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The Essential Enochian Grimoire, by Aaron Leitch

Reviewed by Gesigewigu’s

Considering everything that has been written on Dr John Dee and Edward Kelley’s Enochian system in the last century and a half, one can’t help but wonder what could be considered “essential” for an Enochian grimoire. Where does one start? What is included? Which Enochian systems? Which elements? Leitch admits this was a challenge when sorting out the material and decided “[i]t must present a simplified overview of the entire system, thereby allowing the student to see the whole proverbial elephant before focusing on the trunk, ears, legs, or other elephantine components in detail.” Again though, with all that Dee wrote, and all that has come since, a simplified overview is not an easy task.

The focus of the text is “Dee-purist Enochiana, meaning it will not borrow material from any of the sources that came after the man himself passed away.” Personally this is exactly the type of book I’d want. There are neo-Enochiana books galore, but very few focus on just Dee’s work, without the later synthesis of the Golden Dawn, and while I don’t have issues with the Golden Dawn adaptations of Enochian materials I would like to see them as they originally were. Unfortunately when you exclude the appendix and introductory material the ratio of Dee-purist against neo-Enochiana becomes 13 to 8, meaning really the focus is less than two thirds of the text.

Read the full review

Seeing Fairies, by Marjorie T. Johnson

From the Lost Archives of the Fairy Investigation Society, Authentic Reports of Fairies in Modern Times

Reviewed by Janet Bord

If this book is any guide, there are a lot of people out there who claim to have seen fairies. Its 350+ pages are crammed full of first-hand sighting reports, most of them not duplicating the many accounts recorded in my own book Fairies: Real Encounters With Little People. Marjorie Johnson collected her reports over several decades, and the mystery is that she was never able to get her book published during her life-time (apart from editions in German and Italian), since it is a unique database of 20th century fairy reports. Simon Young, who was responsible for bringing about this belated English-language edition, details its history, and Marjorie’s involvement with the Fairy Investigation Society, in his comprehensive introduction.

Reading these strange accounts one after another is a disturbing experience. They give the impression that the countryside is heavily populated with little people who live alongside us but are never seen by most of us. Can this really be true? Common sense tells us that it isn’t, and that there must be some other explanation. How can we find out what it is? These are not questions that the author tries to answer, and if we are to solve the mystery, it will be necessary to adopt a more critical stance than hers.

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The Importance of Attribution

By Sara Amis

I love this rendition of “Earth My Body.” I love the additional music, I love the video, I really do. I just have one big problem with it, and it’s this: “the opening and closing chant is a very old song with an unknown author.”

No, ma’am. No, it isn’t. It’s neither “very old”…unless you consider 1987 to be very old, and since that is the year after I graduated high school I must strenuously object…nor are its antecedents completely unknown. I have a copy of Circle of Song by Kate Marks which says that the chant was published by Prana on their album “Return of the Mayflower” in 1987. I have never seen a copy of the original recording, so it remains unclear to me whether Prana (group or indiviual) wrote it or someone else did, and I’m not sure whether they gave an author. But the previous recording at least is pretty easy to find.

Here’s how this came about, and why it is a problem:

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Secret Staves of the Icelandic Witches

By Pollyanna Jones

Grimoires and secret books of spells have always had the power to ignite the imagination. From Victorian occultists to fans of Harry Potter, a dusty tome filled with strange symbols is a rare and wonderful discovery. A series of finds from Iceland has recently been published and features many “staves” that are now well known amongst fans of Norse lore. But are they really Viking? And what do these books tell us about the people that wrote them?

Icelandic Witchcraft

In order to understand the Icelandic staves, we need to look at their use within Icelandic society.

Most of the symbols and spells appear to be for the use of simple problems in life, from catching a thief, to overthrowing an enemy. Others help heal livestock, whilst others look at cursing the animals of another. We also see charms to help preserve food and ale, staves to bless the bearer with strength or courage, or symbols to help with fishing or prevent death by drowning.

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Shamanic Plant Medicine – Salvia Divinorum, by Ross Heaven

Reviewed by BadWitch

There’s an interesting new series of books out about shamanic plant medicines by Ross Heaven. Each title is about a specific teacher plant and is intended as an introduction to the subject with clear facts on ways the plant is used in shamanic practice, as well as the risks involved.

I picked up the book Shamanic Plant Medicine – Salvia Divinorum: The Sage of the Seers because Salvia Divinorum is something I have myself used twice in the past, but found both experiences a bit confusing. I hoped the Shamanic Plant Medicine book would help me make sense of what happened.

The first time I tried Salvia Divinorum was many years ago at a music festival. My partner and I bought it at a legal herbal high stall one sunny afternoon when we were in a mood for experimentation, then smoked it in the comfort of my beloved old camper van. The effect – well, we both felt rather disorientated. It didn’t last long, but wasn’t pleasant either. We both decided it wasn’t something we would ever try again.

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Æcerbot and Wassail: Blessing the Fields and Orchards

By Carolyn Emerick

During the autumn season when imagery of the harvest is all around, it can be easy to forget that the cornucopia of produce yielded is the product of year round effort. Though we, most of whom are removed from the production of our own sustenance, may not be consciously aware of the agricultural calendar, it is something that our ancestors were very much aware of. Until very recently in the grand timeline of human history, the vast majority of human beings participated in agriculture, in one way or another, as well as the age old customs and rituals that went along with it.

We know that ancient spirituality was unequivocally bound with agriculture and the turning of the year. It is thought that one main reason the ancients built Neolithic monuments which monitored movements of the sky (ex.
the chamber at Newgrange which is flooded with light at sunrise at the Winter Solstice) was to keep track of the passage of time which mark key agricultural dates of the year. Because spirituality was so inextricably linked to agriculture, it is not difficult to understand how and why ritual became associated with the sowing of seeds and reaping of the harvest.

Read the full article [NOTE: Opens as a pdf.]

The Concept of Community

By Heather O’Brien

In a previous article on frith, I raised the topic of community. I’d like to expand on that and how it relates to modern day heathens. We live in an exceptionally mobile world in which we form personal and social ties in a multitude of ways. Does this mean that our communities are expanded, or are these extended relations just an addition to our social outlets, external to true community?

From my perspective, community is formed by those who are closest to me at home, my family being the central point of focus. It is for these people that I put in time and energy, with whom I work according to our shared values, ideals, and understandings. It is their welfare and well-being that I am dedicated to. These individuals are my innangarð. Providing for their needs, establishing rules and disciplines, teaching my children, and continuously building on those communal concepts are directly tied to the continued prosperity of my home and the people who live under its roof. Real community comes with direct personal responsibility and accountability, whether the members are family or an extension of it.

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Goddess Mythologies and Social Justice

By Karen Tate

How are ancient Goddess mythologies and religions relevant for social justice? How can we all hear the call of the Goddess?

So let us look at several brief examples of the Sacred Feminine as deity, metaphor or myth and how we’re given a template for living or advice for values we might embrace with social justice in mind…..

1) We find under the broad umbrella of Goddess, many faces across continents and cultures, with no mandate that we worship one name, one face. Instead we see a metaphor for plurality, diversity and inclusion in the loving and life-affirming Sacred Feminine, rather than the jealous, One Way, androcentric and exclusionary god of patriarchy keen on asking men to sacrifice their sons to prove their loyalty and a holy book filled with violence. Those embracing Goddess might easily see choosing peace, tolerance, gender equality and peoples of all walks of life; gay, straight, people of all skin colors and religions or no religion at all, as being in alignment with Her diversity, resulting in a more inclusive, just, equal, balanced and sustainable world and society.

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Nature Spirits – Elves and Fairies of the Forest

By Carolyn Emerick

In the days when folklore and legend were a very real part of every day life for the ordinary common folk, spirits were thought to be everywhere. From household spirits, to land, forest, and water spirits, they were a very real part of the daily lives of our ancestors.

A great canon of lore built up around these “wee folk” (who were often not actually very little!). Mythologists have tended to study the pantheons of great gods and goddesses who’s adventures were chronicled in epic legends. But, the average person interacted with the smaller, more local spirits who surrounded their home, land, and the wilds. Lore surrounding these Wee Folk also survived as living folklore for centuries after conversion to Christianity, when mythologies of the large scale deities were stamped out. These “small” spirits (small in comparison to the great deities of myth) represent remnants of the Old Religion that carried on at local level for many hundreds of years.

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Rooted in the Body, Seeking the Soul

Magic Practitioners with Disabilities, Addiction, and Illness

Reviewed by Jolene Dawe

Every now and again, a book comes along that catches you unaware and forces you to reconsider ideas that you’ve held, unchallenged, ideas that you may not have even realized you held in the first place. I’ve been pagan long enough that the more typical “This is how I practice my path” books don’t tend to do that – I enjoy them, I love learning about what other people are doing, how they interact with the spiritual realms and how they integrate those interactions into their lives. I find it fascinating, but they don’t always pull me out of my self, out of my thought patterns and expectations, and make me consider what might be different, if. Rooted In the Body is a book that takes us into those uncomfortable places.

What if I was not as able-bodied as I am? What if I was blind, deaf? What if I struggled with addictions that took over my life? What if I was less normative when it came to my mental state? I may joke about being “crazy”, but being outside what mainstream society considers “normal” is not the same thing at all as not being able to touch in with what that “normal” is. What if, what if? These questions are important, and they are dear to my heart. My partner, Beth, struggles with arthritis and a chronic pain condition that has seriously impacted her quality of life. Over the last few years her struggle to work full time has taken its toll, and she’s been forced to scale her hours outside of the home way, way back. We’re lucky in that we’ve been able to afford it, but when we reach the end of being able to afford it she isn’t going to miraculously be able to return to the work force. I cannot imagine people in similar situations without any sort of support network, and my heart breaks for them.

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