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Review: Ritual Tea by Mario Zeleny

Ritual Tea cover
Ritual can calm and clear your mind. And tea? Well, you don’t know what you are missing if you only use those silly teabags! Click to order!

Tea is wealth itself,
Because there is nothing that cannot be lost,
No problem that will not disappear,
No burden that will not float away,
Between the first sip and the last. – The Minister of Leaves

There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea. – Henry James

“For me, starting the day without a pot of tea would be a day forever out of kilter.” ― Bill Drummond, $20,000

A cup of tea is a cup of peace. ~Soshitsu Sen XV

 

It is hard for the typical modern tea drinker to believe, but tea has carried a nearly mystic aura throughout history. From the spiritual to the medicinal, the history of tea is one which not only spans cultures, but also has a deeply ritual meaning within those same cultures. Believe me, it isn’t all about that powder that they sweep off the floor to fill those little paper bags!

As an obsessive tea drinker, I have always been interested in the history and styles of tea. While some women live for shoes or bags, I am always thrilled when I find a new and interesting tea. Darjeeling is my normal evening tea, soothing and relaxing, while English or Scottish teas are more my style in the mornings. But how fun to find a Lavender Darjeeling, flowery and perfect for sitting in the garden? A smooth Lapsang Souchong, scented from pine wood or cypress fires used for drying the leaves for when the day has been long and painful and there are still many hours to go. And of course, tall mugs of Gunpowder Green all through the day, cleansing and fortifying mind and body. Tea is layered, seductive and soothing, exciting and mesmerizing, and a joy that more people should enjoy.

Mario Zeleny has researched the history of tea from its mysterious beginnings, both the holy and the profane. As he points out at the very first, tea is personal and universal, the start and endings of wars, and is seen as both sacred and ordinary. While modern America places the whole idea of the tea ceremony into the realm of Buddhist monks and the traditional Japanese Cha No Yu, Zeleny breaks through these barriers, widening perceptions and touching on the magic of ritual and how it affects our day-to-day lives. For we all follow ritual, from brushing our teeth in the mornings to tucking ourselves in at night. Life is about ritual – and adding Zeleny’s ten simple rituals, whether they be those described in the book or ones you develop for yourself, tea can help calm, establish relationships, relax and allow you to reach within yourself for everything from spiritual balance to sensuality.

“When tea becomes ritual, it takes its place at the heart of our ability to see greatness in small things. Where is beauty to be found? In great things that, like everything else, are doomed to die, or in small things that aspire to nothing, yet know how to set a jewel of infinity in a single moment?” ― Muriel Barbery, The Elegance of the Hedgehog

Zeleny’s book is both quirky and completely useful, in spiritual manners of course, but also medicinally, while even giving wonderful tips on healthy cleaning. From a simple body detoxifier to polishing your furniture and cleaning your mirrors, tea is all about health. Both your own personal health to the health of the environment.

Rituals are both intentional and mindful. They give you a focus for your attention, while allowing the brain to relax and center itself. Zeleny is not a “tea expert” but he has written a well researched book that pulls together the history of tea, the consciousness of ritual and a lot of fun facts that allow the reader to connect with the pains and obsessions in our lives and, using the rituals of tea, clean out the physical and emotional trauma of our lives.

Come and share a pot of tea,
My home is warm and my friendship’s free. –
Emilie Barnes

_________________

I received realistic review. The copy I received is a review copy and contained several editing issues, but I am expecting the book will be absolutely beautiful once the final edition is printed out.

Giveaways for you!!

I am running a month long HUGE Giveaway package plus 3 books and tea giveaways. The grand prize is: $100 visa, gift certificate to a free class $60 or less, a Ritual Tea book, a beautiful tea set, a collection of teas, a canvas gallery wrapped print, and a canvas tea inspired tote from Trader Joes!
Rafflecopter giveaways

giveaway
I am running a month long HUGE Giveaway package plus 3 books and tea giveaways. The grand prize is: $100 visa, gift certificate to a free class $60 or less, a Ritual Tea book, a beautiful tea set, a collection of teas, a canvas gallery wrapped print, and a canvas tea inspired tote from Trader Joes! Click the art to enter!
Giveaway #2 I am running another huge giveaway from May 1- 15. The Prizes are: $100 visa gift card, certificate to a free class $60 or less, a Ritual Tea Book, a canvas gallery wrapped print, Numi’s Organic Tea Blending Set and a Spa Bath Package. Click the art to enter!


 

 

giveaway3
Giveaway 3! This giveaway also runs from May 1-15. Prizes are: $25 visa giftcard, butterfly teacup gallon planter, Biscotti, lemonbar and brownie mix, a Ritual Tea book, two packages of Sancti Spiritus Tea, a vintage tea inspired canvas tote from Trader Joes, and a $60 gift certificate for a free class from Art Spellzall totalling $155! Click the art to enter!

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About the Author

Mario Zeleny 3
Mr. Zeleny and pal! A cuddly dog and a cup of tea, What more do you need?

Mario Zeleny – Lover of all things tea. Mario spent 15 years in healthcare and social services in clinical and administrative roles that offered coaching to employees and volunteers. An artist and entrepreneur from an early age, Mario now brings his love of writing, art, spirit, coaching and ritual together online at his creative living site, Sancti Spiritus and also from his transformational art site, Art Spellz. Mario looks forward to completing his education with Mentor Coach and St. Clement Seminary. He currently resides in Sacramento with his husband of 8 years, their children and their domestic sovereign, a pug named Brigit.
His latest book is the self-help inspirational, Ritual Tea: How the 9 Secrets of Tea Can Transform Your Life.

Connect & Socialize!
TWITTER | FACEBOOK |GOODREADS

 

Yippee! Beta Reading Book Three – The Pierced Series by J. C. Mells

Perfect Cover 2
The cover for “Perfect” – Book three of the J. C. Mells “Pierced” series!

Just finished the Beta and, OMFG!!! J. C. does it again – another brilliant story full of pain and hate, love and understanding and a tremendous cast of characters. Watch here – I will let you know as soon as I know when it is coming out – and you have to read this book! Of course, if you haven’t read the first ones, you have to read those too- – – these are too good to miss!

Thanks, J. C. Mells!!!

 

“Can’t live with him, can’t live without him.”

Never have these words seemed more true to Pierce as she deals with the aftermath of Salt Lake City. She and Lucas can’t seem to stay apart from each other for very long without the night panics happening again – but being together is almost as torturous. Will her past ever allow her to be intimate with him? Can she afford to let her guard down and allow herself to be happy? She’s still suffering from the post-traumatic stress of what happened to her the last time she did that.

But on the plus side, their little town of Nowhere is coming along in leaps and bounds. So much so, that it has appeared on the radar of the wolf community. Or at least Pierce’s presence has.

Suddenly it seems like Nowhere is THE place to be these days..

pierce
Who is Pierce?

______________________________

Keep your eyes open – I will post when the book is published!

TWO Happy Dances!!

wicked
Click the cover to purchase!

The amazing Jillian Klein Der Lowe just shot me an e-mail letting me know that her book, Wicked, just hit the #3 spot in her genre on Amazon!!

applause
Icon courtesy of
http://unf.edu
Thank you!

Click the cover to grab the book from Amazon FOR FREE!!!! Then, of course, after you have read it, I am sure Jillian would love a review. (Wink Wink, Nudge Nudge!)  My review is here in case you want to refresh or haven’t had the opportunity to read it yet.

Congratulations, Jillian!!

Now, for even MORE good news, we turn to another wonderful author, J. C. Mells, author of the Pierced series.

J. C. is happy to announce that her next book in the series, Pinked is nearing the end of editing, and will be out soon! Pinked continues the adventures of Pierce and Mia, a fascinating pair, with a story that is one of the most interesting I have read in recent memory.  Watch for the review here, and for publication at Amazon soon. Until then, you really MUST pick up your own copy of Pierced! Click on the book cover to order. My review is hereIt is only 99c right now, and J. C. is sure to be a wonderful addition to your ‘must-buy-as-soon-as-published’  author list!

Also, be sure to pick up a copy of Escaped, volume 1.5 of the Pierced series! It is also only 99c for a short time at Amazon.

Congratulations, J. C.!

Shrieking and Jumping up and down! J. C. just sent along the cover for PINKED!!!

Drool worthy, huh?  Click on the cover to see the video trailer!PINKED BC3

J. C. just sent me the cover!
Click on it for the YouTube Video
for the upcoming book!
Squeeee!!!!
pierced
For now, Pierced is only 99c at Amazon.
Click cover to order!
escaped
Click to purchase from Amazon!
Only 99c for a short time.
You KNOW you won’t be able to live without it
after reading Pierced!

Review: Wicked by Jillian Kleine Der Löwe (A Seven Deadly Sins Novel, Book 1)

wicked
Click the cover to purchase the book.
Come on, Live a little! Do it!
You KNOW you want to!!!

When was there placed before your eyes the idea of most fervent love, the male and female embracing each other so closely that they could no more be torn asunder, but through unsearchable love became one?  – Arthur Edward Waite The Golden Tract

After a few weeks of tweaking and tightening with Jillian, as her proofreader and editor, Jillian proudly placed Wicked on Amazon.com for sale. She should be proud! This is a wonderful, wildly creative novel. Jillian has a very distinctive voice in this novel. Her turn of phrase is enhanced by a ‘wicked’ sense of humour as she carries you back through billions of years of creation – then turns creation on it’s head.

In Wicked angels and demons and creation (oh, my!) have been around since the Big Bang (yes, there really was one of those, you mean you really doubted it?). How boring is that, the same old same old, eon after eon? One must what one must, and if you are a Half-Angel, Half-Demon, Half-Elf and Half-Goddess (hum? Yes, yes, that is quarters, but then, you weren’t there when it happened, were you?) and have lived as long as Sev has (well, that isn’t really her name, but hey, if you, well, wouldn’t you get bored and want to change your name too?) and you are stuck on Earth for no reason you can remember, it sucks to be tasked by grandpa Yahweh to kill off your husband, Lucifer. Yes, that Lucifer. Hum? Didn’t know Lucifer was married? Oh, yea, baby! The love of the millenniums, don’t ya’ know.

What follows is by turns funny, sad, exciting and ultimately awe-inspiring. Angels and demons are, after all, just human in their own way, right? That whole ‘created by the same creator’ clause in the contract. With all the shortcomings, pain, longing and heartache any self-respecting celestial being should suffer. The metaphysical equivalent of Romeo and Juliet, Sev suffers as she pines for her great love, Luc, while Luc himself suffers the slings and arrows of self-flagellation, longing for things that were and were not, and should never have come to pass, if it ever really did and it wasn’t just a figment of his imagination. Or Sev’s. Or maybe Yahweh’s.

Overall, this is a metaphysical romp of the ‘well, yes, that’s what was said, but realllllly’ sort that was both exciting and frustrating to edit. Well, what can I say? No contractions?! I guess being a celestial being trying to speak English without an accent is sort of irritating, huh?

If you have a wicked sense of humour, this is definitely the book for you. If you don’t have a wicked sense of humour? Grow one. You really don’t want to miss this tour-d-force of laughs, snide commentary, misunderstandings on a universal scale and moments of great and abiding love. Throw all your expectations out the window of the Enterprise NCC-1701A (Hey, I like originals) at warp eleven, settle in, and enjoy. You won’t regret it!

Highly recommended.

Review: Saxon’s Bane by Geoffrey Gudgion – Not Recommended

saxon's baneSaxon’s Bane starts out well. The anthropology is done well, and the Saxon history is spot on. Some of the history of the Old Ways is well done: The Old Way teaches us that all living things are sacred, that there is a life force in everything and connecting everything. Gudgion speaks of the Christian church, and how they took over, folding the myths and religion into the church to pull the locals into changing to the new religion of Christianity. How so many of the Christian tenants, such as Easter, as timed and based upon the Old Ways in order to fold what they called “pagans” into the New Religion.

I was well pleased to read the first part of what the book covered, and settled in, thinking I would enjoy the book. Then, Gudgion got completely off track, and totally ruined the book for me. From being solid and well versed in both the Old Ways and the New, he suddenly turned to stealing the sacred from the Old Ways, turning to the old saw of Wicca being “evil” and “devil worshiping.” This based upon the Horned God of the Old Way being turned into the “Devil” by the New Religion. Since the church said that the Horned God was the Devil, well then, it must be so, right? OH, how ignorant and how very nauseating.

Gudgion uses superstition and hated to turn the story into simply another ignorant rant against the Old Ways, having a sweet and caring follower of the Old Way say of Esbat: It’s used for a ritual curse”  and going downhill from there. His knowledge of the Old Ways is patently ignorant and false, especially as even the most careless of searches clearly delineate the definition of Esbat as being 180 degrees from what the author tries to make it out to be. The word Esbat is of French origin, from s’esbattre, which loosely translates to “frolic joyfully.” In addition to frolicking, this is a time to commune with the gods, give thanks, and enjoy the Cake and Ale Ceremony. In no way is it designed to “devil worship” or perform “ritual curses.” Wiccan is not about that.

Christianity defined Wicca and witchcraft as “evil devil worshiping” as a way to override the Old Ways and place Christianity in it’s stead. Those burned at the stake and otherwise murdered were mostly healers, herbalists and other practitioners of the Old Way, caring for their families, villages and animals.  Real Wicca was, and is, all about celebration, healing, honouring the seasons and positive influences. Only those who wish to defy and insult Christianity conduct Black ritual, and those people are NOT true Wiccan – they are basing their whole ritual in the Catholic church and it’s teachings, not in Wicca. Were there ritual sacrifices in the old days? Most assuredly. They were carried out by every religion, from Mayans to Egyptians, Saxons to Christians. What else is the hanging of Jesus on the cross if not a sacrifice?

I can’t decide whether Gudgion had a split in his psychology halfway through the novel, or if he intended to draw in the reader and then pounce with his superstitious nonsense. Or if someone else picked up the book half-way through and finished it themselves – someone with no knowledge and less intellect. Gudgion is “superstitious” in that he indulges in a total lack of research and/or knowledge in his statements, pushing belief of an unfounded psudoreligious doctrine as truth. One character, a sick and twisted individual, turns what should be a time of beauty and thanksgiving into something deviant. That is a sick human, not a sick religion. Any religion may be twisted – see The Spanish Inquisition for example, or the Mayan cutting out of the hearts of slaves.

Overall, I was deeply, deeply disappointed. I truly wanted the book to continue to be wonderful. Instead, I was left with a foul taste in my mouth and a heavy heart.

NOT RECOMMENDED.

Goddess of the moon, queen of the night,
keeper of women’s mysteries, mistress of the tides,
you who are ever changing and yet always constant,
I ask that you guide me with your wisdom,
help me grow with your knowledge,
and hold me in your arms.

The moon is the symbol of the mother,
and she watches over us day and night.
She brings the changing tide, the shifting night,
the flow that changes women’s bodies,
and the passion of lovers to their beloved.
Her wisdom is great and all-knowing,
and we honor her tonight.
Keep your watchful eyes upon us, great mother,
until the cycle returns once more,
and bring us to the next full moon,
in your love and light.
–  Drawing Down The Moon

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