Michael C. Hurley’s novel The Vineyard is a reflective piece on the mysteries of fate. The three main characters are the wealthy Dory Delano, the skeptical Turner Graham, and the mourning Charlotte Harris. They have been best friends since college and decide to reunite in Martha’s Vineyard. However, while Dory struggles with her responsibilities, Charlotte makes plans to commit suicide in order to be reunited with her daughter Madeline. Thanks to a bizarre twist of fate in the form of a reclusive fisherman, Charlotte has a new reason to live. Meanwhile, even though Turner is skeptical about the so-called miracles that seem to follow the mysterious fisherman, she decides to write about the events on her blog.
|Recommended by Amanda Ferris||Thursday, December 11th, 2014||No Comments »|
Although many religions like to bicker with one another over whose religion is “the right one” and whose version of God (or the Gods) is the “real one,” Lucinda Vardey’s God In All Worlds: An Anthology of Contemporary Spiritual Writing highlights all the best parts of many, if not all, of the world’s religions.
While the anthology does include bits and pieces from the Bible, the Dalai Lama, Mother Theresa, and Krishnamurti, it also includes the works of poets such as Allen Ginsberg and Maya Angelou. From Hinduism to Judaism and even Pagan beliefs such as Wicca, each of the 22 pages allows readers to adventure forth on their spiritual path. They’ll get a chance to delve into the depths of meditation, the power of mythology, and spiritual figures. All of the selections, whether it is from Martin Luther King Jr. or Albert Einstein, will give readers a new appreciation for spirituality and the world around them.
|Recommended by Amanda Ferris||Wednesday, April 30th, 2014||No Comments »|
Whenever Hollywood needs to show off “evil magic,” one of the first traditions that they turn to is Voodoo. Whether it’s creepy rites or little poppets designed to hex one’s enemies, the image associated with the traditions of Voodoo is a negative one. Even American Horror Story: Coven took the powerful Marie Laveau and her fascinating rites and turned it into a spectacle for the ignorant.
Although much has been made about the other paths in both Paganism and Witchcraft, Voodoo and the other Afro-Caribbean traditions have largely been ignored until now. Lilith Dorsey, who grew up in Brooklyn and is an initiate in both traditions of Haitian and New Orleans Voodoo, explores the truth behind the stereotypes in Voodoo and Afro-Caribbean Paganism. In an effort to demystify these fascinating and beautiful religions, Dorsey patiently explains to her readers not only the history and culture that inspired them, but also the differences between Voodoo, Shango, Obeah, and even Santeria as well.
|Recommended by Amanda Ferris||Wednesday, April 9th, 2014||No Comments »|
Richard Reidy’s Eternal Egypt: Ancient Rituals For The Modern World seamlessly blends both ancient history and modern spirituality. Although the writing is geared towards modern-day Pagans who are interested in Kemeticism, which is a term used for modern-day followers of the ancient Egyptian pantheon, this book offers something for history buffs and curious readers too.
Eternal Egypt is the first comprehensive collection of important temple rituals that were performed in ancient times. Before Reidy published this piece, generally, only academics or Pagans had the knowledge of these rites. Now, anyone who is fascinated by this part of history can pick up a copy of Reidy’s book and gain a deeper understanding of the spirituality of the ancients.
|Recommended by Amanda Ferris||Monday, March 24th, 2014||No Comments »|
Deepak Chaswal has been steadily gaining international acclaim thanks to his poetry. His first collection, Meeting With Christ and Other Poems, is a unique look not only at Christian spirituality but also all the different belief systems that are out there in the world.
Unlike the usual traditional Christian hymns and prayers, the Christ that appears in Chaswal’s poetry is more human than divine. He’s not some smiling figure on a cloud—no, this Christ is someone that the narrator can actually seek out in Jerusalem and have a lovely in-depth conversation with. Much like the Biblical Christ, the poetic form of the Christian Messiah is all about a global movement that will return mankind to their essential humanity. He dislikes greed, selfishness, and the high-tech world that we inhabit because he feels that it’s turning humanity into self-absorbed idiots who can’t see our true potential for goodness.
However, aside from the usual Christian figures of a Messiah figure, angels, etc, Chaswal also explores Eastern religions. The blending of Eastern and Western milieu creates a beautiful poetry collection that not only honors the common themes found in all religions but also the rich imagery that will leave readers feeling spiritually renewed, no matter what their personal beliefs may be.
|Recommended by Amanda Ferris||Thursday, March 20th, 2014||1 Comment »|
Renowned British Egyptologist Dr. Raymond Faulkner painstakingly translated one of the key pieces to understanding ancient Egyptian beliefs about the afterlife; this work is known as The Papyrus of Ani to Egyptologists, but in popular culture it’s known as The Egyptian Book of the Dead.
This papyrus was part of The Book of the Dead, a collection of writings that served as magical guides through the afterlife. The ancient Egyptians placed these different pieces of writing in order to help the deceased survive the trials and tribulations that were part of their journey into the afterlife. If their soul managed to make their way through the afterlife’s adventures, including the weighing of the heart ceremony where the jackal-headed god Anubis judged if you were a good person in life or not, then you gained entry into the ancient Egyptian version of heaven.
|Recommended by Amanda Ferris||Tuesday, March 4th, 2014||No Comments »|