TWH — “Lord, what fools these mortals be!” the mischievous sprite Puck says to Oberon the faerie king in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Shakespeare was no fool when it came to incorporating the magical and astrological worldviews of his time into his immortal works. That’s the premise of the fascinating, exhaustive (but not exhausting) book Shakespeare and the Stars: the Hidden Astrological Keys to Understanding the World’s Greatest Playwright (Ibis Press, 547 p.) by professional astrologer and English literature teacher Priscilla Costello. Costello weaves not just astrology but extensively-researched aspects of the Elizabethan worldview, Renaissance magic, ancient history, mythology, modern psychology, and more into her examination of Shakespeare’s works. While she discusses the bard’s plays as a whole, Costello delves deep into six specific works, including three of his most “magical” plays: The Tempest (with its story of the exiled nobleman Prospero, who takes up the magical arts and frees the air spirit Ariel), Macbeth (with its “double, double, toil and trouble” witches who prophesy Macbeth’s doom), and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (with its tale of a love quadrangle fostered by a quarrel between Oberon and his faerie queen Titania, and heightened by the errant spell-casting antics of Puck).
[Today we welcome guest writer Link with his review of the upcoming Philip Heselton book. A Gardnerian initiate, Link is a member of the Covenant of the Goddess (CoG) and is the US National Coordinator for the Pagan Federation International. The name “Link” is a simple, one-syllable reminder of how all things interconnect. Link’s writing focuses on seeing the sacred and magickal side of everyday life, and has been published in many parts of the world since the 1990s. Jobwise, he has worked for several international telecommunications companies in the US, Europe and Latin America, again a lesson in how things connect. He currently lives in Miami Beach.]
Review: Doreen Valiente – Witch. Written by Philip Heselton.
Review: The Book of the Great Queen: The Many Faces of the Morrigan, from Ancient Legends to Modern Devotions Written by Morpheus Ravenna. (Concrescent Press, pp 506)
I’ll be honest. I have never been drawn to deities associated with war or battle. I appreciate them as I see their strength, honor, and courage. But my draw to Paganism and the gods has always been along more of a tree-hugger sort of route.
Review: Celebrate Wildness: Magic, Mirth and Love on the Feraferia Path. (First Edition) Written by Jo Carson. Years ago I was given a list of books to read in response to my interest in pursuing Paganism. Margot Adler’s Drawing Down the Moon was one of those books and, through that text, I first learned of the Feraferia tradition. At the time, the tradition did not specifically call to me.
Review: The Case for Polytheism. Written by Steven Dillon. (Iff Book, 96 Pages)
As an undergraduate freshman I stumbled into a Philosophy 101 class primarily by default. It was the only class out of the list of humanities requirements that still had a space available, and I needed full-time status to keep my scholarship. I was not excited to learn about the self-indulgent musings of dead white men; Philosophy 101 usually means Western Philosophy after all. By the end of the term, however, I was considering changing my major to philosophy.
Review: All Acts of Love and Pleasure: Inclusive Wicca. Written by Yvonne Aburrow (Avalonia Press, 276 Pages)
Early in my studies I spent a lot of time pouring over books to learn how to be a witch, and those introductory books were plentiful. I absorbed so much information about the elements, circle casting, the deities, and magic during that time, then relearned most of it when I later entered formal studies. The “New Age” section of the bookstore has since lost its appeal. Most of the books sitting there are more additions to the Wicca 101 genre, with one recipe after another for invocations and spells.