Carlos Castaneda’s "The Teachings of Don Juan - A Yacqui Way of Knowledge" is a truly fascinating read. Whilst the debate continues over the authenticity of Castaneda’s tuterage under the Yaqui Indian sorcerer Don Juan Matus, the book delivers a powerful philosophy of life experienced in the ‘non’ordinary reality’ offered by the consumption of Datura, Psilocybin and Peyote. It is recommended reading for anyone interested in Shamanism, entheogens or altered states of experience.
Despite its subject matter, Castaneda’s book is certainly not a treatise expounding the virtues of "turning on, tuning in and dropping out!", but instead explores the often terrifying experiences of a student trying to make sense of unfamiliar concepts in a pagan world where literally anything can happen.
The book is divided neatly into two main sections. Part one tells Carlos Casteneda’s tale of his first meeting with the feared Don Juan and his initiation into the Yaqui Indian's various entheogenic rites and beliefs whilst the second part of the book is Castaneda's scholastic take on the sorceror's arcane knowledge and the methods he employed in imparting this wisdom.
This is the first book in Castaneda’s series which follow the student as he learns to navigate the various alternate realities of existence and become a sorceror and ‘Man of Power'.
A recommended, mind-expanding read.
'Holy Wells: Wales - a photographic journey'' is a sumptuous exploration of 42 of Wales' holy and sacred wells. Photographed by Cardiff-born photographer Phil Cope, the book's 222 pages are abrim with lavish, almost oppulent, images and accompanying text.
Phil Cope's book took five years to produce and is an obvious labour of love and is part of a series of two books (the other being Holy Wells: Cornwall - a photogrpahic journey). Just fifty years ago, literally thousands of sacred wells were accessible to the general public in Wales. Today, this number has shockingly declined to just a few hundred! 'Holy Wells' succeeds in its aim of highlighting the beauty and historical importance of these sacred sites at a time when, shamefully, so few of their number are afforded protection by environmental and heritage organisations.
Although this book is subtitled 'a photographic journey', the copious images in this large tome are accompanied by a fairly substantial text. As well as descriptions of the various sites, their individual histories and the numerous pagan beliefs and healing properties associated with them, the book includes poems from a number of Welsh poets, including the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan William, R.S. Thomas and Gerard Mankey Hopkins. Ordnance Survey co-ordinates for all the wells are also given - a handy addition as this book certainly makes its readers want to visit these sites for themselves. I can't think of a higher recommendation for a book of this nature than that!
Holy Wells: Wales - a photographic journey is a hard-covered book and is published by Seren, priced £19.99. You can purchase a copy of the book here.
Glastonbury Tor, with its enigmatic St. Michael’s Tower perched like a sentinel at its summit, is the iconographical symbol of Glastonbury (which is why it features on this internet site’s header image). The Tor has commanding three and and sixty degree views beyond the Somerset Levels to the Mendip Hills and Well’s Cathedral, Steep Holm island in the Bristol Channel, Alfred’s Tower and Burrow Mump, the Quantock Hills and the Black Mountains in Wales and acts like a magnet to New Age pilgrims from across the world. Whilst many believe it is the tower of St. Michael which holds the fascination of visitors and local alike, it is, in fact, the curiously terraced tear-shaped Tor itself which excudes the spiritual energy which can be felt from kilometres around. Indeed, the original church that was built on Glastonbury Tor was constructed to dispell the notion that the Hill held supernatural and occult powers.
Carreg Lleidr is one of Anglesey’s trickiest to find and difficult to access ancient pagan monuments. However, the curious-looking standing stone certainly rewards the effort required in visiting the small menhir.
Also known as the Robber’s Stone, Carreg Lleidr is ripe with folklore. The most popular tale attached to the standing stone is that it is a petrified thief who had stolen an expensive bible, whose cover was inlaid with precious gems, amongst other items, from a nearby church and was thus punished by it’s patron, St. Tyrnog. At midnight on Christmas Eve each year, the stone is said to drag itself from the soil to run three times around the field, pursued by demons wielding pitchforks aglow from the fires of hell!
For opening times, car parking restrictions and other visitor information please see the official Chalice Well internet site.
Chalice Well garden, Glastonbury, is an astoundingly peaceful and beautiful refuge from the hectic hustle and bustle of modern life. Rich in legend and sacred symbolism, the Garden is sited upon two potent leylines (known as the 'Michael and Miary' lines). These leylines cross paths at the region of the garden known as 'King Arthur's Court' along their routes between Cornwall, Glastonbury Abbey, Glastonbury Tor, the Avebury Stone Circle and Norfolk. A shallow healing spa is located at the cross over point of these great, powerful energy lines and the waters here have been famed for centuries for their curative properties (on a single day in the early 1750's, 10,000 people seeking relief from their various maladies attended the spa to sample its miraculous waters).