Review: Poems To Dream On

Poems To Dream On

Author: Judy Mastrangelo, Robert Louis Stevenson, Eugene Field, Christina Rossetti, Joyce Kilmer, Clement C. Moore, Cecil Frances Alexander, Glen MacDonough, Rose Fyleman

Artist: Judy Mastrangelo

Independently Published, June, 2022

ISBN #979-8442472301

“Poems To Dream On” is a 74-page anthology from artist Judy Mastrangelo. Building on a few of her favorite poems from seven different authors, Mastrangelo brings a very special visual essence to this beloved poetry from the past. (Her dedication is to these talented authors whose work she has chosen to illustrate.)

The first poem is “The Swing”, by Robert Louise Stevenson. Depicted are two children, a little boy and a little girl, happily swinging over a field of flowers. There is a beautiful blue sky behind them, and two butterflies cavorting in front of them. What wonderful childhood memories this brings back!

The second poem is my very favorite – “Three Little Kittens”, an English nursery rhyme. I think we all remember the very first lines “Three little kittens, they lost their mittens”. The imagery is breathtaking – three young kittens, against a background of pillows and flowers. We just know they are goi g to be up to some shenanigans!

“The Fly~Away Horse”, by Eugene Field, is a showstopper! We see a horse with wings, silhouetted against a large moon. A beautiful orange bird is perched on a nearby branch, while on the ground we see rabbits, mice, and squirrels admiring the flying horse in the sky. The next scene for tis poem shows a grandmother seated amongst the clouds, surrounded by young children. Several more scenes follow, the imagery adding amazing depth to the already deep words.

The poem “All Things Bright and Beautiful” brought tears to my eyes, as it always does. “All things bright and beautiful, All creatures great and small, All things wise and wonderful, The Lord God made them all.” The imagery is that of a young girl, wearing a beautiful lavender dress and shoes … and wings. She is carrying a watering can and watering the flowers in front of her. She is standing in a field of flowers, in front of a lovely birdhouse. She is accompanied by rabbits, birds, and butterflies.

Mastrangelo has also included some of her own original poems, including “Graceful Swan Boat” and “To A Rabbit”. Beautiful writing, beautiful artistry!

Each poem in this book has clearly been carefully chosen. The artwork is realistic, with beautiful, intense colors. What a wonderful way to celebrate poetry, and what a wonderful way to bond with a child while reading them the poetry (or having them read it to you). It is also a wonderful tool to use for just escaping from the world for a short time and entering the world of gentle, magical imagination.

(Before I forget – “A Visit From Saint Nicholas” has also been included in this anthology. Remember these words … “Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house”. I would purchase the book now and gift it to a friend, or a child that you know for Christmas. It would be a very special gift!)

Thank you to Judy Mastrangelo for bringing back so many beloved poems, and bringing them to a new audience (or perhaps an audience that has not read them in a very long time!). And for gifting us with some of your own poetry!

© June 2022 Bonnie Cehovet

Reproduction is prohibited without written permission from the author.

Review: The Angelic View Oracle Cards

The Angelic View Oracle Cards

Author: Maria G. Mass

Artist: Stock Imagery From Canva

Artist: The following images were photographed by the author, Maria G. Maas: Signs, Inner Peace, Dreams, Prayers, You Can Do It!, All Is Well, Hello From Heaven, and Spend Time In Nature.

Independently Published 2022

“The Angelic View Oracle Cards” is a 44-card oracle deck, with four additional informational cards: a Cover Card, a Copyright Card, About This Deck, About the Author, and How to Use this Deck. There is a free downloadable Guidebook and Journal that can be accessed from the author’s site.

The cards are 2.75” by 4.75”, glossy, and from sturdy card stock. They are quite easy for small hands to work with. Themes within the cards include Angel Numbers, Guardian Angel, Dreams, the Archangels (Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael), and many other topics that will help connect the reader with the angelic realm, and ways to live a positive life.

The 24-page downloadable Guidebook & Journal includes information about the deck, suggestions on how to use the Journal, sample Card Deck Spreads, and information about the author. It is noted that these cards can be used by anyone that wishes to connect with the angelic realm, and that individuals may read for themselves, or read for others. Individuals using these cards do not need any psychic ability or any knowledge of arcane symbols – they only need to be open to receiving angelic wisdom.

The journal is meant to be a tool of empowerment to record each individual’s spiritual journey with these cards. The basic concept is a simple one: breathe and center, set your intention, draw a card, write and reflect. I appreciated the suggestion to take action during the day based on the wisdom received during your reading and to re-read and reflect on what you wrote at the end of the day.

Spreads offered include a one-card Daily Guidance draw, a three-card Past/Present/Future draw, and a three-card Full Moon draw. There are templates in the journal to write out each of the spreads.

The imagery in this deck is gentle and flows to the edge of the page (no borders). The card title is at the top of the page, with wisdom from the card printed on the bottom of the page.

This deck can be used by all ages, and from all cultures. It is an excellent tool for understanding oneself and creating a balanced life. I highly recommend it!

The cards can be purchased here.

© May 2022 Bonnie Cehovet

Reproduction is prohibited without written permission from the author.

Review: Books of the Dead

Books of the Dead

Required reading for bookworms holding their ground.

Author: Professor Oddfellow, Craig Conley

Independently Published

2022

ISBN #: 979-8488741829

This small (108 page) book is a gem in its own right, a distillation of twenty-four books of the dead from around the world and across the centuries. Books of the Dead are unique in that they act as guidebooks for transition and are filled with mythological archetypes. Somehow, when I think of books of the dead, I am reminded of late-night TV stories from my youth about Egypt and mummies. Scary stories that we all loved to watch!

From the book:

“As night blackens

the emerald earth,

the wheel revolves;

death follows birth.

Strive through the dark

with every breath

to wake past day

and beyond death.”

A variant of a Zen poem

Preserved by Philip Kapleau

In his introduction, Professor Oddfellow notes many guidebooks for the dead presume that death is not an ending but a transitional journey, that requires attentive planning. He references Ptolemy Tompkins (from “The Modern Book of the Dead”) as noting that those who hate and fear death are unable to live happily, while for those who think the right way about death “life loses that gloom and becomes something entirely different: something larger, stranger, and infinitely more promising and positive than we might ever have imagined.”

Professor Oddfellow states that books of the dead are really action-drama-fantasies, with a cast of characters, theatrical journeys, and more. (Remember those late-night TV shows!) They are metaphysical in origin, rich with mythological archetypes that offer a wonderful window into human psychology.

This book is divided into four sections: Ancient and Classical Books of the Dead, Modern Books of the Dead, and “Fictional” Books of the Dead”.   

In his afterword, Professor Oddfellow addresses the two most mystical manuals for guidance in the Otherworld: The Tibetan Book of the Dead and The Egyptian Book of the Dead.

There is also what to me is a very magical appendix that addresses the Tarot as a book of the dead.

“Books of the Dead” was intended to act as a book-reader collaboration, to inspire a deep intuitive understanding of afterlife guides, and to connect with what Jung termed the “both-and” philosophy of the Universal mind. It has accomplished this … and so much more!

© March 2022 Bonnie Cehovet

Reproduction is prohibited without written permission from the author.

Review: The Magic Blanket

The Magic Blanket

Author: Judy Mastrangelo

Artist: Judy Mastrangelo

Enchanted Books

March 11th, 2022

ASIN# B09VDBS3X4

“The Magic Blanket” is an incredible book that bonds children and their parents through the world of fantasy. Amy is a lovely little girl whose mother gifts her with a magic blanket that she made for her, decorated with pictures from a wondrous dream world. The magic blanket takes Amy on an amazing adventure!

A little Elf hops out of the blanket as Amy is going to sleep and asks her to join him on an exciting voyage to the Fairy Tale Realm. Amy agrees and starts out on a magical adventure with the Elf. She meets the Royal King and Queen, is invited to their “Enchanted Land”, and does many fun things, like attending a Fairy Ball, enjoying a Musical Performance of Frogs and Crickets, and attending a Mushroom Tea Party with tiny Woodland Creatures. And … they play tag with Pegasus as they fly through the stars! They also visit the Man in the Moon and slide down a Rainbow!

Upon returning from her journey, Amy learns that she has the ability to create a wonderful World of Dreams in her own mind, that she can create at any time. Her mother’s gift of a Magic Blanket was her entrance into this magical world of fantasy.

I was very impressed with the lovely, colorful imagery in this book, and the manner in which the world of fantasy brings Amy such joy. This is a gentle, well-written book that provides the venue for a parent to bond strongly with their child. (Although intended for parents, this can also be used by grandparents, aunts and uncles, and family friends.)

This is part of Mastrangelo’s “Come Play With Me” books and includes activities at the end of the story that parent and child can do together. Activities include learning to Night Dream and Day Dream, write and perform your own play about the Magic Blanket, paint a rainbow, and bake delicious Tea Party Cookies. There are downloads for coloring pages, pictures, cards, and decorations.

I highly recommend this book as a way to bond with a child, but also to help them access their imagination, and understand the true power they have over their own lives.

The book can be purchased here https://www.amazon.com/MAGIC-BLANKET-JUDY-MASTRANGELO-ebook/dp/B09VDBS3X4/ref=sr_1_1?crid=1YHLBYNCAC1A3&keywords=the+magic+blanket+by+judy+mastrangelo&qid=1647830827&s=books&sprefix=%2Cstripbooks%2C145&sr=1-1

Note: I am reviewing the e-book version of this book.

© March 2022 Bonnie Cehovet

Reproduction is prohibited without written permission from the author.

Interview With Judy Mastrangelo

An amazing children’s book recently crossed my path – “The Magic Blanket”, by artist/author Judy Mastrangelo. Here we see fantasy and imagination at their finest. Mastrangelo has a background in multiple genres, including Realism, Impressionism, Abstractionism, and Fantasy, and loves to see nature come alive. Thank you, Judy, for being willing to chat with us.

Turning the page over to Judy!

Question: I have long admired the images that you share on Facebook. How did you come to choose this style of artistry?

Judy: Actually, my painting style came very naturally.  It has developed over the years.  I’ve gone through various phases during my life, being influenced by several schools of art.  When I was younger, my style was darker and more morose, being under the influence of German Expressionism.  My paintings brightened more when I discovered Monet’s vibrant Impressionistic colors, which have remained a favorite color palette of mine.  I love the great school of Artists of the Italian Renaissance, such as Leonardo da Vinci, and look to them as teachers. I’ve studied their paintings and techniques, and feel that it’s very worthwhile for artists to have a good basic knowledge of this classical art, in categories such as anatomy, perspective, etc.  When I discovered the talented Artists of the wonderful “Golden Age of Illustration”, I knew that was a genre and style I would love to have and attempt to continue in their tradition.  I’m always striving to be a better artist, and probably will never reach the high level of these great Artists.  But their Art will always inspire me.

Question: What was the process behind choosing to do a children’s book, and specifically one that so directly connects parent and child?

Judy: I have always enjoyed beautiful children’s books, and have fond memories of my parents reading them to me as a child.  Creating paintings has been a delight throughout my life.  And describing my art images with words seems to be part of my creative process.  I think that the “illustrated word” is another wonderful art form.

I feel that children have a natural bond in their early years with their parents, looking up to them with respect as inspirational teachers, as well as delightful companions.  It’s wonderful to see a family that is loving and close throughout their lives.  I think that experiencing activities together that they enjoy, such as the love for literature and other art forms, can really enhance this family affection.  The fun of sharing such activities with relatives can be a very heartwarming experience, that can be passed on from generation to generation.

Question: I was fascinated by the Elf that jumped off of the blanket and led Amy on her journey. How did you come to decide who would lead Amy on her journey, and on how the Elf would “enter” Amy’s life?

Judy: I’ve always enjoyed the world of the “wee folk”, such as Elves and Fairies.  Often, ideas will pop out of my imagination, and this little Elf seemed to be the perfect tiny enchanted being to take Amy on her exciting adventure.  I have a process that I call “Mind Painting” which is another term I use for “Imagination”, that Artists often use for inspiration.  For example, I visualized this story in my head, along with the images.  And out of these “Paintings in my Mind”, little “Greeny Elf” came into being, to take Amy on her adventure to his magical “Enchanted Land”.

Question: You have included several different activities in this book – some of which a child can do on their own and some of which they would do with a parent or other adult.  Why did you decide to do this, and how did you go about choosing the different activities?

Judy: I felt that including activities could add enjoyment to my story, by making it an “interactive” type of adventure, so that children could actually get involved as a part of the book.  I know that when one reads a book or watches a film etc., you really become “part of” the story, and empathize with various characters.  That is a wonderful experience.  My bonus activities were meant to add additional fun creative things to learn and do, that families could enjoy together, which reflect and continue the storyline, characters, etc. 

For instance, I know it’s fun for children to learn cooking from their parents.  So I took some of the little animals in the Mushroom Tea Party and had them share a delicious cookie recipe that parents could bake along with their children.  For Creative writing and painting, I encouraged the readers to write and illustrate their own original Fairy Tales, similar to my Magic Blanket.  And I also added an activity where readers could learn about the magical beauty of Colors:  Since as part of my story, Amy and little Greeny Elf have fun sliding down a beautiful Rainbow, I thought this would be a wonderful opportunity to describe the “Color Wheel” in simple terms, and how to mix primary colors together to make secondary colors for a painting. 

I have taught Creative Drama, Dance, and Painting, and had my own Community Theater Group with children and adults.  We performed many kinds of plays, with themes of Fairy Tales, etc.  These experiences of combining several art forms, of Drama, Dance, Music, and Painting, with all ages of people, inspired me to create a series of interactive books entitled “Come Play With Me”.  This book is included in that group.  One of the activities in my book encourages readers to write and perform Plays for family and friends.  In it, I suggest they create their own costumes and scenery and pretend that they really are the characters in their own Fantasy Drama.

Question: I absolutely love that you have created real-life blankets using the imagery from this book. They would be a lovely addition to any child’s life. How did this come about?

Judy: From the very beginning of creating this story, I felt it would be wonderful for readers to have a real “Magic Blanket” that they could sleep with at night, and dream of their own “Enchanted Land”, like in my tale.  So I found an online store called “Red Bubble”, where I could create and sell products with my artwork on them, with this specific book idea in mind.  I then put together several images from the artwork in this book, which are made into Bedding Products (in the Home and Living section), such as Throw Blankets, and Duvet Covers, as well as other products, like Wall Art, Clothing, etc. They can be purchased in my Red Bubble online store:  https://www.redbubble.com/people/judymastra/shop?artistUserName=judymastra&asc=u&collections=1250415&iaCode=u-bedding

Question: What is the importance to you of engaging a child’s imagination? (Because that is what this book is all about, after all!)

Judy: Imagination is the stuff that awakens one’s creativity and gives you happiness.  Without Imagination, life can be somewhat humdrum, lackluster, and could lead to depression.  Imagination stimulates the excitement for living, learning, and appreciating Nature, and our beautiful planet Earth.  It is one of the greatest stimuli for creating all kinds of Artwork.  Many endeavors that you enjoy doing are a form of Artwork, such as the “Art” of Cooking, Carpentry, Gardening, etc.  By using and developing your Imagination you can develop your talents to become the best kind of person you really want to be!

Question: You address both Dreamtime (dreaming when sleeping), and daydreaming (dreaming when awake). How important is this to a child (or an adult, for that matter)?

Judy: These methods of “Dreaming” are very good ways to develop one’s Imagination.  If you close your eyes you can see a “Mind Painting” that can inspire you to create many art forms, such as Painting, Literature, Dance, etc.  This method, which has often been used throughout time by creative people, has developed into beautiful works of Art.  For instance, when you “Day Dream” during the day, you can just gaze into space, and many images may appear to you.  Or you can “Dream” on clouds, or on a pond of water, to see imaginary pictures.  It’s like meditating, or “scrying” on a crystal ball, where “visions” and ideas can “appear” and develop.  And for “Night Dreaming”, before you go to bed when your eyes are closed, you may see wonderful and amazing “visions” pass through your head.  Try to remember them in the morning, and sketch or write them down.  Tap into your own rich imagination.  It’s a very exciting and uplifting experience.

Question: Making use of cards that a child can cut out and either use for themselves or give to others is a fantastic concept. Why did you decide to do this?

Judy: It’s fun for me to share my artwork with others, and I enjoy receiving pictures from other artists of their wonderful paintings.  I also collect small cards which are reproductions of artwork from Artists of the past whose work that I love, and who give me inspiration in my own work.  My hope is that people who read my book would also appreciate having some reproductions of my artwork to decorate their homes and to share with others.

Question: The decorations that are available for download are exceptional and bring the Land of Enchantment into the child’s real world. How did this come about?

Judy: I love to see pictures around me, hanging up on the wall.  They give me a good feeling and inspiration.  I thought that hanging up some of the artwork from this book, in the form of decorations, would be an enjoyable way to hold on to the message of my story.  It’s wonderful for a child to have their room decorated like their own “Enchanted Land”, with pictures cut out from the book, and artwork that they can create themselves.  It will surround them, and give them uplifting and spiritual feelings.

Question: Is there anything that you would like to say about the process of creating this book, or how it can be used?

Judy: My Fairy Tale book was created as a labor of love.  It was really fun for me to do.  I am somewhat of a perfectionist in the way I paint, and I often feel that I could do better.  But I know I’ve done the best I can, and I hope that others will enjoy it.  My intent was to create a fantasy that would be inspiring for all ages.  I wanted to show how one could go to a “Special Enchanted Land” through the help of your Imagination, at any time you want to. 

Some of my favorite artwork has themes of  Fantasy, Magic, Elves, and Fairies.  For example, my favorite Shakespeare play is “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”.  So I wanted to create my own original Fairy Tale using these types of fanciful creatures.  I use beings in my story who practice “Good Magic”, such as Little Greeny Elf, the King and Queen of Enchanted Land, Flying Pegasus, and the lovely Lullaby Lady, who watches over little Children sleeping in the Clouds. 

In a way, this mystical Lullaby Lady in the Clouds echoes the spirituality of Amy’s sweet Mother who gave her the Magic Blanket.  Her dear Mother’s gift that she made for Amy, was an entrance to this “Enchanted Land”, with pictures on it of the beautiful Fairy Tale Kingdom the little girl would travel to in her adventure.  It is a Realm where Goodness Reigns and all who are kindhearted are welcome to enter.  As so my message is to attempt to be Compassionate and Loving, and you will have a joyful life full of Inspiration and Beauty.

Thank you very much for giving me the opportunity to do this interview with you, Bonnie.  I really appreciate it very much.

If people would like to learn more about my artwork and projects, they can visit me at:   www.judymastrangelo.com

Bonnie: Judy, thank you so much for spending time with my readers and I, and for sharing the links to where your work can be found.

(c) March 2022 Bonnie Cehovet

Reproduction is prohibited without written permission from the author.

Review: Building Our Main Street

Building Our Main Street

Author: Kristian James

Illustrated By: Matea Anic

AM Ink Publishing

July 2022

ISBN #: 978-1-943201-77-8

“Building Our Main Street” begins with a conversation between a young girl and her mother. The young girl has not seen her grandmother in a long time and is confused as to why. Her mother explained that her grandmother died and took a trip down her Main Street.

Her mother defines Main Street as a place all older adults go when their time on earth has come to an end.

Her mother then goes on to say that Main Street is a place filled with bright-colored buildings and each person’s favorite memories. It is a place of happiness and fun.

As the conversation continues, the mother describes what the grandmother is seeing and experiencing. The little girl asks if bad memories appear on Main Street, and her mother assures her that they do not.

When asked what is at the end of Main Street, the mother describes their ancestors that have moved on before them.

The mother then assures her daughter that she has her whole life to build her memories for Main Street.

James addresses the subject of discussing the passing of a family member with a child. He has done this in a very creative, magical way, emphasizing the positive, and ensuring that both the child and the adult are listening and responding. “Building Our Main Street” is a very gentle, positive book that will be a teaching resource for parents as well as family members discussing loss with children in their family.

I cannot say enough about the lovely illustrations – they bring the words to life in a very magical manner!

The dedications in this book are to those family members in the lives of the author and the illustrator who have already crossed over.

“Building Our Main Street” has a place in every home, and in every situation, that deals with the subject of children and death. Kudos to author Kristian James for his most excellent work!

© March 2022 Bonnie Cehovet

Reproduction is prohibited without the written permission of the author.

Review: Love Letters From Janey

Love Letters From Janey –

50 Years Of Breaking Barriers Together

Author: Richard Cheu

Cheu Writes Press

May, 2022

ISBN 978-0-578-34920-6

“Love Letters From Janey – 50 Years Of Breaking Barriers Together” is author Richard Cheu’s memorial to his wife, Janey Mildred Young Cheu. In his preface, Cheu gives the background of Janey’s parents and grandparents. Janey and her parents were American-born Chinese, as was her grandfather. Janey had adult responsibilities from the time she was six years old, helping her mother run a gift shop while her father was on active duty with the United States Army.

Cheu talks about the racism that they faced being Chinese (and educated), and how Janey wanted to become a doctor, but her mother Mary was adamant that she not do that, as she would never find a husband. Janey did get her education and worked for Bell Laboratories as a curriculum developer and systems engineer, and the only Asian American woman at Bell to receive the highest technical award that they offered. She was also associate director of the Institute for Science, Technology, and Social Education at Rutgers University, where she received an EdD in psychology and education. She was also a California state-certified microbiologist.

This book is broken into four parts, representing four different parts of Janey’s life. Part 1 talks about the 1960s, Part 2 contains excerpts from letters divided into twelve categories, representing different parts of the relationship between Janey and Richard, Part 3 talks about what energized and motivated Janey to do what she did in her career and personal activities, and in Part 4 Janey tells her own story, in her own words.

Part 1 talks about the changing world, and women’s rights. It referenced changing roles within society and within the home. It references how Janey was a product of her cultural heritage, her family, and the historical moment she came of age. We have to remember that this was the time of people like Betty Friedan and the feminist movement. This was all interesting to me because I lived through these times – the Kennedy presidency, the creation of the Peace Corps, and more.

Part 2 talks about growing up Asian American in California, referencing the influence of three cultures: Chinese, American, and Chinese-American. Speaking Cantonese at home and English in school allowed her to become fluent in both cultures. We also read about the author’s background and that of his parents. He also explains the process of choosing what to share from Janey’s letters to him. (As he notes, she wrote about anything and everything that was on her mind any given day.) Not incidental was the issue that Chinese Americans were not fully accepted as Americans.

Part 3 begins with Janey’s yin and yang personality. It talks about her Chinese name, which means “peach blossom”. It also talks about the author comparing his Myer Briggs score with Janey’s, which brought him to a greater understanding of her. Janey’s sense of precision is mentioned, as well as her passion for cooking. (Indeed, wanting to be left alone in the kitchen so that she could totally focus on cooking.)

Part 4 starts out with an oral history interview with Janey and the author. It is absolutely amazing to listen to them talking about different things that happened in their lives, and Janey’s take on them. Including her ambition to learn to ski, and to teach her children how to ski. Then there is their 50th anniversary, which they spent in Montreal (courtesy of their children). It is also interesting to note that Janey used her personal page in the Stanford Class of 1960s 50th class reunion book to share her life story with her classmates. (The information from this page is included in the book.) Also included is a very beautiful photo of Janey.

I very much appreciated the opportunity to review this book. Janey Cheu was/is a lady with spunk, determination, and the ability to care about herself and those around her. She moved between Chinese and American cultures at a time when there was a large divide between them. She honored both cultures, got an education, married and raised a family, and was not afraid to take a leading role in her work environment. It is because of women like her that our world has evolved to the point that it has. This is an excellent read, and I highly recommend it.

© March 2022 Bonnie Cehovet

Reproduction is prohibited without written permission from the author.

Review – Ghostology: Soul Division

Ghostology: Soul Division

Author: Craig Conley (Writing as Prof. Oddfellow)

Independently Published

2021

ISBN #: 979-8750906208

How the human soul is divided has been talked about for centuries by philosophers, poets, mystics, seers, and laymen. “Ghostology” is a short work (the pages are not numbered, but I count 66) that pulls the reader in from page one.

There are two dedications:

For Mother: “Her soul is divided into as many parts as the number of her children, since she experiences in her own being whatever happens to them.” Saint Gregory of Nyssa

For Michelangelo: “the man of four souls”.

The content of this book is presented as quotes from various sources, accompanied by incredibly interesting illustrations. This is not a book that can be easily put down. We read that the Zinacantan people of and that all persons alive today are only composites of humans who have lived before.

Norman Mailer identifies seven Egyptian souls in “Ancient Evenings” (1983), while Gerald Massey in “The Seven Souls of Man” (1883) identifies seven souls. Edgar James Banks in “The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World” (1916) identifies five Egyptian souls.

The Makah tribe of Washington State identifies the four parts of the soul as: (1) eye, (2) breath, (3) animal twin, and (4) guardian.

Hawaiian Shamanism defines three soul divisions: (1) Seed of Light, (2) Mentality, and (3) Physicality.

The Yin/Yang theory of Taoism shows the light and dark halves of the soul being further divided upon death into Light (Compassion, Frugality, Humility), and Dark (Joy, Anger, Anxiety, Grief, Fear, Pensiveness, and Sudden Fright).

There are many more examples, accompanied by incredible imagery. This is a learning book (a book that teaches), but the reader will see it as interesting information that presents itself as many different ways of looking at the soul, and how it is defined.

It is a tool of growth and a tool of personal power. The reader needs to come with an open mind to be able to experience the joy that is to be his within these pages.

The afterword gives the reader, even more, to think about:

“The soul is split in two, and it is precisely in this cleavage and duality that he discovers his true self and becomes a free personality.” Erich Frank, 1945.

 I loved the ending, which shows a series of images interpreting what an ending is.

I recommend this book for readers that are interested in how the soul is interpreted by many different cultures – it is eye-opening, and a very gentle read.

© March 2022 Bonnie Cehovet

Reproduction is prohibited without written permission from the author.

The Big Book of Practical Spells

It came to my attention recently that the original edition of “The Big Book of Practical Spells – Everyday Magic That Works” is soon going to be unavailable (it will be replaced by the new Weiser Classics edition). So of course I had to purchase a copy of the original! What follows here is not by any means a review of the book, but a few notes on some of the wonderful things that popped out for me.

I love working with magic and spells. It is a wonderful way to help empower ourselves, and open our lives up to all that can be. This book is an incredible resource for both beginners and those who already work with what Illes terms the “magical arts”.

What can you expect to find in these 282 pages? Lots of great things! The reader will get a basic introduction to magic, a psychic glossary (this comes in very handy!), basic information on the four elements, working with color, and magical supplies (including minerals and botanicals). And … lots and lots of spells!

Readers will find interesting things in the psychic glossary – such as ways to avoid the evil eye being included with the definition for evil eye, and a recipe for Psychic Shield Infused Oil in the definition for infusion.

I loved the section on colors, with little tidbits like using the color blue for protection, the color green for growth, and the color purple for power.

Close to my heart was the section on working with candles – I have worked with candle magic for most of my life, and find it useful for many different situations. Illes gives very in-depth instructions on types of candles, colors, oils, and carving symbols into them.

Working with allies is something that I feel we should be aware of. Illes includes Animals, Spirit Beings, Metals, Minerals, and Botanicals. There is so much wisdom that our allies have to share with us! Animal Familiars is also an area that I feel quite connected with.

For those that work with dreams, this is also included in this book. Dreamtime is a very powerful source of communications of all kinds. We can ask for dreams, interpret dreams that come spontaneously to us, and so much more!

There are some incredible spells included in this book, over a whole range of topics, such as aura cleansing, psychic protection, bath salts as protection, using mirrors as amulets, house protection, psychic power enhancement, summoning spirits, love, peaceful home, dreams, fertility, full and new moon, finances, prosperity, and more.

Working with the material in this book gives the reader power over their own life.

(c) 2022 Bonnie Cehovet

Reproduction is prohibited without the written permission of the author.

Review: My Tsunami Journey – The Quest For God In A Broken World

My Tsunami Journey –

The Quest For God In A Broken World

Author: Mark Dowd

Foreword: Rowan Williams

Resource Publications, Wipf and Stock Publishers

2022

ISBN#: 978-1-7252-9536-0

Mark Dowd is a former Dominican friar, a broadcast journalist, and author of “Queer and Catholic (A Life of Contradictions)”. In “My Tsunami Journey” he addresses the challenge to faith in reconciling a loving God with the suffering brought about by events like the Asian tsunami of 2004, with 230,000 deaths. Dowd has dedicated this book to his late father, Edward Patrick Dowd, who through a comment uttered in front of a TV set in 2004 sent his son Mark on this journey. (The comment was “God could have stopped that.”)

In his foreword, Dr. Rowan Williams, former Archbishop of Canterbury, notes that each decade seems to have its moment of doubt and trauma. The Asian tsunami was one of those things that caused immense loss of life within a very short time period, a depth and breadth of loss that was unimaginable. He notes that the question here is how a belief in God, and a trust in God, can survive something like this.

Dowd talks about how he was able to set up a two-hour anniversary documentary with Channel Four in the UK. He would be visiting areas affected by the tsunami (Indonesia, India, and Thailand), and interviewing people. At the same time, an article appeared in the Sunday Telegraph with the headline “This has made me question God’s existence”, by Dr. Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury. (Newspapers do tend to exaggerate – what Dr. Williams had actually said was that it was right and appropriate to question where God was in all of this.)

Before he began the work for his documentary Dowd interviewed Richard Dawkins, an arch-atheist and Oxford biologist. One of Dawkins’s first comments reflected the thought that a happening like this tsunami revenge from God, or perhaps a warning from God. He then went on to add that the kind of God he would like people to believe in would be a creator who then is distant and unengaged with the world that he created. Food for thought here!

I was impressed to see that before Dowd headed overseas to do his interviews, he spent some serious time in the British Library in London studying what Buddhism, Hinduism, and Islam had to say about human suffering in relation to God. Dowd found basically one book that addressed the issue, “The Problems of Suffering in the Religions of the World”, by Anglican priest and theologian, John Bowker.

Dowd and his crew worked with local producers, which was interesting in and of itself. Their first stop was Banda Aceh in Sumatra. The room that Dowd chose ended up facing a local mosque, which meant loud noise five times a day as the faithful were called to worship. We might not have had this detail had Dowd not written this book in story format – which allows the reader to follow his thoughts, and how he and his crew are progressing, in a way that is both interesting and informative.

This is a documentary that takes knowledge and tact to put together, as the individuals being interviewed have undergone absolutely unbelievable loss. (Such as the first gentleman interviewed, who lost twenty family members (his entire family) in the tsunami right after his brother’s wedding.)

Personal stories from individuals affected by the tsunami, as well as commentary from clergy frame the telling of this book’s story. Also included were photos of the physical damage done to the affected areas.

This is a personal story for Dowd, and for us as readers. Why do catastrophes have to happen? Where is God in all of this? Is our faith justified? The answer is to be found with the combination of God and science. This is an evolution, a process constituted by the cycles of life, death, and renewal.     

 The stories in this book can help us as readers come to terms with our own thoughts of God, and why such suffering is allowed to happen. We need to be able to justify our faith, so that, IMHO, it does not one day fail us.

This is an inspiring, must-read book.

© December 2021 Bonnie Cehovet

Reproduction is permitted with the written permission of the author.