new age


Gateways to Health series

Secrets of Meditation: Simple Techniques for Achieving Harmony by Philippa Faulks

Secrets of Rejuvenation: Zen Warrior Exercises by Martin Faulks

Self-Healing Reiki: Healing for Mind, Body and Soul by Brian Cook

The Five Healing Tibetans: Simple Exercises for Rejuvenation and Health by Jason Gyre

reviewed by John Canard for the Esoteric Book Review

These small books are tasters, or perhaps more correctly, primers, which give the reader an introduction to the techniques contained within.  The material is largely accurate, though in some places it seemed to me to be too simplistic even for a primer, e.g. in the secrets of Meditation, the page on the chakras tells you briefly about them and that you can focus on them.  The investment of anothe rpage with a meditation would have been worthwhile here.  Nevertheless the rest of the book is good, as are the others.  They would make ideal gifts for people who are new to a spiritual path, or not rigidly following a particular way, and who want to focus more on their subtle energy and being more balanced and healthy, which is the underlying theme running through all of the books.  I particularly enjoyed Secrets of Rejuvenation, as for me this struck the greatest chord of balancing the information about the technique with the practice, making it a very lucid guide.  All in all an interesting read, and worth looking at if you are doing any energy work.

Walking an Ancient Path: Rebirthing Goddess on Planet Earth by Karen Tate

reviewed by Nina Lazarus for the Esoteric Book Review

Books which describe a person’s spiritual journey range from the sublime to the ridiculous.  Happily this book does not come across as the latter, being full of information which makes it more useful and acceptable than the unbelievable saccharine of certain books by well known angel authoresses.  As someone who has experienced Fellowship of Isis rituals firsthand, I found her descriptions of the rituals led by Lady Olivia brought a big grin to my face, as I saw the mental images they conjured up floating past my eyes.

For a book which might seem a light read, this is not a light read!  As you read through the experiences, places, cultures and goddesses, you are offered a perspective which encourages you to go outside your comfort zone and look further.  In this the author demonstrates a real skill in bringing to life her experiences in a way that people can relate to, making them move beyond personal and more into universal.  For this I commend her as a true priestess, whose service above ego approach is quite frankly a relief after some of the genre books I have read!

This is a book which is from the heart, and reaches to the heart, whilst contributing to the feeding of the soul.  Read and enjoy!

Reality Transurfing: 1. The Space of Variations by Vadim Zeland

reviewed by Herbwoman for the Esoteric Book Review

At last a self-help book that takes the most obvious and essential view – don’t hate yourself or feel that you have to change – rather change your environment or reality.  Whilst it could be argued that the latter is common in self-help books, inevitably it is by loving yourself more or buying the rest of the author’s books.  Which has always puzzled me – as surely is self-help books work you should only need one?

Many books rely on pseudo-science to sound impressive and bambouzle the reader into thinking they are receiving profound wisdom, so it is refreshing when the author actually has a background in quantum physics, and can actually walk the walk as well as talk the talk.  In some ways this book is the Tao of Self-help, as it encourages a path of going with the flow, but not in a lazy way, rather in an understanding the flow and then using it to your advantage kind of way.

I enjoyed this book, which offers interesting perceptions, a book of magick without rituals, where everything depends on you using the power of your mind – hurrah!

Secrets of Planet Earth: Wisdom of H-A revealed by Tony Neate

reviewed by Sr_Chamos

This book was difficult for me to review, as it is on a subject which immediately makes me sceptical, i.e. channelled wisdom.  Until such channelled wisdom provides new information about something useful to science, rather than speculative stuff about this area being this chakra of the earth that anyone could make up, I remain unconvinced.  I know many people find these books comforting and useful, but to me they are just one person’s perception, possibly coloured by something else.

So to try and give an unbiased flavour of the book, here are the chapters to provide a clearer idea:

In the Beginning, Planetary Consciousness, The Garden of Eden, The Fall of Atlantis, Return of the Gods, The Olympian Civilization, Issues Concerning Race, The Mission of the Nazarene, The Rise of Religion, The Soul of Avalon, The New Earth, The Atlantean Heritage, Return of the Christ, Collective Responsibility, The Way Ahead.

The book tells us what we need to do to make the world a better place, sadly like all the others of its ilk, it doesn’t provide any useful methodology for doing so.  If you enjoy channelled material then you will probably enjoy this, otherwise read something which focuses on facts not fictions.

The Persian ‘Mar Nameh': The Zoroastrian Book of the Snake Omens and Calendar and The Old Iranian Calendar

by Payam Nabarz and S H Taqizadeh

published by Twin Serpents Limited

PB, 130pp, £12.95

reviewed by David Rankine for the Esoteric Book Review

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I wasn’t sure what I would make of ths book with such a long title when it was offered to me.  However omens and calendars are two areas of great interest to me, so I was intrigued to see what the authors had to say.  In fact this is more like two works in one, the first part being the contemporary work of Payam Nabarz on the Mar Nameh and the second part being a reprint of the 1917 essay on The Old Iranian Calendar by S H Taqizadeh.  Both have their fascinations, though for me the life really flows through Nabarz’s work in the first half of the book.

So what can you expect and why should you buy this book?  Well anyone interested in divination, magick, religion or calendars will find valuable material in this book, which is a pretty big range of people!  Nabarz provides the original Persian text, along with both literal and poetic translations of the text.  The text itself gives the divinatory meaning for seeing a snake on each day of the month.  As the author lucidly demonstrates in his introduction, the serpent has a long connection with time, and so this combination is a logical one, as he convincingly argues.  He also discusses the Zoroastrian spirits associated with the days, an area worthy of study by itself, especially in light of their planetary nature and possible role as antecedents to much of the later spiritual hierarchies found in magickal systems.

The essay on The Old Iranian Calendar is somewhat dry in comparison to the passionate flow of Nabarz’s style, but interesting nevertheless.  In tracing the development of the Iranian calendar, from ancient Egypt through reforms and intercalations, the importance of time and its measurement is impressed in the mind of the reader.  The juxtaposition of this essay with the Book of the Snake makes for a unique and interesting sourcework that I thoroughly encourage you to buy and read.

Divine Comedy of Neophyte Corax and Goddess Morrigan  by  Payam Nabarz  © 2008,  Web of Wyrd,   ISBN:  978-09556858-0-4  64 pages  Paperback Printed   £8.88 or £6.66 download.

Here are four reviews of this book:

1.  A Raven Review!4
A review from Amazon.com and Silver Star magazine By Robert C. Carey:

A very deep, funny and clever play involving the complicated relationship between the goddess and her reincarnating raven, and cheerfully exploring all the mythologies which have played through the history of the British Isles: Mithraic and Druidic and Christian, Norse and Shamanic and Qabalistic, Thelemic and Vodou and Tantric. Mystery plays once edified the illiterate populace, today we have bad movies… perhaps it is time for a change. Wit can actually make people think! Illustrated with a series of lovely photos by the author.

2. Review by Mike Gleason:

This is a strange little play, or series of plays, with a unique view of the Wheel of the year.  In a truly ecumenical spirit the protagonist is a Mithraic neophyte, the Goddess is Celtic, and the supporting cast is drawn from the animal world and the worlds of mythology in all its varied aspects. 

I have attended a number of mystery plays (in the religious sense) over the years.  I have read others.  This comedic offering, by a Persian-born member of the OBOD and the Pagan Federation is, without doubt, the most entertaining.  It does not skimp on symbolism, nor on knowledge revealed.

 It is easy to read, and thoroughly enjoyable on multiple levels.  You don’t need extensive knowledge of the associated mythologies (a sign of an effective mystery play).  Whatever you are looking for, you are sure to find it (and more), much as Corax discovers during his journey through the year.

This is profundity disguised as absurdity.  It is funny and enjoyable.  It is lightweight with serious underpinnings.  In other words, it is a good value.  Pick up a copy and enjoy it.

 

3. Review by Merry Meet Magazine issue 34, Autumn 2008:

This is an enjoyable and amusing comedic romp through the many facets of eclectic paganism in the form of “dialectic plays”, using the Greek method of “Socratic Dialogue” or the Irish “Druidic Colloquy”, according to the blurb.

The reader follows the metaphysical adventuring of Corax, who has the, shall we say, somewhat mixed blessings of being initiated by the Goddess Morrigan in the form of a raven (perhaps not for nothing is
the collective noun for an assemblage of the genus corvus referred to as `an unkindness’!

There is much hilarity in this satirical look at contemporary alternative spiritualities, which nevertheless is impressive in its grasp of the importance of exploring metaphysical approaches to life in an age when our planet is beleaguered with a mainstream orthodoxy so deeply routed in the `here-and-now culture of short term physical gain at the expense of future generations. I quote from a passage in which Corax is unwilling to be reborn innocently into another stage of earthly existence:

“What if this time, I forget your signs and do not recognise you goddess? What if I walked the earth without recognising the sounds of birds as the music of the heavens. What if I forget I ever had wings! What if I swim in the sea and forget it’s where all life on earth comes from or breathe the air and forget that every breath is god sent. What if I only saw a lifeless rock instead of the goddess Luna or a just nuclear reaction when I look at the sun? Instead of proclaiming your beauty, and remembering circular time, I might be
caught in the linear time, filled with greed to consume time. Take each grain of the sand of time and squeeze every atom out of it, consume everything in my path, dig mines deep into your body, and suck the black blood of our dinosaur ancestors to move my metal coffin, and pay for it in red blood of our distant brothers or sisters. What if I become a destroyer and enslave life, and follow a `one true way’ and slay anything that doesn’t conform to my `one way’ …The stakes are too high…”

An excellent book, though it would have benefited greatly from a far more rigorous regime of proof reading.

Recommended.    -Merry Meet Magazine issue 34, Autumn 2008.

4. Review by Bish, Druid Network:

I was tempted to keep the review short in order to match the book, which only runs to some fifty pages. But the quality of a work is not reflected only in its page numbers. The Divine Comedy (I shall, um, cut short the full title) is a play, generally between two protagonists, Corax and Morrigan – Corax being a seeker after the wisdom of the gods and Morrigan, of course, being such a one. The story runs through the traditional year, poking fun at Corax with some ‘in jokes’ and pagan related situation comedy as he attempts to gain knowledge from the goddess of war, death, change and justice.

The advertising for this work suggested a similarity with that of Terry Pratchett, but I suspect there’s more of a bond between it and the late great Douglas Adams (who of course was a playwright and radio scripter as well as an author). The lines work best when read out aloud than simply read, and it would indeed make an interesting play for BBC Radio’s 4 or 7. The layout is that of a traditional play, with scene descriptions and narration, and paragraphs for each actor’s lines………Some of the descriptions are very contemporary (does anyone still use Lynx body spray?) and the language is often that of the street, which will appeal to the younger reader – and this is where I think the play is aimed. Elements of many pagan traditions are brought into play (ouch, pun alert, sorry) and although a deeper understanding of some of the traditions will only help the reader, nearly everyone will be sufficiently familiar with the situations and players to get by.

It would not be fair to reveal much of the plotline in such a tale, but I did enjoy a scene entitled ‘an eclectic pagan’s near death experience’ which asked the question as to just where an eclectic ends up, and in the company of which gods?

Review: The Enchanted Oracle by Jessica Galbreth
Llewellyn Publications, 2008
ISBN 978-0-7387-1410-3

Review by Kim Huggens

Anybody who’s been around the Pagan community for a while will probably be familiar with the fantastical, bewitching artwork of Jessica Galbreth. If not, you can check it out at her website. In Galbreth’s artistic vision,

“An enchanted place awaits, filled with gossamer fairies and haunting deities.
A place where enchantresses weave their spells beneath the light of the full moon, and faeries dressed in their finery stand pensively before gothic arches and twisted trees.”
(from the artist’s website.)

A great number of people love her artwork, so it should come as no surprise to discover that Llewellyn have this month released an oracle deck filled with it: The Enchanted Oracle. Sadly, most of the artwork for the deck was created well before the deck was even a twinkle in its creator’s eye, with only a couple of pieces being painted specifically for it. For me this is an instant turn-off in a Tarot or oracle deck, though less so for an oracle since there is less traditional symbolism and meaning to work around. However, as soon as I picked up the deck I realized that whilst the cards were beautiful and sumptuous, filled with beauty and splendour, they just weren’t speaking to me. I could sit and stare at “Celtic Witch” for ages and not get any divinatory meanings from the image or the card title. Luckily, Llewellyn’s stock-in-trade Tarot companion book author, Barbara Moore (also the author of books for the Mystic Faerie Tarot, Gilded Tarot, and Mystic Dreamer Tarot) has written an accompanying book. In this book she really squeezes symbolism out of the card images:

“The orange jewel of her headpiece is attached with many cords, showing that she intentionally weaves enthusiasm and joy through her life.”
~ pp.100, “Gypsy Rose”

The 36 cards of this deck don’t explicitly deal with the main areas of life like most other oracle decks do. Instead, they are given exotic, mysterious names that ooze fantasy: Dragon Witch, Dark Enchantment, Gothic Rose, Crimson Moon… The images are pretty, the titles very cool, but this deck really requires the book to read effectively.

From taking a quick look at the cards it is clear who the target audience of this deck is. There are no fat people, no old women (even in cards where crones should probably be present), and very few men. Every single faery, sorceress, and gothic mermaid is young, stunningly attractive, with huge breasts that defy both gravity and anatomy. These faeries may indeed weave their enchantments in a magical realm, but they’re doing it with extreme back pain. And here we have a supreme example of “fantasy artwork”.

As a set this deck would make a wonderful gift, especially for the younger female who is still in the dabbling phase of witchcraft and Paganism. The book is really an asset to the deck in this way: every card is accompanied by an enchantment, charm, journalling exercise, visualization, or spell. They are the kind of small magics you’d find in a teenage witch spellbook, with titles such as “A Little Glamour Never Hurt”, “Healing Waters”, and “What Colour is your Karma?” They are mere curios to a serious student of magic, but would be fun and positive for somebody just beginning. They are also all aimed at putting the power to change in the hands of the reader – again, something that can only be seen as positive.

The set comes with an “enchanted faery pendant” that can be (apparantly) used as a pendulum or charm. What it actually is, is a tiny metal pendant of Disney’s Tinkerbelle, with pink glittery wings. The deck is also accompanied by a silvery-grey organza bag for storage, which adds to the set’s beauty as a gift.

Overall, the Enchanted Oracle is very pretty, and is a great showcase of the artist’s work. It’s not a serious deck for study however, or for anybody with an allergic reaction to faery princesses. However you may criticize it for being too “fluffy”, though, we have to bear in mind that to do so would be akin to going to Burger King and ordering a Double Bacon Cheeseburger, then complaining because its’ not haute cuisine.

Reviewer Bio:

Kim Huggens is a 24 year old Pagan Tarot reader and PhD student in the Ancient History Department of Cardiff University. She is the co-creator of “Sol Invictus: The God Tarot” (recently published by Schiffer Books) and the forthcoming “Pistis Sophia: The Goddess Tarot”. She has had recent work published in Horns of Power, edited by Sorita D’Este, and is the Editor of online Pagan magazine Offerings. When not getting orgasmic about ancient voodoo dolls and Sumerian cunieform writing, she works in a vetinary clinic, plays Dungeons and Dragons, and practices Vodou.

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