Book of Interest—Backwoods Witchcraft

What are mountains teaching you?

My father grew up in the mountains of Central Pennsylvania. He loved the mountains. I learned to love the mountains by osmosis, and two decades ago, when I began driving back and forth between Florida and Manhattan, I chose a route that took me over the mountains of North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia so I could experience mountains for myself. One winter, I ignored warnings of an impending snow storm and found myself well above sea level on the North Carolina and Tennessee border with the white stuff rapidly blanketing the landscape and the temperature well below zero (making ice under the snow). As I fought to control my rising panic, I heard a voice say, “Listen to the mountain. The mountain will see you through.” It wasn’t my father’s voice but I felt him very close. As I watched the road, I noticed small patches of gray on the right-of-way. “Gravel”, I thought. Slowly I drove the front right wheel off onto the right-of-way and felt the traction increase. I inched down the mountain, monitoring every subtle movement the car made. Finally, I arrived safely at a motel in Erwin, TN with a new respect for The Weather Channel.

When I realized that Jake Richards lived just up the road from Erwin, I instantly felt a connection to him and to this book. He is, however, not writing about people with one or two adventures passing through a place. He is capturing the heritage of people who lived at the mercy of the mountains and learned their wisdom at great cost. He tells their tale with the subtle power of a Hemingway short story but in the language of a family raconteur spinning tales in front of the wood stove.

If you are looking for “witchy” stuff, there is plenty of it (spells, candle magic, curios, herbs, playing card divination, animal spirits, saints and haints, etc.). Some of you, however, if you are lucky like I was, will find that you are closer to nature-based magic than you thought you were. In the end, spirituality/metapsychics is personal. We follow the teacher until we recognize the wisdom within us. Jake Richards is a very good teacher to follow if you want to gain the courage to make your own way along the spiritual path. SHOP FOR THE BOOK

© 2019 Anna Jedrziewski and InannaWorks

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Book of Interest—Tea and Cake with Demons

Are you making peace with your demons?

Around the globe, more and more people are embracing spiritual practices that have their roots in Buddhist tradition. Meditation/mindfulness, breathing techniques, directed self-talk/affirmations, chanting, and devotional work have become mainstream. Often they are packaged in modern terminology and sold as miracle cures. What hasn’t been talked about as much in literature aimed at the general population is the fact that any practice that quiets the mind will eventually allow negative thoughts and emotions to rise to the surface of consciousness. It’s why we see so many people go from discipline to discipline, teacher to teacher, trying to achieve the bliss of altering consciousness without having to face the demons that lurk within the bliss. (I think it was Saint Teresa of Avila who warned her nuns about “addiction to the spiritual milk”.)

With this book, Andreanna Limbach addresses the issue (Jung called it The Shadow Self) head on, beginning with a parable about Buddha inviting his ill-intentioned nemesis Mara to be his guest for tea. She links it all to self-worth and uses The Four Noble Truths of Buddhism as her framework. She relates her personal story to bring it all to life in real-world terms.

Written lovingly, without pulling any punches, this a guide for facing our fears, recognizing our “enemies” as our teachers, and embracing what we believe shames us as an integral part of the fabric of who we are. SHOP FOR THE BOOK

© 2019 Anna Jedrziewski and InannaWorks

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Book of Interest—Digital Transformation

Do you understand the e-World we live in?

If you are feeling overwhelmed and left behind, this book will not hand-hold you back into your comfort zone. If you’re a survivor, even a very confused survivor, this book offers you the basics of understanding that will restore your faith in yourself and the future that is possible for you. Despite the fact that it is dense with cutting-edge information (non-nerdy readers will have to work at connecting with it), Siebel does a brilliant job of translating ivory-tower scientific ideas into language that makes sense to interested bystanders like myself.

It is not an illusion that the rate of change is speeding up. The only security going forward is to train ourselves to be ready for change. I’m a dinosaur who doesn’t really care (yet) about having my whole life digitized for electronic efficiency. To what end? I thought — and AMAZON answered to save you time and money. I tentatively signed up for AMAZON Prime and now I don’t know how I’d live without it. Siebel explains how they do that and why it is a foreshadowing of the world that is to come.

Everything Siebel has to say impacts consumers but he is speaking, first and foremost to businesses. While, traditionally, CEO’s have been the last to be informed about IT innovations, Siebel makes the case that today’s CEO’s need to be the driving force behind IT adaptation if the corporation is to survive. The model extends from the major digital “movers and shakers” down the mountain to startups and “mom-and-pop’s”. It’s the wave of the future and only those (consumers or businesses) who see it coming will survive it. SHOP FOR THE BOOK

© 2019 Anna Jedrziewski and InannaWorks

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Book of Interest—Living Runes

Do you know Odin?

It appears to me that Northern European shamanic/metaphysical traditions are poised to begin trending in a big way. I anticipate reviewing several books in the coming months that chronicle those traditions. When I decided to review Living Runes, it was because Runes are a practical divination tool that evolved from those Northern European traditions. The book turned out to be so much more than that and I can’t thank Galina Krasskova enough for this unexpected treasure.

She tells readers that the book is neither a beginner’s course (although there is basic information) nor a detailed history of the Runes. Instead she provides pages of suggested reading on those topics and more. (I would suggest that novices acquire a set of Runes and turn to the chapter entitled The Elder Futhark. Pull one Rune a day, read the five to six pages on that Rune that Krasskova provides, and spend the rest of the day pondering on how that information is personally relevant.)

What this book intends is to introduce readers to the organic nature of the Runes. There is a living spirit connected to each symbol and those spirits, if approached properly, will introduce readers to a world of spirits and a spiritual system that leads to effective metaphysical development. It’s a path that requires sacrifice. One must shed the old skin in order to grow a new one. It’s a tale told by Odin and these mysterious Norse carvings. It’s a tale which Krasskova passes along powerfully and with great respect. SHOP FOR THE BOOK

© 2019 Anna Jedrziewski and InannaWorks

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Book of Interest—The Great Wizards of Antiquity

What is INITIATION and how do I do it?

The answer to that question remains complicated but the history of esoteric exploration is becoming clearer as this first book in a three-book series arrives in print. Ogilvy, who spent 18 months in a cave in New Mexico trying to understand the experience he was researching, begins 44,000 years ago with the time of “Lion Man”. He suggests that this amazing work of figurative art takes us back to the time of “us as we know us”. From there he begins the journey through scholarly, archeological, mythological, religious, spiritual, and political recreations of the great metaphysical explorers of the human race.

He recounts the facts and counter opinions in explicit detail, yet manages to keep the reader engaged in the unfolding esoteric tale. Perhaps we keep following him down this complex rabbit hole because there are just enough insightful “bread crumbs” to make it worth our while. (For there is not anything which is of greater importance with respect to science, experience and wisdom, than the ability of remembering.) Or maybe this well-told story of how humankind has tried to sort out life and afterlife and our purpose here on earth has come to fruition at a time when we all need to try and make some sense of it all aside from the daily media injections.

Ogilvy is scholarly without becoming pedantic, thorough without losing us in a stream of minor details, and confidant in the coordination between his research and his personal experience without assuming superiority. I can’t wait to read the next two volumes. Thanks to Llewellyn for making this great series easily available. SHOP FOR THE BOOK

© 2019 Anna Jedrziewski and InannaWorks

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Book of Interest—Diversity Beyond Lip Service

How do you do inclusion?

If you are someone who shies away from conversations about Diversity because they often seem to present as a laundry list of grievances and demands, please know that this book is the antidote for that. This author has a long, successful history as a global leadership development coach. Her work is based on the latest research and best practices for creating sustainable behavioral change. Rather than focusing on compliance, she seeks the ways in which people can embrace inclusion based on their core values. She is opening the door to a dialogue that faces issues of marginalization, privilege, resistance, and microaggression head on, acknowledges the fears that seek to maintain the status quo, and talks about what real inclusion looks like and how it can be achieved.

The book contains plenty of examples of what works and what doesn’t work. It makes the case that diversity is the future and that inclusion is good business practice. It demonstrates how those in power can benefit by creating platforms to share their power in healthy ways. It’s not a win/win model. It’s a face-your-fears, move-beyond-your-discomfort, and win model.

Millenials are already living in a diverse world. Businesses that wish to continue to serve them need to create an environment that mirrors their lifestyle. This is the how-to that tells those businesses how to do that. SHOP FOR THE BOOK

© 2019 Anna Jedrziewski and InannaWorks

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

Book of Interest—Korean Homestyle Cooking

Can you really cook Asian food at home?

This is the second cookbook I’ve reviewed in the last few months that makes it clear that Western readers can, absolutely, learn to cook traditional Asian dishes in their home kitchens. Just Enough (which I reviewed in May SHOP FOR THE BOOK) spelled out the basics of simple, healthy, and frugal Japanese menus along with the attention to detail required to cook them authentically. Korean Homestyle Cooking builds on that foundation, adding more complex ingredients and seasonings. It relies on the same attention to detail in preparation, as well as some common ingredients, i.e. miso and dashi. This book however, rather than focusing on communicating the spirituality of Asian cooking, is all about ingredients and techniques.

The beautiful design of this book, which uses dynamic photography to lead the reader through the recipes, will be especially appealing to Millennials and their no-nonsense perspective. The ingredients are familiar enough to tempt those of us who are older (and perhaps slower to adapt) to risk experimenting with some new versions of familiar dishes. (She gives us permission to use turnips or mushrooms in place of Asian Royal Ferns, includes familiar Western ingredients like mayonnaise and ketchup in some recipes, and offers us Korean Potato Salad and Kimchi Ham and Egg Sandwiches.)

Shigenobu begins with 14 Classic Korean Dishes and then expands on those techniques with recipes like Korean Fried Chicken, Kimchi Simmered Spare Ribs, Warmed Seasoned Zucchini salad, Korean Egg-drop Soup, and Kimchi Fried Rice. This appears to be a breakthrough book in the world of global-cooking-anywhere-anytime. SHOP FOR THE BOOK

© 2019 Anna Jedrziewski and InannaWorks

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Book of Interest—Jung, Buddhism, and the Incarnation of Sophia

What does Jung have to do with it?

This is not a light read. Those who are looking for quick facts will be disappointed. However, for those who have achieved at least a glimpse of the initiations that await those who explore the subconscious/unconscious level of awareness thoroughly, this will prove to be an invaluable guidebook.

Available in English for the first time, Corbin’s close examination of Carl Jung’s work regarding the esoteric traditions of Eastern spirituality will provide those who are ready with an excellent interpretation of the experience of moving through the personal unconscious to the transcendent levels of supraconscious awareness. Corbin believes that the inner explorations of the East, while they underlay the spiritual traditions of Islam, Judaism, and Christianity, no longer have an equivalent in the Western world except in psychotherapy. It is Jung, he tells us, who points the way back to a philosophy of Active Imagination that will enable us to transcend duality and reunite with divinity.

Corbin provides us with powerful insights and, thanks to his wife, Stella Corbin, and editor Michel Cazenave, his writings have been reproduced here in the form in which he intended them to be presented to the world. SHOP FOR THE BOOK

© 2019 Anna Jedrziewski and InannaWorks

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Book of Interest—The Book of Pride

What do you remember?

I moved into an apartment on the north edge of West Greenwich Village in 1969. (I was working and going to school nights at NYU.) Suddenly I was surrounded by gay men and the culture that they were creating in New York City at the time. Two years later, I went to work as an illustrator for the merchandising office of a major department store chain. Almost all of the men who worked there were gay, but unlike the teachers, social workers, and medical personnel that lived in my apartment building, these gay men were part of the New York City fashion world, up on the most stylish of everything and rubbing shoulders with celebrities. Before feminism made it okay for a woman to be single and independent, it was an unmarried girls dream come true. A world full of handsome, creative, and successful men who would spend time with you even if you didn’t have sex with them.

I was blessed to have entree into gay life during that time—after Stonewall and before AIDS. I heard behind-the-scenes stories of gay celebrities out on the gay town. I was invited to the original Village Halloween parade, when it wound around the Village beneath balconies filled with performers. I was invited to Christopher Street after midnight to see the parade of Transvestites (the Village Queens) in full regalia. I have Rollerina’s autograph on a cocktail napkin from Gene’s Patio. There was a sense of excitement for a minute then as gay people risked more and more visibility expecting to finally be allowed to be themselves in all areas of their lives. Then AIDS hit and the celebrations came to a dead halt. In the end, AIDS was probably the biggest force for change in civil rights for gay/queer people. Overnight, everyone suddenly realized that they knew and loved gay people and that those people suffered persecution because of their sexual orientation.

What I wasn’t in touch with at the time, were the leaders who were risking everything to push for changes in the way gay/queer people were viewed and treated. They rarely received mass recognition (Harvey Milk aside) and their stories are in danger of being lost.

In 2016, Mason Funk created OUTWORDS ( to document the history of LGBTQ people in the United States. This book presents the first seventy-five people Funk interviewed and archived, in their own words. What I found most noticeable in these interviews is the creativity and joie de vivre that permeates each accounting of what was an incredible struggle for survival. Every interview I read made me wish that I had known that person.

At a time in America’s history when discrimination is rearing its head again in a seemingly powerful way, it is reassuring to read that ordinary people can stand up to abuse and together, in the end, they will prevail. SHOP FOR THE BOOK

© 2019 Anna Jedrziewski and InannaWorks

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Book of Interest—Just Enough

Can you stop at just enough?

This is, above all, a cookbook. Specifically, a cookbook of traditional Japanese vegan recipes. The recipes come from Zen monasteries. When the author of this cookbook joined the Aichi Nisodo convent, she was seeking solutions to her emotional problems, not cooking instruction. But cooking was the solution which the Universe sent to her. With great skill and insight, Greenwood recounts how learning to cook (and to eat) taught her the simple Zen skills that helped her to reclaim her life.

Most of you have heard the slogan “Buddha is in the details”. In this case, the ultimate practice of Zen is in the subtleties. Learning to use less flavoring and learning to “listen” for the innate flavors in gently cooked food were skills Greenwood gradually developed along with a practical understanding of “just enough”, the moment when you don’t feel the need for anything more.

Greenwood is a white American woman. She deals with the issue of “cultural appropriation” She acknowledges that she has “the privilege of platform”. If a Japanese nun had written this book, it very likely would not have made it into print in the United States. It is fortunate that Greenwood had the means to get this book published, and also took her responsibility to accurately present the skills and philosophy she learned in Japan so seriously. Perhaps most important, she recounts in detail how she put these skills into practice when she returned to the United States.

Buy it for the recipes. Read it for the life lessons. SHOP FOR THE BOOK

© 2019 Anna Jedrziewski and InannaWorks

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