Our October Titles Are Here!

Our October titles are here!


Swimming with Elephants

Sarah Seidelmann

“A fascinating, amusing, and wise account of how someone born with a shaman’s predilections, raised in a rationalist culture, finds her way back to her true self.” —Martha BeckNew York Times bestselling author of Expecting Adam

“From the lakes of Minnesota to the Ganges River in India, Sarah Seidelmann’s transformative journey from MD to shamanic healer is a refreshingly honest and very funny tale of spiritual growth.” —Matt Adrian, author of The Guide to Troubled Birds

“This is an exceedingly vulnerable, beautifully written book and the most genuine spiritual memoir I have ever read. It is also–in many hilarious moments–laugh out loud funny.” —Maria Bamford, Comedian and star of Netflix Original Series Lady Dynamite

“I LOVED THIS BOOK. Sarah takes us on an intimate tour of the hero’s journey. She’s a brilliant storyteller…making sense of the baffling journey from the ordinary world into the mystical and back again. I didn’t want it to end.” —MeiMei FoxNew York Times bestselling author

Swimming with Elephants tells the eccentric, sometimes poignant, and occasionally hilarious experience of a working mother undergoing a bewildering vocational shift from physician to shamanic healer. During that tumultuous time of answering her call, Seidelmann took a variety of pilgrimages, both metaphysical and real, to ultimately discover an entirely different way of helping people heal—one she had longed for.

(Conari Press)


Attitudes of Gratitude

M.J. Ryan

“I’m thankful to Mary Jane Ryan because her candid and story-filled book reminds me to return to my heart-the home of gratitude- and consequently, enhances my connection with all that is wonderful and wise around and within me.” —Sue Patton Thoele, bestselling author of Woman’s Book of Courage and Courage to be Yourself

“Exquisitely reconnects us to the wonder and satisfaction which can be found in our daily lives….A delightful book for anyone who wants to focus on the joy and satisfaction in their everyday life.” —Judy Ford, author of Wonderful Ways to Love a Child

Gratitude is a simple, life-changing practice. Taking time to notice and reflect upon the good things restores us to the place where we see what’s right instead of wrong, opening our hearts to happiness. In a series of brief essays, M.J. Ryan illuminates the many gifts that gratitude bestows on us and offers a number of ways to practice it.

(Conari Press)

 


The Weiser Book of Occult Detectives

Edited and Introduced by Judika Illes

“Timely and elegant; spooky and intriguing; and highly recommended for both readers and writers interested in the great beyond, The Weiser Book of Occult Detectives is an amazing collection of stories, sure to delight any reader interested in mysteries in general, and the supernatural and occult in particular. But writers of such fiction have much to learn here as well. This compilation will be your go to read for excellence in occult mysteries for years to come.” —J.T. EllisonNew York Times bestselling author of Field of Graves and Lie To Me

“Judika Illes has compiled an amazing collection of occult detective stories, mining some of the best paranormal mysteries the early twentieth century had to offer. Whether you are new to the genre or a lifelong fan, The Weiser Book of Occult Detectives: 13 Stories of Supernatural Sleuthing is a collection you absolutely cannot do without.” —Bob Freeman, The Occult Detective, author of Shadows Over Somerset, Keepers of the Dead, and The Liber Monstrorum series

“Read The Weiser Book of Occult Detectives when you find yourself slumped over your own desk, your typewriter teeth glaring at you and your lamplight flickering in disgust at your writer’s block. Not only will you find inspiration, you will get so lost in the pages that you will forget all about your own dying novel and instead try your hand at solving a mystery by any means possible. Any. Means. Necessary.” —Varla Ventura, author of Fairies, Pookas & Changelings

“Settle in for a riveting read!” —Rosemary Ellen Guiley, author of The Encyclopedia of Ghosts and Spirits

This is a compilation of vintage occult detective stories, written by masters of the genre including Arthur Conan Doyle, Algernon Blackwood, Dion Fortune, Helena Blavatsky, and more. The stories star both female and male sleuths exploring mysteries or using their own supernatural gifts to solve crimes.  The mysteries they tackle include murder, missing funds, demons, ghosts, vampires, and more.

(Weiser Books)


Santa Muerte

Tracey Rollin

“Tracey Rollin’s very well written book Santa Muerte: The History, Rituals, and Magic of Our Lady of the Holy Death avoids a dogmatic approach to Santa Muerte. The author, who hails from New Mexico, where Doña Sebastiana, Lady Death, presaged Santa Muerte, incorporates more research on Santa Muerte than other books aimed at devotees.” –Professor R. Andrew Chesnut, author of Devoted to Death: Santa Muerte, the Skeleton Saint

“Rollin does an amazing, non-judgmental job of relating the stories of Santa Muerte, but also gives the reader the practical goods on how to work with this powerful folk saint combining both traditional and modern ways of working with her.” ─Andrieh Vitimus, author of Hands-On Chaos Magic and podcast host of Deeper Down the Rabbit Hole

“This book brings together two important perspectives of both a historical and magico-religious worldview without alienating either one. A valuable contribution to this area of study.” ─Tony Kail, author of Santa Muerte: Mexico’s Mysterious Saint of Death and A Secret History of Memphis Hoodoo: Rootworkers, Conjurers, and Spirituals

“Tracey Rollin does an excellent job of laying out and explaining Santa Muerte. If you want the authoritative book on Santa Muerte, this is the book to read.” ─Taylor Ellwood, author of Pop Culture Magic Systems

Considered the female personification of death and matron saint of the marginalized, Santa Muerte is associated with protection and safe passage to the afterlife. Santa Muerte is a complete ritual guide to working with this famous—and infamous!—Mexican folk saint. It takes readers beyond the sensational headlines to reveal why Santa Muerte is so beloved by so many.

(Weiser Books)


Meister Eckhart’s Book of the Heart

Jon M. Sweeney and Mark S. Burrows

“In reading Meister Eckhart’s Little Book of the Heart, it again came to mind why I am so drawn to the poetry of Rumi, Hafiz, and Kabir. There is revelation in this book by Burrows and Sweeney. I sincerely feel it will help one look deeper into the eyes of the Christ and know more of God’s knowledge and love.” —Daniel Ladinsky, international bestselling author of I Heard God Laughing, A Year with Hafiz, Love Poems from God, and other books of poetry

“In the ecstatic spirit of Rumi and Hafiz, Meister Eckhart’s words dance and invite the reader into an intimate encounter with the divine. Reading these poems sets the heart ablaze and the spirit soaring.” –Christine Valters Paintner, PhD, author of The Artist’s Rule: Nurturing Your Creative Soul with Monastic Wisdom

“I think Mark Burrows and Jon Sweeney achieve something quite rare and wonderful here. They make Eckhart clear, concise, and very compelling!” —Richard Rohr, OFM, bestselling author of Falling Upward, Breathing Under Water, and many other books

“If for many of us a dose of Meister Eckhart is like a morning pot of coffee, this concentrated and poetic reduction is like a book full of double espresso shots — each is about as much as you can take in and metabolize in a day.” —Brother Paul Quenon, Abbey of Gethsemani, author of Unquiet Vigil

Here is a stunning and fresh rendering of one of Christianity’s greatest poetic and spiritual voices.  This book conveys the heart of Eckhart’s teachings on what it means to love God and embark on an authentic spiritual journey; a journey characterized by mystery, paradox, and an embrace of the unknown.  Its message will resonate with spiritual seekers of many traditions.

(Hampton Roads Publishing)


Tarot, Plain & Simple

Leanna Greenaway

Tarot has been a popular form of divination for centuries. This guide brings tarot into the 21st century, making the card meanings relevant and easy to understand and follow for contemporary seekers. Mastering the art of reading the cards has never been easier or more accessible. Included are various card groups for interpretation, focusing mainly on the Celtic cross spread.

(Hampton Roads Publishing)


The Magical Art of Crafting Charm Bags

Elhoim Leafar

 “The Magical Art of Crafting Charm Bags is well resourced with easy to follow instructions. I will keep it as a companion and I suggest you do the same. It’s a must-have for all practitioners of the magickal arts. I love it.” – Lady Rhea, author of The Enchanted Candle and The Enchanted Formulary.

“The Magical Art of Crafting Charm Bags blends multiple cultures into a working system of magical potency. It is a useful grimoire and reference for any magical practitioner. Within its pages, you can learn to put magic in the palm of your hand.” – Adam Sartwell, co-founder of the Temple of Witchcraft and award-winning author of Twenty-one Days of Reiki and The Blessing Cord.

Elhoim Leafar has created a beautiful, empowering, and immensely accessible manual for crafting charm bags.  I enjoyed using charm bags before, but after reading The Magical Art of Crafting Charm Bags, I absolutely adore them!” –  Michael Butler Smith, shamanic witch and author of Embracing Isis: A Witch’s Guide to the Great Goddess.

“. Easy to understand and full of interesting details, The Magical Art of Crafting Charm Bags is a great guide for the beginner, but will also provide the seasoned practitioner with new perspectives on the art of making one of the most beloved forms of spells that folk-magic has to offer.” –—Storm Faerywolf, author of Betwixt and Between: Exploring the Faery Tradition of Witchcraft

“If you are looking for ways to improve and expand your magick this is the book for you” —Lilith Dorsey, author of Love Magic.

Charm bags may be the most popular style of amulet or talisman in the world today, but the strongest amulets are those you make yourself.  In this clear, focused book of practical magic are over 100 formulas to create bags intended for various purposes including love, luck, success, happiness, health, wealth, protection, prosperity, and the attainment of goals and desires.

(Weiser Books)


The After Death Chronicles

Annie Mattingley

“Annie Mattingley is the author of a wonderful new book I recommend highly called The After Death Chronicles. Her work offers a collection of different types of personal accounts from people who have experienced convincing communication of one kind or another with deceased loved ones. It is a terrific contribution to the growing body of increasingly credible evidence that our consciousness does indeed continue after death.” – Raymond Moody, MD, PhD, author of Life After Life

“This book is a real treasure, one that will surely bring comfort and reassurance to those who are grieving the loss of a loved one, those facing terminal illness, those seeking greater spiritual insight and people everywhere who yearn for more insight about the transcendent meaning of death.” – John R. Audette, MS, CEO & Co-Founder, Eternea.org and Founder of The International Association for Near-Death Studies

The After Death Chronicles is a must read for anyone who has lost a loved one. And quite frankly, that’s nearly all of us. The information in this book provides solace and a great deal of hope. It’s medicine for the soul.” – Christiane Northrup, MD, New York Times bestselling author of Goddesses Never Age

“You don’t read this book, you savor it: every morsel of it, every tear, every laugh, every pulse-pounding story from people so real you feel yourself akin to them.” – P.M.H. Atwater, L.H.D. Near-Death Researcher and experiencer, author of A Manuel for Developing Humans, Future Memory, Near-Death Experiences: The Rest of the Story and Dying to Know You: Proof of God in the Near-Death Experiences

The After Death Chronicles reminds us that our task is simply to be present for these encounters and allow ourselves to harvest countless gifts from beyond the veil.” – Mirabai Starr, translator of Dark Night of the Soul: John of the Cross and author of Caravan of No Despair: A Memoir

The book begins with the story of Annie’s dead daughter appearing to her in the early morning hours. The experience was so transformative, Annie began to share it with others and discovered she was not alone. Featuring over 80 accounts from people across the country who have received communication from deceased loved ones, this book inspires reassurance, courage, and healing.

(Hampton Roads Publishing)


Inhale, Exhale, Repeat

Emma Mills

We’re living faster, working harder, and often so busy we forget to sit back, close our eyes, and just breathe. Inspired by meditation and mindfulness, neuroscience, and insights from literature, Mills guides the reader through the course of a single day, with easy tips, meditations, recipes, literary recommendations, and practical takeaways easily completed within minutes to restore calm and focus.

(Conari Press)

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It’s Ragged and Messy, But It Works: Daily Spiritual Practice in Praxis

A daily practice: A personal ritual performed each day to find peace, grounded and possibly increase Magickal ability.

I know people who swear their daily Magickal practice is the first thing they do in the morning. Some swear their practice takes two hours or more. Some say everyone should meditate daily for thirty minutes; an hour if they’re extra busy.

To quote Amy Poehler, “Good for them. Not for me.”

I wasn’t sure I was the right author for this topic. My practice is a daily, clunky attempt to settle my messy mind and find just enough enlightenment to keep from being a jerk-face most of the time. And the uglier truth is that it isn’t even a daily practice.

But an emergency revealed that I might be doing something right. For me, anyway.

It’s Ragged and Messy, But It Works Daily Spiritual Practice in Praxis

Wednesday was an important day.  I was supposed to rent a giant van in Queens and drive it to my Manhattan workplace, where I would pick up ten women and drive them to a retreat upstate. I was driving on the Major Deegan which, in the best of times, requires the focus and patience of the pious High Sparrow, but the aggression and fury of the Hound so other Hound-minded drivers get the hell out of my way when I need to merge (#gameofthrones). I was in the center lane and traffic was manic, bordering on chaotic. And that’s when the soul of the van’s engine puttered away to Heaven.

I was alone. People were waiting for me. And there I was, coasting in unwitting neutral through traffic on one of the toughest freeways in New York City.

Yay.

We were talking about daily practices?

Spiritual work must be crafted, shaped and strengthened. Like our physical muscles, they must be worked consistently. When I go to my altar, I list my worries as though laying them at the feet of my Gods. I don’t expect that a single prayer will dissolve them. I don’t try to fix everything in one night. My only goal is to give myself enough peace in the moment so that I can sleep that night.

But my goal is not only to make myself feel better. As a white, middle-class cis-woman, I have a ridiculous amount of privilege. My daily practice can’t only be about lifting myself up. I want my spiritual practice to make me aware of myself and myself in relation to others. How can I be the best, kindest, and most compassionate version of myself each day?

I wasn’t consciously thinking about my daily practice when the van’s dashboard warning lights went off and the engine shut down, yet both must have already had a firm place in my psyche.  I didn’t pray to my Gods or my Spirit guides when I turned on the hazard lights and nudged my dying vehicle’s way through three lanes of maniacal traffic. The nearest exit was an onramp to an even more maniacal freeway and a highly undesirable place to pull over, but still I just focused on the next step: getting to as reasonable safety as possible. I did it. The rental car company had troubled pin-pointing my location. Several tow truck companies refused to come because I was in a ‘restricted area.’ The nearest refuge was a shady-looking strip club. It was hot and I didn’t trust the engine to keep the AC running. Yet, I remained calm. There was a solution. I needed only to be aware enough to see it when it came.

Me staying calm in the broken-down van!
Me staying calm in the broken-down van!

When I finally met up with my traveling companions, a colleague asked me how I didn’t break down crying. I wondered, too. But in reflection, I credit my (almost) daily practice. Years before, I probably would have panicked and screamed at everyone who tried to help me. But the practice on awareness gave me the grounded focus to be aware of solutions instead of being panicked by problems.

Even after all of that, I still felt centered enough to drive the women in a new van two hours north to the retreat.  

I believe the key to a good daily practice is avoid making it contingent on any “thing” in particular. If you must have quiet, focus, time, and space, your daily practice will suffer. Having an altar dedicated to personal spiritual practice is a gift and certainly helpful, it shouldn’t be dependent on that. I’m thankful to have my altar space, but I haven’t always it. I know of several people with little space and/or privacy who hold their daily practice in the bathroom. Sometimes I don’t have the time or energy to do much more than repeat an incantation of, “I will be kind, today. I will be aware, today” during my morning shower.

I pray for the people I’ve hurt, particularly if making amends would be even more hurtful. I pray for the people I’m angry at. I remember what’s out of my control and surrender it. Most of all, I pray for awareness.

The daily practice is more than how much time we spend meditating or how gracious our prayers can be. Like the strength that comes through lifting weights or flowing through vinyasas, our daily practices prepare us to take on the tougher parts of this journey with grace, kindness, and humility. There was a time when me just getting on the Major Deegan would have triggered a screaming, raging, sob-fest. This time, my daily practice clicked into the driver’s seat. I practiced awareness of the other cars and of a safe place to pull over and an eventual solution. If I’d panicked on the freeway, I could have injured others or myself. If I’d lost my temper with the rental car company, I would have delayed help and just made or ruined someone else’s day. Instead, when I finally met my worried traveling companions a few hours later, I was dancing.

It’s ragged and messy and far from whatever ideal exists. But it worked for me when I needed it most.


Courtney Weber is a Wiccan priestess, writer, Tarot advisor, and activist. A Tarot reader with over 20 years’ experience, Courtney produced and designed Tarot of the Boroughs, a modern tarot deck set in New York City, composed of original photography. She is the author of Brigid (Weiser Books, 2015) and the forthcoming Tarot For One (Weiser Books, Nov 2016). She has been published on Huffington PostThe Wild Hunt, in Circle Times magazine, and elsewhere.

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Meditation Makes You Smarter

by Peter Panagore

There is no perfection in meditation there is only practice. Meditation has practical and measurable benefits. 21st-century science has caught up with this five thousand year old practice that first spread to our western world in the 20th-century. The measurables include a thickened frontal lobe and cognitive improvements in memory function among the elderly after short-term practice.*

Meditation makes you smarter. For thousands of years the psychological and spiritual benefits of meditation have been experienced and documented in the east. These psychological benefits include reduced stress, anxiety, depression, irritability and moodiness, and increased creativity, intelligence, learning ability, moral reasoning, memory, feelings of vitality and rejuvenation, emotional control, self-esteem and alertness, and improved relationships and concentration. Spiritual meditation opens your temple inner door, again, and again and again. Your temple leads to the inner courtyard of God.

Your heart is a temple of God and meditation opens your temple door. Have you ever wanted what the Near-Death Experiences have? The knowing? Knowing comes with seeing the inner courtyard, but meditation is the nearest door to the door of death inside your temple. This inner door, this inner temple already exists in every one, inside of you and me, and meditation is a key that opens that door.

Meditation Makes You Smarter

There is no perfection in meditation, there is only practice. The idea of perfection and the difficulty of controlling the mind stops too many people from practice. It is not about success or perfection. It is about practice, showing up, day after day for fifteen minutes. You have fifteen minutes, don’t you? Meditation has been handed down, taught and practiced, for the last 175 generations, essentially unchanged with limited large school variations. The human brains of homosapiens haven’t changed a whole lot in 5,000 years. Humans, people like you and me, tend to only do what works, because we are practical in that way. If it works we keep it; if it doesn’t, we throw it out. Meditation is handed down because it actively, and now measurably, helps with living a better life.

My Catholic School religion teacher, in the spring of my senior year, taught one class on the day after he returned from learning meditation in a nearby Trappist monastery. They’d been tuning up their practice by studying with Shunryū Suzuki also called Suzuki Roshi. He was a zen monk who popularized meditation in the west.

Back when I began my daily practice, in 1977, the bully boys began calling me “peace Panagore” because in American culture, back then, meditation was considered woo woo, crazy man, and nutso! None of that mattered to me, because the benefits of my daily practice of meditation accrued quickly, steadily and remained steadfastly. What matters most in meditation is showing up daily. It does not matter if your meditation works today or does not work today. What matters is the practice and with practice comes mastery. This is true of guitar playing and mathematics. Those 10,000 hours of practice that lead to mastery, as named and popularized by Malcom Gladwell, work for mediation, too.

I don’t expect perfection in my practice. Some days, some weeks, my mind is wild, and if I have three breaths of single mindedness, of inner stillness, of silence, of being the quietude, and sitting in the peace, then all of my meditations are successful, because of that one day. And that one moment of timeless stillness, peace and silence, arrives often enough, with practice. The brain grows stronger and the frontal lobe thickens making meditation easier. It is physiological. Why does the frontal lobe thicken? It thickens because that is the location of your language, it is therefore the location of your chant, of your prayer, of your practice. Your third eye. Your pineal gland. Your sixth and purple chakra. “The eye wherein I see God, God sees me,” wrote Meister Ekhart. The single eye, said Jesus.

Peter Panagore in zazen in 1986.
Peter Panagore in zazen in 1986.

The frontal lobe is where your single-mindedness begins. All you must do to begin is begin, and begin tomorrow again, and then daily. One breath at a time, holding your word, your sentence, your mantra, you chant on top of your breath, and breath. Focus your mind and breathe to your words. When your mind wanders, do not fight, just return to your breath and chant. I chant the ancient Jesus prayer. As prayer, meditation opens wider your inner channel, making you a more open and empty vessel, and lets the Light in and through. Meditation is ungrasping all things by holding one thing. It strips oneself of oneself, and let’s God in.

Meditation works as an access door for atheists and for believers, but added for believers is the opening of inner temple door. Why does it open the door for believers? Belief in God gives you the key. Why? I don’t know. It just does, and sometimes, meditation spontaneously opens the temple door to a much surprised atheist, too. That inner peace is real and God loves us all.


Peter Baldwin Panagore earned his BA in English from the University of Massachusetts and a M. Div from Yale University. He was ordained in the United Church of Christ and served churches in suburban Connecticut and Maine. He is the writer, on-air talent, and host of a daily two-minute broadcast on Tenga in Maine, reaching an audience of 350,000 a week. He is the fifth minister of First Radio Parish Church of America (founded in 1926). Visit him at www.dailydevotions.org.

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Sources

* http://www.npr.org/2010/12/15/132078267/neurotheology-where-religion-and-science-collide

A Q&A with Jen Madson, author of ‘Head to Heart’

Jen Madson, author of  Head to Heart, answers some very interesting questions about the book!

What prompted you to write this book?

I was inspired to write Head T9781573245982o Heart shortly after I published my last book, Living The Promises, which is a collection of meditations for people in recovery from addiction. I received tremendously positive feedback not only from the recovery community, but also from people who aren’t addicts or alcoholics, who really benefited from the tips on mindfulness that I shared in that book. I felt really compelled then to write my next book of meditations, for a general audience, on mindfulness moments for every day life.

How do you define “awakening”?

Awakening” isn’t a one-time occurrence, although moments of clear realization can feel quite sudden.

Awakening is a process; a gradual awareness; a growing insight which must be cultivated to be sustained.

Awakening to a new idea or way of being is usually a mixture of poetic consideration and practical application.

How does one “successfully” meditate?
So many people struggle with meditation because they believe it’s about clearing your mind of all thoughts. It’s not about “no thought,” but the practice of calming your mind – through breath work and pointed focus – so that you can observe your thoughts, and no longer chase and indulge them.

What are the benefits of meditation?
The greatest benefit of meditation for me has been the ability to detach from all the hopes and fears that threaten to wear me out if I get too attached to them. It gives me a tranquility of mind and clarity of insight with which to understand how to be most peaceful and most helpful, the best I can, on any given day.

Do you have to practice meditation and awakening every day for your life to improve?
The good news is, once you learn the basics of meditation from a sitting practice, you can easily use those tools – of detachment, discernment, and compassion – “on the move,” in your every day life. Then it becomes a way of daily life, and because of the joy and calm that comes from it, you begin to want to meditate and awaken.

What do you hope is the impact of writing and publishing this book?
This book is my contribution to world peace – one entry at a time, one reader at a time, hopefully the world over, I want people to have simple tools for being more mindful in their thoughts, words, and deeds, and therefore more helpful to others and themselves.

If someone followed the instructions in your book very diligently for one year, what could they expect to accomplish?
I wrote the book during a time of great loss and transition, so I literally had to practice what I preached every single day, and a year later, I came away with a greater sense of peace, purpose, and compassion than I had ever felt before, which is what I believe can happen for others who diligently follow the book’s suggestions.

Checksums

Exercise 2.2. Checksums

“In computer engineering, checksums are information computed from digital data and used to compare results and identify accidental errors or corruptions that might have crept in during transmission or storage of the data. We use the term for an internal checklist that you can use to make sure when you leave the seat of the seer, you’re the same person as the one on your driver’s license. Reverse the pro­cedure you used to go into trance, breathing more quickly, moving fingers and toes, lowering psychic shields, withdrawing awareness to the boundaries of your body once more. As you develop your skills as an oracle, pay attention to your health and feelings. Not feeling like your “usual self” after trance work may indicate a prob­lem. If you develop disturbed sleep, fatigue, emotional instability or illness you may need to step back or slow down.”

—From Diana L. Paxson’s The Way of the Oracle