The Arcanas

by Sasha Fenton

A tarot deck contains two parts, these being the Major and Minor Arcana . The word “Arcana” means secret or hidden, in the same way that the word occult means hidden from view, and this implies that specialized knowledge is required . The Major Arcana is a series of twenty-two stand-alone cards, the only equivalent of which is the Joker in a deck of playing cards . The Minor Arcana is broken into four suits of fourteen cards each, which are similar to those in a deck of playing cards in that they have Aces, numbered cards, and Court cards.

The Major Arcana

Major Arcana cards carry powerful images that refer back to archetypes that have all but lost their original history and meanings. The Holy Roman Emperor, 15th century power struggles between the Popes, and the hatred of Franciscan hermits mean nothing to modern clients. The behavior of a ruler can affect the fate of a nation and its people, which is obvious if we consider Hitler, Stalin, Osama Bin Laden, or Robert Mugabe. However, in the Western world, it is often the fate of the orga­nization for which the client works that influences his life. Each genera­tion has to modernize the meanings of the cards to fit the current ethos. These powerful image cards often show major changes and turning points in a client’s life, but it is left to the Minor Arcana cards to fill in the details.

The Ratio of Fate to Free Will

There are just over double the number of Minor Arcana cards to Major Arcana ones in a tarot deck, so if a spread of cards throws up more than a third Major Arcana cards, the client’s future is, to some extent, being directed by fate . If there are very few Major cards showing up in a spread, the future is mainly in the hands of the client.

One word you will come across in many books on the tarot is arche­type. An archetype is a shorthand description for a particular type of person. Archetypes change according to the time and place that people live in. Figures such as a Pope, Empress, or Hermit would have meant a lot to medieval people, while modern archetypes might include such things as a whiz-kid, a tycoon, a bimbo, a lay-about, a doctor, a teacher, the boss, a tax inspector, or anything else that is instantly recognizable .

The Minor Arcana

The Minor Arcana of the tarot is composed of four suits. In the Rider-Waite deck that illustrates this book, these suits are called by their tra­ditional names of Cups, Wands, Pentacles, and Swords. In other decks, the Pentacles, which are pentagrams contained within a circle, are called Coins. In this book, I use the term Coins for this suit. Wands are also known as Rods or Staves. It is possible to find European cards that are halfway between tarot and playing cards, these being illustrated with Hearts, Acorns, or other similar features, but also showing Wands and Swords. Such cards are often used for playing games, and one can buy Tarocco or Taroc decks in Italy and Spain that are based on some or all of the Minor Arcana of the tarot.

THE SUIT OF CUPS is concerned with feelings, emotions, and the emotional response to a situation. This doesn’t mean only affairs of the heart but also the way a client feels about his job, his home, art, music, the situation that he finds himself in, or any other emotional response. These cards can indicate celebration, depression, and a whole host of other feelings or events that cause an emotional response.

THE SUIT OF WANDS is difficult to categorize because this covers a multitude of daily activities, benefits, and problems. These might include negotiating for something, carrying out a task, the action of moving house, traveling, working, running a home, or just the business of living.

THE SUIT OF COINS deals with a client’s resources, which may be money, goods, property, land, equipment, a business, a career, success, failure, and status or matters related to these topics. This suit deals with the practicalities of a matter.

THE SUIT OF SWORDS suggests those things that require action of some kind in order to put something right. These can indicate health problems, financial or marital issues, or quarrels and dissent of many different kinds. Sometimes they suggest that the only thing a client can do is to accept defeat, walk away from a situation, and do something else with his life.

One way I describe these suits to beginners in my workshops is to tell them the following story:

“You are fed up with your job. The job is unsatisfying, the pay is poor, the place is inconvenient for you to get to, and the people you work for or with are unpleasant. This is a Sword matter, as it shows that something needs to be done.

“You start looking in the local papers and on the Internet for some­thing new; you ask your friends and acquaintances to see if they know where you might find a better job. This is a Wand matter, as it requires travel, communications, and research.

“Finally, you find the job you want. The pay is good, the place is easy to reach by public transport, the job is the kind you want, the people you will work for and among appear to be congenial, and you have the skills and resources at your command with which to do the job. The practical side of this looks good, and practical matters are related to Coins.

“The outcome may be that the job is just what you want and that you are very happy. On the other hand, there may be something that you don’t see at the interview but that gets you down after a while. You may love or hate the product that the firm produces or sells.

“You could make lasting friends as a result of working at the new job and you might even find love there. Alternatively, you may feel uncom­fortable, unhappy, or just that this job is somehow wrong for you and that you could do better elsewhere. These fuzzy-edged emotional issues belong to the realm of Cups.”

To summarize:

Cups: Emotional responses.
Wands: Day-to-day activities.
Coins: Resources and practical matters.
Swords: Pain, action, quarrels, movement in affairs.

Excerpted from Fortune Telling by Tarot Cards by Sasha Fenton


Born in Bushey, near London (UK), Sasha Fenton became a professional astrologer, palmist, and tarot card reader in 1974. She has written 127 books, mainly on mind, body, and spirit subjects, with sales of more than 6.5 million copies and translations into 12 different languages. Sasha has written articles for every national newspaper and major magazine in Britain and many overseas publications as well.

Lunar Magic

by Leanna Greenaway

The Moon has always been known to exert a magical influence on the Earth. Scientists are always adding to their knowledge of the Moon’s activities and are bringing more understanding to the way it affects our planet. It is interesting to note that many scientists studying the Moon have become more in touch with their spiritual side, while those fortunate enough to travel into space have often returned in a more spiritual frame of mind.

The Moon is traditionally linked with the feminine aspect and the functions of the right side of the brain, which tend to influ­ence creativity and insight. Men also possess these functions, but they tend to be found more abundantly in women.

The Moon sits approximately 250,000 miles away from the Earth. We generally say the Moon takes 28 days to complete its orbit around the Earth, but in reality it is 29.5 days—this lat­ter time is longer due to the movement of the Earth during the Moon’s orbit.

There are many theories about the Moon and how it affects us. One theory posits that the Moon and its phases influence our internal chemistry, pulling on the gravitational forces of our physi­cal bodies. Another concept states the gravitational field of a full Moon changes energy particles that reach the Earth, influencing the way we think and feel by changing the functions of our brain.

The word “lunatic” came into use because people suffering mental imbalances tended to become unstable at the time of a full Moon. Of course, the human body is about 80 percent water, so as the Moon affects the tides, perhaps it also changes the tide of our lives!

Dating as far back to humanity’s earliest tribes, the Sun, the Moon, and the stars were identified as having control over women and pregnancy. When we look at the connections between women and the Moon, we see that the female menstrual cycle lasts roughly 29.5 days. This is the length of time between two full Moons. Another interesting thing to note is that a pregnancy is around 266 days long, which is the approximate number of days within ten full Moons. It’s uncanny how women, especially in their fertile years, may be affected by the lunar cycle.

A very interesting experiment that you may wish to try is to study your own mood changes throughout the month and to note down how you feel during each Moon phase. You may be quite surprised at the results. My friend Sasha suggests that you also check how you, your family, and your friends or colleagues behave when the Moon passes through different signs of the zodiac. For instance, many people become irritable, angry, and subjec­tive when the Moon is in a fire sign (Aries, Leo, or Sagittarius), or they may overwork when it is in an earth sign (Taurus, Virgo, or Capricorn). They may be somewhat unemotional and more detached and objective than usual when the Moon is in an air sign (Gemini, Libra, or Aquarius) and more intuitive and instinctive when it is in a water sign (Cancer, Scorpio, or Pisces).

The Full Moon

Research shows that when the Moon is full, more traffic accidents, murders, and suicides take place than at any other time during the lunar cycle. Those unfortunate enough to endure mental or emo­tional problems can experience difficulties around this phase. It has also been documented that people with criminal tendencies tend to offend more around this time. From a magical point of view, a full Moon is an excellent time to cast love spells, as the power from the full Moon intensifies emotional matters.

Cast spells during the full Moon for:

  • Marriage
  • Romance
  • Harmony in relationships
  • Beauty
  • Musical talents
  • Psychic abilities

The Waxing Moon

When the Moon is waxing (growing into a full Moon), many witches cast spells to remove blocks and to improve life in gen­eral. Rituals can be performed if you feel that you are in a rut and if circumstances around you are not changing quickly enough. The energies at this time tend to work in a very positive fashion and usually bring about the desired results quite quickly.

Cast spells during a waxing Moon for:

  • Problems at work
  • Health
  • Money
  • Education
  • Self-discipline
  • Moving house or property matters

The Waning Moon

Magically, the waning Moon (when the Moon is shrinking toward a new Moon) is a good time to cast spells to remove unwanted situations and to shift negative or bad influences. There are times when we may feel like we don’t have the strength to tackle cer­tain individuals, or that we lack the confidence that we need to face up to our fears. Spell casting during this phase gives us the power to take control, strengthen our inner selves, and become more assertive in our actions. It can also help us to find something that we have mislaid.

Cast spells during a waning Moon for:

  • Banishing enemies
  •  Clearing negative vibrations
  • Harassment
  • Confidence
  • Courage
  • Willpower
  • Being bullied
  • Assertiveness
  • Emotional healing p Lost property

The New Moon

Spells cast during a new Moon can bring many new changes: buy­ing a new home, starting a new job, enjoying a blossoming rela­tionships. White Witches favor the new Moon phase when spell casting to bring about new beginnings of some kind. Usually, a spell to be rid of a problem or unwelcome situation would com­mence on a waning Moon; the witch would then wait until the new Moon to bring about the positive replacement.

Cast spells during a new Moon for

  • Conception
  • New jobs
  • New relationships
  • Weddings
  • Travel
  • Money matters
  • Parenting
  • Communication
  • Legal matters

Excerpted from Wicca Plain & Simple by Leanna Greenaway


Leanna Greenaway has her own monthly column in Take a Break’s Fate & Fortune magazine. As their resident witch, she answers reader’s questions and offers quick and easy spells to combat problems. She is the author of Practical Spellcraft and the cofounder of the Psychic Study Centre. She lives in the south of England.

Our June Titles Are Here!

Happy Reading!


Fortune Telling by Tarot Cards

Sasha Fenton

Who doesn’t want to foretell the future? Once you know how to interpret tarot cards, you can understand yourself and others better and be able to accurately predict what’s going to happen in the future. This accessible and easy guide teaches readers how to use the tarot to not only predict the future but to resolve a particular question, to provide clarity on personal relationships, and for a variety of other purposes. Fenton’s guidelines combined with the reader’s intuition makes using the cards easy and fun.

(Hampton Roads Publishing)


Flower Essences, Plain & Simple

Linda Perry

Flower essences are herbal infusions, or decoctions, made from the flowering parts of plants that uniquely address emotional and mental aspects of wellness.  This book provides a helpful introduction with topics including: how to choose essences; how to make a bottle of essences; essences and their stories; case studies; and a glossary of more than 60 essences and their uses.  This is an excellent introductory guide for anyone interested in alternative health, aromatherapy, and vibrational health.

(Hampton Roads Publishing)


Chakras Plain & Simple

Sasha Fenton

This accessible book introduces the seven major chakras—those spinning vortexes of energy throughout the body—and presents ways of healing the emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual problems that arise when the chakras are blocked, misaligned, or too open.   It describes how the chakras affect people and provides simple healing techniques, some combined with other complementary systems that help channel energy through the body like aromatherapy or the use of gemstones.

(Hampton Roads Publishing)

What Is the I Ching?

by Kim Farnell

The words I Ching (usually pronounced EE Ching or YEE Ching) translate into English as “The Book of Changes.”

The I Ching may be the oldest book in existence. Dating back to 1000 BC, it is an ancient divination text that has evolved over many centuries, later including a mix of Taoist and Confucian philosophy. The philosophy behind the I Ching is that nothing is static and that everything changes over time, so our task is to adjust to the ebb and flow of changing circumstances.

I Ching Plain and Simple is not a translation of the I Ching. It is a book that explains the divinatory system of the I Ching and provides interpretations for each of the hexagrams in clear, modern language. The I Ching can help us to make decisions that logic alone can’t handle, therefore reducing the stress that decision making can cause. It enables us to manage sensitive relationships more successfully, to develop better timing and to tap into our creative insight and intuitive power.

Consulting the I Ching is different from using runes or tarot cards because its main task is not to tell the future as much as to make a situation more clear and to offer useful advice. It relies on the fact that achieving good fortune and avoiding misfortune depends on the choices that we make. When we consult the I Ching, we do not sit back and passively accept our destiny but actively create our own fortune. If our actions are in keeping with the advice of the I Ching, our fortune will be good. If our actions are out of harmony with the counsel or if we refuse to act when action is called for, then things won’t go as smoothly. Having said that, the I Ching often does offer guidance about the future.

Origins of I Ching

It is likely that the I Ching is the oldest form of divination on earth, as its origins reach back eight thousand years or so to the end of the Ice Age! The mythology of the origins of the I Ching includes the tale of Fu Hsi, the first emperor of China (3rd mil­leninum BC). The story tells us that Fu Hsi was sitting on the bank of the Yellow River when he saw a turtle emerge from the water. He paid close attention because he knew that all true wisdom came from observing nature. In his observation he noticed eight markings on the turtle’s shell; these became the original eight trigrams of the I Ching.

Out of this came the practice of tor­toise shell and ox shoulder-bone divi­nation. A red-hot poker was applied to ox bones, and wise men or “priests” deduced their meaning from the ran­dom pattern of cracks that appeared. Ancient Chinese soothsayers looked for portents in the cracks of tortoise shells, which were heated over a fire and then dowsed with water. The geometric patterns made by the resulting cracks were then stud­ied and analyzed. A secondary possible source of I Ching wisdom came from reading the lines that one can see on the flanks of an ancient type of northern Chinese horse. Whatever the ori­gins, the patterns of cracks inspired a systematic method that has developed over the centuries into today’s I Ching. This comes about via reading a three-line design that is called a trigram and a six-line design that is composed of two trigrams and which is called a hexagram.

The earliest appearance of a translation of the I Ching in the West was a Latin translation made in the 1730s by a Jesuit mis­sionary. The most influential translation into a modern Western language was made by Richard Wilhelm in 1923. Since then it has been translated numerous times and has grown in popularity in the West until the present time.

Excerpted from I Ching Plain & Simple by Kim Farnell


Kim Farnell has been a professional astrologer since 1990. She has taught astrology and lectured extensively in the UK and many places around the world. Kim has an MA in cultural astronomy and astrology and is the author of several books including Runes, Plain & Simple.

Healthy Living

by Marlene Houghton, PhD

As society has advanced and wonder drugs have taken over from folk medicines and self-sufficiency, we are discovering that there is a down side. We have found we cannot drug people to health. There are many side effects from drugs that are sometimes worse than the original problem and we have become dependent on the opinion of experts. This has resulted in huge waiting lists at the doctors and a society whose reliance on the expertise of others has removed self-knowledge and self-reliance. There are however many common problems that, although not serious, make life miserable and do not respond well to conventional medicine and this is where herbal medicine can help.

The medicinal benefits of herbs have been known to man for centuries. This does not mean we turn our back on the advances of modern medicine for serious problems but that we look to the empowerment model where the individual is in control of their health and takes active steps to prevent illness rather than looking for an instant cure with a drug.  Herbs contain a blend of chemicals that work more slowly and gently helping to perform many healing functions in the body. They can be used as preventatives before an illness sets in. Used wisely and appropriately, many ailments can benefit from the use of the right herbs nipping more serious problems in the bud and stopping a chronic disease from setting in. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

I teach people health and wellness principles so that they can take their health into their own hands. This is so that a visit to a medical doctor becomes necessary only for a serious problem. I am not saying that every health issue can be avoided but herbal preparations kept in the home would be a very useful addition to your First Aid Box. Existing problems that modern medicine has not been able to tackle effectively may also respond.

Encouraging a holistic approach to health using herbs for every day ills that work with the body’s healing systems can improve all-around health helping a range of common complaints. The value that these powerful traditional herbal remedies have is you do not need to become unwell before you use them. Herbal medicines can be used regularly improving many aspects of your well being and helping you enjoy good health.

We have a personal responsibility to keep ourselves well and the best way to prevent illness is to become knowledgeable in the use of herbs so that simple complaints can be tackled promptly. Making use of medicinal plants and herbs helps to stimulate the body’s natural healing force. There are herbal antibiotics, herbs that help digestion, colds, indigestion, irritable bowel, Candida and many other ailments that conventional medicine cannot deal with very effectively. There are herbs that can ease stress which can be damaging to the body’s equilibrium and herbal medicines that  sooth irritated skin. Herbs work with the body helping us get well if we are sick and helping the body defend itself against disease. Nature has a provided us with a range of healing herbs that have withstood the test of time and are a godsend for many common complaints. For home treatments and used at the onset of an illness their powerful healing actions will begin to work. Make use of these wonderful herbs that Nature has provided. They will work with your own innate healing system improving all-round health.


Marlene Houghton, PhD, is a nutritional counselor, educator, author, and lecturer on natural therapies and the historical use of herbs who teaches people how to stay well. She lives in London.

Our May Titles Are Here!

Happy reading!


Last Things

Marissa Moss

“Loving, moving, and articulate, Last Things is packed with emotional truth. It’s a clear-eyed testimony to the way death arrives, sometimes inch by inch, inspiring the courage and strength and generosity that are the best things we bring to this life.”—Jennifer Hayden, Eisner-nominated author of Underwire and The Story of My Tits

“A gripping portrayal of how devastating ALS can be, but also a powerful example of resilience and hope.” —Dr. Catherine Lomen-Hoerth, neurologist, ALS clinic, UCSF

“If anyone still thinks the graphic format can’t be used to tell deep, grown-up, powerful stories, Last Things ought to change their mind. It’s about all the big questions: How we live, how we raise our children, how we survive seemingly unbearable loss. Moss’s authenticity, raw honesty and vulnerability will help anyone who’s struggling with loss and ‘lasts’ – ultimately, that’s all of us.” —Marjorie Ingall, author of Mamaleh Knows Best

“Before reading Marissa Moss’ Last Things I was unaware of how profoundly moved I could be by a graphic novel. With her gentle touch and brave honest voice we experience how completely one’s life and expectations be changed with a single devastating diagnosis. I absolutely loved Last Things!” —Luisa Smith, Book Passage, Corte Madera, CA

“An important book that needs to be in the world. It’s a hard read, but sometimes surviving and resilience is what makes people stronger. Ultimately that’s what Last Things celebrates, not dying, but strength, the strength our families give us.” —Kathleen Caldwell, A Great Good Place for Books, Oakland CA

“Powerful and beautiful – this book would be a great addition to the graphic novel canon.” —Ian Lendler, author of The Stratford Zoo Midnight Revue Presents MacBeth

“I was swept into the story, swept along.” —Joan Lester, author of Mama’s Child

“This is a very brave and beautifully drawn account. Anyone coping with the loss of a spouse is going to benefit – and any reader can relate to the family dynamics, the stress of caregiving, and the crisis of a terminal disease.” —Eleanor Vincent, author of Swimming with Maya: A Mother’s Story

“In this deeply affecting graphic memoir, Moss lays out the struggles of trying to live as her husband is dying of Lou Gehrig’s disease. Her simple drawings reveal the pain and anguish her characters don’t know how to express in words, making the format a perfect choice for the story. Those facing similar situations will feel relief at finding their struggles and confusion laid clearly on a page. Meanwhile, the moral complexities of caring for a husband who is no longer emotionally engaged while parenting three confused children invites readers to examine their own choices. A sad, haunting memoir of struggle and confusion that will have readers in tears.” —Marika McCoola, author of Baba Yaga’s Assistant (Candlewick Press); Indie Bookseller, Porter Square Books (Cambridge, MA)

Using words and pictures together to sharp effect Last Things is the true story of how one family copes with the devastating effects of ALS.  After returning home from a year abroad, Moss’s husband, Harvey, was diagnosed with ALS. The disease progressed quickly and Moss was soon consumed with caring for Harvey, while trying to keep life as normal as possible for her young children. This is not a story about the redemptive power of terminal illness, it is a story of resilience. It’s a story of how a family managed to survive a terrible loss and grow strong despite it.

(Conari Press)


Raising Cooperative Kids

Marion Forgatch, PhD, Gerald Patterson, PhD, and Tim Friend

Raising Cooperative Kids provides clear, commonsense strategies for accomplishing exactly what the title calls for. The behaviors that parents want to see in their children are, for the most part, universal. Although the practices in the book can be started at a very young age, the tools included are useful for parenting toddlers through teens. There is also advice on topics such as approaching social media with your child, linking home and school, working together while divorced, and so forth. Raising Cooperative Kids would make a useful addition to any public library parenting collection.” — Joyce McIntosh, Booklist

“Having observed thousands of parents and their children over the course of almost 50 years, the authors conclude that successful families share a spirit of cooperation that generates harmonious teamwork In sum, the authors tell parents how to identify their strengths and weaknesses and effectively teach and lead their kids. With lively family stories, useful dialogue, and checklists, this book is also indicative of the trend toward rediscovering generations-old, traditional parenting techniques.” – Publishers Weekly

“An excellent book which brings the best of longstanding, proven, and highly effective parenting practices to the modern age. This book is a must for every parent and every professional that works with children.” —Jeffrey Bernstein, Ph.D, author of 10 Days to a Less Defiant Child

“This is a wonderful book with clear, easy-to-apply, and workable techniques based on both clinical experience and research. From defining and setting goals to the critical importance of family play, Raising Cooperative Kids provides a concise and practical blueprint for parents who want to enjoy their kids.” —Thomas W. Phelan, Ph.D., author 1-2-3 Magic: Effective Discipline for Children 2-12

“This book is a special gift to accomplish one of the hardest and most rewarding jobs we will face in our lifetime: raising children. Marion and Jerry share their years of experience studying human behavior and give simple, yet powerful, tools to help parents. You will see yourself in some of the chapters, sometimes doing the right thing, sometimes doing the wrong thing. Enjoy the gift, have fun practicing and take comfort that you’re doing the best you can.”— Jim Wotring, Senior Deputy Director, Department of Behavioral Health, Washington, DC

“If you are going to rely on one book to secure a better future for your children, this is the book to use.” —Thomas J. Dishion, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Psychology, Arizona State University

“An excellent guide for parents who want to raise happy, well-adjusted children! Based on years of clinical and research experience, this user-friendly book emphasizes the importance of practicing skills and is filled with strategies and examples. I highly recommend Raising Cooperative Kids to parents, students-in-training, and therapists.”—Rex Forehand, PhD, author of Parenting the Strong-Willed Child

“A practical, common sense book that includes all the ingredients for a cooperative and happy family.” —Carolyn Webster Stratton, PhD,Professor Emeritus, University of Washington, and Founder of “The Incredible Years®”

Not since Dr. Spock has there been such a comprehensive book on parenting. Developed over forty years of practice and tested in clinical studies, Patterson and Forgatch’s parenting techniques tap deep-rooted human instincts, making them universal and easy to use no matter where you live or how a family is structured—these techniques enable parents to teach their children new behaviors and reduce family conflicts. The authors also remind us of the importance of play—enjoying time and activities together is the cornerstone of a happy family.

(Conari Press)


Rewrite Your Life

Jessica Lourey

“My favorite kind of self-help book: irreverent, personal, and superbly useful.” —Jen Mann, New York Times bestselling author of People I Want to Punch in the Throat

“A lively exploration of writing’s therapeutic value and an encouraging invitation to apply it to your life.” —Kendra Levin, author of The Hero is You

“On occasion a gem of a book comes along. One that sticks with us and helps us to remember, we can rewrite our life. That our journey is filled with plot twists we never expected and that we can gain insights and perspective by exploring those unexpected events, or ‘story food’ through writing. Rewrite Your Life is just such a book. You will walk away with an understanding of how to heal through writing fiction and have the tools you need to make a difference in your own life, and everyone your life touches.” —Lyssa Danehy deHart, MSW, LICSW, PCC and author of StoryJacking: Change Your Inner Dialogue, Transform Your Life

According to common wisdom, we all have a book inside of us. Every author calls on, crystallizes and shades their life experiences to craft fiction. The most conflict-ridden moments of our lives – the tragedies, humiliations, and terrors – shape the best stories. But how do we select and then write our most significant story? Creative writing professor, sociologist, and popular fiction author Jessica Lourey guides us through the redemptive process of writing a healing novel which recycles and transforms our most precious resource—our own emotions and experiences.

(Conari Press)


Instant Tarot

Monte Farber and Amy Zerner

“Each card is interpreted according to the position in which it appears . . .no other book we know of offers this degree of specificity.” —Publishers Weekly

“We found the information unnervingly on target.” —US Magazine

Bestselling authors Farber and Zerner unveil the mysteries of the tarot for beginners and experts alike with nothing to memorize.  They provide concise interpretations of every card in every position of the classic Celtic Cross tarot spread.  This book is like getting a reading from an expert advisor in the privacy of one’s home.  This unique method works with virtually any tarot deck; interprets every card, in every position; and provides sample questions you can easily personalize.

(Weiser Books)


I Ching, Plain & Simple

Kim Farnell

The I Ching, or Book of Changes, is a mix of Taoist and Confucianist philosophies that has evolved over many centuries and may be the oldest book in existence. It’s main philosophy is that nothing is static and our task is to adjust to the ebb and flow of changing circumstances. It can be an extremely complex system filled with poetry and philosophy, but Farnell has rendered it here as contemporary, straightforward, and as user-friendly as possible.

(Hampton Roads Publishing)


Wicca, Plain & Simple

Leanna Greenway, Foreword by Judika Illes

Greenaway takes a contemporary approach to Wicca and shows how you can use it as a healing and positive force.  She makes Wiccan traditions meaningful and accessible to us today by providing a basic understanding of the key elements of Wiccan practice, including: lunar magic, initiation, herbs and gardens, pendulum power, and animal magic.  Also included are 25 spells for beginning practitioners ranging from love spells to fertility spells and more.

(Hampton Roads Publishing)

Undoing the Root of All Terrorism

by D. Patrick Miller

The world is often terrifying.

A toddler drops her toy underneath a table and screams in terror at its disappearance. A six-year-old faces going to school for the first time, seized with fear by having to leave his mother at the door and enter an unknown universe of strange kids and even stranger teachers. All this before we encounter the far more fearsome challenges of adolescence — including sexuality, heartbreaks, and deep confusion about identity and purpose.

If we manage to enter adulthood with any degree of confidence, the really big terrors await us. Not just the individual challenges of making our own way in the world, but the societal and political frights. At any given time, another culture, religion or nation is out to get our culture, religion or nation, and will use any violent means they can: bombings, hostage-taking, public massacres, or deadly drones.

While we’re all prone to blame others for our fears, the temptation to disguise the source of our terror is especially powerful at the political level. After all, those whom we identify as “terrorists” really do kill people, at which point it seems necessary to hunt down those terrorists and administer “justice” — which ultimately means killing them. But that doesn’t make us terrorists, of course, because we are just innocent, peace-loving people who are rightfully defending ourselves.

Over time, balances of power may shift and the particular names or identities of “terrorists” may change, but the endless cycle of attack, vengeance, and renewed attack never alters. That’s because hardly anyone seems to pay attention to the fundamental source of all the terrors we feel. As the contemporary spiritual teaching known as A Course in Miracles puts it:

“There is no statement that the world is more afraid to hear than this: I do not know the thing I am, and therefore do not know what I am doing, where I am, or how to look upon the world or on myself.”

This is the existential terror that befalls us from the moment we are expelled from the warmth and safety of our mother’s womb, and that dogs us to some degree in every waking or dreaming moment that follows. It is the nameless anxiety that keeps us awake at night, and the nervous compulsion that makes us seek wealth or comfort, or the reassurances of intimacy, or self-destructive addictions.  This is, in fact, the “human condition.”

This is why I believe that forgiveness has to be the basis of all our efforts to prevent terrorism. We need to admit that the world is a scary place, and that we are plagued by an “identity crisis” of the most fundamental sort.

If we do not see, feel, and take responsibility for the existential foundation of all our terrors, we will never find our way to undoing it.

But there’s another reason to recognize the fearful dilemma of not knowing who we are in a world seemingly beyond our control. As the Course suggests: “Yet in this learning is salvation born. And What you are will tell you of Itself.”

Our normal self-awareness is what psychology calls the “ego.” It is basically an uneasy fiction that we keep telling ourselves is true, built from a selectively remembered past and all the shaky strategies we have devised for simply keeping it together from moment to moment. That the ego often fails us  is evidenced by the high incidence of addiction, depression, and anxiety in the general population — all forms of what might be called terrorism against ourselves. Those who choose to turn their terrors outward are simply coping less well than those who only suffer inwardly.

There is another way of being that can calm our terrors on a daily basis. When we acknowledge that our self-created identity is a fearful fiction, then our true identity can emerge from a deeper level. That reality is Love Itself, which can tell us What we are.

What this means on a practical basis is that when we know ourselves at a deeper level, we are enabled to act more wisely and compassionately in every kind of circumstance. Instead of automatically responding to threats with self-defense, we can instinctively respond with actions that will reduce everyone’s terror. Instead of judging others as less-than or more-dangerous-than ourselves, we recognize that everyone struggles with the same basic terrors — and there is a better way to deal with them than what we’re used to.

It may seem humiliating at first to admit that we really don’t know who or what we are, or what we’re doing here. But when we forgive this human condition, we can actually open ourselves up to enough love and wisdom to undo all terrors.


D. Patrick Miller is an author and literary agent living in Northern California. You can contact him at www.fearlessbooks.com.