RECENT REVIEWS & ENDORSEMENTS



  • Orbs and Beyond
    John Pickering
    Katie Hall

    John and Katie's photographs of orbs, angels and other apparitions have brought them into worldwide contact with other experiencers and researchers.
    It is from this basis that they now take a major step beyond the visible photographable phenomena and current New Age notions about orbs to reveal new insights about the paranormal. Could it be that orbs are the indicators of a wider, 'beyond' reality. Is the symbology of orbs as images of oneness drawing our attention to the most important orb of all: the orb of Earth on which we all live?
    Their ongoing photographs, personal experiences, and the amazing synchronistic events they found themselves part of reveal conscious, purposeful phenomena that can interact with us as individuals, whoever and wherever we are. ~ Issue No 4126, Psychic News



  • Emancipation of B, The
    Jennifer Kavanagh
    The challenge of fiction

    Quaker author Jennifer Kavanagh has just published her first novel The Emancipation of B. She talked about it recently at Westminster Meeting House with Geoffrey Durham. Ian Kirk-Smith was there.

    ‘I am interested in what constitutes loneliness and in the difference between solitude and loneliness.’

    Jennifer Kavanagh is best known for a series of thoughtful non-fiction works on subjects such as travel, spirituality, homelessness and aspects of Quakerism.

    The quote above gave an insight into the link between the author’s non-fiction writing and her first published foray into the world of fiction – the novel The Emancipation of B. Loneliness is an enduring subject of concern.

    In early March Jennifer was interviewed by fellow author Geoffrey Durham in the library at Westminster Meeting House. The event, which drew a generous and appreciative audience, was engaging and insightful.

    Geoffrey, a perceptive interviewer, first prompted Jennifer to talk about her early career. She described how, after doing an English degree, she became a managing editor with Penguin Books. After a number of years as a freelance editor, reviewer and broadcaster, she changed direction.

    ‘Talent spotting’, she explained, ‘was what I really loved and I became a literary agent.’ It was a career that she pursued successfully for eighteen years.

    She revealed that fiction had, also, always been a passion: ‘I loved fiction as a child. I wrote a novel in my thirties. It was very bad and never published.’ Jennifer admitted that, at the time she wrote it, she ‘didn’t have anything to say.’ She certainly has now.

    Jennifer then talked about some of the ideas and background to The Emancipation of B. About three years ago, she said, she felt enclosed: ‘I was in a dark place. My novel is not about that experience but it came from that sense of being enclosed. Hopefully, the novel moves from darkness to light.’

    The honesty with which Jennifer talked about her writing was extremely appealing. Writing a novel, she admitted, ‘picks something out of every corner of your life. The unconscious plays a much greater part than in non-fiction.’

    ‘I do not write sequentially,’ she confessed, when asked about her method. ‘I write a paragraph here and a paragraph there. So, I do a lot of scribbling on buses and in the park and at four in the morning. Sometimes it is just a paragraph or a sudden picture of something. Sometimes I would scribble down a phrase. I re-write and re-write, going over the same thing again and again.’

    She stressed the value of allocating quiet time to meditation and reflection: ‘I knew that pondering time is so much more important than writing time. Novels begin not on the page but in thinking. They do not begin in writing.’

    There is a difference for her, she said, between writing non-fiction and fiction. This was an engagement with the personal sphere: ‘I do write personal stuff in my non-fiction, but it does not feel as personal as in writing the novel. Even though my non-fiction was personal, the material in the novel mostly comes from a much more vulnerable place. I feel more nervous and self-conscious about it. It is like an accompaniment that inhabits you.’

    In writing the novel, she explained, she had taken a very different approach from writing non-fiction: ‘I consciously had to let go of discipline. I had to let it happen when it happens and to allow it to form itself. A character is building up, it lives with you, and builds up.’

    The open, informal and articulate way in which Jennifer talked about the challenge of writing, and the intelligent probing by her interviewer, produced a fascinating evening. The focus on the process of writing, rather than on the content of her novel, was illuminating – leaving everyone, as I was, intrigued to read the creative legacy of her struggles. Indeed, it did just that, with me, and the effort was rewarded. ~ Ian Kirk-Smith, The Friend



  • Burden, The
    N.E. David
    THE BURDEN is my second novel. It’s completely unlike the first except that as with Michael Blake in BIRDS OF THE NILE, it attempts to portray a character.
    Frank Johnson is, I suspect, not a particularly likeable person, although I like to think he has at least one redeeming feature in the love he bears his mother. To find out why this is so, we must visit three members of his close family and hear their stories as well as his own. Hopefully we will then understand what formed him and why he turned out as he did.
    I’ve always known that my father abandoned my mother and that I spent part of my early childhood living in a caravan. More recently I was shocked to discover it was for a period of four years. So did Frank. He became an alcoholic. Fortunately, I did not. There, but for the Grace of God, go us all. ~ N.E.David, An Introduction From The Author



  • Unmaking Merlin
    Elliot Murphy
    'Murphy is remarkably erudite for such a young scholar. Though not even 25 years old, he zooms with apparent ease and familiarity from George Orwell to Friedrich Nietzsche to James Joyce to Christopher Hitchens ... The book is wide-ranging, touching on a number of themes – including education, representative democracy, the New Atheism, corporate power, crime, and poststructuralism. Throughout, Murphy does a good job of showing that the popular association of anarchism with violence and chaos is deeply inaccurate. He shows that the central concerns of anarchists have always been self-determination, mutual aid, and an end to structural violence.' ~ Tom Malleson, author of After Occupy: Economic Democracy for the 21st Century, https://ceasefiremagazine.co.uk/review-unmaking-merlin-anarchist-tendencies-english-literature-zero-books//



  • Paganism 101
    Trevor Greenfield
    Trevor Greenfield (ed.) Witchcraft Today – 60 Years On. Moon Books, 2014.

    Trevor Greenfield (ed.) Paganism 101: An Introduction to Paganism by 101 Pagans. Moon Books, 2014.

    Richard Metzger (ed.) The Book of Lies: The Disinformation Guide to Magick and the Occult. Disinformation Books, San Francisco, 2014.

    These books are similar, in that all are collections of essays by different authors on contemporary occultism. Witchcraft Today – 60 Years On, which refers to Gerald Gardner’s 1954 book, is 180 pages long, whereas The Book of Lies, which is primarily about Aleister Crowley (from whom the title is borrowed, and who resurrected the old spelling of ‘magick’), is much larger, 352 pages with small print in double columns.

    It is now six decades since the appearance of Gerald Gardner’s Witchcraft Today, which sold 5,500 copies. To those not familiar with publishing, this might not seem many, but actually very few books sell more than 5,000 copies. He originally intended to call it New Light on Witchcraft, and included a lot of material on yoga, which his editors deleted as irrelevant.

    The sensational point was his claim that witchcraft was still practised, albeit on a very small scale, when most people assumed that it was extinct, if it had ever existed at all. But Gardner’s biggest influence was by way of a work that he never published – the ‘Book of Shadows’, which contains a set of witchcraft rituals, and has now been copied worldwide. The various contributors to 60 Years On discuss the diverse offshoots, ‘Alexandrian witchcraft’, derived from Alex Sanders, the ‘Seax Tradition’, which is based around the Saxon deities Woden and Freya, the feminist Dianic Tradition which naturally is for women only, and so on.

    There has also been a widespread revival of Paganism generally, witchcraft being just one aspect of it. Greenfield has assembled an even larger group of contributors, 101 as his title indicates. These include Druid, Heathens, Goddess Followers, and there are discussions of Deities, Nature, Ethics, Afterlife, Ancestors, Ritual, Magic, Healing and Celebrant Work.

    Jack Parsons was a prominent rocket-fuel scientist, and certainly the only disciple of Crowley to have a crater on the far side of the moon named after him. He died in an explosion in his laboratory in 1952. An explosion in a rocket-fuel laboratory should not be too surprising (it was rocket science), but his ‘Scarlet Woman’ Marjorie Cameron, who went on to star in Kenneth Anger’s Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome, “always believed that Howard Hughes was somehow behind it.”

    The connection of H. P. Lovecraft with Crowley is tenuous: in his Supernatural Horror in Literature he discussed Leonard Cline’s novel The Dark Chamber, which mentioned Crowley. Erik Davis observes that “while most 1930s pulp fiction is nearly unreadable today”, Lovecraft has a ’cult’ status, with a curiously literal dimension. Fans are not content to read stories about weird otherworldly entities, Cthulhu, Hastur, Nyarlathotep, and the rest of them, but often invoke them in magickal ceremonies. This is an interesting example of how a piece of fiction takes on a life of its own. To this day the London headquarters of Santander Bank, which is located in Baker Street, employ a secretary to answer letters addressed to Sherlock Holmes. Even more remarkably, the city of Verona employs several secretaries to reply to letters sent to Juliet by lovelorn women.

    Allen Greenfield looks at the influence of Crowley on Wicca, based upon his research into unpublished documents. As he observes, there are Crowley borrowings in the Book of Shadows used by Gardner. In consequence, “I think Aleister and Gerald may have cooked Wicca up.” The problem with this hypothesis is that the Crowley borrowings, on close inspection, all turn out to have been taken from a 1919 volume entitled the Blue Equinox. Notably, Crowley’s Book of the Law is nowhere quoted at first hand, only at second hand, which proves that he was not personally responsible for the Book of Shadows. -- Gareth J. Medway.
    ~ Gareth J. Medway, Magonia



  • Witchcraft Today - 60 Years On
    Trevor Greenfield
    Trevor Greenfield (ed.) Witchcraft Today – 60 Years On. Moon Books, 2014.

    Trevor Greenfield (ed.) Paganism 101: An Introduction to Paganism by 101 Pagans. Moon Books, 2014.

    Richard Metzger (ed.) The Book of Lies: The Disinformation Guide to Magick and the Occult. Disinformation Books, San Francisco, 2014.

    These books are similar, in that all are collections of essays by different authors on contemporary occultism. Witchcraft Today – 60 Years On, which refers to Gerald Gardner’s 1954 book, is 180 pages long, whereas The Book of Lies, which is primarily about Aleister Crowley (from whom the title is borrowed, and who resurrected the old spelling of ‘magick’), is much larger, 352 pages with small print in double columns.

    It is now six decades since the appearance of Gerald Gardner’s Witchcraft Today, which sold 5,500 copies. To those not familiar with publishing, this might not seem many, but actually very few books sell more than 5,000 copies. He originally intended to call it New Light on Witchcraft, and included a lot of material on yoga, which his editors deleted as irrelevant.

    The sensational point was his claim that witchcraft was still practised, albeit on a very small scale, when most people assumed that it was extinct, if it had ever existed at all. But Gardner’s biggest influence was by way of a work that he never published – the ‘Book of Shadows’, which contains a set of witchcraft rituals, and has now been copied worldwide. The various contributors to 60 Years On discuss the diverse offshoots, ‘Alexandrian witchcraft’, derived from Alex Sanders, the ‘Seax Tradition’, which is based around the Saxon deities Woden and Freya, the feminist Dianic Tradition which naturally is for women only, and so on.

    There has also been a widespread revival of Paganism generally, witchcraft being just one aspect of it. Greenfield has assembled an even larger group of contributors, 101 as his title indicates. These include Druid, Heathens, Goddess Followers, and there are discussions of Deities, Nature, Ethics, Afterlife, Ancestors, Ritual, Magic, Healing and Celebrant Work.

    Jack Parsons was a prominent rocket-fuel scientist, and certainly the only disciple of Crowley to have a crater on the far side of the moon named after him. He died in an explosion in his laboratory in 1952. An explosion in a rocket-fuel laboratory should not be too surprising (it was rocket science), but his ‘Scarlet Woman’ Marjorie Cameron, who went on to star in Kenneth Anger’s Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome,“always believed that Howard Hughes was somehow behind it.”

    The connection of H. P. Lovecraft with Crowley is tenuous: in his Supernatural Horror in Literature he discussed Leonard Cline’s novel The Dark Chamber, which mentioned Crowley. Erik Davis observes that “while most 1930s pulp fiction is nearly unreadable today”, Lovecraft has a ’cult’ status, with a curiously literal dimension. Fans are not content to read stories about weird otherworldly entities, Cthulhu, Hastur, Nyarlathotep, and the rest of them, but often invoke them in magickal ceremonies. This is an interesting example of how a piece of fiction takes on a life of its own. To this day the London headquarters of Santander Bank, which is located in Baker Street, employ a secretary to answer letters addressed to Sherlock Holmes. Even more remarkably, the city of Verona employs several secretaries to reply to letters sent to Juliet by lovelorn women.

    Allen Greenfield looks at the influence of Crowley on Wicca, based upon his research into unpublished documents. As he observes, there are Crowley borrowings in the Book of Shadows used by Gardner. In consequence, “I think Aleister and Gerald may have cooked Wicca up.” The problem with this hypothesis is that the Crowley borrowings, on close inspection, all turn out to have been taken from a 1919 volume entitled the Blue Equinox. Notably, Crowley’s Book of the Law is nowhere quoted at first hand, only at second hand, which proves that he was not personally responsible for the Book of Shadows. -- Gareth J. Medway.
    ~ Gareth J. Medway, Magonia



  • Opening Love
    Dr. Anya
    Opening Love is a wonderfully-written book on polyamory, love, self reflection, and loving transitions. The book is not dogmatic in the least, but rather encouraging and loving in its purpose, regardless of where you are on your spiritual journey or even if you identify as non-spiritual. ~ PolyAnna, editor of LookingThrough.us



  • New Life Stories
    Hilary H. Carter

    New Life Stories: Journeys of Recovery in a Mindful Community documents a northern Thailand community where mindful recovery is promoted, and where people from around the world come to heal and discover a new life based on mindfulness. Ten residents of the New Life Foundation here explore their experiences, drawing direct connections to something usually treated with philosophical inquiry. Through these discussions linking mindful concepts to life benefits and how they were actually applied, readers gain a better knowledge of how growth happens, and what the applied concepts of mindfulness actually looks like. First-person stories are the key to understanding, here. ~ Midwest Book Review, Bookwatch April 2015



  • Death, the Last God
    Anne Geraghty

    Death: The Last God is difficult to easily categorize: at first it looks like a story of grief and bereavement (the author's son suddenly dies) - but it's more. It looks like a new age read as she embarks on a spiritual journey to search for her lost son and consider the meaning and realm of death - but it's still more. And it seems like an investigation into spirituality and the presence of death in modern society - now we're closer to the mark. In fact, this book embraces all three approaches - memoir, new age spiritual journey, and examination of how death is treated in modern societies - and offers new insights about not only death and dying, but what death really is. This is no scholarly treatise; it's an emotion-driven survey from a clinical psychologist and psychotherapist who attempts to heal herself in the aftermath of her son's demise. As such, it examines myths, theories, the language of death and loss, and more in an unusually multi-faceted, recommended pick for any exploring grief and loss. ~ Midwest Book Review, Bookwatch April 2015



  • Number Woman
    Hilary H. Carter
    Number Woman: You Will Never Look at Numbers in the Same Way Again by Hilary H. Carter is one woman's journey with numbers. We are taken on a journey that shows us how numbers can impact our lives and the meanings they may hold. By reading this book it will transform your relationship with numbers. I liked that she used her own journey with numbers to show how we can be impacted by them. By going on the authors journey with her we are given a look at how number synchronicity's happen and what they can lead to.
    I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to see how the power of numbers can truly impact our lives and what it can lead to.
    I acknowledge that I received this book free of charge from Axis Mundi Books in exchange for my honest and and unbiased opinion of it.

    My review on my blog:
    https://lovetoread8.wordpress.com/2015/04/12/number-woman-by-hilary-h-carter/
    ~ Tiffany, Lovetoread



  • Emancipation of B, The
    Jennifer Kavanagh
    This book has depth and layers to it that one may not expect in short book. By withdrawing from the world around him to live a monastic life, the protagonist has the revelation that what he needs is something very different. This is a very well written book. (5 stars) ~ Heather Martin, Amazon



  • I Know How To Live, I Know How To Die
    Neville Hodgkinson
    I pray that this book will help many people rediscover for themselves their divine beauty and by sharing this, bring light into a dark world. ~ Rev. Dr Marcus Braybrooke, President of the World Congress of Faiths



  • Emancipation of B, The
    Jennifer Kavanagh
    This is the enthralling story of B, a lonely and unloved child who dreams of living the life of a hermit but soon realises that monastic life is not for him. He achieves his dream in a sad and rather bizarre way and is finally able to discover what he really needs from life. The ending is both unexpected and satisfying. This book is Jennifer Kavanagh's first venture into fiction, although she has published many non-fiction books and articles, and this is reflected in the directness of her prose. There are no stylistic diversions - no sub-plots, few minor characters - and the reader focuses directly on B as gradually, layer by layer, his perceptions of himself change and he comes to accept and respect his true nature. I loved this book - it spoke to something in me - and I was torn between not being able to put it down and not wanting it to end! ~ Anne THornton, Amazon



  • Journey Home
    Jennifer Kavanagh
    Much research and easy interesting read
    It contains much information and I learned a lot about how people throughout the world live, manage on little resources.
    As humanity is interconnected I think I am unlikely to find true happiness if I do not learn to manage on less and share more. (5 stars) ~ Ann Taylor, Amazon



  • Journey Home
    Jennifer Kavanagh
    Wonderful writer (5 stars) ~ Anne Thornton, Amazon



  • Tentacles Longer Than Night
    Eugene Thacker
    "In showing that it can sustain a lucid conversation with philosophy, Thacker's writing also treats horror literature as literature. Students of both philosophy and horror will find surprising inter-illuminations in these three books."
    Michael Cisco, author of The Divinity Student ~ Michael Cisco



  • Starry Speculative Corpse
    Eugene Thacker
    "In showing that it can sustain a lucid conversation with philosophy, Thacker's writing also treats horror literature as literature. Students of both philosophy and horror will find surprising inter-illuminations in these three books."
    Michael Cisco, author of The Divinity Student ~ Michael Cisco



  • Emancipation of B, The
    Jennifer Kavanagh
    This book is a real gem, I loved it! From the initial pages I wasn't sure whether I was beginning a ghost story or possibly a crime novel with a slightly disarming stalker. The cover suggests it could be either but this novel is not what it seems on so many levels. The central character is 'B' whose life seems out of sync with his family and the emptiness of the modern urban world. He feels more in tune with animals, especially his dog. It is hard to review this book without giving to much away but suffice to say that you will be drawn into B's world and his desperate search to find his real place in or out of modern life. It is at times gripping, empathetic, sensitive, full of real insights and a fantastic read. (5 star) ~ P.E.J, Amazon



  • Emancipation of B, The
    Jennifer Kavanagh
    This is Jennifer Kavanagh's first foray into novel writing and she has created a detailed, sensitive picture of a young life, building up layer upon layer until we almost begin to breath alongside the central character. While I was reading I become intensely aware of the author's concern for 'B' and the outcome of his story became vitally important to me too. B's journey is not an easy one but he is not afraid to use the most radical of means to confront his inner spectres. Tension builds gradually and this is certainly no light hearted romp, but neither is it in any way heavy – the writing style is pleasingly direct and honest. At the end you will rejoice! (5 star) ~ L.P.C, Amazon



  • Atheism Reclaimed
    Patrick O'Connor

    While my blog posts are usually exclusively egocentric rants about what I think, today I want to share some thoughts on a newly published book that I think you should buy. It is Atheism Reclaimed by Patrick O’Connor. It is available on Amazon and also has a website.

    If you’ve read other posts, you might find it odd that I would recommend a book about how to be a better atheist, being a theist. However, my opinion on atheism is that if you’re going to do it, you should do it properly, considering what it really means to move away from religion when you are thrown into a historico-political situation that has been determined by religion since its inception; it can’t be as simple as not assenting to God’s existence.

    However, there aren’t many places for atheists to go for help in this. The debates around New Atheism have already exhausted themselves. While figures like Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens managed to bring atheism into public discussion in a different way than before, I don’t think I’m being controversial in saying it was insufficiently radical to do anything but wind people up. It does not really have much to offer other than a list of justifications for being an atheist, which are superfluous given that they are primarily written for people who are already atheists.


    Atheism has lost its soul; contemporary atheism is losing its vitality and it needs to reaffirm it. What is called atheism has lost vibrancy, mattering less and less. It is not relevant to understanding the nihilistic drive to destruction that is affecting all aspects of human experience from political organization, to the environment, to overpopulation.

    Certainly, New Atheism has brought a new political angle to discussions of atheism, arguing that religion is not merely misguided/irrational/incorrect but a source of evil that needs to be countered, which wilfully inhibits our ability to develop into rational, moral beings, that prevents us from becoming fully and authentically human (in the sense of Humanism). But, only eight years on from the publication of The God Delusion, people, in my experience, are disenchanted with this hard-line approach, preferring to consider themselves agnostic. Even before this, the majority of the claims made by New Atheists, particularly the Dawkinist brand, are easily refuted or at least tempered by any reasonably critical thinking. Dawkins, despite being respected, is said to go “too far”, too have an odd idea of the capacities of science, and to get carried away with polemics.

    However, this isn’t simply down to a lack of a decent argument against the existence of God. To put it another way, the problem is not with the negative aspect of New Atheism. Quite the contrary, and as O’Connor argues, the problem is with it’s failure to provide a positive contribution to the atheist’s life.


    Atheism needs to get its house in order. The task is to give a vital and positive account of atheism. Atheism cannot simply be a negation, but must take a position in its own right with positive philosophical consequences.

    To put it another way, while the distinctive feature of New Atheism compared to previous rationalist atheisms, such as that of Russell, is its political agenda, this agenda is a mere anti-theism. A political movement requires more than arguments against its enemies. It needs to contribute to life in a distinctive way. A complete atheism needs to equip the atheist with a way of life, it needs to teach one how to be atheist and how to respond to social, political and ethical problems. And, while one may want to argue that this is provided by New Atheist appeals to “humanism”, its shallow gestures to ethical systems that do not require belief in God is historically naive and does not take into account the huge weight of Nietzschean and Nietzchean philosophy criticising liberal humanism, developing a new way of understanding human existence after the death of God.
    ~ Matt Barnard, Blog