Guest Author - Lauren D´Silva
In my role as the New Age Editor of Bellaonline I am lucky enough to be sent books every month for review. I always make it clear that I will only personally recommend and review those that I enjoy and find useful. Over the last few months I have been collecting together books and card packs that I would enjoy receiving as gifts. I’ve added a few favourites from my own collection to bring you a list of high quality, spiritual, gift ideas. I hope you enjoy my selection.
‘Looking for God, Seeing the Whole in One’ Chuck Hillig
This is a novelty book with a difference. The (w)hole book is pierced through the centre by a hole and each page explores the (w)hole with drawings, observances from Chuck Hillig and spiritual quotations from the world’s great thinkers and spiritual leaders. It explores the nature of the void, of the whole and of the holy, taking inspiration from many world religions. For example, "To arrive at being everything, desire to be nothing", St John of the Cross or, "It is not so much that you are within the cosmos as that the cosmos is within you," Meher Baba. Both fun and seriously thought provoking at the same time this ‘holey’ book makes a great stocking filler and would be enjoyed as much by men as by women.
‘Massage Therapy Cards’ Fiona Harrold
This beautifully presented pack is very practical. 10 high quality fold out cards give step by step instruction through key massage techniques for each area of the body and are kept together in a sturdy slipcase. Designed to be selected and used while massaging, the cards are clear and the photographs helpful. The first card takes you through the basic strokes. Subsequent cards cover the neck & shoulders, back, face and head, backs and fronts of legs, arms and hands, with the final card giving instruction on self massage. A lovely present for a couple, or for your loved one- especially teamed with a sensually scented bottle of massage oil!
‘The Faeries Oracle’ Brian Froud and Jessica Macbeth
This is one of my favourite card packs. The 65 beautifully illustrated cards are by renowned Faery artist Brian Froud, who was responsible for the look of the films ‘Labyrinth’ and ‘The Dark Crystal’ amongst other projects. The beautiful and benign, the tricksters and the wise guides of the Faery Kingdom are depicted here in a system that is surprisingly easy to read. Jessica Macbeth entertainingly explores the personality and message for each card in the accompanying book. Unlike the usual pamphlet in a tarot pack this is a beautiful book in its own right, also containing guidance on conducting a reading and working with the faeries. This pack is exceptional value for money and I’d buy it for any fans of faery.
‘Tarot Workbook’ Juliet Sharman-Burke
This is an ideal introduction to the tarot, or a gift for anyone who is keen to learn more. The reader is taken through each tarot card individually. A full page is devoted to the background and the general meaning when the card turns up in a reading, as well as comments from Juliet’s students. What sets this apart from the many other guides available is on the opposite page; a worksheet for the reader. Each card is presented as a line drawing to be coloured intuitively, making the student much more aware of the symbolism it contains. There is also space for reflection and to record what the card symbolises in the reader’s life if it turns up in a reading. I also like the way the book leads one through the cards. All the Aces are presented first & then the twos and so on. In this way you can grasp the common themes of each number and the differences between each suit much more clearly than if you went through each suit individually. This would make a fabulous present wrapped with a pack of the Sharman-Caselli tarot cards and some lovely colouring pencils.
‘Stepping Stones’ Lisa Hammond
This is a lovely little stocking filler. A small pack of neatly presented cards each with encouraging words of advice, what the author describes as her ‘stepping stones’ through life. The backs are used for inspirational quotes. These cards are uplifting and help to promote an optimistic ‘I can do it!’ frame of mind. You can dip in and choose a card at random, or take them one at a time. Here’s an example,
Front: No-one can tell you what the right choice is. You have to trust your gut and find out what works for you.
Back: “Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.”- Anais Nin
‘Gentle Yoga Kit’ Stephen Cope
This smart boxed set contains a clear Kripalu Yoga workbook, a set of ‘flash cards’ on different poses and an instructional CD, plus a CD of soothing music. The set is suited to beginners and as the name suggests focuses on poses that are easy to attain. It would make a very good introduction to yoga and the flash cards provide a quick overview of each position with the key principles outlined. The CD is well paced and Stephen leads you gently through the poses.