Review: The Parallax Oracle

The Parallax Oracle –

Archetypal Kabbalah, Tarot, and The Tree of Life

Author: Heather Mendel

Artist: Heather Mendel

A Word of Art

2020

ISBN# 978-0-9710976-9-8

I had the honor to meet Heather Mendel in person – her work personifies the very gracious individual that she is. (Her previous work includes “The Oracle Speaks”, “The Magic Moon Lenormand”,  “The Sacred Mandala Tarot: Mystery, Mindfulness and Manifestation”, “The Sacred Mandala Lenormand Oracle”, and “The Syzygy Oracle: Transformative Tarot and the Tree of Life”.) The focus of her work is the Sacred Feminine, as expressed through the Kabbalah, Tarot, women’s spirituality, sacred geometry, and mythology. You can find her work on her site: www.sacredfemininekabbalah.com.

I knew that I wanted to work with this deck/book as soon as I heard about it. (Facebook is good for something!) It will appeal to readers that are interested in the Tarot, in the Sacred Feminine, and in working with the Kabbalah and the Tree of Life. I was very impressed with the presentation of the deck and accompanying book: the book cover and the box that the cards come in are black. Some might call this minimalist – I call it a reflection of the mysteries that they contain. The image on the covers for the book and deck is that of the four worlds.

The cards come in a lift-top box, with a lovely lavender mesh bag to store the cards in. There is a silver elastic tie that holds the box together. (I have feline “helpers”. A flick of a paw would have cards all over the place if the box were not contained!) The card backs are red, with a black and white yin/yang circle of the side view of a head, with a red apple (complete with a green leaf) in the center.

The card faces show the card, and where it sits on the Tree of Life. The suits are defined by color: Wands are yellow, Cups are red, Swords are blue, and Pentacles are green. The card faces show a black background, with a diagram of the Tree of Life in the suit color in the center. The numbered cards show the number where they sit on the Tree of Life. The Court Cards (Page, Knight, Queen, and King show their respective crowns where they sit on the Tree of Life).

There are two additional “mystery” cards with purple arrows – one pointing up, one pointing down. They are meant to suggest that the focus for the reader is either the journey down the Tree of Life, or the journey up.

The Parallax Oracle, as noted on the box that the cards come in, is a Minor Arcana deck that can be used alone, or in conjunction with The Syzygy Oracle as a full Tarot deck.

The 179 page companion book is absolutely amazing! Part One addresses the esoteric basis of this work, covering intuition and the Hero’s Journey, the sefirot on the Tree of Life, the sefirot and the minor arcana, and using the Parallax Oracle in a spiritual practice. Part Two addresses each card through a black and white image, an affirmation, keywords, meaning, sefirot, suit, numeric significance, summary, questions, and notes.  

In her preface, Mendel talks about the possibilities for connecting with the intuitive, and that it is really a continuation of work that was done with her Syzygy Oracle, which focused on engaging intuition through the archetypes. She sees the Tarot and the Kabbalah (with its four worlds and three levels of soul vibration) as a lens through which we view our daily activities.

I love the questions that are posed with each of the cards. For example, one of the questions for the Two of Swords is: “Do you have a regular practice to enter the silence?” For the Queen of Cups one of the questions is: “Do you believe romance lasts?” For the Nine of Coins one of the questions is: “How do you share your successes?” For the Six of Wands, one of the questions is: “Are you comfortable in the spotlight?” As you can see, the questions take the reader on an internal journey.

At the end of the book there is an appendix that includes a summary of the journey from 1-10, and a summary of the journey of the four suits and the four worlds.

“The kabbalistic teaching of the 10 “cosmic chakras” (sefirot) become a practical tool for spiritual practice. The Four Worlds become familiar as readers understand the interconnection of the four Suits; three levels of soul development— nefesh, ruach, and neshama— become evident in the understanding on the Court cards and their application to finding meaning and balance in our lives.” Heather Mendel

Experienced Tarot readers will find that working with the Kabbalah and the Tree of Life adds another layer of understanding to their readings – specifically in the areas of spirituality and esoteric teaching. For someone with a more Kabbalistic mindset the study of the ten sefirot brings the gift of a practical tool to their spiritual practice.   

I want to add a small word of thanks here to Wald Amberstone, co-founder/director of The Tarot School. It was through him that I began to understand the connection between the Tarot and the Kabbalah, and to add that layer of wisdom to my readings.

© October 2020 Bonnie Cehovet

Reproduction prohibited without written consent of the author.

Review – Raising Our State of Consciousness to Fulfill Our Soul’s Growth

Raising Our State of Consciousness

To Fulfill Our Soul’s Growth

Author: David Lacopo

Light and Love Production

ISBN #978-1-7772328-0-1

2020

Lacopo sees the Tarot as a tool for personal development, as well as gaining understanding and raising our state of consciousness. He also feels that Tarot can be used to restore personal balance on all levels – physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual.

In this book Lacopo brings to the reader a collection of his personal experiences, Divine knowledge received from his personal guide and spiritual mentor (Achquelin), and spiritual growth exercises. The exercises include working with the letters of the Hebrew alphabet to manifest positive changes and working with the Kabbalah (The Tree of Life) to help understand and improve human relationships.

At 229 pages, this is a nice sized book. In other words, it does not overwhelm. It is packed with full color images from the Tarot (using the Rider Waite deck), as well as black and white and color images of the Tree of Life. There are charts included throughout the book, and a focus on understanding the four energy levels – physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual.

In his introduction Lacopo speaks of receiving Divine downloads and Divine guidance from his spiritual guide Achquelin. In 2017 he was guided to start speaking out about his journey.

From 1997 onward for fifteen years, Lacopo walked what he terms “darkness”. It wasn’t until 2008 that he reached a crossroads – he left his musical dream behind and began studying the Bible.  He went on to study the Kybalion and the Sefir Yetzirah.

In his chapter on meditation Lacopo does an excellent job of defining the four aspects of our being – physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual, as well as the chakra system. He takes the reader through the process of meditation, including correct breathing, and introduces the concept of working with the Tarot.

Included in the exercises in this book are raising our vibration and working with our yearly lessons (using numerology). There is a wonderful section on the Tree of Life, the Three Pillars, the Four Worlds, and the Ten Sephiroth, and the Twenty-Two Paths (which associates each path with a card from the Tarot Major Arcana).

This may all sound complicated, but it is not. The heart of this book is focused on having the best relationships that we can have, by raising our state of consciousness. The tools used are the Kabbalah (The Tree of Life), Tarot, meditation, and Lacopo’s own personal experiences, along with wisdom gained from his personal Guide, Achquelin.

The material in this book is very easy for the reader to understand, and to incorporate in their life. I recommend it for individuals from diverse backgrounds that want to apply themselves to raising their consciousness.

© September 2020 Bonnie Cehovet

Reproduction prohibited without written permission from the author.

Review – Grandma’s Gardens

Grandma’s Gardens

Author: Hillary Clinton, Chelsea Clinton
Artist: Carme Lemniscates
Philomel Books
2020
ISBN #13: 978-0593115350

 

“Grandma’s Gardens” is a lovely book, a wonderful addition to any library. It is about family – grandmothers, mothers, and daughters. It is about gardens, flowers, love, and connection. The writing is very nicely done, the illustrations outstanding.

We follow Grandma Dorothy as she shares her love of gardens with her daughter Hillary, and her granddaughter Chelsea. The warmth of this story immediately comes through, reminding me of my childhood, and my mother and grandmother’s love of flowers and gardening. It is written at a level that children will understand, but also written in a manner in which it can be shared by an adult reading to a child.

I love this book as an adult, I would have loved to have my mother or grandmother read it to me when I was a child. It brings back many wonderful childhood memories. Gardens are magical places where birds, bees, ladybugs and all sorts of things can appear and amaze. They can be places of introspection and healing.

This coffee table size book is definitely going to be kept out where I can pick it up and go through it any time that I want to! For me it is a comfort book, and that holds great value.

© May 2020 Bonnie Cehovet
Reproduction prohibited without written permission of the author.

Review: Swerve – environmentalism, feminism, resistance

Swerve
environmentalism, feminism, and resistance

Author: Ellery Akers
Blue Light Press
2020
ISBN #978-1-4218-3640-9

 

 

“Swerve” is a very appropriate name for this book, as it references sudden “swerves”, or changes in direction (i.e. one day the Berlin wall, the next day no Berlin wall). As an environmentalist, Akers notes that we do not know that the future holds.  In this short (53 page) but amazing book, Akers addresses the topics of environmentalism, feminism, and resistance as issues that we need to confront.

Within these very well written poems we find a way to grieve our current state of affairs, at the same time that we are seeing hope for the future. We walk away with a new perspective on issues that confront us every day. We need to know that we are not alone, and that our grief needs to be experienced, then released, so that we can move forward.

The book is divided into three sections: The Earth, The Women, and Resistance. One of my favorite poems from “The Earth” is “Our Grief for the Earth Is Hidden”. Akers talks about how our world is being diminished, how species are becoming less populated, how we need to pay attention to the insects that are leaving us. In other words, we need to pay attention to the world around us.

There is a poem in “The Earth” entitled “The Buddhist Practice of Bowing”. The gentleness of Buddhism fascinates me and draws me. Akers is bowing to iron bracelets on prisoners, to women at both ends of the social/financial spectrum, and to young men who love cars. All of these things are part of life. In bowing to them Akers is acknowledging them. It is good to acknowledge things, but then to place them in our life where we can handle them.

In “Women”, the poem “Smoke” describes two different groups of people, both of whom are going to die. One group wants to make sure that the other group dies sooner. How reflective of our world!

In “Resistance”, the poem “Not Too Late” expresses the thought that as much damage as there has been on this earth, there is still time for a “rebirth”.

Akers poems are beautiful, sharing the truth of things we may not want to see. This little book is a gift, a gift that allows us to understand ourselves and the world around us much better. There is an imbalance in this world, which we need to acknowledge and move through. Grieve and move forward.  Answer the call to activism.

What a wonderful resource for these very trying times!

© March 2020 Bonnie Cehovet
Reproduction prohibited without written permission.

THREE SCENES OF CARD PLAYERS ENGRAVED BY MITELLI IN THE 17TH CENTURY

A very interesting aspect of the history of Tarot, in addition to the decks of cards, is a quantity of works of art that show scenes of various kinds related to the game, magic, religion and society in the broadest sense. I am speaking about paintings, engravings, sculptures and other artifacts.

In this article will be analyzed three engravings that Rinascimento Italian Style Art has recently reprinted to offer to Tarot lovers and card games passionate in general. These three reprints, also on sale on ETSY (complete with a technical data sheet), came from the pen of a great artist of the Baroque era, Giuseppe Maria Mitelli.

Questa immagine ha l'attributo alt vuoto; il nome del file è mitelli-autoritratto-1675.jpg
Giuseppe Maria Mitelli
(Bologna 1634 – 1718)

Giuseppe Maria Mitelli was son of the famous painter Agostino Mitelli (Bologna 1609 – Madrid 1660). He too was an excellent painter, but above all he was one of the most prolific engravers of the seventeenth…

View original post 907 more words

Review: And Then They Were Gone – Teenagers of Peoples Temple from High School to Jonestown

And Then They Were Gone
Teenagers of Peoples Temple from High School to Jonestown

Author: Judy Bebelaar, Ron Cabral
Sugartown Publishing
2018
ISBN #978-0-9987096-8-0

I remember when this happened – the shock of 918 lives lost, the story of a spiritual leader gone rogue. There is so much more to the story than I remembered – or perhaps I just never knew the whole story. Co-Author Judy Bebelaar was a creative writing teacher at Opportunity II High School in San Francisco, California, where many of the children of the Peoples Temple attended. Ron Cabral was also taught there, covering the subjects of Music Appreciation, Journalism, and Radio Production. Between them they have re-created the story of these vibrant, talented young people, largely in their own voices.

Things were a bit “off” from the very beginning. The students from the Peoples Temple were allowed to register en masse, which was not something that this school did. The students were good students, and very well behaved, but they were also very “closed off”, not talking a lot to the other students.

One of the important things about this book is that it is framed around the teenagers, and not around the spiritual leader, Jim Jones. We hear about Jones and his policies/actions only to the extent that they affect the teenagers.

The authors were there, teaching at the school, and knew the teenagers. They may not have known the true extent of what these kids were going through, but they knew them as human beings. In putting this book together, both memories and research came into play. They reached out, and tried to get everyone’s story to the best level that they could.

Throughout the book we see black and white photos of the students, which help the reader connect to them. Bebelaar has also included poetry from the students that help us to connect with how they see things, and how they are processing their own lives.

The afterward is quite unique, in that the author’s reached out to individuals that were mentioned in the book that lived through Jonestown, and how they reacted to the deaths.

There is also a listing of teachers and students from Opportunity II High School during this time, showing where they are now, and what they are doing.

This is a well written, well researched book. Be aware that as a reader you will be seeing the dark side of Jim Jones, and his Jonestown community. Not everyone who died wanted to die. Some just could not escape, some were too exhausted to try. The dream that drew these people together turned into their worst nightmare.

© March 2020 Bonnie Cehovet
Reproduction prohibited without written permission from the author.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Review: Everyday Enlightenment Cards

Everyday Enlightenment Cards

Author: Becky Lundin
Privately Published
2019
ISBN #978-1-7342615-0-9

“Everyday Enlightenment” is a deck of 48 cards based on “Today I Am” statements that are meant to set a focus for your day. It comes with a downloadable PDF on breathing, and the benefits of breath work. Their creator, Becky Lundin, is a Licensed Massage Therapist, a Reiki Master, and a student of many different forms of healing. There are two extra cards that come with the deck – a card that lists Becky’s credentials and her intent for the deck, and a card that explains how to use the deck.

The cards are approximately 3” by 5” – very easy to hold and shuffle. The front contains the words “Today I Am”, followed by a word to focus on, such as Blessed, Flexible, Joyful, Prosperous, or Successful. The back of the card carries suggestions on how to put the energy to use in your life, and questions to ask yourself.

 One of my favorite cards is “Today I Am Blessed”. The back of the card reads: “Breathe in the energy of being blessed, hold that feeling while you declare out loud “I am blessed.” The second paragraph reads: “We are all blessed with so much in our lives. What are the top five blessings, big or little, that come to you today? Write them in a gratitude journal every morning or evening to remind yourself how blessed you are.

I find this deck easy to use, a wonderful way to place focus into my day, and a valuable tool of empowerment. And … this is the first deck in a proposed series of decks that we can use to empower ourselves!

The cards can be purchased here: https://empoweringcards.com/.

© January 2020 Bonnie Cehovet
Reproduction prohibited without written permission of the author.

Review: Murder In The Museum – An Edmund DeCleryk Mystery

Murder In The Museum –
An Edmund DeCleryk Mystery

 

Author: Karen Shughart
Cozy Cat Press
2018
ISBN #978-1-946063-50-2

“Murder In The Museum” is the first book in an intended series , featuring retired Lighthouse Cove, NY police chief Edmund DeCleryk. While the book is well written, I found it to be very wordy, with far too much attention spent on description (description of everything!), and not enough on action.

The characters have depth, and interact well, but we see each one as a “stand-alone”, and not as a part of the community. It took almost half-way through the book for me to feel like there was a pace, that I was getting somewhere. Having said that, the writing does hold together, there is a reasonable storyline, and the ending was quite unexpected.

There is certainly room for more books in this series, as Edmund DeCleryk is an independent consultant to law enforcement agencies. His wife, Annie, brings in her own game as director of the Lighthouse Cove Historical Society and Museum.

While I did have a few issues with this book (too much description heading that list!), I look forward to reading the next book in the series.

© January 2020 Bonnie Cehovet
Reproduction prohibited without written permission from the auth

Review: Conversations With RBG: Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Life, Love, Liberty, and Law

Conversations With RBG –
Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Life, Love, Liberty, and Law

 

Author: Jeffrey Rosen
Henry Holt and Company
2019
ISBN #978-1-25023-516-9

I consider Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to be an icon, and a wonderful example for anyone (male or female) to pattern themselves after. In this book Jeffrey Rosen (law professor, author, legal journalist, and CEO of the National Constitution Center) shares a lifetime of conversations with Justice Ginsburg that cover … well, they cover the whole gamut of life! As the cover states, she literally talks about life, love, liberty, and law.

I have lived through much of the time that she is discussing, so it is very real to me – the names, the people, the places, the topics. Considering that on a daily basis we are being bombarded with happenings on very high levels that we would have never believed would occur, it is very grounding to read this book and be able to find a sense of balance.

I came to understand why Rosen refers to Justice Ginsburg as a “minimalist”, and why that is a good thing. I loved being able to view her as a complex individual, with a great sense of humor (and a love for opera!), as well as being the exact person that we need at this time on the Supreme Court. My thanks go out to her for continuing to serve her country, when she could have retired a long time ago.

It is interesting to try and understand her viewpoint on Roe v. Wade, and on the #MeToo movement. My personal views have been fine-tuned after reading her thoughts. You have to love the “Notorious RBG”! It is also interesting to see what she sees for the future as far as it relates to the justice system. It is a privilege to see the behind the scenes action on the court’s decisions.

Rosen writes in a very straightforward manner, and with great clarity. The reader feels that they are in the room with RBG, sharing coffee and conversation. This is a book that I will certainly reread – many times!

© January 2019 Bonnie Cehovet
Reproduction prohibited without written permission from the author.

 

Review: Aromatherapy For Self-Care – Your Complete Guide to Relax, Rebalance, and Restore with Essential Oils

Aromatherapy For Self-Care –
Your Complete Guide to Relax, Rebalance, and
Restore with Essential Oils

 

Author: Sarah Swanberg, MS, LAC
Rockridge Press
2020
ISBN #978-1-64611-221-0

One of the best things that we can do for ourselves is to take responsibility for all aspects of our life – to be both active and pro-active about self-care. I am a strong proponent of aromatherapy and the use of essential oils (says the lady who has a bottle of lavender oil readily available on her desk).

Included in this book are over 100 modern remedies for total wellness, practical self-care advice, and 50 essential oil profiles. What a wonderful start to building a personal foundation for self-care!

You do not have to have any knowledge of essential oils to work with this book. Both beginners and those already on the essential oil path can benefit from this book.

The book is broken down into specific sections: Part One (Aromatherapy ForThe Real World) addresses self-care and aromatherapy, as well as the use of essential oils, while Part Two (Aromatherapy Remedies For Self-Care) addresses emotional, mental, and physical well-being.

At the end of the book there is a reference section, as well as a resource that includes apps, books, videos, and websites, and an inclusive index.

I am impressed with the lovely, “gentle” manner in which this book is put together – the cover done in up-lifting tones, positive colors used throughout, lots of images, good organization, easily read and followed, and a treasure trove of ways to use essential oils. It certainly is going to stay on a shelf that is within easy reach of my desk!

© January 2020 Bonnie Cehovet
Reproduction prohibited without written permission of the author.