Originally this was going to be two separate posts. I read a lot and I always do a book recommendation or two from the month in my End of Month wrap-up, but occasionally a book stands out so far above and beyond--AND fits right into what I want to do with my tarot practice and this blog that they deserve their own time. Each of these definitively deserve their own time, but between moving and maintaining everything I just don't have the time each deserves.
Nonetheless, I wanted to say SOMETHING about them and push, push, push you to go buy them as soon as humanly possible. The first will be of interest to ANYONE who found their way here via my Queering the Tarot series or by cross searching "queer" and "tarot".
Jailbreaking the Goddess takes critiques every progressive person has about the traditional Maiden, Mother, Crone Goddess path (ugh, virginity! ugh, wombs!) and offers a much-needed alternative. Larissa Firefox Allen's FIVE-FOLD Goddess path gets us away from woman = body and creates a nuanced, full look at Goddess energy and how it potentially applies to our work with this new understanding. Not only is this line of magick much more welcoming to trans Goddess worshippers, but the additional faces of the Goddess offer a whole new world of opportunity and understanding in our spiritual practice.
Firefox Allen also pulls no punches when discussing appropriation and colonization of spirituality. While those of us who have been doing feminist and anti-racist work for awhile may find a few chapters a little "Radicalism 101", for many picking up this book they are a necessity. For the rest of us--well, having some pages we can merely skim makes it all the easier to process our new understanding of our own dieties. My personal favorite part of the book's unique (and so easy to follow!) structure was the sections highlighting examples of dieties--AND REAL HUMANS--who exhibit the characteristics of the Goddess aspect being discussed. My only real critique of Jailbreaking the Goddess is that the journal prompts are almost too frequent. You may pick it up and decide I'm wrong, but since I tend to highlight, take notes, etc. when reading anyway, an additional prompt after basic material introductions threw me off. I complied in the beginning but by the third face, I just read several sections at a time and then journaled my reactions to the questions that came up either in prompts or other thoughts I had. Even with that distraction, this book significantly deepened my relationship with the Divine, helped me heal emotionally in a lot of places, and completely altered how I think about spiritual energy for the better. And even for someone who wears their queerness, their feminism, their radicalism like a second skin, it definitely opened my eyes to new ways to practice my faith in a more conscientious, decolonized way.
This next one may come as a surprise to some of my readers. I am incredibly skeptical about books bordering on self-help, even when disguised as business or finance books, and I keep my relationship with money pretty separate from everything else I do. However, a few people I really respect on the metaphysical blogosphere were pretty excited about it, so I went ahead and ordered Bari Tessler's The Art of Money. Three pages in, I had to put it down because I was crying. Hysterically. This book is about so much more than money, best practices, and spiritual entrepreneurship. It is part self-help but it actually helps. The first third of Tessler's program focuses on healing your emotional relationship with money, and before you roll your eyes, just check out the book. This section of the book literally changed my life. Tessler has us delve into money memories, and it has completely altered my perception of what is and isn't possible in my life in all the best ways. It has also made me more fearless in my business practices. It is intense emotional therapy, and everyone I've had read it had a similar reaction. Yet just when you think you're totally overwhelmed and aren't sure what your next move should be, Tessler introduces you to some incredibly practical measures that changed my life in a much more mundane but prosperous way. I was shocked when I did my first accounting session with myself; first by how much I was making, then by how much I was spending. One of the money stories that was wrong that I have told myself was "you don't have money"--over and over since childhood. Which made me unaccountable as an adult solo entrepreneur to anyone but my landlord (who I always managed to pull it together for). I'm certainly not dining with the Kardashians anytime soon, but getting my spending in a couple of areas under control is JUST as important to me right now as bringing more in after actually seeing the numbers. (Actually, post-move that's not really true, but in general it absolutely is.)
Tessler also takes care to stress that there are very real societal issues that may prevent you from fully reaching your financial potential, and admits she doesn't have solutions for that--instead the practical tips she does offer and her insistence on values-based bookkeeping will help almost anyone, and certainly anyone who does have steady income. Tessler also stresses that this one book is not the permanent solution. You have to keep healing your relationship with money, and you have to keep letting that relationship evolve and begin to affect your other habits. It may take re-reads and years of consistent journaling, but it beyond a doubt turned my relationship with money completely upside down even on this first go-round.
This is an admittedly abrupt end to this blog, but that's what I've got today! Now go, get all well-read and stuff. Until next time,