Books Reviews



Mar 04 2006
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Author: Dr. Rudy Scarfalloto (@)
Title: The Dance of Opposites
Format: Paperback
Rated: *****

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Dr. Rudy Scarfalloto is both a chiropractor and anatomy instructor at ASHA massage school. In his book, The Dance of Opposites (previously published under the title The Alchemy of Opposites), he expresses some rather profound yet obviously simplistic truths. On one level Dr. Rudy’s words express ways individuals can overcome depression, anger, fears, anxiety, addiction, and learn to have healthy relationships. On another level he expresses profound mystic wisdom. The Dance of Opposites helps us change our dualistic paradigm and learn to see the world not as a grocery list of paired and opposing views but instead helps us learn integration of all dualistic opposites in the effort to live more fully and holistically. I know this may sound like the typical self-help drivel but I assure you it is not. This book does not waste time with antics nor systems’. This book gets at what is at the very heart of our existence as human beings. The Dance of Opposites works on many levels. Some may not want to put it down once it is taken up as the information is so clear that you will find yourself wondering why you had not thought of things this way before, it seems so obvious. Also, it is very useful as a daily tool for personal growth and meditation. I personally found it very useful to read small sections at a time to let it gestate and give my psyche something to ponder through the day or week while I am busy with other studies. This can also turn out to be very synchronistic. I have also spent the past few years studying a wide range of mysticism, psychology, and spirituality literature and Dr. Rudy just lays it all out in simple terms in black and white. One of the students that attended ASHA said that she actually considers this book to be her new "Bible" and I can see why. While it may sound blasphemous to some at first, I challenge you to compare the wisdom in this book to any standard "religious" text. You will find that scholars are still trying to guess at the intended meanings of the religious books while The Dance of Opposites is understandable to anyone with even a low education yet possibly more profound. There is also a companion to this book called 90 Days of Inner Integration which I’ve not had the time to peruse fully yet but I can only imagine the transformative processes it could create in the common individual. Dr. Scarfalloto does not hold back with his writing either, he instead bears all by revealing some of his own personal growth experiences, even those that may seem controversial. Knowing him personally, in the class room setting at least, he is a most respectable being and wise beyond what he reveals publicly. The ideas in this book can definitely be life changing for most. It does not matter if you are Agnostic or Christian or anything in-between. This book can change the way you view the world around you in such magnificent ways. You may even find you enjoy life much more!
cover
Author: Samuel Morningstar (@)
Title: Shadow Kingdom
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Lulu
Distributor: Lulu
Rated: *****

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Samuel Morningstar (rocker, mystic, author), has finally released a novel that has been highly anticipated by those who knew this was coming and what it might be about. Shadow Kingdom combines elements of a psychological thriller, crime investigation, horror, esoteric mysticism, and "sci-fi" to create the world which contains the events which unfold in his tale. The characters are humans, rock stars, soldiers, martial artists, cops, angels & demons, monsters, and extraterrestrials to name a few. The story begins with a private investigator hired to research the brutal ritual murder of an exotic dancer and takes us into a realm of wonders and nightmares beyond the realm of sanity and into conspiracies involving ancient immortals. Buth this sort of thing could never happen in "reality" as this is just a creative work of fiction right, or could it? Samuel created his dark fiction from the real life research of minds like David Icke, Whitley Strieber, and William Henry. I've never in my life read a fiction novel with so much truth and so many questions. I say truth because the esoteric principles conveyed within are the same as those taught in mystery schools the world over and throughout history. Samuel Morningstar is an intellect of unusual talent that makes great story tellers like Clive Barker look like child's play! He's also a talent in the music industry and member of the band Eternal Twilight and knows the rock scene well. This book will appeal to anyone interested in Ancient History, Mythology, Esoteric Mysticism, UFOlogy, Conspiracy Theories, Rock-n-Roll (including the Goth subcultrure), Martial Arts, Meditation, "Energy" Work, Dark Fiction, and Horror - a thinking person's fiction.

Yogananda, Paramahansa: Autobiography of a Yogi

 Posted by TG Mondalf (@)   Spirituality & Religion (Comparative Religion, General, Occultism, Wicca/Witchcraft)
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Jun 27 2004
cover
Author: Yogananda, Paramahansa
Title: Autobiography of a Yogi
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Self-Realization Fellowship (@)
Rated: *****

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Recognized as one of the greatest emissaries to the West of India's ancient wisdom, Paramahansa Yogananda was commissioned by his master Swami Sri Yukteswar to bring these teachings from India to America. Yogananda emphasized the underlying unity of the world's great religions, and taught universally applicable methods for attaining direct personal experience of God with an emphasis on Kriya Yoga. This book outlines the life story of this great teacher and how he came to be known to the West. There is much in this book that is useful to the student of esoteric wisdom and spirituality and I highly suggest anyone reading this book who plans on becoming a serious student pay close attention to the words and teachings from the wisdom of Swami Sri Yukteswar. Though Yogananda has moved from this physical plane to the next in 1952 his loving-kindness and teachings of God-Illumination continue to this day through the school he founded known as Self-Realization Fellowship headquartered in Los Angeles, California. This book is highly recommended for any student of spirituality!

Gail Wood: Sisters of the Dark

 Posted by TG Mondalf (@)   Spirituality & Religion (Comparative Religion, General, Occultism, Wicca/Witchcraft)
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Feb 10 2004
cover
Author: Gail Wood
Title: Sisters of the Dark
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Llewellyn Publications
Rated: *****

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What I liked about Gail's books was the way she discussed the Dark Goddess' many aspects using the zodiac symbology and how she connected them in stages and elements. She took a set of each element in a 'minor' stage and then the second group in the 'mid' stage and the third grouping in the 'full' stage and associated these also with Maiden, Mother, and Crone. I also enjoyed her meditations and the statements of ritual purpose as well as the associations of a different God and Goddess archetype for each. I even liked her unique use of Arachne as a tie-in and a summation of sorts of the sequence. I think she should have made a stronger clarification that Arachne is used only symbolically as a 'spirit' sign as I think the mere mention of the reference to Arachne as a 13th sign or Vogh's book only makes her work look uninformed as Vogh's book was not to be taken seriously as he has self-proclaimed. However, I do think Arachne is the appropriate archetypal tie-in for the completion of this work as the Weaver. What I did not like about this book is redundancy regarding the rituals. Personally I'd prefer someone say here's the basic structure and just substitute this or that in whichever placement for each aspect rather than write repeatedly the evokation of the elements etc.. However, I will admit I can see her point for doing so in that there are subtle differences in each and it is nice to have the entire ritual in one place when you actually want to use the book as a quick reference. The other thing I did not like about this book is that while I'm all for women's empowerment and I like much of Starhawk's writings myself I find it arrogant and assuming to write everything as if only women would be interested in these works. There is nothing wrong with men exploring the Dark Goddess as well as women and the author does mention a time or two items such as 'if you are a man performing this' but there are times where she seems to forget that she may actually have a male audience and one that is not afraid of their feminine side at that. However, while parts of the book may 'seem' to be written for women alone, the entire work is usable by both genders. Overall I think it's a decent work that could have been elaborated on much more but works as a rather simple basis with a good and insightful start as people are only recently becoming more aware of and accepting of the darker aspects of paganism and of their own psyche's.

Timothy Roderick: Dark Moon Mysteries

 Posted by TG Mondalf (@)   Spirituality & Religion (Comparative Religion, General, Occultism, Wicca/Witchcraft)
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Feb 10 2004
cover
Author: Timothy Roderick
Title: Dark Moon Mysteries
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Llewellyn Publications
Rated: *****

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Dark Moon Mysteries is a guide for tapping into the subconscious energies that lurk in the dark recesses of the mind's eye. Timothy Roderick combines ideas and concepts of Wicca with those proposed by mythologist Joseph Campbell and psychologist Carl Jung (at least these are obvious influences for his work) to guide us on a mystic quest inward of our own. He has designed tools using meditation, ritual practice, magick, and crafting which can easily aide an individual to become more aware of thier own 'issues' which may require resolution and methods of obtaining inner peace with them. He makes it obvious that was this book deals mostly with are things that we may not even know are 'issues' for us as they are psychological, metaphysical, and sometimes physical tension built up from times when maybe we were not able to express our deep emotions and feelings when something happened to or around us. If not released they can built areas of tension that will eventually cause problems for the individual in which they reside. Thus a method of discovering and releasing them is required. Timothy utilizes myth and fairy tales to explain various aspects of the archetypes and energies which work in these 'dark' areas. Being a psychologist and pagan himself his ideas and thoughts are clearly laid out in easy to understand language. Since this is also a Llewellyn publication you will also find a collection of rituals, spells, crafts, and other things that you can do physically to utilize the knowledge within. He specifically uses the imagery of the mask to help us identify and name our shadows so that we can work with them more effectively. May favorite part of the book is Part II in which he clearly defines the Widdershins (counter-clockwise) Spiral and how it differs from that of a Deosil (clockwise) one in reference to use and effectiveness. I think this aspect clearly defines the difference between 'Dark' (by this I mean that referenced in Dark or Gothic Paganism) magic and standard magic. The widdershins spiral is more for use in inward journeys and changes within the self while the deosil spiral spirals outward for gaining desired results in the physical realm to put them in the most simplest of terms. You will also find a bit of information on scrying and making a scrying mirror as well as other tools like a black divination bowl. With any source book the individual spells and rituals are not always the best suited for everybody and should be modified freely to better fit your own ideas. I am not sure but this book also seems to be the main predecessor to any other books on Dark Paganism such as those written by Konstantinos. However, Roderick makes his views clear that he believes in balance and that working only with Dark powers can be just as limiting as working only with Light ones. I tend to agree though I do lean much more toward the Dark aspects. I think that anyone interested in Dark Paganism or Magick should use this as a sort of basic psychological profile guide for their work and there would be much less crazies out there doing what they are calling dark magick but is only their own evil intent. This book has many positive aspects, tools, and perspectives that are meant to be used as a guide to self-healing and renewal and a worthy addition to any pagan, witchcraft, magick, or Wiccan library.
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