Tarot as a Spiritual Tool

by Monte Farber & Amy Zerner

Divination systems, also known as “oracles,” based on tarot, astrology, love, prosperity, rune stones, serenity, alchemy, The Goddess, voodoo, Native American spirituality, and almost every other subject that you can buy a book about, continue to be one of the strongest selling items in bookstores. It is easy to see why; people have questions and they want answers, especially in this frightening and uncertain time, and a well-designed oracle is designed to help people find answers to their questions.

The Tarot can be used for the purpose of divination by using the images on the cards and their meanings to trigger insights from your Higher Self, the part of us that provides guidance by supplying us with those ‘irrational’ hunches, intuitions and flashes of inspiration that can make everyday life sometimes seem so extraordinary.

By shuffling and selecting one or more cards from the deck as you calmly and sincerely ask for guidance about your situation, you cause your Higher Self to guide you to select the proper card. Your state of mind at that moment implies a future course of events in regards to the situation you are asking about. Shuffling the cards of The Tarot at the same moment you are concentrating on your question causes your question and the cards you select in answer to your question to be linked together by the power of your intention and concentration. They are connected in a meaningful way because they are happening at the same time.

This may or may not be the Age of Aquarius or The New Age, but it is certainly The Now Age; everything has to be done now. Cell phones, computers, texting, and the Internet have destroyed the cushion of time that used to enable us to thoughtfully consider our situations. Here in The Now Age, information overload overwhelms. How can we find and stay on the path to a life of quality and meaning in The Now Age? How can there be time to pray when there’s hardly time to play?

Like prayer, a well-designed divination system reminds us of our seamless connection to All-There-Is. As an added bonus, using an oracle with sincerity and regularity ads a needed element of ritual to our lives. Approach all your readings with a sense of ceremony, sincerity and humility and all will be revealed.

Our Instant Tarot system has been designed to help you properly access the tarot’s ancient truths and put them to immediate use. It is our sincere desire that our book, the first and only one of its kind in the tarot’s long history, will help you to better understand your own inner voice and its ability to direct you.

The user-friendly layout of Instant Tarot allows individuals to also ask any question using a one-card, three-card or full eleven card “Celtic Cross” spread to get revealing, inspiring answers to your burning questions about life. It’s great to do with small groups of friends and especially by yourself where, undisturbed, you will often see subtle and formerly hidden meanings emerge from the text.

The tarot helps you to be more mindful by helping you tune into a deeper, inner level of awareness.  It is a way to journey into yourself and discover your spiritual center.  The 78 cards portray all the cycles of human experience – it is a “book” of knowledge.  Using the tarot, a focusing mechanism, also helps in the development of your psychic abilities and empowers you to make the best choices in your life.


Monte Farber and Amy Zerner are the authors of 45 popular spiritual books and oracles, with more than 2,000,000 books—including Karma Cards, The Psychic Circle, Quantum Affirmations, Sun Sign Secrets, and The Enchanted Tarot—in print around the world and in 14 languages. They are bloggers and conscious-content contributors to several websites and blogs. Visit them at www.enchantedworld.com.

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The Astral Body, the Chakras & The Magical Arts

by John L. Steadman

The relationship between the astral body, the chakras and the physical body is often misunderstood by novice magickal practitioners. What is meant by the term “astral” body, indeed, is subject to differing interpretations; occultists tend to associate the astral body with the etheric, which they envision as a plane of invisible, subtle matter that serves, in turn, as a pattern or prototype for the physical word, and they use such terms as the Etheric Double, or the Body of Light interchangeably with the Astral Body; all of this tends to create obfuscation rather than clarity. Likewise, occultists, seeking to explain exactly what the chakras are, offer definitions that end up confusing the novice; they speak of the chakras (rightly) as linked to actual physical nerve plexi and glands, and yet, they assert that these chakras are “potent energy sources” in themselves, and thus, beyond the physical.  Again, obfuscation rather than clarity is the result.

In attempting to explain the connection between the astral body, the chakras and the physical body, then, I think that it is important initially to recognize and to accept two basic premises.  First, the human mind is not “in” the brain, nor is it “in” the body; instead, the reverse is true; the brain and the body are “in” the mind.  The mind, thus, exists equally independent from the rarified activity known as cognition as well as the basic, often distasteful rag and bone shop of horrors that characterizes human emotions and instinctive human activity.  Second, the sole, genuine power of the mind is the Imagination.  As the root word “image” suggests, the Imagination makes images.  Even more importantly, it creates images.  Most of these images are anchored in the familiar word that we are born into and are imprisoned in by our perceptions.  But a fraction of these images are separate from the physical world, and these latter images exist, like the mind itself, behind or apart from the physical world.  The mind, as it imagines, then, is very much like the God of Abraham, spoken of in the first book of the Old Testament, a free, creative spirit that moves upon the face of a great void and then simply does what it is in its nature to do, to create.

Given these two premises, it is possible to examine the elements of the individual human being.  Following the eastern esoteric tradition, which begins its analysis from the lower, material levels to the spiritual, we will move from the less subtle to the subtler. The most basic element of the human being is the physical body and this is – well – the physical body.  It gives the impression of being real, so much so, in fact, that most non-occultists think that it is real.  But this body isn’t physical at the subatomic level; as Quantum Physics suggests, it is, if anything, nothing more than a probabilistic pattern of particles in a constant state of flux held together by our pre-conditioning and perception.  After a time, perception proves to be too weak to keep the body together and it dissipates.   The reason for this can be found in the first premise articulated above: the brain & the body are “in” the mind.  The mind, therefore, exists outside the physical. It may be, for convenience, linked to perception, which is the mind’s most inconsequential power. But there is not any real link.   Accordingly, as the body declines, the powers of perception decline as well, and ultimately, the mind ends up unable (or unwilling) to prevent the dissipation and the body dies.

The second element of the individual human being are the chakras. The chakras are associated with the nerve plexi and the glandular centers of the human being.  There are seven of them: the crown of the head (sahasrara-padma); the brow (ajna), throat (visuddha), heart (anahata), solar plexus (manipura), sacrum or navel (svadhishana), and spine (muladhara).  It is not accurate to directly attribute the chakras to these physical centers of the body; they are best understood as invisible, unmeasurable, energy- sources, which, in turn, can be channeled at the nerve points.  The chakras, thus, are arguably etheric meridians, as some occultists will have it.   And yet, the charkas are still indissolvably linked to these physical areas of the body.  In fact, they really cannot function without the physical links in place.  The chakras cannot even be understood or comprehended separate from the physical links.  Thus, as the body ages and grows weaker, and as the hold of the mind on the body weakens as well via the declining powers of perception, the chakras grow weaker and their energies decline.  Again, it is worth remembering: the brain & the body are “in” the mind.  Therefore, we observe the same situation expressed before with regard to the body & the brain; the mind stands back, inviolate, as the brain and the body slowly dissipate; and the chakras, correspondingly, dissipate as well.  And when the body eventually dies, the chakras die along with it, their energies dispersed as readily as the life force of any merely physical thing.

The third element of the individual human being, the astral body, is radically different than the physical body and the chakras.   There are those occultists who refer to the astral body as the “second” body, and they like to assert that the astral body is the invisible double of the physical body and that it, likewise, serves as a kind of pattern upon which the physical body is built.  These occultists, in short, equate the astral body with the etheric. Many of these occultists, in fact, even go as far as to claim the etheric body is actually a probability distribution that ultimately determines the shape and disposition of the human body.  In making such an argument, these occultists are literally imposing a neo-platonic paradigm on Quantum theory, which is, of course, unjustifiable.   J. H. Brennan, occultist and author, describes very accurately the difference between the astral body and the etheric and, in the process, highlights the confusion that often ensues when the astral body is mistakenly identified as etheric.

Your etheric body is your invisible double.   It interpenetrates your physical body and some schools of thought believe with the physicists it is essentially a pattern of force on which your physical body is built.  It is closer to matter than to mind…it seems to function as a link between your physical body and your mind… [But] your astral body is a step beyond the etheric.  And this step takes you into the realms of the psychic proper.  The astral body is composed of mind-stuff: or more accurately, imagination stuff. [i]

The imagination, as I have suggested previously, is the mind’s primary, creative power.  Furthermore, I think that it is safe to assert that the astral body, as a product of the imagination, is the mind’s most essential creation.  It is important to note, however, is that the creation, in this case, shares the same quality as the creator; that is, the astral body, like the mind itself, stands apart from the body & the brain.  The astral body can be perceived, as can the physical body and the chakras.  But when the body & the brain decay, and when perception declines and weakens, neither the mind nor the astral body are affected.  For, indeed, the mind and the astral body are not “in” the body or the brain; they are separate.  They are inviolate, not subject to dissipation, decay and death.

When it comes to the practice of the magickal arts, particularly the “high” magickal arts, the astral body is of utmost importance.   Among occultists, there is a distinction between “high” and “low” magick.  Low magick involves the use of magick for physical, psychological, or emotional purposes.  A good example of low magick would be cleansing the chakras; this procedure tends to promote the physical well-being of an individual.  Another example of a low magickal operation would be casting a spell to attract a lover; the purpose here is twofold: part physical gratification, part emotional satisfaction.  Low magickal goals are best handed by a simple generation of magickal force.  As described in the terms of chakra mythology, magickal force results when the kundalini at the base of the muladhara chakra is stimulated via the use of magickal techniques; the energy then rises throughout the body, stimulating the other chakras as well as it moves up the body and then ultimately emerges in the physical world.  This process does not involve the astral body at all, unless the magickal practitioner sees a need to bring the astral body into the mix.  In contrast, the practice of high magick – i.e. evocation, invocation & conjuration- is best accomplished by the astral body.  A magickal practitioner performs high magick for two purposes: knowledge and/or power.  The rites themselves invariably involve the full use of the elements of magickal practice.  The magickal practitioner makes use of symbolic objects- the customary wand, cup, sword, and pentacle.  The practitioner, also, starts out her working in a stylized setting, whether real-time, akashic or virtual.  Then, at some point, the magickal practitioner finds herself performing the rite in the astral body.  Here, the imagination has reached an apotheosis.  The experience becomes, in effect, pure mind and pure perception.

[i] Brennan, J. H. Magick for Beginners: The Power to Change Your World. St Paul, MN, Llewellyn Publications, Inc., 1998, 68.


John L. Steadman is the author of H.P. Lovecraft and the Black Magickal Tradition, a scholar of H. P. Lovecraft and western occultism and has been a magickal practitioner for more than thirty years. He is currently a college English professor at Olivet College in Michigan.

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)

A Conversation with Virginia Bell, author of Midlife Is Not a Crisis

Enjoy the conversation below with Virginia Bell, author of Midlife Is Not a Crisis.


What does the Saturn Return mean? You hear that term a lot.

Every year we have a Solar Return or what is commonly known as our birthday. The sun returns to where it was at birth. The planet Saturn takes 29 years to return to where it began at birth. At 29 we have our Saturn birthday or Saturn Return. Saturn is that planet of reality, responsibility, hard work, maturity; around 29 we tend to get serious and make a commitment. Maybe we go into business for ourselves, get married, start a family, get sober, or go back to school. If we’re doing it right we work hard and mature in the process. We build something that will come to define us. Our thirties are our Saturn years. It’s the first life cycle and lays the foundation for whatever follows.

How did you get involved in astrology?

I’ve always been interested in astrology; in fact I had an astrologer on staff at my restaurant (he ate in exchange for readings) but I always thought of astrology as simply a form of prediction (as in, when will this crisis be over?). It wasn’t until I read Steven Forrest’s book, The Inner Sky, that I realized it was so much more. From then on, I was hooked.

What’s the difference between a sun sign column you read in the paper and having an actual reading with an astrologer?

The sun sign columns are based on one thing—the sun. Now, the sun is the most important symbol in the horoscope so it carries a lot of weight, which is why those columns are often spot on. But it’s not the only thing in the horoscope. Your individual chart is a picture of the sky at the moment you were born and includes the sun, moon plus eight other planets. All those planets are in a sign and a house (an area of the sky). An astrologer blends all that information to give you an in-depth analysis. It’s like getting a (cosmic) DNA test, so to speak.

What about all these new planets being discovered? Does that change the chart?

Yes and no. There are lots of new planets but until astrologers have enough information about them they probably won’t include them in a reading. Chiron was discovered in 1977 and many astrologers (myself included) use Chiron. Sedna and Eris are two newer planets. Sedna was discovered in 2003; Eris in 2005. Some astrologers do use them. There’s already a great deal of information to cover and sometimes it can be confusing for a client.

There are a lot of generalizations in astrology. How can all Scorpios (for instance) be sexy and secretive?

The sun is the biggest ingredient in the recipe, so to speak, but it is flavored by other ingredients. Scorpios are intense but if someone has a moon in cozy Cancer or a gentle Pisces rising, then that will influence them greatly.

What exactly is astrology?

Astrology is a system or language that uses symbols; the sun, moon, planets, signs, houses and aspects. These symbols relate to different parts of our self as well as our past and our future. An astrologer interprets these symbols to discover our strengths, gifts, and goals as well as our weaknesses and how to heal them. The birth chart is a map of the heavens; a powerful tool for self-discovery and a guide to becoming actualized.

When did astrology begin?

Since the beginning of time humans have gazed up at the heavens in search of meaning. No written records exist to tell us the exact moment astrology began, but we do know that it was in the ancient Middle Eastern city of Sumer in southern Mesopotamia that a primitive form of astrology was first discovered. Astrology has been an integral part of every great civilization, from the Greeks and Romans to the Chinese, Egyptians, and Hindus. Today astrology is flourishing in the 21st Century; thanks to the Internet, astrology is more popular than ever.

Why do so many people read their horoscopes?

Life is challenging; I think people want to read something positive and uplifting. In a way it takes us out of our ordinary world; it brings a bit of magic and mystery, even for a few moments.

How much astrology does someone need to know to understand this book?

None at all. The book is based on the generational life cycles we all share at the same age, such as the Saturn Return at 29 and midlife, etc. I do have an overview of astrology in the beginning explaining the planets, signs, houses, and many astrological terms. But it comes with a warning: astrology is addictive. It is an ancient language; one that includes mythology, gods and goddesses who, by the way, are far more exciting than reality stars. It can be very seductive.

What about people born the same day, same year? Are those people alike?

There would be some parallels, yes, but since they aren’t born at the same exact time, there would also be differences. It’s called an astrological twin. Abraham Lincoln and Charles Darwin were born same day, same year. So were Angelina Jolie and Russell Brand.

Our April Titles Are Here

Happy reading!


Find Your Soul’s Purpose

Janet Conner

“Here’s the secret to Janet Conner’s wonderful new book Find Your Soul’s Purpose: your soul’s purpose is you at this very moment. The sacred path she offers you doesn’t lead to your soul’s purpose; rather each step is your soul’s purpose. She isn’t teaching something you don’t know, but pointing out the simple truths you have forgotten how to see. Don’t think—look!” —Rabbi Rami Shapiro, author of Perennial Wisdom for the Spiritually Independent

“Discerning our life mission is a central task for conscious spiritual seekers of any faith or tradition. Find Your Soul’s Purpose offers thoughtful reflections and meaningful exercises to help you do just that. It’s a delightful book, filled with gentle wisdom and playful practices that will help anyone discover their own innate genius.” —Carl McColman, author of Christian Mystics and Answering the Contemplative Call

“Come and take a deep dive with Janet’s magic whale into the depths of your inner brilliance to weave together the tapestry of your soul’s purpose. As you circle through the spiral with Janet’s exceptional guidance, you will be flooded with memories and invaluable re-discoveries of your creative destiny, so that you can now fully step into your soul’s path joyfully and with certainty. Janet is indeed one of the most innovative spiritual teachers of our time.” —Gail McMeekin, executive creative career coach and author of 6 books including The 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women and The Power of Positive Choices

With Conner as our guide, we embark on a mystical journey to see far beneath career or calling to remember who we really are—divine beings—and to embrace the divine gifts and purpose we carried into this life.  Your soul’s divine purpose is not a goal. And it’s not one thing—it is a whole package of things including gifts, talents, teachers, stories, and woes. Readers will come away from this journey with hands and hearts overflowing with love for themselves and the lives they’ve chosen.

(Conari Press)


Psychics, Healers, & Mediums

Jenniffer Weigel

“Jenniffer Weigel has done a masterful job of examining the paranormal. If you ever wanted to develop your own sixth sense about what’s ‘real,’ this is your guidebook.” –Caroline Myss, author of Anatomy of the Spirit

“Important stuff in this book. I’m so grateful I was asked to endorse it. Which means I may just get my grubby paws on it before everyone else. But, either way, it promises to be mind-blowing and the way I see it, we all need our minds blown.”  —Pam Grout, #1 New York Times bestselling author of E-Squared and 17 other books

“Being a lifelong spiritual seeker and journalist lends credibility to Jenniffer’s pursuit of Truth, and this book reflects that intention.  As with any profession, there will be those who operate from integrity, and those who do not. Jenniffer clearly sifts through that mix, and offers an engaging, inspiring and promising read!  It will leave one with their own sense of authentic faith that there are in fact many gifted healers on this planet, and psychic phenomena is real.”Rebecca Rosen, author of Awaken the Spirit Within and Spirited

“Jenniffer’s research into the lives of the intuitively gifted is both fascinating and often hilarious. A must read for the spiritually curious.” Judith Orloff, MD, author of Second Sight

“Jenniffer Weigel takes her readers on a rollicking adventure into the paranormal and its practitioners. A wise, funny and incisive book written by a first class interviewer.” Paul Selig, author of I Am the Word

“Jenniffer writes straight to my heart!  I laughed, I cried, and I rejoiced in the knowing that no matter how things look on the outside, everything is going to be alright. This book delivers undeniable proof that our loved ones can communicate from the other side.”—Concetta Bertoldi, author of So Dead People Watch You Shower?

Throughout time, people have been fascinated by those claiming extraordinary psychic abilities, a fascination that has reached a fever pitch in recent years. It’s safe to say many of these folks are either extraordinary frauds or extremely deluded.  But could some of them be legit?  Emmy Award-winning journalist, Jen Weigel makes it her duty to find out. She pulls the curtain back on Thomas John, Judith Orloff, Concetta Bertoldi, Caroline Myss, Echo Bodine, Rebecca Rosen, Paul Selig, and Michael Bodine—the results are startling and profound.

(Hampton Roads Publishing)


The Everything Answer Book

Amit Goswami, PhD

“Amit Goswami is one of those rare jewels in the pantheon of quantum physics who brings a deep understanding of reality through a synthesis of science and spirituality. He has contributed immensely to my own understanding of the nature of existence. I am deeply indebted to him.” —Deepak Chopra, author of You Are the Universe

Amit Goswami’s basic premise is that quantum physics is not only the future of science, but is also the key to understanding consciousness, life, death, God, psychology, and the meaning of life.  Quantum physics is an antidote to the moral sterility and mechanistic approach of scientific materialism and is the best and clearest approach to understanding our universe.  Here in conversation with friends and colleagues, Dr. Goswami shows that quantum physics is indeed the theory of everything.

(Hampton Roads Publishing)


A Little Book of Mystical Secrets

Maryam Mafi

At long last, a book that focuses on the teachings of Rumi’s teacher and inspiration, Shams of Tabriz.  Included is a biographical sketch of the great Sufi teacher and mystic and a new translation of 500 of his core teachings that bring into fresh focus the meaning and mysteries of life and love.  There are many books on Rumi and translations of his work, yet many are unaware of how Rumi became a mystic—Shams is the agent of propulsive mystical energy that transformed Rumi the reticent into Rumi the ecstatic poet.

(Hampton Roads Publishing)


Quotes That Will Change Your Life

Russ Kick

The wisest, most experienced, and most thoughtful people in history have left us these little thought-bombs, and this book collects them and neatly arranges them into topics everyone wonders about.  Surprising, jolting, discomforting, and comforting insights urge us to live a full, unbridled life, question authority and reality, relate to fellow humans, create, risk, love, live with uncertainty, and stay sane in an insane world.  These rousing insights and challenging thoughts appeal to everyone.

(Conari Press)


Fairies, Pookas, and Changelings

Varla Ventura

If you believe fairies follow you about on gossamer wings, you’re in for quite a shock—the kingdom of the fairy is one of vengeance, thievery, trickery, and wild creatures.  Included here are tales and myths from Wales, Scotland, Ireland, and Scandinavia plus classic stories by the Brothers Grimm, Hans Christian Andersen, Clara Stroebe, Joseph Jacobs, and others on goblins, trolls, gnomes, pookas, banshees, and more—all guaranteed to keep readers wickedly entertained.

(Weiser Books)


Herbs Plain & Simple

Marlene Houghton

Herbal medicine is useful for a range of common complaints, and gentle and effective herbs can offer benefit where conventional medicine sometimes fails.  Houghton helps readers attain a high level of wellbeing through the use of traditional herbalism – only needing to consult a conventional doctor when you have a problem that only a medically qualified professional can handle.

(Hampton Roads Publishing)


 

Midlife Is Not a Crisis

Virginia Bell

“This marvelous book is a poetic and educational journey about juicy aging, and how to prepare, prosper and thrive in the second half of life, and it also beautifully applies to all the stages of living and growing.” –SARK co-author and artist of Succulent Wild Love, PlanetSARK.com

“What a clear, practical, and totally fascinating guide for how to thrive in all the phases of your life! With her brilliant mastery of astrology, Virginia Bell gives you the map to navigate your entire life and to become your fully authentic self. Keep this book on your bedside table!” —Jean Haner, author of Your Hidden Symmetry: How Your Birth Date Reveals the Plan for Your Life

“With her ageless wisdom, Virginia Bell has written a book for the ages. Using astrology’s key cycles, she shows us that life has a plot, and that its unfolding will give you new-found opportunities for growth. No matter what stage of life you are in, however, her book, Midlife Is Not a Crisis, is for the young-at-heart, for it will inspire you to embrace the changes and challenges you face with courage and a sense of adventure.” —Shirley Soffer, author of The Astrology Sourcebook: Your Guide to Understanding

Virginia Bell combines astrology, inspiration, and wisdom about aging to empower people to live more fully in the second half of life.  Based on the generational life cycles we all share at certain ages—Saturn Return at 29 all the way to Uranus Return at 84—these cycles are the great crossroads of life when strung together offer a road map to life’s most challenging and rewarding passages.  Every decade has trials, lessons, and loses and our freedom lies in how we respond.  This is a practical guidebook for our later years that shows us how to make the most of our journey to becoming whole.

(Weiser Books)

 

Magickal & Virtual Egregores in the 21st Century

by John L. Steadman

The high tech, pyrotechnic sci-fi writer William Gibson, in his novel Idoru (1996) envisions a future in which a virtual media star, Rei Toei, or the “idol”, marries Rex, a rock star, and the two then create a virtual place to live in Tokyo, in an akashic-type locale known as The Walled City, constructed from inverted kill-file software codes.  Gibson describes the idoru as basically disembodied information, though her holographic persona is artificially intelligent and creative, and the presentation itself is beautiful in an otherworldly way, at least according to human standards of beauty.

If he [Laney, who works as a net-runner in the book] anticipated her at all, it had been as some industrial-strength synthesis of Japan’s last three dozen top female media faces…. the formula tended to be even more rigid, in the case of software agents- eigen-heads, their features algorithmically derived from some human mean of proven popularity.  [But] she was nothing like that.  Her black hair, rough-cut and shining, brushed pale bare shoulders as she turned her head.  She had no eyebrows, and both her lids and lashes seemed to have been dusted with something white, leaving her dark pupils in stark contrast…. the idoru smiled, lit from within…[i]

What is most fascinating about the idoru is that since she is a pure form of information, she affects the mind of the onlooker in different ways; one of the people at the table where she is sitting – a very basic, unimaginative man, to be sure-  sees her as only a big aluminum thermos bottle.  But Laney experiences a nodal vision which takes the form of a narrative; the narrative intensifies when he looks directly at her face.

He seemed to cross a line.  In the very structure of her face, in geometries of underlying bone, lay coded histories of dynastic flight, privation, terrible migrations.  He saw stone tombs in steep alpine meadows, their lintels traced with snow.  A line of shaggy pack ponies, their breath white with cold, followed a trail about a canyon.  The curves of the river below were strokes of distant silver.  Iron harness bells clanked in the blue dusk…Laney shivered.  In his mouth a taste of rotten metal.[ii]

Obviously, the idoru can affect all of the senses of the imaginative person who is in its presence; Laney sees a group of images that reflect historical events in the early dynasties of Japan; flight, privation and migration.  The description is very well developed visually.  And, additionally, Laney’s other senses are stimulated; he hears bells; he feels cold, and he has the unpleasant taste of “rotten metal” in his mouth (this is an interesting sensation; metal can rust, but it can’t really rot and so, there seems to be an almost organic quality to this taste).

For the magickal practitioner who is reading Gibson’s description, he or she will immediately think: egregore, and this is perfectly right.  Egregores are magickal constructs, “beings” if you will, usually created by magickal practitioners for specific purposes and then, deconstructed by the said practitioner when that purpose is accomplished.  However, it is important to understand two important facts about egregores: (1) these beings, once created, have an independent existence from the magickal practitioners who created them; and (2) over time, if the egregore is not deconstructed but rather, allowed to continue its existence, then it will grow stronger and more powerful.  In occult literature, this outcome is often perceived as undesirable, since the egregore will eventually reach a level of development where it can no longer be deconstructed; essentially, it ends up uncontrollable.  For example, Konstantinos, in Summoning Spirits (2005), argues: “Sometimes, creating an egregore can be dangerous…. the legend of the golem illustrates this possibility in an accurate, yet allegorical way…. I recommend…a very careful reading of the actual story before attempting this type of magickal creation.”[iii]   I would argue, however, that egregores do not necessarily become “bad” or “evil” entities, unless their creators are bad or evil men or women.  Indeed, I would contend that egregore can be more or less equivalent to the idoru that Gibson describes above, i.e. benign entities that are thoroughly real in every sense of the term except the physical, and which, in turn, evolve over time and actually “learn” and become more complex, viable beings.  In fact, these entities can ultimately become repositories of information which magickal practitioners, in turn, can access and experience, often as narrative, even though these latter practitioners did not create the entity and have no connection with it other than the basic connection of seeing or experiencing it.

As a case in point, consider H. P. Lovecraft’s Great Old One Cthulhu.  This is a fictional entity, created by Lovecraft in the tale “The Call of Cthulhu” (1926).  Over the years since Lovecraft’s death, Cthulhu and the other Great Old Ones have achieved a level of independent existence and surely, they have grown in power and complexity, drawing energy not only from the countless fans and readers of sci-fi and horror and contemporary gaming culture, but also from a small but dedicated group of magickal practitioners who work with these entities in their magickal rites.  In the popular mind, Cthulhu is usually perceived as being “evil”; he is seen as a monstrous, humanoid creature with wings, sharp claws and teeth, and a face full of tentacles.  But is Cthulhu really a monster such as this?  And is he necessarily evil?  I am not so sure. Like the rest of the Great Old Ones, Cthulhu is rarely interested in humans or human concerns; his interest in humanity is essentially no different than the interest that most humans have in lower, insignificant life forms such as insects.  This attitude might be considered “evil”, but only from a human perspective.  What I find most interesting about Cthulhu and his peers, however, is that they tend to appear differently depending on the perspective and the cognitive level of the person who “experiences” them.  In fact, like Gibson’s idoru, complex egregores such as the Great Old Ones are best understood as experiences, as nodal visions, and even, at times, as narratives that play out the individual minds and the psyches of the observers.  Lovecraft makes this clear right from the onset in “The Call of Cthulhu.”  When Cthulhu’s sunken city R’lyeh resurfaces due to a disturbance in the Pacific Ocean, Cthulhu, momentarily free, is perceived in different ways by a group of sailors: some of them see him as a monster, snatching them up in his claws; others see him as only a vague, overwhelming shape- “A mountain walked, or stumbled”, as Lovecraft puts it.  And one of the sailors perceives Cthulhu in geometrical terms, i.e. as an acute angle that behaves as if it were obtuse.

Clearly, the affinity between egregores and virtual entities such as Gibson’s idoru demonstrates just how close the line between magick and science is becoming in the 21st century.  Skilled magickal practitioners have always possessed the ability to create virtual beings; the presentation is akashic rather than electronic, but the principle is exactly the same.  Scientists, however, are only now in the process of learning how to do this.   This circumstance is a good thing, since it indicates that the two disciplines, science and magick, will eventually become one in a not so distant future, just as they were in a not so distant past.  And as technology finds ways to bridge- at least electronically- the gaps between different dimensions and the diversity of worlds inside and outside of our solar system, magick will have to be there to serve as a philosophical and metaphysical underpinning, helping the scientist/magickian to interpret and understand rightly the wondrous things that are waiting to be discovered.

[i] Gibson, William. Idoru. New York, Berkley Books, Inc., 229-30.

[ii] Ibid., 230.

[iii] Konstantinos. Summoning Spirits: The Art of Magical Evocation.  Woodbury, Minnesota. Llewellyn Publications, 2003, 5.


John L. Steadman is the author of H.P. Lovecraft and the Black Magickal Tradition, a scholar of H. P. Lovecraft and western occultism and has been a magickal practitioner for more than thirty years. He is currently a college English professor at Olivet College in Michigan.

Tarot and Astrology Travels in Italy

by Marcia Masino

There are some “must see” locations for the Tarot and Astrology enthusiast planning a trip to Italy. My suggested itinerary will take you to Florence, Milan and Bologna with a stop at Garavicchio in the Tuscan countryside to experience the world-famous Tarot sculpture garden. I’ve also included an excursion to the world’s most famous zodiac cathedral in the hills outside Florence in the “gotta go there” category along with a Tarot themed restaurant, museum and rare bookshop.

Italy is regarded as the birthplace of the Tarot. The first recognised Tarot decks were recorded between 1430 and 1450 in Milan, Ferrara and Bologna. The oldest surviving tarot cards are from the mid 15th century and painted for the Visconti-Sforza family, the rulers of Milan. Cards are documented in a written statement in the court records in Florence, in 1440 for the first known time.tarot-and-astrology-travels-in-italy

Tuscany and The Tarot Garden

The Garden of Tarot is a sculpture garden based on the 22 Major Arcana cards created by the French artist Niki de Saint Phalle. Location – In the Italian village of Capalbio located in Garavicchio in the Maremma countryside Tuscany. St Phalle, along with love and collaborator Jean Tinguely designed and produced this architectural and archetypal masterpiece.

The sculptures and dwellings are huge, modern, recognizable, trippy, thoughtful and playful. They were made from soldered steel covered with cement then decorated with mosaics of ceramic, mirror and glass. The artist resided inside and worked on her sculpture garden for over twenty years.

St. Phalle stated that her Tarot garden was inspired by a dream she had about creating a sculpture garden. Motivated by faith and her love for humanity, she saw the garden as an “esoteric stroll “and viewed the cards as philosophical trials of self awareness and connection with the Universe. For St. Phalle her large than life Tarot constructions created a direct encounter with the archetypal world and it’s potential to heal and transform those who interact with it.  It is truly a tour de Force and something the Tarot world has to celebrate from this incomparable Scorpio artist.

Address: Pescia Fiorentina, Capalbio (GR)Opening hours:1 April to 15 October from 2.30 to 7.30. Closed: Closed from 16 October to 31 March, one free Saturday per month in winter. Ticket Full euro 12,00, Reduced euro 7,00.

Florence – Il Tarrochi Restaurant

My favorite eatery in my neighborhood in Florence was, ironically, Il Tarocchi, or The Tarot. I received the first copy of the first Tarot book I wrote when I was living in Florence and we went there for a celebratory feast.  The restaurant has Tarot card paintings on the walls above the booths and good pizzas. Very authentic and you’ll find close-by Gelaterias  ( Gelato joints) too. I Tarocchi I tarocchivia dei Renai 12/14r.Florence 50125.

Hillsides of Florence- San Miniato al Monte

Known as the Medieval Astrological Church, with secret symbolism and mystical healing energy. The celebrated basilica was designed with underlying astrological context in 1018 – the 13th Century and is, some believe, dedicated to esoteric sun or solar healing. Think – The Sun Card and The Hierophant when you spend time there and of course the Three of Pentacles.

San Miniato’s relationship with the sun mysteries is profound and my advice is to visit with your head and your heart. The expected elements of arcane design are present in this space – the idea of the interplay of sunlight shafts that illuminate secret meaning within a sacred space through the use of occult symbolism only known to initiates, astrological characters, zodiac wheel and much more await your exploration. If you go with an open heart, you’ll feel the energy of the hermetic wisdom ensconced there and be touched by it.

One is greeted by a zodiac mosaic floor in the main entranceway of the church. A Latin inscription lies on the pavement nearby and when translated it states the time, date and names of the planets involved with a rare celestial event that the astrologically informed founders used for the date to set the mosaic onto the cathedral floor. It was a rare constellational astrological event of a new crescent Moon with the planets Venus, Mercury, Jupiter with Saturn hidden behind the Sun in the constellation of Taurus in May 1207. At sunrise in May the sunlight aligns with the Taurus sector on the zodiac pavement and illuminates it. For those who love an occult mystery this church is a must see.

Bologna – Tarot Book shop and museum. Museo Dei Tarocchi – Via Arturo Palmieri, 5 40047 RIOLA di Vergato, (Bologna) Italy.

Milan –  Tarot Museum Milan, il Meneghello Via Fara 12, 20124 Milano, Italy. Italian Artist Osvaldo Menegazzi has art, decks, rare items, and more at his shop. By appointment.

Best times for travel – April, May, September and October, avoid the summer months if possible. Each of the locations are places to savour so allow ample time to really engage with the energy each offers. You may find significant memories, dreams and thoughts are evoked by these very special locations and a second inspired visit may end up on the agenda.

Good Journeys or Viaggio Sicuro!


Marcia Masino is a certified Grandmaster of tarot and author of the tarot classic Easy Tarot Guide. She has lectured at numerous tarot conferences and is a popular speaker for the Lily Dale Assembly workshop program. Her articles on metaphysical subjects have appeared in Fate and on the Web at http://mmasino.wixsite.com/tarotbooks. She lives in Pickering, Ontario, Canada.

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