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Keslynn (DE, United States)

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The Inner Temple of Witchcraft Meditation CD Companion
The Inner Temple of Witchcraft Meditation CD Companion
by Christopher Penczak
Edition: Audio CD
Price: CDN$ 19.40
33 used & new from CDN$ 16.51

4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent except for one problem..., July 11 2004
It was an excellent idea to make a CD companion to the book "Inner Temple of Witchcraft." A lot of the meditations in the book are longer and involved, and having it narrated to you is a lot easier than straining to remember what you're supposed to be doing during a meditation. The production quality of the CD set is very good. Penczak has a good narration style, and the music is unobtrusive and mood-enhancing. If you are working through the book, then this is an excellent tool to help you on your way.
However, I had one big problem with the CDs, and that's why the set only gets 4 stars instead of 5. Rather than having each meditation with its own track, all the meditation exercises from a chapter are lumped together as one track. So, if you want to do the exercises singly instead of a chapter at a time, you have to hold down the skip button to get where you want to be on the CD. Needless to say, this is not exactly conducive to a deep meditative state. This can be overcome by some computer editing, but if you don't have the tools or the patience, then there's not much you can do.
That annoyance aside, I do recommend getting the CDs as well as the book if you're going to be working through the meditation exercises.

Tarot for All Seasons: Celebrating the Days & Nights of Power
Tarot for All Seasons: Celebrating the Days & Nights of Power
by Christine Jette
Edition: Paperback
23 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Adds new depth to Wheel of the Year celebrations, Nov. 2 2003
The real heart of "Tarot for All Seasons" are the wonderful tarot spreads. The author provides one each for the waxing and waning moons. She provides one for each sabbat as well. The spreads tie in excellently with sabbat and esbat themes and are also an excellent way to track personal progress throughout the year. Each spread is well thought out and designed, and Jette provides sample layouts as well. I found the sample readings to be a big help in understanding her thought processes behind each position meaning. But these spreads aren't only for use on holidays. You can use them when similar themes come up at other times of year. Need to know what baggage you can lose? Try the Samhain spread. The spreads are fabulous, both useful and meaningful.
One caveat: this book would be best for those who already have some background in paganism and tarot. The author does have a small appendix devoted to tarot card meanings, but the spreads would probably flow easier for someone with at least one basic tarot book under their belt. Ditto for the Sabbats. She gives a brief explanation of each one but doesn't cover the holiday or its symbolism in any depth. A reader with little background would not get as much from this book, but Jette does recommend other books to help the reader gain more knowledge.
For those who are already somewhat familiar with Wicca/paganism and tarot, this book is great and will add more depth to your religious observances.

The Circle Within: Creating a Wiccan Spiritual Tradition
The Circle Within: Creating a Wiccan Spiritual Tradition
by Dianne Sylvan
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 12.37
31 used & new from CDN$ 2.71

4.0 out of 5 stars Packed with great ideas..., Nov. 2 2003
This is not yet another Wicca 101 book. Instead, this book focuses on helping Wiccans to fill their lives with their spirituality rather than just being Wiccan for sabbats and esbats. For a relatively small book, this one is packed with great ideas on how to deepen your Wiccan/pagan spiritual practice. Added to that, the tips are actually solid practical things that anyone can do, nothing airy-fairy or impossibly complicated. In fact, I felt that many of the points were fairly obvious, but these are definitely things that need to be pointed out. For example, she suggests that the reader go out into nature (in whatever form it's available) and attune to his/her local environment. Seems pretty evident for a nature-based religion, but it's easy to forget to commune with nature and deity when you're working full time and juggling a jillion other things too.
Another thing I found very useful was the section of 3 things to think about at the end of each chapter. Mostly, these are questions that relate to personal practice and make you think about things you can do to integrate it into your daily life and make it more meaningful. I like that she didn't just spout out information and leave you hanging; she gives you the beginning steps to help you digest and use the concepts.
Finally, at the end of the book is "The Book of Moonlight" which contains some prayers and rituals to jump start you into daily practice. The prayers and invocations are beautifully written and useful.
Dianne Sylvan is not at all pompous and doesn't pretend to be the ultimate authority. She writes with humor and practicality, and best of all, she wants the reader to not get stuck on her words alone. Several times, she tells the reader to adjust her material to suit their own lives and spirituality. This is a very nice and refreshing change from the endless slew of Wicca 101 books. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to be a Wiccan, even while at work, school, etc.

Book of Hours:  Prayers to the Goddess
Book of Hours: Prayers to the Goddess
by Galen Gillotte
Edition: Hardcover
18 used & new from CDN$ 41.89

5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful and spiritually moving, Oct. 5 2003
Llewellyn has outdone themselves with the presentation of this book. It comes in a hardcover edition with lovely gold cover writing and a ribbon marker. It looks like a book to treasure and leave by the altar, which is exactly what I do.
After such a spectacular outside, the inside doesn't disappoint. There are 3 prayers for every day of the week (Morning, Evening, and Night) and 3 prayers (likewise Morning, Evening, and Night) for each Sabbat. She even includes 3 daily prayers for each moon phase. Galen Gillotte has an absolutely amazing way with words. Even the introductions to the sections roll beautifully. As for the prayers themselves, I have found spiritual insight in every single one, and I find it comforting and relaxing to make time every day for prayer. Using this book, I definitely feel like my spiritual practices have been kicked up a notch.
You might think "3 prayers a day! No one has time for that!" but really it only takes a few minutes for each one, and the result is a closer connection to the divine. If you want to add daily prayed to your spiritual practices, then this is the book to have! I highly recommend it for pagans and those exploring Goddess spirituality. Both beginners and the highly advanced can get something out of this book.

Sacred Stones of the Goddess: Using Earth Energies for Magical Living
Sacred Stones of the Goddess: Using Earth Energies for Magical Living
by Galen Gillotte
Edition: Cards
13 used & new from CDN$ 5.20

3.0 out of 5 stars Not what I expected but good nonetheless, Oct. 5 2003
When I first saw the title and the back cover description, I thought this would be a pretty in-depth exploration of stone energies and how they can be used in goddess magic (something along the lines of Cunningham's Encyclopedia of Crystal, Gem and Metal Magic). I don't believe that a book should be entirely judged by my own preconceptions, but even on it's own merits, the book is a little shallow.
This book is really a series of spells/meditations tapping into specific Goddess archetypes for specific life events or obstacles. Each spell uses a certain kind of stone that the author feels resonates with that particular goddess. So far, so good.
However, while I found the Goddess explanations to be fairly well fleshed out, the explanations for why she chose that stone and the meditations connected to the spells are often short, leaving me wanting more information and imagery. Toward the end, some of the meditations have even become repetetive - the Goddess smiles at you and gives you a specimen of the stone that is recommended for the spell. Also, all of the spells have exactly the same structure. For different life events, I personally think it would be nice to have different kinds of rituals.
I do have to say that the elemental meditations sometimes had much richer imagery than some of the Goddess ones, and I do like the idea of approaching the elementals in a personified form. I also really liked the idea for Goddess and God prayer beads. Prayer is a lesser explored aspect of pagan/Wiccan tradition, and I like that she offers information (and beautifully written prayers) to those interested in that particular form of worship.
In conclusion: this book does have some beautifully written ritual passages, spells and prayers, but the meditations come up a bit short. It's also a bit short on actual stone information (making the title somewhat misleading). I think Kala Trobe does a much better job with Goddess meditations in her book "Invoke the Goddess" which Gillotte has actually listed as a reference.

The Inner Temple of Witchcraft: Magick, Meditation and Psychic Development
The Inner Temple of Witchcraft: Magick, Meditation and Psychic Development
by Christopher Penczak
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 16.57
36 used & new from CDN$ 16.51

5.0 out of 5 stars A solid foundation, Aug. 16 2003
For me, this book filled in a lot of gaps in all the other Wicca/magic 101 books. Those books would say "meditate on...", "raise power", "visualize your intent" without actually telling you HOW to do any of those things. Perhaps I'm just stupid, but none of those things are natural to me. Then I found "The Inner Temple of Witchcraft" and my questions got answered.
This book makes me feel better knowing that I'm not the only one who can't figure out what it really is to "visualize your intent" right off the bat. It eases you into a meditative practice, visualization, affirmations, healing, chakra work, etc. He presents the skills as progressive lessons so the format is easy to follow. All the other magic 101 books say that magical skill comes with practice, but once again, this book is much more useful. Instead of just saying that you should practice, Penczak actually lists homework at the end of each lesson.
Personally, this was exactly the beginner book I needed, one that sets up a solid foundation before rushing right into spells and Sabbat rituals.

Seasons of the Witch: Poetry & Songs to the Goddess
Seasons of the Witch: Poetry & Songs to the Goddess
by Patricia Monaghan
Edition: Paperback
13 used & new from CDN$ 1.15

5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful and moving, Aug. 16 2003
This is an absolute treasure of a book. The title is a little misleading though. This book is not just for witches but for goddess loving folk everywhere. It's poetry, not an instructional manual for witchcraft or even "how to find the goddess." Although it's not a manual, it certainly helps the reader to connect with the goddess on an emotional, instinctual level. Almost every poem pulls me right at my very core. I feel a deep inner understanding of what the author is saying, and through her written experience of the goddess, I touch Her too. Wonderful, transcendent poetry.
The CD is very good too. It's well-produced, and the music meshes well with the poems. I haven't done so yet, but I think it would be excellent music to use in ritual.

The Magical Power of the Saints: Evocation and Candle Rituals
The Magical Power of the Saints: Evocation and Candle Rituals
by Rev Ray T. Malbrough
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 11.51
22 used & new from CDN$ 7.21

2.0 out of 5 stars Some good info, but mostly full of holes, Aug. 16 2003
At the beginning of this book, I was very pleased. It begins (after the intro material) with a section listing a decent selection of saints and what they should be petitioned for. This is a little more interesting of a take on the standard patron saint listing. I have always been interested in the saints, and this added the dimension of folk magic to my knowledge. Then there was a chapter regarding divination and how it is used in the Bible. He argues that divination was used extensively and in acceptable ways throughout the Bible. He backs himself up well. You may not agree with him, but it's another viewpoint to consider.
It's at this point that I feel the book starts to fall into its main trap - being too vague. He says that divination is used to determine which saint to petition, what to offer that saint, and even the number of candles to be used. But he never says how one determines this information, even in the most rudimentary way. Instead, he goes into a long discussion about how many kinds of divination there are. It's nice information to know, but you can't really apply it to the main subject of the book. It's a little frustrating.
I also found his discussions of the candles to use very disappointing. Sure, it's easy to find some saint candles in grocery stores or Catholic bookshops, but most of the candles are specialty candles specific to voodoo (or whichever background Marlbrough is working from). Those are probably harder to find for most people. He does explain their uses, but the explanations are short so I wouldn't feel comfortable using any of those candles based only on the information in this book.
Same goes for the oils. He calls for blended oils like "Van Van" and "Success" oil that might be harder to obtain for a lot of people. There are no recipes. Sure, there is a table of correspondences in the back, but mostly the oils correspond to other pre-blended oils.
The section on the magical uses of the Psalms is interesting, but once again, fairly vague as to exactly how to use them.
One minor nitpick: he recommends leaving candles lit night and day. It's certainly a bad idea to leave unattended flames.
Overall, the book has some good info, but is mostly too scattered or vague to make much use of it. It's enough to whet the appetite, but in the end, still leaves you hungry.

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