Traditional Wicca : a seeker's guide book cover

Traditional Wicca : a seeker's guide

Thorn Mooney

133.43 /Mooney
Religion, Nature

"A description of the structure, hierarchy, and training of a Traditional Wiccan coven, focusing on guidance for those seeking to join one"--

Mykle's picture

A great introduction into the magic and practices by someone who is very experienced. -Mykle

Heretic : a memoir book cover

Heretic : a memoir

Jeanna Kadlec

277.3 /Kadlec
Memoir, Religion

Jeanna Kadlec knew what it meant to be faithful--in her marriage to a pastor's son, in the comfortable life ahead of her, in her God--but there was no denying the truth that lived under that conviction: she was queer and, if she wanted to survive, she would need to leave behind the church and every foundational building block she knew. Heretic is a memoir of rebirth. Within, Kadlec reckons with religious trauma and Midwestern values, as a means of unveiling how evangelicalism directly impacts every American--religious or not--and has been a major force in driving our democracy towards fascism. From the story of Lilith to celebrity purity rings, Kadlec interrogates how her indoctrination and years of piety intersects with her Midwest working-class upbringing. As she navigated graduate school, a new home on the East Coast, and a new marriage, another insidious truth began to reveal itself --that conservative Christianity has both built and undermined our political power structures, poisoned our pop culture, and infected how we interact with one another in ways that the secular population couldn't see. Weaving the personal with powerful critique, Heretic explores how we can radically abandon these painful systems by taking a sledgehammer to the comfortable.

Amanda's picture

Even though the author and I have lived very differently, I still found a lot of common ground with her, starting with our shared Midwest roots. You may recognize similarities in her story, too. -Amanda

The varieties of spiritual experience: 21st century research and perspectives book cover

The varieties of spiritual experience: 21st century research and perspectives

David B. Yaden


In the midst of life's many ordinary moments, some experiences feel extraordinary. They can mark inflection points in one's life, after which one is never quite the same. Most brief experiences capable of making a long-lasting impact involve obvious changes in one's outward circumstances, like a birth, a death, a marriage, or an illness. Yet some life-changing moments seem to come wholly from another source, appearing as mental states or altered states of consciousness either from deep within a person's mind or, perhaps, from a source beyond the self. These experiences have been called by different names over time: spiritual, religious, mystical, peak, or self-transcendent, and people around the world and throughout history have experienced them, up to and including the present day. The sacred texts of every major religion describe these moments, philosophers since the ancient Greeks have pondered them, and according to recent Gallup polls (2003), well over 30% of contemporary Americans have experienced them

Candice's picture

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Sacred Britannia : the gods and rituals of Roman Britain book cover

Sacred Britannia : the gods and rituals of Roman Britain

Miranda J. (Miranda Jane) Aldhouse-Green

200.9361 /Aldhouse-Green
Nonfiction, History, Religion, Political

Two thousand years ago, the Romans sought to absorb into their empire what they regarded as a remote, almost mythical island on the very edge of the known world - Britain. The expeditions of Julius Caesar and the invasion of AD 43 brought fundamental and lasting changes to the island. Not least among these was a pantheon of new Classical deities and religious systems, along with a clutch of exotic eastern cults including Christianity. But what of Britannia and her own home-grown deities? What cults and cosmologies did the Romans encounter and how did they in turn react to them? Under Roman rule, the old gods were challenged, adopted, adapted, absorbed and re-configured. In this fresh and innovative new account, Miranda Aldhouse-Green balances literary, archaeological and iconographic evidence (and scrutinizes their shortcomings and how we interpret them) to illuminate the complexity of religion and belief in Roman Britain, and the two-way traffic of cultural exchange and interplay between imported and indigenous cults. Despite the remoteness of this period, on the threshold between prehistory and history, many of the forces, tensions, ideologies and issues of identity at work are still relevant today.

Candice's picture

This book is literally as the blurb says--it describes the religious atmosphere of Britain when the Romans blasted onto the scene, and uses various historical accounts and archaeological finds to give evidence. If that's your thing, then you'll love it! It can lean a little to the technical side, and assumes the reader might have a slight comfort level reading socio-archaeological articles, but the information is presented in nice, small bites so you don't get lost in the details. If deep British history is your cup of tea, and you don't need a lot of color photos to spice up the info, then you won't be disappointed. -Candice

Ask Me For a Blessing, You Know You Need One book cover

Ask Me For a Blessing, You Know You Need One

Dannhauser, Adrian

Being Processed

Dannhauser, a priest at Church of the Incarnation in Manhattan, debuts with a compassionate meditation on the power of blessings. The author reflects on what she's learned about faith from her weekly practice of administering prayers to strangers on the street while standing outside her Midtown church with a sign that reads, "Ask me for a blessing." She lays out the philosophy of her sidewalk chats and posits that "evangelism is simply about speaking the truth of God's grace, love, and mercy into people's lives." Dannhauser details notable conversations she's had, recounting a man who kneeled for a blessing with a drink in his hand and food in his mouth, as well as a drunk young woman who found comfort after opening up about an unrequited love. The author suggests that the utility of such conversations lies in their ability to draw in people who might not be actively religious and let them know that "God is always looking to honor and affirm the good in us." The anecdotes make for captivating miniature character portraits that brim with folk wisdom, as when a cancer survivor's thankfulness for the support he received from loved ones led Dannhauser to conclude that the "truest form of gratitude to God has humility at its heart." The result makes for a touching Christian variation on Humans of New York, with humanity and insight to spare. (Sept.) Copyright 2022 Publishers Weekly

Candice's picture

This book appealed to me in the sense that, we've all been through some pretty rough times lately, we've all got burdens and fears, and here is a person who has found a way to make an impact, and decided to share it with the world. Seems like a good thing. -Candice

The contemplative tarot : a Christian guide to the cards book cover

The contemplative tarot : a Christian guide to the cards

Muller, Brittany, author.

Religion, Self Help, Paranormal

"To use tarot in a contemplative way is to marry prayer with art," contends Blessed Vigil blogger Muller in her delightfully unusual debut. She posits that tarot cards can be used as a "tool to facilitate inner knowledge, inner growth, and inner transformation" by prompting prayerlike reflection, and to that end she draws spiritual lessons from each card by putting them in conversation with the Bible. Examining the death card, she quotes from Corinthians and posits that the card reminds Christians of the hope promised by life after death, and that the river illustrated on the card evokes rebirth through baptism. The boy depicted on the sun card, Muller proposes, is reminiscent of God's choice to incarnate himself as the "innocent babe" Jesus, rather than "a warrior or a king," with the sun reflecting the warmth of God's love. Muller also tackles the minor arcana, suggesting that the ace of pentacles calls for appreciating creation, while the five of cups brings to mind the inevitability of sin and largesse of God's mercy. The blend of Christianity and the esoteric results in a refreshingly unconventional outing, and the research into tarot's origins as a card game influenced by Christian and ancient pagan traditions, as well as its eventual evolution into a divinatory device under Napoleon Bonaparte, adds enlightening historical context. This pensive and unexpected volume will resonate with New Age fans and open-minded Christians alike. (Sept.) Copyright 2022 Publishers Weekly.

Candice's picture

While admittedly not a regular participant of either of these belief systems, I am intrigued by the blending of them and curious to see how they might flow into one another. -Candice

Witches! The Absolutely True Tale of Disaster in Salem book cover

Witches! The Absolutely True Tale of Disaster in Salem


Religion, History

"Tackling the same twisted subject as Stacy Schiff's much-lauded book The Witches: Salem, 1692, this Sibert Honor book for young readers features unique scratchboard illustrations, chilling primary source material, and powerful narrative to tell the true tale.In the little colonial town of Salem Village, Massachusetts" (From Amazon)

Mykle's picture

A historical account with just the right amount of flavorful text and illustrations to keep it interesting. A humbling look at what superstition and zeal can do to people when it's not tempered with reason. -Mykle

Plunder : a memoir of family property and Nazi treasure book cover

Plunder : a memoir of family property and Nazi treasure

Menachem Kaiser

940.5318 /Kaiser
Nonfiction, Literary Nonfiction, History, Religion, Political

When Kaiser takes up his Holocaust-survivor grandfather's former battle to reclaim the family's apartment building in Sosnowiec, Poland, he finds himself on a circuitous path to encounters with the long-time residents of the building, and with a Polish lawyer known as "The Killer." A surprise discovery-- that his grandfather's cousin not only survived the war, but wrote a secret memoir while a slave laborer in a vast, secret Nazi tunnel complex-- leads to Kaiser being adopted as a virtual celebrity by a band of Silesian treasure seekers who revere the memoir as the indispensable guidebook to Nazi plunder. Here Kaiser questions: What does it mean to seize your own legacy? Can reclaimed property repair rifts among the living? -- adapted from jacket

Candice's picture

First, this book is beautifully written. Menachem Kaiser's grasp of language to tell a story, illustrate situations, and convey thoughts and emotions is so fluid and engaging. Second, this book is important in many ways, but also very interesting--a real nonfiction win-win. It's a slightly winding story, starting out with particular goals and desired outcomes, but as so often happens when researching and interacting history, the modern world and reality intervene, and make things a lot harder to get hold of and follow. Menachem goes where the story leads him, and the results are so strange, interesting, and profound that you couldn't have imagined some of it. This story is also full of love and learning and respect--for self, for others, for history, and for the stories that survive. -Candice

We have always been here : a queer Muslim memoir book cover

We have always been here : a queer Muslim memoir

Samra Habib

Nonfiction, LGBTQ+, Memoir, Religion

"A queer Muslim searches for the language to express her truest self, making peace with her sexuality, her family, and Islam. Growing up in Pakistan, Samra Habib lacks a blueprint for the life she wants. She has a mother who gave up everything to be a pious, dutiful wife and an overprotective father who seems to conspire against a life of any adventure. Plus, she has to hide the fact that she's Ahmadi to avoid persecution from religious extremists. As the threats against her family increase, they seek refuge in Canada, where new financial and cultural obstacles await them. When Samra discovers that her mother has arranged her marriage, she must again hide a part of herself--the fun-loving, feminist teenager that has begun to bloom--until she simply can't any longer. So begins a journey of self-discovery that takes her to Tokyo, where she comes to terms with her sexuality, and to a queer-friendly mosque in Toronto, where she returns to her faith in the same neighbourhood where she attended her first drag show. Along the way, she learns that the facets of her identity aren't as incompatible as she was led to believe, and that her people had always been there--the world just wasn't ready for them yet."--

Melody's picture

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The book of joy : lasting happiness in a changing world book cover

The book of joy : lasting happiness in a changing world

Dalai Lama XIV Bstan-ʼdzin-rgya-mtsho

294.3444 /Dalai Lama
Nonfiction, Self Help, Biographies, Religion

Two leading spiritual masters share their wisdom about living with joy even in the face of adversity, sharing personal stories and teachings about the science of profound happiness and the daily practices that anchor their emotional and spiritual lives.

Heidi K's picture

When Archbishop Desmond Tutu and His Holiness the Dalai Lama get together to talk about their lives, philosophies, and teachings, the result is a guidebook on how to transform joy from a fleeting emotion to a way of life. My favorite thing about this book are the funny bits of dialogue between the two men who prove that above all, they are merely human. The stories from their lives are great, and the themes discussed seem so relevant to the precarious times we have found ourselves in. -Heidi K