesta, Roman Goddess of the Hearth and Home.”

My favorite of these soaps was the Spring Witch, the scent is just incredible, and leaves you feeling clean and in a spiritual state of mind.

All of the soaps have creamy rich lather and good strong scents that help transport you into a different frame of mind.

Many of the other soaps made by Sacred Suds are named and fashioned after Gods and Goddesses of different pantheons. Soaps sell for $6.00 each on Etsy, or you can buy a pick four pack for $22.00.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Astrology Learning Cards: Self Study Flash Cards

Astrology Learning Cards: Self Study Flash Cards Designed by Jadzia DeForest and Jay GreenMan DeForest. Living Magick Learning Card Series. Living Magick Publishing Company.

This is part three of three reviews from the Living Magick Learning Card Series.

The Astrology Learning Cards: Self Study Flash Cards are a new concept in learning to use the zodiac to plot birth chart, and for other astrological information. These cards are approximately 3.75” X 5.25.

There are several different kinds of cards in this deck. For starters there are the cards that will help you use the actual flash cards. These include cards that are titled as:

How to use the Astrology Deck

Terminology (includes 10 definitions)

Chart Casting (this includes information on what is needed to do a chart and websites that are recommended chart calculators, along with instructions on how to lay out a chart.

There is also a second card that is titled “More about Chart Casting” to give additional information.

We also have a card “Astrological signs in order” which lists each zodiac sign along with it’s corresponding dates.

The Ascendant/Rising Sign card
tells us:
Theme: Public Image
Keywords: Outward self, public personality, first impression, projected personality, self awareness, drive, ambition, goals, motivation, persona, future personality

We are also given the Ascendent card which explains”

Your ascendant, or rising sign, is the part of your
personality that others first see, this is the first impression
you make on those around you – the sigh that your ascendant
is in also shows your goals and what you are moving
toward in your life. If your sun sign represents your
present self, then your rising sign is your future self
and shows that progression

The actual zodiac sign cards give a variety of information. For example, the Pisces card:

Element: water
Mutable: flexible, adaptable. intellectual
keywords: receptive, intuitive, emotional, romantic, mystical, imaginative, psychic, depressed, impractical, lazy
ruling planet: Neptune
Symbol: The fishes
Phrase: “I believe”
Zodiac birthstone: Amethyst
Opposite sign: Virgo

The other side of the card simple shows the zodiac symbol.

The planetary cards some with the symbol on one side and information on the other. For example the Pluto card:

Theme: transformation
keywords: death, rebirth, regeneration, destruction, change, reincarnation, elimination, insight, revolutions, politics, society, mass consciousness, transition
Pluto: (God of the Underworld) Where Pluto is in your chart shows in which part of your life you will experience sudden change, endings and new beginnings. Pluto is also the planet that influences war, politics and generational movements involving revolution.
Pluto rules: scorpio

The astrological houses information card shows how to use the houses in a birth chart. The house cards contain such information as:

First house
House of the Self
Keywords: personality, mannerisms, temperament, attitude, goals, desires, behaviors, motivations, outward appearance, physical self, first impressions
First house ruler: Aries

The “Conjunction”, “Opposition”, “Trine”, “Square”, and “Sextile” cards all give their degrees and list indications.

Elemental cards are also included with information such as:

Fire Signs
element: fire
keywords: outgoing, spontaneous, optimistic, energetic, creative, warm, impulsive, passionate, arrogant, egotistical, selfish, quick tempered, impatient.
Fire signs: aries, leo, sagittarius

Finally we have separate decks of the zodiac and planetary cards that simply have the symbol on one side and the name on the other side, that can be used for chartings and readings once the information about each card is memorized.

As you can see, there is a lot of information covered in this deck, which I think is just incredible. Having these cards – being able to lay them out, move them around, really makes learning the aspects of birth charts a bit easier. Once the student gets the idea, a lot of the confusion often associated with all of these different concepts can easily be eliminated – everything is right there is front of you, you just need to learn where to put it.

Out of the three sets of self study cards, I liked this one the best, it takes what for me anyhow, is the most difficult to learn (out of the tarot, runes, and astrology) and it makes it much more simple to deal with.

Living Magick will also soon be adding more to their product line, bookmark their page, and add them on Facebook so you can keep up to date on these innovative products that help add some magic to your life.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

New Orleans - gotta go home

Monday, May 30th

Though we were excited we would soon be able to see everyone, Monday morning was quite sad knowing that we would soon be on the plane and headed away from New Orleans. I had figured I would fall in love with the place, and I definitely had, even in just the short amount of time we had been there. Who Knows, maybe if I had to live there all the time I wouldn't like it as much - I doubt it though!

In the morning we packed everything up, loaded up the car and checked out of the hotel. We were going to be spending some time driving around before heading to the car rental place to drop it off. We went back to Audubon park and found the labyrinth - which of course now I want one in my backyard. We tried twice to go by Hanson's Snow Biz as our guide book said it was the best place for "sno- balls" but it was closed both times. We neaded over to City Park and saw the Suicide Tree - this was a rather emotional stop for me and I was disappointed in the state the park was in. Very large park, but in complete disarray. I truly felt bad for this tree that had obviously been through so much.

We ate lunch at a cute little place called Cafe Luna - picked because of the name, but the frapps and food were outstanding!

We also found a spot finally, where we could drive out to see Lake Ponchatrain. What a HUGE lake. Though the lake itself was beautiful, we saw the same problem with the park area - a lot of garbage all over the place and what seemed to be a lack of care. To have these resources and waste them was disenchanting to say the least. I hope we just happened to catch both of these parks on bad days and that this wasn't the norm for the parks in the area.

After all of that, we dropped off the car, got shuttled to the airport and ended our vacation. However...I already have a few ideas for our next one.

New Orleans Day 5

Sunday, May 29th

Sunday we drove out of New Orleans and into a whole different world once again. On our way to Cajun Encounters for our swamp tour we past by Irish Bayou - a place I could probably live quite happily - as long as I was living in the miniature castle that was there!
The drive took us past a whole lot of water, and it was a lot easier to start picturing what it had been like when everything was under water! There was already so much water all around us, it didn't seem like it would take much for a massive flood.

Once at Cajun Encounters I had to bite back my fear of boats (especially smaller ones) and hop on board to go on our swamp tour. We did see several alligators and I did get to hold a tiny baby one - well he was a year old, but he still looked very babyish to me. Took a ton of pictures out on the swamp, saw more damage done by Katrina, and again, found another place I thought I could be completely happy living in. Mike didn't agree. Thought I think throwing marshmallows out my window in the morning to check for gators might be kind of fun.

Once that tour was over, we got back on the road and headed back towards and then pass new orleans headed west to make it to Destrehan Manor Plantation. This home had once run an indigo plantation - I had no idea indigo plantations had even existed. The home was also used in the Anne Rice movie, "Interview with a Vampire".

After we returned back at the hotel, we finished up left overs from our other meals out and decided since this was a vacation of "firsts" we would head over to Harrah's and try our hands at the slot machines. We played some penny slots, and though I won about $55 off of a sea monkey slot machine, I did end up loosing about $20 of that before we decided to head home and make our plans for what to get in before catching our plane home the next day.

New Orleans Day 4

Saturday, May 28, 2011

We started off the day driving down to the RiverFront for our ride on the steamboat Natchez. We had lunch on the boat and road up and down the mississippi River for two hours. It was a great time and the breeze was really relaxing and appreciated!

We were able to see some things from a "different" point of view, including the lower 9th ward and some of the destruction still quite visable from the river. Even though the river was above it's normal level, it was just so difficult to imagine what it must have been like when 80% of the city was underwater.

After our trip on the steamboat, we headed over to the free shuttle to Mardi Gras world and went on that tour. WOW! The tour guide explained that none of the props used on the Mardi Gras floats gets thrown away. They are repainted or redecorated in other ways and eventually reused. Mardi Gras World does 80% of the props for the parades, and the warehouse we toured was just one of twenty. The props were just incredible, and it really made me want to be able to see a Mardi Gras parade in the flesh someday instead of just watching one on the internet. Just don't know if I can handle that many people in one location at a time!

After Mardi Gras world, we made it back to our car, then back to the hotel and took a taxi out for our dinner at Arnaud's at the corner of Bienville and Bourbon Streets. I had Oysters Kathryn with wild mushrooms and gazpacho soup, while Mike had Black drum fish Mitchell and Asparagus with Hollandaise Sauce.

We hadn't been there long when we were approached by a waiter who had heard about a search for a specific coffee we were on. Mike's sister had sent us a text message requesting we bring back some "Wake the Fuck up" coffee and said it was on St Phillip street. It wasn't. This waiter was able to give us a better idea of where we could find it though, in a store on Decatur street, NEAR St. Phillip street -- that had a bunch of cajun spices and an alligator in the store. Once you've been to New Orleans, you realize that describes about one half of the actual stores. We made our way to Decatur street (Mike with a hand grenade) and did indeed find the elusive coffee at a store called Jazz Funeral. After stopping for daiquiris, we made it further down to decatur, finally to a cab and back to the hotel for the night.

New Orleans Day 3

Friday, May 27th

We started the day off bright and early arriving early for the start of the Cemetaey tour so we had time to shop a little first. Our tour took us into St. Louis Cemetery #1, home to the tomb of Marie Laveau and future tomb of Nicholas Cage. It was pretty obvious that our tour guide was not a fan of Nicholas Cage (since she stated that he probably bought the tomb just so the government couldn't take it back). We spent plenty of time walking around the cemetery that truly was an interesting experience. At the back of the cemetery she shouwed us where the Protestants were allowed to be buried since it is a Catholic cemetery.

After the cemetery tour, we ate at The Old Coffee Pot. I had crayfish etouffee and Mike had catfish and jambalaya.

We spent a lot of the day walking and shopping. Some of the places we went to include:

Erzulies - 807 Rue Royal

Witchy Living -v2109 Decatur Street

Boutique du Vampyre - 633 Toulouse

Glass Magick - 713 Toulouse

Rev Zombie's House of VooDoo - 723 St. Peter Street

Voodoo Museum - 724 Dumaine Street

Jackson Square

St. Louis Cathedral

VooDoo Spiritual Temple - 828 N. Rampart

La Laurie mansion - 1140 Rue Royal

We took some time to drive through the 9th ward and see what kind of destruction was still left from hurricane Katrina. It was shocking to see how many houses were still boarded up and abandoned. Some of them it looked like people had just recently returned and were just now starting to clean out the debris left behind. We saw several homes with tons of garbage piled how outside by the road, while other homes looked to be full restored. There were a lot of homes though - way too many - that had obviously not been touched at all yet. It was a real shame to see the destruction and imagine what it had been like there when the storm had hit.

After leaving the 9th Ward, we went to dinner at Coop's Kitchen - 1109 Decatur - A small restaurant that often has a line going out the door because there are so few tables to sit at. Mike got the fried chicken, I got a platter of several different items and we also had a couple different appetizers -- including their version of the crab stuffed jalapenos - they weren't near as good as the ones at the chinese restaurant. The food was ok, but we really liked the food at the Old Coffee Pot better.

Friday was a very long day with a whole lot packed into it, we got far more done than we had imagined we would be able to in one day, but needless to say, by the end of it, we were wiped out.

New Orleans day 2

Thursday, May 26th

Our next self guided tour of the day, we headed uptown to see another different side of New Orleans. This was something that really was impressed upon me, from Tulane University to the lower 9th ward, the area of New Orleans has vast differences in such a small geographic area.

While on our uptown tour, we again found a spot were we could park and got out to do a lot of walking. On this walking tour we saw:

1) Loyola University - 6363 St. Charles Avenue

2) Holy Name of Jesus Church - 6367 St. Charles Avenue

3) Tulane University - 6823 St. Charles Avenue - What a beautiful school!

4) Gibson Hall - 6823 St, Charles Avenue

5) Zemurray Mansion - 7000 St. Charles Avenue

6) Parkview Guesthouse - 7004 St. Charles Avenue

7) Audubon Park - across from Tulane and Loyola

8) Auduborn Park Oak - the trunk measures more than 35 feet around.

After the park, we stopped by Guy's at 5259 Magazine Street to pick up some shrimp po boy sandwiches which we took back to our hotel to eat.

SInce it was still early, we hopped on the St. Charles trolley and headed back into the French Quarter and then to the Canal Street Trolley to the RiverFront.

We stopped by Cafe du monde (finally) and got our chickory coffee and beignets. We did some more walking around, checked out Jackson Square and St. Louis Cathedral and the took the trolley back to the hotel. We walked over to Voodoo Barbeque for take out. We could have missed eating there, and we wouldn't have really missed eating there - not the best food we had.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

New Orleans Day 1 part 1

Thursday, May 26th
After out continental breakfast at the hotel (this really
helped save some money!), we grabbed our Frommer's New Orleans
Day by Day Guidebook, and headed off to do some self guided tours.
Since our hotel was in the Garden District on Prytania Street, and the first
stop on the self guided tour was also on Prytania Street we didn't have far to go.
Though we didn't necessarily hit everything listed on the tour, and we did end up taking

a ton of pictures of places not listed, it was a great starting point for us to springboard off of. Some of the sites we saw on our drive and walk through the Garden District included some of the most beautiful gardens, incredible wrought iron fences, gates and even bars on windows, trees that were just shocking in size (and then later we saw the REAL big trees), and homes that just made us drool and want to win a hefty lottery. Also on the Garden District tour we saw:

1) Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 (established in 1833 - 1400 block of Washington Ave)

2) The Musson-Bell House - 1331 Third Street

3) Robinson House - 1415 Third Street

4) Davis House - 2504 Prytania street (built in 1858 it belongs to the Women's Guild of the New Oleans Opera Association)

5) Our Lady of Perpetual Help Chapel - 2521 Prytania Street. Built in 1858, this home
was owned for a while by author Anne Rice and more recently Nicholas Cage until he lost it in a foreclosure. In the pictures, the beautiful statue of Mary and the baby Jesus are homed at this location in a side garden.

6) Bradish Johnson House - 2343 Prytania Street.

7) Toby's Corner - 2340 Pyrtania Street - built in 1838,
this is the oldest house in the Garden District.

8) Rosegate - 1239 First Street. Another former home of Anne
Rice and also the setting for her "Witching Hour" series.

9) Payne - Strachan house -- 1134 First Street.

New Orleans take me away

Over the next few days I( will posting about our trip to New Orleans - a sort of day by day play by play. I am writing all of this up to include in our trip scrapbook (which is almost done - thank goodness!), and figured I should be sharing it along here as well since I should have done a whole lot more writing before I left!

So lets get started with arriving in N'Awlins

Wednesday night, we arrived in New Orleans by plane, made it to our car rental and then hotel with a few hours to kill before crashing for the night.

We had decided earlier to head to Cafe du Monde since it it open 24 hours a day. After unloading in the hotel, we hopped back into the rental car, looked up Cafe Du monde in the Tom Tom - as a point of interest, not an address - and promptly got lost.

I'm positive that n'awlins has a deal with the makers of Tom Tom. If you are in N'awlins and say you want coffee --- you will be directed directly to alcohol on Bourbon Street instead.

So though we really never had any intention of walking Bourbon Street, much less at night, that's exactly where we found ourselves our first night in the Big Easy.

Parking in New Orleans is almost unheard of, it's very difficult to find a place, but we finally did on Iberville and decided to start hoofing it around the French Quarter. We didn't have our maps with us, only our currently unreliable Tom Tom, so we noted where the car was and took off on our own. I was trying to navigate from memory and we realized after we got back to our hotel that we had made it within a couple of blocks of Cafe du Monde, but I had seen something bright and shiny and turned the other way. The bright and shiny we saw was actually the entrance to Louis Armstrong Park on the exact opposite side of the quarter. But it was a beautiful night and just being out and about in the quarter was a rush.

Though I never felt threatened by any of the actual residents, there were a few times some of the tourists we came acorss made me a bit uncomfortable. Even though New Orleans has a pretty high crime rate, the drunks were far scarier to me than any of the "natives".

We made it back to our car, and on our way back to the hotel decided we needed some food. Oddly enough, our first night, we had a difficult time finding a place to eat, instead of trying to find something in the French Quarter, we decided to opt for something closer to out hotel. Problem was as we got closer to our hotel, just about everything was closed or closing. We actually ended up at a Chinese food restaurant!

It wasn't quite what we would considered a "normal" Chinese restaurant though.
We ordered a few different appetizers to share for our dinner. These included California Sushi rolls, egg rolls --- with alligator meat, and what they called "J-pops". These were incredible! HUGE jalapeno peppers halved, and stuffed with a crab meat/cream cheese mixture. They were drizzled with 2 different kinds of sauces, and both were just to die for. Would sure love to find a place closer that served those!

The egg rolls were smaller than what we were used to - probably about 1/3 the size of egg rolls served near us, and though they were good, I wouldn't say the alligator had any real distinctive flavor, but they were pretty good.

Back at our hotel, we got things planned out for the next morning - our first full day in New Orleans. Since we had the cemetery tour scheduled for Friday already, we didn't plan on heading back to the French Quarter 'til then. Thursday would be all about the Garden District and Uptown.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Rune Learning Cards: Self Study Flash Cards

Rune Learning Cards: Self Study Flash Cards Designed by Jadzia DeForest and Jay GreenMan DeForest. Living Magick Learning Card Series. Living Magick Publishing Company.

This is part two of three reviews from the Living Magick Learning Card Series.

The Rune Learning Cards: Self Study Flash Cards are a new concept in learning to use the rune symbols. These cards – approximately 3.75” X 5.25” come with two different sets. The first set has the symbol for each rune on one side of the card, with the name on the other side. This is a great way to learn the names of each of the different rune symbols.

The second set of cards has the symbol on one side with the information about that rune on the other side.

For example the card “Algiz”, has the rune on one side, and the other side contains the information:

ALGIZ (Letter: Z)
Pronunciation: el-haz Rune #15
Theme: Elk (Guardians)
Keywords: Refuge, Protection, Safety,
Sanctuary, Guardians, Trust
Magickal Working: Protection
Summoning Guardians
Creating Safe Space
Building Good Instincts
Key Phrases:
Safe and protected space
Take advantage of natural defenses
Allies with your best interests at heart
Be alert and keep your wits

At the bottom of the card flipped is the reverse meaning.

ALGIZ (reversed)
Key Phrases:
At risk; unsafe conditions
Deception; hidden agendas
All may not be what it seems
Don’t trust too much

These decks also come with several different instructional and informational cards. These are titled:
About This Deck
Rune Casting
Rune Casting Layouts
Additional Reference Material
Understanding the Runes
Origins of the Runes

These flash cards make for an easy, interesting and quick way to learn all about the runes. The two decks are beneficial as you can the first simple deck to practice learning the signs and their names, switch to the second deck to learn the meanings, and then switch back to the first deck for actual readings.

This is a great deck that can help you broaden your knowledge base and teach you a new skill to add to your spiritual practices.

The other sets in this series includes Tarot Learning Cards and Astrology Learning Cards.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Review: Tarot Learning Cards: Self Study Flash Cards

Tarot Learning Cards: Self Study Flash Cards Designed by Jadzia DeForest and Jay GreenMan DeForest. Living Magick Learning Card Series. Living Magick Publishing Company.

This is part one of three reviews from the Living Magick Learning Card Series.

The Tarot Learning Cards: Self Study Flash Cards are a new concept in learning to use tarot cards for your own benefit. These cards – approximately 3.75” X 5.25” contain on one side the name of the card, with the other side containing information on what the card means both in normal and reversed positions. The exact meanings are not given, yet ideas to help you understand the exact meaning of the cards.

For example the card the Four of Pentacles, on one side simply states “Four of Pentacles” with a drawing of a pentacle. The other side says:

Four of Pentacles
Theme: Wealth
Pentacles: Work, Money, Education
Fours: Foundation, Resting
Keywords: Financial Security, Gain, Power,
Self Preservation, Stability, Unsentimental,
Monetary Hoarding

The bottom half of the card can be flipped for the reversal meaning:

Four of Pentacles (Rx)
Theme: Financial Loss
Pentacles: Work, Money, Education
Keywords: Monetary Difficulties,
Bankruptcy, Setbacks, Gambling,
Taking Financial Risks, Obstacles

This deck includes all of the cards of the major and minor arcana, along with a few instructional cards. These instructional cards include: “About this deck”, “How to Use These Cards”, “Numerology”, “Suits and Elements”, “Recommended Reading”, “About the Court Cards”, “Terminology”, and “About Reversals”.

Though you can also use these cards to do actual readings, they are of a large size and rather thick which makes shuffling a bit difficult – especially for those of us with pudgy little hands!

Different people have different ways they like to learn, and there are different theories of the best ways to learn the meanings of the cards in Tarot. One theory is through memorization of the meanings and themes. Another theory says they are easiest to learn through interpretation of the artwork on the cards. Because these cards don’t contain those type of artwork pictures, these cards are strictly for those who are more comfortable learning through the memorization of themes and meanings.

The other sets in this series includes Rune Learning Cards and Astrology Learning Cards. Because neither Astrology nor Runes require interpreting artwork, I think these cards will appeal to a slightly larger audience than the Tarot Flash Cards do. I definitely look forward to checking these other sets out too.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Life keeps getting in the way

I highly doubt it's possible for my life to get anymore sidetracked than it already does.

New Orleans is just over 2 weeks away and I've hardly posted about it at all. Why?

Life just keeps getting in the way.

Since we last "talked", my daughter moved out, and eventually came clean about being pregnant. We planned a wedding, that was then cancelled by her fiance. Too much time and money lost that I'll never get back, not to mention the stress and mental anguish.

I finished the edits on my book with Llewellyn that will be out in February: Spells for Tough Times: Crafting Hope When Faced With Life’s Thorniest Challenges.

Definitely the longest book I have ever written (it will be over 400 pages!), but also very fulfilling. I really feel this book will be a help and comfort to people, so I'm rather proud of it.

I am working on a proposal for another book with Llewellyn, and hope to have that finished up this week so I can start the waiting game to see if they are interested in it.

Still working on surveys and need to get a whole lot of them tallied, but that project is going to be ongoing for quite a while.

Things are moving along, though slowly, with Nurturing Necessities. Turned in the paperwork on the 1023 form to try to get us non-profit status, got an update from them last week wanting some other information, and they had some changes they wanted made, that's been taken care of and now that waiting game begins again to.

My parents also sold their home in Missouri and so when I get back from New Orleans, I'll have my True Blood season 3 marathon, get all my clothes washed and then repack a few things to go down there to help pack them up and drive them back up here to northern Illinois where they will be living in an assisted living facility. Mom and dad moved close to 13 years ago, and it's going to be different having them around for the holidays and stuff again, but I'm glad they are coming home.

Today I am going to be playing in dirt. We are supposed to hit 80 degrees today, the first time probably since last September! My garden that is usually done by now has been plowed, and I will finally start putting plants and seeds in with 2 dear friends today. With everything that has been going on, squishing my toes in dirt (and possible mud if we get the rain they started forecasting this morning!) will be quite therapeutic!

Plans for this week include ordering our tour tickets, did get some dinner reservations made already, but need to get some more done too. We have our ride to and from Milwaukee airport taken care of, and I need to get luggage tags - why they don't automatically come with luggage, I'll never know!

Monday, May 2, 2011

April Winner!

Miss Murder! You are this month's winner, please contact me to claim your prize!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Meditation for the Love of it: Enjoying your own deepest experience by Sally Kempton.

Meditation for the Love of it: Enjoying your own deepest experience by Sally Kempton. Sounds True: Boulder, CO. 2011.

Are you ready to begin a meditation practice? Or have you already been practicing for a while and are looking to intensify your practice or increase your meditation knowledge? This book is for you either way.

Kempton is able to educate the reader on different forms of meditation, different processes of relaxation, and she does it without speaking over or under the level of the reader – know matter what level they are at.

Not only is the book a great source for information on different meditation techniques, it is filled with quotes that will give you new perspectives and help you think about topics in a different light.

It is also filled with exercises to perform on your own to help you begin and then broaden your practices at your own speed.

Kempton write in such an easy, conversational manner, it makes this book fun to read and you feel as if you are sitting down having a one on one conversation with the author.

Kempton is an adept and caring teacher who can help you learn through this book, what you need to build a peaceful and successful meditative practice.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Review: Teen Witch Workshop: An Introductory Guide to the Craft CD

Teen Witch Workshop: An Introductory Guide to the Craft CD by Alicen Geddes.
Paradise Music 2010

The more familiar I become with the Paradise Music workshops, the more I like them.

On this CD, Alicen Geddes takes teens by the hand to open them to the world of The Craft.

The only problem I could foresee with this CD is a small difference in culture. I’m not sure if American teens will understand the comparison of a Burberry and a pac-a-mac, when Alicen talks about different ways of creating a sacred circle. Yet this was the only problem I foresaw with this CD, so that’s a pretty good thing!

The tracks on the CD include:

1. Introduction
2. Know the warning label on Magic, Use magic Safely and responsibly
3. Prepare to be Magical with Potions and Herbology
4. Open and Close the door Marked Magic
5. Cast a Magic Circle
6. Meet the Elementals
7. Raising the Power and a Journey with the Star Goddess – Queen of the Constellations
8. Perform Three Simple Spells to Empower Your Life
9. Spell One – The Invisibility Cloak
10. Spell Two – Find Me Love
11. Spell Three – Keep Me Safe
12. Magical Offerings/Close the Door Marked Magic and Have a Midnight Feast

In the booklet, Alicen points out that the booklet and the CD are meant to be used together hand-in-hand in order to achieve the full workshop experience. In the booklet Alicen covers topics such as The Witches’ Rede, using herbs and potions to prepare you for magical work, the sabbats, raising power, creating a book of shadows, color correspondences and 5 different spells including:

1. The invisibility cloak
2. Find me love
3. Keep me safe
4. The telephone spell
5. Home sweet home

Alicen does a great job of explaining that while magic is fun, it is also serious work and important to take it seriously. It’s not just about spells – it’s about spirituality and a reference for the earth and the deities.

Teens – or even other people new to The Craft – will find this an interesting way to start their magical practices.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Review: The Dangerous Old Woman: Myths and Stories of the Wise Woman Archetype CD Set

The Dangerous Old Woman: Myths and Stories of the Wise Woman Archetype CD Set by Clarissa Pinkola Estes, PhD. Sounds True. . 2010.

If you loved Women Who Run with Wolves, you are sure to love this audio collection from author Clarissa Pinkola Estes.

Each of the 6 CDs in this set, features a different session and topic from Clarissa, and each one has its own great moments. Whether Clarissa is retelling a traditional story, or sharing anecdotes about some of her own family members, the experience is truly entertaining and spiritually educational, all at the same time.

While many of the stories may be new to you, you will also hear old favorites – such as Snow White and the 7 dwarves, told in a way you probably haven’t heard before – we are too used to the softening of Disney.

Clarissa is an incredible story teller who draws you into the illusion she is creating for her listeners, all the while teaching them valuable lessons about life, respect, and decency.

We have stories about vampires that teach us about seduction, a story about Clarissa’s neighbor who cuts down one of her own trees in an attempt at control, and a story of jealous girls who trick a caring giving girl and what karma brings to them, and many more that all have additional meanings and lessons for us to learn.

This is a great series for anyone who is interested in women’s issues, and would be a great substitute for a book club – instead of a book a month, how about a CD a month? (Or even a week, because once you get started you won’t want to wait a whole month before moving on!)

Clarissa points out that this compilation took her 30 years to complete – for those of us who get to listen, it has been a worth while wait.