Tag Archives: Books

Book Review: Sacred Circles: A Guide To Creating Your Own Women’s Spirituality Group

Just finished reading Sacred Circles: A Guide To Creating Your Own Women’s Spirituality Group by Canes and Craig.

This is a really great book for anyone who is trying to create a small, earth centered group. The authors teach workshops on forming small groups, dynamics between people, and how to keep the focus on the spiritual and away from the drama. They have worked a lot with UU congregations, Wiccan circles, Jewish groups, and drumming and dance groups.

Since a few of us at our UU congregation are trying to formalize our pagan committee, bought the book used and found it quite useful. We will have men in our circle, but much of the advice can be translated to a men’s circle or mixed circle. I recomend this book to everyone who does group workings and rituals, and for those who participate in pagan book clubs and formal covens.

The book has a section which helps create your own rituals– it lays out a structure for rituals (similar to a Toastmaster’s speech– there is a topic or “Intention”, an introduction, a body and a closing) and offers questions for you to think about so you can better flush out your rituals. There are also some sample rituals from the groups they visited and from their own practices. They talk about what a ritual is, about an altar and how to set one up, etc.

Another group of sections is about discussion sessions. They think that each session should be led by two members of the circle, and that it should rotate periodically so everyone gets a turn. They also bring up the idea of the talking stick (we use this in RE for the kids)– where the person with the “stick” is the one who will share, and everyone else will ACTIVELY listen. They offer some sample topics for discussion– most are gender neutral (like money, death, ancestors, childhood faith, food) but some are more women focused (childbirth, menopause, women’s health concerns). For each topic, there are some sample activities (they like crafts as a way to bond the members) , questions and altar decoration.

Finally, there is a lot of discussion about interpersonal issues and conflict management.

Book Review: The Secret Lives of Plants

The Secret Lives of Plants by Peter Tompkins and Christopher Bird is worth reading, but is not an easy book at all. Very scientific and not dumbed down for the layperson (some of the chapters about electromagnetic experiments and plants had to be read while consulting my medicinal shaman and electrical engineer by trade partner.) Amusingly, at the same time I was reading this book, I was also reading a fluffy little herb book which did not discuss the "used to be used for absenthe" about wormwood… 

This book describes many experiments done on and about plants by various scientists, engineers, doctors and horticulturinsts. Some ofthe notable research is outlined below.

In the sections about electronic experiments, it was shown that plants can communicate with people and with each other. They also can pick up on human thoughts. One plant would always emit the same reading on the electronic sensor whenever a researcher thought about sex, so much so that it became a lab running joke! Plants could also sense when someone was intending to harm them, and the plant would wilt slightly.

In the plants and music experiment section– people would play music for plants and they would grow bigger; however they do have musical taste– they like Kirtan and classical but do not seem to care for deathmetal. Apparently, the soil near plants that were sung to was warmer than the quiet control plants.

In the plants and light section, plants were shown to have an internal clock. However, if plants were taken into a mine too far away from the sun, they went dormant.

There is a discussoin of an Odic force which runs thru all living things– kind of like Wilhelm Reich's Orgone energy– which links organic and inorganic energy. This energy, and electromagnetic energy of many forms, causes plants to grow faster.

Plants were shown to grow to align with the earth's magnetic field.

Plants have auras, as detected by Kirilian photography, and a dead leaf has no aura.After leaves are cut, they start to lose their aura until they arre dried up and have none. This aura was also detected with other instruments and was used by some foodies to determine freshness and potency for food.

In the Soil section, a link was made between monoculture and soil depletion (thi link was made before the 2nd world War, but there are whole states full of BT corn… Why?) Nitrogen fertilizer poisons groundwater and will cause soil imbalances but using manure would not. Organic farming was discussed– the Law of return was defined that the soil will put out what you put in. There is a difference between farming and mining, this is something modern farmers have seemed to have forgotten.

Finally, plants grew better when they were prayed to.