At the time of the second harvest, we gather
what we need for the darkness of winter.
Now is the time to plant your seeds
for the coming year.
Clarify your dreams in the light of the
Mabon full moon, and manifest your future.
Friends and fellow book lovers, the light is shifting, the Fall Equinox / Mabon is nigh, and the world is calling us to honor the spiritual and emotional significance of harvest, sacred surrender, and the interrelationship of all things.
Now is a perfect time for honoring our ancestors, lighting candles to add warmth to our homes, creating and sharing the bounty of the season by sharing a special meal with loved ones, releasing old energies and attitudes that no longer serve us, and making time to be outdoors noticing the transitions all around us.
These are some of the ways we can extend gratitude for the rhythms and cycles of life through which we learn and evolve.
“All the trees are losing leaves, and not one of them is worried.”
Let’s begin this report with Seasons of a Magical Life: a Pagan Path of Living by folklorist, teacher, and writer H. Byron Ballard with a foreword by Amy Blackthorn. This is an invitation to ground our attention into earth-based spirituality and ritual living, through writings from a small forest-farm in the Appalachian Highlands. The chapters are organized around the four seasons, offering guidance and insights into working sustainably with the land, foraging and preserving, exploring household crafts like candle and soap making, the medicinal healing arts, and more.
I love the Witches' Kitchen Oracle Cards both for the gorgeous artwork and the inspiring messages it offers - teaching us how to harness the magic and wisdom of Mother Nature for greater harmony and joy in life.
Sacred Hags Oracle: Visionary Guidance for Dreamers, Witches, and Wild Hearts by Danielle Dulsky with illustrations by Janine Houseman is another valuable tool for cultivating insight on the path, including rituals, poetry, spells, and writing prompts with multiple opportunities to encounter the luminous power of the Wild Hag!
White Numen: A Sacred Animal Tarot by Alba Ballesta Gonzalez is a beauty--inspired by ancient rituals and stories of sacred animal spirits, or ‘Numen’. The art work is in a fantasy style, many of which feature images of powerful women, including Death, draped in a black cloak, carrying her banner, and riding a white horse.
I just discovered the work of renowned meditation teacher and psychotherapist Loch Kelly and highly recommend his book The Way of Effortless Mindfulness: A Revolutionary Guide for Living an Awakened Life. Mindfulness author and teacher Daniel J. Siegel has this to say about it: “In this groundbreaking guidebook, Loch Kelly offers contemporary versions of ancient practices to help us access the fundamental experience of being aware. Loch offers effective ways to shift from focusing on what we are aware of, to awareness of awareness, which is one component of integrating consciousness, a process that can liberate our lives with meaning, connection, and clarity. What a Beautiful book!”
Spiritually Fly: Wisdom, Meditations, and Yoga to Elevate Your Soul by Faith Hunter is a strong offer to grow - in which she counsels: “You were born with the fullness of your most epic life within you. Knowing your true worth. Feeling vibrant with each breath and magically alive as you navigate the unexpected. When you peel back the layers of crust, emotional baggage and old subconscious loops that keep you small, you are able to step into the brilliance of who you are in your soul, and that makes you Spiritually Fly.”
Strong, Calm and Free: A Modern Guide to Yoga, Meditation and Mindful Living by yoga teacher and holistic counsellor Nicola Jane Hobbs with illustrations by Ann-Kathrin Hochmuth is principally (though certainly not exclusively) for beginners, guiding the reader through a 10-week plan of yoga routines and simple meditations, as well as sharing tips and tools for reducing stress and making time for self-care. I love this book!
“Perhaps it requires of you precisely this existential anxiety in order to begin. Precisely these days of transition are perhaps the period when everything in you is working.”
When Love Comes to Light: Bringing Wisdom from the Bhagavad Gita to Modern Life by distinguished yoga teachers Mary Taylor and Richard Freeman explores essential lessons from ancient Indian literature, providing deep insight into how to meet our contemporary challenges while remaining open and compassionate. With quotes, citations, and a full translation of the original text, they look at the overall arc of the Gita’s teachings and how they relate to any of us in the face of crises of conscience, spirit, and form.
Sacred Earth, Sacred Soul: Celtic Wisdom for Reawakening to What Our Souls Know and Healing the World by John Philip Newell teaches that by embracing the wisdom of Celtic Christianity, we can learn how to listen to the sacred and see the divine in all of creation and within each of us. Human beings are inherently spiritual creatures who intuitively see the sacred in nature and within one another, but our cultures--and at times even our faiths--have made us forget what each of us already know deep in our souls but have learned to suppress. Newell offers a new spiritual foundation for our lives, one centered on encouragement, guidance, and hope for creating a better world.
Here are some of my favorite children’s and middle grade books; each of which embraces the core values of Paradise Found - connection, community, compassion, and the healing power of loving kindness. The children you know and the child within you will thank you for sharing these gems.
Alaina and the Great Play by Eloise Greenfield, illustrated by Colin Bootman, introduces us to Alaina, an ebullient kindergartner who discovers a love of live theater. This is a beautiful story highlighting the joy and power of community, the theater, and story telling.
If you are as charmed by stories of the relationships between people and (other) animals as I am, then you will love Pax and its newly released sequel Pax, Journey Home by Sara Pennypacker with illustrations by the amazing Jon Klassen. These are stories that break our hearts wide open then fill them up again to overflowing with the healing powers of love and connection.
Willodeen by Katherine Applegate tells the story of eleven year old Willodeen who loves creatures of all kinds, especially the most unlovable beasts in the land - strange beasts known as ‘screechers’. She knows and trusts that these animals serve a vital role in the collective ecosystem and deserve to be honored and respected.
Negative Cat by Sophie Blackall introduces us to Max, a feline of uncommon crankiness who is lucky enough to be adopted by a young boy who loves and believes in him and finds a way to turn the situation around…by reading to him!! What could be more perfect?
And finally there’s Home Is... by Hannah Barnaby with illustrations by Frann Preston-Gannon which explores what makes a home a home. With lyrical rhyming text, this is ideal bedtime reading material, guaranteed to bring the cozy and inspire the sweetest of dreams for both the reader and the receiver.
“We must live in the radiance of tomorrow, as our ancestors have suggested in their tales. For what is yet to come tomorrow has possibilities, and we must think of it, the simplest glimpse of that possibility of goodness. That will be our strength. That has always been our strength.”