Karl E. H. Seigfried writes about his unusual “patron saint” – Jim Bouton, baseball player and author of “Ball Four,” a memoir of life in the game.
TWH — If Emily Dickinson, Anais Nin, Virginia Woolf, and Agatha Christie were Witches, they kept that side of their lives out of history’s spotlight, yet they and 26 other female writers are “initiated” into a coven in the new book Literary Witches: a Celebration of Magical Women Writers by poet-writer Taisia Kitaiskaia and illustrator Katy Horan (Seal Press, October 2017, 128 p.). Literary Witches is a charming (witchy pun intended) grimoire that weaves biography, recommended readings, Kitaiskaia’s prose poems and Horan’s moody paintings into a heady brew of brief, off-kilter but always evocative portraits of these writers. Refreshingly pan-cultural, Kitaiskaia romps across space, time, history, ethnicities and genres to anoint the famous (the aforementioned writers as well as Toni Morrison, Sappho, Mary Shelley, and others), plus lesser-known wordsmiths (Iranian poet Farugh Farrokhzad, Laguna Pueblo novelist Leslie Marmon Silko, and more). The foreword by Pam Grossman is not only engaging and informative itself, it also is essential to this book. Frankly, Literary Witches wouldn’t make much sense and would struggle to bridge women writers and witchery without Grossman’s framing device.
The Path of Paganism: An Experience-Based Guide to Modern Pagan Practice by John Beckett. Published by Llewellyn Publications (336 pages). Walking a Pagan path will always have its challenges and whatever stage of the path we are on, a guide who give us pause for reflection on key aspects of our beliefs and practices is most welcome. This is why John Beckett’s new book The Path of Paganism, to be released in May, is so important. Beckett is a Druid who was raised in what he describes as a fundamentalist Christian family, finding his way to Paganism when he was an adult. Beckett is a member of the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids (OBOD) and an officer of the Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans (CUUPS). With a foreword by the renowned Kristoffer Hughes, head of the Anglesey Druid Order, Beckett’s book is made up of four parts: Building a Foundation, Putting it Into Practice, Intermediate Practice, Living at the Edge.
The Tao of Craft: Fu Talismans and Casting Sigils in the Eastern Esoteric Tradition by Benebell Wen. Published by North Atlantic Books (600 pages)
The Tao of Craft, by Benebell Wen (also author of Holistic Tarot), is an English-language practitioner’s guide to Chinese 符 (fú). 符 is usually translated as “talisman,” but Wen chooses to use the word “sigil,” which more specifically captures the use of written texts and glyphs and symbols, the ritual charging of such designs, and their relationship to both spirit-work and directly achieving desired practical results. Wen also chooses to use the term “craft” rather than “magic.” The lines between “magic” and “religion” have always been blurry, and while she acknowledges that the vast web of traditions comprising Daoism is often religious, Wen argues that the metaphysical principles underlying the Fú techniques themselves can work from a variety of religious frameworks.
[Editor’s Note: This review contains a few spoilers.]
Review: City of Refuge by Starhawk. Published by Califia Press (pp. 711)
City of Refuge is the sequel to Starhawk’s novel The Fifth Sacred Thing. Both books are works of post-apocalyptic fiction.The series differs from most books in this genre. Instead of being survivalist porn centered around bullets and beans, the two books are written from an eco-feminist point of view.
[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.