📝 Spells8 Book Club XXX - Readers' Reviews!

Congrats on finishing The Living Tarot, Amethyst! I like the quote- it sounds like the author has a very friendly and even humorous way of writing. And interesting about the workbook aspect of it- it sounds very hands-on! Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts about it :blush: :open_book:

Thank you for the heads up about the content- this sounds like a book that handles some very heavy topics, but that it does so in a very well-handled way. Writing about mental health is not easy to do, but it looks like Ward walked the delicate tightrope of sensitivity with grace and honesty. I haven’t been diagnoses with depression, but I do have anxiety and I imagine that some of the advice and guidance provided here may be of use. I’ll be adding this one to my to-read list! Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts, Amaris- I hope you continue to enjoy the book :heart: :books:

I just finished watching the Good Omens TV show and I’m ready for more of Gaiman’s works- American Gods sounds like a very fun read! I hope you continue to enjoy your time with Shadow- happy reading, Tracy! Do you think you’ll watch the TV show when you’ve finished the book? :wink:

That’s a great book! Cunningham’s works are classics :blush: I hope you enjoy Wicca, Maurice- happy reading! :heart:

Sorry it wasn’t what you were hoping for, Megan! It sounds like a book that would be valuable for those looking to learn about Native American practices in the New England area, but probably not the best match for readers hoping for wisdom about witchcraft. Thank you for the quotes and for sharing your thoughts! :pray: :blush:

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You’re welcome! It’s a very good beginner’s book. Very easy to read.

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Yeah, it definitely isn’t that. I was really hoping for information about animism and ancient practices. I did get some of that, but the writing style definitely wasn’t a good fit for me.

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Thanks Megan.

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You’re welcome! :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

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You’re both reminding me to reread this book. :black_heart: I also recommend it. It has a really down-to-earth, practical tone to it. I’m definitely more on the darker, shadowy side of things, so I find it refreshing to read less “love and light” toned content. (Not that there’s anything wrong with it, of course, just that it really doesn’t match my personal energy. Like sunlight. Sunlight and I aren’t really friends. Gosh, I’m digging myself into a hole… I’m going to stop. :joy:)

Do you happen to remember which book this was? I’m curious to check it out. I don’t know much about the potential of this part of the family, but I can’t ask because I will scare the life out of them – they’re not religious (they would be Eastern Orthodox Christian if they were), but they’re deeply superstitious in a very fearful way. There’s no such thing as good luck to them, after all, but there sure is bad luck and curses. :skull:

That being said, I am slowly introducing to them some things. I’m giving them good luck and protection charms, which they really appreciate, and it gives me peace of mind to know they’re protected. :smile:

Wow, what a tangent I went on… I probably need sleep. :thinking:

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Apologies for the late reply- yes! It’s called Słowiańska wiedźma (“Slavic witch”) by Dobromiła Agiles. It’s in Polish so I couldn’t read much of it, but my partner helped me through some parts- the book has lots of information about Polish pagan deities, rituals, and recipes, but often dips into comparisons with Celtic traditions and Wicca. There’s also a section about something the author calls “Slavic gymnastics” which, and maybe I missed something in translation, but was a rather… interesting inclusion in a book of witchcraft. But again, it’s not in my native language so I’m sure I missed a lot haha.

That is so sweet of you! It sounds like your love and care is overpowering the old fear and superstitions- that is a really powerful (and wonderful!) thing :heart: :blush:

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Thank you! :black_heart: Looking at its table of contents, there’s a lot of wonderful information in there. I’ll have to give it a read. :smile:

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I jumped straight ahead to the section on Slavic gymnastics. It explains that these movements are intended to be performed slowly and methodically, with a focus on identifying and energising “power spots,” as well as improving flexibility through stretching and tightening. This practice appears almost to be a Slavic spiritual yoga, and there is a brief comparison to yoga within the text. However, it is emphasised that Slavic gymnastics is typically combined with incantations, affirmations, Slavic horoscopes, and other elements.

The text also highlights that the terminology associated with this practice, such as “stojąca woda” or “standing water,” is chosen to evoke associations with femininity, tranquillity, self-discipline, patience, and concentration.

I know I’ve already got a long list of to-do’s thanks to everyone here (and I mean that in the most appreciative way possible – you all are wonderful guides), but @CelestiaMoon, what do you think? Shall we explore some Slavic gymnastics sometime? :joy: :black_heart:

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@starborn Sure, I’d love to, though you’d have to translate for me, my Polish is a bit rusty too :joy: :black_heart:

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Reading what you’ve written, I can see it! :grinning: The word “gymnastics” gave me flashbacks to wearing an awful little leotard and having to balance on a balance beam lol, which really threw me off- I think “Slavic yoga” gives a much better picture of the practice, at least in my mind. Thank you for this, Katerina (and wow- your Polish is on point! :clap: :heart_eyes: )

Do it! :joy: :raised_hands: (and please let me know what you think if you give them a try! :wink: :heart:)

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I will do my best! So far I’m just going off how things sound and looking for commonalities with the languages I do know. I don’t actually know any Polish. :sweat_smile: I’m a fraud! Don’t tell anyone. We’ll make it a cult secret. :shushing_face:

No worries! :black_heart:

Aww. Your praise is too high. :bowing_woman: The word for “yoga” was “jogi”. :female_detective:

Then what if I told you these words, “inkantacjami, afirmacjami, słowiańskim horoskopem” are “incantations, affirmations, Slavic horoscopes”? Then there’s “gimnastyki” (gymnastics), “holistycznie” (holistic), harmonię (harmony)… You can see it, yeah? :smile:

We’ll have to see how far this can get me. :joy: I’m hoping I can translate chapter 4 on the festivals in the cycle of the year… Then there is a whole chapter on Slavic magick (3), with information on a Slavic altar, spells, amulets and talismans… :star_struck:

If I translate it and put it into my own words in doing so, is it okay to share an entire spell and similar things? I know we can’t simply copy-paste because of copyright, but it gets weird with translations. I notice people translate whole books and sell them as their own but credit the original. :thinking:

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Cult secrets woohoo! :joy: :+1: I mean… shhhh :wink:

With excellent teacher Katerina pointing them out, yes indeed! :grinning: And here I was getting all caught up and stuck in the grammar and conjugations haha- this way of reading is way better! You’re a language master, @starborn :clap: :heart:

Yes, you’re welcome to share a spell! :grinning:

Copyright can indeed get very confusing and grey (especially with international law variations and translations), so as a safety net we have some sharing guidelines in place in the forum. The Forum Guidelines say that, assuming the content is not hidden behind a paywall and not banned from sharing by the author, it is fine to share a part of a book if credit to the original author is given.

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That is the most difficult part of so many languages. :sweat_smile:

Japanese is similar. There are almost six different ways to end a word, based on the formality and tense. Then their numbers entirely change depending on what you are counting, because why not, I guess? Doesn’t make it easy to learn. :joy:

But if you go to Japan, they understand so many English words as they’ve taken them as loanwords! You can get by with just saying English words in a Japanese way, as racist as that sounds. But seriously. “Moka kohii” (モカコーヒー) is mocha coffee, “toire” (トイレ) is toilet, and “hoteru” (ホテル) is hotel. I mean, they have their own words for many things they use loanwords for, but the loanwords are increasing in popularity year by year.

My main language, Macedonian, is similar to Japanese with the grammar. But Macedonian is very similar to other Slavic languages. I can understand some Serbian, Bulgarian, and Russian, for example, as a result. Even a little Turkish, because we have taken many words from them, as they ruled us a long time ago!

And English speakers can easily understand some of these words, too! Because they’re the same. For example, идеал is “ideal,” кафе is “kafe” (or кофе is “kofe”), компјутер is “kompjuter,” and they mean exactly what you think they do. :wink:

Well, “kafe” is the word for coffee. The world is split between those who say “cafe” for coffee and those who say “coffee.” Hence why “cafe latte” means “coffee with milk.”

Anyway, another family language, Chinese, helped me learn to look between the lines a little. Especially when I started reading really old Chinese texts in Chinese, such as Dao De Jing (that popular book on Taoism), the works of Zhuang Zi (famously known for the butterfly quote), Sun Zi’s Art of War, and so on. Their sentences tend to provide very little context and are very, very simple. For example, here’s a line from Kong Zi (Confucius) from Wikipedia:

When the stables were burnt down, on returning from court Confucius said, “Was anyone hurt?” He did not ask about the horses.

Here it is in Chinese:

廄焚。子退朝,曰:傷人乎?不問馬。

Literally, it says:

Stable burn. Zi withdraw court, say: injured? Not ask horse.

:joy: If you ever need to jump into the deep of the language pool, ancient languages seem a good bet.

Gosh, Katerina. Tell everyone you’re a language nerd without saying “I’m a language nerd.” :sweat_smile:

Yay! Alright, I might do some reading on the weekend and share some of my favourites over time. :black_heart:

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Scream it from the rooftops, okay?! It’s such a wonderful thing and you should be proud of yourself that you know and/or can understand multiple languages. This is one thing I really dislike about being raised in the United States. We are taught English and only English in school, until we get to High School (I’m not sure what this level is called elsewhere, but it’s about 13 to 17/18 years old). Then, we are required to take two years of classes of a foreign language, and only if you plan on going to college/university. Those classes are usually only Spanish or French, more if you’re lucky and go to a well-funded school.

The only other time someone tends to learn another language well enough to speak or understand it is if they grow up in a multilingual family, and even then, English is usually given priority.

I’ve tried learning a new language, Irish to be specific, and learning a new language in my 30s is really difficult :sweat_smile: nevermind the ADHD, but the memory struggles are there, too. Anyway, all that to say that you should be proud of your language abilities! :clap: And if you’re not, I am!

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I think it’s kind of similar here. Some schools teach a second language in years 1 and/or 2 of primary/elementary school. This language is usually based on the demographic of the area, so for example, mine taught Italian :it: and Chinese :cn:.

Then the rest depends on the high school (years 7-12, or ages 13-18, as you said).

At the end of primary school, there’s a big test to see what kind of high school you can get into. I managed to get into one of these “selective” schools, so in year 7, spending each term on a different language was compulsory. Ours were:

  • Latin :classical_building:
  • German :de:
  • French :fr:
  • Japanese :jp:

After that, one year of a language is compulsory, so I took Japanese. I had a bit of a head start, knowing some kanji :secret: from having learnt some Chinese when I was younger, as kanji is the term for their mostly Chinese characters. (They do modify some a little so that they’re different. For example, ice :ice_cube: in Chinese versus Japanese are 冰 and 氷, respectively.)

From then on, we could choose to pick up a language and either take that all the way through to year 12 or not. In years 9 and 10, I didn’t take any language, then I did Japanese in years 11 and 12. It took some catch-up with the Japanese, but I managed to do pretty well in my end of high school exams, so it worked out. :smile:

Then, when I went to university, I took Chinese :cn: as a minor with my degree, while I majored in International Business which had a few classes on cross-cultural management.

It can be. (I understand the struggle with ADHD well, unfortunately.) But two things can help you a lot!

One: Use the language whenever you can. :speaking_head: This is the obvious advice that anyone will tell you. But it really matters. If you don’t have anyone to speak to in the language, read books :open_book:, magazines, poems, or even Wikipedia articles, watch movies :film_projector: and shows, and listen to music :musical_note: in the language. Immerse yourself as much as you can.

When you have time, even go out of your way to translate things! I used to translate Japanese and Chinese songs all the time to share with others when I was younger. This really helped me catch up in Japanese when I missed two years of it.

Two: :no_good_woman: Stop translating into your native language when you want to use the language. :no_good_man: This is the weirder piece of advice, but I promise you, it will make you a much more natural language learner!

Instead, learn as a toddler learning their very first language learns! :baby: What this means is no more learning like, “Okay, so mačka/neko/māo/chat/katze is a “cat.”” :cat2: Imagine a mental image of the cat and tie the word to that image. When you wish to learn the word for soup, image a soup :stew:. For car, imagine a car :red_car:, and so on.

But how does this work for things that aren’t nouns? When you learn how to say “thank you,” tie the word to the feeling of gratitude you have for another. :pray: :bowing_woman: When you learn how to say you will go somewhere, imagine the act of going there. :school: :running_woman: When you want to learn the word for “love,” :heart: “happy,” :smile: or “sad,” :cry: imagine that feeling. Don’t tie it to your native word, or you will forever be a translator, having the more difficult job of taking two steps to think of a word instead of one.

:cat2: → cat → māo
:cat2: → māo

It sounds crazy, but it works. And it’s not an easy mentality to get into at first, but it will make learning any language so much more natural. And you might even be able to think in the language twice as fast than you would have otherwise. :black_heart:

Anyway, sorry for the rant you didn’t ask for. :sweat_smile: I was living my dream career of being a teacher for a moment. :joy:

Thank you. :bowing_woman: You are right. I should be proud of all the things I’ve poured my heart into. I appreciate you pointing this out to me. :black_heart:

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That’s all amazing advice, thank you! I think part of my current problem is a lack of time. I have so many things going on at once that learning a new language goes on the backburner because it isn’t a priority :confused: but when I have time, this is definitely how I will approach it! Thank you, so much!

Any time, my friend! :smiling_face_with_three_hearts: You deserve it!

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Katakana! :grinning: Oh, katakana words were my lifeline during my first time in Japan, with the most important of them all being カラオケ (karaoke) :microphone: :laughing:

I’m afraid by now I’ve forgotten most of my (very limited to begin with) Japanese. What they say about “if you don’t use it, you lose it!” turned out to be very true for me, unfortauntely :sweat_smile:

That’s so cool! :grinning: I apologize that I don’t know much about Macedonian, but from what you’ve said it sounds like it works wonders as a bridge language- helping you to understand many other languages too.

It makes me think that they ought to teach Macedonian in schools- it certainly would have helped me a lot more when learning Polish! When I went to language school in Warsaw they had to separate the English speakers from students who already spoke a different Slavic language. Everyone who knew another Slavic language learned in half the time it took us English speakers. Knowing a second or third language (especially in the same or a similar language family) really is a huge boost in life :+1:

So I’m with Megan- be proud of your skills, Katerina! Knowing languages is a truly amazing thing and a wonderful talent to have. You’re awesome- own it! :hugs: :medal_sports: :heart:

Not to slide in on this or anything (I am :wink:), but I think you would be an amazing teacher if you ever chose to pursue that path! Would you want to teach languages in general, or perhaps one (or more) specific languages?

I had several terrible language teachers in middle and high school- I think the world really needs more talented and enthusiastic language teachers out there! Language is key to connecting across borders, helping people understand one another, and making the world a more peaceful place :earth_americas: :dove: In my eyes, the value really can’t be understated :pray:

Hooray! Enjoy your reading :books: :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

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