I'm trying to get into the habit of taking notes on books I read to help with recall and generally to get more out of my reading. I am not very good at keeping up with an external site like BookWyrm so I figured I'd try making a list here instead.
This is a topic I have read quite a lot of. In my mid to late 20s, one of the ways my intrusive thoughts manifested was a kind of obsession with psychic hygiene (instead of washing my hands repeatedly, I banished). This was actually encouraged by someone who is no longer in my life, who liked to tell me that I was clearly possessed and psychically attacking her when I didn't go along with everything she asked. I am a long ways out from that time in my life, but I still have a lot of opinions and feelings about how books discuss these topics.
Blackthorn's Protection Magic: A Witch’s Guide to Mental and Physical Self-Defense (Amy Blackthorn)On Bookshop
Overall this is a very practical guide to protection magic. I appreciate that Blackthorn talks about ground-level security like self-defense and hardening your home as well as magic, wards, etc. I definitely would recommend it for people interested in the topic, especially people looking for something that's not "all in the head" like a lot of protection magic is.
- I smiled when she mentioned the SEP field from Douglas Adams by name, as that's a concept I incorporated into my personal wards back in college.
- She recommends duct tape for certain kinds of binding spells, which is not something I've seen before but makes great sense.
- She suggests enchanting emergency flashlights with solar energy/sigils, which is clever and also makes me want to expand the concept by enchanting mundane objects in other areas: masks (only energy, obviously), keychains not to get lost, etc.
Devoted to You (Judy Harrow)
About practicing devotion in a pagan context and how to deepen a relationship with individual deities.
- "Deity Focus Exercise"
This is a long-term activity in which you choose a god/dess and spend a longer period of time specifically focused on them. She recommends spending a month researching and a 2nd month in an "immersion experience." This means setting up altars, wearing associated colors, eating associated foods, meditating on the deity, performing ritual specifically for them, etc.
For research she gives suggestions of what to cover: Discuss each myth and any major versions of a myth, how myths have changed over time, list "aspects" each with their own fields of influence and relevant correspondences, titles, colors, forms, portfolio, time, element, etc. as well as notes on culture(s) they come from.
If there's not much to go on, she discusses trial and error using "indo-european roots" - influence and/or related ideas from other cultures (ie Vestal fire priestesses, St Brigit, etc for Brigid)
Immersion can include guided meditations, prayers, rituals. Consider known imagery and symbols when considering altar-building and ritual objects.
Making Home (Sharon Astyk)
Okay, no, this isn't strictly a pagan book, but it's about the home as well as living more intentionally and within the natural cycles.
She emphasizes the need to find beauty in the functional, appreciating what works. Astyk also talks about a "working" home vs consuming home: "working" homes are less pretty because work is in progress. They're not magazine spreads, and they're not meant to be.
She lists the first steps for adapting in place:
1. food + a way to cook without power
2. temperature maintenance for all seasons
Once these are covered, only then would you focus on the second tier, for longer-term emergencies: as you have resources, replace current systems with sustainable ones or invest in sustainable backups (solar arrays, rain barrels, etc)
Wishlist for Books I Want to Review