Sacred Rituals for Connecting to Nature’s Power
By Starhawk
Did you know that if you cast a spell it would most likely come back to you threefold? Whether you are an established follower of the old ways or a neophyte aching to learn more, this four-CD set, narrated by the soft and lilting voice of author Starhawk, will reel you in from the start.

The first part includes a history of pagan evolution that flies through and touches upon gods and goddesses from pre-history to the present. Social commentary about the Middle Ages, witch hunts and the Age of Enlightenment all create a basis for understanding more clearly the development of ancient mystical knowledge and practice.

We are then walked through the various seasons and holidays, from the witch’s new year of Samhain, where the veil between the living and the dead is the thinnest, to Mabon or the Autumnal Equinox, which marks the last chance for harvest. We are given a story for each with an overview of the sentiment and reason behind the celebration. We are encouraged to find and connect with our own nature, both internal and external.

While magic itself is a state of awareness, the elements of air, fire, earth and water are all elements we can work with in order to create fuller lives, as well as environmental healing. Starhawk provides us with a personal connection to a new world of awareness.

Published by Sounds True, this CD set is available at your local bookstore or at the website www.SoundsTrue.com
Reviewed by Sonia von Matt Stoddard

Animal Spirit Guides
from the Land of Light
By Rima A. Morrell, Ph.D.
Huna mysticism is an ancient Polynesian spiritual system, which provides techniques for healing and prosperity. Ancient tales show a world of empowered gods and goddesses, animals, spirits and humans with no distinguishable divide between the earthly and the divine. Hawaiian life was dominated by spirit guidance, manifested particularly through animals. Every creature has information about one’s path.

The Hawaiian Oracle depicts animals and teachings of Hawaii as the gateway to the land of light. Author Rima Morrell, an anthropologist with a Ph.D. in Hawaiian shamanism, invites us to tune into creative force magic and learn ancient wisdom from the inhabitants of these realms. We are introduced to each animal and learn about its attributes, powers and strengths.

For example, the pearl oyster (Pipi) gives us the gift of luminescence, a way of letting go, and challenges our limitations. Finding affinity with Pipi allows us to shed our layers. We are encouraged to trust the process and stay true to ourselves, using Pipi as a guide.

An oracle is a method to a prophecy. In this book/card set, we are provided with a book that details and explains each animal as well as a Tarot-style format and beautifully-illustrated deck with which to practice. The 36 cards in the oracle represent the creatures and companions of Hawaii. The book and cards together provide an easy and fun instruction into the study of Huna.

Published by New World Library, this set is available at your local bookstore or online at www.newworldlibrary.com
Reviewed by Sonia von Matt Stoddard

A Practical Guide to Inner Peace
By don Miguel Ruiz,
Read by Peter Coyote
History tells us that Adam and Eve lived in virtual harmony and paradise until they were betrayed by an angel’s message that taught them to fear. Instead of believing in their own pure truth, they believed a lie that led to the creation of original sin — the first mistake. Had they trusted in their purity and true love, they would not have fallen into the fertile ground of guilt and shame.

Our voice of knowledge is who and what we are; our emotions are the most real part of ourselves. Unfortunately, we fall prey to a contaminated inner dialogue: a voice inside us that judges, gossips and abuses us. We are all living in a story of our own awareness that becomes increasingly critical and debilitating unless we can dispel the lies and come back to what was an originally pure voice.

Author don Miguel Ruiz is a healer in the Toltec tradition. He has dedicated his life to hearing and sharing the wisdom of this tradition without superstition. Ruiz’s message is that we need to accept ‘me’ as we are. With his help, we learn how to take control over our inner voice so that we can locate our authentic self, full of love, respect and honor so  that we can live in happiness and peace.

Published by Amber-Allen Publishing, Inc., this CD set is available at www.amberallen.com
Reviewed by Sonia von Matt Stoddard

How to Attract Uplifting People
and Combat Energy Vampires
By Judith Orloff, M.D.
This double-CD set explores how our personal energy is a precious commodity, and to live fully, we must vigilantly nurture and protect that energy to prevent illness.

“Positive Energy Practices,” based on her best-seller “Positive Energy,” this pioneering professor of psychiatry provides you with practical tools and techniques to harness the power of revitalizing energy and combatting the influences that deplete us.

They include 9 Energy Vampires; how to recognize each of them, and specific practices to shield yourself against their negative energy forces; Learning to balance your sensitivity in an overwhelming world; How to access and trust your intuition — to make wiser decisions about your health, relationships and more.

Dr. Orloff says, “We can’t stop the negative circumstances from happening in our lives, but we can learn ways to protect our energy so we can stay centered in dealing with the stresses that arise.” In “Positive Energy Practices” she offers many practical, life-saving prescriptions for transforming fatigue, stress, and fear into vibrancy, strength, and love.

She narrates the two audio CDs in her soothing voice and offers many of her own personal experiences, which I found especially useful.

Dr. Orloff is one of the few professionals in the medical field to address the body’s energy systems and how external forces can affect us. She says “You are more than just a physical being, so why stop at physical medicine?”  

Produced by Sounds True, this Audio CD is available in major bookstores and at the website www.drjudithorloff.com
Reviewed by Kathy DeSantis

For Heart Disease, Weight Loss
and Stress Release
Produced by Yogi Ramesh Pandey, Universal Yoga
Spiritual Master, Yoga Guru Yogi Ramesh, believes laughter is the best medicine. Through his newest 30-minute DVD, “Laughing & Chair Yoga,” Yogi demonstrates that laughing and breathing exercises can help benefit shortness of breath, asthma, smoking damage, sinus problems, colds, flu, emphysema, bronchitis, allergies, fatigue, etc.

While he is talking, we are treated to beautiful views of the Hawaiian Islands in the background that serve to reinforce relaxation. The second half of the DVD features chair yoga and breathing demonstrations which I found easy to follow. Benefits help the heart, body and mind, and only take a few minutes, the Yogi way. Enthusiastic testimonials from each of the Universal Yoga students at the Norwalk Senior Center make it clear that the exercises really do work.

I recommend this DVD (and all of Yogi’s DVDs) for anyone who really wants a simple and proven method to feel great with natural, healthy benefits. You will laugh yourself healthy! With his DVD and others he has created, Yogi makes yoga easy, affordable and available.

The DVD is available from his website for $17.95 including tax and shipping. Visit the “Yoga Store” at www.universalyoga.org or call (877) 367-9642.

Yoga Classes for Seniors and Everyone
“Yoga Healthcare for America” is his slogan and quest for the millennium. Yogi Ramesh teaches classes for seniors at the Downey Senior Center, and in his Paramount studio (Universal Temple of Yoga). Emphasis is on spirituality and health for heart disease, cancer control  and life extension.
Reviewed by Kathy DeSantis

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