Tarot: New Deck Spread with the Mystical Manga deck

N.S. Jones's Blog

I’d read that if you purchase a new tarot deck that it’s advisable to deal the cards in a spread for a new deck to help connect with it. Some time ago I found a three-card spread that was created for new tarot decks on Pinterest. Since I didn’t have a new deck at the time, and I wasn’t going to use my current deck because of how awkward it was, I didn’t have the opportunity to try this spread. Then I recently bought my second deck which I felt more of a connection to, and also afforded me with the opportunity to try the spread.

In this spread, each card asks a specific question:

  1. What can I (the deck) teach you?
  2. What do I need from you?
  3. What will our relationship be like?

The first thing I noticed about the cards I’d drawn was that two of them were…

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Review: The Secrets of High Magic (Vintage Edition)

51OHQFp-m2L__SX258_BO1,204,203,200_I bought this at The Works a few months ago.  When I thumbed through it, I struck at how familiar the contents was.  I wondered where I had read this book before.  Then I remembered.

As a teenager I had my eye on a book in a discount book shop; it a had a deep red and gold cover with a picture of a wizard (an bearded man with a pointed hat) embossed on the cover.  I remember asking my parents to buy it for me since at that time they bought most of my things for me but they never did.  But one of my classmates who, like me was inclined towards the occult, did buy it themselves and would occasionally let me read it during morning break when he brought it in.  I remember he brought in this tiny little vial of what looked like ashes.  He told me that he had made it using the instructions  from the book.  Reading through the chapter dedicated to Alchemy, it was probably sal salis (“salt of the salt”), which is a water-soluble salt created from wood ash; and is the first step in creating a planetary tincture (a liquid imbued with the cleansing and fortifying powers of one of the planets, as far as I understand it).  I never actually learned which tincture he was making.

Before I really read the book I didn’t really understand what they meant by they referred to High Magic.  After skimming through this book, I’ve come to understand it as an umbrella term that encompasses practises like as Angel magic, Astrology, Alchemy, and so on.  Like most of the magical arts, there is usually some form of ceremony in the magical traditions, and the practises depicted in this book are no different.  Not only are there western rituals there was also a subchapter dedicated to several Far Eastern practises, mainly Buddhist.  While the practises depicted in this book are a bit too complicated for me, it’s still a fascinating read.  And it has given me a few ideas for my creative writing.

Though it’s an almost brand new book, it smells like an older one which is one things that I love about it.  I have to admit I prefer the old cover but I suppose that the new cover would appeal to a younger audience.  A lot of the illustrations are in a slightly different style than what I remember in the old edition, but the diagrams are pretty much the same.

Its author, Frances Melville is, according to the blurb at the back of the book, a “student of theology and a practitioner of medical alchemy”.  She has also written Defence Against The Dark Arts (another book I own a copy of) and other books on magic and myticism.

At the end of the book, there is a bibliography of sources that Melville used to write this book, if readers wished to read further on the subject.

Conclusively, The Secrets of High Magic will make a great addition to any occult library, especially as an introduction to High Magic.

Where to buy pagan books

If you do not have much money for buying spell books and other texts on witchcraft and paganism, charity stores are excellent places to shop at. You never know what wonderful things you can find, are an absolute treasure trove!  Not only are they cheaper than if you bought them at the mainstream bookstores, the money also goes to charity!

You can also buy pagan books cheaper from the internet.  The only problem with this is you don’t know what you’re buying until it arrives, so be careful which ones you buy, as some authors are only in the business for the money they get from selling their books.  Most have been categorised as Mind, Body and Spirit.  Here are a few good writers on pagan books:

· Cassandra Eason

· Judika Illes

· Silver Raven Wolf

· Jane and Stewart Ferrar

Some good books to start your library

·The Book of English Magic, by Phillip Carr-Gomm and Richard Heygate

· The Crystal Bible, by Cassandra Eason

· The Essential Guide to Tarot, by David Fontana

·366 Celt: A Year and a Day of Celtic Wisdom and Lore, by Carl McColman


If you want some older, more detailed texts and don’t mind spending a bit more, antique and rare book stores are another place to buy books on the occult, witchcraft and paganism. Here are a couple of titles that I found by chance:

· The Occult Experience, by Nevill Drury

· Magick, by Aleister Crowley

Review: Love Potions

This is one of the commercial ‘magick’ books that you’d probably see on display in the bookstore windows around Halloween or Valentine’s Day.  Some more experienced witches and pagans may think that it’s the kind of book that only those desperate for love would think of purchasing.

I bought Love Potions in a charity shop, where I paid roughly a fifth of the original price.  If it were in a bookstore, I wouldn’t even think of buying it at full price.  And before purchasing, I skimmed it, and was surprised at its’ contents.

While it contained ‘love potions’, they weren’t potions in the showy magickal sense.  Love Potions is more of a recipe book for beverages (mostly alcoholic) and cosmetics.  These recipes are designed to tantalise the senses of taste and smell, which are our most powerful sense as they can trigger thoughts and memories; and what better way to make a memorable impression that to tantalise someone’s tastebuds or intoxicate their noses.

It certainly brings to mind the idea that any solid or liquid is potentially a spell.

Even if one does not have a significant other, recipes like Titania’s Blackberry Brew or Morrocan Mint Tea are wonderful choices to share with family, friends or even by yourself; particularly if you’re spending Valentine’s Day by yourself.

Review: The Little Book of Pocket Spells

Though not my favourite book on magick, The Little Book of Pocket Spells is a convenient size to carry around, particularly when you’re travelling and don’t want to drag a large volume like the Element Encyclopedia of 5000 Spells  around with you.  It’s easy to slip into your handbag, or pocket.  My copy is worn and bent from the many times that I’ve taken mine with me on holiday, or just out with friends or family.

Because it’s such a small book,  The Little Boof of Pocket Spells summarises a lot of what is written in the larger books into one or two pages, such as the correspondences, the lunar cycle and candle magick.  However the spells aren’t categorised in any sort of order, which makes it bothersome to find the spell you want.

Most, if not all, of the spells within this book are quick and easy to perform, provided that you have the necessary ingredients.  And if you feel it necessary, you could add to these spells to make them more personal to you.

This would also make a great beginner’s book on magic and witchcraft.  Also, the little cat printed in the corner of each right-hand page that wags its’ tail if you flip the pages like a flipbook is a nice touch, particularly for slightly older children from around twelve years.


Now available as an eBook on Amazon. Click here.

Review: Encyclopedia of Spirits

Another wonderful volume from Judika Illes-this would make a wonderful addition to any library, whether pagan or non-pagan, for research or ritual work.  The Encyclopedia of Spirits compiles many of the major deities and spirits from around the world, from both present and past cultures, such as China and Ancient Greece.

A lot of the spirits, I have never heard of, mostly because I have never read or taken an interest in the cultures that they are part of.

Each article for each spirit has been well researched and well presented with clear description.  The profiles include their titles, alternative names, their place or culture of origin and rank within their pantheon (if there are), the different versions of the most well-known stories they are featured in, specific dates, places , plants and animals that are sacred to them (this only applies to deities), their manifestations, attributes and celestial bodies associated with them, as well as objects that would make appropriate offerings to them.  Although, not all profiles include all of the things mentioned.  At the end of each profile, Illes give names of deities or spirits associated, whether linked by familial connections or in stories.

Illes also uses examples from modern popular culture, particularly when it comes to spirits from Japan, as they are often used as inspiration for popular cartoons and comic books, such as Inuyasha and Yu Yu Hakusho.  Some of the most well-known American television dramas also use spirits that are notorious for hauntings and creating mischief, both harmful and non-harmful.

Some of these articles also include historical or cultural notes, particularly if deities were originally people who were ‘deified’ after death.

Whether you a writer of fantasy or horror, a pagan or witch, or just a follower of the paranormal and supernatural, the Encyclopedia of Spirits is an absolute must-have.

Review: The Witch’s Almanac

I purchased the 2008 edition of the The Witch’s Almanac from a charity store last month.  I paid for less than a third of the original price, so I was quite happy with it.  It didn’t matter that it was an older edition.  I had thought to purchase a newer edition, whether for 2010 or the 2011 one later in the year, thinking that the contents would change every year.  But I happened to see a copy of the 2010 edition of the Almanac when I was browsing around in WH Smith a few weeks later, and decided to have a quick look through it before deciding whether or not I should purchase it.  And thank goodness I did, as I was disappointed  by what was in it.  It was practically the same as the 2008 edition.  The only thing about the almanac that changes are the dates, and the rhythms of the moon, sun and planets and the cover.  It has all the same spells, rituals and information, and poems.  (Each section for the months has a poem at the end of it).  Even the illustrations are the same.

One would be better off, just buying one edition of the book, and buying a Witch’s Calendar, which has the rhythms on each day, and special dates marked.  Any other days important to your specific Path you can just add yourself.  For that, I would recommend The Witch’s Calendar published by Llewelyn.