Book of Interest—The Hidden History of Elves & Dwarfts

Are there magical dwarfs in your world?

The remnants of dwarfs and elves of long ago are poor representations of the powerful creatures of the ancient natural world of spirits. Santa’s elves and garden gnomes with their pointed hats are an affront to the long standing history of these special, magical beings. Lecouteux takes us on a scholarly adventure, searching through extant literary and mythological texts in search of the creatures that survive in bits and pieces from the oral traditions that existed before the demise of agricultural societies.

Many of you won’t be surprised to learn that the rise of Christianity coincided with the degradation of nature spirits. But there is something in human nature that clings to the natural cycles and the energies that attend to them. Perhaps the most powerful premise Lecouteux puts forth is the connection between dwarfs and the spirits of deceased ancestors. Were they long ago one and the same?

This is not a light read, but everyone who invokes nature spirits for ceremonies or invites faeries to live in their gardens needs to read about the original sources that modern interpretations have derived from. I came away with an entirely new respect for the beings I have, up to now, only been superficially acquainted with. SHOP FOR THE BOOK.

© 2019 Anna Jedrziewski and InannaWorks

Posted in Anna's Books of Interest, Inner Traditions | Comments Off

Book of Interest—Witchcraft Activism

What will you find at Hekate’s crossroads?

Over the past few decades, I’ve been fascinated to watch the worlds of psychics and metaphysics move closer to each other. Then neuroscience began to come to the forefront and reinforce some of the most treasured foundations of the intuitive arts. It, therefore, came as no surprise when David Salisbury documented the meeting of Craft practices with activist practices. What makes this book unique is Salisbury’s credible experience in both worlds (he calls that lifestyles that require the entirety of who we are) and his ability to communicate the connections between the two.

For readers who are looking for power in either or both worlds, he lets you know that the work is messy, frustrating, and often met with failure. The necessary skill to do this work is resilience.

The book begins with a thorough manual for activism (including self-protection in the physical world). He continues with a spell and ritual overview to help readers incorporate other worldly techniques into their social activism. The book concludes with a history of modern magical activism, citing the likes of Dion Fortune’s magical visualizations, distributed to members of her Fraternity of the Inner Light, to repel Hitler and the Nazis during World War II. This is a timely addition to the science of social change by an author who practices what he preaches. SHOP FOR THE BOOK.

© 2019 Anna Jedrziewski and InannaWorks

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Book of Interest—ONIBI

Would you go Yokai hunting?

This amazing graphic novel, created by Atelier Sento (otherwise known as Cécile Brun and Olivier Pichard), is dynamic, magical, and engaging. It takes us on a tour of old, almost forgotten Japan, through old villages, mountains, forests, and shrines to meet eccentric local villagers and the spirits that they live with.

The illustrations are mostly accomplished using watercolors and colored pencils. The words are sparse but convey an incredible amount of information to round out the evocative images. Readers truly feel that they have come to know all the people represented in this journey. Cécile and Olivier become our friends as we watch them hunt for ghosts to photograph with the mysterious camera they have acquired.

It’s a simple tale made special by the details included in the telling. SHOP FOR THE BOOK

© 2019 Anna Jedrziewski and InannaWorks

Posted in Anna's Books of Interest, Tuttle Publishing | Comments Off

Book of Interest—Compassionate Counter Terrorism

Do we really want world peace?

This is a cautionary tale, written softly in an amazingly well-crafted and scholarly tome, in a world where it is an act of courage for a Muslim woman to step forward and discuss terrorism. Maintaining a sense of calm and even-handedness, she wields her words as if her life (or ours) depended on it. She differentiates between Islam (her religion) and Islamist (the political use of Islam “by astute politicians tapping into deep-seated populist frustrations”).

She writes compellingly, but her currency is facts and figures. And the facts and figures add up to the failure of violence as a means to contain radical fundamentalism. She doesn’t mince words in speaking of the “origins of moral outrage which violent radical Islam exploits”. Nor does she demonize the likes of Donald Trump (“…the deadliest toll has been exacted on the innocent people of Arab, Muslim and Middle Eastern nations…This region should not be a place which refugees flee, but to which newcomers flock…”) and George W. Bush (“…when governments fail to meet the most basic needs of their people, these failed states can become havens for terror…Development provides the resources to build hope and prosperity, and security”). If radical Islam is working to “Eliminate the Grayzone” (where diversity, inclusion, mutual respect and coexistence between muslims and non-Muslims are safeguarded without coerced conformity), then this book is about how to preserve the Grayzone and make the world a safer place.

In the beginning of the book she tells us about working to help feed rescue workers at Ground Zero after 9/11, afraid to tell anyone that she was Muslim. When she finally “confessed” her secret to a coworker, the woman reached out and hugged her. This is the vision she holds out to all of us for the future. SHOP FOR THE BOOK

© 2019 Anna Jedrziewski and InannaWorks

Posted in Anna's Books of Interest, Berrett-Koehler | Comments Off

Book of Interest—The Art of Is

How do you improvise?

It was 27 years ago when Stephen Nachmanovitch published his best selling/still selling classic Free Play. It has become a bible for those wishing to learn the art of improv. Now Nachmanovitch has written a new master tome on the art of improvising in life. He warns us that improvising doesn’t mean not preparing, it just means learning how to let go of the preparation and connect with the moment. He cites by way of example, Martin Luther King’s famous “improvisation” for his I Have a Dream speech. Prompted by Mahalia Jackson (“Tell them about the dream, Martin.”), he pushed away his notes and spontaneously told the world about the dream.

Nachmanovitch, who’s province is improvisational violin, tells readers that it doesn’t have to be an historic moment for improvisation to be life-changing. He warns us that skilled improvisation can be a destructive force if applied without a creative basis; true creative improvisation needs to be connected and responsive to other’s needs. He lets us know that, in improvisation, there are no mistakes; missteps lead us onto a new path to explore. He tells us how Buddhist practice informed his improvisational skills; making art is not a display but an awakening. He introduces us to Wabi-Sabi; the patina is the prize.

Clearly written, with a wealth of resources included, this a landmark entry into the field of creating sanity in a digitalized world. SHOP FOR THE BOOK

© 2019 Anna Jedrziewski and InannaWorks

Posted in Anna's Books of Interest, New World Library | Comments Off

Book of Interest—A Politics of Love

Is there hope for America?

I first heard Marianne Williamson speak at the Universalist Unitarian Church on the upper west side of Manhattan in the early 80’s. I paid $7 to sit on a folding metal chair in the church’s auditorium. She introduced me to A Course in Miracles. I was awe struck. I went back to see her almost every month after that for years. Having begun my own spiritual journey, I found that, a few weeks before she was due back in New York, I would be challenged with a dilemma that I couldn’t resolve. Always, at her evenings in that auditorium, I would receive the guidance that I needed to understand the issue I was being faced with. I felt like she was speaking just to me, yet I understood that everyone in the auditorium felt the same thing. It’s the miracle of A Course in Miracles, and Marianne’s gift.

It was a time when those of us living in metropolitan areas, and working in what are known as the “glamour” professions, suddenly started seeing people we knew and cared about start dropping dead for no explainable reason. It was the time when a disease which didn’t even have a name yet was changing everything and only a small group of people even admitted that it was happening. Marianne gave us a place to come together and share our fears and our grieving. She says of that time, “Unless you’ve been in a war zone, you can’t truly understand what those days were like.”

I remember the evening when she told us that her book, A Return to Love was about to be released. “If you’ve been coming to hear me speak,” she said, “you don’t need to buy it. You’ve already heard everything that’s in it.” And then she went on Oprah and she became famous.

When I went to hear her speak after Oprah, I watched the energy descend from above into the top of her head and out through her throat chakra to the audience. By then I was also a little skilled at the channeling thing, so I knew what I was looking at. She was perfect that night, in my opinion. She hit every note the “Invisible Helpers” sent through to her and every note connected to the audience perfectly. She was a perfect 10—and I was bored. I drifted away, only to revisit her at lengthy intervals to check in. Tears to Triumph was one of those reconnecting points. I loved it.

Now she’s running for president and has released A Politics of Love simultaneously. I tend to be a skeptic. But as I read A Politics of Love, I once again got an answer to a dilemma I was pondering. The answer this time is that there is no answer. There is only choice. We have come full circle. Do we choose love or do we choose fear? She spells it all out in the concise, powerfully-charged phrasing that is her trademark.

After all these years, her power is still also that she can be as self-effacing as she is inspirational. She tells us: “My mother used to say, ‘Count to ten before you speak.’ Sometimes I need to count fifteen.” And there was my answer: Count to fifteen. Thank you, Marianne, and I’d really loved to see you in the debates. SHOP FOR THE BOOK

© 2019 Anna Jedrziewski and InannaWorks

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Book of Interest—Storytelling Alchemy

How does your story end?

For almost a decade, Damoiselle has been teaching others how to rewrite their personal stories to heal their pasts and empower their lives going forward. She learned how to do that by surviving her own highly abusive childhood. She not only discusses the impact of science, philosophy, and religion on readers day-to-day lives, she successfully combines the mundane with the magical in order to accomplish transformation in those lives.

She zeros in on seven essential tools: understanding the mind-set that is associated with a personal experience, journaling, meditation, ritual, sacred space, sacred senses, and dreams. She describes each tool in depth as she makes the case that writing can be transformative. She tells readers about the different forms of storytelling (dating back to the Sumerian Gilgamesh epic from over three thousand years ago). She then explains why she chose the fairytale as her own personal story form. A series of specific exercises helps readers learn to take a personal experience and turn it into a fairytale with an empowering ending. Then she teaches readers to charge their fairytales (hypersigils) and create rituals based on them.

This is a highly knowledgeable and impassioned plea to claim a story that speaks to our glory rather than our flaws. There is a lot of wisdom consolidated within this deceptively simple book. SHOP FOR THE BOOK

© 2019 Anna Jedrziewski and InannaWorks

Posted in Anna's Books of Interest, Red Wheel/Weiser | Comments Off

Book of Interest—Field Guide to the Spirit World

Do spirit entities participate in the Material World?

Thirty years ago, when Reverend Shari Sumrall initiated me into the world of spiritualism, she taught me that protection was the most important thing when contacting disembodied spirits. She had a protocol that was taught to her by her teacher decades before that allowed people to open safely, bypassing misguided spirits. (She also told me that she believed a majority of people in mental institutions are there because they are “oppressed by negative entities”.)

When I started teaching, armed with a little research of my own, I was careful to emphasize protection when working in the other worlds. It kept my classes small and I was accused of teaching from a fear-based stance. (Martinez quotes Robert H. Coddington: “It’s the fashion, in modern New Age philosophies, to deny the very existence of … entities dedicated to committing evil in all its guises … New Agers readily embrace various concepts of benevolent incorporeal entities … but deny the possible existence of any malevolent ones.”)

Now Susan Martinez, who has a doctorate in anthropology from Columbia University, has written this book about encounters in the spirit world that run the whole gamut from selfless helpers to those trapped by their attachment to the material world (I would call them misguided lower astral plane entities). She tells us that a “negative psychic” is one who is “open but not developed, not schooled in vetting psychic input”. She backs it all up with an extensive bibliography. What she discusses resonates completely with my personal experience with entities from the other realms — and I have been awakened in the middle of the night by rotting corpses stroking my cheek while snarling dogs circled my bed. (Paralyzed, I repeated the mantra I learned from Christian Spiritualist Reverend Shari, “Be gone in the name of Jesus Christ and don’t come back” until I could sit up and turn on the lights.) Not to tempt fate, but these spirits now generate sympathy rather than fear in me.

Particularly heart-wrenching are the sections on war veterans, made vulnerable to dark forces by trauma in battle, and then diagnosed as defective by those seeking to avoid the consequences and their care. (John Kerry, in talking about the emotional toll men were carrying as they returned from Vietnam said, “The country doesn’t know it yet, but it’s created a monster …”)

More and more people are consciously opening to the energetic realms beyond the physical plane. It is time for us to have a serious conversation about what that entails. I am grateful to Susan Martinez for beginning the dialog in such a knowledgeable and caring way. The point is not to fear misguided entities. The point is not to let them run rampant in your psyche. SHOP FOR THE BOOK

© 2019 Anna Jedrziewski and InannaWorks

Posted in Anna's Books of Interest, Inner Traditions | Comments Off

Book of Interest—The 8th Seal

Are we on the verge of a Biblical global shift?

Celebrated astronomer and astrologer, Don Cerow, believes we are. He combines his understanding of the heavens with his knowledge of mythology and religion in this unparalleled interpretation of the symbolism of the Book of Revelation to make his case.

“As we have seen earlier, Revelation is both visionary and didactic … This is a book of wisdom, teaching on many levels as it continues to unravel its central mystery.”

He includes charts and graphs to make it easier for non-astronomers to follow his line of thought as he presents evidence that, though cryptic, the Book of Revelation follows a direct path through astrological events (the most recent being in 2013) as it presents its prophetic visions.

“The question becomes, however: is faith more important than God? The gentle mists of belief quickly disappear in the bright light of knowing.”

The Age of Pisces, the age of faith, has ended (although there are still death throes). The Age of Aquarius, the age of lightening, has begun. The earth itself will be radically altered by the shift. We are seeing the beginnings of that now.

“A new social mind-set is getting ready to guide the planet, one that will be motivated by a common goal. Ultimately, to share peace as One.”

The transition will be grueling, but the expanse of creativity brings hope in the wake of disruption. The world begins to make sense again with every turn of the page. SHOP FOR THE BOOK

© 2019 Anna Jedrziewski and InannaWorks

Posted in Anna's Books of Interest, Red Wheel/Weiser | Comments Off

Book of Interest—Smart Business

Are Mom-and-Pop businesses a thing of the past?

First there was ALIBABA (a classic under dog adventure tale). Then there was The 2008 Olympics in Beijing (marketing raised to a level that has no word to describe it). Then there was Crazy Rich Asians (all that extravagance but aren’t they fun people—and so kind-hearted at their core). Now Ming Zeng tells us about the fourth business revolution (after Industrial, Managerial, and Knowledge). The fourth business revolution, as he sees it, is Creativity. As an artist, I didn’t realize until he started seriously using the word creativity at the end of the book, that that was how he hooked me. And once I was hooked, I was exhilarated. He’s describing a future I can look forward to.

Contrary to the “1984” inspired images of masses of people in gray uniforms marching in step under an authoritarian, digitally-empowered tyrant, the portrait of Alibaba’s China that Zeng paints is of underserved individual consumers and businesses being empowered by online technologies, joining the global marketplace, and creating a new economic base that is inclusive, flexible, and open-ended.

And that’s what Zeng says this is all about. Empowering individuals with a massive network, but one that communicates constantly and processes data in real time. That means that every action an individual takes online helps to create the future. It gives new meaning to the concept of voting with your pocket book.

Alibaba’s spin off Taobao claims to have developed a system that can deliver to rural China (with minimal infrastructure) same day. (Amazon, and I LOVE Amazon, can’t deliver next day to me, a Prime customer, in the heart of commercial Bradenton unless I pay extra.)

Something’s going on here. Zeng tells us that it’s inspired. He says that Alibaba’s algorithms are created to search for small businesses that are successful (answering the Mom-and-Pop question I started with), not just the businesses with the highest numbers. He says it’s redefining the idea of an ecosystem. It’s exciting. I hope he’s on to something here. I hope that it’s something that can’t be high-jacked by silo-style competitors.

This is a book that truly changed my mindset about participating in the world. Despite the overwhelming amount of information Zeng presents, this is a highly readable book even for entry-level techies. SHOP FOR THE BOOK

© 2019 Anna Jedrziewski and InannaWorks

Posted in Anna's Books of Interest, Harvard Business Review | Comments Off