Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Review: Crystals, Plain & Simple

Crystals, Plain & Simple
Author: Cass and Janie Jackson
Hampton Roads Publishing Company

Description: 135 page book

Crystal, Plain & Simple is an excellent beginner's guide into the world of crystals. Many topics are covered in the pages of this book, so don't expect in-depth coverage, but there's enough to peek your interest and steer in the direction of discovery.

I became interested in crystals a few years back. The idea that these stones have special properties and abilities is fascinating. My collection of both crystals and the knowledge of their specialties have grown over the time I've spent with them. This guide will be placed upon my shelf for quick and easy reference to various crystals.

The topics covered by the authors are:
  • What are crystals? - "Most crystals are of mineral origin - though modern usage of the term "crystal" includes amber, pearl, coral, and a few items that are not mineral in origin."
  • Crystal Legends and Folklore - "Sardonyx was used in India and Persia to protect against the evil eye, ..."
  • How to Bring Crystals Into Your Life - covers choosing, cleansing, purifying, bonding, and charging
  • Crystals for Psychic Development and Divination - covers a few crystals and methods
  • Crystals for Visualization and Positive Thought - covers how a few crystals can help
  • Crystals for Meditations - covers the best crystals for process
  • Healing with Crystals - covers healing properties of a few crystals, touches on chakras, and other healing methods
  • A Gallery of Crystals - presents information on a variety of crystals
  • Crystals in Everyday Life - offers practices to include your crystals into your daily life
  • Crystal Correspondence - covers birthstones, zodiac, anniversaries, and good luck charms
  • Growing Your Own Crystals - instructions to grow your own crystals
"Amber - This material has been used for healing throat problems since at least Roman times. It is most effective for curing throat disorders but also for relieving respiratory problems and any related pain. Amber also helps to relieve depression."

"Hematite enables the user to disconnect from everyday material affairs so that they may then connect with the unseen and develop great psychic powers."

I recommend this book to anyone interested in beginning a journey into the world of crystals and their special qualities.

Grab your copy at Red Wheel Weiser.

(Review Product supplied by Red Wheel Weiser.)

Thursday, December 22, 2016

A Shamanic Healing Oracle Reading

As I wrote the review for the Shamanic Healing Oracle Deck, my mind drifted, and my writing took me deeper into the three example cards presented in the review. Instead of discarding what went beyond a simple review, I decided to create this second post on the deck. The sample reading below examines the three cards, the simplicity of their meanings, and their versatility in answering your presented question.

The author, Michelle A. Motuzas, suggests taking a quick scan of the cards before you begin interpreting the cards individually.

My quick scan observations: Two cards contain the sun. The center symbols of the first two cards are similar, while the first has three extensions, and the second has four. The first card contains a balancing of the elements: Sun - fire, Moon/stars - spirit, Rain - water, Ground - earth, Symbol - air. The second card contains rune glyphs - defense, gateway, and journey. The third card feels warm and happy.

The Movement into Balance card urges you to find balance in the energy and emotions you put out into the universe and that which you receive from your outer world.

The Inner Journey speaks of acceptance of all journeys. We each have a path to follow. Although those paths may cross, we are seldom at the same step. By accepting this, our energy will be of healing rather than a judging nature.

As you grow in your Psychic Development, you will be more aware of the energy of others. Allow these energies to flow like water. You should neither absorb them nor block them, but allow them to be.

A clear overall message presents itself in these three cards. By finding balance, you'll gain insight and understanding of your journey, and become more connected with those around you.

But there's more to see here. Your insights will vary depending upon the question asked during the reading. Below, I've added a few examples of different questions, using the same three cards.

What should I know about my relationship? You may be struggling to find a balance within the energies and emotions between you and your partner, but it is important to see that you may be at different stages in your life journey. Allow yourself to accept this. You can grow together, but don't expect to be on the same level or path every step of the way. Acceptance is important in your relationship.

What should I know about my current job? You may find you have many tasks to do throughout the day and many personalities among your co-workers, but a balance needs to be made within the energies of your workplace. You each have a job. You each have a goal, along with your own personal life energies at play. Gaining the ability to let the energies flow, rather than trying to stop or even becoming a part of the collective energy, the atmosphere will be calmer.

What should I know about my current writing project? Something is out of balance. Do you have one-dimensional characters with a thriving plot? Is your story full of intriguing characters with nothing to do? You may need to sit back and take a moment to look at each of your characters and explore their journeys separately in order to see the whole story. The energies of the characters should blend, but also bounce off one another, while each strives toward and through their own story journey.

Review: Shamanic Healing Oracle Cards

Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 19, 2016

Review: Shamanic Healing Oracle Cards

Shamanic Healing Oracle
Author: Michelle A. Motuzas
Schiffer Publishing, 2016

Description: 44 cards and a 120 page guidebook in a sturdy cardboard box, with magnetic closure.

Card Size: slightly larger than 3 X 4 1/2 inches

"Discover for yourself and others the energies surrounding situations in life that can hinder or assist you along your path of self-awareness and healing."

The Shamanic Healing Oracle deck is a collection of artwork produced by the author as part of her Shamanic practice. The images are simple, yet vibrant. Each card contains a gold frame, along with other bordering d├ęcor, a simple image, and a numbered keyword. The keywords are self-explanatory, making it even easier to put this deck to use.

Here you see the seventh card, the Reunion of Souls. Notice how the framework eases you into the image. Above and below the main picture are multiple symbols, among them a setting sun and the infinity sign. A bird perches upon a branch, while another sours upward to join it.

The basic meaning of this card is the reunion of souls, just as the keyword indicates. Some believe that before our souls come to earth, we make agreements with other souls to help us along our journey. Lessons, challenges, and even love relationships are presented within these contracts.

The appearance of this card signifies an instance when a contract or agreement is being kept within your life; a moment when two souls cross paths, or even join together, fulfilling the obligation set in the map of your human journey.

The author does not delve into the individual symbolic nature of the deck. In the Preface, "The symbols and images used in this deck have originated through many of my own personal life experiences, but also borrow from universal symbols harking back to early man and cave drawings."

The guidebook gives a brief preface on the author's interpretation of Shamanism in regards to this oracle deck. "...Shamanism is regarded as "endeavoring to connect with the energy of all living things.""

The section on How to do Readings for Yourself and Others covers grounding, shuffling, laying out the cards, doing a quick scan, and reading the cards. In a short Oracle Layout section, the author offers three layouts with interpretation examples. The rest of the guidebook is devoted to each card, including a color image, the card title, and a passage about the card's meaning.

The Shamanic Healing Oracle Deck would be a wonderful gift for someone just getting started in the Oracle world. It would also be a nice addition for an avid collector or reading. The simplicity presented with this deck makes it great for anyone on your holiday list intrigue by the magic of divination and personal growth.

Inner Journey - "Not all who wander are lost." Each of us is on a specific journey in life. "Do not judge another's journey--always respect where another person is on their path."

Grab your copy at Schiffer Publishing.

A Shamanic Healing Oracle Reading

(Review Product supplied by Schiffer Publishing.)

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Review: Tarot For One

Tarot for One: The Art of Reading for Yourself
Author - Courtney Weber
Red Wheel/Weiser, 2016

Description - 243 page paperback book

"Tarot and mirrors share the same role: they reflect truth."

Tarot For One will take you on a journey through the tarot, bring you closer to understanding the cards and yourself, and offers exercises and examples to practice your craft.

Weber begins her book with an introduction to the tarot and self-reading, covering such topics as tarot history, how self-reading is different from other readings, the practice of pulling a card a day, and more.

"You are the central character in your own personal myth."

"The twenty-two cards of the Major Arcana depict the great myths we personally lead."

The second chapter focuses on the Fool's Journey: the story of tarot and your place in it. Weber gives an overview of life experiences associated with the twenty-two cards of the Major Arcana, along with character examples and exercises to help you discover your own Fool's journey.

"In Back to the Future, Marty McFly travels back in time in his Fool's journey, and his Empress moment appears when one of the first people he meets in his journey is his mother as a teenager."

In chapter three, the court cards are described from the angles of Character, Traits, Experience, and Reversals. The multiple exercises help you to get in touch with these characters, dispelling the awkward nature most readers have in understanding the court cards. She also offers a technique to reveal if the card is referring to you or someone else.

The numbered cards of the minor arcana are explained from suit to numerical value in chapter four. Exercises range from what the numbers are trying to tell you, to mini picture books in each card, to pulling the whole deck together for a reading, with multiple example readings.

Through exercises and example readings, chapter five assists you in recognizing the voice of tarot by looking at the different ways one card can reflect on different situations, and then by comparing deliberately pulled cards against random pulls - your viewpoint versus the Tarot's opinion. She also suggests some decks may prefer one topic over another and offers an exercise to unlock the voice of your deck.

"The first thing to note: you do not have to read reversed cards."

Chapter six suggests there are six potential ways to interpret reversals and provides explanations and examples of each situation. A technique is offered to determine which of the six ways is to be used in the reading of the reversal. Instructions on using reversals in yes or no questions are also presented.

The main theme of chapter seven is what's missing from your Tarot readings, such as no cups and/or no court cards. It also looks into working with the tough cards, both the 'good' and 'bad' cards of the deck.

Reading for yourself is not always a good idea. Chapter eight covers situations and solutions for these times.

"When we are worried, we are blinded by our fears that things will not turn out in the way we want. Any cards we pull that do not relate to our desired outcome will look like bad omens and will make us feel worse."

Weber offers a wide variety of twenty possible spreads in chapter nine, from the traditional Celtic Cross spread to unique spreads, such as a spread to determine how long a desired outcome may take with ideas of the events surrounding the outcome.

Throughout the book, Weber insists the cards respond to your own reflections, making it important to form your own interpretations, rather than blindly following the meanings offered by others. Suggested meanings should be used as guidelines, not rules.  Even your own interpretations should be looked as guidelines as you move along in your tarot journey.

"Our intuitive responses to the cards will change and evolve-sometimes even within a single reading."

I recommend Tarot for One to anyone just beginning their tarot journey.

In my experience, reading for yourself is a great way to explore the tarot and develop the skills necessary to read for others.

I would also recommend it to experienced readers who enjoy discovering new techniques in their process.

Tarot for One offers a number of approaches to the tarot which were new to me, and I'm guessing would be new to many readers. This one is definitely not a repeat of the other tarot guides out there.

Courtney Weber is a Wiccan priestess, writer, Tarot advisor, and activist. You can discover more about the author of Tarot for One and creator of Tarot of the Boroughs at her website:

Grab your copy at Red Wheel Weiser.

(Review Product supplied by Red Wheel Weiser.)