Conversations Overheard: Emperor (2020), Hierophant (2021)

The cards above are from the “Tarot of Jane Austin”, by Diane Wilkes.

I was trying to think of an interesting way to use the Tarot Majors to move us from 2020 to 2021. This is not the energy of an older, aged man stepping aside for a baby – it is the energy of Archetypes talking. As with my other “Conversations Overheard”, I am presenting the Archetypes in human form. In this case, they are in a private home, sitting before a fire in the library, with drinks in hand. The Emperor (we will call him John), representing the outgoing year 2020, is well dressed, with an air of quiet authority about him. The Hierophant (we will call him Jason) representing the incoming year 2021, is conservatively dressed and presents himself as someone who listens well.

Jason takes a sip of his brandy, then turns to John. “John, what can you tell me about the year 2020. What needed to be done, and how were you able to handle it?”

John sets his glass down, with a deep sigh. “The first thing I want to say is that the dynamics of the year 2020 had been coming on for some time. Things looked relatively stable on the outside, but inside things were simmering. This was happening on local levels, as well as the global level. Of course we realize that the global level is in large part a reflection of the various local/national levels around the globe.

The real problem was people losing the big picture of life, and focusing more on the material side of things. It is the decisions that man makes, and the actions that he takes, that create the world around him. Humanity is one big unit, that has been acting as little individual units. Those at the helm have been acting for their own advantage, and not caring who gets left behind. As a group, you know that the Archetypes have been trying to show humankind the error of their ways.

On all levels there needed to be massive change, and it just wasn’t happening. You will remember the meeting where we decided to bring another pandemic into the world. It was there in 2019, but we ramped it up in 2020. We knew that a pandemic would affect all levels of society, and would show cracks in two major systems – healthcare and finances. An offshoot of this was that the politics of each country was shown to be what it was. “

John took a sip of his brandy and sat in thought for a moment. “You asked me how I was able to handle dealing with 2020. I knew going in what had to be done. The wild card is humankind, of course. They had to see the worst, to experience the worst before they could turn themselves around. They took too long to react, but we expected that. They defined ways to deal with the pandemic by requiring masks, hand sanitizers, and social distancing. That worked, to differing degrees, in different parts of the globe.

Hospital space and medical supplies became scarce. Individuals and companies stepped up. Some companies converted a portion of their machinery into making hand sanitizers. Companies – and individuals – started making masks. Several sports teams got together with health officials in the UK and developed a better breathing device that falls somewhere between an oxygen mask and full ventialtion. Humankind began to think beyond their individual selves.

Of course, we were still dealing with those individuals that refused to believe that the pandemic existed outside of someone’s imagination. So I had to go to the next step of specifically placing the virus in these individuals’ lives. Some died from it, some survived and went on to recant their original statements of disbelief.”

Jason stared into the fireplace. “So, John. Exactly what kind of a starting place are you leaving me with for 2021?”

John stretched his legs out before he responded. “Jason, my job was to get people to pay attention, and to get people thinking. To do that, I had to make things worse before they got better. I had to close down businesses, put people out of work, and shake up the economy. However, I also gave them the tools of multiple COVID vaccines, of having learned to work together, and of having been shown how to use technology in a better way. I gave governments a chance to work for the people. Some of them did, some didn’t.

My hope is that the lasting legacy of 2020 is that humankind is willing to change, willing to take responsibility for itself. When that happens, we may not have to send elemental energies like fires, major storms, and floods to get their attention.

Your job is to bring stability back to the world. To set a “new normal” for daily life. Start out by making sure that attention is paid to the manufacture and delivery of the various COVID vaccine. Get humanity involved enough to set a timeline for vaccinating the most people possible. The next step is getting people back to work. Having a paycheck coming in builds confidence, provides the means to adequate shelter, and to feed families. Then place emphasis on communities, and the focus on helping each other. Let them deal with their own politics, put the emphasis on mother earth, families, and peace.”

Jason took a sip of his brandy, then spoke. “John, you have done a very good job with 2020, and set in motion all of the things that we as Archetypes talked about. Thank you for sharing with me how I should start my work for the coming year, adn where my focus should be.”

January 2021 Bonnie Cehovet

Reproduction prohibited without written permission from the author.

Interview With Barbara Berger

Interview With Barbara Berger

barbara berger

Barbara Berger is the internationally acclaimed author of 15 self-empowerment books. American born, she has lived and worked in Denmark for most of her adult life. Her work combines the fields of psychology, spirituality, and the science of the mind. She currently gives workshops and coaches clients in the art of controlling the power of their own mind to create the life that they want.

Mary Nale and I first interviewed Barbara many years ago on “Sessions – Attune Magazine Radio” (Blog Talk Radio). What came through then, and what comes through now, is Barbara’s dedication to helping people lead a fulfilling life that they feel in charge of. Let’s see what Barbara has to say!

BC: Barbara, you have 15 self-empowerment books to your credit, including “The Road To Power-Fast Food For The Soul”, “Are You Happy Now?”, “Find And Follow Your Inner Compass”, “The Awakening Human Being”, and “The Spiritual Pathway”. What led you to place your professional focus on self-empowerment?

BB: Suffering! Ha ha! Isn’t that what drives us all? We all want to be happy, we all want to experience peace of mind and joy, we all want to experience a sense of ease and flow in our lives. We all want to find a way out of suffering…  That is what has motivated me right from the beginning and since an early age I have been a seeker. All my work and my books are based on my search to find a way out of suffering. My quest has led me to explore many different pathways and approaches – mental, physical, metaphysical, psychological and spiritual. After leaving the US in the mid-60s in protest against the Vietnam War and settling in Scandinavia, I continued my quest in the 1970s with a passionate interest in the role of food in our mental and physical well-being. And then when I discovered in the early 1980s that health foods and diet were not enough to ensure true wellbeing, I began to study the science of the mind, the nature of consciousness, metaphysics, and finally traditional spirituality and psychology.

BC: How does the art of setting boundaries fit into your work?

BB: Well, I’ve also discovered in my quest that most of our problems are people problems! Most of our discomfort, confusion, and anguish arises in and because of our relationships with our partners, families, and friends. Which is something most of us have discovered. And as you know, I am a coach and a therapist so for many, many years now I have been talking to people from all around the world, listening to their problems and issues and challenges and trying to help them find practical and constructive ways of living together in harmony with the people in their lives. And this is where having what I call “healthy boundaries” is so important. Healthy boundaries are based on the principle that each one of us has a right to be here and to be who we are… but how does this play out in our interactions with other people? Is there a way to navigate wisely in a reality where everyone is different?

In my quest to find answers to this question, I discovered there is a lot of confusion about boundaries. As a result, I have also discovered that it is very helpful to be able to define and identify what healthy boundaries actually are. So to help people look at their own relationships, I have made a list of the most common boundary violations. You can see the list in my short article here:

For those who are interested, there is a lot more about constructive communications, being assertive, and having healthy boundaries in my books “Are You Happy Now? 10 Ways to Live a Happy Life” (Chapter 3) and “Find and Follow Your Inner Compass” (Part Two).

BC: How important is self-care in attaining our ideal life?

BB: Very important. See my answer to this question below for my thoughts about this.

BC: How does your work help people fit into the real world?

BB: Most of the people I work with are people who are interested in spirituality, alternative lifestyles, healthy living, etc. They are all people who have a high level of integrity and are evolving rapidly, but at the same time, they are often very challenged in their daily lives and in their relationships. And often also when it comes to making money and their career paths. So I have found that my coaching and therapy is most effective when it is an “enlightened” combination of the spiritual and the psychological. And this is because when it comes to finding a way out of suffering, there are strengths and weaknesses to both a spiritual approach and a psychological/therapeutic approach.

In brief, I’ve discovered the following. On the one hand, there are people who follow traditional spiritual teachings based on the old wisdom teachings and daily spiritual practice such as meditation. These people often make great strides in their understanding of the nature of reality and in raising their level of consciousness. But despite their spiritual growth, many continue to have great difficulties when it comes to taking care of themselves and dealing with the challenges of everyday life in the modern world. Often because they haven’t learned basic people skills like how to set limits, communicate skillfully and be assertive.  And then, on the other hand, there are the people who go the therapeutic/psychological route to learn to deal with suffering and the difficulties they meet in daily life (in terms of family, relationships, work, etc.). In their case, they often make great strides in dealing with the problems of everyday life but fail to find real, lasting satisfaction and a way out of suffering because the therapeutic approach does not take into consideration and deal with the basic existential nature of this thing called life. And without a deeper understanding of the eternal verities and the nature of existence, most psychological and therapeutic solutions (though effective in the short term) cannot provide real, long-term satisfaction when it comes to the great questions in life – and in the final analysis true liberation from suffering.

So this is why I believe in an enlightened combination of these two approaches – the spiritual/metaphysical and the therapeutic/psychological.

BC: In “Find And Follow Your Inner Compass” you talk about how to make good decisions, and how to navigate life. Can you talk a bit about that?

BB: Another one of the big challenges people are facing today is how to make wise decisions and navigate through life when we are being bombarded constantly from morning to evening with information and advice from all sides thanks to social media, etc. Because of this massive input, people are finding it more and more difficult to get in touch with the guidance, wisdom, and knowledge that lies within. So this book is an attempt to help people understand what’s going on and learn how to tune into their internal guidance system.

I know this is possible because I’ve discovered that every person alive has an Inner Compass! And by this, I mean that every person alive has his or her own unique, personal, internal guidance system – which is working at all times and which is each individual’s direct connection to the Great Universal Intelligence that created each one of us and all of Life. So I wrote this book to explain how we can find, understand and use this internal guidance system – which I call the “Inner Compass”– to live happier, more fulfilling, exciting and wonderful lives.

In the book, I explain that the key to using our Inner Compass is to understand the true significance of our emotions because our emotions are the way in which our Inner Compass guides us and gives us information. So in the book, I explain the mechanism in detail. And why our emotions are so important and such significant indicators of whether or not we are in alignment with who we really are and the Great Universal Intelligence that has created all of us.

BC: I recently finished reading your latest book, “The Road To Power-Fast Food For The Soul”. This is an updated version of a book that was originally published in 1995/1996. How did this update come about, and how does it fit in with the rest of your work?

BB: The thing about this book is that it never goes out of date because the message of the book is timeless and so important. In brief, “The Road to Power” is a book about how we can take our power back by understanding the way our minds work and by learning to use the amazing power of our minds to create better, happier and more fulfilling lives for ourselves right here and now. People just love this book because it’s so practical – every chapter is packed with concrete advice and exercises which people can start using and practicing right this very minute. It’s been so amazing and heart-warming how many people from all around the world (the book is published in 30 languages) have told me and are still telling me that this is the book which changed their lives. So if you’re looking for a quick pick-me-up and an easy to use reminder of how to take your power back right now – you will probably love this book.

BC: Barbara, do you have any last words that you would like to share?

BB: Yes – In my experience, nothing is more exciting than self-empowerment. Nothing is more thrilling, fun, or more rewarding than finding out that yes, we can do it for ourselves. That we – yes you and I – are truly the masters of our fate and that we can change our destiny by working with our minds and by doing the inner work. How do I know that working with our minds and doing inner work can change your life? I know because it has changed mine! But don’t believe me – try it for yourself and see what happens! Blessings to you wherever you are!

BC: I want to thank Barbara for taking the time to do this interview. Below is Barbara’s contact information, as well as a sample of some of the audio interviews and YouTube interviews that she has done. I also want to note that Barbara offers a free e-book, “The Mental Laws – Understanding How The Mind Works” on her site,

About “The Road to Power-Fast Food for the Soul” (radio):

Same interview on YouTube:

About “Find and Follow Your Inner Compass – Instant Guidance in an Age of Information Overload”

About my life and “The Awakening Human Being” on Buddha at the Gas Pump:

Other good radio shows:

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


Can I Give You A New Kindle Fire?

Kindle Fire

I need a quick favor, and to encourage you to say yes, I have decided to give away a brand new Kindle Fire next Monday (11/03/14). Do you want it?

Yes, it is a $139 value, and someone reading this post is going to win it.  Will this be you?

Here’s the deal.

In order for my books to become an official “Bestseller” on the Amazon Kindle platform I need real customers … with real sales and real testimonials posted on the Amazon website. What’s surprising is that it doesn’t take a million orders to become a best seller. If just 50 people buy my latest Kindle book at (at just 99 cents this weekend – Friday, 10/31/14 through Sunday, 11/02/14) it has a great chance of being at or near the top of the list of holiday self-help books.


What better way to motivate you to help me than to create an “ethical bribe” so you and a few other buyers will buy my updated Kindle book for just $.99 … then just write a nice testimonial. (Really – this is less than a dollar!) If you like it … please rate it five stars!

I don’t know if two people will do this favor for me, or 100 people, but the odds of you winning the Kindle Fire are far better than winning the lottery!


Next Monday (11/03/14) I am going to take all of the testimonials directly from the Amazon page. Then I am going to toss them in a hat, and I am going to randomly pull out the winner of the new Kindle Fire.

Then I am going to have a new Kindle Fire shipped to your home … no matter what country you live in … just for buying a $1 book and writing a nice testimonial.


Oh, remember, if you don’t win you still get to download and read a really great book on surviving the holidays that will truly keep your stress level in check!

After this promotion, the price of my book will be raised back to the original price ($9.99).

Some of you may wonder why you have to purchase this book to take part in this promotion. After all, you can leave a testimonial, even if you don’t own the book. <Ahem!> There is some logic here!

Book buyers are given more credibility than non-buyers. If you write a testimony  on a book that you don’t own, Amazon doesn’t think it’s very credible. But if you actually buy it with your Amazon account, they think it’s highly credible, and place your testimonial higher on the page. This helps new people discover “Surviving The Holidays”, which will help give them a handle on their holidays.

So if you are willing to help get the newly revised version of “Surviving The Holidays” to a best seller status, use this link:  “Surviving The Holidays”.

Please download it this weekend (10/31/14 – 11/02/14) and post your testimonial before 11/03/14.


Bonnie Cehovet

Author of “Surviving The Holidays”, co-author of “Seek Joy … Toss Confetti” on Amazon Kindle.

March Madness At Attune Magazine!

Attune Magazine

March Madness takes on a whole new meaning with Attune Magazine! The entire month of March is dedicated to raising funds to take Attune Magazine into the digital age … to place it on mobile devices such as iPads and iPhones. Founder/editor Mary Nale has consistently presented us with quality articles and reviews, video reviews, and ads for a diverse range of products and services. Her magazine reaches a wide circle of people, and will reach a wider circle with inclusion on mobile devices.

There is a listing of products and services  that have been donated as rewards here. First come, first serve! Rewards range from a 30 minute Harmony Light Reiki Session, to Your Numerology Map, to “Power Scopes” and a 15 minute Intuitive Reading, to Handmade Tarot bags, to a 30 minute reading with Maggie Lukowski, to books, including “Tarot, Birth Cards, and You”, “Tarot, Rituals, and You”, and “Seek Joy … Toss Confetti”,  buy one/get one free for a half page ad, and a beautiful Gemmy Pendulum.

There will also be a series of free classes during the month of March. Individuals in the chat room are eligible to receive free random rewards … but you have to be there to receive them! Classes include:

3/07/14 Tarot Shadow Work Part 1 – Koneta Bailey

3/10/14 Bind Runes – ReeNee Cummins

3/17/14 Sigal Design – ReeNee Cummins

3/19/14 Past Lives – Bonnie Cehovet

3/22/14 Communicating With Spirits – Maggie Lukowski

3/26/14 Birth Card Pairs – Bonnie Cehovet

You can also keep up with the fundraiser on Facebook. I hope that you all come and enjoy the classes, and that you contribute whatever you can to the fundraiser. Mary has worked very hard to keep Attune Magazine and Attune Radio up and running, and if we can help her move to the next level, that is what we need to do! Come and be a part of this wonderful community!

(c) March 2014 Bonnie Cehovet

Reproduction prohibited without written permission of the author.


Review – Higher Intuitions Oracle

Higher Intuitions Oracle

Author: Kristy Robinett
Artist: Johna Gibson-Bowman
Schiffer Publishing, Ltd.
ISBN #978-0-7643-4143-4


The “Higher Intuitions Oracle” is a 44 card oracle deck, complete with a 128 page companion book/guide. Created over the course of several years, both the author and the artist followed the guidance from their spiritual teachers, guides, angels, and animal guides.  The resulting 44 card deck is both visually appealing and a literal conduit of higher wisdom, using a wide variety of animal guides to convey its messages.

In their introduction, Robinett and Gibson-Bowman note that our angels and guides frequently bring us symbols to help us along our path of enlightenment. What we sometimes do not realize is that the animals that are around us carry specific energy that can help us grow, understand ourselves better, and make life flow more smoothly. We can access this energy through interaction with the animals themselves, or through surrounding ourselves with pictures of specific animals. However we focus on the energy, it will be drawn to us.

The messages on the cards are there to help us create our best life. Life often throws us curve balls that take our attention and obscure our vision of the bigger picture. Through these cards, we can learn to gain “higher intuition”, combining the positive messages with the gentle, whimsical art.

The cards and 128 page companion book are packaged in a beautiful lift top box, with the signature Schiffer magnetic closure. (It is so nice to know that while my cats or I may inadvertently knock the box over, the cards and companion book will not fall out!)

In the section on “How To Use This Oracle”, the emphasis is placed on the thought that there is no “wrong” way to use these cards. The reader should use their own intuition about what place the cards have in their life. It is suggested that the cards be blessed before using them, and that when drawing the cards for a reading, the question be directed to the individual’s spirit guides.

Suggestions for spreads include a One Card Spread, a Past/Present/Future Spread, spreads for a Lifetime Animal and a Journey Totem, as well as the traditional Celtic Cross spread that is used in Tarot.

The companion book presents each card with a black and white image, the name of the animal, the key phrase from the card, keywords, a short quote, and how the energy of the animal functions in an individual’s life. Below is the presentation for Frog:





Keywords: sing, say no, express yourself


“Sing your song. Dance your dance. Tell your tale.” ~ Frank McCourt


Frog tells you that it is time for you to find your voice. Saying no can be one of the most difficult words to speak, and yet Frog says that you have been putting too much pressure on yourself, allowing others to steal your time and exhaust your energy. You haven’t vocalized your dissatisfaction with it. Instead, you have quieted your voice. By saying no, you begn to make room for the things that you do want in your life. It isn’t easy at first, but the more you practice, the easier it becomes and the more empowered you will feel.


You may have been keeping frustrations inside of you, and they need to be spoken. It could be a friend that has hurt you,  a spouse who isn’t listening to you, or a boss or coworker who isn’t respecting you.  It is now time for you to vocalize your feelings. In order to remove the emotion, you might want to begin by writing down what you want to say and practice saying it out loud. Look at yourself in the mirror while speaking the words of truth. Can you see within your eyes how much this is damaging to your soul and spirit? Healing will eventually come from Frog assisting you in finding your voice.


Frog also reminds you to put some music on and sing. It can be in your home or your car, but sing as loud as you can. Fun or sad, it doesn’t matter; just express yourself by singing.


Your throat chakra may be blocked. Put your right hand on your throat and envision a blue light circling and swirling, healing the fears that surround you.


Maybe you have always wanted to be on stage – A Broadway show or possibly a stand-up comedy act. Embrace Frog in helping you find the voice within you that might be shaky right now,  but will turn steady and strong the more you practice your art. There are no restrictions and no limitations.

 Higher Intuition Oracle card back

The cards themselves are 2 7/8” by 4 ½”, with sturdy, glossy card stock. The backs show an owl sitting in a tree with green leaves, against a purple background and a full moon. They are reversible. The card faces show a ½” white border across the top and bottom, with a ¼” white border on each side. The key phrase for the card is written across the bottom of the card. The artistic style is very much whimsy/fantasy, as in a horse with multi-colored wings, an adorable raccoon peeking out from behind a tree, ladybugs on green leaves, a lobster coming out of the water, and an adorable bear cub leaning against a blue pillow that has been placed against a tree.

This deck will appeal to all ages, and all backgrounds/cultures. It is a very gentle deck, that opens the mind without effort.

© 2000 – 2013 Bonnie Cehovet

Reproduction in any venue prohibited without the written permission fo the author.

Ethical Actions

Interesting things going on in the Internet world. I just heard from my sister that someone grabbed her entire FAQ, and put it up on their site – no link back, no accreditation, no nothing! When she addressed it with them, they acted as if they had every right to do so! Peeps, this is called plagiarism, pure and simple!

Webster  defines plagiarism as:

transitive verb

: to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one’s own : use (another’s production) without crediting the source

intransitive verb

: to commit literary theft : present as new and original an idea or product derived from an existing source

You can find out more about dealing with plagiarism here – .

I don’t know what to call this next issue, but it really upsets me. Individuals work very, very hard to create something that is unique to them, and to the work that they do. It really isn’t kosher to take what they have created and market it under your own banner! Giving something a new name, but keeping the same exact template, is lazy and rude. Whether it is how someone sets up their site or blog, how they handle their newsletter, whether they are offering e-magazine style content, whether they are running contest … whatever they are doing is unique to them, and reflects who they are. Make your work unique to you, and reflective of who you are! In the long run, professionals in any given field are going to want to network with other professionals in that field. Stealing their concepts are not going to endear you to them,and they may not be willing to work with you.

My suggestion – set up a personal code of conduct that is featured on your site, and then live by it!

© October 2012 Bonnie Cehovet

Review – City Magick

City Magick –
Spells, Rituals, and Symbols For The Urban Witch

Author: Christopher Penczak
Foreword: Judika Illes
Weiser Books
2001, 2012
ISBN #978-1-57863-521-4

Being very much an urban dweller myself, and having been schooled in esoteric as well as mundane disciplines within that environment, I was very interested in seeing what Penczak presented in “City Magick”, and how he presented it. The tools that he works with – spells, rituals, and symbols – all lend themselves to being worked with in any environment (with just a little thought).

In her foreword, Illes talks about New York City’s skyscrapers being distinctive in both appearance and personality. Think about images you have seen of these buildings (or your own memories, if you have seen the buildings in person) – they each carry very vibrant energy, and each carry a very individual character. I loved the way she noted that Penczak opened reader’s eyes, and caused them to reconsider all facets of their environment. She also makes a very pertinent statement when she talks about “City Magick” challenging beliefs about what is magickal, and what isn’t. The cherished ideal is that of being one with nature, and literally performing magickal acts in that environment. If we look at the energy within an urban, city environment, and opens ourselves up to it, we will find that it is very supportive of our intentions.

In his introduction, Penczak talks about working for a major Indie record lable, and spending a great deal of time in cities like Boston, New York, and Los Angeles. Having learned his nature based magickal spirituality in the woods of New Hampshire, he struggled to integrate this practice into an urban environment. When he lost his job in the music industry he turned naturally to the direction of professional metaphysician, healer, and writer. This lead to his writing the first edition of “City Magick”. During his author tour for that book his visited several major cities, and got to “meet” their energies, and the spirits that resided there. From the book” You can’t look at Egypt, Greece, Rome, or even London without seeing the ancient cultures modern pagans draw upon today.”

Penczak talks about the city being a powerful landscape of magick, with prana all around it. I was a bit surprise that he noted that some people choose to put off studying a magickal path because they are living in the city. I have always found whatever I needed in the city. When I loved to the country, I simply maintained my same practices. He does note that it is important to know the flow of the city you are living in, so that you know where working energy is. He also notes that magick can be found in many forms, including meditation, introspection, and various alternative healing modalities, such as Reiki, acupuncture, herbalism, crystals, and past life regression.

Magick is defined as both a skill and a discipline, based on the three R’s: reality, rapture, and ritual. By understanding how these concepts work in a traditional sense, we can understand how to apply them to urban mysticism. Penczak presents a very credible, easy to understand explanation for each fo the three R’s, followed by exercises in meditation, color associations, energizing the chakra’s, spiritual protection, trance work with sound, and trance through movement. This is followed by instruction in Magick Circle Ritual. There is a very simple, usable table of correspondences for each of the four elements (fire, water, air, and earth) and direction, archangel, totems, and God archetypes.

There is quite an interesting section on city totems, including cats, dogs, rodents, squirrels, ants, cockroaches, spiders, crows, doves, ducks, finches, pigeons, and seagulls. He also suggests venues like the city zoo for finding totem animals. Exercises include totem journey, and banishing spirits. There is also a discussion of what Penczak terms mechanical spirits, such as those found in subways, trains, automobiles, airplanes, and streetlights. Penczak also presents an interesting section on urban archetypes – the city archetype, the building archetype, the construction archetype, the transportation archetype, the music and art archetypes, the electricity archetype, the television archetype, the computer archetype, and the medicine archetype.

Readers are also introduced to the “Makers” of magick, and to the concept that reality is mutable, with the physical world being illusion. He talks about the three worlds (Under World, Middle World, and Upper World), and the intriguing concept that a skyscraper can act to connect the three worlds. Each world is presented with its own exercise: the Visible City (Middle World) , with the exercise “Sidewalking”; the Sky City (Upper World), with the exercise “Travel To The Sky City”; and the Hidden City (Under World), with the exercise “Travel To The Hidden City”.

In his chapter on “Urban Magick”, Penczak talks about the elements, and where to find them in the city. Exercises include “Pranic Breathing”, “TV Projection”, and TV Scrying”.

In his chapter on “Tools of the Trade”, Penczak talks about designing your own rituals (with a nice table on elemental correspondences for the city), tools found within the home (including spices, food coloring, different foods, various oils, stuffed animals, and pots and pans), preparation of ritual oils, sacred space incense, prosperity incense, love oil, psychic oil, and a speaking easy charm. Various spells are included, such as a binding spell, a spell for removing career blocks, and a perfect job spell. He also discusses what he terms techno-shamanic tools, including drum machines, sequencers, and synthesizers. Exercises here include “Plant Speak” and “Stone Quest”.

“The Language of the Street” talks about the words and symbols of power in the urban world. Exercises include “Gaining Magick Words”, “Graffiti Sidewalking”, and “Creating A Protection City Sigil”.

Penczak goes into modern symbols, and how they represent us. He discuses items like the airplane, the answering machine, the arrow, the atom, the balloon, the boat, a brick wall, the car, the clock, the computer, and more. Exercises include “Runic Sidewalking” and “Rune Consecration”.

There is a very comprehensive section on the seasonal holidays – Samhain, Yule, Imbolc, Ostara, Beltane, Midsummer, Lammas, and Mabon. Included is information on what each holiday represents, as well as a template for ritual work.

What we consider to be a temple is opened up when we consider urban life. Penczak includes venues such as homes and offices, and nightclubs. He covers invocations, face painting, and glamours, with exercises including “Glamour”. “Riding”, “Dance Magick”, and “Psychometry”.

Techno Temples include search engines, web rings, and magickal mail. Penczak also addresses Magickal Netiquette, FAQ;s, flaming, sources, and asking questions. He also presents a template for creating a cyber temple- and why not … many of us spend a great deal of time in cyberspace! The exercise included here is “On-Line Ritual”.

At the end of the book is magick all of its own! The energy of different sections with a city, and the energy of several given cities, is presented. What better way to see in a very physical way all of the things this book has been talking about!

I highly recommend this book to anyone practicing magickal work in an urban setting , as well as to anyone contemplating doing so. Through description and the different exercises, the reader gets a very hands on feel how they can expand their world!

© September 2012 Bonnie Cehovet

Review – Inspirations For Survivors

Inspirations For Survivors

Author: Aunia Kahn, Russell J. Moon
Artist: Aunia Kahn
Schiffer Publishing Ltd.
ISBN #978-0-7643-4124-3

“Inspirations For Survivors” is a 44 card deck and 96 page companion book that is meant to act as encouragement to those that are in survivor mode, those that have worked their way through some of the difficulties that life has thrown at them, and come out the other side. We all face crisis in our lives – whether it be relationship (familial, career, friendships), career, financial, health, death, spiritual … each crisis is a turning point for us, and a chance to get to know ourselves better.

The title says it all – these cards, with their images and positive messages, encourage us to face life, to grow, to heal, and to create new, positive thought patterns. This deck can be used as a meditation tool, or as a clarifier for a particular issue. In its own way, it can be used as an oracle to help someone in survivor mode move forward.

Kahn, herself a survivor of childhood abuse, is also the creator of the “Silver Era Tarot”, and the “Lowbrow Tarot Project”. Her work challenges preconceived notions, and moves the viewer to change their thought patterns. Her art combines photography, painting, and collage to express her visions.

The message on the back of the box sets the tone for this deck – “In this life, we are all survivors on some level.” In order to survive, in order to grown, we have to face the challenges that life throws at us. Survivors are those who have made it to the other side of a challenge. Life is a journey, one that we undertake with the purpose of manifesting our destiny.

The cards and companion book come in the very recognizable Schiffer box – sturdy, with a magnetic lock for the lid. (I love this feature – no more cards all over the floor!) The top of the box features the image of the black roses from the card that carries the message “We Are Delicate Creatures. In Love We Are Strong.” The back of the box carries information on the intent of the deck, and the ways in which it is intended to be used.

The 96 page companion book carries a thumbnail image of the card that carries the message “Be The King Or Queen Of The World You Want”. The book begins with bios for Kahn and Russell, which is followed by a short introduction and explanation of the deck. The cards are presented with a full color scan on the right hand page, and text discussing the card on the left hand page. (There are two exceptions to this – cards with the messages “Inside We Can Reach The Inner Spirit Of Peace”, and “Let Warmth Of The Sun Hold You In Its Embrace” have the image and text on the same page.)

One of my favorite cards is the Mask. From the book:

“We Must Let Go Of Hiding Behind A Mask

We are all beautiful beings; we are perfect as we are and nothing can make us happier or more confident, than a positive and healthy perception of who and what we are. When we let go fg false masks that make us feel we can hide our insecurity, we will find the true beauty and perfection that will amaze us. We are who we are for a reason, for a possibility, and for a promise of something great. Be confident in our uniqueness and embrace ourselves in our security.”

The cards are 2 ¾” by 4 ¾”, on glossy card stock. The backs are light gray, with a white lace-like circle in the center, surrounding a darker gray background. Centered on the background is a white image that curls around and looks somewhat snake-like (think ouroboros here, except that the head is not biting the tail). The card faces show a solid color background (different for each card), with the card message in white lettering at the bottom of the card. The card images vary from realistic to fantasy,

Although the messages are positive and supportive, I found some of the cards to be a bit dark in nature – not the imagery, but the literal coloring on the cards. Amongst these cards are “Be The King Or Queen Of Your World”, “Follow The Path To Joy, It Is Right Before You”, “Time Heals Past Wounds”, and “When One Door Closes, Another Will Open”. Several of the cards also have a 40’s/50’s feel to them, including “Even If We Feel Stuck, There Is Always A Way Out”, “Hope And Love Are Always Within Your Reach”, and “You Can Go Anywhere, And Do Anything”.

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Some of my favorite cards are “We Are Delicate Creatures, In Love We Are Strong”, “We Must Let Go Of Hiding Behind A Mask”, “Even If We Feel Stuck, There Is Always A Way Out”, Each Puzzle Piece Exposes New Opportunities”, and “Hope And Love Are Always Within Your Reach”.

This deck could easily be used by individuals of all ages and cultural backgrounds. It fills a need – the need that we all have to be supported on our journey. At the conclusion of the companion book, the authors say:

“It is our most sincere desire that the “Inspirations For Survivors” deck will be a doorway for your initial or continued enlightenment and will be able, even in its most subtle revelations, to bring you a sense of peace, hope, and realization. We are all survivors; we are people of many situations and feelings which we all experience and endure in our lifetime. With this, we encourage you all, and us as well, to continue to strive and excel as we become all that we desire to be.”

© August 2012 Bonnie Cehovet

Review – Legends of the Lake

Legends of the Lake

Author: Philip Nork
Create Space
ISBN #978-1468043693

“Legends of the Lake” is about families, relationships, traditions, memories and more. It is billed as a fictional story, but in all fiction there is some truth. What Nork has done is to take a basic family tradition – the vacation – and show how it transforms a family down through several generations.

When I was a child, my family vacationed at the same spot, on the same lake, every year. I have a ton of memories from that time, and they sustain me. In this story, we follow a family through several generations as they vacation in the same cabin on a lake in Wisconsin. The land takes on their energy, and they take on the energy of the land.

We have a strong patriarchal figure, who is hard working and highly intuitive. He wants the best life possible for his family. We have an equally strong matriarchal figure, who finds home and hearth to be her foundation. They raise three daughters and a son, who, in turn, marry and raise children of their own.

Ribbons of wisdom from one of Nork’s previous works (“Misguided Sensitivity”) are woven throughout. We learn about the great-grandmother’s roses, and what the different colors mean. We learn about patience, and accepting people for what they are.

For me, as a baby boomer, the references in this book were fascinating – a snapshot into time. We read about Al Capone and Ray Krok (the founder of Mc Donald’s), about the Chicago Cubs, baseball cards, Fiesta ware, and even Tupperware. We get the feel for what it might have been like when these things were first being introduced into the world. Definitely a journey down memory lane!

The reality for me was that I cried through almost the last half of this book. The story was that compelling, and brought out memories of my family, and times that I had lived through … the fishing on the lake, waiting one hour after eating before swimming (that was a hard and fast rule with my mother!), the smell of suntan lotion, having to go to a separate area from the cabins to use the bathroom and shower. This was life “in the day”!

It was quite interesting to see how several generations of a family interacted, created traditions, and showed respect for one another. Well worth the price of admission!

© August 2012 Bonnie Cehovet

Review – “Life Is A Balance”

Life Is A Balance –
It Isn’t Only About You

Author: Philip Nork
All Things That Matter Press
ISBN #978-0985778965

“Life Is A Balance” is Nork’s follow-up book to “Misguided Sensitivity”. Both books are written in an autobiographical format, and deal with coming of age, and the issues that we face in the journey we call life. “Misguided Sensitivity” took us through the main character’s graduation from high school, which is where “Life Is A Balance” picks up.

The journey of discovery that Phil, the main character in both books is on, is all about how to interact with other people. In his case, coming to understand his own sexuality is a major part of this journey. Phil also has a gift – that of making others feel good about themselves. In “Misguided Sensitivity:, we see how this gift is interwoven with his sexuality, and how he sees himself. In “Life Is A Balance”, we see the journey become more about the people around him.

In the beginning of “Life Is A Balance”, Phil makes the decision to take a trip to Florida to meet his father. He takes his younger brother along as support. What they find is a father who welcomes them with open arms. He asks one thing … that they respect his alternate lifestyle. Phil decides to stay and live with his father, while his brother returns home. He is introduced to a lifestyle that includes his father’s luxury home, spending time in his father’s nightclub, and exploring drugs and alcohol.

He also goes through a series of relationships, each of which has a lesson for him. When the woman that he loves is killed in an accident with her alcoholic father, Phil decides to return to Missouri. With no destination in mind, he stops in a small town, gets a job, and starts setting down roots.

Throughout the book references are made to roses, and what different color roses mean. He also continues to have visits from his deceased great-grandmother, who brings him wisdom that he sometimes understands, and sometimes doesn’t. He also gets a psychic reading from the mother of one of his friends … one that has a long term effect on his life.

In the end, Phil marries and has a son. Little does he realize that the woman he marries is the granddaughter of one of his neighbors when he was growing up. They have a son, who Phil does his best to be there for.
An old flame from his past also comes back into his life … this time as a friend.

Over his lifetime Phil deals with relationship issues, betrayal, abandonment, how to accept people of all persuasions, racial perceptions, the part alcohol can play in our life if we allow it to, and the issue of AIDS. He makes his choices, and takes responsibility for them. He is also open to God, through his great-grandmothers auspices. The manner in which spiritual contact is dealt with in this book is very well done.

I recommend this book as an enjoyable read, but also as a book that will help the reader to better understand themselves, and those around them. We all deal with the same issues in life, but we deal with them in our own unique way. Nork shows us that we have choices and that if we keep our hearts open. We will receive the guidance that we need. There is a scene at the end of the book that deals with crossing over, and Nork’s perception of how that might go for him. Well worth reading!

© August 2012 Bonnie Cehovet