I was a bit skeptical when I got this book to review, I feel like I say that about every Pagan book but it’s kind of true. Most Pagans have a working or better knowledge of astrology and sacred sites. This book Planets for Pagans, by Rena Shesso, attempts to expand this knowledge and make useful connections and insights. The main reason I was wary is that this a a reprint of an earlier work. But I guess we all need an upgrade for a new era, so I checked it out.
Planets for Pagans covers many interesting topics. It’s foundation is obviously astrology. Now, I’m not a consummate expert, but I have taught and studied astrology for several years. Every magickal person should have a decent comprehension of the planets and how they affect our lives and the world around us. This book has information for beginners and experts alike, it not only details each of the celestial bodies and their properties, but also gives us new and exciting ways to explore their energies. Ms. Shesso gives practical information, and then thoughtfully reminds you to trust your own instincts. There are many references to other types of magicks and the eclectic Pagan should welcome the connections to Tarot, Animals, Mythology and Spellcrafting. I just wish there was more of this in the book.
Regular readers here at Voodoo Universe know I hold a degree in anthropology, and studied with one of the staff archaeologists from Stonehenge. I was especially excited to see the Planets for Pagans section talking about Newgrange (3100- 2900 BCE.) Newgrange, located in the Boyne valley in Ireland, is a magickal place and no work about sacred sites would be complete without it. For many of us Pagans, especially those with Celtic ancestry, it serves as a place of pilgrimage. Newgrange is an ancestral tomb celebrating the divine interplay of dark and light. Architecturally, it is a Solstice marvel and on those special days we can truly see the light. Shesso also tells us of lesser known astrological sites as well, from Rosaring, Sweden to Serpent Mound, Ohio. All worthy of note.
Rena Shesso’s magickal background comes from her ancestors, specifically her grandparents- a gardener/lapidary and herbalist/astrologer . Her biography tells of a life long passion for “spiritual, artistic, and goddess-infused topics.” Ms. Shesso is also the author of Math for Mystics. To hear things in her own words listen to this interesting interview with her from Witchtalk, titled A Magickal Tour of the Night Sky.
If you are fortunate enough to catch her in person she will be making public appearances in Colorado during February 2015. Her schedule can be found here. There are many exciting astrological events coming up, as always remember to look out and look up !