In Episode #29 of “Bell Chimes In,” I talk about the Saturn Return. I also make reference to the Decisive Age and how it may relate to your Saturn Return. (What is a Decisive Age? Find out more here.)
A Saturn Return is a period of time, typically within a year, when the transiting or present Saturn’s positioning is at the same degree in the same zodiac sign as it was in at the moment of your birth. In other words, if Saturn was positioned at 3° in Capricorn when you were born, and currently Saturn is at 3° in Capricorn, then you, my friend, are in the throes of one of your Saturn Returns. Typically, there are three: the First Saturn Return, the Second Saturn Return, and your Third Saturn Return.
For the general population (there are a few astrological exceptions, which I get into in the video), Saturn can create a large weight or obstacle that holds you back. People cross a major threshold in their lives during a Saturn Return. You’ll hear astrologers talk about the First Saturn Return as a coming-of-age, when the process of growth may be difficult, but is the necessary rite of passage that must be crossed in every person’s life path.
I love watching videos of people sharing their deeply personal experiences with deities of different pantheons and what those experiences have meant to them, so now I’m sharing one of my own. =)
We’ve arrived at our final installment of the “Bell Chimes In” series for 2017. For those of you who’ve watched all 18 episodes, thank you so much for coming along on this journey with me. As I close out the year of venturing into the terrain of YouTube (I know I am no pioneer on this front, but it was for sure an unfamiliar and new adventure for me), I should probably share with you why I ventured out in the first place: the Lady of the Ninth Heaven.
For those who follow the blog, you’ll know that I had been releasing the Writing and Publishing Nonfiction course module by module. This post provides all five modules of the course on one easy-access page.
In this five-module multi-media course, learn about writing and publishing nonfiction books in the spirituality, New Age, occult, metaphysical, or mind-body-spirit categories. Through audio lectures, handouts, and workbooks, this course is a wealth of resources and information that the aspiring author must have in his or her arsenal. Learn how to get started on your book writing aspiration, how to establish an author platform, how to finish your book, how to prepare a book proposal, all about both traditional publishing and self-publishing, and how to promote and sell your book.
In this workbook-centered course, I’ll cover the writing and publishing process of nonfiction books and impart what I know about both traditional and independent (self) publishing. The focus will be on nonfiction under the Spirituality category. That includes books on New Age, New Thought, alternative religions, and esoteric or occult topics. However, the core of the course content applies to any nonfiction book that is seeking either placement with a small to medium size publisher or through print-on-demand channels. We will also cover basic legal knowledge, from author-publisher contracts and entity formation for independent publishers to intellectual property law, which every author should be familiar with.
The course material will be multi-media in format, but focused on the workbooks that will guide you from outlining your idea for a nonfiction book to querying traditional publishers, preparing your manuscript for independent publishing and even marketing and promotions.
To provide an aspiring author with insights into publishing nonfiction books in the Spirituality category and the day-to-day logistics of finishing your manuscript
To provide an insider view of both traditional and self-publishing
To provide an aspiring author with the beginner tools needed to complete a first manuscript and take it to publication, either by traditional or independent channels
To get personal and share my thoughts and experiences from an insider’s perspective
To be realistic, and give you real information and hard numbers, not the glossed-over, polished, and exaggerated fluff you often get from would-be insiders
About Your Instructor
benebell wen is the author of Holistic Tarot: An Integrative Approach to Using Tarot for Personal Growth (North Atlantic Books, 2015) and The Tao of Craft: Fu Talismans and Casting Sigils in the Eastern Esoteric Traditions (North Atlantic Books, forthcoming September 27, 2016). Wen has also served as the editor-in-chief and managing editor of various literary journals, assisted authors with line-editing, formatting, and releasing self-published books in the categories of spirituality and religion, and has represented independent artists and writers in both the traditional and self-published categories. Wen is also a full-time practicing corporate attorney who specializes in business organizations, business law, corporate mergers and acquisitions, venture capital, and intellectual property law.
AUD = Audio File (M4A)
COMM = Commentary (PDF)
WBK = Workbook (DOCX, PDF)
HDT = Handout (PDF, DOCX, XLSX)
WEB = Website Reference (LINK)
Note: Whenever possible, work off the DOCX file, not the PDF.Sometimes the conversion from my original DOCX file to PDF causes the PDF to look a bit wonky. The PDF is provided here just as a backup, in case you want a quick view for reference (since they load more efficiently on a computer or smartphone than DOCX files).
Module I: Introduction
Let’s start at the very beginning.
Module 1 is an introduction to the world of publishing nonfiction books in the New Age and Spirituality category. Let’s start by talking about you and what you want. Workbook A covers the elements of successful nonfiction and walks you through prompts to help you establish a strong foundation for your book. We’ll talk about what it is exactly you want to say through your book and who you want to say it to, or your target audience. We’ll also cover current trends and together, reach important deductions about the authors publishing in this market category. Even at this early stage, you need to be thinking about your author platform. Workbook B will help you brainstorm and build your author platform. Handout 1 dovetails on Workbook B that walks you through the process of structuring, preparing for, and organizing public speaking engagements to help you establish your author platform.
There are four audio files that consist of lectures (total play time just shy of 40 minutes), two workbooks, and supplementary handouts. Follow the work in the order noted below.
Module 2 helps you grow your seed of a book idea and walks you through the process of nurturing that seed to full bloom, achieving a completed book manuscript. Let me tell you how I managed to stay on track and finish my books while working full-time and tending to family responsibilities. Let’s talk about the daily grind. How do you structure the chapters of your book? How do you schedule your weeks to make sure you get your target writing done? What are some of my personal tips and tricks? The handouts in this module will help you to track your progress. Also, how can you tell if a work is in the public domain? What exactly constitutes fair use? I’ve got handouts for both questions.
There will be four audio lectures (for a total of about 35 minutes play time), two workbooks for you to complete, and supplementary handouts that you will want to go through in the order noted below.
Module 3 accompanies you from drafting your book proposal to querying traditional publishers. We’ll cover the big publishing houses (and how you’ll need a literary agent if you want to approach these publishers) and also the small to medium publishers (where you won’t need a literary agent).
There will be 5 audio lectures (total run time about 40 minutes), 3 workbooks, and supplementary handouts that you will want to go through in the order noted below.
This workbook is a 50-page, 19,000+ word checklist, term by term explanation, sample contract term negotiation and counter-offers, and tips written by a corporate contracts lawyer to help you navigate the author publisher agreement. Please note that this workbook is for educational purposes only and since I do not know your case-specific situation, the workbook cannot constitute legal advice. It is recommended that you seek legal or professional counsel for case-specific matters.
Module IV: Independent (or Self) Publishing
Module 4 will cover basic pointers for self-publishing. There will be 5 lectures, 1 workbook that you should complete, and supplementary handouts that you will want to go through in the order noted below. I’m also providing a few unaffiliated external links, so you have someplace to start shopping around for printing presses, getting price quotes, etc.
In the previous modules, the lectures were provided as audio recordings, but my laptop went kaput and I’ve been recording the audio with an app on my laptop. I don’t know how to do it with my desktop, so instead of mp4 files for download in Module 4, we have text–the audio lecture transcripts I would have read off of.
Module V: Promoting Your Book and Post-Publication Strategic Plans
The final module of this course will cover the enormous amount of work that comes after you’ve produced a book and it has been launched into the public arena aka published. If you thought that meant you’re done, then oh boy, you’ve been sadly mistaken. You’ve only just begun. Module 5 is about covering some realities about publishing and selling nonfiction books in the Mind, Body, Spirit category, the nuts and bolts of promoting a book and how to captivate the attention of your target audience. We’ll also cover post-publication strategic plans for actually making some real money off your book (you thought you were going to make money off your royalties? *chuckles to self*).
Below you’ll find the content outline of Module V, but none of the file extensions are hyperlinked. For full access, you’ll need to be part of the Closed Circuit.
The Author Platform and Public Relations
Preparing Your Media Kit (Workbook A)
Media Kit Template
Promoting a Book: What Works and What Doesn’t
Drafting Your Marketing and Promotions Plan
Template Query Letter for Market Exposure
Book Blurbs (or the Author Endorsement)
Log of Endorsement Queries
The Book Trailer: Should You Create One?
Hiring a Publicist: Pros and Cons
The Author’s PR Schedule: Sample Timeline
Self-Publishing: Author Sales Log Debut Year One
Self-Publishing: Author Sales Log Subsequent Years
Traditional: Author Sales Log Debut Year One
Traditional: Author Sales Log Subsequent Years
Traditional: Gross and Net Sales Detail Log
Dealing with Criticism
The Nom de Plume
Where Is the Money? Optimizing Author Earning Potential
Log of Media Contacts
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This year’s day planner is better. Okay, well, I think it’s better. Who knows what you think of it all. Ephemeris tables, charting sign transits for the Sacred Seven for each and every day of 2018, and also, this year’s day planner comes with a 200 page Guidebook. Yep, that’s right. The day planner has its own operation manual.
And in that operation manual you are going to find loads of folk magic, astrological data, and also all void of course moon dates for 2018 in case that’s something you look at for spell-crafting. It’s got forecasts for 2018, step by step instructions on how you can do your own forecasts for 2018 per your natal chart and solar return chart, reference tables galore, and so much more. I’m sure you’ll find something interesting in that Guidebook that you ultimately decide to integrate into your own craft.
Short Summary (aka TL;DR)
You’re getting the digital files to a day planner calendar book that’s part organizer and part grimoire. Then you can upload the day planner digital file, along with your choice of a front and back cover design (many options provided for you to choose from!), to a third party printer (I give you illustrated step-by-step instructions on how to do that), and get your day planner printed and bound. And if you lose your book midway through the year for whatever reason, you can always print out another copy for yourself, since you’ve got the digital file.
This day planner is keyed to a metaphysician with eclectic leanings, and a keen interest in both the sacred arts of the East and the mystery traditions of the West. It presumes the importance of transits astrology in your practice, and so moon phases, ephemeris tables, and key astrological events are noted.
Now that I’ve completed the 2017 YouTube Pagan Challenge on the grimoire, I thought I’d consolidate the three videos I made in response to the challenge and also throw in some additional commentary. This year’s theme: the personal grimoire or metaphysical journaling. For your reference, here is a PDF reference to all question prompts for the 2017 YouTube Pagan Challenge that I was going off of for the video responses.
I’m going to be making references to the question prompts by number. So, for instance, when I say Question 1, I mean the “Show and Tell” prompt, or if I say Question 45, I mean, “What kind of pagans were your ancestors?” and so on. Number to question references are on that PDF.
In retrospect, Part 3, my last video, should have been Part 1, the first video, so for those who haven’t seen any of them, oh good. Now you can actually watch them in the better order. In this post I’m going to be featuring the final Part 3 first, since it makes more sense that way, and then you’d move on to Part 1.
Then, of course, it turns out there were a whole load of questions I totally missed, so I’ll try to answer any that seem relevant to my path at the very end, via blog rather than another video upload.
Part 3: Pagan Practice, Opinions, and the Personal
I start this video by addressing the question of whether I am even considered pagan. Then I address my go-to divination techniques, Question 6, how it’s not recorded in my grimoire but elsewhere in separate journals, ritual work or Question 8, my answer to Question 12 is implied in some of what I say in this video, and Question 13, where I talk about a code of ethics for spell-crafting. Here I also talk about the religions that influence my path and give glimpses of my witchy rooms or…more accurately, witchy house.
Considered one of the oldest divination systems in world history, the I Ching is, at its core, a sacred text that empowers a practitioner. When you understand the I Ching as philosophy, you attain wisdom both of your inner self and of the cosmos. When you understand the I Ching as an expression of the Divine, you attain access to an incredible tool for communing with that Divinity.
The objective of this course is to impart a heightened level of proficiency with I Ching both as a divinatory system and as a magical system, so that a practitioner will be able to use the I Ching to divine for the self, for others, and integrate components of the I Ching into spell-crafting.
For the course and its enrollees, the Lady of the Ninth Heaven (Jiu Tian Xuan Nu) has been evoked for guidance and support. The Lady of the Ninth Heaven is likened to an archangel, originating from the Chinese Taoist pantheon. She is a protégé of the Empress Mother of the West (Xi Wang Mu), a dark goddess of war, magic, and spell-crafting.
According to myth, the Yellow Emperor, considered the legendary father of the Chinese civilization, evoked the Lady of the Ninth Heaven, who became his patron deity. She taught the Yellow Emperor military strategy and magic, which he used to defeat his enemies and establish the first dynasty.
The Lady of the Ninth Heaven is venerated as a goddess (or archangel) of high magic and intellectual prowess. Her symbols are the sword and a gourd of healing: she is a warrior and she is a healer.
I’ve dedicated this course in such a way so that all enrollees will be endowed with her guidance and support in all manners of their craft with the I Ching.
This course teaches several approaches to I Ching divination:
To strengthen your personal vitality and the reservoir of metaphysical powers you can command or control, through attunement to those inner and outer alchemical forces embedded into the archetypal tarot architecture.
We often hear about using tarot for shadow work. This course takes that concept a step further to address how tarot and shadow work can be utilized to cultivate dynamic personal power. The more personal power you wield, the greater likelihood of success you’ll enjoy in achieving your goals. To break vicious cycles that hold you down and to overcome that which haunts you, you need force. You can summon that force from within you and to navigate that inner landscape of yours in search of your powers, we use the tarot.
The course addresses how to source power from five specific inner reservoirs, corresponding with the architecture of tarot, which are as follows:
Expert or authoritative power, which we harness through Fire;
The power of charisma, or appeal, harnessed through Water;
The power of punishment to reinforce your personal sovereignty, harnessed through Air;
The power of reward, or building relations, harnessed through Earth; and
The power of change, or the power of esoteric knowledge, harnessed by attuning to Spirit.
The tarot will be used as an anchoring and centering tool for navigating the inner landscape in search of those five reservoirs of power. We can also better understand these five powers of social psychology through the Major Arcana and the four suits of the Minor Arcana.
We will cover both the psychological and the metaphysical facets of these powers and how you can activate them by navigating your shadow landscape with the tarot. Overcome lack mentality. the pain of failure, recurring underachievement, fear, inertia, and insecurity by activating these five powers that are just beyond the nether regions of your own mind and will.
Tarot, social psychology, chakra strengthening, self-reflection, personal ritual, spell-crafting, and basic East Asian Qi energy work will be covered. The course content delves unabashedly into faith-based material.
* Extra if shipping internationally. All U.S. shipping is free, included in order.
Here’s what I’ve been working on for the last, oh, I don’t know… two weeks if not more. And still working on. Will continue to work on until the full moon in Scorpio!
Okay. Here’s the lowdown.
For $40 (and no more, if you’re in the U.S.; plus shipping charges if non-U.S.), you’re getting:
10 ml glass bottle of consecrated water (I’ll explain)
1 ml cork top glass bottle of consecrated powder (I’ll explain)
Customized Fu sigil talisman charged during the full moon in Scorpio (I’ll explain)
Only 3650* (fifty sets) available. Once all 50 orders have been reserved, it’s gone.
* To those who somehow managed to get on my private VIP email list and thus received a heads up about this already, I had said I only have 36. Yeah, I can’t count. I wrote that up at the office and my memory thought 36. I was mistaking it for something else. I have 50 of these. Just so you know, I had sent you photos, so you can actually look at the photos I sent you and count the number of vials lined up on my workspace. There were 50 pictured in the photos when I told you 36. Sorry for the sham.
* Oops, sorry, before I could even manage to get this blog post up, there are only 5 (five) left. So this blog post is only about filling up those 5 remaining orders. That way I can start the preparations this weekend for each of the 50 individuals.
Okay, now let’s explain each of the three items you’re getting.
Some of you may know of the online video companion course to Holistic Tarot already. I put out the first few video lectures for the series this past week. The videos supplement the study guides and handouts, which supplement the book, Holistic Tarot. To check out the course outline and description, click on the above hyperlinked banner. This blog post is just to offer some of the behind-the-scenes commentary.
Offering a Beginner’s Tarot Course
I have been pressed ad nauseum about offering a beginner’s tarot course. While I haven’t felt called to start production of materials with that specific intent in mind, as in an online multi-media course that teaches you how to read a deck of cards, I wrote Holistic Tarot with that specific intent (i.e., to instruct on tarot at the beginner level) in mind. Then when the book launched back in 2015, I created a portfolio of syllabi, study guides, and handouts to help people navigate the 800+ pages. That was my “beginner’s tarot course.”
Still I got pressed. Apparently that wasn’t what many of you folks had in mind when you think “beginner’s tarot course”?
The Ultimate Guide to Tarot Card Meanings by Brigit Esselmont is the long-anticipated print book copy of a text on tarot card meanings she had published previously as an e-book and which formally memorializes much of what had become one of the most popular go-to card meanings site on the interwebs, BiddyTarot’s Tarot Card Meanings.
If you don’t know Brigit of BiddyTarot, then you simply do not know anything about the tarot community either– meaning, this woman has a loyal cult-like following of avid tarot enthusiasts who have propelled her to the top of the ranks for all things tarot. She defines the present generation of tarot readers and in many ways, her latest book The Ultimate Guide reflects that newfangled epistemology of divination-can-be-for-the-masses camp of thought. That has become the new wave of thought in tarot, collectively the loudest voice in current modernity, and leading that camp really is the BiddyTarot culture.
The Ultimate Guide is a fresh, contemporary voice in the body of tarot literature and will resonate more with those who embody the modern approach to card meanings. Not to be confused with The Ultimate Guide to Tarot by Liz Dean (the two titles can be confusingly similar), Esselmont’s The Ultimate Guide expresses a new consciousness of tarot, which is to integrate it into everyday mainstream, to normalize tarot, and to promote the practice of personal spirituality through living a tarot inspired life.