Every Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year), my mother, sister, and I gather in person or by phone for a ritual of our own devising: our annual Kabbalah card reading. Kabbalah cards function similarly to tarot or oracle cards, except they are rooted in the Jewish mystic tradition of Kabbalah (a.k.a. Qabala or Cabala). What I most like about these cards is that rather than providing divinatory predictions, they give instead meditative insights with which to frame your approach to a question or situation.
You will see as this blog progresses that I have a major thing for fairy tale retellings. But there are already so many variations of Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty, that it’s always nice to see something new pop on the scene. Russian fairy tales seem to be the next big source for modern fables and I am here for it. The Bear and the Nightingale played on several myths I remember from my Russian Folklore class, while building a world and story all its own.
Many practitioners of witchcraft and/or paganism elect to use an altar as a focal point for their magic and worship. Here is where you work your spells, perform your rituals, and express your spirituality. It should be set up in such a way as to bring you joy and to help you ease into a meditative state when you sit (or kneel or stand) in front of it. This post is meant to give you some ideas of how to make your own altar and to give a look into my practice through the physical objects that set my spiritual atmosphere.
Last autumn, I was lucky enough to attend a book signing by Amy Tan, promoting her new book Where the Past Begins: A Writer’s Memoir. As one of the big names writing about Asian American experiences, you may know her as the author of The Joy Luck Club, The Valley of Amazement, or even Sagwa, the Chinese Siamese Cat. I use this “author spotlight” heading to profile authors I’ve met, new authors, diverse authors, or authors I just think everyone should know about. Below I will discuss some of the themes in Tan’s books and life that relate to diversity as well as some fun facts to paint a picture of her as more than just “that second-generation Chinese American who writes about moms and daughters.”