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Straw Into Gold: Illness, Loss and Hardship as a Path to Inner Peace
Straw Into Gold: Illness, Loss and Hardship as a Path to Inner Peace
by Diane LaRae Bodach
Edition: Paperback
Price: $19.95
41 used & new from $8.40

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Straw Into Gold, November 14, 2012
Straw Into Gold is interesting, painful and inspiring . A mixture of misfortune and blessing, one woman's life becomes a lesson for us all to see our pain as a teacher. Diane LaRae Bodach's terminal illness created a pathway for her to find her own spirit; she relays the most intimate facets of her journey here.

Diane is unapologetic and witty, she tells her stories with such candor and grace, that makes you feel as though you are face to face with her as you read. Every page is filled with something enlightening that makes you see your spirit and your shadow. This book will change the way you see everything in life, especially illness.

A very heavy read, densely filled with spiritual insight and personal anecdotes. I applaud Diane LaRae Bodach for her bravery and determination, not only to live, but also to put her journey down in words. If you have dealt with illness, directly or indirectly, this book is for you.

Having dealt with illness and loss in my own life, I realize that it equalizes and alchemizes. If you go deeper into your pain, your loss or your grief you will be lead to a space where mind, body and spirit connect. I felt the author said it best," Illness, loss or deprivation helps us to focus on our main job: to be." Learning to just be gives you a sense of unparalleled awareness.

Straw Into Gold urges you to not only be aware, but to know your body, your pain and your breaking point. Know what to feed and what to avoid. If you're giving energy away to unnecessary things, then you are using up valuable, life sustaining fuel. Bodach's sobering realization about her illness gave her the impetus to push forward, "I wasn't going to have the life I wanted or expected to have, and at first that seemed like Death-it was like death. Almost all that I knew life to be was no longer possible for me. Most of my identities were gone, deeply diminished, or threatened. What was left seemed very stark, very small; but the very starkness, the very smallness was a spiritual opening for me."

Straw Into Gold is blooming with poignant moments filled with wisdom and insight. Though Diane never recovered form her illness, you gather that she lived a full life. No matter how heavy of a read this is, by the end of the book you are filled with a sense of gratitude and compassion. Let Diane's story become a doorway for your own enlightenment.

Shaheen Miro is an intuitive reader, Reiki practitioner, fashion design student, artist and writer. /

© Shaheen Miro 2012

Cunningham's Magical Sampler: Collected Writings and Spells from the Renowned Wiccan Author
Cunningham's Magical Sampler: Collected Writings and Spells from the Renowned Wiccan Author
by Scott Cunningham
Edition: Paperback
Price: $11.73
72 used & new from $5.18

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Book Review: Cunnigham's Magical Sampler, November 9, 2012
Cunningham's Magical Sampler is a stellar collection of magical writings from one of the most respected Wiccan Authors of our time. Scott Cunningham became a pivotal force in the Wiccan community as an Author and teacher. He was one of the key figures in pushing Wicca and Witchcraft into the mainstream.

As you read through the Magical Sampler you are reading through Cunningham's personal collection of articles and notes. This collection of information is filled with diverse ideas and topics, from history, to folklore, to herbology and spells. The information is both practical and intermediate, giving everyone something to muse on.

Cunningham always writes in a way that makes you feel like he is right there, gently instructing you with each step. Nothing about this text is hard to follow, but on every page is a new layer and facet of magical information. This is truly a treasure for anyone interested in Wicca and Witchcraft.

This isn't a book that you have to read from start to finish, it is a flexible treasury of information that you can thumb through, as you need. As you read through you get the impression that nothing within is hard-fast rule, but rather suggestions to add to your personal practice.

One thing that I found very fascinating about the text is how it acts almost as a historical account of Cunningham's life and the time that he was living in. He explores spellcraft and technology and he talks extensively on the mystical identity of Hawaii. So much of his personality comes through, making the text much more relatable.

The book is laid out in five distinct sections: Personal Power and Growth, Instruction and Applied Magic, Herbs and Food, Nature and Earth Power, and Ancient Cultures and Lore. My favorite section is on herbs and foods because of the interesting exploration of "Shakespeare's Herbal Code".

The closing section called, "The Magic of Scott Cunningham", by Donald Michael Kraig is extraordinary! Kraig gives wonderful accounts of Cunningham's life and glimpses into his distinct personality.

Cunningham's Magical Sampler is an incredible addition to any magical library and it is sure to be another Llewellyn classic! The book is scheduled for release on November 8th.

Shaheen Miro is an intuitive reader, Reiki practitioner, fashion design student, artist and writer. Contact: 937.213.3426 / /

© Shaheen Miro 2012

The Pictorial Key to the Tarot
The Pictorial Key to the Tarot
by Arthur Edward Waite
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
5 used & new from $8.95

3.0 out of 5 stars Book Review: The Pictorial Key to the Tarot, July 29, 2012
"The Tarot embodies symbolical presentations of universal ideas, behind which lie all the implicits of the human mind, and it is in this sense that they contain secret doctrine, which is the realization by the Few of truths embedded in the consciousness of all."

-Arthur Edward Waite

The Pictorial Key to the Tarot, isn't a new book, but it's an interesting book and one that any Tarot enthusiast should read. If not for the content, this book should be read for the nostalgia and history. This book represents a pivotal point in Tarot history, when Arthur Edward Waite, reinvented Tarot into what most of us recognize today.

The edition that I have is a reprint from Barnes and Nobles. This version has retained, what seems to be its original type face, spelling and format, along with very interesting and slightly simplified, illustration plates of each card from the Rider-Waite Tarot deck.

To be honest the addition of the black and white prints of each card, was the original appeal for me. I thought there was something very beautiful about the negative and positive space activated on the page, from the card illustrations and text (That's just my design brain working). But I also felt that there was simplicity to the book at first glance.

Sectioned into three distinct parts. The book begins with, The Veil and its Symbols, which is an essay on the origin of the Tarot, the perspective of many authors in the History of the Tarot, A brief touch on the history of cards, and an explanation of the Major Arcana in Antiquity (Pre-Waite Symbolism).

This was probably the hardest part to follow in the book, simply because he speaks about Authors and books that are not as common today. His arguments for what he sees as "true" compared to other Authors, is very interesting. However, at times you get the impression that he may have been a little bi-polar because he jumps from one view to the other.

You also discovery that Art, not just Tarot, is a historical account of the time it is created in. Though Waite tries to paint the true Tarot as being above historical influence, he can't deny that the cards have been shaped by history.

In this section, Waite also articulates for us the essence of the Tarot by saying, "The true Tarot is symbolism; it speaks no other language and offers no other signs. Given the inward meanings of its emblems, they do become a kind of alphabet which is capable of indefinite combinations and makes true sense in all."

Part two, The Doctrine Behind the Veil, is a compilation of basic information about each individual Major Arcana card. An image of each card is shown, with an accompanying explanation. His explanations are brief, but though provoking.

I found this section insightful mostly because he described the pictures, and in his description he pointed out things that I never seen before. However, there was a disconnect between some of the things shown in the picture and their actual purpose. I felt like Waite wanted to stress that everything had meaning, but he didn't live up to that expectation by giving us a reason in each of his illustrations.

In this section He was sure to express that the Major Arcana was never intended for divination, but that the Minor Arcana was, and that at one time they were probably separate decks. According to him the Major Arcana is devoid of any divinatory meaning (until later when he breaks down and gives just a few meanings).

He explained, "The two classes of significance which are attached to the Tarot in the superior and inferior worlds, and in the facet that no occult or other writer has attempted to assign anything but a divinatory meaning to the Minor Arcana, justify in yet another manner the hypothesis that the two series do not belong to one another."

Part three, The Outer Method of the Oracle, Waite gives us a picture of each Minor card and a few lines of description about the images, the divinatory meaning and the reversed meaning. This was the most disappointing part of the book in my eyes, because I felt that the author was a little skewed in his views about the cards.

For some reason, over half the information presented by Waite, about the Minor cards, felt wrong to me. It was trite and irrelevant most of the time, and didn't really follow the images that were presented; this made the images themselves seem arbitrary. An explanation of what is depicted in the image should have sufficed as a "divinatory" meaning for each card, but it fell short of that.

Regardless of whether I felt his divinatory meanings were spot on, Waite did seem to capture in a few lines, exactly how the cards should be read, "The cards must be interpreted relatively to the subject, which means that all official and conventional meanings of the cards may and should be adapted to harmonize with the conditions of this particular case in question." So he never advocated simply memorizing a list of key terms, rather he thought it was important to understand combinations of symbols as they appear before you.

As Waite touched on the Divinatory meanings of the cards, I did feel that he was stepping into uncomfortable territory. Most of his explanations, especially in his last section titled, Some Additional Meanings of the Lesser Arcana, felt hokey, like stereotypical, soothsayer, mumbo-jumbo.

In Waite's conclusion of the book he even said, "I have concerned myself with the subject, even at the risk of writing about divination by cards." If he felt that the use of Tarot for divination was a bit diluted, then why wasn't he able to explain them more in-depth or give a reason for their existence, beyond the simple theories about their Mystical nature? He never actually tells us what secret doctrine they are trying to illustrate!

I found his love-hate relationship with the idea of "Fortune-telling" and divination with the cards, intriguing. If he felt so strongly about the deeply symbolic and occult nature of the Major Arcana, then why didn't he stick to exploring their meaning and find a way of separating the two, either in Antiquity or in use? Instead he ate his own words and explored them, even at the risk of writing about "divination by cards".

I will say that I agree, Tarot is much more than a deck for divination, I think it is a collection of Universal symbols that speak to our psyche, prompts to open our souls, and windows to gain glimpses into the inner workings of the Universe (within around us).

The book gave me an odd impression of Arthur Edward Waite because I felt that he was a little bit conflicted. At times there seemed to be an argument happening with himself, as if he wasn't exactly sure what he believed. Part of me felt that if Waite wasn't confused by his own thoughts, then he was deliberately being ambiguous and trying to cause confusion to those exploring the art.

Even more fascinating was when he referred to another book and Author (Grand Orient), basically saying that his perspective of Tarot didn't follow the perspective of his Colleague... and upon searching more you find out that they were one and the same. So he was essentially trying to discredit himself, either to create a buzz or to confuse others.

No matter what my impressions of this book, Arthur Edward Waite, was a force in the world and history of the Tarot. If it weren't for Waite, Tarot wouldn't be what we know it as today. This book is a great historically reference, as well as eye opening to the symbolism of the Tarot

© Shaheen Miro June 28, 2012

The Day Your Heart Broke In Your Eyes: The Book of Recognition
The Day Your Heart Broke In Your Eyes: The Book of Recognition
by Marcia Brennan
Edition: Paperback
Price: $19.95
31 used & new from $0.85

4.0 out of 5 stars Book Review: The Day Your Heart Broke In Your Eyes, July 29, 2012
"Sometimes, you will find yourselves living your life, yet your familiar, cherished goals and objects no longer hold desire, or perhaps even relevance, for who you have become and who you are becoming."

-The Day Your Heart Broke In Your Eyes

Met by a vision of "fluid light" in which everything began to vibrate with life and divinity, Marcia Brennan's world was changed. She became aware of her Angelic guides and began blazing a trail into a mysterious world of seeing beyond what meets the human eye, and becoming a channel for something greater than herself.

We have all been in a place of despair, confusion and fear, not knowing what the next step should be, not knowing who we are or what we should be doing. It's not uncommon to want to find your "life purpose", but how exactly do you connect with your center and find your place in the world?

The Day Your Heart Broke In Your Eyes is a wealth of channeled wisdom given to us from the Angels of Recognition. Though at times a bit overly floral, the language is poignant and lyrical, speaking to our visceral sense of divinity. Each passage offers a different facet of the spiritual experience, giving ample space for self-reflection.

Writing in a very abstract style, musing on very abstract concepts makes the book a bit difficult to read at times. As with many texts, I often find the need to digest the message or to really meditate on the message, but more often than not, I was distracted by this abstract approach. I felt there were clearer ways to phrase these deeply spiritual messages.

The Day Your Heart Broke In Your Eyes is an almost narrative experience with equal parts of visual complexity and riddle. You will feel as if you've fallen into a strange wonderland, cradled by angel wings and prompted by your inner whispers. This book will wrap you in a gossamer tapestry of illuminated prose and contradictions.

I urge you as a reader to approach the book as a type of oracle; the information is more easily digested in small portions. Ask the angels for guidance and open at random to see what insight they can impart. Allow your left-brain, analytical mind to rest as you read these insights, and learn to feel the words on the page. What kind of experience do they evoke for you? Follow it like the white rabbit to a place of awakening.

I must admit that the beginning, autobiographical portion of the book drugged on a bit, and the book became more intriguing and adventurous as it neared the middle half to the end. But my perception of the text changed once I began seeing each portion as a meditation, instead of an explanation.

This isn't a text of how-to, it is a glimmer of light into your own darkness, the beginning step of a path you must dare to tread on your own. Or as the Angels so eloquently put it, "Through the vehicle of this book, we offer you a kite string, a living connection to the world of moving colors that swirls so gracefully and magically above and around and within you".

The title, The Day Your Heart Broke In Your Eyes was echoed throughout the book many times, but the explanation of the phrase never came. I am still left feeling a little unfulfilled by the title... I patiently read on, contemplated the many passages where it showed up, looked back for something I may have missed, but the explanation was never given. It felt like overkill and a bit clunky. Maybe the message will reveal itself later, but for now I think something else would have been more fitting.

I applaud Marcia Brennan for her bravery and dedication to the Angels. Becoming a channel for such a powerful beam of light and significant message is a big undertaking. This book isn't for the beginner, but more for the seasoned spiritual traveler. This is, in fact, a guide to navigate the mystic deeper into one's own mysteries.

Do you want to reach deeper? Go higher? Expand beyond where you are now? Then pick up this book! The Day Your Heart Broke In Your Eyes is a text that will change and evolve each time you read it. Hidden within its layers of light and shadows are immeasurable morsels of wisdom, so keep reading.

Visit, Blue Dolphin Publishing or here to get your copy of The Day Your Heart Broke In Your Eyes.

© Shaheen Miro 7/29/2012

The Art of Intuition: Cultivating Your Inner Wisdom
The Art of Intuition: Cultivating Your Inner Wisdom
by Sophy Burnham
Edition: Hardcover
44 used & new from $0.01

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Book Review: The Art of Intuition, July 11, 2012
I AM NOT A SCIENTIST, but I am convinced that the greater your empathy and the higher your spiritual development, the more intuitive experiences you will have, until such things become so ordinary that you hardly notice them anymore. No longer rare and dramatic, they fall like soft rain into your lives, brushing aside all logical consciousness.

-The Art of Intuition, by Sophy Burnham

I just finished a great book, The Art of Intuition, by Sophy Burnham, the best selling author of, A book of Angels. What a phenomenal book. I loved every second of it. I have never heard of Burnham before, but after reading this book I will have to read her others.

Have you ever wanted to know what it's like to be Intuitive or to give a reading or to have any extrasensory experience? Then this book is for you. Story after story, the author gives us an up close and personal view of Intuition. She explains that she was once a skeptic, until there was too much evidence to disprove Intuition.

The Art of Intuition, isn't just another collection of the run-of-the-mill stories and exercise you find in similar books. This book is a cohesive collection of stories, about the author's personal experiences and the experiences of others who she has encountered. Along with exercises and techniques that have worked for her. She teaches you through recounting her own journey... which makes for a much more interesting read.

This book covers many areas of Intuition, Psychic Abilities, and Extrasensory Awareness. There is a chapter dedicated to Animal Communication. Burns talks extensively about energy and energy healing, chakras and the power of thoughts, saying, "It is one of the laws of the Universe that you don't really have to do anything. Just notice what you want and watch it rush into your arms." She even gives some fascinating information about Remote Viewing and PSI in chapter twelve.

Burnham does a great job of giving proof for what she believes. She gave numerous scientific, psychological, metaphysical and health related studies to prove her points. And the most fascinating was in chapter three, Studies and Skeptics, in which she explained that studies show most human beings experience some physical sensation or change, a few seconds before an event takes place. The implication being that, even if we aren't conscious of precognitive awareness, our bodies are.

The Art of Intuition, is a book for beginners and the seasoned alike. This book really instills the fact that, Intuition isn't really something you learn, but something you remember. And Burnham gives many opportunities and angles for you to learn your own unique language to speak to the Universe. She explains, in order to develop Intuition, "You need the simplicity of the child-mind". Stressing that the goal of developing Intuition, should really be the goal to become more spiritual because as you become more spiritual your Intuition can do nothing but grow and expand.

The number of authors and authorities in the field that she referenced was amazing, though at times it was a bit laborious to read all the research she collected, but it added to my list of books to read! I think this is a great plus for people who are healthy skeptics or who really want a well rounded view of the subject.

My favorite portion of the book has to be chapter sixteen and seventeen, Perceiving and Receiving, in which Burnham talks about giving readings for others, her own personal experience with it and some things to be mindful of when giving or getting a reading. Even as an Intuitive Reader, I love hearing other Readers talk about exactly how they do what they do and why. It's a great walk-in-your-shoes sort of feeling and I find it extremely insightful.

Chapter sixteen and seventeen is a must read for anyone who is interested in a reading, but doesn't really practice the metaphysical arts or Intuition. It gives a clear picture about the ethics and intricacies of readings. Her condor and honesty are brilliant about the process, saying, "Sometimes I feel I am merely dipping into the client's history in some mysterious fashion that I don't understand a reading is an imprecise skill. You see through the glass darkly, snatching moments of illumination before the mist roll in and boundaries close."

In Chapter seventeen, she shared some wonderful information hat every client should know, some of it is the stuff that you don't know how to say to your clients and other bits of it you may have never thought of. Burnham stresses the need to be respectful as a client, to your reader. She also makes it clear that, "the trust or skepticism of a client also affects a psychic who is giving a reading".

There was one paragraph that really bothered me and sort of un-did some of the good that I thought she had done prior was when Burnham said, "Spirits, ghost, devas, pookas, and poltergeists-the superstition of it all! On one level I find these things revolting. Soon we'll be back in pagan times, when every tree and stump and spring and rocky cliff was thought to harbor its own god." Why would this revolt someone who wrote a book on Angels? I almost felt like she was trying to establish more credibility with the more skeptical readers. Do you feel that everything has a life force?

As an artist, student, reader and creative person, I crave new energy and new experiences and I love to get a first hand look at people's lives and how they do what they do best. This book really gave me that. Burnham made Intuition seem easy, natural and second nature, all of which it is... and to see it through her eyes was very refreshing.

I would highly recommend this book. You will absolutely find many shining diamonds of wisdom and information. The Art of Intuition has wonderful rhythm and balance and pulls you straight through to the end. It gives you a great behind the scenes look at Intuition and I would even recommend it as a reference.

Shaheen is an Intuitive reader, artist, fashion design student and blogger. Read More at Shaheen's Blog

© Shaheen Miro 7/11/2012

Tarot in Reverse: Making Sense of the Upside Down Cards in a Tarot Spread
Tarot in Reverse: Making Sense of the Upside Down Cards in a Tarot Spread
by Janet Boyer
Edition: Paperback
Price: $17.95
51 used & new from $11.25

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tarot in Reverse review, June 7, 2012
Reading Tarot reversals has never been a huge interest of mine because I've always felt that if the Universe can't get its point across in 78 cards, then I don't need to know it, however I am a firm believe in knowing the cards from every angle. There are no arbitrary interactions with Tarot cards and each facet of a reading should be taken into consideration, but still Tarot reversals have been a huge roadblock for novice and seasoned readers alike.

In the new book, Tarot in Reverse, Janet Boyer gives us a different perspective on Tarot reversals. This book isn't just a superficial rundown of reversed card meanings with keywords and a description. Tarot in Reverse urges you to not only peek through the reversed "door", but to actually cross the threshold.

Janet explains that reversals are more than just the "opposite" meaning of an upright card; she pushes us deeper, giving many possible meanings for why a card is reversed. A few of the basic meaning that she applies to all reversals are: No or Not cards, meaning that the card is a simple "no" in relation to what's being asked. Fear of cards, which represent an aversion to something. And Blocked cards, meaning that the reversal represents a stagnant energy in the path of the querent. She goes on to explain other possible meanings, which can add a new layer to your reading. I've only pulled out three examples.

Tarot in Reverse is laid out in a way that gives you ample opportunity to learn the cards. Sectioned off into Major Arcana, Minor Arcana, and Court cards, you will be given an in-depth description of each card, including:

1. A quote that encapsulates the cards reversed energy
2. Advice from the card itself
3. 20 affirmations

One of the most exciting portions of the book is the affirmations that accompany each card. It allows you to take the cards a step further to use them for personal transformation. As Janet explains, "Tarot in Reverse will not only help you navigate reversed cards in a reading, but also come to terms with life's reversals, which often appear in the form of challenges and disappointments. By seeing reversals of all kinds as opportunities, you become more empowered."

My only criticism is that I wanted more explanation on how to use the affirmations accompanying each card, beyond the brief advice of taping them to a mirror or repeating them. I think the author is really onto something with the addition of affirmations and I would love for to expand on it in the future.

I have to say, this book really expanded my perspective of Tarot reversals and allowed me to view them as more open opportunities for growth. As a reader I let the cards speak to me, never applying spoon-fed ideas. I see the cards as living, breathing and evolving symbols and after reading Tarot in Reverse; my relationship to the cards is even more deepened.
The information is not only presented well in this book, with in-depth research and wonderful writing, but it is also beautifully printed. The aesthetic is amazing, with heavy weight paper, vibrant illustrations and easy to follow format. The addition of "advice" boxes for each card and highlighted snippets of information keeps this book user friendly.

Some other fun things to add are, that I've found this book to be great for Bibliomancy, which is the art of flipping to a random page in a book for a little intuitive guidance. And as the author suggested, using the reversed meanings to help build plots, ideas and characters for stories and other creative projects.

There is a lot to explore here. You wont be disappointed and I promise you will never look at Tarot the same way. So stop being daunted by the reversed cards, stop worrying about which way you shuffle and let the cards speak to you and get Tarot in Reverse to help expand your practice in the art of Tarot reading.

© Shaheen Miro

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