Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Review: Book by Nancy Vedder-Shults

The World is Your Oracle: Divinatory Practice For Tapping Your Inner Wisdom And Getting The Answers You Need by Nancy Vedder-Shults, Quarto Publishing Group USA 2017,240 pages (Also available as an e-book.)

This short interview is meant as an introduction to Nancy Vedder-Shults’ book, The World is Your Oracle. For the interview section of this review, the reviewer is using the name she usually writes under, Judith Laura. Her blogger name for this blog is Medusa, and will appear at the end of the review

Judith Laura: How does The World is Your Oracle relate to Goddess spirituality?
Nancy Vedder-Shults: The book is a compilation of 40 different techniques for accessing your deep knowing, 1/3 of which are visual, 1/3 auditory, and 1/3 kinesthetic. It comes directly out of my work in feminist spirituality, although it certainly could be used by men as well.

Judith Laura: In what way(s) do these techniques come out of your work in feminist spirituality?


Nancy Vedder-Shults: I was in a deeply magical coven of seven women in the 1990s. Since there were 7 of us, we decided that for a year and a day each of us would be responsible for one of the 7 chakras. We put colored slips of paper into a hat and selected one a piece. When I picked indigo, signifying the 6th chakra, I must have blanched. The sixth chakra, also known as the third eye, is the site of intuition and psychic awareness. I didn’t consider myself very psychic at the time and wondered why I had chosen that chakra. What this experience began was an intense exploration of intuition and ways of tapping into our inner wisdom. The World is Your Oracle is a direct result. I don’t think I would have researched and written it if I hadn’t been in that coven.
 
Judith Laura: Are there any other ways that your approach in this book grew out of your work in feminist or Goddess spirituality?
 
Nancy Vedder-Shults: I discovered divination as a Goddess woman, so for me it’s obvious that these techniques are a part of my spirituality. If I had remained in my birth religion, I would never have encountered them. I practice Wicca, and I’m also a Unitarian Universalist. This second religion may be THE most tolerant religion in the world. There are no dogmas or beliefs that we ascribe to, so there are UUs of many stripes — Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, pagan, atheist, agnostic, and even a few Muslims. As a UU, I wanted my book — which comes out of the magical practices that Goddess feminists perform — to be accessible to any open-minded person. Molly Remer in her review called it "not a specifically pagan book, but instead is markedly (and enjoyably!) interfaith in approach, while also being culturally respectful.” That made me feel great, because it meant that I had not imposed my beliefs on others, but allowed them to realize how the techniques could be useful to them, whatever their beliefs.


And now for my review:

Beginning with the first chapter, “Preparing, Interpreting, and Honoring your Oracle,” the book contains a wealth of helpful material. In addition to being a look at oracles through the author’s lens of feminist spirituality, The World Is Your Oracle is a fascinating book on a metaphysical topic that the author bases strongly on science. For example, Vedder-Shults writes in the 2nd chapter, “… Science has recently demonstrated a number of techniques that can make our divinations even more successful.” Some of these techniques, the author writes, are smiling, replacing worry and anxiety with trust, broadening your attention but also letting your mind wander. In addition, in this section the author discusses 5 other ways for aiding divination based on scientific research.
 
While maintaining a focus on science, Vedder-Shults includes light touches that keep the book from bogging down. The title of the book itself is one of these for me. “The World is Your Oracle,” to me is a play on the saying “The world is your oyster,” (an expression originally from Shakespeare), only in the case of the book we are looking for answers to questions, or help from what some call “psychic” perceptions, whereas in the common maxim, we are giving a new meaning or an expanded role to oysters—that an oyster represents enjoyment or simply that we have some type of ownership of the world . Another light touch is use of the term “brain blink” in the chapter discussed above on science. The author gives four recommendations for encouraging “brain blink.”
 
Both the cover (which shows what I assume is a world egg breaking open and releasing a bird, and which surrounds the main title with the subtitle), and the interior illustrations are by the author’s daughter, Linnea Vedder. They add greatly to this book. Most of the chapters begin with a color illustration. Beginning with the chapter sections of “Visual Techniques” the chapter sections also have color illustration. For example, the section on air begins with a color illustrations that seems to me to illustrate the displayed boxed text for “winds of change: this modern form of wind divination (austromancy) allows you to read your oracle in the movements of an object blown by the wind.” This chapter section and those that follow on visual techniques connected with air (ashes, balloon diagrams, books, candles, creatures, dreams, mirrors, numbers, scrying, spirit guides, stars) also contain further instructions titled “Steps” and “Continuing the Journey.” Similar color illustrations, accompanied by boxed explanatory quotes, as well as separate sections with instructions are included in the chapters on Auditory Techniques and Kinesthetic Techniques, each of which have at least 14 sections each on various techniques.
 
The Back Matter contains Works Frequently Cited; References; Endnotes, including those from the works of Layne Redmond, Gerina Dunwich, Robert Graves, D.J. Conway, James Lovelock; Resources, with sections on “chanting and other music” including material on Atheist, Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, “Om Tara,” featuring Chants for the Queen of Heaven and Songs of the Earth: Music of the Earth; and Pagan, Wiccan, or Native American. Also, “drumming,” “gods, goddesses, saints, and power animals,” whose material includes work by Ted Andrews, and Patricia Monaghan; and “birds, animals, and insects.” There is also a 6-page index, whose citations include Alpha brain wave activity, Sigmund Freud, Gaia theory, Guided meditation, Carl Jung, Sweet Honey in the Rock, and Trance state. The Appendix section has spaces for the reader to fill in personal meanings and includes topics of “Creatures” with 3 charts of Associations with Common North American Bugs, ….Animals, …Birds’. The topics of “Numbers” and “Body Sense” have one chart each.

The World Is Your Oracle is a down-to-earth description of how to use mysticism and mystical techniques to achieve excellence in oracular practice. Well thought out and organized, it is appropriate for the person first starting to use oracles as well as those who have been involved in this form of divination for quite some time.

According to Vedder-Shults’ biography at the end of the book, she participated in the Women’s Studies program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison from 1975-1991, received a Ph.D, and is “a storyteller, writer, and musician.” She has written for SageWoman magazine and Tikkun Daily blog and has recorded Chants for the Queen of Heaven. Her website is Mamasminstrel.net

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Monday, April 23, 2018

Buzz Coil March-April 2018

Here are some notes about recent posts from blogs on our blogroll:

Annelinde's World: Two of several of Annelinde Metzger's recent spring poem posts are "Wake Robin," (April 14) which begins:
Blood-red trillium, 
     with your sumptuous variegated leaf patterns,
      arising in big colonies early, so early in spring
      amid dry leaves and old twigs,
Triple Goddess, you sprout from the dry earth...

and "Looking Glass" (March 24) about a mountain in North Carolina, which begins:
The earth’s egg,
she nestles here in her corpus luteum.

Both with pics.

Association for the Study of Women and Mythology:  ASWM's March 29 post announces: "Kathy Jones Receives 2018 Demeter Award." The award was made at the organization's 2018 Conference held recently in Las Vegas. Jones is an author, teacher, and a creator in England of both the Glastonbury Goddess Conference and the Goddess Temple of Glastonbury.  

HecateDemeter:  The most recent post (when I last looked) of Blogger Hecate's series "The Magical Battle for America," posted on April 22, refers to "American's First Peoples" and the man holding the present US presidential office. The April 22 post in this series is about Dion Fortune and Great Britain's stand against the Nazis in WWII, with a magical working related to the present situation in the US. Some of the other posts in the series were cancelled or delayed due to computer problems. Others that made it online in April and March are: April 1: Hills, buffalo, prairie, and young people's movement for gun safety;  March 25: "our American plain on the astral plane"; March 18: Cowboys on America's astral plane; March 11: Russia and US politics; March 4: Children, including the blogger's "G/Son."
Some of the other posts on this blog include, "Pink Petals" (March 31) short fiction that begins:
 "Like pink snowflakes  Like walking into one of those storybook pictures he’d loved to look at as a child.  Like magic.  Because it was.He found a patch of sun, a bench that wasn’t wet with dew, wouldn’t make his pants wet if he sat on it...."
Another short fiction piece, "Behind Pots & Shovels" (March 27);  a post, "Honoring Hestia" Hygge" (March 22); and "This is a Prayer for Spring; This is a Prayer for Resistance" (March 20)

My Village Witch: Byron Ballard's April 16 post, "Barrels of Rain, Inside and Out," describes what happened to Mother Grove Temple (Asheville, NC) during a recent rainfall.

Broomstick Chronicles: The April 3 post by Aline O'Brien (aka M.Macha NightMare), "Institutions," is about the need for and problems and efficacy of trying to provide books for Pagan prison groups. 

Pagaian Cosmology: Glenys Livingstone's April 17 post, "Samhain/Beltaine Moment @EarthGaia  May 18" explains the holidays approaching in Earth's Northern and Southern Hemipheres, including their relationship. With pics.

The Retiring Mind: On April 5, Wendy Griffin announced that "The Retiring Mind is Retiring" told why, and gave a link to her new blog, "Million Monkeys."

Because of the large number and variety of bloggers and posts on the following blogs, we are now suggesting that you visit them and select the posts that interest you most.

The Motherhouse of the Goddess: Blog affiliated with Motherhouse Podcasts and Mystery School.

Feminism and Religion: Many bloggers from many different religions and paths.
 
Pagan Square: This blog of many mostly-Pagan paths is sponsored by BBI Media and includes SageWoman blog posts.

 
The Wild Hunt: Pagan, news-oriented blog that has grown from single blogger to many bloggers.

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Sunday, April 22, 2018

Earth Day Blessings

May this Earth Day bring an increased awareness of Earth's beauty and the interrelationship of Her inhabitants to all who dwell here. With Gaia blessings to you, your family, and friends.

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Friday, April 20, 2018

Glastonbury Goddess Conference 2018

This year's Glastonbury Goddess Conference has been announced by Conference co-organizers, Marion and Katinka, in an email at the Vernal Equinox. The Conference theme is "Moon Maiden." The conference, which is held in England, opens on July 31 with the opening of a Moon Temple and continues through August 5. Its fringe events occur on July 29, 30, and August 6. Full information on events, presenters, and registration can be found at the link above.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Buzz Coil Jan.-Feb. 2018

Here are some notes about recent posts from blogs on our blogroll:

Association for the Study of Women &Mythology: February posts concerning the ASWM 2018 Conference March 16-17 in Las Vegas (as announced in our Jan.-Feb. Buzz Coil) include: on Feb. 15:“Animal Myth and Mysteries at Conference,” and “Schedule for Conference”; on Feb. 12: “Presentation Grant Award Winner: Rachel Kippen,” “Conference Panels,” “Fierce and Beneficient Female Figures,” and “Women and Earth-Centered Mythologies”; February 10 and 9 posts are about presenters and grant award winners Vicki Noble, Nancy Vedder-Shults, Cristina Biaggi, Max Dashu, Malgorzata Oleszkiewicz-Peralba, Tahnahga Yako Meyers, Apela Colorado, Frances Santiago, and Yuria Celidwen. A Jan. 30 posts gives details on presenter Kathy Jones. (A link to information about other events and speakers is included in the Feb. 12 post.)

Annelinde’s World: Annelinde Metzner’s January poetry posts include (Jan. 20) “Tell A Woman,  which begins:
“Tell a woman that, deep inside,
deep in her heart, where no one can see,
she holds the flame that lights the world.”

and (Jan. 7) “Among the Galax.” Both with pics.

BroomstickChronicles: Aline O’Brien (aka Macha NightMare) gives us 2 posts about her experience at the American Academy of Religion’s annual meeting in Salem, MA. Her Jan. 5 post is an overview of the meeting’s panels from various parts of the world other than the Americas. Her Feb. 20 post focuses on “Native Traditions in the Americas.”

Fellowship of Isis Central: FOI’s Feb. 6 post, “Oracle of the Goddess Tara,” includes an invocation and message from Tara on the importance of darkness, peace, and faith. Here is excerpt from one of its passages:
“The greatest evil you fear is death. There is no death. While you are identified with a body of clay you find it difficult to enjoy the bliss of the heavens. You are beset by grief, hatred, violence and cruelty. But you also acquire merit through overcoming these obstacles to Illumination….”
The blog’s Jan. 31 post, “Isian News Brigantia 2018,” gives the contents of this journal and a link it its pdf.
 
Veleda: Max Dashu begins her Jan. 17 post, “Resources and publications,” by telling us that this is her first post in quite a while due to her working to finish the first book (now published) in a series she is writing. In the post, she discusses the history of the Suppressed History Archives, which she founded and maintains, her slideshows and videos, online courses, the SHA website and Facebook page, her page on Academia.edu, and the second book in the series, which she is working on now.
 
HecateDemeter: Blogger Hecate’s Feb. 6 post, “Being and Doing – What the Goddesses are Telling Me,” relays messages from the deities in general and specifically from Brigid. When I visited the blog, the most recent post in Blogger Hecate’s “The Magical Battle for America” series was dated Feb. 18. It introduced the subject with autobiographical material and then offered “a protection” related to the recent mass murder at a Florida high school that includes biographical material about Marjorie Stoneman Douglas, after whom the high school is named. Other recent meditations in the “Magical Battle” series are posted on Feb. 11 (Black History Month/Underground Railroad), Feb. 8 (marking one year of the Battle and asking for readers’ feedback), Feb. 4 (the Resistance), Jan. 28 (fires), Jan. 21 (Ellis Island), Jan. 14 (railroad history), Jan. 7 (Salmon), Dec. 31 (of which Hecate writes, “a bit different from our normal workings,” and involves “warding.”)

Starhawk’s Blog: In her Jan. 24 post, “Building a Welcoming Movement,” Starhawk sets out details about ways to continue to survive the current political situation in the US. In the introductory section “The Movement We Need,” she writes:
Only a massive, broad movement can succeed.
“That movement exists in incipient form, like a great whale swimming just below the waves that surfaces now and again to blow. But we—and by ‘we’ I mean committed social justice activists of all races, genders, and backgrounds—can do a much better job of expanding it and activating its power.”
She then offers details on what she calls “10 Guiding Principles for Building a Welcoming Movement” (here I paraphrase and excerpt): The movement should feel good, not demanding—it should not require absolute perfection; it should be diverse in a way that finds a role for everyone (includes suggestions of what “a white cis-gendered, heterosexual male can do”); it should be actively welcoming, especially to people taking their “first step into activism,” by limiting criticism and listening to their opinions, creating structures and rituals of welcome, giving public praise, and using easily understood words (which are often poetic); it should educate; and it should be kind, especially to “supporters, friends, co-conspirators and allies.”
 
PaGaian Cosmology: In her Feb. 13 post, “Beginning Again,” Glenys D. Livingstone of Australia, writes about Lammas and its relationship, in her practice, to black, especially black ribbons. It also includes a poem that she says could also be used for Imbolc (aka Brigid). Her two posts, “Lammas/Imbolc Season Feb. 2018” on Jan. 24 and “Lammas/Imbolc Earth Moment” on Jan. 6 discuss the relationship of the 2 cross-quarter holidays celebrated in the Northern and Southern hemispheres in early February. With pics.
 
My Village Witch: On November Feb. 1, Byron Ballard of the Mother Grove Goddess Temple in Asheville NC, posted “Brigid is Written in the Water,” about a Brigid ritual that occurred a few years ago. 
 
Because of the large number and variety of bloggers and posts on these blogs, we are now suggesting that you visit them and select the posts that interest you most.

Feminism and Religion: Many bloggers from many different religions and paths.
 
Pagan Square: This blog of many mostly-Pagan paths is sponsored by BBI Media and includes SageWoman blog posts.

 
The Wild Hunt: Pagan, news-oriented blog that has grown from single blogger to many bloggers.

The Motherhouse of the Goddess: Blog affiliated with Motherhouse Podcasts and Mystery School.

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Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Buzz Coil: November-December 2017


Here are some notes about recent posts from blogs on our blogroll:

HecateDemeter: Blogger Hecate’s December 21 post, “This is a Prayer for the Darkest day; This is a Prayer for Defiance,” begins: 

This is a prayer for the darkest day; this is a prayer for Resistance.
This is a prayer for the longest night; this is a prayer for defiance.

“This is a prayer for warriors, for women who rise up, wounded,
And do what needs to be done.
Feed the animals in the frozen dark.
Make coffee in the bitter cold.
Pull on sweaters, and fingerless mittens, and socks over cracked feet.
Make five more calls….”

Hecate’s series of meditative posts, “The Magical Battle for America,” continues (topics in parens): December 17 (video about Harriet Tubman), December 10 (cowboy theme), December 3 (cemetery art), November 26 (Lady Liberty), November 19 (Thoreau), November 11 (effects of January 2017 Women’s March), November 8 (Russia and US election).

Shakti Warrior: This blog’s December 8 guest post by Susan Morgaine, “Beloved Goddess Isis,” focuses on the need to reclaim Isis from the current use as an acronym with political implications.

Annelinde’s World: Annelinde Metzner’s December 1 post, a poem titled, “Passage,” focuses on a town in South Africa, the history of the slave trade, and the Goddess Yemaya. The poem is taken from Metzner’s 2012 chapbook, “The Most Huge Yes.”

The Goddess House: Frances Billinghurst’s December 17 post, “Yemaya Blessings of the Waters 2018,” announces the change of date for the annual honoring of this African Goddess in sacred space in Adelaide, Australia.

Association for the Study of Women &Mythology: In its November 30 post, ASWM announces “Registration is Open for 2018 Conference” which takes place in March. Earlybird registration closes February 2. The November 18 post announces a keynote presentation by Dr. Gala Argent, “Horses as Heros.”

PaGaian Cosmology: In her Dec.24 post, “Everyday Acts – The Bread of Life,” Glenys D. Livingstone discusses some aspects of the current Summer Solstice ceremony in Australia. On December 14, she posted a longer piece on both the summer and winter solstices, titled “Solstice Moment 2017 C. E.” On November 20, she posted “A Cosmic Walk: Celebrating Origins,” an abbreviated version of a ceremony at the Moon Court, Blue Mountains, Australia.
 
My Village Witch: On November 28, Byron Ballard of the Mother Grove Goddess Temple in Asheville NC, posted “A Ceremonial Circle Cast for the Winter Solstice,” which also includes a circle release. On December 5, in a post titled, “A Find Amongst the Documents,” she posted a poem titled “Seasoning” that she wrote several years ago and found while working on this year’s Solstice ritual.

Starhawk’s Blog: Starhawk's December 20 post about the Winter Solstice, "What Must We Lose to the Night?" contains "A Ritual for Release and Birthing." 

Because of the large number and variety of bloggers and posts on these blogs, we are now suggesting that you visit them and select the posts that interest you most.

Pagan Square: This blog of many mostly-Pagan paths is sponsored by BBI Media and includes SageWoman blog posts.

The Wild Hunt: Pagan, news-oriented blog that has grown from single blogger to many bloggers.

The Motherhouse of the Goddess: Blog affiliated with Motherhouse Podcasts and Mystery School.

Feminism and Religion: Many bloggers from many different religions and paths.

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Saturday, December 16, 2017

Passing of Flash Silvermoon

updated 12/28/17
Flash Silvermoon (aka Deborah Kotler) died of renal failure December 15 at the age of 67 at the University of Florida Health Shands Hospital where she was a patient. Well known in the wider Goddess community, she was a musician, Tarot reader, psychic, astrologer, author of The Wise Woman 's Tarot book and creator deck of the same name. Also an animal communicator, she appeared on a weekly podcast, "What the Animals Tell Me." You can find more about these on flashsilvermoon.com. For a longer obituary with photos, see the Gainesville Times .

May Flash Silvermoon rest in the arms of the Goddess and be renewed.

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Saturday, November 25, 2017

Goddess Pages Format Changes

The Goddess Pages format has changed, Geraldine Charles, editor of the online magazine originating in the UK, has announced. The timing of the publication has also changed:
there is no exact date for a new issue. Similar to a blog, articles, poems, and reviews are published when they are ready and/or when the editor feels they are appropriate. As of this writing, articles include:"The Oracle of Delphi" by Louise Sommer," and the editorial introduction by Geraldine Charles, "She Changes Everything She Touches." Poems include: Calling on Persephone" by Penn Kemp and "The Three Comadres" by Susa Silvermarie. Reviews include: The World Is Your Oracle by Nancy Vedder-Shults, Soul & Shadow: Birthing Motherworld by Kathy Jones, and Healing Through the Goddess by Lynne Sedgmore, illustrated by Susie Jones. 

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Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Buzz Coil: September-October 2017

Here are some recent posts from blogs on our blogroll (please note, we don't knowingly list posts in Buzz Coil that have been published previously by the blogger elsewhere or on the same blog):

Women & Mythology: ASWM’s Oct. 14 post announces the deadline of Nov. 15, 2017 for the 2018 Sarasvati Book Award for non-fiction books published during 2015-2017. The post includes a link to the submission form.

Fellowship of Isis Central: An Oct. 17 post, “Message from Isis Oasis—Northern California Wild Fire,” by deTraci Regula, director of Isis Sanctuary, begins with these words:
We are blessed. Fires in the area surrounding us are contained. Thankfully the Advisory Evacuation notice was lifted. All of our animals have been safely returned. Isis Oasis is currently hosting evacuees.”
The post goes on to report on the effect of the fires, including Isis Oasis’ November plans.

Annelinde’s World: Annelinde Metzner’s Oct. 4 post is a poem, “Release,” about the hope that Goddess brings in time of violence. Her Sept 1 posted poem, “Sycamore,” begins:

“Delicious! the astringent scent
of wet leaves, wet humus
     on the forest trail
     in this rainy, dark and brooding August weather.
It is late summer, and our Mother
     warns, “Change is coming!”


Starhawk’s Blog:  Starhawk’s Oct. 11 post, “Lessons from the Fire,” includes material from a fire protection ritual, “honors fire for the great teacher she is,” and discusses 5lessons we all need to navigate a world where climate change has intensified the dryness and the winds.” Her October 2 post is “A Statement from Starhawk on the Las Vegas Tragedy.”

PaGaian Cosmology: In her Oct. 7 post, “Triple Goddess Breath Meditation,” Glenys Livingstone shares a meditation that has been her “daily practice for nearly 20 years. In her Sept 25 post, “Persephone’s Return or Departure?” Livingstone discusses this question in relation to her own life. With pics of her younger self.

HecateDemeter: Blogger Hecate’s Sept. 21 post, “This is a Prayer for Mabon. This is a Prayer for Resistance,” begins:

This is a prayer for the Witches’ Thanksgiving. This is a prayer for Resistance.
This is a prayer for mead and cider, for cornbread and collards. This is a prayer for Resistance.”

Her series, “The Magical Battle for America,” continues, each with a meditation/working. In reverse chronological order (as the blog rolls) the recent posts and their topics include: 10/22, receiving messages from your ancestors; 10/5, the U.S. Senate and Trump’s roles in the health care battle; 10/8, libraries and librarians; 10/1, an incident involving Ella Fitzgerald and Marilyn Monroe; 9/24, the Underground Railroad during U.S. slavery; 9/17, the influence of Dion Fortune on the series, with meditation including “Lady Liberty”; 9/10, the buffalo and “The Resistence”; 9/1 the approaching cooler and colder weather of autumn and winter.

Brandy Williams, Author: Brandy Williams’ Oct. 18 post is a brief “Prayer to Hecate.” Her Oct. 16 post, is a brief “Prayer to Pomona, Goddess of the Orchard.”

Because of the large number and variety of bloggers and posts on these blogs, we are now suggesting that you visit them and select the posts that interest you most.

The Motherhouse of the Goddess: Blog affiliated with Motherhouse Podcasts and Mystery School.

Feminism and Religion: Many bloggers from many different religions and paths.

Pagan Square: This blog of many mostly-Pagan paths is sponsored by BBI Media and includes SageWoman blog posts

The Wild Hunt: Pagan, news-oriented blog that has grown from single blogger to many bloggers.

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