March 17, 2006

Tao Te Ching

Book Review: Tao Te Ching
Author: Lao Tsu
Translated by: Gia-Fu Feng/Jane English
Publisher: Vintage Books

The Tao Ching, a collection of eighty-one short chapters, has long been one of the most often translated books ever written. Legend and time have clouded the details of its origin. Intellectual arguements have ensued. And still the most commonly adhered to and accepted explanation is that a single man, an author named Lao Tsu lived during the Sixth century writing universal truths that would be as applicable and relevant to the state of the human condition today as they were on the day they were penned.

"The Tao Te Ching... helps us see how the fundamental forces of the cosmos itself are mirrored in our own individual, inner structure. And it invites us to try to live in direct relationship to all of these forces. To see truly and to live fully: this is what it means to be authentically human."

Favorite Chapter:
Twenty-two.

Yield and overcome.
Bend and be straight.
Empty and be full.
Wear out and be new.
Have little and gain.

When Work Doesn't Work Anymore

Book Review: When Work Doesn't Work Anymore
Author: Elizabeth Perle McKenna
Publisher: Delta Trade Paperbacks

If you have begun that blessed stage of your life where everything has just started to crystalize and you are struggling with the demands that seem to pull from every possible direction, please read this book. You are not alone. "For increasing numbers of achieving, professional women the path to success ends at a bewildering crossroad, where the need to succeed and the desire to have a life either grind to a halt or collide...Women discover that after the work breakdown comes the reassertion of their authentic selves, they find a rush of confidence and relief."

Although there is a small chapter designated to the changing roles of men in the new milinnium this book is primarily by, for and about women. A chapter is dedicated to each, having great expectations, seperating work from identity, paying the price of success, deciding there is more to life than work itself, recognizing the pivotal turning point, coming to terms with the importance of money, making changes and finding work that works on your terms or in other words identifying with the balance and meaning we have been coveting and working towards as a gender for decades, if not centuries.

The Wabi Sabi House

Book Review: The Wabi Sabi House
Author: Robyn Griggs Lawrence
Publisher: Clarkson Potter

Wabi Sabi is an appreciation concept described by the author as the Japanese art of imperfect beauty.

"Pared down to its barest essence, wabi sabi is the Japanese art of finding beauty in imperfection and profundity in nature, of accepting the natural cycle of growth, decay and death. Wabi sabi is flea markets, not warehouse stores. It celebrates cracks and crevices and all other marks that time, weather and loving use leave behind."

Although wabi sabi is traditionally thought of as a way of life, this book does excellent work with extending the authenticism into interior design. A chapter or two in and you might just find that your old curvy glass pitcher, the one with the tiny chip on top, suddenly sparkles in the sunlight while holding a few simple spring blooms.

The Healing Spirit of Plants

Book Review: The Healing Spirit of Plants
Author(s): Calre G. Harvey/Amanda Cochrane
Publisher: Sterling Publishing Co. Inc.

This book is much deeper than your standard herbal encyclopedia. Infused with interesting and pragmatic guidelines for the practical use of plant spirit medicine with easy to follow instructions for creating your own plant essences, tinctures, sacred bundles and smudge sticks.

According to the authors, "While all plants have a spirit, there are some whose essence is of a particular healing nature... Unlike other forms of medicine they are blessed with the unique ability to restore and preserve feelings of harmony in mind, body and soul."

Noteworthy are the chapters divied by culture and devoted to the medicinal plant practices that have survived centuries and traveled across continents.

Good Magic

Book Review: Good Magic
Author: Marina Medici
Publisher: Fireside

This book would be a good fifty cent yard sale find.

The look of this book feels outdated by at least 30 years, which could easily be overcome if the content did not tend to step outside the boundaries of modern reality for those who have a practical sense of magic; If you are interested in banishing guilt, being charming or anything inbetween - the incantations in here are abundant. However, the chapters worth salt focus mostly on herbs, flowers and stones.

It should be noted that the author clearly dissasociates herself with wicca. Her good magic is more or less an heirloom of insights and practices passed down by previous generations. When all is said and done, this book is very basic. There are better out there.

March 13, 2006

Witch in the Boardroom

Book Title: Witch in the Boardroom
Author: Stacey Demarco
Publisher: Llewellyn

A truly fresh and modern presepective on working your magic at the office. Odds are there is not another book on your shelf like it. Maybe you are looking for a new job or interested in a career change? Perhaps you are searching for that competitive advantage or dealing with difficult co-workers? Numerous such case studies are provided along with an outline of the steps taken to yield the sometimes unanticipated, but always appreciated end results.

In the authors words, "The witch's way is an evolving tradition and is relevant for the challenges of today. It has the same core product, the ancient belief system... yet it has been rebranded and updated to support and guide you in the new milennium."