Monday, December 26, 2016

Rev. Judith Laxer ~ 2nd guest post and her novel Along the Wheel of Time

TITLE: Along the Wheel of Time: Sacred Stories for Nature Lovers
RELEASE DATE: June 25, 2016
AUTHOR: Rev. Judith Laxer
KEYWORDS: nature, magic, pagan, paganism, ceremony, seasons, earth/air/water/spirit, spiritual, rituals, life cycle
CATEGORIES: Magical Realism/Paganism
ISBN: 978-0692736340
IMPRINT: Gaia’s Essence

The various characters in this collection of magical short stories demonstrate how the changing seasons are a spiritual model for the soul.

A young woman follows her lover and finds her spiritual calling in the Autumn realm of the dead; a first-time mother gives birth on the Winter solstice; a daughter’s grief heals in a Spring garden; a joyous ceremony of mature sexuality celebrates the peak of Summer: these stories and more explore magickal realism in ordinary life. Following the Pagan Wheel of the Year through the experience of the characters, this collection of stories demonstrates how the changing of the seasons is a spiritual model for the soul.


Inspiration for Along the Wheel of Time: Sacred Stories for Nature Lovers

When I was first learning about Earth based Spirituality, Paganism, and Goddess Worship, there was scant information available on the subject, and all of it was in the form of ‘how-to’ books. Some included a few personal stories by the author, but generally these texts gave instruction on the rituals for the natural holy days on the Wheel of the Year, called Sabbats, ceremonies, spell casting, and different Goddesses and Gods. I devoured these books because I resonated so completely with this faith path and I wanted to learn as much as I could.

Over the years, many more books were published on these subjects. I believe the rise of feminist thought and culture brought the Divine Feminine into awareness beyond just those still in the ‘broom closet’. The ecology movement that began around the time of Women’s Liberation in the 1970’s also helped lift Earth based spirituality out of obscurity, and while it didn’t land squarely in the spotlight, it certainly became more accessible.

I took a class called Wicca 101 and there met a few others on the path. We formed a coven, the name for a group of Witches who gather to practice together in an ongoing way. That coven lasted for thirteen years and during that time I learned, through experimentation and implementation, the practice of magick making. We worshipped the Moon as the Goddess and aligned our magick to Her phases, waxing and waning. We worshipped the Sun as the God by creating rituals to celebrate the eight Sabbats on the Wheel of the Year, marking the passing of time in sacred space. The seasonal changes became so much more for me than merely changing my wardrobe to accommodate the weather, so much more than just getting older. I came to understand the seasonal changes as a metaphor for the evolution of our souls, a mirror for the never ending cycle of life.

I began to teach the magickal arts and Goddess Consciousness in workshops, and came to form my own women’s mystery school wherein I offered year-long programs on the Craft of the Wise, the Goddess, and Oracular Arts. One day about a decade into this, I realized that everywhere on Sunday mornings, folks were gathering with community in their houses of worship, but there was no place for Pagan folk to go. So in 2000, I founded a Ministry called Gaia’s Temple, open to everyone who honors the Earth as a sentient being. We now have close to two decades of service to our ever growing community. For a long while, many of my students and congregants urged me to write a book. I wanted to. I really did. I loved writing about the Goddess creating my worship services. And I loved writing my class lessons. But did we really need another how-to book on the subject? I certainly didn’t think so. So I just kept up, dedicating my work to restoring the balance of feminine and masculine energies in our culture.

And then one day, in a similar epiphany like experience, I realized that I had never seen a book with stories about Pagan folk who live their lives integrating the practice of their faith that wasn’t in the genre of science fiction, fantasy, or horror. None of which really reflected the truth and beauty of this life affirming religion. So I began to write them.

Because there are eight Sabbats on the Wheel, I decided to write a story for each. The seasons are at the foundation of each story. I used different characters in each story in a way I felt best depicted the essence of the celebrations. Much of my personal magickal experience informs these fictional stories. In this way, I feel I achieved a good balance between the magickal and the practical, giving the stories the ballast that occurs when a tale rings true.

I also wanted this short story collection to serve a few purposes; to teach without specific instruction, to read at sabbat rituals if desired, and as a companion book that readers can return to again and again helping them deepen their spiritual awareness as they traverse along the wheel of time.

Rev. Judith Laxer is a modern-day mystic who believes that humor, beauty and the wonders of nature make life worth living. The founding Priestess of Gaia’s Temple, an inclusive, earth-based ministry, Judith also enjoys a successful private practice as a psychic, spiritual counselor, hypnotherapist, shamanic practitioner and teacher of women’s mysteries. A keynote speaker and author of Along the Wheel of Time: Sacred Stories for Nature Lovers, Judith has presented classes and workshops on the re-emergence of the Divine Feminine since 1993 at conferences nationally. She dedicates her work to restoring the balance between feminine and masculine energy in our culture.,

What they’re saying:
Along the Wheel of Time: Sacred Stories for Nature Lovers beautifully illuminates the heart of earth-based spiritual practice. Rev. Laxer, a contemporary Priestess, weaves stories of modern life infused with the sacred and with ancient ways of worship. I loved this book. -Shawna Carol, author of The Way of Song: A Guide to freeing the Voice and Sounding the Spirit

In Along the Wheel of Time: Sacred Stories for Nature Lovers the personal and the mythical intertwine, which is how sacred story should be. Page after page, Judith Laxer pours out the mystery of time and being like a wondrous broth and on it we dine. We are served nourishment through our seasons from her lips, from her heart, and from the voices that move through her beyond the veils of time. –Normandi Ellis, author of Awakening Osiris: the Egyptian Book of the Dead.

Rev. Judith Laxer’s Along the Wheel of Time: Sacred Stories for Nature Lovers seamlessly melds the mythic journey of the seasonal holy days to sacred stories of diverse human relationships. Through the mirror if Judith’s storytelling this unique juxtaposition transforms the mundane to the sacred and the sacred mysteries deepen. -Ruth Barrett, author of Women’s Rites, Women’s Mysteries, Intuitive Ritual Creation.

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