Dragon Rider #2: The Griffin’s Feather, Cornelia Funke
Another exciting tale of magical creatures, with lots of thoughts about conservation and wildlife.
India: one man’s personal journey round the continent, Sanjeev Bhaskar
The fact that Sanjeev Bhaskar is part of the Indian Diaspora and visited India as a child gives him a really good perspective on India, as both insider and outsider. He also writes in a very engaging way, so this book is easy to read. The TV series it was written to accompany was also very good, and both the book and the series explore the multifaceted nature of modern India. He also writes very movingly about Partition, the massacres that took place, and its effects, both on his family and on India and Pakistan.
“Inviting us to examine many different aspects of Initiatory Wicca, this book is aimed at both initiates and non-initiates. It could certainly be used as the basis of a coven training programme but is also invaluable for the solo practitioner.”
“The Night Journey utilizes the historical legend of the witch’s flight to the sabbat to expand Aburrow’s notion of a modern witchcraft which is “queer, transgressive, and resistant to authoritarian versions of reality.” In the spiritual world of The Night Journey, witchcraft isn’t seen as some sort of rarefied practice isolated from the messy mundane world, but as a beautiful, viable, and practical way of living in the world as a person of power and integrity … a revolutionary vision of traditional Wicca which looks to the Craft’s future while simultaneously honoring its traditions.”
Misha Magdalene, author of Outside the Charmed Circle: Exploring Gender & Sexuality in Magical Practice
“an outstanding Wicca 201, intended for already-active, primarily initiatory covens, that examines Wiccan praxis and theology. This is the next step once you have established a solid Wiccan practice. Many aspects of Wicca are examined with an eye towards inclusivity; Aburrow covers LGBTQ, BDSM, polyamory, and asexuality; physical and mental disabilities; cultural appropriation; and trauma recovery in the context of ritual practice, relationship to divinity, and mythology. …The author looks at some of the common Wiccan myths and makes suggestions for ways to incorporate deep ecology, from adapting the Wheel of the Year to appropriately reflect your climate and geography to reducing your carbon footprint.” — Sable Aradia
As February is Black History Month in North America, I was very pleased to get hold of a copy of Black and British, which I had been wanting to read for ages. I also got Once upon a Wardrobe as I enjoyed the author’s previous book.
New titles this year by Enfys Book of the Major Arqueerna blog, Casey Giovinco, Fire Lyte of the Inciting a Riot podcast, Aaron Oberon, Fio Gede Parma and Jane Meredith, Lee Morgan, Devdutt Pattanaik, Roberto Strongman, Omise’eke Natasha Tinsley, plus translations into other languages of Mat Auryn’s book Psychic Witch.
At the start of the year, I figured I’d try to read around one book a week. Then I faffed around in January starting books and not finishing them, and thought I’d fall well short of 52 books, so I reset my Goodreads target to 42 books (42 being a resonant number for Hitch-hikers fans).
Around the middle of the year, I did a lot of reading, especially while we were camping, so I got ahead of schedule, and ended up with 52 books by the middle of December. Of course, I don’t read to complete targets, but since the advent of smart phones, I find it is good to note the amount of books I am reading, just to remind myself to put down the phone and pick up a book.
So here’s a list of my 2021 book review posts, and a list of books that I have read.
This month has been an odd mixture. I finally finished Mighty Stories, Dangerous Rituals, which I started in November. And I read Rewards and Fairies which is quite a melancholy book. I also finally got hold of The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows in book form, for which I’ve been waiting for a long time, but it’s more of a dipping book. I read Esmond in India and found it a bit depressing. Then I read a collection of interviews with Ursula K Le Guin.
November seems to have been a month of starting books and not finishing them. I started a novel by Isabel Allende and did not finish it, as it’s rather depressing. I started reading a book by Nigel Pennick written in 1992, and then learned that he has links with the far right, and haven’t felt like continuing with it (I probably will finish it, because I can read critically, but just felt sick at heart after finding out about it). I have managed to finish two books, though.
Incredibly clear, beautifully written explanation of the Hermetic Qabala and its inherent queerness, expressed in the idea that there are three pillars (force, balance, and form), and that the Divine includes all genders and sexualities.
The book is written with style and wit by an expert in the subject. There are pathworkings to help you fully experience all aspects of the Qabala, and journal exercises to deepen your understanding of the worlds, spheres, and pathways of the Tree of Life.
All the aspects of the Tree are related to queer experiences and life events like coming out to yourself and others, and finding queer community. It explores both the wonderful and the scary aspects of being queer, including queer joy and sorrow.
This exploration of the many aspects of the Tree is grounded in a deep knowledge of the Qabala, and the overlapping Pagan and queer communities. This is a vision of Qabala that understands the importance of cyclicity: growth and decay, death and rebirth, darkness and light, immanence and transcendence, the manifest and the unmanifest.
It offers magical workings based on queer Qabala which relate to each sphere of the Tree of life and everyday experiences like getting a job or finishing a project. It is pragmatic and fun, accessible and inclusive.
This book will be valuable to everyone from beginners, who will find the subject thoroughly explored and explained, to people who are already working with Qabala, who will gain a fresh perspective on it. Sure to be a contemporary classic!