This is the #easylenormand set, which has a great book but lack luster cards. #lenormand

Easy Lenormand Set Review

Domagick Sept 11 2017

Since I reviewed The Scrying Ink Lenormand app yesterday, it only makes sense that I review the deck that I have been using to talk to the Nine all this time. It’s also the one that I have been using for the majority of my Lenormand studies so far. I purchased it in July.

You would think after owning it this long that I would have a definitive opinion, butI’m still not sure how I feel about the Easy Lenormand set. Its handbook beats out all others. Running at 150 pages, it is essentially a scaled down version of Katz and Goodwin’s Learning Lenormand, my favorite book on the subject so far.  Their clear instructions will have you doing simple readings in no time. I’m glad I bought this set for that reason alone.

Yet the deck itself lacks pizzazz. That’s not the fault of any modern artist, however. They were tasked only with cleaning up the images of a rediscovered traditional deck. Admittedly, the clarity of the images is fantastic. The cards seem durable enough too. I even dropped on in water accidentally, and it worked perfectly well afterward, without even a ripple.  Still, after years of handling amazingly colorful Tarot decks, the Easy Lenormand looks drab and washed out to me. None of the cards are titled, which means having to occasionally remember by number what a boring picture means. No card truly distinguishes itself or sticks out. Surely there has to be a happy medium between overly ornate themed decks and decks that are so boring that they are completely forgettable?

So how do I rate a set where the book is amazing but the cards merely serviceable? I guess I’ll split the difference and give Easy Lenormand 2 and ½ stars out of five.

Today’s reading with the deck was:

The Clouds – transition, change, confusion and trouble, unclear, lack of foresight, doubt, shielding, hiding, emotional weather

The Lily – maturity, old, wise, peace, wisdom, passion, intention, grandfather

The Dog – loyalty, close friends and companions, codependence

“Confusion / lack of foresight caused by and older companion.” I completed my prayer and offering in my new office today. My partner walked in and started talking to me during it twice, so obviously I am still working some kinks out—like the need for an I AM WORKING sign. Every new arrangement requires adjustment. In fact, I think Nine were talking to me about this very thing today.

The reading I did over the weekend where I predicted my family would end up talking to the neighbors about the fact we’ve moved played out exactly as I thought. Strangely enough, the Tree card featured in it, and some time was spent discussing the trees that we all share and the shade they provide our apartments! Occasionally the Lenormand has been oddly specific in that sort of way, and I almost wonder if this deck has a cheeky sense of humor.

 

 

screenshot from the #scryingink #lenormand #lenomandapp

Scrying Ink Lenormand App Review

Domagick Sept 10 2017

Although my prayers and offering went smoothly enough today, my house was still in enough upset that I decided I wanted to try something different than simply reading my usual deck. To briefly escape the clutter, I thought I would use an Lenormand app for today’s reading instead.

I’ve been playing with The Scrying Ink Lenormand for about two months now, off and on. This app is ideal for simple Lenormand readings of one, two, or three cards. The bright, simple design and daily card feature make memorizing the meanings easy and fun. The electronic version of the booklet splits the meanings into keyword and extended sections too, so you can ignore the more complex aspects of the cards until you are ready for them.

Unfortunately, unless someone had read about Lenormand fortune-telling before buying this app, they might be a little lost on how to interpret the cards all-together. Differences from the Tarot aren’t easily apparent anywhere in the app, so this has to be known in advance. If it isn’t, readers might add an unnecessary extra layer of complexity to interpretations depending on the style of divination they are used to doing.

The Scrying Ink Lenormand app comes with fourteen pre-programmed spreads, including Le Grand Tableau. As attractive and well-designed as the app is, I can’t imagine trying to read thirty-six cards at a time on my phone. I may revisit this aspect of the app when I get further along in my Lenormand studies.

For its look, ease of use, and numerous options, I give the Skyring Ink Lenormand app four stars so far. It is currently available in the Android Play and iPhone stores.

When I used this app to ask about an upcoming event in October, I got the Dog, the Key, and the Sun. I interpreted that as:

loyal, familial, friend, companion, dependent, close

+

access, discovery, certainty, fate, aha, yes, pay attention

+

best or biggest luck, success, will, outward self, ego

To me this means a friend is going to help me in some way. Considering the project I asked about, this makes perfect sense. It should turn out very well indeed if the Sun card is any indication.

 

Review of SHADOW MARBAS by Audrey Brice

Back in the old days, when a witch deserted his coven, the coven sought revenge. Jacob Mallory knew the stories, but he left Shadow Marbas anyway.

The saga begins.

After a disagreement between Cult of Lucifuge and Temple Apophis leaves Jacob defenseless and he discovers Marbas’ remnants of a curse, he seeks protection from Lucifer’s Haven.

Shadow Marbas, however, won’t be denied. Either Jacob is theirs, or he dies. There is no in-between.

A Witch War is brewing. An ancient evil stirs. Are you ready to choose a side?

Up until now, I’ve felt that Thirteen Covens read like a group of standalone titles united by a common world rather than a typical chronological series, but that hasn’t bothered me one bit. I adore authors who use setting as character, with Stephen King’s Midworld and Charles de Lint’s Newford among my favorites. I simply hadn’t figured out how all the puzzle pieces from Thirteen Covens would join together to form a bigger picture yet. Shadow Marbas changed that.

The ending of Shadow Marbas reminded me of the moment in The Exorcist when Father Merrin brushes hundreds of years dirt off the demon’s statue. As a viewer, we don’t need told that Pazuzu is the Big Bad who will soon make the priest’s life a living hell. We know in the same instant as Father Merrin, when his eyes meet those of the idol. Shadow Marbas hit me the same way. My mouth literally hung open during the main ritual of the book, and the hair on my arms rose when I read its final lines.

It seems like Brice writes this series how Father Merrin must have worked his archeological dig. With each new book, she has reveals more of the setting, the characters, and the danger. I would say this is the best novella yet, with the most compelling characters and most gripping plot. I’m impatient to find out how the story will end. I’m also tempted to reread Thirteen Covens from the beginning to make sure I haven’t missed anything important along the way.

As in her Liz Tanner stories, the author’s experience within the occult community allows her to write about these sorts of people and emotional situations in a believable fashion. I worry she would be accused of publishing real life accounts of some petty witch war or another if Brice were to ever remove the supernatural elements from her books. Should you ever stop and wonder if coven members sometimes behave as poorly as those described in these books, I can assure you that all sorts of people can be complete jerks regardless of whether they love Lucifer or the Lord. It takes skill to portray a Pagan tradition in an emotionally realistic way while also writing an engaging occult thriller, but Brice managed it.

Shadow Marbas is a four and a half star read. I received a free advance copy in exchange for a free, honest review. Order today.

Conjuring 2 Movie Review: The Power of Love

The Conjuring 2 continues the story of renowned exorcist and psychic, Ed and Lorraine Warren, dipping once again into their “real” case files. When the church asks them to travel to London and help a single mother plagued by an evil spirit, they can hardly refuse despite Lorraine’s premonitions of doom. Although this film is the sequel to 2013’s The Conjuring, is the third film in the overall Conjuring franchise, following Annabelle. Please note that the following review contains spoilers.

If you’re not ready for that, why not check out the trailer?

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Portrait of Liz Tanner

Ascending Darkness: 6 Stars for Audrey Brice

Ascending Darkness by Audrey BriceI felt like cheering when I came to the end of Ascending Darkness. I couldn’t remember when I’d been so thoroughly happy for a main character. Or, frankly, as envious of one! Without giving away any of Audrey Brice‘s plot secrets, I’ll admit that I would love to end up like Liz Tanner when and if I ever grow up—without the feminine attributes, thank you. She can leave behind her dry wit and handsome boyfriend, however. I wouldn’t mind having either of them!

Liz Tanner’s success is hard won. Book 1 of the Ordo Templi Serpentis Mysteries thrusts her into the limelight when a member of her occult order is accused of murder. Her responsibilities grow heavier with each novel in the series, as do the paranormal and criminal risks she encounters. Her boyfriend, Mike, and the world’s most cheerful Satanist, Alyssa, fight to keep her safe and sane, but Liz’s own powers continue to rise. Could it be her own darkness that hungers to ascend?

As a long time reader of Ellery Queen, Audrey Brice’s mysteries held up for me. I’d compare her writing to that of Lillian Jackson Braun and Ellis Peters in terms of gore and accuracy of research, respectively. Her dedication to factual accuracy makes sense since Brice also publishes occult literature under a different pen name. Thanks to her time as a professional magus, Brice’s satires the Pagan community’s behavior so well that I frequently have to smother laughter while reading her stories. Brava!

I only wish I could give Audrey Brice extra stars for often saying what I’m not courageous enough to blurt out.

As it is, Ascending Darkness is a five-star read. I cannot wait for Book Five: Illuminated Darkness!

Go here for a chronological listing of the Ordo Templi Serpentis Mysteries, including all novels and novellas. Keep your eyes out for Illuminating Darkness and follow all of Audrey Brice’s pen names at the Quadrant.

The portrait of Liz Tanner at the top of this review is based on an author photograph of Audrey Brice. It was drawn and digitally altered by William Briar, 2016.

 

Vampire Novel Provides Fresh Blood

I’ve considered myself an amateur vampirologist for a long time. I bought a copy of Bunson’s Vampire Encyclopedia in 1993 and nearly wept when the dog-eared paperback fell apart five years later. By then it had already become the lighthouse that helped me navigate the stormy seas of poorly written vampire film and fiction. Thanks to the trivia I absorbed from that blood red book, I was able to weed most of the cliché-riddled crap from the decent material, and wolfed down every half-decent novel and film I came across.

I’m sorry it took me so long to find this story. I’d planned on reading A.J. Aalto’s Touched earlier this year, but an unforeseen change elsewhere in my schedule forced me to backburner all my reviews. What a shame!

The unique setting of this novel makes it a fantastic alternative to such modern vampire “classics” like Twilight.

This definitely isn’t the first urban fantasy I’ve read where government agencies work with psychics, but I have never encountered a world where a vampire is the source of the psychic’s powers before. I look forward to Aalto expanding this universe as the series progresses.

I look forward to watching the protagonist grow as well. Marty often seemed scatterbrained to me. If she eventually needs to be rescued by a male lead before the series closes, or loses any more personal agency, my interest in Marty will wane regardless of how intriguing the world remains. I suspect this will not happen, however, and that we are going to watch Marty come into her own. After all, she’s got the touch.

Three and a half stars. I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thanks, guys! I appreciate it.

The Second Book of Crystal Spells

Whenever I visit a metaphysical store, I leave with the impression that some people must need crystals the way the rest of us need food, water, and air. Otherwise, I just can’t understand how they justify spending so much money on pretty paperweights. Saying that might make me sound like Scrooge, yet it also sums up the bias I had towards crystals before starting this book. In other words, I was interested, but price tags had broken my heart too many times.

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Everyone says high school sucks…

…But at least we didn’t take Satan to prom.

After reading Rue Morgue‘s review of My Best Friend’s Exorcism, I had high hopes for Grady Hendrix’s latest novel. Luckily enough, this book delivered exactly what the magazine promised: well-developed and realistically-written teenage characters, a journey through the 80’s, and a refreshing take on the exorcism / possession trope. Having accomplished any one of these three would have made this a good story, but the fact Hendrix pulled off all three made it great.

In particular, his use of a lesser known demon and unusual exorcist kept the plot from falling into any familiar ruts. Moreover, the differing economic lifestyles of the two main characters allowed for Hendrix to make social commentary on how the poor our treated in our society to this day without being too heavy-handed about it. This is easily on my BEST OF 2016 list, and redefines the possession sub-genre overall. Hendrix is a writer to watch out for, and I eagerly look forward to his next release.

Five out of five stars.

I received a copy of this book for free from NetGalley for a review.