“Norse Goddess Magic” by Alice Karlsdottir

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As I continue my exploration of the Northern Traditions, I was pleased to see “Norse Goddess Magic” by Alice Karlsdottir appear on the New Titles list from Inner Traditions, and their publicity department kindly sent me a review copy. This is an expanded and updated version of the earlier “Magic of the Norse Goddesses”.

Norse Goddess Magic

Karlsdottir has deep experience working with what she terms the “Germanic Heathen revival”, and has written about her work in print and online. The book is written for an audience who may be new to or moderately familiar with the Norse pantheon, and to meditation / trance work. The writing is coherent and easy to follow, and the ideas are presented in a way that is understandable and engaging.

She describes her research and personal explorations of working with the Asynjur, the Norse Aesir goddesses. As we all find, over and over, historical resources on the female members of the pantheon are few, and most simply repeat information from prior sources. Karlsdottir conducts what research she can with material sources, and deepens her knowledge through direct work with the Goddesses through trance and ritual. She includes a brief and thoughtful discussion on the use of personal gnosis in group practice, and also a good, basic introduction to meditation and to creating a ritual.

The main section of the book is a thorough introduction to Frigg, The Allmother and Queen of the Gods. Karlsdottir explores the historical depictions of Frigg, as well as her associations with other goddesses in the Norse and Germanic worlds. By understanding Frigg and Her role in depth, we more easily connect to the 12 Asynjur whose chapters follow. I especially enjoyed her description of Frigg’s hall, Fensalir, “like a women’s college”, as that creates not only a visual image, but an intellectual concept that creates a workable structure for the book.

Each chapter describes one goddess, starting with the commonly accepted lore regarding Her, associations with Her, and connections to goddesses in other pantheons and figures in folklore. Karlsdottir then suggests ways to approach each goddess, and details one of her own trance encounters. The chapter closes with an example ritual for invoking and working with that particular deity.

The goddesses covered are Frigg, Eir, Saga, Gna, Gefjon, Snotra, Lofn, Sjofn, Var, Fulla (Frigg’s sister), Hlin, Syn, and Vor. The book also includes appendices which contain stories of Mother Holle, The Three Spinners and Queen Olga, which round out the book with a pleasing mix of magic and folklore.

Tarot Journey for October 11: Lovers, Devil, Chariot, and Tower – The Tarot at Sixes and Sevens

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For 2014, we’ll be taking a numerological tour of the Tarot. On October 11, it’s the Lovers, the Devil, and the Sixes, along with the Chariot, the Tower, and the Sevens.  What does their numerological link say to us in a reading? What other connections do these cards have? How can we work with the energy of the Sixes and Sevens to deepen our readings?

Bring your cards, notebook and pen, and your experiences with these cards!

The workshop features discussions, practical exercises, and direct, personal exploration of the cards.  The registration fee includes morning coffee and tea, a light lunch, and afternoon refreshments.

Each class runs from 10:00 am — 4:30 pm, held at our studio in Alameda, California. We’re trying something new – a full day class that includes two workshops – allowing us to delve deeper into our work with the cards.

Due to space considerations, we request that you preregister for the class on the Tarot Media Company website.

See you in October!

The Complete Lenormand Oracle Handbook by Caitlin Matthews

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The Complete Lenormand Oracle Handbook by Caitlin Matthews is a wonderfully comprehensive and practical Lenormand guide. Matthews does a thorough job of presenting the history of the Oracle to give the reader a solid sense of the deck’s development over the centuries. The clear definitions, varied reading techniques, and extensive practice exercises are a helpful introduction to the deck for new readers, and provide insightful and challenging tools for the more experienced Lenormand reader to move well beyond basic cartomancy. Matthews has created an inspirational manual for Lenormand which can be a reader’s companion at all stages of their cartomantic career.”

The above is the short version of this review, provided to Inner Traditions for inclusion in the marketing materials for the book. For more detail, read on!

Allow me to start by saying that I have enjoyedCaitlin Matthews’ prolific output over the years. Her Da Vinci Enigma Tarot consumed my life for months when it came into my life. I greatly appreciate Matthews’ ability to combine historical scholarship with myth and magic to create her unique and intriguing take on the various oracles she studies.

The Complete Lenormand Oracle Handbook is the newest addition to Matthews’ body of work, and a most welcome book on the subject of Lenormand.

One of the things I appreciate most about Matthews’ work is her ability to present a complete and yet concise history of the topic. Her careful research and inclusion of up-to-the-minute developments is a refreshing change from the half vague, half sensational dramas that I’ve seen far too many other authors rely on in an attempt to lend legitimacy to their topic. Matthews takes great care to present factually correct and useful history.

The material is divided into four sections of 13 chapters, plus appendices, notes, bibliography, and index. Praise to the publishers for the index! Too many recent releases are omitting this important item, making it much harder for the reader to track down that one sentence they desperately want to find again.

In addition to card meanings and sample readings, Matthews also provides self-test items so the reader can check in with themselves about their grasp of the material. While my answers didn’t always match the ones in the answer key, it was quite helpful to think about the answer in the book and work through it, and then review my own answer.

Matthews provides a wide range of techniques to use within each reading to create a more meaningful experience for the client (and the reader–we learn so much each time we read for another!).

The sample readings are illustrated with cards from various Lenormand decks, including Matthews’ own The Enchanted Lenormand Oracle (you can read that review here), and my very favorite Lenormand, the Lenormand Revolution by Carrie Paris. Seeing the various representations of the same image among the different decks is useful and inspirational.

And so, in closing, I repeat: “Matthews has has created an inspirational manual for Lenormand which can be a reader’s companion at all stages of their cartomantic career.”

Kali Ghat – Steps of Kali Spread

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The Destruction card in the Dark Goddess Tarot by the divinely talented Ellen Lorenzi-Prince is, of course, Kali.

Kali - Dark Goddess Tarot

Inspired by Ellen’s art and words, I created the following spread to provide a structure for navigating a time of difficult transition.

8

7

6

4

5

1

2

3

1. Ego. The lies your ego is telling you to keep you stuck in this situation.

2. Illusions. How you are allowing yourself to be fooled in this situation, and keeping yourself stuck.

3. Fear. What you truly fear that keeps you feeling powerless and keeps you stuck in the situation.

4. What you are ignoring at your peril.

5. What you must face to break free.

6. The blood sacrifice required for your freedom. In Ellen’s words, “A blood sacrifice means giving up something important, something not easy to give, something with life and meaning.”

7. The energy shift that results from the blood sacrifice.

8. How to move forward with the new energy.

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