Practical Astrology for Wiccans and Pagans

By Ivo Dominguez Jr.
Weiser Books 2016

I’ll admit straight up, this book beat me. Mainly because I know nothing about astrology and this is not a beginners book. I knew this going in and assumed I’d be able to figure it out but no… I’d suggest being a bit familiar with charts and terminology before reading this book.

The book did come highly recommended to me by a very popular and well respected magician. If you are experienced with the basics there is quite a lot of information on offer. I just need a simpler introduction and then to reread this book.

My friend Morgan Drake Eckstein recently wrote a blog post on the importance of magicians learning astrology.

FullSizeRender copy Practical Astrology for Witches and Pagans1 Practical Astrology for Witches and Pagans2 Practical Astrology for Witches and Pagans3



Pomba Gira and the Quimbanda of Mbumba Nzila

By Nicholaj de Mattos Frisvold
Scarlet Imprint 2011

This book has been on my radar for quite a while but as I have plenty of unread books here I always gave it a by. After several months of struggling to complete a couple of books I threw the towel in and bought a copy.

I can’t begin to describe what it is about Pomba Gira that attracts me. What little you find on the web does not paint a pretty picture, with epithets such as the Devil’s mistress and warnings about the uninitiated and untrained working with this spirit it should have put me off. Yet, like a moth drawn to the flame I kept checking this book out and regularly searching the web to see if there was anything that would satisfy my curiosity.

Unfortunately, there is very little about Pomba Gira or Exu in English on the Internet. If you can read Portuguese good, otherwise your choices are very limited. The daily Portuguese lessons from 15 years ago when I worked there are of little use now. I can just barely ask for specific tools and order a round of beer now in Portuguese.

First, I enjoyed Nicholaj’s writing style. Plain and direct which made it for me an enjoyable and easy read, unlike the previous 3 books that I gave upon. One reason I’ve not read anything and suppressed interest in ATR’s and regional variations is that in someway I didn’t want to be seen as some privileged white European jumping on the ‘bandwagon’. Nicholaj briefly touches on this in the book when he traces the influences in Catholicism, traditional European witchcraft along with roots in the Congo. Even highlighting similarities with Polish folk stories of vampires.

There is plenty of warnings throughout the book about doing any workings with Pomba Gira. Some simple workings are given but proceed with caution. It would be better to be introduced to Pomba Gira by an initiate of the cult and then build up a relationship with her first. Failure to do this could result in burnt fingers, or worse.

Quimbanda is not a system you can casually practice, there is a high level of commitment and involvement required. Again, there are warnings about this.

There is an extensive section in the book covering some of the more common manifestations of Pomba Gira, with her history, Pontos Contados and Ponto Riscado’s. There is also a brief Glossary with the translation and explanations of the Brasilian Portuguese terms used.

Despite my initial reservations about I really enjoyed this book and my only complaint was that it was over all too soon. There is a dearth of information in English on Pomba Gira and this book will leave you wanting more. When I worked in Basil 15 years ago I did not enjoy the country, now I’m hoping for an assignment there in the near future and might just dust off the old language course that I never did much with.

If you think Quimbanda is for you, a good starting point would be to have a consulta with Nicholaj.

My review is based on the PDF that Scarlet Imprint sends free with every book purchase. When I receive the book I’ll update the review with some additional pictures.

If you wish to read more, Peter Gray’s essay on Pomba Gira is excellent

Salvé Pomba Gira Rainha!


Pomba Gira and the Quimbanda of Mbumba NzilaPontosPontos

22 Paths of Imperfection

22 Paths of Imperfection (a flight manual for single winged angels) by Matt Laws

Hadean Press

This is a small format book with 119 pages. It’s perfect for dropping in a bag or stuffing in the back pocket of your jeans. Initially I wasn’t so sure of the small format as the binding is quite tight and I had to forcibly fold the pages back. After a few sections though it grew on me quickly and its actually perfect for what Matt intended with this book. After all a flight manual should be carried with you and used. Not left on a bookshelf.

cover    back

This book starts with a very personnel forward about the problems the author has faced in life. As somebody who considered suicide at least once a week for over 30 years this hit a chord with me and I instantly felt connected the the book and the author.

I can see myself constantly referring to this book every time I’ve got 10 or 15 minutes spare. Read about 1 card, refresh my memory on it and contemplate the story Matt presented. Perfect for the bus, train, stuck in traffic etc… This is exactly the book I’ve been needing on Tarot, though, this book just covers the major arcana. I hope there will be a follow up soon covering the minor arcana.

page 1

page 2

Each card is presented over a couple of pages though some cover more than others, such as the High Priestess which is 7 pages long. Initially you have a story on the card and its path on the Tree of life, then the Hebrew letter associated with that path and further discussion on the symbolism and and how one mingles with the other. It works brilliantly for me, I remember things better if there is a tale associated with the information. For example, Matt describes the High Priestess a bit like a rollercoaster ride. It can be fun or terrifying yet at the end everything is okay. The Hebrew letter Gimel is associated with the High Priestess. Gimel is the Camel, and a Camel travels from one good place to another, often through harsh conditions and terrain. However, the Camel has his built in water supply so he can survive the journey and face the hardships along the way. This use of allegory just hits the spot triggering all the right synapses in my brain to help me remember.

I was expecting to read this book in one sitting however the information is presented in such a way that I’ve found myself reading about each card and then putting the book down while I digest it.

I can’t rate this book highly enough. I’ve 5 books on Tarot here but none of them have really helped me in the way this one has. Sure I’ve learnt something from each of them but at times it was a dry hard slog. This little book is a gem and one that will never find a home on my bookshelf. If its not on my desk, it’ll be in my handbag.