Amazing review of Shining Tribe Tarot

Anita Perez, who is a brilliant Tarotist and shaman, has done a review of my Shining Tribe Tarot that is as much a personal journey as a commentary on the deck. One thing for sure, it’s not the usual detached intellectual approach found in most reviews. For myself, I consider it the most amazing review I’ve ever received and I wanted to share it here.

When you’re there click on the link for her other blogposts, at The Metaphysician’s Journal. I’ll add the link here as well.

The Shining Tribe deck is out of print but I have copies if anyone should want one. There is also a limited edition Art Deck, printed directly from the original art, and hand cut on special paper. If anyone is interested in either one, write to me at

Published in: on February 23, 2015 at 6:33 pm  Comments (1)  
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Here is a wonderful article by Camelia Elias, about a reading she did on inspiration with the Burning Serpent Oracle. Besides developing a fascinating technique, it also demonstrates how the Burning Serpent can be used for what I call Wisdom readings. I’ve been doing such readings–asking a question about existence rather than just personal issues–with Tarot for a long time, and have recently started doing it with the BSO as well.


In a recent discussion with Rachel Pollack about inspiration, I suggested that we look at the etymology of the word. From Latin, inspirare, to be inspirited or to inspire, inspiration means not only ‘to breathe,’ but also to receive divine guidance when breathing in a certain way. What is thus suggested in this word is the idea that there is a breath that is transcendent. For me, then, any inspired kind of breathing is akin to a heroic act that reminds me of my first kiss.

IMG_4226I am fortunate enough to not only have such private conversations with Rachel, a brave woman of great wisdom and incisive reflective capacity, but also to receive her breathing my way manifested as words and through her own works. It excites me as well to see how she thinks of me, always inspiring me to do more, and be more. Here’s her dedication to…

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Published in: on January 24, 2015 at 6:24 pm  Leave a Comment  


Recently I was asked to join some 200 writers worldwide in compiling a book of prayers to angels. Now, I’m usually not that angel-focused, but I immediately thought of the angel Raziel, who revealed the Book of Secrets to Adam in the Garden of Eden. The Book was said to be one of seven things that existed before Creation. When I did some research I found that not only did the Book impart mystical secrets, but it also revealed the future (we also can say that not only did it reveal the future, it also imparted mystical secrets). Thus, Joseph, the great image of the diviner in the Hebrew bible, was said to have used it when he did his dream interpretation, and when he scryed from his cup (Genesis 44:5)

My favorite way to write a prayer is to use African “praise song” model, where we don’t ask for anything, but sing the wonders of the being called upon.

As soon as I started writing this it came through in a great burst. The Hebrew phrase at the end, Kayn y’hi ratzon, was said by the priests of the ancient temple, and now some modern Jews. It’s usually translated as “May it be so, by God’s will.” I thought the Pagan saying at the end of ceremony, “So mote it be,” was much the same thing.

A Prayer For Diviners

We sing our angel Raziel,
Giver of secrets, giver of letters.
He who gave the Book,
Blessed among the seven wonders that lived before Creation.
The Book of Secrets—

All that is hidden, all that will come,
Known and seen long ago, revealed in Paradise,
Sung to Adam, to Eve,
Soft among the leaves and pomegranates.

The Book—not pages—a sapphire—radiant
With letters of flame.
Praise Raziel, who gave it to Adam, to Eve,
Hidden from the angels, hidden even
From Gabriel of the Horn, Raphael the Healer,
Star-eyed Michael of the Sword, even Uriel, the Light of God—

Known only to Eve, only to Adam,
The Book of Secrets,
Passed to Noah to light the Ark,
To Abraham and Sarah concealed in their cave,
To Joseph, our beloved, our brother, our ancestor,
Joseph the Diviner, Joseph the Dreamer, who saw all that was hidden,
All future, all beauty.

We sing and praise you, Raziel!
Giver of Secrets, Giver of Letters, Giver of Truth
Kayn y’hi ratzon
So mote it be.

All diviners, of all traditions, may use this prayer,
And all those who seek illumination
And mysteries revealed.

Published in: on September 5, 2014 at 5:25 pm  Comments (4)  

Short (short) story

I’m working on a new novella for my shamanic noir hero, Jack Shade. This will be the third in the series, after “Jack Shade In The Forest Of Souls,” and “The Queen Of Eyes.”

I’ve just come to a passage that I realize could stand on its own, as a short-short story. That seems to be kind of a thing these days, so I thought, why not show it here? I won’t give the context, it really does work all by itself.

Here it is:

Jack had once made love to a blind woman, who’d seduced him by telling that she could see when having sex. What she didn’t say was that he would become blind. At first he’d gotten angry, and started to push her away, but she clung to him, saying “Please, Jack, let me have this. Your sight will come back, I promise.” So Jack had discovered what it was like to make love entirely by feel. After, he lay in bed while his partner got up, and for a moment he panicked when sight did not come flooding back. But soon flashes came and went, and then glimpses. He saw her standing in front of a full length mirror, staring and touching, urgently connecting finger knowledge to shapes she would try to memorize. Jack didn’t get up until his sight had fully returned. Then he walked over to where she still stood before the mirror, her blank eyes weeping. “I’m sorry,” he said, and tried to hold her, but she pushed him away.
“Go,” she said. “Please.”
“We could do it again. If not now—”
“No! It only works once. Then—then I have to find someone else.” Jack had gathered up his clothes and gotten dressed in the hallway, then let himself out.

Published in: on August 17, 2014 at 3:15 am  Comments (6)  

My copies of THE CHILD EATER arrived today, and I opened it at random to a favorite passage

Due to a shipping problem, my author’s copies of my novel, The Child Eater only just arrived. (Sort of like what happened with the copies of The Burning Serpent–see below, “Hermes Retrograde”)

Just earlier today I received a review of the deck and shared it here and on FB, in particular a comment I liked about the structure of time in the book. When I opened the box I opened it at random to one of my favorite passages, where Matyas, one of the two heroes, has a visionary experience. I thought I might want to share it here, but I would need to find it in the Word file, for easy copying. Well, I opened the file, moved the bar down to somewhere in the middle–and there it was! Not close by, the exact same passage, and in both cases right at the beginning.

Here’s the passage:

Far from driving him away from Florian, however, the strange experience seemed to intensify his urge to understand her more elaborate teachings, as if to prove to himself, he had not abandoned her. He continued to read the same passages over and over, now in both the tower and the library, as if they might change by where you read them.
And then one afternoon, after all that study, he was standing in the courtyard, with his arms full of wood, when someone said something about the Moon caught on Veil’s tower. He looked up, and yes, the crescent Moon appeared on its side right above the tower. He stared and stared it, remembering a passage in Florian, one of those he’d never understood, how “the Moon sings its horns on the Gate of Stone.”
Suddenly Veil’s tower lit up with color, colors he had never seen before, all up and down the stones, every one a different color. Veil’s tower wasn’t made of stone at all, it rose on color after color, singing colors, harmonies never heard before because they were never possible until this moment, until Matyas could see them and hear them.
He stared at the sky and saw that it went on and on, layer and layer of impossible colors that had never existed, and then he held his hands and they were made of color and song. He looked down at the blazing sticks of color that lay at his feet, and then the ground itself, and he realized that what had seemed like solid dirt and stone now revealed itself as vast lattices and harmonies of color, reds beyond red and blues hidden inside blue, all of them singing to each other, singing to Matyas, singing in Matyas, singing in the world, in every face. This was the song the Kallistocha had sung, hidden in the dark colorless trees, trapped there by the warriors of Heaven, yet still able to sing.
Matyas held up his hands, fingers spread wide, and color and song flowed over the courtyard, and the statues, the stone lions, were revealed as glory upon glory. Color poured from his fingers and his eyes directly into the open mouths of all the wavery shimmery forms that gathered round him. He was teaching now, giving truth, and didn’t even know it at first, until he detected, beyond the figures sitting in the dirt, Lukhanan and Berias and Lord Olan, the only ones who had not surrendered their fixed forms to shifting harmonies of music and color. Only, now Olan slid away from the other two, and sat down, and instantly all his rigidity dissolved into brightness. Matyas laughed, and the sky rippled out through the spheres of the planets, and they were not shells surrounding the dead Earth but songs and shouts, calling to each other in layers and layers of harmonic color.
He saw lights amid the lights. Bright sharp dots that hovered between the pillars, that fitted themselves among the listeners. The Splendor had come—not to help him, or protect him, but to listen. To learn.
Matyas had no idea how long it all lasted, for what he saw and heard changed time as well, so that instead of a steady flow it swirled and rose and fell and turned back on itself and flared up and died down.

Published in: on August 13, 2014 at 1:55 am  Leave a Comment  


Here’s a new review of my novel The Child Eater.

Here’s my favorite passage:

The Child Eater comes wrapped in a package that both reveals and conceals the novel it encloses. While mysticism and urban-fantasy-style ideas play a significant role in the novel, this is neither horror nor a “secrets of the universe” kind of book; its two entwined narratives are both coming of age, young adult-ish pieces that while set in different worlds with very different protagonists interact and parallel each other fascinatingly. This may be the greatest strength of the novel; Pollack has some themes that run across chapters virtually from the start, including the Child Eater of the title and the role of poetry, but other elements appear in one narrative earlier than the other, or are picked up in different ways across the two halves of the story. The Child Eater dances what is a structurally fascinating narrative dance, and spirals in towards a brilliantly executed conclusion.

The book is available in stores and online in Britain and Commonwealth countries, and in America from Amazon sellers (properly released in America next year).

Published in: on August 12, 2014 at 4:15 pm  Leave a Comment  


This is a kind of catch-all, letting people know where they can find some of my work.

The Burning Serpent Oracle, jointly created by myself and Robert M. Place, is now available from Amazon. Well, actually, it’s available from me, but I did a magic spell to turn myself into an Amazon seller (who knows what else I might end up selling??). Just go to Amazon and type in Burning Serpent Oracle. And of course you also can order it from

Meanwhile, other Amazon sellers have magically acquired copies of my new novel, The Child Eater, which is officially only for sale in Britain until next year. It’s getting great reviews, so if you don’t want to wait, you don’t have to.

Meanwhile some more, the British SF publisher Gollancz awhile back put together ebooks of all my previously published science fiction or fantasy novels, and the short story collection, Burning Sky, the title story of which has been reprinted three or four times.

Meanwhile still more–some of you know that I’ve been writing a series of novellas about a contemporary shaman for hire named Jack Shade. The first of these, Jack Shade In The Forest Of Souls, has been done as an audio. Go to

Have fun, reading and listening!

Published in: on August 3, 2014 at 1:04 am  Comments (2)  


Recently on I posted of the difficulties Robert Place and I had had getting our printed cards in our hand so we could send the finished Burning Serpent oracle to everyone who had ordered it.

It’s quite a story. Go take a look on

Published in: on July 9, 2014 at 12:14 am  Leave a Comment  


For those of you who have so patiently–or not so patiently–been waiting for the Burning Serpent Oracle to show up in your mailbox, I’ve written a statement about it on the BSO site,

It’s called Hermes Retrograde, and it describes what happens when you’re waiting for Hermes the Messenger (first card) to ride into your life–and the planet Mercury goes retrograde on you. Mercury is, of course, the Roman name for Hermes. Aiee!

Published in: on July 7, 2014 at 4:43 am  Comments (3)  


Here is an interview for my novel, The Child Eater, published in England next month, and next year in the States. I enjoyed answering their questions, and really like how they set it up. I’m particularly impressed that they managed to dig up a visual for The Big Book of Science Fiction. I was trying to remember who did that series, and now I am reminded, it was Groff Conklin. I know nothing about him other than those Big Books he edited, which had such an influence on me as a young reader of Science Fiction and Fantasy.

Published in: on June 25, 2014 at 4:48 pm  Leave a Comment