People tend to think that darkness is evil, malign and dangerous, that anything that is feared or hidden should be avoided, only to be seen in the distance. Some pagans often decide to focus on what shines, the commonly descriptive as the ‘light’ side of magic, while the ‘dark’ is approached with more caution, more fear and even with doubt.
With her book “Dark Goddess Craft: A Journey through the Heart of Transformation,” which is filled with Goddesses from different cultures and myths, each a new face of the same Goddess many pagans worship in their rituals and ceremonies, author Stephanie Woodfield showed that there’s nothing to be afraid of in the dark.
Woodfield explores the many version on how darkness, as perceived nowadays, could lead to a positive, useful and valuable part of spirituality in general, along with examples on how to honor those deities, work with them, ask for their help, so the reader can do their own ways in the future after some practice, which is also encouraged by the author, understanding that Paganism is a very personal path depending on who practices it.
Because of that, Woodfield has included her own and experiences, along with those of her friends, with such deities as a way of providing an example of the possible outcome, but always making it clear that any approach is as valid as hers, as long as comfortable to the reader and taking into consideration the background of each Goddess.
Well known myths such as Hekate’s, Kali’s and Morrigan are explained to newcomers along with those who could be more foreign such as Sedna’s, Eris’, Blodeuwedd’s and Ereshkigal’s, making it an interesting and juicy learning process, a well invested amount of time that provides a window to a larger picture about the common, shared and publicized vision of the Goddess.
Each of the chapters of Dark Goddess Craft presents a different Goddess, each one with her own lore, the myths that surround her, different version of their stories by some authors and the elements the rule over, giving a complete, yet practical and simple approach to them for the reader to fully understand what they all mean for both the author and the readers themselves.
Stephanie Woodfield uses a simple language, very descriptive at times to cover the amount of details that have to be understood in order to properly work with some of the deities, but not boring at any time. It also sparked my interest that each of the chapters start with a kind of guided meditation, or a narrative that could be used as such, when working with the Goddess presented.
Dark Goddess Craft: A Journey Through the Heart of Transformation is a book many Pagans should read, and that could even be of use for those who are uninformed about what Paganism is about in order to corrects wrong interpretations and fight ignorance about a topic, perhaps controversial, but that can bring a lot of good and light, no matter how contradictory or ironic it can sound.
Dark Goddess Craft: A Journey through the Heart of Transformation
Print Length: 242 pages
Publisher: Llewellyn Publications (November 8, 2017)
Publication Date: November 8, 2017
About the Author:
Stephanie Woodfield (Brookfield, CT) has been a practicing Witch for over fourteen years and a Priestess for ten years. Her lifelong love of Irish mythology led to a close study of Celtic Witchcraft. A natural clairvoyant and empath, she has worked as a tarot card reader and is ordained as a minister with the Universal Life Church.
About the reviewer:
Bader Saab is a writer, blogger and alternative journalist. He has worked with specialized publications on entertainment, comics, witchcraft, Gothic subculture and any other topic that he discovers on the Internet and finds interesting. You can visit him on his personal, bilingual blog: https://tintanocturna.blogspot.com/
Book review by Bader Saab
I knew, from the moment I started reading ‘The Shaken Path,’ by Paul Cudby, that I would be in a danger zone, not because I consider myself Christian, but the whole opposite: My mind is more than fine considering Pagan oriented ideals and ideas.
There was something that told me I should read this book, and I kind of knew this could be a comparison between the two faiths, but there was still the fear, the doubt. Would I be facing an egocentric priest that wanted to tell me that Paganism was only a misunderstood Christianism, that it was only devil worshiping and that he would save my soul? Not at all.
What I discovered was that there something in common between the Christian Gospels and the Pagan believes, more than what I would have ever thought. Uncomfortable experience, yes, but who said that learning would be an easy process?
We live in a world where everyone thinks their path the only right one that is meant to exist, even I tend to think this would be a better planet if we all started learning about Paganism, but that is exactly when Cudby comes: Nothing could be more wrong than that idea.
Is not like Christians and Pagan are two halves of a whole, or that where one fails, the other prevails, but about the fact that we can all learn from each each faith, that Christ can teach the Pagans and that Nature can help the Christians. Seems we often forget this.
Mr. Cudby goes to the most known branches and concepts related to nature-based religions, explaining them to a Christian reader and offering an honest insight in the earth-based faith, but even if the reader is a Pagan or an interfaith person, they can still discover a few interesting things just as I did.
Although the author admits that he firstly thought his believes would be dismissed when he started exploring Paganism, and acknowledges the reader could feel the same, Cudby still encourages us to keep turning the pages, discovering that faith should not be a reason to be divided, but to get to know each other in a better way.
Cudby also makes it clear that this is not book for proselytism, as he himself felt that the learning process helped him to be more confident about his faith, and wants the readers to feel the very same thing, that their points of view are as correct as his.
Similarities between these two faiths are correctly linked, many concepts are well explained and misunderstood ideas are clarified page by page, leading the reader to have a better image of both religions, trying to build a more tolerant mind and solidify unity among both groups.
The author also shared many experiences he has had during the creation process of this book, the facts he discovered and the stories he was told by other pagans; there are even some childhood memories he includes to illustrate different points and make an idea as clear as possible.
There’s no point in denying that sometimes we all wish to ‘transform’ the other person and make them part of our religion, I think humans need to feel safe in an environment they can identify with, but ‘The Shaken Path’ proves more than once that differences and challenges work way much better than comparing two things.
However, I won’t lie telling that this an easy and light book, as it took me a long while to read it; the chapters on Animism and Shamanism were hard to swallow because of the thick content, the scientific explanations and the amount of information; I should also add that my lack of interest in those areas represented a huge obstacle.
I would only prevent a reader from taking this books if they want to see a religion being ‘better’ than the other, to be more ‘correct’ and more ‘true,’ as if there could be only one faith in the whole world. Such a closed minded person will not enjoy to discover that all those ideals should be dead by now.
The Shaken Path is intended for those who are interested in learning, exploring and discovering about different faiths, about that that could sound alien and supernatural, that that seems to be different and, therefore, dangerous.
If this seems to be more an extensive praise than a review, it is only because Paul Cudby was brave enough to open his mind, and so should we. May Nature never turn their back on him now that he realized that the Divine is in all things and that we can live and let die in peace.
I can only thank the publisher for providing a review copy of this book, as it had been a long time since I read something as interesting as this. I’m definitely keeping an eye on the author in case he keeps exploring paganism.
Print Length: 272 pages
Publisher: Christian Alternative (June 30, 2017)
Publication Date: June 30, 2017
About the author:
Paul Cudby is the Bishop of Birmingham’s Adviser for New Religious Movements, spending a lot of time conversing with Pagans. As a vicar he also speaks with Christians, writes about his beliefs, and preaches. Often these interactions become a theme for a paper or, in this case, a book on understanding Paganism from a Christian perspective, a book he has written because no one else seems to have done!
About the reviewer:
Bader Saab is a writer, blogger and alternative journalist. He has worked with specialized publications on entertainment, comics, witchcraft, Gothic subculture and any other topic that he discovers on the Internet and finds interesting. You can visit him on his personal, bilingual blog: https://tintanocturna.
We all know people who have received a dire medical diagnosis. Perhaps we have had this experience ourselves. One response is to look for a miracle, willing the threatening illness to disappear. What we get instead in western medicine are drugs and invasive surgeries – often with serious side effects. However, there is another way.
On the heels of his national bestselling One Spirit Medicine, published earlier this year, psychologist, medical anthropologist and practicing shaman Alberto Villoldo offers a rare glimpse into the mysteries of energy medicine. A Shaman’s Miraculous Tools for Healing shares 12 stories of desperate clients who stepped outside their comfort zone and gained far more than they bargained for.
Each chapter alternates observations and treatment notes by Alberto with the first-person account of each individual, as told to co-author Anne O’Neil. The clients reached out to Alberto for a variety of physical, mental and emotional ailments, and the treatments he applied demonstrate a different aspect of energy medicine. During private sessions, clients are taken on healing journeys unknown to modern science. The outcomes not only improve their health but also heal their souls and point them toward their destiny.
A Shaman’s Miraculous Tools for Healing is ultimately about people realizing their own truth. When they embrace shamanic energy medicine, they begin a journey of healing and self-discovery – one they eventually understand they had always been seeking. In the end, these individuals came to know their authentic selves, and this realignment of body and soul resolved much of their original health crises and enabled them to change their lives.
Medical anthropologist Alberto Villoldo, Ph.D., has studied the shamanic healing practices of the Amazon and Andes for more than 25 years. In 1984 he founded the Four Winds Society, which offers extensive education in the philosophy and practice of energy medicine, training students to become modern-day shamans.
In his mid-20s Villoldo was the youngest clinical professor at San Francisco State University, where he founded and directed the Biological Self-Regulation Lab to investigate how visualization, energy and psychosomatic medicine change the chemistry of the brain. He soon realized that the microscope was the wrong instrument to answer the questions he was asking. Other scientists were already studying the hardware, Villoldo wanted to learn to reprogram the system.
He heard stories about people in remote parts of the world who claimed to know such things, including the Inka in Peru – among the few remaining shamans. After initial research, Villoldo decided to personally investigate this ancient culture in order to learn about the 5,000-year-old energy medicine known for healing through Spirit and light. Recognizing this investigation would not be a part-time pursuit or brief sabbatical, Villoldo resigned his post at the university and traded his lab coat for hiking boots and a ticket to the Amazon.
Scattered throughout the remnants of the ancient Amazonian empire were a number of sages or “Earth Keepers” who practiced the ancestral healing methods. Alberto visited countless villages and met with scores of medicine men and women. The lack of a written body of knowledge meant that every village brought its own flavor and style to the healing practices that still survived.
For more than 10 years, Villoldo trained with the jungle medicine people. Along the way, he discovered that his journey into shamanism had been guided by his personal desire to become whole. He learned to transform old pain, grief, anger and shame into sources of strength and compassion.
Villoldo later trekked the coast of Peru from the mysterious Nazca lines to the sacred Shimbe lagoons in the north. At Lake Titicaca, “The Sea on Top of the World,” Villoldo collected the stories and healing practices of people from whom, legends say, the Inka were born.
Over the course of two decades with the shamans in the jungles and high mountains of the Andes, Alberto Villoldo discovered a set of sacred technologies that transform the body, heal the soul, and can change the way we live and die. He learned that we are more than flesh and bone – we are absolutely fashioned of Spirit and light, surrounded by a Luminous Energy Field whose source is located in infinity. This unending Luminous Energy Field exists in every cell of our bodies, acting as a matrix that maintains our physical and spiritual health and vibrancy … it is up to us to recognize and work with this gift to change the very nature of our living
By Dylan Greenley
When spring approaches, even folks who enjoy winter time usually greet the first buds of flowers and first signs of warmth with a smile. People feel enlivened when the Earth begins its cycle of regeneration. The turn to spring is celebrated by those who practice the pagan and wiccan traditions on the holiday, or sabbat, known as Ostara. Let’s learn a little more about this time of year.
Ostara falls on the Spring Equinox. The previous holiday, Imbolc, had occurred six weeks prior and celebrated the promise of life stirring within the still-cold earth. Now, Ostara is the time to begin celebrating that promise being fulfilled as we continue to experience more light and warmth.
The Spring, or Vernal, Equinox occurs between March 19 and 22nd in the Northern Hemisphere, and September 20-23 in the Southern Hemisphere. The sun is at 0 degrees Aries, and as we know, it is one of the two times in the year when there is an equal amount of dark and light. The other time of equal dark and light of course is the Autumn Equinox, occurring six months later, on the opposite spoke of the Wheel of the Year.
The word Ostara, also known as Eostre, refers to a fertility Goddess. There are different claims as to which tradition this Goddess comes from (the origins are Germanic or Norse), and how much about her has been made up by modern pagans. She does appear in the writings of the medieval scholar Bede, so we know there’s some history to her legend. No matter, the thoughts and energies she provokes are engrained in the spring lore. With her attendant symbols of eggs, chicks, lambs and rabbits, we find clear examples of how the pagan traditions continue through the secular symbology of the modern Western world.
In terms of the male energies, the young God is represented now; curious, passionate, untamed, and unimpressed with status or title. Thus, the trickster archetype runs through these times, represented in various traditions as Coyote, Raven, Brer Rabbit (prototype of Bugs Bunny), The Fool of the Tarot, and the young son of the faery King. Following this, it’s no coincidence that April Fool’s day is right after Ostara.
Any warm days can be taken advantage of to spend longer amounts of time in Nature and perform prayers and rituals outdoors. If you have a green thumb, it’s time to start preparing the soil for your spring herb garden.
Indoors on your altar, you can keep living plants, branches, seeds, colored eggs, representations of rabbits and hares, and of course anything else that seems appropriate to you. This is a good time to cleanse your living area by burning sage. Rituals can use milk and honey as symbols of the season.
As we greet this time in the Wheel of the Year when light surpasses darkness, the following are commonly used:
Herbs: Any flowers of spring. Peony, Iris, Woodruff, Violet, Gorse, Daffodil, Jonquils, Olive, Peony, Iris, Narcissus.
Incense: Any floral. Rose, Strawberry, Jasmine.
Colors: Pale purple, pale green, yellows, pink.
The Ostara sabbat is a time of rejuvenation. As the Earth rises from the slumber of winter, so do our spirits. This is when we do our final spring cleanings and begin to put our refreshed goals into action. We honor the regenerative powers of Mother Earth. Celebrate it as you wish with gatherings of loved ones and devotional spells, but also know that simply walking outside and appreciating the awakening earth is celebration enough as we greet Ostara.
About the author
Dylan Greenley has been studying and practicing pagan spirituality for several years, with an emphasis on Celtic traditions. He wants to disseminate solid information on the subject and hopes you have enjoyed this article and perhaps learned something new!
Article Source: [http://EzineArticles.com/?Wheel-of-the-Year—Ostara&id=7140638] Wheel of the Year – Ostara
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