Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Midsummer: Rituals, Recipes & Lore for Litha - Deborah Blake [Llewellyn's Sabbat Essentials]

Midsummer: Rituals, Recipes & Lore for Litha - Deborah Blake [Llewellyn's Sabbat Essentials]
Source: Netgalley
Original Review: March 31, 2015
Rating: ★★★★☆

This book was provided to me by the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I’ve not been impressed so far with the books Llewellyn has put out on the Wheel of the Year. After reading Everyday Witchcraft by this same author, I had higher hopes for Midsummer than maybe I would have otherwise. In some ways, I think having a different author was a huge improvement over the book on Beltane. In other ways, the pervading thought was that Llewellyn needs to take their fingers out of the editing pot on these and let the authors do their jobs. One of the major issues I had with Beltane is still front and center here.

All of these thoughts were coming to me before I was even 10% of the way through the book. So I’m not spending valuable time here covering the same old issues, I’m just going to highlight the biggest one: repetition. You can only put the same information into so many boxes (and so many books) before eyes start to glaze over.

One other thing I think that interfered with my enjoyment of the book wasn’t a failure on Llewellyn’s part, but a failure in my reading order. I had just finished reading through The Great Work by Tiffany Lazic when I started reading Midsummer. Ultimately, this one felt . . . like perhaps it (and the other books in this series) should be used in conjunction with The Great Work – at least by the more seasoned practitioner.

But, it’s in the content itself where the differences between the author’s really begin to show up. There is a lot of information available on how people of different walks can celebrate Midsummer here. It’s not limited to just that, though. If you don’t have a specific path or system of celebration, there are also plenty of simple, more general options included with the foundational information that even the barest newsbie to the Wheel could use.

No matter how familiar you already are with Midsummer lore and celebration, you’re sure to find something new here. Whatever your approach is, be it spiritual, crafty, or kitchenry, there’s something in this book for you to try.

Midsummer is truly going to be a magickal experience for anyone who reads this book!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

The Great Work: Self-Knowledge and Healing Through the Wheel of the Year - Tiffany Lazic

The Great Work: Self-Knowledge and Healing Through the Wheel of the Year - Tiffany Lazic
Source: Netgalley
Original Review: March 1, 2015
Rating: ★★★★★

This book was provided to me by the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

When I first came across this book, I was excited. Eastern tradition has long emphasized balancing our mind, body, and spirit, but Western spirituality has seemed completely out of touch with this concept.

To have a book, now, that takes the spiritual and natural balance of the Wheel of the Year, and combines it with the Eastern traditions, plus the author's background in Psychotherapy... at minimum, this book is a revolutionary approach using spirituality and psychotherapy to treat a myriad of psychological roadblocks for all kinds of people.

The unfortunate thing about this book, is it's not something that can be understood or resonated with all at one time. The usefulness of The Great work is tied directly to both the current phase of the Wheel of the Year, and one's own state of mind. Because of that, it could take years to get full benefit out of the materia.

That being said, I was able to feel attuned to one of the sections in the book immediately, and so can easily testify to the more practical elements of the material provided.

One of the many benefits of the way the book is presented is, even if you're not "spiritually inclined" or attuned to the natural cycles of your environment, there are other ways to find out where you're at within the cycles presented. It was as simple as paging through the contents section to find where I needed to begin. Between elements I have an aversion to, and where I personally feel my mental state stands, the answer practically smacked me in the face. (Ironically, we're in the middle of that phase as specified in the book right now.) Reading through the "prescriptions" for that section only serves to confirm it, using a broad swathe of criteria (again, not all being spiritual in nature.)

If you're a journaler, you will absolutely love having daily questions to think on and respond to. Even if you're not, the daily questions are thought provoking. One thing the reader definitely needs to keep in mind is this: no matter how open you are to the need for change, it could take repeating a cycle multiple times (not necessarily consecutively, either) in order to effect the fullest change possible.

If you've never meditated before, now would be a great time to learn. Each cycle has it's questions, but also it's element relating to the cycle to assist in understanding and implementing the material. Meditating on the element proved to be a great help in assimilating the information and ideas presented.

Whatever your approach to personal heading, this book will help you identify what areas you need to work on, and give you a myriad of ways to approach The Great Work you need to do on yourself.

I thank Tiffany Lazic from the bottom of my heart for being bold enough to write such a book!