Keys to Perception: Practical Guide to Psychic Development by Ivo Dominguez Jr.

Ivo Dominguez, Jr. is well-known and highly respected in the pagan and Wiccan communities. He’s a founding member of Keepers of the Holly Chalice coven and an elder of the Assembly of the Sacred Wheel, a Wiccan tradition that syncretizes astrology, the Qabalah, and Western ceremonial magic. Dominguez is the author of several lauded texts– Practical Astrology for Witches and PagansSpirit Speak: Knowing and Understanding Spirit Guides, Ancestors, Ghosts, Angels, and the Divine, and Casting Sacred Space: The Core of All Magickal Work. His latest book is Keys to Perception: A Practical Guide to Psychic Development.

In Keys, Dominguez begins by stressing the importance of meditation to strengthen the power and acuity of the mind. A regular practice in meditation is the cornerstone of psychic perception. If sitting meditation is difficult for you, he suggests forms of walking meditation, tai chi, or qi gong, etc.

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Review of Travelling with Starlight Dragons by Steph Engert

The Starlight Dragons Tarot by Nora Huszka and Steph Engert was a deck that celebrated the power, magic, wisdom, and world mythology of dragons. You can read my past deck review here.

The subsequently released companion book, Travelling with Starlight Dragons written by Steph Engert now delves into using the deck as a shamaness, unveiling the association between serpents and dragons with the mythic, healing, and transformative powers wielded by the shamaness.

As early as the Paleolithic Age, about 40,000 years ago, the Great Mother goddess was associated with the serpent and dragon figure. (This reference becomes relevant when we get to the journey through the Majors in Starlight Dragon…)

For ages on after in many regions of the world, dragons signified the Divine, from the Rainbow Serpent of Australian aborigine cultures to the Naga in Hindu and Buddhist traditions, and association between the dragon and female deities in occidental civilizations.

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Tarot Correspondences by T. Susan Chang

This book is such a must-have. Those of you who’ve been following along in my orientation video series for Spirit Keeper’s Tarot will have seen that I recommended Tarot Correspondences as the tarot book to get if you want to work with correspondence systems.

Chang’s Tarot Correspondences is tailored to all levels of tarot proficiency, whether you’ve “been reading for decades” or “you just picked up your first deck,” (as noted in the Introduction). “Correspondences,” she writes, “are patterns and connections inherited from esoteric systems. In tarot, correspondences line up with specific cards.”

Working with tarot correspondences is premised on the doctrine of sympathy, a Hermetic principle that the way one system goes with the other is part and parcel to the magic that happens. Correspondences, notes Chang, are the bridge between worlds. And I couldn’t agree with her more.

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Labyrinth: Your Path to Self Discovery by Tony Christie – Book Review

A year ago from this day, in fact on the anniversary exactly, I posted a review of the Labyrinth Wisdom oracle cards by Tony Christie. That oracle deck remains as one of my favorites. They’re powerful and insightful for personal readings and great as an addendum or clarifying reading to a professional tarot session with a client. Now I get the pleasure of reviewing the companion book to Labyrinth Wisdom— Labryinth: Your Path to Self Discovery.

The first line of the Introduction hooked me instantly: “In life you experience a series of doorways, gateways, and openings to love, light, and wisdom that, if taken, will bring you to a higher state of existence.”

I’ve always been fascinated by the metaphor of the labyrinth and the rich history that it comes with, so I have read many books on the subject that I can compare with Christie’s. In that comparison, Christie’s book comes out on top. The explanatory power that these 267 pages plus an extensive bibliography for further reading is just incredible. If this is a topic that intrigues you the way it does for me, get Labryinth. It will deepen your knowledge and understanding of the subject area.

We begin with clear definitions of what a labyrinth is, types of labyrinths, and its origins. The labyrinth, in short, is a symbol of your journey in life with its twists and turns as you make your way toward your personal center. It can also be used as a form of divination meets walking meditation: journey through a labyrinth with a specific question in mind, and the labyrinth takes on the symbolic meaning of that question.

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Creative Divination: Reading Tea Leaves by Tabitha Dial – Book Review

Tea leaf reading (or palmistry, can’t really determine which of the two) is probably the first form of divination I was exposed to as a child. For many personal-shadow reasons, I’ve always rejected it and shirked from any interest in learning more about it, but recently I set the goal to learn and Tabitha Dial’s Creative Divination: Read Tea Leaves & Develop Your Personal Code has been an incredible introduction to the art.

Dial herself comes from a creative writing background and is a poet, which is evident in how well-written and organized this text is. Among independently published books in this field, this is one of the more polished and professionally designed.

She begins by distinguishing her approach to tea leaf reading from a more folksy fortune telling approach. This book sets forth an approach she calls Creative Divination, which is “related to fortune telling, but arguably more of an exercise in reflection and self-improvement.” Creatives, such as artists and writers, share many traits with psychics and diviners, and Creative Divination taps in to that common denominator process.

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Pamela Colman Smith: The Untold Story

Pamela Colman Smith: The Untold Story is the most comprehensive, devotional, and poignant tribute to Pamela “Pixie” Colman Smith we’ll see this century. It’s a magnificent treatise and homage no tarot lover will want to miss. Co-authored by Stuart Kaplan, Mary K. Greer, Elizabeth Foley O’Connor, and Melinda Boyd Parsons, The Untold Story is the sum total of knowledge, research, data, and documents we have on the artist behind the Rider-Waite-Smith tarot deck and her works.

Perhaps its greatest accomplishment is how it has brought Pamela Colman Smith to life. You’ll get to know her life and works, her family, her art, her interests, her personal spirituality, her quirks, and her multifaceted personality. Her words, through letters and the articles and stories she penned, reveal an animated, unconventional, extraordinary woman.

The first quarter of the book, “Pamela’s Life,” is authored by Elizabeth Foley O’Connor, an academic researcher who is writing the literary biography of Pamela Colman Smith.

Corinne Pamela Colman Smith, who went by the nickname “Pixie,” defied so many social norms, it’s hard to keep count. The more you read about her, the more impressed you get.

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Grimoire Inspiration: The Wooden Books Series

By far my favorite source of inspiration for my grimoire comes from the Wooden Books series published by Bloomsbury. I have the four-book set shown above, which I like to keep displayed out on a coffee table in our living room.

I reach for these books often and you’ll see why once you peek inside the page spreads. One of the questions I get asked the most is about my grimoire or personal book of methods/book of shadows.  I’ve given my thoughts into how you might structure and organize your grimoire here (How to Create Your Grimoire: Inspiration From One Approach) and you can check out a three-video series I did for the 2017 YouTube Pagan Challenge where I share the pages of my own private book.

Each one of these four books informs my grimoire work in a different and valuable way. You can click on the photos in this post for the enlarged 1200 pixel-side image file for a closer viewing. I’m hoping these few snapshots already start to generate amazing ideas and inspiration for you.

Designa I use to inspire decorative borders, ornamentation, and just the design elements in my grimoire pages. If you’ve ever seen a flip-through of my book and now see these page spreads from Designa, you’re going to see the influence for sure.

What I most love about using these books for inspiration is not just the design elements, but the explanatory entries as well. That way I’m informed about the design elements I’m using and I can use them with intention and significance. Everything in my grimoire is meaningful to me and symbolic, and much of that capacity comes from consulting these books.

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King Billy and the Royal Road: Tarot-Inspired Children’s Book

King Billy and the Royal Road by R. C. Ajounuma and published in the UK by SilverWood Books is endearing. The book is written in poetic form, triplet line stanzas with an AAB CCB rhyme scheme. You’ll also find a lot of slant rhymes, or near-rhymes. Here’s how the book starts:

A trumpet blew loud,
Like a call from a cloud,
And Billy awoke with a start!

He looked overhead,
Then under his bed,
In search of the source of the blast.

I see the Judgment card, what about you? The narrative of the poem follows Billy, a young boy who awakens with an aspiration, cannot fulfill it at home, and so journeys outdoors in search of what he’s looking for. Won’t give away what it is he’s looking for. It’s cute, though.

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Llewellyn’s 2018 Tarot Calendar

Llewellyn has just come out with its Tarot Calendar for 2018 and it is a thing of majesty. Tarot nerds, enthusiasts, and aficionados: rejoice! This is your monthly calendar that you’re going to want hung up on your wall at home or in your reading space. It’s simply marvelous.

The calendar features cards from so many tempting decks that just gives the calendar such magic. It’s vibrant, well-produced, and after 2018 has gone and passed, you’ll want to hold on to your calendar for memory’s sake.

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Book Review: The Fortune Teller by Gwendolyn Womack

Gwendolyn Womack’s The Fortune Teller, which was released earlier last week (June, 2017), is one of my favorite novels to make reference to tarot. It is the story of a woman who unlocks her heritage as a seer, tracing her roots back to ancient Alexandria, and in doing so, reveals the origins of the tarot.

We follow the characters across many continents, countries, time periods, and delightfully, historic figures and fictional interact. Tarot enthusiasts of all stripes will enjoy this novel and I highly recommend that you add it to your summer reading list.

Spoiler Alert: In this review I’ll highlight the key features of the novel and what I loved about it, though in doing so, may give away a couple of spoilers. I promise it won’t take away from the ending or the enjoyment of reading this book for yourself.

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